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Okto dac8 stereo DAC Review

DWPress

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So I'm now at the nine week anniversary of my order placement. My number is 291. Anyone have any idea of how much longer a wait?
Two weeks. :p

Seriously, mine was 222 and I ordered it Oct 2nd. Just cleared US customs yesterday. In between when I ordered and now they've moved factory locations, Covid, Covid, and the last batch of faceplates had bad anodizing which they refused. Did I mention Covid? Hopefully you will find it worth the wait like I have.
 

HiFidFan

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So I'm now at the nine week anniversary of my order placement. My number is 291. Anyone have any idea of how much longer a wait?
Have you reached out to Okto?
 
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Well, I guess I'm extra happy I went for the used Okto that popped up, as it arrived today, so I can't speak to expectations on ordering a new one.

Previously I streamed Qobuz from a node 2i into an excellent Hegel H590 Dac which sends nice power through Silversmith Fidelium speaker cable to Magnepan 1.7i...I was not anticipating this level of refinement utilizing the Okto via Volumio controlling the Oktos rasberry pi streamer---refinement concerning detail and tone...Kind of Blue sounds like a new recording all together...what a hifi product.
 

phoenixdogfan

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Two weeks. :p

Seriously, mine was 222 and I ordered it Oct 2nd. Just cleared US customs yesterday. In between when I ordered and now they've moved factory locations, Covid, Covid, and the last batch of faceplates had bad anodizing which they refused. Did I mention Covid? Hopefully you will find it worth the wait like I have.
So you're telling me 3-4 more months? Whatever happened to 19 weeks? :(
 
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So I'm now at the nine week anniversary of my order placement. My number is 291. Anyone have any idea of how much longer a wait?
If you ask them, (I had to wait for a week to get replay) the answer probably would be 2-3 weeks more. I have got the answer to the same question by Okto support 6 days ago.
Since my order is #281 and my communication with them was like this:

MY QUESTION:
"Hello I would just want to have a progress update about estimated time for delivery of my Okto Research dac8 stereo, it has been 8 weeks, since I put the otder, and the estimated lead-time was estimated to maximum 8 weeks.

So when do you think my new dac (#281, silver, non-streaming) is ready for delivery?

Best regards H...



OKTO TEAM REPLY:

Hello H... ,

I am sorry for the late reply.

We had some issues caused by the Covid situations - part of the staff at one of our supplier was quarantined and we ran into delay due to late deliveries of some of the necessary components. We are now catching up but it might still take us around 2-3 weeks to complete and dispatch your unit. The shipping itself should not take more than 3-4 business days and I will send you a tracking number once we dispatch it.

Thank you for your patience. We will do our best to deliver it as soon as possible.

Kind regards,
 
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Hello,
I received my stereo octo yesterday, order number 277, ordered on December 21st.
That sounds fantastic. You ordered your one week before I did, perhaps they gave me a proper estimation and that it will be closer to two than three weeks.
Two weeks should be just one more week from now.
 
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I just got an email that my order will be delayed another 4 weeks or so. Order #325
 
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I just got an email that my order will be delayed another 4 weeks or so. Order #325
Another? You did put your order at end of January...?
As far as I understand it's not even delayed yet.
So it sounds like it is about 10 weeks delivery time right now.
 

DWPress

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My DAC8 PRO arrived today (order #222) so this confirms that the stereo unit and the 8 channel units have different order numbers at least.
 
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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Okto dac8 stereo DAC. It was kindly sent to me by the company for review. It costs €1 089 from the company ($1,240 as of this writing). The version I have has the optional Raspberry Pi 4 module for streaming which costs an extra $89.

Last I tested a dac from Okto, it was their prototype 8-channel DAC. It set a new record in our measurements at the time, getting the highest "SINAD" score possible. While I loved many things about the hardware design, the case needed a new color and thicker sheet metal. Happy to report both of those have been managed producing a very professional and nice looking DAC:

View attachment 73312

As with the last model, the interface is a joy to use with large, bright text that changes lightning fast. An apple remote is provided for control which I used to good effect to navigate the menu system.

The back panel is quite unusual for a DAC:

View attachment 73313

For starters there are dual set of XLRs so that you can use them to connect to two sets of devices (active speakers and a pre-amp). We have two pairs of coax and toslink instead of usual one.

Streaming is provided by Raspberry Pi and while it is physically integrated into the unit, requires that you use the jumper to wire up the dac to its USB output. Fortunately you have another USB input so you don't have to take this in and out.

My unit came with a copy of Volumio software on the SD card which let me stream to it using Airplay. Sadly Airplay only supports 16 bits/44.1 kHz so severely impacted the performance. You can of course change that to another streamer software (e.g. DietPi) or install the Roon endpoint to get full 24-bit streaming at various sample rates.

So I would say the streaming functionality is less than perfectly integrated but as much as they could given the platform restrictions.

DAC Audio Measurements
Competition has gotten quite stiff since I tested the original okto DAC8. Can the new version unseat all the others considering that we are almost at the limit of what my analyzer can measure? Let's find out:

View attachment 73315

Darn it, it did it!

View attachment 73316

View attachment 73317

Yes, the output voltage is a tad high (4.2 vs 4.0) volts which probably helps a bit here. I dialed it down 0.5 dB and it essentially held its performance.

Note that actual performance is better than this as we are including the noise on the input of my analyzer in what the DAC is producing, hence my comment that there is not much more room left to get higher scores.

Speaking of noise, here is the dynamic range:

View attachment 73319

Intermodulation distortion and noise is exceptionally low as one would guess:

View attachment 73320

Multitone as a result is clean as well:
View attachment 73321

And oh, in case you want to use the unit at lower output levels, here it is:
View attachment 73322

So the higher the better but even at just 0.8 volts, you have a SINAD of 110 dB.

Linearity is nailed showing superb accuracy:
View attachment 73323

There are five filters with acronyms I did not try to decipher:

View attachment 73324

Extremely good attenuation for out of band spectrum helps with excellent THD+N versus frequency using 90 kHz bandwidth:

View attachment 73326

Jitter over USB is extremely good:

View attachment 73327

For some reason though, there is some jitter with Coax but not with Toslink or AES/EBU:

View attachment 73328

Headphone Amplifier Tests
I ran a couple of quick tests on the headphone amplifier and was pleased how good its performance is, no doubt helped with such a clean DAC upstream:

View attachment 73329

View attachment 73330

There is good amount of power there but not enough to drive the most difficult headphones.

Edit: added streaming measurements.
Streaming Performance
The unit as supplied was running Volumio. I was pleasantly surprised that the Volumio UI has been enhanced to easily install extensions such as "Roon Bridge" which I used for the following tests:
View attachment 73956

As we see performance is identical to USB which is great. Same is true of jitter test:

View attachment 73957

There is no degradation whatsoever when streaming instead of USB.

Conclusions
okto has done it again: producing state-of-the-art, class-leading, instrument-grade DAC. Not only that, the mechanicals and usability are a good match for it as well. When someone as picky as me can't find any faults, you can tell the job is well done. Very well done.

It is my pleasure to highly recommend the okto dac8 stereo DAC.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

You would think after seeing such stellar measurements, I would be so happy to not demand more donations. No way. A man would not be a man if more money didn't make him happier. So please donate some money my way using : https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Okto dac8 stereo DAC. It was kindly sent to me by the company for review. It costs €1 089 from the company ($1,240 as of this writing). The version I have has the optional Raspberry Pi 4 module for streaming which costs an extra $89.

Last I tested a dac from Okto, it was their prototype 8-channel DAC. It set a new record in our measurements at the time, getting the highest "SINAD" score possible. While I loved many things about the hardware design, the case needed a new color and thicker sheet metal. Happy to report both of those have been managed producing a very professional and nice looking DAC:

View attachment 73312

As with the last model, the interface is a joy to use with large, bright text that changes lightning fast. An apple remote is provided for control which I used to good effect to navigate the menu system.

The back panel is quite unusual for a DAC:

View attachment 73313

For starters there are dual set of XLRs so that you can use them to connect to two sets of devices (active speakers and a pre-amp). We have two pairs of coax and toslink instead of usual one.

Streaming is provided by Raspberry Pi and while it is physically integrated into the unit, requires that you use the jumper to wire up the dac to its USB output. Fortunately you have another USB input so you don't have to take this in and out.

My unit came with a copy of Volumio software on the SD card which let me stream to it using Airplay. Sadly Airplay only supports 16 bits/44.1 kHz so severely impacted the performance. You can of course change that to another streamer software (e.g. DietPi) or install the Roon endpoint to get full 24-bit streaming at various sample rates.

So I would say the streaming functionality is less than perfectly integrated but as much as they could given the platform restrictions.

DAC Audio Measurements
Competition has gotten quite stiff since I tested the original okto DAC8. Can the new version unseat all the others considering that we are almost at the limit of what my analyzer can measure? Let's find out:

View attachment 73315

Darn it, it did it!

View attachment 73316

View attachment 73317

Yes, the output voltage is a tad high (4.2 vs 4.0) volts which probably helps a bit here. I dialed it down 0.5 dB and it essentially held its performance.

Note that actual performance is better than this as we are including the noise on the input of my analyzer in what the DAC is producing, hence my comment that there is not much more room left to get higher scores.

Speaking of noise, here is the dynamic range:

View attachment 73319

Intermodulation distortion and noise is exceptionally low as one would guess:

View attachment 73320

Multitone as a result is clean as well:
View attachment 73321

And oh, in case you want to use the unit at lower output levels, here it is:
View attachment 73322

So the higher the better but even at just 0.8 volts, you have a SINAD of 110 dB.

Linearity is nailed showing superb accuracy:
View attachment 73323

There are five filters with acronyms I did not try to decipher:

View attachment 73324

Extremely good attenuation for out of band spectrum helps with excellent THD+N versus frequency using 90 kHz bandwidth:

View attachment 73326

Jitter over USB is extremely good:

View attachment 73327

For some reason though, there is some jitter with Coax but not with Toslink or AES/EBU:

View attachment 73328

Headphone Amplifier Tests
I ran a couple of quick tests on the headphone amplifier and was pleased how good its performance is, no doubt helped with such a clean DAC upstream:

View attachment 73329

View attachment 73330

There is good amount of power there but not enough to drive the most difficult headphones.

Edit: added streaming measurements.
Streaming Performance
The unit as supplied was running Volumio. I was pleasantly surprised that the Volumio UI has been enhanced to easily install extensions such as "Roon Bridge" which I used for the following tests:
View attachment 73956

As we see performance is identical to USB which is great. Same is true of jitter test:

View attachment 73957

There is no degradation whatsoever when streaming instead of USB.

Conclusions
okto has done it again: producing state-of-the-art, class-leading, instrument-grade DAC. Not only that, the mechanicals and usability are a good match for it as well. When someone as picky as me can't find any faults, you can tell the job is well done. Very well done.

It is my pleasure to highly recommend the okto dac8 stereo DAC.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

You would think after seeing such stellar measurements, I would be so happy to not demand more donations. No way. A man would not be a man if more money didn't make him happier. So please donate some money my way using : https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
Hi,
This is a probably a very silly question because I'm certainly no expert, but JA (https://www.stereophile.com/content/okto-dac8-stereo-da-processor-measurements) also saw the jitter with AES/EBU as with coax? Any thoughts as to the differences, if there are differences at all?
Cheers!
 
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Well, I guess I'm extra happy I went for the used Okto that popped up, as it arrived today, so I can't speak to expectations on ordering a new one.

Previously I streamed Qobuz from a node 2i into an excellent Hegel H590 Dac which sends nice power through Silversmith Fidelium speaker cable to Magnepan 1.7i...I was not anticipating this level of refinement utilizing the Okto via Volumio controlling the Oktos rasberry pi streamer---refinement concerning detail and tone...Kind of Blue sounds like a new recording all together...what a hifi product.
I can agree on what you are saying.

I received my unit on Friday the 12th of March. Ordered it the 24th of November 2020. So I was really looking forward to this product, and I have to say, it delivers!

My system consists of a GmuT D200 and Wilson Benesch curve speakers. I also have used a Bluesound Node 2i as streaming device and preamp for quite some time.

I find the Okto unit to be really beautiful and easy to use. My only complaint is that the pi streamer is not always working flawlessly.

Sound quality wise this is a serious step up from the Node 2i. If I had to explain to someone how digital noice sounds like, I wouldn’t know how to.

I can only say that the Okto is less fatiguing to listen to compared to the Node 2i and more realistically sounding with a much wider and deeper soundstage.

I can also confirm that music you know very well sounds completely different on this unit in a very positive way.

A happy customer!
 
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I have one on US Audio Mart. No need to wait.

I pulled it off ebay because I had to turn down offers that, without the fees, I would have accepted. Sadly, I probably angered potential buyers.
 
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Can anyone tell me how you can assess the quality of the volume control as part of these reviews? I currently have the Benchmark DAC2HGC and I am thinking about replacing with this. Thanks!
 

dualazmak

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Can anyone tell me how you can assess the quality of the volume control as part of these reviews? I currently have the Benchmark DAC2HGC and I am thinking about replacing with this. Thanks!
Okto DAC8 Stereo and DAC8 Pro are using DAC chip/processor of ES9028PRO, and the digital volume control within ES9028PRO.

Even though I did not objectively "measure" the quality of the volume control of DAC8 Pro in my multichannel multi-amplifier project, as far as I use the master volume and the relative gains of the 8 channels of DAC8PRO, I have no deterioration at all in the output analog sound within -75 dB to the maximum 0 dB. The digital volume control in ES9028PRO is really nice, and Okto's XMOS and firmware, as well as the preamp block, are very well controlling and processing the ES9028PRO's digital volume.
 
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How does the streaming option based on Raspberry Pi work?
To me it looks a little bit tinkered. Why did Okto not pre-install e.g. Volumio on the Pi and ship a tested system?
Later on you can always switch to another OS distribution if needed.
 

AndreaT

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Is it really that good to deserve such a long wait?

I almost wanted to place an order a while back because I admired the industrial design and the almost-affordable price.
IMO the wait time is the price to pay for a supersonic fighter sold at the price of a single prop plane. I have waited patiently and I am enjoying supreme digital sound. Ergonomics are also flawless.
 

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