Good though the P8 is, comparisons with tube preamplifiers such as the Metis reveal areas where it might be improved. First, the P8’s highs tend to sound slightly dry and two-dimensional relative to the sweeter, more three-dimensional treble response good tube units achieve. Second, the P8 never fully captures the vivid, vibrant tonal colors that tubes, at their best, can reproduce. In fact, those tonal colors may even be a form of coloration, but if so it’s a coloration that brings listening sessions alive.
Which preamp sounds more musical? The answer depends on your priorities. The Metis is arguably more magical and involving in the midrange and treble region, and it provides an onboard mm phonostage. On the other hand, the P8 is quieter, more flexible, and more revealing of subtle inner details, and it offers greater definition, broader frequency response, and unequivocally superior bass. Both preamps compete effectively with models twice their price, and either would make a splendid introduction to the world of high-end separates. Either way, know that the Metis and P8 both serve music well. TAS