Metrum Acoustics drop M2Tech as USB OEM, announce new module


You might know that some OS X audiophiles moving up to Mavericks witnessed an unpleasant side effect of the OS upgrade: M2Tech’s HiFace v1 driver no longer worked. M2Tech promised to write a new one quick smart but six months down the line they have yet to deliver on that promise. That’s frustrating for anyone with the original HiFace USB converter or anyone using a DAC with an OEM HiFace USB inside.

One such company affected by this minor fiasco is Cees Rujtenberg’s Metrum Acoustics. Both his Hex and Octave MKII DACs shipped with M2Tech’s OEM USB tech. However, it seems Rujtenberg has grown sick of waiting for M2Tech to come through so he’s introducing a second generation USB implementation for both the Hex and Octave MKII:

“Up until now both the Octave MKII and Hex DACs Metrum Acoustics used an OEM USB implementation made by M2tech. Since the launch of the Mavericks OS, however, the driver supplied by M2tech was instantly outdated. Although M2tech has undertaken the task to develop a new driver that would work with Mavericks, after several months with no news it was too risky to wait even longer. Metrum Acoustics recently decided to develop a new USB interface. Given that both the Octave MKII and Hex DACs were designed to work in conjunction with the M2tech OEM board, finding a solid replacement was not an easy process. A solution was found by using Anamero technology with some additional glue logic to get all necessary data for both Octave MKII and Hex DACs. Also, the form was adapted in such a way so that the new board is directly applicable for the existing hardware.”, explains Rujtenberg.


He continues: “In contrast to the existing two layer designs from  both M2tech and Anamero a four level multilayer is used. Two layers are assigned for data handling. The chosen approach  will give lower induction due to shorter traces and gives less radiation. A third layer is used as ground plane while the fourth layer  is dedicated for power.  A power breakout is realized for implementing passive power filtering as used in the Octave MKII or the ability to use a separate power source instead of using USB power as used in the Hex DAC. In addition, very high quality clock oscillators are used to get Jitter at the lowest possible level. Furthermore, no driver is required for both Mavericks or Linux.  For Windows XP, 7 or 8 a driver is available.”

I asked if existing Mavericks-frustrated Metrum users could get some of this new Anamero USB action?

“That information will follow as I need the correct production price of the production plant. Especially those who purchased this DAC recently will have the opportunity to upgrade for a special price. It should be more easy as both interfaces were on the same quality level then it was a matter of swapping but as mentioned we put a lot of effort to the design to bring it on a higher level.”, was the reply.

The second generation USB interface is currently in production and will be available late April / early May.

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.

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  1. I’m a very frustrated Hex owner. This was an expensive DAC and I feel like Metrum has done very little in the way of staying in touch with their customers (ME) about how this problem was to be addressed. Now it looks like a fix is coming but only at a “special price”. I feel like I already paid a “special price” for a DAC that has not performed. Metrum’s choice of component partners should not be my problem.

  2. VortexBox also natively supports the M2Tech interface, and is incredibly easy to use. Install it, load your music on it over a network connection, control it through your iPhone/Pad or any Android device, or the website from any device. Bit-perfect out, with DSD support. No need for a mouse, keyboard, or monitor. A VortexBox server can be built for about $300, or you can just buy one.

  3. First time I’ve seen a company actually use the words “glue logic” in it’s press statements.

    • The nice thing that they buy an hardware from a guy that is the same one that has done the apple driver and take for it 6 months. We have done it in 6 days, hope that Metrum knows what is going to do

  4. Why blame Metrum or even M2Tech?
    I f Maverick makes former drivers by design incompatible , their designers are to blame, and indirectly a calculated risk for those who accepts the consequences of teh new OS by buying it. Scott’s remarks are understandably faulty and address the wrong cause.?
    Did M2Tech or Metrum back then promised their drivers to be Maverick ready?

    • Perhaps, but a frustrated customer is a frustrated customer; but I take yr point about the inherent risk of relying on the future compatibility of existing drivers. AFAIK, M2Tech made promises of a Mavericks driver that has yet see the light of day. Happy to be corrected on this.

  5. Thank you John .for such a post. I was just going to buy a hiFace adapter. Problem is I have a Carat Ruby 1st gen USB DAC/Headphone amp that is “”seen” at only 16/48 in Mavericks. Considering the quality I was intending to buy a hiFace then a coaxial-to-optical adapter, though it sounds like a mess (Carat Ruby only has optical digital input).
    What would be a decent USB-to-optical solution for Mavericks?

    Thank you,

  6. Hi,

    we have done the driver for Linux and two weeks ago we have decided to write the driver for Maverick. It almost works as the old one and we are planning to add new features like integer mode. It’s now in testing in the m2tech lab and we are going to release a version soon.

    Best Regards
    Michael Trimarchi