Some people call it the Mini Hex and as a matter of fact, there's some truth to it.
The looks of the new Octave MkII are based on the big brother Hex built around the new MkII PCB. The housing is solid and functional without any frills. We kept the good qualities of the original design and added some new technology borrowed from the Hex to further improve the measured and sonic performance.
Since the Hex received two awards for its extremely high performance, we decided to borrow the same electronics for the Octave MkII. We replaced its receiver section with that of the Hex to accommodate 192kHz sample rates. Data buffering reduces jitter to be isolated from irregular data reception. Besides standard coax and optical S/PDIF, the same optional USB module of the Hex is available. To achieve optimum specs, we performed critical parts matching, hence no external USB bridge is required to enjoy top sound from streaming audio sources.
History of the Octave The "Octave" is a continue development of the Nos Mini Dac. Besides the different dimensions of the housing, changes have been made in the power supply and the number of dacs used.
The "Octave" is not using a wall adapter. A separate heavy filtered 15 VA powersupply is used and switchable for both 115V AC or 230 V AC. The power from the toroidal transformer will be rectified in the dac and smoothed by 26 capacitors with an equivalent capacity of 12.000uF.
For each channel 4 extremely fast industrial dacs are used and having their own voltage regulators. This approach will improve channel separation, avoiding mutual influencing between both channels and improves noise figures.
The sound of this dac let you forget that you are listening to a digital source.
Specifications: Type of dac: Non oversampling dac Power: 15 VA internal power supply Inputs: 1x optical, 1x coaxial, 1x USB (option) Outputs: 2x gold RCA connectors Max voltage output: 2 Volt RMS max Slewing rate: 35 Volt/uS Frequency range: 1Hz 0dB untill half samplingrate -3dB Distortion: < 0,04 % THD Noise: -120 dB / 16 bits -125 dB / 24 bits Output impedance: 85 Ohms Sampling frequeny: Optical: 44 tot 96 kHz Coaxial: 44 to 192kHz. USB (option) 44 to 192 kHz Dimensions: WxHxD 190 x 60 x 245 mm Weight: 1900 grams including USB module
Metrum Acoustics is a division of All Engineering. All Engineering is a company with a history of innovation in many fields within the world of electronic design. Within the field of hifi All Engineering is primarily known for its brand Metrum Acoustics. Particularly within the field of electrostatic speaker systems All Engineering has experience dating back to 1989. In a later stadium of development broader applications for electronics were added to that. For the industry a diverse selection of products has been created, with its principles always founded in the fields of electronic and acoustic systems with digital signal processing playing a significant part.
When one turns the attention to digital systems within the field of hifi, the diversity of its components is extremely limited. The manufacturers that supply these components decide how signals should be processed by not supplying alternatives and therefore also greatly influencing the sound image that is created. The current trend among manufacturers is to include techniques such as ‘oversampling’ and ‘upsampling’ within the chip itself, forcing designers to utilize these techniques for their products. Incidentally, it also means that many brands systems use the same building blocks and that the sound image of these systems betrays what components have been used. If a designer feels that things should be done differently, then he is forced to choose between the limited variety of building blocks, or to find refuge within the selection of far older components.
Techniques such as ‘oversampling’ and ‘upsampling’ were created to fulfill the need to smoothen the conversion process from ‘digital to analogue’ and to prevent phase distortion. Particularly during the years directly after the introduction of the CD-player, the conversion methods that were used proved not to be free of sonic artifacts and thus insufficient. In response to that strong filtering was introduced and the oversampling technique was born. Though fans of the technique can’t stop singing its praises, fact is that oversampling and upsampling have disadvantages which manifest as transient response in earlier mentioned systems.
Nowadays there is a large group that prefers ‘non-oversampling’ (or shortly, NOS), but that has to make due with old chips, with all the consequences thereof. All Engineering has dedicated a lot of its time and attention to researching the premise and endorses the validity of the audible benefits, up to a point. The question then turned to removing the sonic artifacts, without resorting to oversampling. A question that has been answered by the NOS mini DAC: a digital to analogue converter that has been constructed with modern, industrial chips and which is free of many of the disadvantages of the past. On this dedicated website you can read how the NOS mini DAC turned from a wild idea into a success, and how the successors of the NOS mini DAC further improved upon the concept.
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.