Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: 27" iMac with 5K Retina display, 4GHz quad-core engine with 4.4GHz turbo boost, 3TB Fusion Drive, 16GB SDRAM, OSX Yosemite, PureMusic 3.02, Tidal & Qobuz lossless streaming; Questyle QP1R [.aif], Apple iPod Classic 160GB [.aif], Astell& Kern AK100 modified by Red Wine Audio [.aif], Cambridge Audio iD100, Pro-Ject Dock Box S Digital, Pure i20
DACs: COS Engineering D1, Metrum Hex, AURALiC Vega, Aqua Hifi La Scala MkII, Fore Audio DAISy 1, Vinnie Rossi Lio
Preamplifiers: Nagra Jazz, Esoteric C-03, COS Engineering D1, Clones Audio AP1, Vinnie Rossi LIO [AVC option]
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8, FirstWatt S1, F6; Crayon Audio CFA-1.2; Goldmund Job 225; Gato Audio DIA-250; Aura Note Premier; Wyred4Sound mINT; April Music Stello S100 MkII, Vinnie Rossi Lio, AURALiC Merak [on loan], S.A.Lab Blackbird [on review], Goldmund/Job INTegrated [on review], Trafomatic Audio Belus [on review]
Loudspeakers: EnigmAcoustics M1, Albedo Audio Aptica, soundkaos Wave 40, Sounddeco Sigma 2; Zu Audio Submission; German Physiks HRS-120, Eversound Essence w. TR-3D subwoofer, Fostex G1003MG [on review]
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Event; Black Cat Cable redlevel Lupo; Ocellia OCC power cord loom [on loan], KingRex uArt double-header USB; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all components
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Krion amp shelf
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators, two Verictum Silver X Block (EMI/RFI traps for component chassis) on preamp and amp
Room: Irregularly shaped 9.5 x 10m open floor plan with additional 2nd-floor loft; wood-paneled sloping ceiling; parquet flooring; lots of non-parallel surfaces (pictorial tour here)
Review component retail: €1'033 ex VAT
Musette is a musical style often associated with Paris. It's based on a 3/4 valse beat. Traditionally played by accordeon, contemporary musette orchestras add guitar, e-bass, piano or synths, percussion and routinely vocals. 'Musette Neuve' was created by accordionist Richard Galliano's 1991 album New Musette in a quartet format to update Jazz modalities. And in late 2014, Dutch electronics designer Cees Ruijtenberg bowed his Musette DAC to replace the Octave in his Metrum Acoustics lineup. Should you wonder why the name, I'd suggest the musette's trademark swing. It relies not on synthetic metronomic beat keeping but on organic timing. And the former is often a dead giveaway for classical musicians trying their hands at Jazz. With perfect intonation, masterful technique and flawless tone, their timing lacks that ne sais quoi (to stick with musette's French origins). It doesn't breathe. Likewise, devotees of R2R converters sense that they better their ΔΣ modulators demonstrably in this exact whilst subtle discipline. It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing. That's about rhythmic feel. Blending swing and waltz is the whole genius of the musette genre after all. Well, there goes my connection guess. Feel free to better it with your own. Bonne chance!

Metrum's head of production taking the pulse of an Octave converter: "Hey, it's got a (heart) beat."

How visitors find us: travel to the middle of Holland, then follow the signs.
Like Schiit Audio, Metrum are a proponent of R2R, hence devout dislikers of Delta-Sigma conversion. Like Schiit but starting years prior, they've relied on industrial chips from outside hifi to need serious glue-logic coding before they interface with audio signal. Unlike Schiit, they've simply not invoked missiles to further their cause. What you wonder? Consider this: "When doctors are trying to diagnose whether you have gas or cancer from MRI results; or when the military is trying to ensure a missile hits an ammo dump and not a nunnery next door; they don’t use '24-bit' or '32-bit' delta-sigma D/A converters. Instead, they rely on precision multibit ladder DACs." (That's from Schiit's Yggdrasil propaganda).

Also unlike Schiit with their AD5791, Metrum have given up on their chip of choice. Now they roll their own R2R non-oversampling module called Transient. It's available OEM and in quad-parallel form drives their top Pavane DAC. Now it also appears in their budget model. "I think the Musette is a lot of fun for its price and it's fun also to make such products more affordable. At the moment we are trying to get the Pavane technology into one DAC chip. Parts as small as sand particles. It's quite the job to work this out and get the same performance. It will take some time for sure." With up to 384kHz acceptance, noise better than -144dB relative to 2Vrms, channel separation of 100dB across the bandwidth, the Musette is a thoroughly modern machine unlike some of its 16/44.1kHz-limited NOS brethren.
During the early 90s, Cees designed his first electrostat called Pavane. This painting of it was made by airbrush artist Colin Ball and inspired by Escher.

The compact 19 x 6 x 24.5cm WxHxD box weighs 2kg, includes a small 15VA transformer, draws 5 watts in use and offers 1 x Toslink, 2 x coax and 1 x USB. Forget DSD, sample-rate indicators, XLR outputs, selectable filters and other fashion items. Forget the FPGA forward-correction module of the Pavane. Forget its tempered glass top, flash fascia and sundry bragging rights. With the Musette, it's back to basics. That's why it's Metrum's new entry-level DAC. Get out yer dancing shoes and start hoofing it?