Le derrière sans optional streamer module shows how the latter's absence leaves no unsightly vacant slot…

… whilst the Delrin cones sport magnetized inserts to gently pointify the already installed flat-footed cylinders.

Next comes a look at the transport's optical head…

… and Métronome's IR wand.

Finally a display view with 24/96kHz signal over AES/EBU.

Power it up and the black screen soon shows Métronome le son vrai—the true sound not first-born son—then the model name with serial #, then the last-used input. If that was CD, it shows total time and track number. Press 'play' and see track 1 0.00. A few seconds pass before 0.00 turns 0.01. Rather than selectable time modes, this display can only show track time elapsed plus the progression bar. Say the display shows 3:30 for elapsed track time but the progress bar is only 1/4th across. It takes no math to know at a glance that this track will be ~14 minutes long. It's not precise but close enough. If the remote doesn't respond, it's because you've accidentally pressed the CD/amp button. Press it again and voilà. The central location of this button makes it quite error-prone. That's poor design despite the CD/amp mini LED on the wand's top actually telling you in green or red. Lovely again is that repeat 1/all won't just bring up a tiny icon you can't see from the seat. Instead it shows repeat disc, repeat 1 and normal play in big bold letters before adding the usual tiny icon in the upper right corner. Forget about niceties such as random play, scan, A-B repeat and full program which my Denafrips transport based on the Philips CDM4/19 top loader all packs on its remote. If the Pro8 has that functionality, Métronome opted to bypass it. Say you listen to track 3 then press the direct-access 9 button. The display will immediately show 9/15—the second number for total tracks—then hang for several seconds while the laser head moves to the correct position. This Austrian sled isn't the fastest gun in the West.

Should you go USB direct with a software upsampler, you won't get sound if that upsampler is set to max. It correctly sees this Amanero USB transceiver as 768kHz capable and sets itself accordingly. So change your max rate to 384kHz and Le Player will respond. That seems a wrinkle which could still get ironed out with a firmware refresh. Again lovely is that in menu mode the ±volume buttons become adjustable brightness gain. We can very gradually tweak the backlighting from very dim to very bright. An absentee feature again is variable gain on the analog outputs. Given that the optional streamer module transforms this machine into a complete source, some prospective buyers could wish to see an elite gain controller like a Muses 72320 chip baked in; or two for true dual differential. After all, the remote already includes the requisite controls.