Metrum Acoustics DAC3 modules - recommended (**)

Today I received 8xDAC3 upgrade modules for my Metrum Adagio (initial configuration is equivalent to a Pavane l3 with regards to DAC2 modules installed).

Cees recommends to leave the DAC on for 1 month for best results. I am good at ignoring good advice like that - with the caveat that the sound might still change after only listening for 3 hours, here are a few initial impressions:

  • This is a more significant upgrade than changing the source of the Adagio from RPI/AES to Hermes/I2S (as it should, as price per module is >$200)
  • Feels like about the difference between Chord TT2 and Dave
  • Separation of instruments and attacks on details significantly improved - e.g. pizzicato strings, ambient noises from the audience, …
  • Greater weight in e.g. contrabass string sections, with improved clarity
  • Only tried D8000P and Susvara so far (Roon → Hermes → Adagio → Ayon Spheris 3 → ML 585)
  • Good test - distinction of 16/44 vs 24/96 easier to hear (e.g. Kleiber, Beethoven, Symphonies 5&7)
  • Best results (vs any other DAC, including Adagio with DAC2 modules) on the new Metallica “black album” box set - 1st CD, the original set. Lars’ drums in particular are a good benchmark for quality of reproduction (how real does this thing sound?)
  • Interesting side effect: Due to improved out of the box resolution increase, I am back to preferring plain NOS over HQP upsampling.

Warning - sound signature of the DAC is changed (less “dark”, more “detailed”). Again - quite similar to TT2 → Dave, where some people may prefer the Dave or the TT2.

I am eager to do more testing as the DAC settles in, as well as with WA33 and vs. Wavedream Ref Ed when those arrive in about a month.

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Before:
IMG_1735

After:
IMG_1739

Old chip (back):
IMG_1740

New chip (front and back):
IMG_1737

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Ive had similar results with my metrum jade and the dac3 modules. Only goes more into this signature after more time passes.

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