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: Paul Candy
Digital Source: CEC TL51X transport, Audiomat Tempo 2.6 DAC, HP laptop, Win 7/8, J. River Media Center 17, JPlay, John Kenny JKSPDIF Mk3 USB-SPDIF interface
Analog Source: Well-Tempered Lab Amadeus with DPS power supply, Pro-Ject Tube Box SE phono stage, Ortofon Rondo Blue MC cartridge
Amps: Audiomat Opéra Référence integrated
Speakers: Green Mountain Audio Callisto on sand filled Skylan stands, Capriccio Continuo Admonitor 311 [in for review],2 x REL Q108 Mk II subwoofers
Cables: MIT Magnum M1.3 interconnects & speaker cables, MIT Magnum digital cable, Sablon Audio Panatela interconnects and speaker cables [in for review], Wireworld Equinox 6 interconnects & speaker cables,Transparent Audio Performance USB cable. 
AC Cables: MIT Magnum AC1, Wireworld Aurora 5² & Silver Electra 5², Sablon Audio Robusto & Gran Corona
Stands: Grand Prix Audio Monaco four-tier rack on APEX footers with silicon nitride bearings
Powerline conditioning: BPT Pure Power Center with Wattgate, Bybee Quantum Purifier and ERS cloth options, Blue Circle BC86 MK5, Blue Circle 6X & 12X AC Filters [on loan]
Sundry accessories: Acoustic Revive RR-77, Auric Illuminator, Audio Magic/Quantum Physics Noise Disruptors, Caig Pro Gold, Echo Busters acoustic room treatments, Isoclean fuses, HiFi Tuning Disc Demagnetizer, Nitty Gritty record cleaning machine, Soundcare Superspikes (on speaker stands), dedicated AC line with CruzeFIRST Audio Maestro outlets
Room size: 11 x 18 x 8’, long-wall setup, suspended hardwood floors with large area sisal rug, walls are standard drywall over Fiberglas insulation
Review Component Retail: CDN$7.199

Several months ago I reviewed the 24/192 DAC from Calyx Audio, a division of Korean firm Digital & Analog. While I thought highly of this fine DAC, there was clearly more Calyx could offer not just in performance but also on features. Their new statement Femto aims to address that. The Femto is a full-sized component with all the bells and whistles you could wish for. It also retails for well over three times the price. Would it be worth the additional outlay? Let’s find out.

Prototype front panel

Unfortunately my pictures do not fully demonstrate the Femto’s gorgeous build quality or serious heft. It definitely has the look and feel of a luxury product. The Femto clocks in at a whopping 18.5kg, measures 430 W x 102 H x 403.8mm D and sports some seriously thick beautifully machined aluminum. Its cork-lined feet, not the usual generic rubber variety, along with the massive aluminum panels indicate a strong effort by Calyx’s design team to addressing resonances which can have considerable impact on a component’s performance. This is the level of attention to detail I want to see if I’m asked to spend over $7.000 for a component. I hadn’t even listened to it yet and already wanted to whip out my cheque book.

A considerable improvement over the 24/192 are the Femto’s input options: two optical, two coaxial, two AES/EBU, one BNC and one USB. Both single-ended and balanced outputs complete the connectivity options. All inputs support sampling rates from 44.1kHz to 192kHz. For the USB connection Mac users are good to go while Windows users will need to install the included Thesycon driver on their PCs first to allow 24-bit/176.4kHz and 24-bit/192 kHz playback. It took all of a couple of minutes to install it. Just remember to install the driver prior to hooking up the Femto.

While the 24/192 had a single small LED on the front panel to indicate signal lock, the upscale Femto offers a large beautiful display with nicely subdued orange alphanumerics which are clearly visible from across the room. I remain baffled at the number of DACs, servers and the like which have dinky little displays to require a set of binoculars to make them out. Who designs this stuff?

The Femto’s display indicates selected input, digital filter setting, incoming sampling rate, polarity and volume level and is controlled by the cluster of small buttons on the right side of the front panel and also by the beautifully finished aluminum remote. So often otherwise nicely appointed audio equipment is tainted by the inclusion of some cheap off-the-shelf plastic remote. I was pleased to see Calyx avoid this.