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Compact Disc Player

Metronome Technologie

Manufacturer: MÉTRONOME audio
Price (in Poland): 36 900 PLN

Z.A. Garrigue Longue


Provided for test by: KORIS

étronome Technologies is a French company, based in Toulouse, France, founded in 1987 by former engineers of another French company, Jadis. Today is is known mostly due to their digital sources, first of all excellent CD players, although at the beginning they manufactured loudspeakers. The initial 800 pairs were sold immediately, as did the next batch. For many years, however, they have focused on digital sources, including the phenomenal Métronome Technologie DREAM PLAY CD: KALISTA.

That is why I understood why during the High End 2017 show Mr. Jean Marie Clauzel, the head of this French company, spoke so enthusiastically of their new, large Ea Métronome Technologie loudspeakers, and right after that he showed me their new CD and music files players. Perhaps only now, this company's lineup is getting there, where its founders dreamed it to be at some point.

This reminded me of another company's “conversion” that happened recently – I mean the Avid HiFi, that from a turntable specialist turned into a manufacturer of almost complete sound systems including turntables, phonostages, but also amplifiers, preamplifiers and loudspeakers. I would love to see Avid CD Player... Maybe one day. Or not :)

Let me add that in Munich Métronome Technologie celebrated its 30-th anniversary – congratulations!


One of the attractions of the exhibition, apart from loudspeakers, was the new, anniversary version of the Kalista system. All silver, with a distinctive, golden 30-year logo on the display, it was at the center of the visitors' attention. Next to it there was the inconspicuous CD8 S player, which had been upgraded using some solutions developed while designing the flagship model. Its body reminded me that of the new Audionet Planck, but it is worth knowing that it has evolved independently from the German product.

The CD8 S is a top-loader Compact Disc player, so it does not feature a classic disc tray, because it is placed directly on the motor axis. There is a chamber on top of the player, with a heavy, aluminum cover that has to be opened and closed manually. Transport mechanism is, as always in this manufacturer's products, the CDM 12 Pro 2 v. 6.8, with a suspension modified in France and with a clamp. Usually on the motor axis there is a plastic element to which the clamp with magnet is attached. Here there is a metal cylinder made with utmost precision, and one puts a clamp, made of Derlin, aluminum and acrylic with a very weak magnet, on top of it.

The device is designed as a digital hub, so it can be used not only to play CDs but also to decode digital signals from external sources, including computers and file players. It features two digital inputs - RCA (S/PDIF) and USB. The latter accepts PCM signals up to 32 bits and 384 kHz, as well as DSD (unfortunately I have not found more specific information about it). This is not mentioned in the company's material, but this player features an upsampling circuit - all signals from digital inputs and CDs are converted to 32/192 and then sent to the DAC.

The player is available in two versions - with tube output stage featuring two dual triodes JAN6922 (CD8t S) and with solid-state one, using four integrated circuits - Burr-Brown OPA604 (CD8 S). We are reviewing the latter. You should know that the output stage operates in class A and has a separate power supply, same as other sections, such as, for example, the transport. The player features both, balanced and unbalanced analogue outputs with gold-plated connectors.

The appearance and operation of the device is a study of simplicity, provided we can learn symbols used by the manufacturer for drive controls. At first, they seem little odd or unusual. All you have to do is look at them as halves of a classic "play", "pause" and so on symbols, and it should just click for you. The display is a bit too small, but it's part of the "package" that comes with Philips transport. The input selection is performed with a small switch on the front of the device. It also features a nice remote control. And that's it. The player uses three feet - two in the front and one in the back. Each of them features two parts - a flat disc and a cone.

General manager

WOJCIECH PACUŁA: Tell me about differences compared to original version of the CD8.
JEAN MARIE CLAUZEL: CD8 S is based on the Philips CD Pro as was the original CD8. I wanted to have a device that customer could use first as a D/A converter (USB input already existed, but we implemented a supplementary S/P DIF input). I also wanted something ready for high-resolution, and that was the cause of 2 major changes inside the box :

  • USB interface was changed for Amanero device, allowing transfer of DSD files,
  • D/A conversion chip was also changed, remaining loyal to AKM, but upgrading to AK4490 (decoding DSD up to 256).

So finally, with the same box as the CD8, CD8 S is a completely new device from electronic point of view.

As always the power supply section in you player is quite complex – why?
Regarding the power supply, to be simple I would say that power supply makes 80-90% of the quality of a sound system. Further to good components, clever routed PCBs, the power supply is the factor that allows to use the electronics at their best. And this is a big part of our knowledge... It's true for transport section as well as for all parts of the device of course. …

I compared this player with two other: my own reference player the CD Ancient Audio Lektor AIR V-edition with tube output and with two-box Chord Blu Mk II + DAVE. I placed it on the top shelf of my Finite Elemente Pagode Edition rack and powered it with Harmonix X-DC350M2R Improved-Version (Polish) power cable. The CD8 S was tested as a Compact Disc Player.

  • AWARD | Statement Award 201: Métronome Technologie DREAM PLAY CD KALISTA - CD transport + D/A Converter
  • TEST: Métronome Technologie DREAM PLAY CD: KALISTA - CD transport + D/A Converter
  • TEST: Métronome Technologie CD ONE T - CD Player

  • Recordings used for the test (a sele- ction)

    • The TBM Sounds!, Lasting Impression Music LIM UHD 048LE, „Limited Edition”, CD (2010)
    • Depeche Mode, Ultra, Mute/Sony Music Labels SICP-30543, Blu-spec CD2, (2007/2014)
    • Laurie Anderson, Homeland, Nonesuch 524055-2, CD + DVD (2010);
    • Mark Knopfler, The Trawlerman's Song EP, Mercury 9870986, CD (2005)
    • Max Roach & Clifford Brown, The Best of Max Roach & Clifford Brown in Concert! - full version, GNP Crescendo/King Records (Japan) KICJ 246, „24 Bit Remastering Series”, CD (1956/1995).
    • Morales en Toledo, Polifonía inédita del Códice 25, Ensemble Plus Ultra, dyr. Michael Noone, „Los SIGLOS de ORE”, Glossa GCD 922001, CD (2005)
    • Polish Jazz Quartet, Polish Jazz Quartet, Polskie Nagrania „Muza”/Warner Music Poland, „Polish Jazz | vol. 3”, Master CD-R (1965/2016);
    • Takeshi Inomata, The Dialogue, Audio Lab. Record/Octavia Records OVXA-00008, SACD/CD (1977/2001)
    • Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet, Polka, Agora 6813801, CD (2014);

    Japanese issues available at

    Those who are wondering about the presence of tubes in some of Métronome players probably understand that this company's designers have that hot cathode-heating filament imprinted in their DNA. How else could it be explained that all their products I know play in such a velvety and slightly warm way? Where would such a wonderful three-dimensionality and tangibility of the sound, this soft attack, so natural sound of double bass come from? Even more reason to wonder that considering that CD8 S's output is a solid-state one.

    So there is the first clue - tubes. It's just a clue, because it's not an attempt to simulate their sonic signature, nor to force it onto the abilities of semiconductor elements. This time it is about something else, about utilizing the knowledge and experience of those who had chosen tubes not for for their "warm" and "soft" sound, because it is a stereotype, but for their other qualities such as linearity, their excellent handling of low signals, and their resistance to overdrive.

    And that's how this player sounds like: it is soft, slightly warm, perfectly three-dimensional and delivers a fantastic sound stage.

    I'll start with the warmth. It's not an artificially warm sound, it never has been with this manufacturer. I would say it's a very open sound with slightly highlighted treble and not particularly massive bass. It was perfectly presented when I listened to the Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet's Polka. It was recorded in an analog studio and so mixed which resulted in a slightly warmed up sound and withdrawn treble - such was the artistic idea behind this album. The French player slightly illuminated it, presented bit stronger cymbals than the Ancient Audio player, in a somewhat similar way (as far as quantity goes) as the Chord system.

    It was also obvious that the midrange is slightly tempered. None of the albums I played sounded harsh or aggressive, although some of them actually were. The CD8 S deliberately masks these problems, winning listeners over with this incredible three-dimesionality of the sound. The soft attack plus fantastic imaging makes everything on stage particularly lively, with proper depth and space. Interestingly, the volume of sounds, i.e. their subjective size, was smaller than with both reference players.

    This will suit those who prefer the instruments presented further away from them, according to whom a big voice, for example that of Nat 'King' Cole's, is usually enlarged. The tested player does not reduce anything in size, it does not dry anything, it's not the point, but it presents everything from a larger perspective which may create an impression of a smaller volume. It's a bit like pushing a sheet of paper away from your eyes to a larger distance – it seems THE SAME, but it actually ISN'T anymore.

    All this, however, does not give you an idea of how natural sound that is. I mentioned about it shortly when discussing bass, but the same goes for the whole band. The CD8 S perfectly conveys the sound of acoustic instruments. The double bass had a lot of "wood" in the sound, which is usually lost covered by massiveness of its sound. The way it is presented by this player is closer to what I know from unplugged concerts, and e.g. Ancient presented it more like a concert but amplified not an unplugged one.

    The natural sound comes from a very good midrange resolution. This part the range, according to stereotype, can be properly presented only using tubes. It's not true, it's more of a stereotype, than dogma. I remember that when listening to the Kalista system I preferred its semiconductor output rather than the tube one for this reason - with all the softness and velvety sound the former was more natural, there was more information there.

    So there is: naturalness, softness, velvety, high resolution and slight shift of tonal balance up. This is a very good player, but nonetheless different than the best devices of this type at similar price and the more expensive ones. In terms of tonal balance the closet match would be the DP-560 by Accuphase. This is a similar presentation of the texture, tonal balance and so on. In terms of attack, speed and velvety sound the closest matches would be the Gold Note CD-1000 and Audionet Planck. The Ancient Audio was more resolving, it had a better extended, more weighty bass, but it was as natural, soft and at the same time so open in the treble. Chord on the other hand was darker and more resolving and selective at the same time.


    It seems that the Compact Disc segment of the audio market is still doing very well. We may soon see manufacturers coming up with new drive mechanisms as there is a high demand on the market but a very low supply. For now, the best players feature either the Philips CD Pro-2 transport or Esoteric's SACD one. So actually with the CD8 S, we get the current state-of-the-art drive plus a bonus – a much better clamp system.

    Along with it goes the skillful use of semiconductors, even in such an underestimated form as the integrated circuit. Together with the D/A converters they form a system that delivers a very natural sound, because it is soft, warm, with an open top. The softness combined with high resolution translates into three-dimensionality and velvety. This is not an aggressive sound, far from it, but not mellow either – the strong, open treble does not allow it, and a great pace&rhythm keeps the sound very lively.

    It will not offer as large volume of sound as more expensive players, nor so low and as well-defined bass. But remembering the price of the device and knowing how much better it sounds than less expensive competitors, I would not worry too much about it. This is a very good example of the consistency of form with content, the successful combination of art and technology - just as the corporate materials say.

    The CD8 S is a Compact Disc player featuring digital inputs which allows it to act as a digital-to-analog converter for external digital sources. Its appearance is very elegant and solid. The front is made of thick anodized aluminum with an anodized finish - black or silver. The sliding cover of CD mechanism and its guides are also made of aluminum. The other elements are made of rigid, thick steel sheet.

    The device features three feet made of Derlin. Each foot consists of two parts: a flat roller and a spike. For this test, however, I used a different solution - instead of Derlin spikes, I used Pathe Wings wooden cones, the PW-VDS 29H28.5/4. Their diameter almost perfectly matches the diameter of the original spikes Métronome Technologies. Is it a coincidence?

    Front and back

    The front is divided into two parts - an aluminum frame and a display hidden under an acrylic plate. Considering how much space is there, it is a pity that manufacturer didn't use a bigger display that would be easier to read from a distance. On the same acrylic you will find to small switches - one turns the power on, and the other selects and input. There are two of them: RCA (S/PDIF) and USB. The former decodes the PCM signal up to 24 bits and 192 kHz, and the latter the PCM signals up to 32 bits / 384 kHz and DSD.

    The connectors are located on the rear panel, next to the analog output sockets - XLR (balanced) and RCA (unbalanced). As one reads in the manual they both offer 2.5 V output signal but with different impedance, as if the main output was the RCA. And that means that when comparing this player with other sources, one needs to adjust the amplifier's volume accordingly. Let me remind you that the standard for a CD is 2 V.


    Inside, one finds, first and foremost, a very large acrylic plate, part of the decoupling system. The plate is suspended in three places on thick rolls of a soft material with high compliance resembling a micro-rubber. The transport itself, the Philips CD Pro-2 LH (CDM 12 Pro 2 v. 6.8), is screwed to the acrylic plate from the bottom. I found that the manufacturer of the player got rid of the springs connecting the metal cast with the plate below – which means that the connection is "rigid" not soft. The transport itself has a modified spindle mounted on the motor axle - it's a fairly high metal element on which a clamp made of Derlin, aluminum and acrylic is placed. It features a not too strong magnet.

    Underneath, you can see a large mainboard to which a few smaller ones have been inserted. On the board there is an analog section and power supply one - the latter is extremely elaborate. It is based on three toroidal transformers, separately for the transport, the digital section and the analog section. Each transformer features several secondary windings - together there are as many as 11! There are discrete rectifier bridges, and each diode is decoupled with a capacitor. Power grid ripple attenuation occurs in a battery of countless, identical, small capacitors. Replacing a few large capacitors with many smaller ones has been known for years, and recently Jarek Waszczyszyn has used this solution for his new version of Silver Grand Mono, which I will tell you about some day.

    Near the rear panel a small USB input board resides, bought from an external supplier. The decoding of the USB signal is handled by the Atmel chip supported with smaller Xilinx's chip. Next there are two very nice word clocks. The DAC sections sits on a separate large PCB. At its heart works the Asahi Kasei Microdevices (AKM) AK4490EQ chip. This is a high-end D/A converter from Premium series of this Japanese manufacturer. It allows decoding of PCM signals up to 32 bits and 768 kHz as well as of the DSD signal. It uses the proprietary architecture called Velvet Sound.

    Before the signal is sent to the DAC, it is upsampled to 32/192 in the Cirrus Logic CS8421 asynchronous upsampler. The DAC and upsampler are supported by separate, excellent-looking, mechanically stabilized word clocks with varying sampling frequencies. In the input stage I found one more chip, the AK4118, a digital receiver.

    The analog circuit seems very simple, though nice at the same time. There are four integrated circuits, two per channel, Burr-Brown OPA604. They are accompanied by Vishay and Wim polypropylene capacitors and precise resistors. The whole circuit is soldered using a classic method. In the output stage you can see the yellow relays, and next to them there are some inconspicuous, but of much higher quality contactors with rhodium-plated contacts. The outputs feature solid, gold-plated Neutrik connectors.


    The remote control is very nice and quite comfortable to use, we can use it to control both, the CD player and an amplifier.

    Specifications (according to manufacturer)

    Transport mechanism: Philips CD Pro 2 LH with proprietary software
    Digital inputs:
    - S/PDIF, Toslink (44.1 - 192 kHz)
    - USB: asynchronous, 32/384 + DSD
    Analogue outputs:
    Unbalanced 2.5 V RMS @0dB – 47 kOhms, RCA connectors
    Balanced 2.5 V RMS @0dB – 600 Ohms, XLR connectors
    Power consumption: 40 W
    Dimensions: 450 x 115 x 435 mm
    Weight: 12 kg



    - Turntable: AVID HIFI Acutus SP [Custom Version]
    - Cartridges: Miyajima Laboratory KANSUI, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory SHILABE, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory ZERO (mono) | Denon DL-103SA, review HERE
    - Phono stage: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC, review HERE

    - Compact Disc Player: Ancient Audio AIR V-edition, review HERE

    - Line Preamplifier: Polaris III [Custom Version] + AC Regenerator, regular version review (in Polish) HERE
    - Power amplifier: Soulution 710
    - Integrated Amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE

    - Stand mount Loudspeakers: Harbeth M40.1 Domestic, review HERE
    - Stands for Harbeths: Acoustic Revive Custom Series Loudspeaker Stands
    - Real-Sound Processor: SPEC RSP-101/GL
    - Integrated Amplifier/Headphone amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE
    - Headphones: HIFIMAN HE-6, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-300, review HERE | Sennheiser HD800 | AKG K701, review (in Polish) HERE | Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro, version 600 - reviews (in Polish): HERE, HERE, HERE
    - Headphone Stands: Klutz Design CanCans (x 3), review (in Polish) HERE
    - Headphone Cables: Entreq Konstantin 2010/Sennheiser HD800/HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE

    - Portable Player: HIFIMAN HM-801
    - USB Cables: Acoustic Revive USB-1.0SP (1 m) | Acoustic Revive USB-5.0PL (5 m), review HERE
    - LAN Cables: Acoustic Revive LAN-1.0 PA (kable ) | RLI-1 (filtry), review HERE
    - Router: Liksys WAG320N
    - NAS: Synology DS410j/8 TB
    System I
    - Interconnects: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, review HERE | preamplifier-power amplifier: Acrolink 8N-A2080III Evo, review HERE
    - Loudspeaker Cables: Tara Labs Omega Onyx, review (in Polish) HERE
    System II
    - Interconnects: Acoustic Revive RCA-1.0PA | XLR-1.0PA II
    - Loudspeaker Cables: Acoustic Revive SPC-PA

    System I
    - Power Cables: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300, all system, review HERE
    - Power Distributor: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu Ultimate, review HERE
    - Power Line: power cable Oyaide Tunami Nigo (6m); wall sockets 3 x Furutech FT-SWS (R)
    System II
    - Power Cables: Harmonix X-DC350M2R Improved-Version, review (in Polish) HERE | Oyaide GPX-R (x 4 ), review HERE
    - Power Distributor: Oyaide MTS-4e, review HERE
    - Stolik: SolidBase IV Custom, read HERE/all system
    - Anti-vibration Platforms: Acoustic Revive RAF-48H, review HERE/digital sources | Pro Audio Bono [Custom Version]/headphone amplifier/integrated amplifier, review HERE | Acoustic Revive RST-38H/loudspeakers under review/stands for loudspeakers under review
    - Anti-vibration Feets: Franc Audio Accessories Ceramic Disc/ CD Player/Ayon Polaris II Power Supply /products under review, review HERE | Finite Elemente CeraPuc/ products under review, review HERE | Audio Replas OPT-30HG-SC/PL HR Quartz, review HERE
    - Anti-vibration accsories: Audio Replas CNS-7000SZ/power cable, review HERE
    - Quartz Isolators: Acoustic Revive RIQ-5010/CP-4

    - FM Radio: Tivoli Audio Model One