Sonnet Digital Audio's Pasithea Reviews

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by jexby, Feb 8, 2022.

  1. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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    well, the newest Sonnet Pasithea has arrived nearby. but unsure if I'll be able to demo it or not....

    [​IMG]
     
  2. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

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    Retails at roughly the same as May KTE (taxes excluded), who's going to compare the two?
     
  3. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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    not it. ;)
     
  4. Erroneous

    Erroneous Friend

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    The Austin team just got a Pasithea loaner in. We're all going to get together to have a listen, and it'll probably be where there's already a May. We should be able to provide some impressions in a week or two.
     
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  5. eskamobob1

    eskamobob1 Acquaintance

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    I am very excited to see how this stacks up if I am honest. Sonnet doesn't tend to hold value as well as holo stuff and its smaller size may make it a prime option in the ~3.5k used range in a few months. I am sad to see they stick with their rj45 i2s input though. I get why they did it but still....
     
  6. noisyscott

    noisyscott Rando

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    The Austin Taco-fi crew of @famish99, @SoupRKnowva and I gathered this past weekend to listen to @skem s Pasithea and compare it to Soup's Rockna Wavedream Sig and my Holo Audio May L2. @Erroneous was not present, but was instrumental in making this happen!

    We started out with Roon set to OS with a max of 192.
    Fammy and Soup started blind. Everyone got time in the sweet spot and listened to their own reference tracks. After about an hour, they both made guesses as to which was which, and somehow, they both failed to identify a single DAC correctly, and we all busted out laughing. That said, Fammy preferred the Pasithea over the WD or the May when listening blind, while Soup put Pasithea last under May/WD when forced to choose.

    Shared impressions were that Pasithea had more air than either the May or the WD, and that the WD was meatier / had more "tonal density" than either the May or the Pasithea. WD also came through as the most "balanced" in frq response of all three.

    Turned off Roon OS (aka pure NOS)
    Pasithea separated itself over the May when in straight NOS. Pasithea was more liquid than the May in NOS mode, and retained a bit of the air, even though NOS mode tended to reduce that last bit of spaciousness. And of course the WD just trucked along with it's excellent internal OS doing it's regular magic and so wasn't really compared.

    With HQPlayer

    Finally we listened a bit with HQPlayer as the source (I believe we tried both Sinc MX and Closed-form-M filters). At this point we were getting a bit tired so no solid impressions here. My note was that the May and Pasithea sounded closer than in NOS (duh) but that air of the Pasithea remained and that moving to HQP helped the May more than the Pasithea. Again, Pasithea performed exceedingly well compared to the May and WD.

    Finally, I was able to listen to the Pasithea for a short second session alone and found that it had a fluidity and liquid quality which I very much liked. I also felt that the Pasithea held on slightly longer to decays than the May and thus presented a richer and more detailed sense of space.

    I have owned 3 NOS dacs, including Metrum Onyx, Soekirs 2541 and of course the May L2, and I would strongly consider the Pasithea if I was in the market for a new one. The differences between May and Pasithea are minor and often fleeting, but from my short exposure I would say it bests my May. Well done Cees! I honestly was writing any of his DACs off until I heard this one. Now I am curious about hearing a DAC3 one day.

    Thanks again to Skem for the generous loaner!

    [​IMG]

    Rig Tech blah blah
    DACs were all level matched, using identical RCA cables, and Pasithea was warmed up for a full 3 days. Chain was Roon pi4 > Hydra Z > i2s WD - Roon > pi4 > Hydra Z spdif > Pasithea, and Roon > pi4 USB > May (used USB so we could level match the May since it doesn't have a volume control). All DACs fed an Icon Pro4 avc > Decware Zen amps (or Tandberg 3026A) amps > Tekton Moabs
     
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  7. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    Thanks for these impressions!

    Have you ever listened to the Morpheus? I'd like to know if the weird super dense tone is also present on the Pasithea or if it sounds more "normal" by comparison. I know quite many people didn't like the Morpheus "sound signature"...
     
  8. noisyscott

    noisyscott Rando

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    I haven’t had a chance to listen to a Morpheus, but I would wager that the Pasithea does not have such a weird and dense tone considering it wasn’t as dense as the WD Sig.
     
  9. Ksaurav402

    Ksaurav402 Friend

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    @noisyscott i guess all DAC from Metrum/Sonnet perform their best out of I2S input but the I2S is buffered one. I wonder if it would sneak ahead of other DAC if used with Metrum Ambre or Hermes or Pi2AES I2S
     
  10. famish99

    famish99 Friend

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    I would be interested to hear it with Hermes since it was still pretty impressive off AES. However, Hydra Z was consistently better across all outputs than pi2aes; at least on Rockna I liked Hydra Z AES even more than pi2aes I2S or AES and I ran the Pi 5v modded LPS and all.
     
  11. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

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    We had a recent exchange on the May thread about about its relatively shorter decays, which (for me) do a better job of recreating the kind of room acoustics I prefer for small ensemble jazz and classical. The Morpheus I used to own had longer decays that seemed richer but ultimately felt (to me) artificial relative to what my May KTE does. It's good to see that different listeners pick similar differences even though their preferences differ :)
     
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  12. uncola

    uncola Friend

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    Good comparo in this thread. Wow I didn't know the icon tvc preamp had such a big display. Good for my terrible eyesight
     
  13. Herman Visser

    Herman Visser Rando

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    I now own a Sonnet Pasithea DAC if anybody had any questions about the DAC. I have not AB'ed it with other equipment like the Holo Audio May, but I also own a Metrum Pavane (level 1).
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2022
  14. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    How does the Pasithea compare to the Morpheus? There was an SBAF loaner for the Morpheus a while back. I thought the Morpheus sucked balls was disappointing especially when compared to the Metrum offerings or any of the other DACs mentioned here (excepting Pasithea which I have not heard).
     
  15. GanGreinke

    GanGreinke Friend

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    I just sent you a PM, @purr1n, but would you be interested in borrowing my Pasithea for review? I am moving in less than a month, so it would otherwise be sitting in a box unused.
     
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  16. Herman Visser

    Herman Visser Rando

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    One comment about my Pasithea I failed to make in the post above, is that it took about two weeks of regular play before the DAC really came to life. The first few days I thought - hmm not sure this thing sounds better than my Pavane. Now it sounds significantly better - more open, better everything - lovely soundstage. You hear detail on how a violin player strokes the strings, how a singer runs out of breath and squeezes out the last note etc. I'm happy with the buy - I guess others may differ. I've loved the Metrum sound since I first heard the Pavane. Can't live with anything else. Had to buy from the same stable again.
     

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