Last Thursday – 19 March 2020 – we tested three dacs: the Weiss DAC501, Sonnet Morpheus and the Metrum Acoustics Pavane. In fact, the Weiss is a streamer, dac, preamp and headphone amplifier. The Morpheus is a digital preamp. And the Pavane is a pure, stand alone dac. How do they relate to each other? We tested it in the live stream, showed it, and let you hear it.
In the live stream we discussed and demo’d the three candidates one by one. We picked up a few fixed tracks to make a good comparison.
We have tested the Sonnet Morpheus before. That’s a really insanely good device. Especially when you consider that it costs €3500. The Weiss DAC501 leaves the store for about €8000. However, know that you then also get a headphone amplifier, streamer – Roon and UPnP – and a beautiful color touch screen. This dac is really beautifully made.
The Metrum Acoustics Pavane – about €5000 – is only a dac. So there is still a preamplifier needed. In our case a Pass Labs XP-12. That puts the total at €12.500. Without cables. In short: by far the most expensive combination.
The short conclusion is that in our eyes the Weiss is the best all-rounder. Despite the higher price tag. The reason is that this compact solution really offers everything. And at a very high level. The sound is neutral, rich in detail and fluent. In our opinion even more neutral than the Sonnet which certainly offers more resolution than the Metrum with Pass Labs. And in that aspect is pretty much unbeatable if you consider the price.
What is the most striking difference is that the Sonnet – and Metrum with Pavane – play a little more forward. And offer a little more grandeur. The Weiss plays – in our opinion – bit more honest and ‘in perspective’. We hear that well with our own recording of Tim Knol. That recording was made in our own listening room. That gives an excellent reference.
From a price point of view, the Sonnet is, of course, particularly interesting because it offers a particularly high level of playback at a very attractive price tag. After all, €8000 is a lot of money. The Pavane with Pass Labs offers a lot of kick and energy at the bottom-end. But from a price point of view it is not a wise choice at the moment. Unless you need an analogue preamp. Like us.