Can you distinguish any differences in the audible realm between dCS Network Bridge and the Metronome?
Yes. There are clear sonic differences between the two machines.
But first let me tell you they are both built to the highest of standards. Both are built like tanks, military grade streamers, ready to go to war, if so be it. The dCS is assembled by hand in Cambridge and the Metronome is put together in Toulouse (Frances nr 1 high tech city). Also looking inside you easily see over dimensioned power supplies, and a level of details worthy a swizz watch.
I introduced the Metronome first in my system, and with once, the music came alive. It was not a hard match for the Metronome to outperform my current set up of a top notch i9 PC (granted it still has an over dimensioned power supply in form of ROG-Thor 1200W), connected to a Audioquest jitterbug and a Shunyata Alpha USB cable. With the Metronome it was the same feeling as listening to a song from a very reliable and appreciated CD-player. Pitch black background. Improved rhythmic, dynamic and overall musicality. Very happy with the performance.
Then it was time to introduce the dCS NBR. Oh my. Hat of for dCS engineers. The dCS has an ability to take you one step further into the music, from following perspective: It is like it takes what ever is going on in those sinus waves, and just performs a medical dissect on them. Suddenly I forebode or scent Mark Kozalek´s (Red House Painters) finger nails, or even the length of his finger nails, playing that guitar. I even realize there is actually one vague supporting guitar in the back drop that I never heard before in one track.
Yosi Horikawa's "Bubbles" (Qobuz 16/44 streaming) is an excellent example of what the dCS can do when it does it the best. No other machine has ever presented this track with such detail, separation, depth, stage and 3D. Shocking! It also plays bass very good. I get a lot of bass, so to the degree that I might tune down the bass one or two notches on the Technics R1000. Thank you Technics for this optionality!
But. This ability to dissect and display musical layers within layers might come on the cost of overall musicality. It isn't directly warm and cosy tube like kind of sound. A friend of mine who has a serious rig in the +100k USD range, said, and I quote: "it is not a musical instrument, it is an instrument for analysis". I introduced the Ethernet cable Luna Mauve from my switch to the dCS, and that rounded of the sound profile just a tad, taking it one step closer to my sonic preference: detailed oriented musicality. Sidenote. The Luna Mauve Ethernet is the heaviest and most well built network cable I have seen. It weights like a 12 gauge well built speaker cable, no joke.
So in comparison with the Metronome again, I think they both perform very well in their own way. Again. It depends on what sonic signature you currently are looking for in your own system. However, I must admit, it is very tempting to just continue listening (analyzing
); to music streamed via the dCS. I also prefer the The dCS mosaic (dCS own software that they use for the entire dCS range) before the M-Connect, Metronome´s bought generic interface.
In my system and with my current sonic preferences: The dCS came out as the winner and is the machine that will stay.
Next up I will audit two coaxial cables from Luna: The Rouge vs the Noir. I have a feeling I might want to ditch my 100% silver coaxial from Wireworld, but lets see.