Metrum Acoustic's new baby DAC - the Flint

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by alucart, Jul 31, 2018.

  1. Meh

    Meh Friend

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    FWIW I was told they could offer the Flint with DAC TWO modules for 100 Euro extra. I didn't follow up on it because I already traded up to the Amethyst so I can't guarantee anything.
     
  2. songmic

    songmic Gear cycler East Asia edition

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    If that's true, then that extra 100 euro is a no-brainer.
     
  3. Meh

    Meh Friend

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    I would say so.
     
  4. data.noodle

    data.noodle Acquaintance

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    I was able to get a flint with the dac two modules and in my opinion it sounds just like the amethyst (which I compared in my office setup w/ closed aeons and a wa8 for what that's worth).
     
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  5. RedFuneral

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    I was on the pre-order for this DAC and have been using it near exclusively since it came in. Immediate impressions were very positive, but as time grew on(and the Flint warmed up) my feelings became more confused. Why I've been putting off posting is due to the system in question, mine. I've lost the plot a couple years back and ended up with a system I wasn't exactly happy with. The Flint was immediately satisfying because it covered up my system's harshness but in the end it replaced it with another trait that began to bother me in time, an overly dense tone.

    I'm confident in saying the Flint is better than my last NOS DAC, an Ultra-Fi DAC41. Smoother and more resolved. The UF I picked up in 2010 and tried replacing twice I can recall, once with a Wolfson chip & once with Exogal's proprietary design. I returned because the UF while not particularly good avoided the Wolfson's treble hash and the Exogal's energy vampirism. Whereas NOS has become my comfy shoe the Flint has the same trait that initially made me want to move on from the UF, that would be a congealing fullness of tone. It's an additive one-note warmth that makes albums sound more alike than different. Running the DAC cold it's a strong effect that works to smooth over harsh recordings, after warmup its reduced to a subetly no longer affecting the 'bite' of your music. This flavor that I dislike in NOS DACs I have found in tube components as well, its the reason I never own them long term. A quick and dirty way of understanding this effect is to compare the production quality of rock/metal music from the 80s to now. If you're a metal listener and dislike how clean modern albums sound buy a flint right now, you'll be back in nostalgia land.

    Note: The Flint does not exhibit 'tube sound.' Putting a tube pre-amp in my system will add this effect to SD DACs however there is a lot more tubes do than this minor thing.

    In conclusion I neither intend this as a positive or negative review. I might prefer the Soekris 1321 which I owned briefly; however I'd rather own the Flint than the JDS, Questyle, or Ultra-Fi. It has a flaw that I focused my review on, I could also talk about NOS soundstaging(its bad,) but in general the Flint is the least flawed DAC I've had in my system hence my great first impressions. So to mimic other reviews of these things, if you know what you're getting into with NOS this is a very good DAC. For myself, I need to scratch the itch of trying new implementations.
     
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  6. ohshitgorillas

    ohshitgorillas Friend

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    I had been eyeing the Amethyst for a while, but realizing that this is basically identical to the Amethyst sans USB and headphone amp, neither of which I need, this is a lot more attractive of an option. Can anyone comment on how it compares to the Modi Multibit and Bifrost Multibit, specifically with the DAC Two upgrade? I have both and I generally use the Modi Multibit for my headphones, and while I generally enjoy the full bodied nature of R2R, I would like a bit more transient details, I am not totally satisfied with the way snares decay on Modi Multibit, and also I feel like the sense of space is a bit blurrier and the imaging/edges of notes aren't as well defined as they could be. I don't necessarily need a large soundstage, but I do appreciate having a discrete and distinct sense of space and separation.

    edit: wow did the forum automatically change m i m b y and Bifrost Multibit (with spaces) to their proper names? interesting. I like it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
  7. data.noodle

    data.noodle Acquaintance

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    It's interesting that you didn't talk about the bifrost multibit at all, the modi multibit does sound dark, muddy and imo nothing like the other schitt multibit dacs, but with that being said the amethyst and flint's strong suits are not what you describe as lacking from your current experience. It sounds like you may want to look into the yggdrasil or some delta sigma dacs instead.

    I'm curious to hear more about what you think about the bifrost you have and what kind of music you mostly listen to.
     
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  8. ohshitgorillas

    ohshitgorillas Friend

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    The issue for me is that I have two setups, one for speakers and the other for headphones. My headphone rig sits at my desk about 20 ft from the speaker setup and not far off from the sweet spot, but I'm not running 20 ft SE cables across my living room. Maybe if I could afford a balanced rig, I would be alright with long cable runs, but not while my whole rig is single ended.

    Originally I got the Bifrost Multibit specifically for my headphones, but I ended up liking it with my speakers better (Tekton Lore), but also I can't just go back to Modi Multibit. I am actually very happy with Bifrost Multibit, it's one of the newer models and the way it renders space and imaging is much better than Modi Multibit. I am satisfied with the way that snare drums+reverb decay with Bifrost Multibit, which is one of the reasons I have a hard time going back to Modi. Setup is a heavily modded Crack + ZMF Atticus and modded HD800.

    I am mostly listening to modern music, I am all over the place. Lots of prog rock/metal, doom doom and death metal, new wave black metal, bluegrass, folk, hip hop, some world music and jazz sprinkled in. In general I don't think I really need endgame resolution like an Yggdrasil (way out of my price range anyway), tbh it feels like a waste to get anything more than single ended. But on the note of D/S DACs, I do recognize that they can be very good but for me that sense of body and weight with R2R which makes music sound so much more real and visceral is not something I'm willing to give up for a little bit more resolution. That said, I do use an SDAC at work but that's generally distracted listening.

    So you don't think that the Flint/Amethyst is closer to the Modi bs the Bifrost?
     

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