Metrum Acoustics Onyx (balanced Dac) and Jade (balanced Dac + Pre)

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by sacredgates, Oct 3, 2017.

  1. FredM

    FredM Rando

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    Exactly, for me the effortless ‘being there’ experience is distinctive for Metrum DAC’s. It just ‘sounds’ right, with my ears, room, set, etc

    I went from a Modi MB (without Eitr) to the Onyx, which I described as a big improvement. Not saying the Modi MB is bad DAC, by no means: I liked it and I still consider it as a steal. But the Onyx / Metrum NOS house sound does it for me.
     
  2. David De Lucena

    David De Lucena Science Nut

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    This very meaningful to me. Did someone tried other models like the amethyst. I’m going to see one, maybe buy it to study this NOS sound house. Can someon chime in with more info about the product? Thanks
     
  3. Magnetostatic_Tubephile

    Magnetostatic_Tubephile Almost "Made"

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    I would recommend to search through SBAF to find out more info on current Metrum line.

    From what Ive gathered, Amethyst does not seem to be technically as potent as Pavane/Adaggio/Onyx/Jade. Hands recommends Amethyst for getting some first-hand experience with NOS while others were not as convinced by it (liking the more expensive offerings).

    There is a direct comparo between Amethyst and Jade (=Onyx with preamp) on ComputerAudiophile that seem to confirm the general consensus - Onyx/Jade is a significant step up from technical perspective compared to Amethyst (while keeping tone/timbre intact).

    Available reports suggest so far that the current gap between Onyx/Jade and Pavane/Adaggio is rather small.

    The above are my subjective interpretations of what Ive read so far. Please do your research if possible. :sail:

    P.S.: I agree with Hands that NOS requires some adjustment period, hard to make judgements after an hour or two in a local store. NOS is still growing on me, the more I listen and compare with Mimby.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
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  4. FredM

    FredM Rando

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    When you want to get an impression of the Metrum NOS sound, maybe you can try the Flint. This is a DAC with 2 DAC TWO modules inside (similar to the Amethyst), but without a preamp/ volume control. I believe in the €500 range, when you don’t like it or want to move up the ladder (intended), you won’t loose much reselling.
     
  5. sheldaze

    sheldaze Almost "Made"

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    I owned the Amethyst first. I took Amethyst to a meet, as a simple setup, and decided to sell (actually sent in for upgrade) for an Onyx. The reason for sale - the quality of the Amethyst headphone output caused some confusion at the meet event, and it was something I would also not use at home. I enjoyed Amethyst as a DAC only. Though as I posted somewhere else, I still did not think it was as good as Gumby.

    Regarding adjustment to the NOS sound, I'd heard Holo Lvl 3, Metrum Musette, and now the Amethyst for extended listening. However upon receipt of the Onyx, it took my ears about a week to adjust to its sound. This became, for me, the first true test of whether or not I liked the NOS sound.

    In short, I made the adjustment and loved it. Everything else I owned became either flat and murky (hazy details, hard to locate instruments) or full-bore hostile (too dynamic, too shrill). I have not used my PSAudio, Bifrost, or Yggy since. When I don't care, and just want some background sound, I'll use Mojo or m9xx - but I will not "engage" in the sound. My quest is to compare Yggy analog 2 against Onyx, and then call it a day. But today, the Yggy analog 1 falls into the category of hostile.

    Not sure if any of this helps @David De Lucena, but basically I did not identify with the NOS sound when I heard it through the Amethyst. I only heard it in trial through the Onyx. And I'm following your posts, @Magnetostatic_Tubephile, with great interest. Only I disliked the Mimby too much to use it to compare NOS and OS.
     
  6. Magnetostatic_Tubephile

    Magnetostatic_Tubephile Almost "Made"

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    Regarding Yggy A2, I am recalling the following quotation from Marv:

    "Don't expect a Metrum sound. The Yggy still has its bold incisiveness, so those wanting a more relaxed and easygoing sound should go elsewhere. This isn't a $1000 Rega table type of sound."


    Regarding NOS compared to OS, I also like the following quotation from Luckbad:

    "Of the rather many NOS DACs I've owned or listened to at home for an extended duration they all sacrifice something in:
    • Soundstage (often closed in)
    • Extension (they tend to roll off the extremes)
    • Dynamic response and/or transient speed
    • Note sharpness (i.e. they're always slightly soft)
    The good ones give you something for the sacrifice. Things like musicality, romantic or engaging presentation, lack of fatigue, great acoustic timbre, etc."


    The more I compare Metrum NOS vs Schiit closed-form OS, the better I can hear the subtle differences between both technologies. The problem is that while it was pretty much easy to find out my preferred headphone type (planar magnetic) or headamp type (full tube), I just keep hearing prons and cons when comparing these DACs. :eek::oops:
     
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  7. Magnetostatic_Tubephile

    Magnetostatic_Tubephile Almost "Made"

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    <noise>

    I spent hours yesterday trying out different methods of feeding Eitr via USB. Once I settled on ASIO4ALL (surprisingly), additional hours were given to tweaking all the available settings. Went to sleep in the end, content with the final configuration but exhausted at the same time.

    Today, after my previous post, I put LCD2Cs on my head, wanting to spend yet another evening/night trying to tackle the seemingly endless Metrum NOS vs Schiit OS dilemma. As usual, starting with Onyx. I found a recent favourite album of mine, hit play... and boom!

    Today's the first time I am truly feeling convinced by NOS. From the first second, every music track just sounds so correct - gentle, clean, calm-paced, natural, lifelike... you name it. I was expecting my brain would need at least a minute or two to mentally adjust (as usual) but no, I just jumped into the listening session like I was not wearing headphones at all.

    Partly related to the Eitr setup described above, partly related to the fact I am getting used to NOS step by step - sure. But somehow, finally, it all seems to connect together. I am now even able to acknowledge the technical advantages of Onyx compared to Mimby (microdetails, precise timing, blackness, seemingly unlimited soundstage dimensionality) more than before!

    Weird how subjective it all is.

    </noise>
     
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  8. bengo

    bengo Friend

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    I'll try to post something helpful here, although likely repeating what I've written before. I previously owned Mimby and Yggy v1; currently own Pavane L2 which I am very happy with; also spent a couple of days with the Amethyst loaner. I haven't heard the "Yaggy" v2, nor Onyx/Jade.

    In short, I did not like the Amethyst much and would prefer a Mimby or Gumby etc. It does sound a bit like Pavane but more hard/fatiguing and not really technically on the same level. Not great value IMO.

    I would agree with Marv that the Yggy is sharper/more incisive, which is typical of OS vs NOS. But I actually find this a positive, the slightly softer sound is a bit more natural in my setup. There was also less sibilance with Pavane than Yggy. May come down to personal preferences, different ears and gears and synergy.

    However, I do not fully agree with the quote from Luckbad above. I spent a lot of time comparing my Yggy and Pavane, although only using headphones. I felt the Pavane was clearly ahead in headstage depth (Yggy was flatter) and in both macro/microdynamics (although Yggy is no slouch, and Yaggy v2 seems to improve this area). Yggy is more extended in the treble as you would expect, but Pavane for a NOS implementation is extremely good. I found the difference quite small with real instruments. I did notice a huge difference on one track when directly comparing, but it was an electronically generated effect.

    I would personally choose Mimby, Yggy or Pavane. I preferred the Pavane to Yggy, but not by much. Yaggy v2 will be closer still, which would make it clearly better value. Also the Pavane is now only available new in L3, which costs even more. Again, I did not hear the Onyx which is priced roughly comparable to Yaggy. All are amazing DACs at their respective price points. @David De Lucena Buy whatever you can afford and be happy. Or wait for Gumby with Analog2, assuming Schiit releases that sooner or later.
     
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  9. Magnetostatic_Tubephile

    Magnetostatic_Tubephile Almost "Made"

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    Thanks for taking the time!

    Where would you place Mimby tonally when compared to Pavane and Yggy 1? Much closer to Yggy, or rather somewhere in between the two?

    Maybe Mimby could be the middleground I am looking for - darker treble compared to Yggy and other 'hi-fi' sounding DACs but still keeping the OS extension/air when compared to NOS DACs like Pavane or Onyx...

    I now got to the state that Onyx sounds amazing... but Mimby does too! I am f*cked... :confused::eek:
     
  10. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    Unless you're borrowing the onyx, take a break and stop worrying about it for a week or twelve.

    Cool minds make better decisions.
     
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  11. Magnetostatic_Tubephile

    Magnetostatic_Tubephile Almost "Made"

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    I bought Onyx, counting with the return period in case I dont prefer it over Mimby... Thats the catch in all of this.

    I wasnt expecting to like both honestly... wrong assumption on my side. Its not about Onyx vs Mimby as much as it is about Metrum NOS vs Schiit OS. Trying to look at the situation from various perspectives.

    I shall probably keep both, buy Yggdrasil A2 on top of that... and let my head explode in endless dilemma. :p (Seriously, it may get even more confusing with Yggy A2 than it is already)

    Thanks guys for tolerating me! Will for sure stay quiet for a while once this all is over.
     
  12. Erikdayo

    Erikdayo Facebook Friend

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    Good luck with your decision making. DACs are tricky, and the differences are usually very subtle compared to headphones and amps.

    Typically with audio gear I've found myself making decisions within a day. Maybe two at most. When determining comfort with headphones sometimes it takes longer. The Metrum Amethyst clicked with me right away and got me exactly what I was hoping for at the time. More natural sound to my ears. Less fatiguing. Slightly rolled off treble. It clicked with me too well even. And that's why I quickly upgraded to the Onyx which gave me an even better version of everything I wanted. Similar house sound with better depth and detail.
     
  13. bengo

    bengo Friend

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    Neither Pavane L2 or Yggy v1 sounds dark to me. Tonally overall they are close. Pavane emphasizes the mids very slightly more. Yggy has more treble extension as I said. Both have good bass extension.

    Mimby is clearly darker (once warmed up) than Yggy and has less extension at both ends and less resolution/detail overall. Yggy is clearly the better DAC. I'm surprised you found the Mimby close to Onyx. Have you tried a different (non USB) source? If you can't do this, at the minimum you should feed both DACs from the Eitr, for a fair comparison.

    I would not see the dark tone of Mimby as equivalent to the less sharp / sibilant / extended treble of Pavane or another NOS DAC, that is something else.

    Bottom line, you can always keep the Mimby and spend your money on better gear elsewhere in the chain, DAC should be the last thing to upgrade.
     
  14. Magnetostatic_Tubephile

    Magnetostatic_Tubephile Almost "Made"

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    Onyx subjectively sounds somewhat warmer than Mimby to my ears (the difference is of course small, not huge) when both DACs are fed by Eitr since Mimby is more extended/zingy in treble region and generally a bit more immediate/lively. (Ideal subjective tonal balance for me would be something slightly brighter than Onyx and slightly warmer than Mimby.)

    I feel Mimby is quite close to Onyx in general terms. Difference between PMx2 and LCD2C is larger, so is difference between Kenzie and Valhalla 2. That being said, the following disclaimers apply:
    • See my signature regarding audio chain and favourite music. Hardly hyperdetailed headphones or highest fidelity albums.
    • I am more of a tone/timbre guy. Any technical advantages can easily be overshadowed for me by imperfect general character of given gear.
    • Onyx is better technically but Mimby seems to pass my 'good enough' treshold when fed by Eitr. That makes me less sensitive to their differences too.
    When comparing the two DACs, I can hear Onyx's superiority. That being said, my brain is rather focused on deciphering which of the two DACs sound more natural in general. It really seems that overall tone/timbre is what this comparison is about for me.
     
  15. 1Markr

    1Markr Rando

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    Hey folks, I am a happy Onyx owner here. I have used it for over a month or so now, and it really hits all the notes, pardon the pun, for me. Much more so than a nice delta sigma DAC running DSD (all up sampling done via HQPlayer). For some reason, I don't find HQPlayer a good match with my Onyx, go figure, so now I am just running directly from Roon (via an ultraRendu), in NOS mode.

    Couple of things I'd love to know from you who are running either the Metrum or Schist DACs:
    - What power cord and digital cables have helped you get the BEST of these R2R DACs in your system?

    I am looking to maximize my soundstage, air / fluidity, and naturalness that I get which isn't bad, but could get better in my system.
     
  16. Erikdayo

    Erikdayo Facebook Friend

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    Can't say I've tried rolling power cords or digital cables. I'm not sure I believe it makes an audible difference unless there are serious issues with your current ones like a USB cable that doesn't meet USB spec.

    I also think that instead of potentially spending hundreds or even thousands on power cables or USB I'd rather upgrade to a Pavane or just keep that money in my pocket.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018 at 8:21 AM
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  17. bengo

    bengo Friend

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    I'm an engineer. All my cables are super cheap ones, I do use a filtered power strip, but my setup is in an office environment - and it cost only around £45. Please, if you really want to talk about silly stuff which makes extremely little to no difference, use the appropriate thread for that.

    My suggestion would be to buy a tube/tube hybrid amp. It sounds like that would get you in the right direction. Post something in this thread about your current setup and you will get loads of great advice.
     
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