Okto DAC 8 Stereo (Shout-out)

I know this DAC made a buzz via a Stereophile A+ rating a couple years back, and I can’t say how many times I casually checked if they were back in stock for purchase. A couple of weeks ago I happened to check and they were. 

Previously I had read the lead times were up to 8 weeks for a build, but happy to report it arrived in just over a week to the states. Great communication and service from the Okto team. Unfortunately couldn’t get one with streaming on-board due to R-Pi shortages. 

Seems well built, nice screen, and overall a smaller chassis than I thought. Hopefully won’t miss lack of single ended outputs. A note you can use this as a preamp and order to custom output voltage to match your power amp.

My initial impressions are as follows: This is the most transparent DAC I have ever heard, previously owning Denafrips Terminator, Holo Spring, Sonnet Morpheus, Aqua La Scala, PS audio PW DSD and others of lesser renown and quality. . The instrument separation is quite good, a wide and deep stage, and an almost eerily clarity that lacks any glassy edginess that sabre DAC based designs seem to be known for. Although I owned a HIFI rose and loved it. 

Anyways, kudos to Okto and a heads up they are in stock. Great performance and a very affordable price!





My initial impressions are as follows: This is the most transparent DAC I have ever heard, previously owning Denafrips Terminator, Holo Spring, Sonnet Morpheus, Aqua La Scala, PS audio PW DSD and others of lesser renown and quality.


I always wondered why this DAC does not generate as much discussion as it probably should. My guess is the cost for this is low enough that people ignore it? But of late they have these in stock.

One more reason could be that they might come up with a new DAC that is based on AKM. I had read a couple of years ago that they originally planned with AKM chips. But with the part of factory burning down, they plans went up in smokes.

@lordmelton yes. Keeping in mind memory is not a good audio historian. I did an A/B against my internal Hegel Dac and the Morpheus. 

the others are long gone. 

I just got mine hooked up today. It’s incredible. I’ve had Berkeley, Meitner, DCS, PS Audio,Bricasti….it beats them all. I run that new Eversolo streamer.. the combination is super clean, but warm and transparent. Really is incredible.

The T+A 200 dac I feel and many others the best sounding dac 

that also has HQ player incorporated since Roon too has it built into their program 

at $7200 it competes well with anything at 2x it’s cost check it out as well as reviews . I know 4 that own one I am currently buying one in the fall.

and I have heard in our audio get together heard every brand ,your taste many vary 

but this dac has a lot of flexibility built in. 

I've never heard of this unit until this thread, but at that price and with those reviews I felt it worth a try, so I just ordered one. I dearly love my Yggdrasil LiM so we'll see if this thing can outshine it. Ordered the custom output voltage, too.

I can understand the Okto being perhaps more transparent than the Aqua La Scala, but it sounding better than it… not sure.  Quite different sounding DACs I believe, but I have never heard the Okto.

Are you able to provide more comparative feedback on other aspects of sound, in addition to transparency?

…also depends upon how good your source is. I have a feeling that the Okto would sound better with most regular/intermediate music sources. R2R needs real high end to come into its own, otherwise it’s somewhat hobbled.

@gavin1977 going purely off memory the Aqua La Scala has a euphonic quality, but it’s a tube DAC (kind of) so there’s a quality there a lot of people love including myself. Just like the PS audio has a silky smooth presentation because of the upsampling. All of these DAC’s I mentioned are high quality and will have some different strengths.   

Aside from the transparency, the Okto has a 3D soundstage and almost creates a circular feeling, kind of like being the mic hanging in the middle of the studio (queue Cowboy Junkies reference). A little depth plus left to right. 

Is this the one Dac to rule them all? Not sure. But for $1500 I’m satisfied and thats enough for me. 

Man…this is timely, as I was looking into the Gustard offerings. Now really excited about this Octo dac! Something to be said about their exploring the full 4 channel possibilities of a Sabre. That, combined with a really nice output stage…man.


thanks for posting this. Had no idea 🙏🏼👍🏼

@shooter41 , I would be very eager to hear back from you once you get this DAC. At this point I have not made up my mind about a specific DAC. While the T+A DAC 200 is on top of my list, it is a bit out of budget. There are others too, but the Okto seems very favorable.

R2R needs real high end to come into its own, otherwise it’s somewhat hobbled

@gavin1977 , I am not sure why that case would be. If there is a system that has everything constant and you only switched the DAC, you should be able to make out the difference between 2 DACS - one Delta Sigma based while the other R2R based. What are the components in your system? Care to post? Just curious since you mentioned that R2R needs a high end system. I have seem other posters with a good system use R2R and appreciate it.

@milpai I'm happy to report back my experience once I've had to time to properly evaluate it.

Is this an overly smooth sounding DAC?

How long did it take to get to the USA from Czechia?

Are the 2 sets of XLR outputs for 2 amps? Can you have them connected at the same time?

Each pair of connectors belonging to one channel is connected internally, allowing for simultaneous connection of two devices, such as a power amplifier for main speakers and an active subwoofer, or a pair of active speakers located in different rooms.

@milpai you can certainly tell the difference between DACs in most systems, but what I’m suggesting with R2R (but also try for some other topologies) if that the better the source the wider the gap / scaling.

@yyzsantabarbara no this DAC isn’t overly smooth, not at all actually. It isn’t harsh either. Took 9 days from order to arrival to the States. 

Also, yes it only has two sets of XLR outs. 

Find got even better when I ran it direct into the amplifiers. This is the best unit I’ve ever owned. Amazing truly amazing.

I just heard from the Okto folks. Said my unit should ship within 1 to 2 weeks, despite them showing as "in stock" at the time of purchase. It's entirely possible that the delay is because I also ordered the custom output voltage and someone has to physically make the modification. I did see something when I checked out that said "4 in stock" or "4 left" when I purchased late Sat night

@shooter41 My understanding is they do need additional time for custom output voltage adjustments. I got mine standard and it still took a couple days to send me tracking info.


It's a good feeling supporting small businesses! Hope you like it. 

I have owned the dac8 stereo and I was truly amazed. Previously I had mytek Brooklyn bridge and Merason Frerot. The Okto was another level. Big and wide soundstage, clean, pure, transparent and detailed yet not analytical nor cold. I have sold it because I needed SE. I now have spring 3 kte and sometimes thinking to get an Okto again. They are very different so not possible to direct compare. Considering the MSB discrete and the T+A 200 too.

Isn’t this the DAC that KR uses in his occasional multichannel reviews in Sterephile?

I’ve had Berkeley2 , PS audio, Macintosh 2, Mcintosh 1, mite h, lumen, Bricasti, Cambridge, Meitner, space tech. blue balls and marantz. This is all been in the past two years and I’ve kept every one for between 2 to 4 months. I got to know them all well. My second favorite would be the space tech third favorite would be the Berkeley, and, like I said, nothing beats the OCTO . I have so

How is the quality of the Raspberry streamer option? Was it difficult to flash the microSD card with a streamer software? How do you connect the card to a computer to do the flash?

I am guessing the USB input is the best streaming option with an external streamer.

I think I am going to order this DAC and forget about the more expensive DAC I had in mind. That dual XLR output is something I was looking for a long time in a DAC. I can connect my headphone amp and 2-channel preamp at the same time to a single DAC using XLR instead of RCA + XLR.



@yyzsantabarbara I look forward to your review of the Okto, you are one of the few people I believe to give an informed and unbiased review.

Besides, we have both owned the Musetec 005, which I feel the Okto will struggle to beat. We will see of course.

At a little less than half the cost of the Musetec 005, the Okto offers amazing value, however the interior is very spartan, does it use a switching or linear PS?

No mention of which ESS chip is being used. The Musetec uses the ESS 9038 Pro, it would be nice if the Okto uses the latest ESS 9039 Pro chip.

Good Luck!


@lordmelton I am thinking of getting the Musetec 005 again or the Okto instead of the Playback Designs Edelwise or Dream that I had my eyes on. The Musetec 005 sounds really good on my KEF LS50 Meta and I think it will be superb on my Magnepan LRS+ that I also have in the office. I also think the 005 will be very good with my new Livingroom speaker, the Yamaha NS5000 (amazing speaker).

My main issue with the 005 is that it is not a good fit for my RAAL VM-1a tube headphone amp which is in the office. Even the maker of the amp heard my 005 at his shop and said it was not a good match. However, I may sell the VM-1a now since I have a new option for my phones that is about 90% as good as the VM-1a. I could use that new option with the Musetec 005 and the phones.

I will be busy for the next 2 months with work and vacations, so I have time to think this out. As you can see in my posts I am going in circles trying to make a decision on this.




How is the quality of the Raspberry streamer option? Was it difficult to flash the microSD card with a streamer software? How do you connect the card to a computer to do the flash?

I don't own one, but am interested as well. I found relevant information in the manual - pp.22-23. I already have an RPi 4 that I'm using as a streamer, seems like all I have to do is just plug it in.

i use a Transcend memory card USB adapter and the official Raspberry Pi imager to write the SD card from a PC. Some OSes let you pre-configure the RPi - just click on the gear icon in the lower right hand corner if it shows up.


What custom voltage did you order? I know that this option comes at an extra cost.


Would love to see pics of Okto in your system. Looks like lot of fun with this DAC in your system. How long has it been, that you have owned the Okto. To compare it with the likes of Bricasti and Meitner is something. Those cost big $$$$ compared to this fairly affordable unit.

I heard it with other dacs much more expensive it is a very good value

 didnot thing its-musicality can March the Terminator2  dac or anything close it does have very good detail, but bass was not that powerful and soundstage any imaging 

not even asgood as the newDenafrips Pontus2-12th anniversary .it’s a very good value but not any giant killer in my experiences.

Good to know @audioman58 . Shows how people have different perspectives and listening preferences.

@milpai i’ll try to get some pictures uploaded to my page tonight or tomorrow. It seriously is the best unit I’ve ever had. It’s very lively and fun. I find it very musical. I think that the bass response is better than most. I like it better than my DCS Bartók. If anybody’s looking for one I’ve got a deal on one on US audiomart. I guess it must be because it’s summer, but I’m having a hard time selling things. I’ve lowered the price on the Bartók to 8750 and still no takers, I guess I’ll drop at another 250 

@raysmtb1 ,

Thank You for willing to take time to upload the pics.

It is very commendable on your part to accept the fact that a DAC like Okto can equal or better a DCS DAC. It is very hard for people to accept this fact. And I did check the ad you have on US Audiomart. For me, your recommendation on this DAC is most genuine because you not only own this DAC, but have presented the facts as they are. It takes a lot of guts on this forum to accept that something pricey you already own was bettered by a lower priced equipment.

Now I am starting to ask myself - why should I go with a higher priced DACs?!

@milpai Much of the general chatter about DACs is based on the Emperor's New Clothes.

Virtually every DAC out there is made as either an ESS 9038 Pro based DAC or a R2R Ladder DAC.

There was a very interesting discussion on WBF a little while back which maintained the point, what could you possibly do to turn a Wadax into a $240k DAC? Even a MBF R2R DAC into a $100k DAC?

They all use the same resistors, maybe they are closer matched? Certainly better power management but you're still dealing with the same core.

If you've got a good (real good) front end most DACs are going to sound excellent.

A recent fallacy is it's all down to the DAC. This is preposterous. Trash in, trash out. A DAC cannot reconfigure the signal it gets unless oversampling and up-sampling are employed, but it gets boring and lifeless after a while. It's like looking at your Rolex and knowing it's a fake.

Personally I prefer ESS DACs, I've had AKM and they sound muddy to me.

R2R can sound excellent but at the end of they day, maybe not this day, processing power will remain supreme.

Any digital based system needs a master clock more than a high priced DAC.

If you’ve got a good (real good) front end most DACs are going to sound excellent.


Agreed. I believe an upper-tier server/streamer paired with a mid-tier DAC will sound superior to a mid-tier server/streamer with a top-tier DAC.

Personally I prefer ESS DACs, I’ve had AKM and they sound muddy to me.

The Gustard A26 uses AKM and I’ve yet to come across any mention of them referred to as sounding "muddy". As with ESS, implementation is everything.

Any digital based system needs a master clock more than a high priced DAC.


Agree. Once again, a well designed and implemented mid-tier DAC strapped to a high quality 10Mhz reference clock can lift the performance envelope to a very high level.


Thank you for posting your experience!

Do you happen to know anyone using the Okto DaC8 Pro? I have a 4-way active stereo system and have had my eye on this DAC. The Pro version has 6dB less dynamic range than the stereo (the stereo runs 4+4) at 125dB which is the same as the Merging Hapi - another unit I have my eye on.

The Okto has the option to directly drive amps. Did you pick this option? I wonder what it entails?

Thank you!

@lewinskih01 I do not know anyone that has that model sorry. I am amazingly happy with mine. I ran it direct to the amplifiers and it works great. I can’t find anything I don’t like about it. For what it cost you can’t lose if you buy one. Like I said before I want probably 10 different units in the past two years and this is by far the best one. I have a DCS Bartók that is spotless that I’m looking to sell. That’s the only one that gives it a run for his money. 

I finally got my Okto stereo DAC today. Took nearly 4 weeks and they were supposedly in stock. I realize it's very early to be making assessments, it's only been on for a few hours, but so far, I'm a bit disappointed. The clarity is certainly there, but in my system ear fatigue sets in pretty quickly. I have it in my headphone setup, feeding a McIntosh MHA200 tube amp. Compared to my Yggy LiM, it just doesn't (yet) sound as natural or, yes I'll say it, analogue. I've never once had ear fatigue with the Yggy, even at loud volumes. It took the Yggy a full week of being on 24/7 before it settled in to the performance I love it for now, so I'll give the Okto time to see if it can blossom. I can already recognize that it is indeed a bargain at it's price point. It's very good, just not quite yet as good (to me, in my system) as my beloved Yggy.

Hard luck @shooter41. Shows how different folks have different preferences. Also shows how components are system dependent. Appreciate your feedback. Let’s see how things turn out after a few more hours on the DAC. Good luck.

Well, it's already getting better. Even with just a few more hours on it last night the ear fatigue issue was nearly gone. Then today I realized I was making a mistake by also incorporating a new AES cable at the same time as the new DAC. I've had it a while (a Chinese Nordost Silver knock-off) and it's really short but with the new DAC I was able to move some things around and make it work, so I was excited to try it. Seems to have been a mistake. I just went back to my DH Labs AES cable and *poof*, the ear fatigue issue is gone. Honestly, the Okto now sounds more like the Yggy than different. I would not yet say it's better, but it may very well may be eventually. The volume control on the Okto is a very useful feature for me (volume knob on the McIntosh headphone amp is hair-trigger, to say the least) so it definitely earns some points there. Other cable probably just needs more burn-in time. Like I said, it was already improving last night and I suspect the DAC was, too.

I would reserve judgement until you have 250 hours on it.  In my experience, almost all new gear needs to break in.  Similarly, used gear will often benefit from 2-4 days of continuous play (particularly solid state) to settle in.

The volume control turned out to be what tipped the Okto over the Yggdrasil. There’s very little difference in sound between them. If anything, the Yggy may have a touch more warmth, but it’s not enough of a difference to get me to forgo the volume control, so I’ve already sold the Yggy. To be clear, if you have a Yggy Less-Is-More DAC and like/love it the way I did mine, and have no need for a volume control then I would not make the change.

Both of these are excellent DACs that punch way above their price points, so it’s hard to go wrong with either. I just finally snagged a pair of my dream headphones (HifiMan Susvara) at a great price so I’ll soon have an even better window into the sound of the Okto, but I’m not worried that I won’t like what I hear. If it were a house you’d say it has great "bones", meaning it’s just fundamentally good. It’s entirely possible still that the sound of the Okto will eventually surpass the Yggy completely, but I honestly don’t expect that to happen. I have enough hours on it now that anything more than a very subtle change would be improbable.

I'm Glad I have discovered this model, the dimensions are a little increased to the dimensions I see as ideal, but that is not a deal breaker.

The versatility is very attractive, the reports on the SQ are very encouraging and I have now discovered one for as a Six Month used item for euro 840.

The used value combined with the other positives certainly makes this a Shortlist Model.

@shooter41 ,

I somehow missed that this was your headphone setup and not stereo speakers. But thanks for sharing your thoughts on the comparison between the Okto and Yggy. Do you have a stereo setup that you were able to compare these 2 DACs?

My Oppo plays "meh" when I spin silver discs. But as a DAC using the USB input, it sounds amazingly different.

Currently, no, but we're about to get started on a new house with a dedicated media room. BUT, I'm using some pretty good headphones (HE1000 V2) and the Susvara's I have coming are fantastic headphones that normally retail for $6K, so I don't think I'm missing much, if anything.

I have an Oppo, too. I've done some upgrades on it (power supply and stabilizer plate) and I still find it a bit "meh" for playing SACD's. I've never used it as a DAC only but it would seem to not stand a chance against either the Okto or the Yggy. I could, of course, be wrong.

This info referring the Okto DAC being a Headphone Device as well, is very appealing as I am to be in temporary accommodation for a period of time, hence the interest in the devices dimensions.

The main system is to be packed away, and a miniature system is to be used for Headphone Listening in the new abode.

The intention is to then use the miniature system as a second set up, that is easily concealed in a selected space in the renovated home.

I have explained to my wife, we can use ceiling speakers for all over the home supply of sound and have a typical stereo set up, from the non-valve device concealed system.

I will be trying to wean my wife away from Alexia and use this new set up. She is not confident with the Main Systems Valve Devices, she knows my disciplines around them and does not like to have the responsibilities, I make known are best to be followed. 

I was lucky enough to get my hands on the dac8 Stereo late last year.  Awesome sounding and everything everyone says about it are true. 

One thing I have yet to get worked out…when connecting to your preamp, where should the dac8’s volume be set?  I don’t want to overdrive the signal into the pre. I’ve used -16dB and -13dB, but I’d like a definitive value.  


I tried 0dB at the start, but the signal is definitely overdriven for the pre input.

I feel like Unity Gain is in neighborhood of 13dB.

Mine arrived yesterday. I am running the output at 0 and it works fine with my Pass X.0 front end. Amp is an Audio Research 100.2. Speakers are Vandersteen Quatro Wood CT.

I have not heard a lot of high end DACs. I have heard the Audio Research DAC9 at the local shop with top of the line Vandersteen speakers. An awesome system. A wall of sound with floating instruments. Just beautiful.

On my Quatro Wood CTs, the Octo DAC* has gotten me a very close to that sound. The clarity is gorgeous. I listen to a lot of classical, jazz and all kinds of pop. In familiar music, I’m hearing instruments cleanly distinct in parts that I have never quite heard before. And it’s a beautiful floating presentation. I am listening to some ancient choral music by Alexander Agricola currently, and the sound is truly heavenly and three dimensional, like a perfect medieval church. On an old favorite Pat Metheny recording, the string attack on his reverb soaked tone stands out in a way that gives better look at his rhythmic style and melodic swing.

In general, dense mixes are much more apparent. Production decisions, mix decisions are revealed beautifully. Upright bass lines, subtle percussion elements. It’s all there . So far it hasn’t made any recording sound worse. With the Vandersteen Quatro CT, I am getting an electrostatic quality, which I got before, except that now, it’s much more clear. My previous DACs were a Bryston DAC1 and a Yulong Dac8.

I am very pleased with this purchase. I had been saving for some of the pricier Chinese super DACs, but I am glad to have reached this level at this price point. I have a second system in a smaller room I am working on. So I have another reason to try something new. That will be a few months down the road.