Metrum Acoustics Hex DAC review (6Moons)


Lunar-tic Srajan Ebaen caught me off guard: he’d asked me to pen a couple of paragraphs on the Metrum Hex as second opinion for his 6Moons review. Digging it BIG TIME, the words kept flowing (which is unusual for me and soon the commentary bubble had expanded to 1500 mots justes).

You can read them here.

Make no mistake – this is one VERY special DAC.

Three separate opinions (from Srajan, Frederic Beudot and myself) converged to a 6Moons Blue Moon Award:


Here are some additional photos.

The underside of the lid is lined with a bituminous material (for case resonance damping).  More of this material is applied beneath the DAC boards:

Under the S/PDIF board, the OEM USB board from M2Tech:

Three toroidal power supplies.  One each for control logic, DAC board and USB boards:

Balanced and single-ended outputs, 6 x input sockets: optical (2) + AES/EBU + coaxial + BNC + USB:

The “more romantic” Lundahl LL1527XL transformers:

Front face:

Further Information:  Metrum Acoustics

Written by John H. Darko

John lives in the NOW + HERE = NOWHERE. He derives an income from the ad revenues of DAR. John is also an occasional staff writer for Stereophile, 6moons and TONEAudio.

Twitter: DarkoAudio
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  1. That piece of equipment was(is)really talking to me.
    A few weeks ago I contacted my local Metrum dealer. Th guy operates out of his house and by appointment only.
    I was considering scheduling an audition but the price he quoted was like a cold shower. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of spending that much on a DAC.
    Instead I decided to order a Yulong D18. I don’t expect it to be in the same ballpark as the Hex but hopefully it will provide enough mellowness to replace my sometimes unforgiving Minimax. It has a 30 day return policy and I figure if, for whatever reason, I decide to return it I’ll probably trow in the towel and set up an audition for the next logical step up – the Hex.
    Your review has just tipped the scales a bit more in favor of “heart” in the heart/mind dilemma.

  2. JD
    Is the Hex a 24 bit unit? Seams a ridiculous question given its price point but apparently according to a number of folk on several forums the Hex is 16 bit only? If this is the case forget about hi-rez files! Some have claimed to have emailed Metrum and posed the question straight up – with apparently very ‘cloudy’ responses?
    Can you unequivocally confirm the unit is a 24bit capable?

    • Audirvana shows 24 bit but I guess it only sees as far as the USB board. I’ll email Cees and get back to you.

    • From Wikipedia: 24 bit data “exceeds the dynamic range between complete silence (signal energy below that which can be detected by the human ear) and noise of high enough intensity to cause almost immediate ear injuries.” I suspect ~20bit is a real world maximum?

      Still, I asked Cees if the Hex was 24 bit capable. His reply: “Like many other dacs the effective usable bits is not the maximum. As Martin Colloms described regarding the Octave last year it is more like 18 bits (effective) than 24 bits. So, by improving the glue logic (which already started) this number of bits will be improved in future models . At least that will be necessary to pass the performance level of the Hex.”

  3. From what I understand the DAC will handle up to 24/192 except for toslink that is limited to 24/96. The DAC chip is unknown, but is supposed to be very a high frequency NOS DAC.

    • All correct! I think Richard’s concerns relate to forum chatter which needs to be nipped in the bud (false) or confirmed (as true).

  4. John,

    Can you please share your thoughts comparing the Metrum Hex to the PS Audio PerfectWave MK2 that you also thought very highly of? Thank you.

  5. Hi M.Darko
    I have the ”Octave Metrum’, dac in my setup since winter 2012. The price of the hex is twice that of the octave dac.What is the big difference between the Octave and the Hex for double the price.
    Thank for your time John