Metronome DSC1 Digital Sharing Converter Review Page 2

I contacted Metronome’s Associate Director and Managing Partner Jean Marie Clauzel to find out more about the DSC1. Here’s our back-and-forth. Metronome Q&A

Rafe Arnott: Metronome has been known for many years for its CD player and transport technology, what made the company want to branch out into networked computer-audio devices? What was the goal behind the DSC1?

Jean Marie Clauzel: “It’s true that Metronome was reputed for their CD players, but before all, the aim of the company is to provide the best audio-digital sources. Then it became natural to go to computer music and streaming. DSC1 was designed to be a connected DAC, so its first function is D/A conversion.”  

RA: “Digital Sharing” is literally the in the name of the unit, is it safe to say that when the R&D and initial design process of the DSC1 was underway that bringing everything to do with digital, or computer audio was baked into the unit’s DNA?

JMC: “Yes. DS will stand for a range of connected devices. The following one is in development, but this is another story of course.”

RA: You’ve included every critical digital input and unbalanced and balanced outputs, the 32-bit/384kHz AK4497 DACs are mounted on separate independent PCB sub-boards allowing for potential upgrades – is there an FGPA implemented as well to facilitate software/firmware updates to code/processing as well? If not, why and how will software/firmware upgrades be implemented?

JMC: “Good question, and two answers: The internal management software can only be modified at our workshop, while the firmware of the network PCB can be updated via the app mControl.”

RA: Why were the Ak4497 chipsets chosen for the DSC1? Why not an R2R or Multibit design?

JMC: “We have quite a long experience with AKM’s processors, especially how to get our specific sound-reproduction profile. This is why we keep loyal to AK chips.”  

RA: I understand that “Roon Ready” certification is coming to the DSC1? Why is a partnership with Roon important to Metronome? Is having a dedicated company to handle software/app implementation a better fit for Metronome than hiring its own engineers and producing the bulk of its own software coding? I initially was using Mconnect to run the DSC1 – which is satisfactory – but nothing close to the Roon experience for digital-file playback.

JMC: “It’s not our purpose to provide audio player solutions, and Roon is getting more and more importance in the audiophile population worldwide. This choice was first of all a customer’s request.”

RA: Where does Metronome stand on MQA? Can we expect full MQA decoding ability to be implemented in the future? For a unit that is targeted at the ultra high-end of fidelity for consumers, should people expect that capability in a component at this price point or is it still a question of how MQA is an end-to-end authenticated protocol that causes some manufacturers to bristle at opening up their proprietary digital-to-analog designs to an outside endeavour?

JMC: “The DSC1 is already able to manage MQA, like our Kalista DreamPlay STREAM, and we’re working on it for other devices. Like Roon, it’s a request which comes more and more often. I could state that Metronome devices don’t need MQA to provide the best sound reproduction, but the end users will decide…”

RA: What does the future hold for Metronome in the digital-sharing arena? Can we expect upgrades to the DSC1 in the near future?

JMC: “We continue working on streaming mostly, and in the next months there will be one more device in this DS range, and more and more “connected” devices under Métronome and Kalista brands.”

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Patatorz's picture

I had the chance to be able to test a DSC1 few month ago in order to simplify my system (Metronome C8 and dCS Network Bridge). I was exited to be able to listen to the sound of Metronome that i was enjoying since years with the famous C8 and is AOP or tube outputs. Metronome is really able to pull out of this machine the Metronome sound : warm, relief, resolution, impact. This is a great dac but when it comes to the ethernet renderer it is another story. As i was expecting to simplify my system i was expecting that the ethernet renderer would have been at the same level as the competition. Roon was in beta (not validated) but fully functionnal. The problem is that through ethernet you can not read DSD. All files under this format are converted to PCM by the DSC1. Perhaps it is not a big problem, but nowadays you expect much more from a renderer especially in terms of capacity to read formats. You want to read DSD....need to go through the USB input limited to DS64....So no difference with my C8 and we are back 3 years from now where digital era was only managing PCM....Something is missing and it is a pity when you can hear how this unit can play music. In 2019 we should expect more.