Experience with Metrum Onyx? Anyone?

Hi all:

I find myself in a position to upgrade my DAC. Currently I have a Metrum Musette – it’s very good, but I think I can do better.

I’ve narrowed it down to two: the Yggdrasil and the Metrum Onyx. I can find plenty of reviews/user experience blogs on the interwebs for the Yggdrasil. But I can’t seem to find much about the Onyx. I’m pretty sure (based on my experience with the Musette) that I would like the sound. But that leaves me with a few questions:

  • How is the USB input? Does it compare to the Coax in?
  • Is there a long burn-in period? (If you believe in those things.)
  • How reliable is the Onyx?

Any pointers to info would be much appreciated. Thanks!

I actually did find a comment from @Fernando_Pereira talking about the USB on the Onyx (‘a bit mushy’). Anyone else?

When I had my Onyx I used I2S from a couple of different sources (Metrum Ambre or a Pi2AES with special RJ-45 i2s adapter). I2S sounded cleaner, crisper than USB. I don’t know if Metrum has improved the USB board since their corporate reboot a few years ago.

PS: If you are seriously considering the Onyx, you should also investigate lower-priced Holo DAC options. The Cyan 2 has got good reviews recently, for instance. My experience with more recent Holo DACs is that their USB input is very good.

Thanks. I actually did consider the Spring 3 and the Cyan, but after investigating further, I didn’t feel they were right for me. Just a feeling – no empirical evidence. :slight_smile: But feelings are what this whole hobby is based on, no?

But now I’m going to write Metrum to see if they’ve changed the USB board at all.


Besides the Onyx, I’ve owned OG Yggdrasil, and I currently own Spring 2 KTE and May KTE. While I reallyt enjoyed the Onyx’s lush NOS midrange, in the end it sounded a bit smeared compared with Yggdrasil. Holo NOS is quite different, dense in lows and midrange but better defined. With HQPlayer preprocessing to DSD256, the Holo DACs, especially May, maintain tonal density but sharpen the sound image further to beat Yggdrasil as well. So that’s where I am now. I’m told Cyan 2’s DSD side is almost as good as Spring 3’s, and it’s a great complement to HQPlayer, but I’ve not heard it myself.

Thanks, @Fernando_Pereira. One of my fears about the Yggy+ was that it would be “super-resolving.” That is, it would make my 100Gb of recordings mastered from old 78s and singles from the 50s and 60s sound like utter crap.

I’ve been told that while the Yggy+ has a great deal of resolution, it doesn’t have the pronounced treble (screech) that many “resolving” components have. On top of that, I hear it’s got an awesome USB. :grin:

I’ve only heard the earlier (OG) Yggdrasil. Unison USB (on that DAC and later ones) is excellent. It did not have treble digital glare, but I don’t know how the newer Yggdrasils fare there. Onyx and the Holo DACs I own are excellent in that respect.

Thanks for the reply. I have been told that the new Yggy+ has a rolled-off treble, which is kind of what I’m looking for.

NOS DACs do have rolled-off treble for technical reasons (which is one reason I run mine after HQPlayer upsampling), but Yggdrasil does its own upsampling, which does not/should not roll-off treble response, at least not in the proper technical sense. Strictly speaking, “roll-off treble” it’s about a dropping response curve with frequency; but what many folks seem to mean is “lack of treble digititis” which nothing about response curve, but about handling of aliasing and other artifacts near the Nyquist cutoff.

It is odd to me that an R2R DAC does upsampling, but apparently the Yggy does. Now I want to get one just to see what it sounds like in my system.

I could read a lot on sampling and R2R and maybe understand it, but I’d much rather just listen. :grin:

Much as I would like to try the Yggy+, it’s looking more and more like the Onyx is the right choice for me. I can always use the coax if the USB isn’t up to snuff.

Thanks for all the input.