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!





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.