Metrum Acoustics Amethyst
The Metrum Acoustics Amethyst is an old friend of ours. This dac has been on our editorial staff for years and is used for all sorts of things. Partly because of the headphone jack and the no-nonsense setup. In terms of inputs we see usb, coax (2x) and optical. Our model is equipped with two DAC2 modules, so not the newer DAC3 modules that are more neutral and (even) more quiet in their work. If you want to know more about Metrum Acoustics’ technology, you can find loads of reviews on our website.
It’s funny how you can get used to a sound. We always found the Amethyst very open and airy, but compared to the OS dacs (oversampling) the Amethyst is quite relaxed and even a bit closed. The splashy highs of the RME in particular makes us feel a little more involved. That’s taste… However, it also makes the Metrum a bit more distant than we expected. The Pavane with DAC3 does that a lot better. So more modules do work. :-).
Metrum’s NOS dac chips, however, play very smoothly and relaxed. Nothing is stressed S-sounds are also not exaggerated, which happens sometimes with other candidates. That makes this dac very clean and also suitable for analytical systems. That can be pleasant.
What can we say? The Amethyst measures up nicely. It comes along in this test field without question. Dynamic range is about 110 dB which is not the highest, but it is on par with the IFI. Only the RME and Audiolab are higher. But the Metrum again scores well on noise/interference. It’s a bit hare-brained with the measurements. Linearity is spot-on with the Amethyst which indicates that the ‘tuning’ is neutral. Which is audible.
Know that NOS dacs always score poorly on the Jtest. That test does not work in Non Oversampling DACS; only with Oversampling DACS. So if we were to take away all the spikes, the Amethyst would score well, because the graph is otherwise very clean.
Compared to the other candidates, the Amethyst has a calm character with a somewhat rounded high range. The tuning is otherwise very neutral and the dac gives nice insight into the music. It is a device for those looking for a no-nonsense dac. A device that just does what it needs to do.
|Brand/model||Metrum Acoustics Amethyst|
|Inputs||2 x coaxial, optical, usb|
|Outputs||Single ended / Headphones|
|Max bit- / samplerate||24 bit / 192 kHz|
|Dimensions||24 x 19 x 6 cm|