Metronome Technologie is a French company which was founded in 1987 by Dominique Giner and over the years they have developed some of the most advanced CD Players, Digital to Analog Convertors and Transports and in their own words " these products which achieve the best sound quality, match or even surpass the transparency, resolution and neutrality of the finest digital designs. " This statement certainly rings true for their Kalista which is a tour de force of engineering prowess and sound which simply is undiluted from anything and naturally sounding in every way.
Enough of the Kalista now and on to what is Metronome Technologie CD 8 S a one box solution which houses a CD Player and also a high end DAC which promises high end CD replay and I'm hoping a glimpse of that Kalista magic which is the fluid almost organic sounding playback which is remissent more so of a high end analog vinyl replay than a digital media device. Features and Build Quality
The build quality of the CD 8 S is absolutely superb, it is built from a combination of steel and aluminum with a solid piece of aluminum for the front facia plate andMetronome Technologie logo etched into the front of the plate. It is of the highest quality and you also have a window where the track info and also data for the DAC info is displayed in a neon blue colour. There is two toggle switches which are for on and off and also for switching between CD and DAC modes. On the top of the unit is the top loading CD drawer which is an easy sliding mechanism, simple
in execution but perfect for its application. It is also has that soothing effect when changing CD's out as it is not like the normal loading CD drawers where they are automatic but this is more ritualistic and gives it a purpose and more meaning to putting in your favourite piece of music. The CD transport is the Philips CDM Pro 2 v. 6.8 including Metronome Technologie own proprietary improvements, which also include a delrin clamp or puck to hold the CD down on to the unit. The Philips transport is fixed to the unit and heavily dampened to ensure that the mechanism is well isolated.
The buttons for operation are on top of the playerand are of Metronome own unique design in that they are not the normal play and stop logo's, instead they are abstract versions which look strange at first but keep looking at them and soon become strangely familiar and you quickly realise which each one does.
These little touches make the unit unique and stand out from the regular players in its genre giving it that high end feel. Placing the puck on top of the CD is an assuring
clamp down which also makes sure that the player operates as the player will not play without the puck in place. It also has a nice blue glow when the draw is open, but goes off when closed. The player also comes with a very sleek but functional remote which has all the necessary buttons needed to operate the player from the comfort of your sofa. Underneath the player you will find three feet made of polymer material but in the middle of each foot is a metal ring which you can then connect by magnetic contact three spherical cone shaped feet which the player sits nicely on.Connections for the player arethe usual RCA outputs plus the balanced XLR outputs with the latter being my prefered option, for the digital inputs you have S/PDIF RCA connection at 75ohms and a USB type B connection for use with a PC/MAC or Music Server. The DAC's used are the AK4490EQ which are a two channel, 32-bit Velvet Sound chip from Asahi Kasei Microdevices (AKM), of Japan.
These chips support up to 768Khz PCM and 11.2MHz DSD and Metronome also incorporate their own filtering designs into the circuits which helps with the overall design and sound of the CD 8 S. Power to the unit is supplied by three toroidal transformers with 7 seperate and independent regulation lines which give the unit's power to all the critical components and keeps them all isolated from each other. This is a very important feature in keeping the CD 8 S as quiet as possible and feeding the important DC current to each part of the player's critical functions.
I connected the Metronome Technologie CD 8 S Player with Siltech XLR cablesto connect to my Krell Amplifier and then I also connected with a type B USB cable to the Aurender X100L Music Server to the CD 8 S DAC connection. On the display of the Metronome it shows up as having a connection to theCombo384 Amanero Asynchronous device and a display of d 64 meaning I am playing a DSD64 track. The CD 8 S is fitted with a DSD to USB receiver which is made by the Italian firm Amanero and the model number signifies its support up to 384Khz, thisis what was being displayed on the Aurender X100L. This gives me the best possible way to evaluate the CD 8 S Players performance.Sound Quality and Performance
I let the player run in before any serious listening and the player needs to be warmed up nicely before its performance starts to truly shine through.I startoff listening to the DAC section of the CD 8 S so that I can
establish how good the player acts as a stand alone DAC feeding my music from the Aurender. I want to see how the DSD version ofPatricia Barber Companion in DSD64track 3 Like JT compares with the CD 8 SDAC playing instead of my Chord Electronics DAC which I was using to review the Aurender X100L just recently. Listening to this track was completely different and the quality in which the music was presented changed, clearly the DAC in the CD 8 S and the implementation of how it is being used with the rest of the players circuitry is superior to the Chords DAC.
The bass has more texture to it and the soundstage extended further out from the speakers and the walls disappeared it was like I was sitting in the middle of the crowd instead of listening to the crowd that is how much further the speakers imaging extended around me.The same album Patricia Barber Companion Track 7 which is Black Magic Woman, is a wonderfully different version of Santana's famous song with a Jazzy/Blues twist to it but not too much, keeping to the original tracks strong percussion, electric piano and electric guitars performance. The vocals of Patricia Barber sound mesmerizing as she sings Carlos Santana's beautiful Black Magic Woman with such clarity and panache. The tonal balance is excellent with nothing out of place, the bongo's have real snap to them that make them sound even more natural and their placement within the soundstage is excellent. Timing is spot on as it is so fast and pans from left to right with an electrically charged performance from the percussion section. This DAC is so good that it makes my Chord DAC feel very shut in, in comparison.
The openness and outright performance of the CD 8 S really shines with anything that I throw at it. It is a very natural and free flowing sound that makes listening to difficult compositions an easy task with no harshness at all at the top end meanwhile keeping the low end is nice and taught but with more texture and colour which makes it more of a well rounded sound all together.I move on now to the players CD performance and I managed to get hold of a CD which I have been looking out for, for quite some time but never been able to get it until now. That CD is from the soundtrack of the brilliant film Whiplash which is a dynamically challenging score and one that I have wanted for ages as the drumming and orchestral score is fantastic. In fact I am so excited to be writing about this as this is one of my best listening sessions I have had in awhile as the CD 8 S is an incredible CD Player and putting on Whiplash is something of an experience that everyone needs to try.Listening to Track 2 Overture is a grand orchestral piece with some stunning percussion and brilliant trumpet work and with the trumpet mute being used to great effect. The CD 8 S captures this track perfectly with great attack and the soundstage is presented well beyond my walls expanding out across the sides, while the drumming takes centre stage with precision timing it is such a wonderful piece of music.Track 4 Whiplash is a fast and relentless piece just as it was in the film and it is captured exactly the same way, if not better on CD with some of the fastest drumming and orchestral music which is defined and presented in all its glory becoming a visceral and thrilling experience as the attack from the drum hits, hits you in the chest, you literally feel every note such is the drive and rhythm on this track.Track 5 Fletcher's Songis a smooth and mellow tune compared to all the rest with the piano playing and slow drum beat and Cello with bass which is so finely textured that it gives the track its smoothness and the CD 8 S captures all this perfectly.
Track 6 Caravanis an electrically charged and fuelled title which has a massive orchestral piece which is stunning with great dynamics and huge transients which start and stop on a dime. The bass notes hit so deep with real authority and underpins the performance. The drumming is the centre piece for this soundtrack and the CD 8 S shows off its true ability of being one of the best sounding CD players I have heard with the drums it is almost a tactile experience as you feel every hit of each note playing, it is truly a visceral and fun experience as you can almost touch the drum skins from where I was sitting, well it felt that way!Next album is one that I really love and it is from the hugely talented Lyn Stanley, it is her latest one Interludes which is beautiful album and is also a SACD which plays on my SACD player and sounds great so I am looking forward to listening to it on the Metronome player.The first Track How Long Has This Been Going Onstarts with Lyn Stanley's beautiful voice singing and the CD 8 S captures her silky smooth voice perfectly, while the band play around her, piano, percussion and trumpet all placed around the soundstage with the speakers just melting away, tonally the CD 8 S is just so right it sounds more like a very good analog source rather than a digital source.
Track 2 Just One of Those Things and this is a fast moving jazzy number again with great imaging with Lyn Stanley's voice center stage and every nuance being picked up from the CD 8 S and presented in front of me with lightning fast timing. The Cello playing has a tactile feel and so does the guitar which is sublime sounding.Track 3 Black Velvet starts with an uncanny clicking of the fingers which sounds as natural as it could possibly be. Then Lyn Stanley's provocative voice sounds and lures you into this beautiful melody which is one of my favorite titles on the album. This basically sums up just how good this player is as it can make you feel the music that is being played as well hearing it, it makes you feel emotional about the music and gives you passion back which is quite an honor to bestow upon a player and I have not heard a source in my room that can achieve this until now.Conclusions and Final Thoughts The Metronome Technologie CD 8 S Player is an outstanding player in every aspect of its design, as a CD Player it is one of the finest in its genre and as a standalone DAC it is simply stunning. It does everything well and I cannot simply fault it at anything. The sound is sublime and one of the most visceral and thrilling players I have heard to date. It puts you right in the middle of the music and you command it. I cannot recommend this player anymore highly as it is simply a joy to use. CD has just got a massive boost as far as I am concerned as there is still a lot of life left in this media when players of this calibre are created.
Finally here is the Metronome Technologie CD 8 S Player playing a few tracksand also the brilliant Whiplash, enjoy