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Aqua La Voce S2 or Metrum Jade

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I am on the lookout for a new DAC to connect it to my NUC streamer via USB and would like to try NOS ones.

 

Having done some research I narrowed it down to these two models:

- Aqua La Voce S2

- Metrum Acoustics Jade

 

I have some offers to buy them as demo units for roughly 1.800€ respectively.

 

Is there anyone who has heard both of them and can share his impressions?

 

I know the best way would be to just order them both and compare. But  I don't want to stretch my finances that much.

 

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I should perhaps add a few things:

 

- I will be mainly listening to 16 bit redbook files (I am not interested in highres as its not widely available yet and I'm enjoying my ripped CDs)

 

- According to some members at super best audio friends the USB input of the Metrum is quite lame. What's more the company has been sold by the original master mind and now support seems to be mixed at best (YMMV of course)

https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/metrum-acoustics-onyx-balanced-dac-and-jade-balanced-dac-pre.5181/page-15

 

As I'm planning on spending an insane amount of money on a DAC (at least from my point of view) I would like to support a decent company while doing so. That's why Chinese manufacturers are not on my list. I'm not saying they are all the same but I prefer my gear at least to be assembled and designed in a country with proper labour standards. (I'm not naive regarding the origin of many parts inside of them).

 

So long story short, I am now leaning strongly towards the aqua. Also I read several times that a regen doesn't make a big difference on this one which I regard as a good sign regarding the quality of the USB input.

 

Are there any other NOS DAC manufacturers still producing in "western" countries that I should consider? (In the same price region as the mentioned products)

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A few below, picked from this list, where you also will find manufacturer links and dac info

 

Abbas Audio (Ukraine)

AKS Audio (Switzerland)

ALEKS Audio (Russia)

Arkhipov's Laboratory (Russia)

Audial (Serbia)

EC Designs (Holland)

Phase Style (Ukraine)

SW1X (UK)

Veridian Utopia (Slovakia)

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Thanks a lot @kvik, this list is really helpful! (perhaps to others as well)

 

I might also add:

 

Norma Audio (Italy)

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Heard both. Aqua wins.

I now have a Formula xHD.

Buy and enjoy.


Mac Mini Late 2014 (16G/SSD) w Uptone JS-2 w OWC Thunderbay 4 Mini RAID (JS-2) / Uptone ISO Regen w Uptone UltraCap™ LPS-1 / Roon + HQP / Aqua Formula xHD w Siltech Classic Anniversary USB w Ocellia RCA Interconnect / Hattor Passive Preamplifier w Uptone UltraCap™ LPS-1 w Ocellia RCA Interconnect / Nagra MPA w Nirvana power cord / Magico V2 w Ocellia cables w Shunyata Dark Field Elevator / REL Stadium III w Shunyata Diamondback power cord.

 

All equipment, including subwoofer on Modulum platforms.

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