Sonnet Digital Audio's Morpheus

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by sahmen, Mar 25, 2020.

  1. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    You can put me last. I'm notoriously slow at shipping gear out and don't want to hold anyone up.
     
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  2. saint.panda

    saint.panda Friend

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    RN3 although mostly USB these days at home and only 1 day a week in the office where the Stellaris and RN3 are. It's nice that the Morpheus is lightweight enough to carry around. I prefer the Morpheus, but it's not better in everything, and the two DACs clearly pursue different visions. For the Morpheus, I think the blackground and imaging contribute to the sense of being there. Folks with more eloquent ears will articulate this in a better way.
     
  3. Orkney

    Orkney Acquaintance

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    I've sold my Onyx and am looking into the Morpheus, but doesn't seem easy to get hold of one, and given the depths to which the CAD has sunk against the universe's many currencies, I may hold off for a while. My aim to demo it alongside the Yggrasil A2 Unison has similarly been put on hold.
     
  4. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth SBAF Gearmaster

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    @zach915m, feel free to PM me if you want any assistance setting up the loaner tour.
     
  5. zach915m

    zach915m MOT: ZMF Headphones

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    I sent the Morpheus to @purr1n earlier this week so he should have it maybe this weekend?

    And yeah I'd greatly appreciate any assistance! I'll send PM.
     
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  6. neogeosnk

    neogeosnk Friend

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    Review or how I sold everything off and learned to love the Morpheus

    There's so little information out there so want to share my impressions to get more visibility (and ears) on this gem of a Dac. Going off the cuff so doing a somewhat longer than normal review.
    • Digital Chain: Roon/Qobuz/Pi2Aes/Morpheus i2s
    • Headphones: Multiple Zmf/Hifiman and Sennheiser 650
    • Amps: SPL Phonitor X/HPA4/Amp and Sound Kenzie Encore
    Music:
    Audiophile Standards - Hotel California, Daft Punk, Norah Jones, etc

    Esthetics:
    Looks kinda cheap with its steal black housing and stainless steel like front. In contrast to the Yggdrasil or Adagio it looks like an inexpensive preamp you would buy from Crutchfield.com. The front display is also a bit strange as it looks pinkish from any angle unless you're looking at it head on. Looks are nothing special but the saying goes don't judge a book by it's cover definitely applies here.

    Connectivity and Features:
    Has all the basic connections but you can also swap out the usb connector to accommodate the i2s port. You can only use one or the other so this may be a deal breaker for some. i2s is by far the best input and worth the upgrade. Aes drops off about 7%, everything else drops slightly from there. Spdif is surprisingly good though. Did not test usb.

    MQA module is available for the dac. The MQA module works on all inputs per Sonnet. Did not test, don't F*ck with MQA.

    Has pre-amp but for most of the testing, ran in direct dac mode. Did try out pre-amp mode and it sounded similar to Schiit Saga S in passive or 1x mode so very transparent.

    Sound Impressions:
    Woah, too much to process. Very high level of resolution and stereo separation. I'm rediscovering many old albums due to the dac's ability to convey every last nuisance, instrument placement and details not found in any dac i've owned. Pitch black background, instruments appear out of thin air and are accurately conveyed in a 3d plane. You can definitely pinpoint instrument and singer placement and hear every layers of music being presented. This is for me equivalent to a really good vinyl setup in terms of natural timbre and resolution.

    Soundstage:
    Wide but not exaggerated. You can visually see the flow of music all around the room, following the singer across the stage. Everything is conveyed from a front row seat perspective. In comparison the Yggdrasil which is about 5 rows back.

    Treble:
    Does not sound rolled off or darkish like I remember the Metrum Pavane. Similar to Matrix MQA using synch mode.

    Bass:
    Notes I'm hearing are multilayered and guttural, but not muddy or bloated. Some folks like @brencho might say it's too warm and bassy though.

    Wife Test:
    "I like the little one better than the giant schiit stereo thingy". Her preference in every blind test was the morpheus over the Yggdrasil a2. Her audio books have never sounded better.

    TLDR: **Bifrost 2 with a lot more resolution - ridiculous stereo separation - front row seat - a dash of vinyl - pitch black background**

    The Morpheus dac has the sound signature I've been chasing since I started this hobby. I'm done for now. (Ha!)
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2020
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  7. zach915m

    zach915m MOT: ZMF Headphones

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    ^^^^Nice review!

    Concerning the MQA module it's worth posting this since I get questions on it a lot. The MQA works great with the caveat that at the beginning of each track it takes a moment for the MQA module to recognize the signal as MQA - if it is MQA the module sees it and goes on, BUT - this causes a little "blip" in the sonic performance right at the beginning of the signal/track.

    The same thing happened in an Adagio we had sold a couple years ago and the owner couldn't get over it so we removed the module.

    Personally I never use the Morpheus with MQA and don't see it as necessary, but it's best for owners to consider the millisecond of blippiness before going with an MQA module. It is easily removable though on the plus side.
     
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  8. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

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    Thanks for the detailed review! Any tweaks required for Pi2AES > I2S > Morpheus?
     
  9. neogeosnk

    neogeosnk Friend

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    Short ethernet cable, put up my recommendation on the Pi2aes thread. But no more than 12 inches is optimal.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2020
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  10. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    The current version of the RJ45 jack add-on for the PI2AES will work with Morpheus?
     
  11. neogeosnk

    neogeosnk Friend

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    that’s exactly what I’m using, so yes.
     
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  12. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

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    Does it need a modification/different case for the Pi2AES? Just looked at mine and didn't see a cut for the RJ-45 connector.
     
  13. Ksaurav402

    Ksaurav402 Friend

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    Ya, there is a new case for RJ-45 module. With the older case we have to remove one side.
     
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  14. Aklegal

    Aklegal Almost "Made"

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    @neogeosnk How long was it before you took delivery? I've read that this dac is hard to get.
     
  15. neogeosnk

    neogeosnk Friend

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    received pretty quickly from Hifiheaven.com but
    Zmf **has them in stock right now**
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2020
  16. zach915m

    zach915m MOT: ZMF Headphones

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    We have USB 110v in stock but won't have I2S for a couple weeks.
     
  17. EagleWings

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    Zach, the Morpheus seems to have a 110V to 230V flip switch on the inside. I assumed it would be as simple as flipping this switch and replacing the correct fuse, to convert a 110V unit over to a 230V unit and, vice versa. Is my assumption, correct?
     
  18. Ksaurav402

    Ksaurav402 Friend

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    It had the switch to change voltage but in recent batches there is no such switch. I reached out to Cees and he confirmed that the supplier no longer has that board available and hence they replaced it with new board. Now it requires a bit of soldering for voltage conversion.

    Old one
    29505C4F-713A-44D0-8C3F-D9520C96FE4E.jpeg

    New one

    DEC4943C-D112-455C-83B7-FF1787DA3673.jpeg
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2020
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  19. EagleWings

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  20. exocer

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    @neogeosnk - excellent review. My original decision was between this and the Yggdrasil A2 earlier this year. At that time, there being hardly any information available on the Morpheus, I chose the Yggdrasil A2 but I would still like to try the Morpheus at some point in the future.

    Has anyone fed this DAC via USB? Assuming transports of similar quality, was there much of a hit with using USB input vs I2s?
     

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