Metrum Acoustics Amethyst DAC/Amp Impressions

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by Hands, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. TwoEars

    TwoEars Friend

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    I have to agree, I liked the Amethyst. It's a nice little device and probably better than 85% of the DAC's in this price range, and the form factor and built in amp are nice bonuses. But the Gungnir Multibit is still the best new dac I've heard in the "$1000 and change" class.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2017
  2. PacoTaco

    PacoTaco Friend

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    The Gungnir Multibit is an amp?!

    Jokes aside, I think there' big issues with the Gungnir Multibit (for me : )it can sound too warm and it is very grey. That may be why the Soekris 1541 is having so much ground lately. If the spring dac didn' cost an extra $400 more to sound it' best, is sat the Lvl 1 seems to have a place with the Gungnir Multibit.
     
  3. TwoEars

    TwoEars Friend

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    @PacoTaco

    Ooopps. But yeah, the Gungnir Multibit is dynamic and smooth but also somewhat warm and grey. Still very good though. The Theta Gen Va I have now is a dynamic monster but also much clearer and it can't even spell to "grey". Haven't heard the Soekris so no clue about that one, would love to hear the Pavane at some point.
     
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  4. bengo

    bengo Friend

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    When I first heard the C510 locally, vs my current DAC at that time (Modi Multibit) it was noticeably brighter but also impressively much more detailed. This was the DAC which got me wondering what else I might be missing with the Modi Multibit.

    Later the Yggdrasil came in stock in black finish. Now by this point I was disappointed with most gear I heard, and considering buying a Gungnir Multibit/Yggdrasil anyway to hear for myself what all the fuss was about. The Yggdrasil was also somewhat brighter but quite a step up from Modi Multibit in multiple areas. But I was still curious and managed to borrow the C510 as a loaner for a proper A/B.

    My overall impression after a few days with C510 and Yggdrasil: not much in it. Tonally very close. Both have great detail and great extension at either end. I expected the C510 to be bright, but it is really the Modi Multibit that is darker than neutral. The C510 has a little grain/digitus if you listen hard enough, but it is a whole different league, way ahead of any delta-sigma which I have heard (not including Gungnir DS or other AKM) and the Hugo 2, IMHO. Similar to the Chord DACs, it is a 1-bit design but upsampling to a very high frequency.

    To summarize why I think the C510 is conditionally a recommendation, particularly for those on a budget:
    • Pretty close to Yggdrasil in extension, detail, naturalness. Wipes the floor with most mainstream (non R2R) DACs.
    • Available in UK/Europe new at ~£700 = Gungnir DS. Gungnir Multibit is ~£1100 here currently.
    • Digital preamp function (remote + knob) - increases the value proposition if you need to drive a power amp
    • You can find it in many dealers, like I did, for a free audition (unlike Schiit gear). Note M51 should sound virtually identical.
    Trying to get back on topic: I find the Pavane (and Aqua La Scala NOS DACs) more natural than Yggdrasil or C510 or DAVE, I prefer these regardless of price. Peversely, I kind of think the Pavane is better value for me than the Amethyst. That's why I'm trying to steer folks towards either saving for the higher end NOS stuff, or look at other options if you want something cheapish.

    I won't comment on C510 staging etc as my impressions were with headphones only. Also sorry for the long rambling answer, but I hope it gives some useful context.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
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  5. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Yeah, obviously NOS is best done by just saving for Pavane/Adagio, but the Amethyst is one of the few or only NOS DACs close to $1K that doesn't make some majorly weird sonic compromises that make you scrunch your face. It does OK enough across the board if NOS is your thing.
     
  6. bengo

    bengo Friend

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    Gonna have to agree to disagree there. I would say emphatically NOS is my thing, if done right, but I'll take the chance on a Gungnir Multibit instead of the Amethyst.

    Also partially retracting my earlier statement - transparency is slightly behind the Pavane, despite the Amethyst being a bit more forward tonally which would give a (false) impression of clarity.

    Let's see what the pig makes of it :) @pedalhead
     
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  7. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Well, pretty much any OS DAC gives me listening fatigue on headphones during long-term listening (sometimes as little as 30 minutes, sometimes 2-3 hours), so that's what I mean by "if NOS is your thing." More a necessity rather than a preference (which, yes, I'm essentially saying, "If you're me, and only me" and thus talking to myself). And the Pavane/Adagio just blow other NOS DACs out of the water to the point where it's almost silly.
     
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  8. damaged-goods

    damaged-goods Acquaintance

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    Thanks very much for the detailed impressions on the NAD.
     
  9. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: Upscale Audio (Thread Judge Code-6 District)

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    I just received the Amethyst today through the sbaf loaner program, and I'm having a few issues with it.

    I very closely followed the driver installation on the included flash drive, and the installation software reported a "successful installation", but I can't hear anything when using the USB input. I used all of the included cables.

    I then uninstalled that driver and installed a newer driver from the Metrum website, and this was again unsuccessful. Once again just static on the left channel on the USB input.

    I used the digital out of my V800 to run into each of the coaxial inputs, but this was not successful either.

    Am I missing something with the driver installation? Running Windows 10.

    Very frustrating as I was looking forward to enjoying the Amethyst for 5 days.
     
  10. ButtUglyJeff

    ButtUglyJeff Stunningly beautiful IRL

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    I know, silly question, do you have the correct input selected on the DAC?

    Also, have you done a restart with the DAC connected?
     
  11. Riotvan

    Riotvan Got lost for three weeks at Delft City Hall

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    Maybe put a linux distro with liveboot on a usb stick. Like Ubuntu for example, that way you can rule out software. Unless the Amethyst doesn't support usb audio 2.0, which Win10 also supports with the latest updates, no drivers needed.
     
  12. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Open it up and make sure the DAC modules and any ribbon cables or power connectors didn't come loose. Reseat them if they did. Be very careful with DAC module orientation. Yes, I am serious.
     
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  13. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: Upscale Audio (Thread Judge Code-6 District)

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    Will try each of these suggestions this evening when I get home. Thanks friends.
     
  14. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: Upscale Audio (Thread Judge Code-6 District)

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    I took the top plate off of the device, noticed the "transient" modules were not completely seated, gently placed them back in, and voila! Perfectly running. Thanks for the go-ahead to open it up, Hands. Glad it's working again.
     
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  15. TwoEars

    TwoEars Friend

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    That's crazy, you'd think they'd be better secured. A blob of glue at least. Hands knows his stuff.
     
  16. bengo

    bengo Friend

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    I think the same happened to my Pavane right after it arrived from the factory. No sound from the left channel. My dealer was able to resolve it very quickly with help from Metrum but without, I believe, a return trip from UK to Netherlands. So I assume something similar happened.
     
  17. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Yes, I've had to deal with DAC modules coming undone in the newer Metrum DACs...I am not sure why they aren't better secured. Glue might be to much, as you don't want to make it too difficult to remove if there's a failure or newer module to upgrade to. But having something would be a good thing. Just not sure what.

    On the upside, if you want to call it that, everything seems built rather well in the Metrum DACs, so it seems even stuff coming loose and rattling around is of little concern. I guess that's good?
     
  18. TwoEars

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    @Hands

    I've dealt with computers that had to work in rough industrial environments, lots of vibrations and such, we used tiny dots of superglue on the corners or small silicon blobs to secure components and prevent them from vibrating or breaking off. Worked quite well. There's even special thermal conductive silicone you can buy if heat is a factor. You don't need much, just a little on the edges does the trick and it can easily be removed if you need to.
     
  19. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    That might work. I was wondering if they might be able to implement some sort of clamp on the modules, both sides.
     
  20. Riotvan

    Riotvan Got lost for three weeks at Delft City Hall

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    Maybe something cushiony on top and let the lid hold down the modules. In any case i find this sort of thing unacceptable.
     

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