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Aqua La Voce, Denaphrips T2 and Metrum Pavane

Discussion in 'audio' started by maccar, Sep 13, 2021.

  1. maccar

    maccar pfm Member

    Hi all,
    I'm currently awaiting the Denaphrips T2 DAC for home demo, but I've been looking into the Aqua and the Metrum... does anyone here have any experience of either of these three, or indeed all of them?
    If so, please share your thoughts.
  2. flutteringwow

    flutteringwow Platinum Ears

    Elite Audio do the Aqua and Metrum, and they have a no quibble returns policy, if you credit card has a big enough limit, you could potentially have all three in your house to test yourself.

    I bought my Aqua La Voce and Auralic G2 from Elite, and returned a Zenith. No hassle, and great experience with great deals.

    The Aqua La Scala is more in line price wise with the Metrum and the Denafrips though I think.
  3. Bob Edwards

    Bob Edwards pfm Member

    I tried a Denafrips vs my Naim nDAC, Bryston, Benchmark, etc., and it was good. Not good enough to displace the nDAC, but good sounding.
  4. maccar

    maccar pfm Member

    Thanks for the replies, I've got a La Scala arriving on Wednesday.
  5. Dave***t

    Dave***t Revolutionary relativist

    I’ve been dabbling a rung or two down a similar ladder (no pun intended), having recently had a Denafrips Pontus here, and now playing host to a Metrum Onyx.

    The Denafrips was good, but the NOS mode wasn’t right - it was almost like a questionable NOS simulator, all acoustic space removed (and this is vs the cheap NOS DAC I’m using, so I know how NOS sounds). So OS was really the only way to fly, and for me that was good for OS, but still a bit too OS for me personally.

    The Metrum is better IMO, with a more real sound, and quite well saturated. I’m still not sure if it’ll stay, but it’s only been here a couple of weeks, and although there may be grounds to be skeptical, the makers say it needs 3-4 weeks running to come on song, so I’ll reserve final judgement for another week or so. Which will take conveniently up to near the end of Elite’s trial window.

    Extrapolating up, I think I’d love the Pavane if I was looking in that price bracket, so in the OP’s position I’d definitely want to make sure I’d tried one before deciding.

    I’d like to hear an Aqua model, though tbh after lots of DACs over months, I’m getting fed up of trying, and think if the Metrum doesn’t swing it in the end, I’ll just stick with my cheap DAC and maybe treat it to a posh power supply.
    maccar likes this.
  6. Dave***t

    Dave***t Revolutionary relativist

    BTW, of the rest of the DACs I’ve tried, incl Chord, Audio Note & Mytek, the best of the rest was IMO the Primaluna, which surprised me a touch.

    I have an extreme intolerance of what sounds to me like treble emphasis, but I get the strong impression from reading others’ opinions that I’m an outlier. So the slight emphasis I heard with the Primaluna may well not be noticeable to others, and would make that DAC well worth checking out en route to a decision.
    Salamander likes this.
  7. maccar

    maccar pfm Member

    In case anyone's interested, Elite have a used Aqua La Scala for sale at just under 4K as apposed to 6.5K
  8. maccar

    maccar pfm Member

    Hi, I've had the La Scala here for the last couple of days and been switching between my Luxman DA 06 listening to the same tracks and I have to say it's not the level of improvement I had hoped for...
    The Aqua, if anything, is slightly tighter in the bass line, but when it comes to fine detail, there's nothing between them.
    I guess some would say it's too early to say, but I will give it till the middle of next week before deciding what to do next.
    A little disappointed to be honest.
    Robby likes this.
  9. maccar

    maccar pfm Member

    Hi, Bob, was it the Terminator T2 you tried?
  10. flutteringwow

    flutteringwow Platinum Ears

    I have similar to you regarding the treble. The Prima Luna can be tamed by running original Mullards as signal tubes. A lot of that top end bite comes from the Chinese tubes. I was debating getting rid of my Evo400 until I managed to pick up 6 Mullard 12AU7's Cryo for a great price, and it's transformed my system to bliss.

    The R2R La Voce and Auralic G2 then took it to a whole new level.
  11. Dave***t

    Dave***t Revolutionary relativist

    Thanks. I’d definitely be happy to try a set of Mullards, but have never been able to find them at a good price. And when I ponied up for a ‘front two’ pair at a non-bargain price to try them out, they didn’t take long to fail. So I’ve been reluctant to spend out.

    If I ever spot a set at a good price as you describe, I’ll definitely consider it.
  12. flutteringwow

    flutteringwow Platinum Ears

    I did the two main tubes thing with the Mullards, and it didnt work with alternative brands of tubes in there. Once I changed all six, the magic happened.

    Agree with you on the costs, they silly for unused ones, and used ones can often be half spent- I picked up two recently to keep as spares for a reasonable price, but they dont sound anywhere near as good as the Cryo ones from Watford Valves, but the new price of those is astronomical. I tried some NOS Brimars also, and they were better than the Chinese ones but not a touch on the Mullards.
    Dave***t likes this.
  13. Mongeddavid

    Mongeddavid pfm Member

    I have the Metrum Adagio which is a Pavane with pre out. Sound is engaging, natural and spacious in my system i believe the Terminator offers more drive but these are small degrees. The Metrum is upgradeable of course and they have just released the Transient 3 modules which can be swapped out if you so wish you do need 8 of them if your using a Pavane / adagio so works out around 1.6k if memory serves.
    maccar likes this.
  14. maccar

    maccar pfm Member

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the Metrum. I did ask the dealer for a demo of the Pavane first, but he persuaded me that the La Scala was much better... will be speaking with them in a couple of days to discuss where to go next.
  15. G T Audio

    G T Audio Trade: Manufacturer and Distributor

    You might want to check this out...

    British guy working out of the USA and refreshing to know the DAC doesn't come out of China for a change...
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2021
    Darren L, Cato and maccar like this.
  16. flutteringwow

    flutteringwow Platinum Ears

    Had one of those, buzzing transformer he wanted £££ to solve it and didn't sound all that hot anyway, and miles away from the basic Aqua La Voce.

    I did eventually solve it with a box of orings from Amazon that was placed under all the mounting points of the transformer. Sold it on soon after.

    Overall, wasn't a great impression for me that's for sure.
    maccar likes this.
  17. G T Audio

    G T Audio Trade: Manufacturer and Distributor

    OK, sorry to hear that. Noisy transformers are a problem today but the noise can be solved using one of the solutions as you have done.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2021
  18. John_73

    John_73 pfm Member

    Build quality looks rather shoddy from that video, particularly the pcb attached to a cracked piece of plywood!
  19. flutteringwow

    flutteringwow Platinum Ears

    Lol, I did find that amusing for the price of the unit. I am sure he would say its for its acoustic properties , yet couldnt isolate a transformer.

    I actually thought mine was a demo unit he knocked up in his garage with the wood. Seems it was a production version!

    The tiny 'copper' element around the tube is also intriguing.
  20. G T Audio

    G T Audio Trade: Manufacturer and Distributor

    I'm not sticking up for poor build quality, but companies like Border Patrol, AudioNote and Croft Acoustics who have a great following, may use different construction techniques, as in the use of wood etc, but the sound is very good due to a different design approach from the main stream companies. Clearly Steve heard this when reviewing the DAC...
    Caledon1297, Cato, TimF and 1 other person like this.

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