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Review: Métronome AQWO 2 Hybrid DAC SACD/CD Streamer - The Reference Universal Digital Player

It is a solution that is made to play CD and SACD, the outstanding signal processing is also available to external sources in the form of a fantastic D/A converter, and for content from the net it is equipped with a streaming client, the new Métronome AQWO 2. THE HiFi BLOG of sempre-audio.at was lucky to get the first serial model for this exclusive review!

Story Highlights
  • It is the second generation of an outstanding solution that offers Métronome technology with the Métronome AQWO 2, combining CD and SACD player, DAC and streaming client.

French high-end hi-fi manufacturer Métronome Technologie boasts a particularly exciting product line in the form of the Métronome AQWO Series, the latest addition to which is the Métronome AQWO 2. This is the second generation of the solution that launched this whole special product line in 2018. The Métronome AQWO Series is considered one of the most important of the French high-end hi-fi forge, after all, its products can be seen as a prime example of what Métronome Technologie stands for as a whole. With the solutions of the Métronome AQWO Series, the proven digital specialist addresses particularly demanding hi-fi enthusiasts who place the highest value on perfection.

The drive to always achieve perfection was also the initial impetus for the development of a new generation of the Métronome AQWO. Interestingly, they are now talking about a solution that looks like the previous Métronome AQWO at first glance, but ultimately has nothing in common with it, it is a completely new development.

The Métronome AQUO Series – The digital reference

First of all, it should be mentioned that the Métronome AQWO Series is one of currently three product lines from Métronome Technologie. In addition to this product line, there is also the Métronome Digital Sharing Series and the Métronome Classica Series. Even though these two product lines – Métronome Digital Sharing Series and Métronome Classica Series – offer very fine solutions, it can be said that the Métronome AQWA Series is the French reference, especially in the case of the new Métronome AQWO 2, which can also be considered the new flagship.

But let’s still look at those solutions that the company has had to show in this product line so far, first and foremost, of course, the Métronome AQWO launched in 2018.

The Métronome AQWO was conceived as a CD and SACD player whose signal processing is also available to external sources, so it also functions as a DAC. The company referred to this as the Métronome AQWO Hybrid DAC + SACD/CD.

In addition, with the Métronome t|AQWO SACD Transport and the Métronome c|AQWO D/A Converter, two components were offered that split the functionality of the Métronome AQWO just described into two systems.

With the new Métronome AQWO 2, it is once again the case that all functions are packed into one system, namely a CD or even SACD player, a D/A converter and, what is new, now also a streaming client.

Métronome AQWO 2 – Everything it takes to go digital

A particularly striking feature of the new Métronome AQWO 2 is the flexibility it offers. One could also say that with this solution you are well equipped for all digital content tasks, whether they come from optical media, from various source devices in the hi-fi chain, or from the network.

Do CDs and SACDs have a future at all?

Some people may ask themselves whether a CD player, or even an SACD player, is still needed in times of streaming services that are available everywhere and at all times.

From Métronome Technologie’s point of view, the answer is a very clear and unequivocal yes, and without the slightest doubt. In fact, Jean Marie Clauzel, owner of Métronome Technologie, stated in an interview with sempre-audio.at that his company will always rely on CD or SACD. Even if no one on the market builds such solutions anymore, Métronome Technologie will still offer a CD and SACD player. That is what you call a very clear commitment to optical data carriers.

And it will not be Métronome Technologie alone that will continue to rely on CD or SACD, we are sure of that, because interestingly enough, it can be observed that the higher the demand for quality, the greater the importance of optical data carriers among users.

Even if, in the broad perception of consumers, the CD really no longer has any significance in consumer electronics, because it is simply disappearing from the shelves of retailers, for audiophiles, on the other hand, it will continue to represent a fixed quantity.

A completely new product

As we already mentioned, even though the new Métronome AQWO 2 is at first glance recognisable as the successor of the Métronome AQWO, it is actually a completely new product, as the manufacturer explicitly states.

Everything, and really everything, is new here, starting with the housing, the DAC processor, the electronics as a whole are completely new, thus also the firmware is new, and even details such as the new touchscreen display for optimal operation now distinguish the Métronome AQWO 2.

It is a well-known fact, however, that the new Métronome AQWO 2, like its predecessor of the first generation, offers the possibility to be further upgraded by means of a tube output stage, but more on that in the following.

New chassis – Proven solid construction

Even though it may not be very noticeable, the new Métronome AQWO 2 features a completely new chassis design. As already mentioned, this was made necessary by completely new electronics inside. What has not changed, however, is that it is a solution that once again employs the sober, timelessly elegant design language of Métronome technology, and that it is a very robust chassis.

According to the data sheet, the Métronome AQWO 2 measures 425 x 130 x 415 mm, but what is much more impressive is that it weighs a considerable 17 kg.

Where this weight comes from is now really obvious at first glance, namely through the proven extremely solid workmanship of the device, such as a solid front made of aluminium, which presents itself to the user. And the rest of the housing is also made of metal with generously dimensioned wall thicknesses; a glance is enough to recognise this as well.

Top loader with a particularly simple operating concept

The Métronome AQWO 2 CD and SACD player is designed as a so-called top loader, with a cover on the top that conceals the drive. The corresponding cover is made of solid aluminium, yet it glides smoothly and evenly when opened and closed. This conveys a unique feel that really only high-end hi-fi systems have. This also applies to the puck for fixing the CD or SACD, which, according to the manufacturer, is made of Delrin.

By the way, the front does not have any controls, but a very generous display, which, as with the predecessor, is designed as a touchscreen display. However, the display of the Métronome AQWO 2 is also new. With a diagonal of 6.5 inches and an aspect ratio of 21:9, it now has a much higher resolution and thus an even clearer display, which should make it even easier to read all relevant information, even from a distance.

For the sake of completeness, it should be mentioned that the infrared diode for the remote control, which is included in the scope of delivery, is located directly below the display, while the main switch is located at the rear.

Drive from D&M Group

Once again, the developers of the new Métronome AQWO 2 rely on a pick-up mechanism developed by the D&M Group, which has since become Sound United LLC, now Masimo Consumer. Whatever the current situation at the group level, it is a fact that the turntables are particularly high-quality solutions that come from the experienced developers who are also responsible for the first-class premium hi-fi systems of the Denon and Marantz brands.

The developers of Métronome Technologie use these drives as a basis for their own optimisations and ultimately to guarantee the bit-perfect reproduction that is promised for the new Métronome AQWO 2 for both audio CDs and Super Audio CDs.

Converters from ESS Technology Inc.

The signal processing is done by a D/A converter from the specialist ESS Technology Inc., namely a DAC of the type ESS ES9038Pro, which is able to process signals in Linear PCM with up to 32 bit and 384 kHz and thus so-called DXD, furthermore also DSD up to DSD512. If desired, re-sampling can be performed to achieve the best possible quality.

Such high resolutions in signal processing are of course not really relevant when playing back audio CDs or even SACDs, but they are when integrating the Métronome AQWO 2 into a network.

The Métronome AQWO 2 as a flexible streaming client

One of the reasons why Métronome Technologie decided to develop a new generation of the reference system Métronome AQWO was the desire to equip it with a streaming client and thus to provide the user with a solution that is actually equipped for all tasks related to digital content, and of course streaming has long played a central role in this.

Métronome Technologie sees itself as a proven digital specialist, but one area where it decided to rely entirely on existing components from other experts instead of developing its own systems at great expense is the topic of streaming. A sensible decision, because what revolutionary new development should be made in a streaming module that does not already exist?

Thus, one relies on a streaming platform that primarily supports UPnP as the only actual industry standard in this area; accordingly, the number of apps that users can choose for convenient control via smartphone or tablet, be it Apple iOS or Google Android, is also broadly diversified.

In addition to their own content from the network, the various apps can also be used to access various online offers, as a wide range of streaming services are of course also available.

Métronome Technologie recommends the solution mConnect, a UPnP-based app for Apple iOS and Google Android, which is constantly being developed and has proven to be reliable and easy to use for years.

With the help of the app, as already mentioned, various streaming services are directly available, such as TIDAL, Qobuz, Deezer and Internet Radio via vTuner.

This app is also helpful if you want to integrate the Métronome AQWO 2 into a wireless network, because it not only has an RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet interface, but also a WiFi module. The integration into the wireless network can be done easily within a few minutes with mConnect, even without specialist knowledge.

But not only UPnP is available, Apple AirPlay is also supported, and of particular importance in the high-end hi-fi environment is that the new Métronome AQWO 2 is also Roon-ready, which means that it can be used directly with the media management and multi-room hi-res audio streaming software from Roon Labs LLC.

Métronome Technologie is also pursuing a partnership with the French software company Audirvāna SAS, whose Audirvāna solution is one of the most versatile solutions on the market for managing audio data on a PC or Mac, and playing it back directly in the best quality. Audirvāna SAS has initiated the partner programme “Plāys with Audirvāna”, and Métronome Technologie is part of it, so that the systems from France will gradually also bear the corresponding “Plāys with Audirvāna” certificate, probably soon also the new Métronome AQWO 2.

The Métronome AQWO 2 as D/A converter

To connect digital sources, the new Métronome AQWO 2 offers an AES/EBU as well as an optical and coaxial S/PDIF interface. The most flexible solution, however, is a USB-B port that allows a PC or Mac to be used directly as a source. The full resolution of the DAC from ESS Technology Inc. is also accessible via this interface, whereby no drivers are required for Apple macOS and all relevant files are provided by the manufacturer for Microsoft Windows.

It is interesting to note that the new Métronome AQWO 2 also has a number of digital outputs, not only a coaxial S/PDIF interface, but also an AES/EBU and even an HMDI port, through which digital signals can be output directly as I2S.

On request with tube output stage

It is quite amusing that Métronome Technologie, as already mentioned several times, sees itself as a specialist for digital solutions and has gained a very special reputation in this field, but at the same time offers an option for a solution like the Métronome AQWO 2 that one would probably not expect, namely an output stage based on tubes.

Yes, the solution that Métronome Technologie developed as the reference system for all things “digital” is available with a tube output stage on request.

From Métronome Technologie’s point of view, this is nothing special, on the contrary, they handle this quite soberly, free of dogmas, and thus focus on solutions that add up to the best. And for the outstanding sound that one wants to achieve with the Métronome AQWO 2, the optional tube output stage is the crowning glory, so to speak.

Whether it’s a solid-state or tube output stage, the Métronome AQWO 2 outputs analogue signals either via XLR balanced or RCA unbalanced.

Elaborately designed power supply

Finally, it should be mentioned that the developers of the new Métronome AQWO 2 have of course also used a particularly sophisticated power supply, as the company believes that this is an essential component when it comes to achieving the best sound quality.

The basis is a toroidal transformer with Schaffner filters, the individual components of the system are supplied by no less than ten individual voltage regulators.

From the practice

We have already enjoyed many a fine solution from Métronome Technologie in our listening studio, and this time, it can be said in advance, it was once again a very special experience.

The fact that the Métronome AQWO Series is the product line that the French high-end hi-fi manufacturer regards as a reference can be experienced in all aspects of the new Métronome AQWO 2 from the very beginning. Everything fits: the design, the noble haptics that result from the impeccable workmanship, and last but not least, the operating concept that is reduced to the absolute essentials.

It is a kind of statement to provide the customer with a solution where, in the simplest case, all you have to do is open the cover on the top, insert a CD, gently close the drawer, and playback begins and you can enjoy music in outstanding quality. That is true luxury, and that is exactly what the new Métronome AQWO 2 offers.

In this regard, we can once again address the question, which was deliberately provocative, as to whether there is still a need for something like a CD player in the age of streaming.

The Métronome AQWO 2 impressively proves that there is a gigantic potential in a simple CD that only needs the right playback equipment to be fully exploited.

It was astonishing to hear the sound quality that CDs can deliver, the variety of detail, dynamics and thus the overall liveliness and power that this medium, considered obsolete by so many, actually offers.

The fact that the quality of the Métronome AQWO 2’s performance with SACDs is on a higher level was of course not so surprising, we were more surprised by the direct comparison with streaming.

Some people will not be happy about what we are about to say, because those who rely solely on music playback from streaming services must be aware that they are by no means choosing the best quality available.

In fact, it is sometimes shocking how miserable the performance of music is on the current platforms. This is proven by a direct comparison that allows versatile, flexible systems of the reference class, such as the Métronome AQWO 2.

We don’t want to get into any questions of principle here, let’s not get into that, because it’s all about the best quality that you want to enjoy.

The fact is that music lovers with a pronounced passion for collecting often have the best on their shelves for years, namely the original CD of a recording that has not yet been smoothed out by compressors and limiters for maximum level and robbed of all dynamics and liveliness, or perhaps the one outstanding remaster on XRCD, the very special edition on SACD, and precisely these are often vastly superior to anything that streaming services focused on sheer mass deliver.

Of course, this does not mean that streaming is not possible at the same high level. On the contrary, if the Métronome AQWO 2 has the appropriate data at its disposal, it can reproduce music over the network with flying colours, Hi-res audio becomes a real treat and terms like Studio Master Quality are suddenly more than just marketing messages.

You can see what we’re getting at, which is that with a solution like the Métronome AQWO 2, you’re equipped to decide for yourself which medium you want to use to achieve one thing: true musical enjoyment.

Once again, Métronome Technologie has achieved what has been the French company’s intention from the very beginning with the systems of the Métronome AQWO Series: solutions that are versatile enough to be perfectly adapted to the user’s needs, no matter whether he chooses CD, SACD or streaming. In any case, the Métronome AQWO 2 is the perfect tool for the job.

The Métronome AQWO 2 with optional tube output stage provided to us delivered such a gripping, detailed performance that we really got more excited by the hour. Many of you, dear readers, will be familiar with those joyful moments when you select track after track, all of which you have probably played hundreds of times before, and are thrilled to discover that you have never heard them like this before.

So it’s clear that the Métronome AQWO 2 gets a clear recommendation with full marks.

Prices and availability

The new Métronome AQWO is already available in specialised shops, where the customer can choose between three versions. First of all, there are the design versions in black and silver; what is new is that Métronome Technologie now also offers a version with a black body but a front in gold, where the cover of the drive on the top is also in gold.

However, all three versions are available at the same price, namely € 19.990,-. If you also want the optional tube output stage described above, you will have to pay an additional € 2.190,-.

Getting to the point

AQWO, the name Métronome Technologie derives from the ancient Greek verb akouo, which means “to hear well” and is thus perfectly suited to describe the product line that the company considers its flagship series. With the new Métronome AQWO 2, the company now offers a system that has been completely redeveloped compared to its direct predecessor, and which is now not only used for the playback of CDs and SACDs, but also as a streaming client and whose outstanding signal processing is also available to external sources as a D/A converter. Without a doubt, Métronome Technologie delivers the reference with the new Métronome AQWO 2, a precision tool that is the perfect foundation for music enjoyment at the highest level.

PriceMétronome AQWO 2 € 19.990,-
Optional tube output stage € 2.190,-
ManufacturerMetronome Technologie
Distribution AustriaAudio Exclusive GmbH
Distribution GermanyH.E.A.R. GmbH
Distribution SwitzerlandPortier Hi-Fi
More about this manufacturer at HIFI BLOG

HiFiBLOG Award Reference

Whether CD, SACD or streaming, Métronome technology wants to leave it up to the hi-fi enthusiast alone to decide which medium he chooses, but with the Métronome AQWO 2 he should in any case have a solution at hand that is considered a reference, a precision tool that allows perfect reproduction at the very highest level and presents music in all its nuances.


  • Timelessly elegant design
  • immaculately crafted
  • outstanding sound rich in detail and nuances
  • Combines CD and SACD player with streaming
  • Can be used as DAC for external sources
  • Simple operating concept


  • No disadvantages evident

Test Environment

  • Musical Fidelity M8xi Integrated Amplifier
  • KEF Blade
  • NUCLEUS+ by Roon
  • Roon
  • Apple Macbook Pro
  • Loudspeaker cables from Nordost
  • Signal cables from AudioQuest



The Métronome AQWO 2 is a reference when it comes to audio CD, SACD or streaming playback from the network. This solution can rightly claim to be the new flagship of the French high-end hi-fi company Métronome Technologie.

User Rating: 3.09 ( 16 votes)
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Michael Holzinger

Michael Holzinger, founder and editor-in-chief of HiFi BLOG and sempre-audio.at, has been working for years as a journalist in the fields of IT, photography, telecommunications and consumer electronics.

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