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Thread: Okto Research DAC8 Pro multi-channel DAC

  1. #1
    Join Date: Sep 2011

    Location: County Durham, UK

    Posts: 135
    I'm Gordon.

    Default Okto Research DAC8 Pro multi-channel DAC

    On the NEBO 11 thread Ali Tait asked about my new Okto Research DAC8 Pro. I thought Iíd write up my thoughts on the Okto DAC and also explain why I use multichannel DACs that are typically found in recording studios.

    The simple answer is my three sets of speakers - Magneplanar MG2.5R, Linkwitz LXMini and Linkwitz LX521.4 - are all active dipoles. Digital crossovers/EQ for all three speakers are done in a 64bit environment (Jriver DSP) and make for a very flexible setup if youíre primarily listening to digital content. All the speakers have their own multichannel DACs and multichannel amps so switching from one to another is simply a matter of turning on the appropriate hardware and loading the x-overs in JRiver.

    Anyway, onto the Okto Research DAC8 Pro (about £1k) which Iím now using in my main digital system: Fan-less i7 PC running JRiver>>Okto Research DAC8 Pro>>Apollon Audio NCMP8350>>Linkwitz LX521.4.

    For the last four years Iíve been happily using a Mytek ADDA8x192. However, it is a 14 year old design using a 17 year old DAC chip. It is still in production and widely used in recording studios and still ranks highly in the Gearslutz loopback test.

    Last year I came across the Okto Research DAC8 Pro (about £1k), a rather nice looking DAC from a small company in Prague. The design is simple, but elegant with input, sample rate /bit depth and volume level in large displays that are easy to read across the room. The Mytek is typical pro gear by comparison - lots of LEDs and small routing buttons etc.
    So how does the Okto sound? Well, like nothing really. Essentially, a great recording will sound great, smooth detailed and dynamic without a hint of exaggerated highs or conversley, rolled off top end. itís not going to cover up poor recordingsí faults, but neither do they become unlistenable. I can always try to spruce that up in DSP if I want to. I donít want my DAC colouring my sound Ė thereís good DSP plug-ins including valve emulators for when I want a different sound. To be honest, with levels matched the Okto and the Mytek are fairly close from a subjective standpoint. Thatís quite a compliment to the Mytek considering its age. There is a much bigger difference between the speakers than the DACs, thatís for sure.

    But I can say with certainty that the Okto is the quietest DAC Iíve ever owned. With the Mytek there is a very slight hiss through the LX521s - ear next to driver Ė nothing at the listening position. With the Okto itís dead silent, there is no speaker hiss whatsoever. This is borne out in their measurements which show an extremely low noise floor. However, while measurements can tell us a lot about a device, some are more important than others IMO. For me a multi-tone IMD test is one of the most revealing. This is a test most similar to music and here the Okto produces outstanding results, pretty much on a par with the Mola Mola Tambaqui, a 2 channel DAC which costs 10 times more. So with its low noise floor, and excellent low level linearity, jitter and IMD measurements there is the potential for the Okto to excel at retrieving low level detail. For my needs it fits the bill perfectly. But no matter how good the measurements are, at the end of the day our ears are the final arbiter as to whether we like the sound, and I do. As Siegfried Linkwitz used to say 'What is important to the eye is not necessarily important to the ear...,'

    Okto are about to release a 2 channel DAC (with built-in Raspberry Pi option) which should perform even better than the 8 channel unit as they will sum the 8 DAC channels for an even lower noise floor. Okto offer a 30 day trial Ė so thereís the opportunity to try their product at home.

    However, I should add a couple of caveats Ė mine has an issue with the remote so Okto are sending me a replacement unit. And there is a very long waiting list for both the DAC8 Pro and the new 2 channel unit. Mine took 4 monthsÖÖ

  2. #2
    Join Date: Mar 2008

    Location: Galashiels

    Posts: 13,622
    I'm inthescottishmafia.


    Thanks Gordon, looks good. Like to hear it at the next NEBO.
    ďMusic has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of fuel. Sentimental people call it inspiration, but what they really mean is fuel. I have always needed fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radioĒ

    Hunter S Thompson

  3. #3
    Join Date: Sep 2011

    Location: County Durham, UK

    Posts: 135
    I'm Gordon.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ali Tait View Post
    Thanks Gordon, looks good. Like to hear it at the next NEBO.
    The replacement unit arrived today, so all looking good for whenever NEBO takes place. Good customer service from Okto Research given their waiting list.

  4. #4
    Join Date: Nov 2018

    Location: Grimsby

    Posts: 391
    I'm David.


    Love the simple looks of the DAC8

  5. #5
    Join Date: Nov 2008

    Location: Huddersfield

    Posts: 86
    I'm Ian.


    Very interesting given that I intend to use Audiolense for XO, time domain and room correction.

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