by Kevin OBrien on February 26, 2022


Is it possible to follow up the Sonnet Digital Morpheus with something more refined, yet fit in the same chassis and give the listener just that much more insight into their recordings? The answer is "yes". Cees Ruijtenberg has done it again. Did you expect anything less?

Enter the Pasithea DAC, Cees' latest creation. Choose a silver or black faceplate up front but be ready for complete fun between your speakers (or earphones). This converter is cut from the exact same cloth as the Morpheus, it's little brother. See our YFS review of the Morpheus here. The remote control remains unchanged for either model. This is good news as the Morpheus remote was more than adequate cut from a solid block of aluminum. We won't bore you with how the Pasithea menus and other peripherals work, as that's covered in our Morpheus review, as they are essentially identical in that regard. You probably guessed it by now, both DACs are of the same flavor, that being R2R "Ladder" DACs. This makes sense as Pasithea is simply the upgraded version of Morpheus.

More importantly, let's talk about how Pasithea differs from Morpheus. Pasithea packs a few important features that sets it apart. There are two separate input options for USB and I2S now. No need to decide which one you'll use for a single input. The all-important gain settings now live within the user menu accessible via the front panel and the 'source' / 'power' buttons (still set at -10dB). A crucial hardware difference is the beefed-up power supply and presence of even more powerful 3rd generation Sonnet Digital 'converter modules'. These modules have an operating temperature of ~120 degrees Fahrenheit. That's why the big brother has a slotted, vented top cover and the junior version does not. And for the question everyone is wondering about, "So how do they compare in sound quality?". And we're glad you asked because there's differences there too.

The first thing we noticed after setting the DAC up and letting it play for 24 hours (burn-in was performed for 3 weeks straight prior to the evaluation) was that Pasithea presented so much air and space between instruments and voices. WOW! Impressive. After spending more time with Pasithea, a sense of resolution could be heard every time we turned on our amplifiers to evaluate. It was difficult to put our finger on what we were hearing at first but the bass and midrange were all there, albeit slightly de-emphasized. It seemed the emphasis in the overall presentation was on the upper frequencies and upper midrange. The lower midrange and bass weight we were used to was somewhat slightly lacking. Not so with Morpheus. Nothing wrong with that. Proper 'final voicing' needs to happen in our system with cables and other finishing touches to top things off at the end of our setup. That's a piece of cake!

After making a few tweaks to our system, the global consensus was that we were hearing a very real, detailed, refined, wide, tall, and deep soundstage coming from Pasithea. Imaging placed us a little further back in the concert hall than compared to our previous converters. The image thrown behind the speakers was unlike anything we have experienced. This DAC scared us on a few occasions as it presented recordings with such dynamic swings and realism. This was an impressive machine to say the very least. Conclusion: If carefully paired with proper cables and surrounding equipment, this DAC could really sing!  

When you hear something as unique as this converter, it is possible to get spoiled quickly when switching back to lesser gear. There's just a certain refinement that you get with the Morpheus' bigger brother that you don't get with the younger sibling. It doesn't hit you in the face right off the bat but it only takes a day to settle in as you say it, "This is definitely a special piece". A big 'Thank You' goes out to Cees for being able to pull off sending this review sample in the middle of a Pandemic. The Pasithea may not be to everyone's tastes but it definitely checks the boxes for us here at YFS.

Unfortunately, at the time of writing this review, there is no way to get either a Morpheus DAC or a Pasithea DAC, as supply chain issues have wreaked havoc on the tech world. Hopefully things will settle down and the world will 'open up' again soon. We are crossing our fingers as more of these wonderful Sonnet converters need to land in US listening rooms.

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Until next time...