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DAC - Metrum Octave
AN INNOVATIVE DAC FROM HOLLAND

I-INTRODUCTION.

This was a surprise for us: A DAC coming from the country of the tulip, we mean from Holland !  This is the very first time that we see an audio product made in this country, and we are unable to identify another audio brand from this country.

In addition to its country of origin, this DAC is an innovative product and belongs to those that use a NOS chip and a R/2R resistors network. There are very few products using this kind of approach, and the Japanese blieve that this Non Over Sampling method gives the best results (at least to their ears). The R/2R network approach is well known by the audiophiles as a some of the best chips such as the BB-1704 are based on this technology.
If we know that this DAC uses these two approaches, we cannot list the chips that are used because the references have been removed from the chips cases.


II-THE METRUM OCTAVE DAC IN DETAIL.

This DAC delivers a pleasant feeling of a well built device: I has a separated power supply hosted in a dedicated chassis, with the same form factor than the DAC itself. There are 2 models of Power Supply: a 15VA and a 7VA, and of course we recommend you the first one.

Despite this very good point (separated power supply), this DAC offers the minimum in terms of inputs: there is no USB, and this becomes a problem nowdays. There is no XLR inputs : so you will have to deal with a SPDIF and aTOSLINK inputs. There is of course a pair of RCA outputs.

The cable between the P.S. cabintet and the DAC has nothing particular, we just have to mention that it has a ferrite.



metrumoctave_avant.jpg

et une photo des faces arrière:

metrumoctave_arriere.jpg

When the DAC is turned on, a blue LED lights on the front window:
 

metrumoctave_lumiere.jpg


III-SYSTEM CONFIGURATION.

As usual, our system setup remains unchanged in order to enable you to compare the results with thre previous review. We have just a new configuration regarding the amplifiers, as we have changed them for the legendary MARK LEVINSON ML-20.6.

systeme_reference2.jpg


IV-THE LISTENING SESSIONS.

Since the very begining of the listening sessions, we have been pleasantly surprised by how the music flows through this DAC, but we are of course unable to say what is at the origine of this very positive point.

The bass section is not at the same level of quality: it is not enough present, even if the speed in this domain is satisfactory.

The midrange domain is beautiful: this is the other very positive point of this DAC.

When we look at the high frequencies, we are disappointed: « strange » would be the appropriate word to describe it. It is not good enough compared with what its competitors are able to provide nowdays. Once again it is difficult to say why the quality is not enouh, maybe the power supply filtering is too approximative ? On this domain, the METRUM DAC suffers from the huge improvement that came into the DAC market over the 5 pas years. It would have been acceptable if we do not compared it to other DACs, such as my DIY DAC or the (difficult to beat) NuForce HDP : the both are far better than the METRUM in this particular domain.

We are still surprised by the (too positive in our opinion) reviews that we can read on the METRUM DAC, both in the magazines or on the web. It is a good DAC, but the articles that we have read look too optimistic for us, based on what we have eared from this device. Do not be wrong: it is a good DAC, but it does not belong to the « cream »....

As a conclusion, we would say that it is approximately at the same level of performance than an EXIMUS DP-1 or an ANTELOPE Gold that we have previously reviewed. This DAC is globaly not enough realistic. But the METRUM gets another very positive point: its price ! The retail price is around 650€ and that is really low compared to what we get for this price tag. Its main problem is that for this price (even a bit cheaper) you can get a NuForce HDP that is far better...



V-CONCLUSION.

This device is simple, has a good engineering with its separated power supply for example, and is beautiful and good enough to find its place in a small system without spending too much. But it cannot compete with the « true » DACs that can deliver a more realistic pleasure and music.

Pros:

  • separated power supply
  • the look and feel is good
  • the engineering is good (R/2R)
  • it has an analogic character, with no acidity
  • the mid frequencies are good
  • it is a portable device, small and light
  • its price is low (650€)


 

Cons:

  • the bass domain is not good enough
  • the high frequencies are in the average from a quality point of view
  • the music does not seem realistic to our ears
  • TL_4.jpg



This article has been written by Florent - October 2013
 


Creation date : 15/10/2013 @ 21:26
Last update : 12/01/2016 @ 19:30
Category : DAC
Page read 7569 times


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