Metrum Acoustics Pavane non-oversampling DAC +USB

New product

3 933,61 €

This article it's not in stock but can be ordered and it will take a number of days indicated into the Blue tab below, to be shipped to you. Please verify the availability for immediate shipping of other eventual versions of the same product.


During the past year, Cees Ruijtenberg, chief designer at Metrum Acoustics has developed a new DAC.

It was an unprecedented challenge, which was eventually solved by introducing an entirely new chip, completely developed by Metrum Acoustics.

With the goal of creating a very special 21st Century DAC, designer Cees Ruijtenberg has for some time, endeavoured to overcome the limitations of modern digital to analogue conversion techniques.

The luxurious front more than conceals these new chips: The parallel driven R2R ladder networks used in the eight DAC modules performs, when combined with our FPGA-driven "forward correction module, on a very high level. The 'module' splits the audio samples for each channel into new separate data streams. Each dac cluster processes a portion of the data in the area of the chip where its at its most linear.

The result is that its extremely linear right down to -140 dB (see graph above). A realistic 24 bit dynamic range is achieved. Due to the dual mono design over the entire frequency range an extremely high channel separation of 120 dB is further realized. This contributes to the flawless positioning of instruments.

In short, the Pavane is a DAC that has taken all the lessons and experiences of its forebears and further developed upon them. It is musical, honours the Non-oversampling principle.

"From the start, it proved me wrong, displaying an unexpected leap in sound and musical quality. More organic, more refinement, beautiful timing, excellent pace, dense timbre and harmonic richness, saturated tonal colours, exceptionnal dynamic expression ... It is a homerun. You can add to this impressive pedigree great but natural and palpable focus, outstanding decays and soundstage. The whole in an effortless, natural, balanced yet poised way"

Haddock, user.

- Working Principle: Non oversampling dac. Forward (FPGA) corrected, 4 Dacs pro channel in differential mode.
- Power: 45 VA via 3 separated torodial transformers.
- Mains Voltage: AC 220/230V AC 60/50Hz
- Input: 1x optical, 2x coaxial (1x BNC and 1x RCA) - AES/EBU and USB
- Outputs: 2x RCA Neutrik © cinch connectors. 2x XLR balanced output
- Output Voltages: RCA : 2 Volts RMS - XLR: 4 Volts RMS
- Frequency Response: 1Hz - 20 khz -2.5 dB. 44.1 kHz sampling 1Hz - 65 kHz - 3dB .192 and 384kHz (USB)
- Distortion: 0,008 % THD
- Noise: -145 dB t.o.v. 2 Volt RMS
- Output Impedance: RCA 100 Ohm. XLR 200 Ohm
- Sampling Rates: Optical 44 - 96 kHz sampling rate
- Coax and AES/EBU: 44 -192 kHz . USB 44 - 384kHz sampling rate
- MQA Module: optional
- Dimensions: 440 x 320 x 85 mm.
- Weight: 9000 grams

Pavane Level 1 / 2 / 3

To bring the Pavane on the same level as the Adagio , Metrum Acoustics is delivering the Pavane with the following options that allow to obtain two extra performance levels:

Level 1 Is our current Pavane , based on DAC ONE technology and using external FPGA forward correction technology.

Level 2 The Pavane will be modified based on our DAC TWO 24 bit broadcast module, having the forward correction technology available on each dac module and will have a max. sampling rate of 192kHz.

Level 3 The Pavane will be modified based on our DAC TWO 24 bit high end module, having the forward correction technology available on each dac module and will have a max. sampling rate of 384 kHz. Like the Adagio, all dacs will be matched together to get the highest possible performance.

Please read the interview to Cees Ruijtenberg below, to understand how the new DAC TWO works and what you are going to obtain with Level 2 /3.  

Cees Ruijtenberg. "It's easy to see how the Adagio is part of the same family as our Pavane yet under the hood we optimized it to excel as a preamplifier. Compared to the Pavane, we made several changes to insure that performance of the volume control remained constant across its range. Since we alter the reference voltage of the converters to change volume, we needed the very best performance from them. Therefore we drive them almost to their limits for the lowest distortion and best S/N ratio. We also changed the DAC ONE module of the Pavane to the newer DAC TWO. As you'll remember, we used an FPGA to split up the 24-bit domain into two streams, each fed to a single DAC One module. Afterwards we summed these streams to get back the full analog signal with improved low-level linearity".

"I'd always wanted to get this process under the hood of just one module. In other words, take two of the DAC ONE modules plus their external FPGA, then put them in the small housing we already used. First steps were taken under a microscope and successful. We aced this during the spring of 2016 but a lot of effort then went into optimizing our test facilities. We must load each DAC with the algorithm and test it at the same time. Because we like to watch for consistent performance, production capacity was limited. For instance, we see the effect of pollution on very low levels due to solder residue. It's one more reason why one should never build ladder DACs in free air. Another disadvantage are temperature changes. Those can be avoided in our housing which keeps the temperature constant for each resistor of the ladder. Look at the above table. It shows you the accuracy needed for 24 bits of resolution which can only be achieved with laser trimming. The very best resistors today have an accuracy of ~0.01%. That means about 14 bits. What can also be seen is that due to so-called 'Johnson noise', you never exceed 24-bit accuracy in the analog domain. Johnson noise is the thermal self noise of a resistor itself. This can only be lowered by suppressing the ambient temperature. For a normal environment at 25°C (even higher inside many electronics), 32-bit resolution is commercial hooey. It's impossible. Johnson noise will dominate. Perhaps in the Arctic's sub-zero temps of -40°C, resistors will perform better but to be more precise, higher resolution is currently only possible in the digital domain. That's in fact our FPGA which runs at 400MHz using 64-bit words."

"Another  advantage for our DAC Two module is that it contains  paired converters. Using the same number of modules as before, we now double the effective number of ladders. The current Pavane runs four modules per side, hence four ladders. The Adagio gets eight per channel even though you only see four. This doubling has a positive effect on noise, distortion and linearity. That's why we started an update program to get the Pavane to the same performance level. The current Pavane is now marked Level 1. Two more levels can be chosen, from Level 2 [+€826 ex VAT for the 192kHz broadcast module] to Level 3 [+€1'240 ex VAT for the 384kHz high-end version]. A final advantage of the DAC TWO module is that it frees up the slot for the external FPGA on the digital input board for future options. We already sent our DAC TWO module to MQA and have been certified. We are now busy creating the MQA module as an option across our entire range from Musette to Adagio (as long as the DAC TWO module is used). Back to the Adagio. Because we use a variable reference voltage, we had to redesign the boards. Because the modules need some voltage to work, it is not possible to go to zero. A safe minimum level is -60dB—quite low already—but to achieve true zero, we added a mute function. For matching the Adagio to every kind of amplifier, there is a new switch for each channel on the back. This lowers the output by -10dB; about 700mV RMS. Last but not least, we created some 3-pin trigger connectors on the back to switch power amps on and off; and use three 30VA not 15VA power transformers. 

"Sonically, the Adagio (or Pavane Level 2 or 3) goes a step further and is even more refined than what you've heard from us yet. It's also compliant now with 384kHz sample rates. Running the Adagio as a normal converter is realized by setting its volume to 12:15. This is equivalent to an upgraded Pavane run with a standard preamplifier. However, when the Adagio connects directly to a power amp, it relies on a new mind set. Now any kind of 'secret sauce' or 'signature' disappears. It certainly brings you closer to minute musical details but can also be a reason to change out cables or other types of tweaks. I don't have to tell you that the sum of all parts in the chain will have a clear effect on the final result. As to max output, setting that was a careful match between noise figures and voltage so we set it at just above 4/2Vrms for XLR/RCA. You probably have to increase the encoder's setting a bit more for very low-level recordings but in all cases we tried, including your Pass amps, adjustments were very convenient. With a 2Vrms output, the noise floor in amp-direct mode is now -155dB! That's because our converters run on twice the voltage and thrice the reference voltage as before. This boosted the Pavane's already very good noise figures by another 10dB. Finally, when connecting the Adagio to the mains for the very first time, use the remote to release the mute function. Only when the Adagio disconnects from the mains and then reconnects must this be done again. It takes about three weeks of use before the sound fully matures so leave it on for the duration."

*** Note for all previous Pavane (Level 1) Owners: the Pavane update program has started, to bring the Pavane to Level 2 or Level 3. Ex VAT prices are eur 826 for Level 2 and eur 1240 for Level 3 upgrades. Please contact us for further information.  

Background information on non-oversampling conversion

- Non-oversampling Digital filter-less DAC Concept by Ryohei Kusunoki

- Manifacturing and testing the mini dac


Metrum Acoustic at a glance

All Engineering (AE) is a company with a history of innovation in many fields within the world of electronic design. In the audio industry AE is primarily known today for its brand Metrum Acoustics. In the electrostatic speaker field their experience dates back to 1989 and gradually over time broader electronic applications have evolved. 

A diverse range of acoustic system products have been created during this period, always relying on sound electronic design principles. Digital signal processing has played a significant role in more recent developments. 

In hi fidelity audio AE’s attention was initially drawn to the limited availability of certain componentry. Established manufacturers supplying these key components decide how signals should be processed. No alternatives are available and therefore this greatly influences the sound image that is realised.  

Current trends among manufacturers are to use the technique of ‘oversampling’ or ‘upsampling’ within the digital to analogue chipset itself. This forces designers to utilise this method of signal conversion for their own products. It also means that many brand systems use the same building blocks and consequently sound the same. The sound images created by such systems can actually betray the componentry that has been implemented.

These sampling techniques were introduced to fulfil the need ‘to smooth’ the conversion process from digital to analogue and prevent phase distortion. Particularly during the years following the introduction of CD replay, conversion methods proved insufficient with regard to sonic artefacts. In response strong filtering methods were employed and the oversampling technique was born. These techniques however had disadvantages which manifest themselves for example in areas of transient response.

Today there is a growing view that ‘non oversampling’ or NOS for short, offers many benefits but without the compromises mentioned above. AE dedicated considerable time and attention to researching the NOS premise and found its audible benefits valid up to a certain point. 

The question then remained how to remove these sonic artefacts without resorting to oversampling. This question was answered by the first product  made by AE  the NOS mini DAC  Quad, a digital to analogue converter designed and manufactured with modern high speed industrial grade chipsets,  free from most of the disadvantages of the past.  These techniques are improved over time and used over the entire range of products. The most important result is the  sound, which was never so close to the analog origin.

Write a review

Metrum Acoustics Pavane non-oversampling DAC +USB

Write a review


Primo della classe

Avrei voluto attendere, lo confesso, per redigere qualche nota di ascolto. Possiedo un Pavane Level 1 e avrei preferito aspettare, pur coi miei tempi biblici, di acquisire l'upgrade al Level 3 prima di scriverne. In realtà, complice la decisione di pubblicare le recensioni delle mie sorgenti analogiche su questo sito, ho scelto di anticipare qualcosa su questo meraviglioso DAC.
Gerardo Ventura me l'aveva presentato come una macchina digitale capace di avvicinare come poche altre l'ascoltatore a un'esperienza di tipo analogico: personalmente, posso confermare, dopo la fase di rodaggio, che le qualità del Pavane s'impongono a chiunque lo ascolti anche in questa configurazione "base". In effetti, i valori alla base, appunto, del progetto non-oversampling della Metrum Acoustics si percepiscono nettamente già ora: la naturalezza nell'offrire spazio alla densità del messaggio musicale, la facilità non comune nel dipanare anche il fraseggio più complesso si manifestano in misura evidente.
Poiché dispongo anche di sistemi di conversione più "convenzionali", anche se di pregio (costruiti sui ben noti dispositivi Sabre o Burr Brown), il confronto pare inevitabile. Non c'è parametro di riferimento che, pur contemplando le specificità e i meriti di ciascuna scelta progettuale, non faccia percepire la personalità musicale del Pavane come dotata di una superiore maturità: la naturalezza dell'emissione sonora, in particolare con le voci umane e con strumenti notoriamente "difficili" come il pianoforte, è davvero sorprendente. Nella mia sala d'ascolto si trova anche un pianoforte, vero, a mezza coda: con le registrazioni giuste, l'interpretazione del Pavane è la sola a non farmi rimpiangere il vinile, riuscendo a trasmettere con credibilità la "presenza" armonica di uno strumento così imponente e ricco di potenzialità espressive. In particolare, la natura percussiva del suono, la durata delle armoniche e il significato delle dinamiche rappresentano una sfida talvolta invincibile, specie con un riferimento vero in sala: con il Pavane l'esito, magari ascoltando il "corpo" della musica da una stanza attigua, è davvero meritevole di un plauso senza riserve. Il tutto in configurazione "base", appunto: ho ottime ragioni per pensare che dovrò aggiornare le mie note, in caso di upgrade.

  • Was this comment useful to you?
  • (1) (0)

Write your review!



30 other products in the same category:


Demo now active on PlayStereo Studio.  

Book the listening session

..detailing your system and the date/hour you wish to arrive.

  • A reserved demonstration room chosen for the maximim calm and comfort.
  • Our Designers, prepared for your life of listening and to make you happy: great classics and talented
  • Our research: the atmosphere of the Theatre and the Concert Halls, achieved via an appropriate balance.
    No special effect or colouring.
  • The Music. A particular and not “ordinary” music library.  
A reproduction system that is natural, betters the music expressivity for any sensible listener.
 The growth of any musical enthusiast is strictly connected to the
reproduction system used!
So, we look for special products and we set balanced systems, capable to express the emotion and
the atmosphere of live music. 

How to arrive. We are Pescarain Pescara / Italy, in Viale Bovio 483 - at the 2nd floor of the “Despar Superstore" Palace [corner with Piazza Duca degli Abruzzi, above the Despar Superstore and the "360 training club" Gym], entrance from the back. Auto parking Despar Superstore.


Products availability:

  • DAC2 - Level 3 - Black

    This product can be ordered and will be shipped within 8 days. Also see the Availability tab and eventual options of the same product.

  • DAC3 - Black

    This product can be ordered and will be shipped within 8 days. Also see the Availability tab and eventual options of the same product.

  • DAC2 - Level 3 - Silver

    This product can be ordered and will be shipped within 8 days. Also see the Availability tab and eventual options of the same product.

  • DAC3 - Silver

    This product can be ordered and will be shipped within 8 days. Also see the Availability tab and eventual options of the same product.

  • Available for immediate shipping.

    Product is available.
  • This product can be ordered and will be shipped within a certain number of days.

    Product is available to be ordered and will be shipped within the specified days.
  • This product is out of stock. The product is not available to be ordered. It could be incoming and to be email informed when it will be available for ordering, please click on "Email me when available" or contact us.

If a product is available an insufficient quantity, the system will not let you finalize the order, so in this case please contact us to know the future date when more quantities will be available.
Product availability is real-time updated and correspond to our actual stock quantities (Green) or to estimated obtainability times (Blue); in the case of (Blue) products, although the specified times are a realistic and conservative estimate, have to be intended as indicative and not as a binding obligation.

If you place an order containing both readily available products (Green) together with products that will make available within the indicated number of days (Blue), will be shipped alltogether when all product types are into our wharehouse; if you’d like we immediately ship the in-stock articles, it’s better that you place a separate order, or contact us.

When your order is shipped, we send you an email containing all details to track it.

For any further information please contact the Customer Service, available from monday to friday (hours: 9-13 / 15-17).