Home Triple Test – SMSL – NuPrime and Metrum Acoustics DAC – 1500 Euro

Triple Test – SMSL – NuPrime and Metrum Acoustics DAC – 1500 Euro




On Sunday, June 30, we live streamed a wonderful test of three d/a converters. The price range is around 1500 Euro. A class in which you can expect serious quality. And fortunately that was the case! We put side by side for you the Metrum Acoustics Amethyst DAC3, SMSL VMV D2 and the NuPrime DAC-9X.

Our opinion is that today you get very decent quality in your home from about 1000 Euro per component. Whether it is an amplifier, streamer, bridge or DAC: from about 1000 Euro per component you have a decent product.

We were curious to know what happens if you spend 500 Euro more. How much better is it then? And how big is the difference in that price range? We therefore put three nice dacs side by side:

  • Metrum Acoustics DAC3
  • NuPrime DAC-9X

We had also requested an Atoll DAC200, but unfortunately it arrived too late. Thanks DPD. Anyway: there will be a separate review of this dac later, so no worries.

We include these d/a converters in the reference system. This consists of TAD Evolution Two loudspeakers, Pass Labs XP-12 / X150.8 pre and power amplifier and the AlphaPC which digitally transmits the music signal to the test candidates via a Mutec MC3 USB interface. The MC3 USB has the Mutec REF10-120 as its reference clock. Power conditioning comes from Isotek and Yeti. Cables are from Van den Hul and Yeti.

We have four tracks this live stream:

  1. Beth Gibbons – Floating on a Moment
  2. Blof – Beautiful Day
  3. Mammal Hands – Spiral Stair
  4. Royskopp – Every Little Thing
Type test
Production country
  Metrum Amethyst DAC3
  • Build: Decent, sturdy, basic
  • Sound: Round, rich and fluid
  • Imaging: Large, but precise
  • Overall: Very nice sounding product. Easy on the ear
  • Price: 1499
  • Build: Tight, sturdy and complete
  • Sound: Very clean midrange, detailed.
  • Imaging: Nice, not to big, but tight in focus.
  • Overall: Decent product. Very versitile, but maybe bit analytical in sound.
  • Price: 1699
  NuPrime DAC-9X
  • Build: Very nice and sturdy
  • Sound: Very fast, detailed, but not analytical.
  • Imaging: Very large and 3D
  • Overall: Very versitile and good sounding dac.
  • Price: 1425

Buy here


Link to store



Winkels met SMSL

Peizerweg 97A
9727 AJ Groningen, NL
085 071 1860


  1. Jaap,
    Quick question on listening tests with various DACS. Back in 2014 we had a so so review which basically took a dac and then replaced that dac with another and so forth. I think he tested four dacs in one sitting. I complained a little because oscillators and crystals really don’t reach their peak phase noise for almost 24 hours. In the case of our dac in question the average phase noise cold was -70dB at 1Hz and it jumped up between 6Hz and 12Hz cold, but after 24 hours the phase noise at 1Hz was over -80dB (-110dB at 10Hz) which is pretty damn good considering the cost of the product.
    I might suggest to you that setting up the day before the test all the digital products, powered up and then swapping only the cables for the test might be the best way to proceed.