Eversolo DMP-A8 streaming preamplifier

A few summers ago, I briefly got it in my head that I could become a wine connoisseur. This was due to a very generous and unexpected gift. A local acquaintance had passed away, and his wife wanted to rid her basement of his small wine collection.

I don't know why I was chosen as the lucky recipient, but after stammering half a dozen thank-yous, I suddenly owned about 150 fine wines. A few carried four-figure price tags.

Reliably telling a Pinot Grigio from a Chardonnay isn't part of my skill set. Grape varieties, terroir, vintages? You might as well ask a toddler to become conversant in quantum mechanics. Still, I was intrigued by the bottles and amused by the ridiculousness of the situation. Me, an oenophile? I supposed I could pretend, and I did.

After opening and drinking, with my wife, a 1988 Château Léoville Barton, I wrote an over-the-top review and emailed it to a wine-loving friend for his amusement. "I beheld Hawthorn berries and beef stock along with a suggestion of blonde tobacco. Other than the obvious green walnut, there was a top note of wet Baja beach at dawn, mixing subtly with minke-whale flatulence and a hint of two-day-old scallop innards. Finally, with subsequent sips, I detected the aroma of the well-worn merkin of a Honduran sex worker. All in all, not a bad wine."

Eat your heart out, Robert Parker!

When the buzz of the Bordeaux wore off, so did my oenophile aspirations. I was already an audiophile. I mean, one hobby obsessed with determining "betterness" is all I can handle—especially because subjectivity is not the same as off-the-cuff opinionating. Useful opinions are backed by experience, earnest effort, and some level of real discernment.

Anechoic or spectroscopic measurements may give us a basic idea of how a speaker will sound, or how a wine will taste. But we're only able to judge subjectively—not mainly scientifically—if and why the 1998 Romanée-Conti appeals to us more than the 2001 vintage, or whether, to our ears, the Eversolo DMP-A8 streamer sounds good enough to beat its competitors.

And it so happens that I have some perfectly sober thoughts on that matter.

Men of mystery
Eversolo is a subsidiary of consumer-tech company Zidoo, which is based in Shenzhen, China. The brand landed in North America a few years ago, with a bit of a splash. Its Neo S 4K player won an EISA Award, but the buzz around the company turned into a low roar because of its $859 DMP-A6, an excellent DAC/streamer that's about half the size of a shoebox. Last year, the A6 and the upgraded A6 Master Edition ($1299) became ubiquitous belles of the ball, followed in November by the larger and more versatile DMP-A8 DAC/streamer/preamp that is the subject of this review. The A8 costs $1980.

US distributor Lily Luo sent me a one-page history of the company that lifts just a small tip of the veil. This is the first sentence, about Eversolo's founders: "Y and M are two senior software engineers in their 40's." Initials only? I inquired about Y and M's full names. "Their English names are Steven and Mirror," Luo wrote back, coyly. "They are very low-key founders and engineers. To the outside world, they are nonexistent and ghost-like."

International men of mystery! Is that cool? Silly? You decide. Luo estimates that the company employs about 100 people, and that "half of the team are software and hardware engineers." She says that Eversolo has its ambitious sights set on "more streaming products, digital processors, power amplification products, and headphone amplifiers."

A clean machine
The A8's CNC-machined aluminum body is just over 15" wide, about 4.5" more imposing than its A6 predecessor. The unit is 9.5" deep, 3.5" tall, and has a 6" diagonal touchscreen—substantially smaller than the 13" screen on the HiFi Rose RS520 I reviewed last year.

On the right of the fascia is the knob fronting a stepped R2R volume control. Expect satisfying clicks from the analog relays as you adjust the level in your choice of 0.5dB or 1dB increments. The knob is surrounded by a dimmable white LED ring. On the far left is a small Eversolo logo—and that's it. "Such a clean machine," Queen's Roger Taylor might sing.

Around back, we have three stubby Bluetooth and Wi-Fi antennae that can fold out of sight without compromising data reception (at least in my room). Then there are RCA and XLR analog outs, an I2S bus to feed a high-end DAC (should you wish to use the A8 as a standalone streamer) as well as outputs for TosLink and coax digital and two USB ports (marked "3.0 OTG" and "USB AUDIO OUT" respectively).

Eversolo bills the A8 not just as a streamer and DAC but as a high-quality analog preamp. Consequently, you'll find tons of options to connect other gear. The analog ins have both RCA and XLR ports. On the digital side, there's an HDMI ARC input, two TosLink inputs, two S/PDIFs on RCA, and a USB port.

On the left as you face the rear of the unit are a power switch and the usual three-prong power cable receptacle. A standard black power cord is included; I used a Clarus Crimson cable instead. Rounding out the back panel are a gigabit Ethernet port and a 12V trigger.

You can run cables between each output and whatever associated equipment you're using, but only one output at a time can be enabled—and they do need to be enabled. During my first evening with the A8, it took me an embarrassingly long time to understand why I wasn't hearing anything. I checked that I was using the correct input on the preamp, that the AudioQuest Coffee digital cable was working as it should, that I'd selected and enabled the player in the Roon app, and that the volume was up to a potentially audible level. The upshot: Don't be like me. Both the A8 touchscreen and the phone app feature an input/output screen. Just tap on the inputs and outputs you want to turn on.

When a desire for convenience is more important than getting the highest audio quality (it happens; I'm not sniffing!), users can connect to the A8 via Bluetooth, including aptX HD. The codec is a solid improvement over regular aptX, though still not lossless, and it only works with a similarly enabled source device. (Your iPhone, for example, will connect with the AAC codec, which is also supported.)

Flipping the unit over reveals a slot for an NVMe M.2 solid state drive (not included), where you can store your music files locally and call them up with the Eversolo app or the front-panel interface. The A8 will accept up to 4TB of SSD of storage via said slot. Need more? You can add a USB drive via that USB OTG port.

Photos of the unit's exceptionally well-organized innards reveal two power supplies, one linear, one switching. Eversolo says this approach eliminates "interference and noise between the system circuit and the audio circuit." The linear PSU circuit consists of a multi-winding toroidal transformer "designed to match the characteristics of analog audio circuits." The switching power supply, meanwhile, is tailored for the system circuit, where it aims to reduce "ripple and magnetic leakage interference," theoretically resulting in increased purity of sound. The A8 autosenses the voltage coming from the wall and adapts accordingly: You can use it in the US or overseas without flicking a manual switch.

Look closely and you'll see high-quality WIMA capacitors from Germany and Nichikon ones from Japan alongside Japanese Omron relays and US-made, audio-specific Texas Instruments OPA1612 op-amps.

The A8 handles files up to DSD512 and 32/768 PCM when connected via network or USB, and outputs digital files in the same elevated quality over I2S or USB. Eversolo says that the unit has a signal/noise ratio and a dynamic range of 128dB and THD+N of –120dB. Let's see if JA confirms.

Notable extra features include CD playback and ripping from an external optical drive, half a dozen digital filters to subtly tailor the A8's sonics to taste, and a nice selection of eye candy in the form of selectable virtual VU meters and spectrometers.

Chentian Stock Building, Floor 13
Dingjunshan Film Technology Industrial Park, Baotian First Rd., Xixiang Ave.
Baoan District, Shenzhen, China 518000

DaveinSM's picture

Thank you for this review. Welp, looks like I’ll be out a couple grand pretty soon. ;-)

bhkat's picture


My favorite documentary of wine connoisseurs. I've noticed it applies quite well to audio.

DaveinSM's picture

These Eversolos sure look to offer more for less compared to Hifi Rose’s offerings. Other than the large screens, the Eversolos all have balanced and rca analog outs, reportedly better integrated apps, and DSP equalizers for tone control.

I’m going to pop in a 2 tb SSD module and move everything on flac onto this thing. Streaming is just a bonus for me.

The DMP-A8 appears to also have an HDMI input. I’m wondering if I can use the HMDI output on my old (SCD-XA5400es) Sony SACD player to somehow burn SACDs onto this thing as DSD files…

JRT's picture

Thank you for reviewing this very interesting product. It was a good choice in subject matter.

The review makes it apparent that the audio signal performance, depending on user choices among settings, can exhibit high purity and high linearity, can be effectively transparent. The subjective review could have been much more concise in describing that, and instead could have taken a deeper dive into the subjective user experience with the myriad set of features and functionality. I would suggest a follow-up review.

The review merely mentions that an external USB optical media drive may be attached and utilized for CD playback and CD ripping, and that internal and external storage may be added. There are software applications associated with all of that functionality. It would be interesting to know if any of that is truly worthwhile, or perhaps should be avoided and better implemented with other software on other hardware. This review could have provided better clues on the user experience with that.

I very much appreciate John Atkinson's efforts in providing an extensive set of measurements and associated commentary. The following should not be interpreted as any form of complaint about that. There is another performance aspect that I would like to see further explored in the measurements.

I would like to know how well the unit handles intersample overs in CD digital audio without clipping. A worst case example would be an 11.025_kHz signal peak centered between maximum samples at 44.1_kHz sample rate, an intersample over which can slightly exceed +3_dB above 0_dBFS. It would be good to know if it does not clip such a signal in the digital or analog domains at the 44.1_kHz sample rate, and when sample rate converted to 96_kHz and 192_kHz upstream of the DA conversion.

A pursuit of higher SINAD scores can lead to an engineering pitfall, where a DA conversion system is optimized for performance with signals exhibiting maximums at 0_dBFS, and perhaps exhibits clipping on +3.01_dB intersample overs.

There is a good description of some of this in the brief article at the URL below.

Intersample Overs in CD Recordings
by John Siau February 10, 2017


rschryer's picture

...that blowhard is gone. I'm with DaveinSM. I'm going to probably buy the Eversolo DMP-A8, which I've always had an eye on.


supamark's picture

Livin' rent free in yo' head.

beave's picture

Looks like a lot of editing went on in the comments section.

I guess Stereophile's editor doesn't want to edit his writers but has no problem editing commenters who criticize said writers.

JohnnyThunder2.0's picture

to quote Blazing Saddles "Oh blow it out your ass Howard." I've used that before. I think it is effective. It 's appropriate to your inane comment.

beave's picture

I enjoy your obsequiousness to Stereophile. It's charming. Which writer is your daddy?

DavidMA's picture

I wonder what the folks at Eversolo (or any other industry representative who want their product reviewed in the trade magazines) think when they *finallY* land their product in Stereophile only to find that, when on reads the review of their product, one first has to wade through a crass reference to prostitution. Does this present Stereophile to the industry in its best light?

I guess the Eversolo executives don't proudly show this review to their families.

cognoscente's picture

With wines it is the same as with audio, or wrist clocks, or cars, the price often says nothing about the quality. Recently the subscription wines Bordeaux 2023 came onto the market, buy and pay now, you will receive them in 2026, then you will have to leave them for a (large) number of years before they are ready to drink. Advantage, all wines are now still available and for 1/2 to 1/5 of the price when ready to drink. Anyway my point: Chateau Lafleur costs 1k per bottle, Chateau Pontet-Canet 91 euros. And while Chateau Pontet-Canet is of the same quality, and according to several professional reviewers it is even a better wine. And yet Chateau Pontet-Canet costs 91 euros and Chateau Lafleur 1k the bottle. (So) why (do some people buy Chateau Lafleur)? Food for psychiatrists. Marketers know it all too well. My simple explanation in short: do you approach the purchase rationally (economically) or from an emotion (or somewhere on this spectrum)? I buy wines, as well as my stereo set, from a primarily rational economic approach, enjoying the wine as music is a purely emotional affair. And back to Bordeaux 2023, I bought Chateau Montlantdrie for 19 euros (because I wanted to add the new blend of them to my stock - I'm just too curious, just like I sometimes buy music because I want to know how it sounds on my set) and Chateau Laurence for 10 euros. A 91.5 point wine (the average of several reviewers) for 10 euros is a no-brainer. And from Chateau Pontet Canet I have better years for even less. And this Eversolo DMP-A8 streaming preamplifier is probably a Chateau Montlandrie. Just a very good wine for a very reasonable price (in other words "with an excellent price-quality ratio" or "an outstanding product"). And that's how we, at least I, prefer it (although I don't stream music but buy/download it and prefer a ladder R2R dac, but that are other personal beliefs).

Anton's picture

If two wines are both rated 91.5, can you tell them apart?

Can you discern any difference between Lafluer and Pontet-Canet?

(Lafleur is a merlot, and Pontet-Canet is predominantly cabernet sauvignon.)

cognoscente's picture

I didn't even want to talk about that for the sake of convenience, a cabernet sauvignon is a better grape that develops even further in the bottle, a merlot barely does anything in the bottle. A cabernet sauvignon has more depth, more character and should therefore be more expensive. So figure ...

Anton's picture

… What you are talking about. I appreciate you clearing that up.

cognoscente's picture

Why are the cheapest Bordeauxs always Merlot wines?

Why do Cabernet Sauvignon wines increase more in points over the years after a renew review then Merlot wines?

Why do Cabernet Sauvignon wines increase substantially more in price over the years than Merlot wines?

Glotz's picture

It proves how utterly lost you are.

Poor analogy again. Wines are NOT a system of things. They are singular objects, no matter how they are constructed.

Watches are a poor analogy as well. They are a system of things, but they perform one singular function- time. Vehicles are fair as a system, but only if you describe how the vehicles functions in all driving parameters- not just simply conveyance.

Even Anton now thinks you're off on wine here...

I concur. You are a snob for wines, but not stereos?


It is because you are simply jealous of others and their audio purchases and cannot be an audio snob like you are a wine snob.

(Damn your weak arguments to the contrary, really.)

You let your dogma take ownership of your tastebuds and ears.

It results in pure tripe served up for this website.

Anton's picture

Every hobby has their "Coors Light is the king of beers" sort of guy.

teched58's picture

Jeff, why don't you purchase a $60,000 streamer or some other component worthy of JVS, so that we can all be jealous of you?

We will envy you just exactly the same amount as we're jealous of Mr. Fritz.

Anton's picture

Example: Chateau Cap Blanc, 3 bucks a bottle at some wine vendors....cabernet predomniate grape.

You mentioned Lafleur as somehow displeasing you....have you tried it? Also, check out Petrus, Trotanoy, La Conseillante, Certan Pomerol; all known to retain value and age as well as any 'cabernet'

Track Petrus prices over time and compare to any cabernet you like and get back to us.

Did you read one article on wine in "The Week' and decide that's all you need to know?

Glotz's picture

It is everywhere on this website. I'll give that wines and audio do allow of biased, political decision making.

"It's not for me, so it's not going to be for you..."

Rigid and unyielding = ignorance and bias.

Anton's picture

We are still waiting for the Blind Listening Messiah who can tell electronics and wires apart without knowing what he/she is listening to.

For wine, there have been trials for wine tasting that showed some tasters couldn't tell wines apart, but the preponderance of tasting studies show blind tasting to be valid...there are actually organizations that validate these skills in order to get credentialed.

Imagine that in audio!

cognoscente's picture

everyone has their own beliefs and choices... I feel lucky that I have the same quality as Chateau Lafleur but for less than 1/10 of the price (and with a grape with even more depth / character - and yes, it is a personel taste which grape you prefer). The same with audio (a warm or detailed, smooth or tightly controlled sound). I derive my status and self-image from such well-considered choices, I mean finding and buying very good quality for the lowest possible price, "outstanding" products so to speak). That's also part of my audio hobby, or wine purchase, or whatever purchase. Indeed, my goal is not to buy the very best no matter the price because it is my belief that you have to pay unreasonably more for that last little bit of improvement, the decreasing marginal utility and leveling off curve, the well-known economic principle. And as said before, it is a pointless discussion between two people where one has a rational (economic) approach and the other an emotional approach.

Anton's picture

I honestly hope you find something beyond audiophilia or your poor wine knowledge to derive status and self-image from.

That's pretty depressing.

I'm trying to imagine what sort of art you purchase. Motel 6 closings?


Archimago's picture

Unlike in the world of the oenophiles where some of the best judgments of wine quality come from recognized blind tasting competitions, there is no such thing of this level among audiophiles. Consider the International Wine Challenge for example:

Or the fun of running blind tasting parties which a buddy here loves to do, relatively easy to do among oenophiles, but not with audiophile gear:

To me, the varieties of tastes and subtleties in wine is more akin to the music we listen to; each wine is different (and can be objectively measured to be so whether pH or tannin content, or color, etc.) just as each song can be differentiated by tempo, notes, instrumentation, etc. Good wines were created with a blend of science and artistry like the album by the artists.

As for the hardware we use to reproduce the audio signal that was laid down by the artists, that to me is more like the bottles, glassware, decanter, and ambiance of the room as an oenophile consumers the wine with and in.

High-fidelity audio I presume should be like using clean "uncolored" glassware and the appropriate amount of decanting to bring out the intentional sound ("taste"), at the right temperature. Just as we do not want to obscure the taste of the wine with dirty glassware, I trust the audiophile also would want to listen to the music blemished - although we have more subjective wiggle room to tune the sound with things like EQ and DSP to "taste".

Much of this was discussed recently in a post:

I agree with the others that some of the wording in this article was unfortunate.

ok's picture

I don't see any real use for blind testing other than rediculing audio reviewers. Even so why should blind testers or test subjects be more decent - since everything boils down to what one says - or insightful than reviewers themselves? Yeah I know.. "science".

Anton's picture

I wonder why they measure and not simply listen since everything boils down to how something 'sounds.'

I admit to liking to challenge myself, so I find it interesting. Other people seem to be able to accomplish this simply by knowing what they are listening to and how much it costs. Different paths to our desired destinations, I guess!

Neither side wants to give ground.

ok's picture

..there can be no definite "sound" out of context - system setup, room acoustics, hearing loss, personal preference/bias etc. Even measurements are to a certain extent a matter of protocol and interpretation. I like to take as many variables as possible into account, but in the end it all boils down to intuition and luck.

teched58's picture

There are no "sides" in the obj/sub "debate." There are engineers who live and work in an objective world. There are customers who mostly don't. And there are marketeers and audio writers in the middle who use whatever they can from whereever, in an attempt to grab audiences, clicks and advertisers.

michelesurdi's picture

chifi is 'crisp',music isn't

DaveinSM's picture

That word “chifi” - it does not mean what you think it means. Go back and read the end of the review.

helomech's picture

for a few months. It is an incredible value, both functionally and sonically. I would not characterize its sound as “neutral” however. Despite the linearity and wide bandwidth noted in JA’s measurements, the DMP-A8 definitely boosted the mid-bass in my system, relative to similarly transparent sources/DACs/preamps. That could be a benefit for many systems, but mine was already optimized for linear bass prior to acquiring the A8.

I did try inverting polarity of the XLR outputs as one can do through Eversolo’s software, but that didn’t alter the bass character. To elaborate on this bass boost effect, it’s similar to using EQ to lift the 60-100Hz range by approximately 1dB with a wide Q factor. So nothing crazy but certainly notable. I believe most audiophiles would notice this effect in a quick A/B comparison. That is, unless their system is inherently compromised by room issues to begin with (though many reviewer systems are as we know).

Regardless, despite the bass hump, the DMP-A8 punches way above its price class. Its DAC alone is one of the best I’ve experienced.

Glotz's picture

Outside of the author's comments. I like your input here as well as your efforts to remedy it. It's important because of possible room issues for purchasers.

I returned Shunyata Venom cables because of a similar bass boost. Great in some systems, but not in mine as I like it neutral/linear.

DaveinSM's picture

Hmm, good to know. That 1db mid bass hump could be the reason why reviews seem to largely describe the sound of the A8 as “smooth” and warmer than that of the DMP-A6.

Still, 1 db isn’t much, and though the effect must be subtle, it’s in the opposite direction of what I’d want for my system and setup.

Have you had any experience with the A6 or A6 ME? Reports are that these are subjectively brighter than the A8, and as such might be a better fit for me.

All of these have a built in DSP EQ, though for critical listening I’d like to have it turned off and only use some light treble equalization for overly bright or rolled off recordings.

helomech's picture

I have no experience with the A6 or A6ME.

My current chain that I prefer to the A8 is a Bluesound Node130>Topping E70 Velvet DAC>Benchmark LA4 preamp. This setup is subjectively leaner than the A8 but a little more resolving, just a better match to my system overall. The Topping DAC is crazy good—very similar in sound to the A8 but without the bass lift. It dethroned an Electrocompaniet ECD-2 as my reference DAC.

One feature that attracted me to the A8 initially was its DSP and high/low pass filtering ability. Unfortunately, the high and low pass filters cannot be activated simultaneously, which largely negates their usefulness. Despite this and some other quirks (such as lack of balance control), I still consider the A8 an excellent value.

Glotz's picture

Many would decry the AKM Velvet DAC chipset as without-question tailored for pleasing, forgiving and unoffensive overall sound, really. In fact, it was their intent. "Velvet Sound". They purposefully tailor the sound to be a particular sound.

It may have a lean midrange/mid-bass section, but that is a fault and characteristic of a weak power supply. Big, elaborate power supplies cost money to implement. We are talking about a sub-$500 DAC here.

That chip always sounds the same with almost every maker I've heard it with. I've heard it on iFI Dacs and Topping DAC's as well as others- cheaper SMSL units. It may well surpass an old DAC from decades ago, but everything today will.

In fact, SMSL also takes the same approach, with units using the AKM Velvet chipset and others using the Sabre chipset (D400EX). See the SU-X and SU-10 as examples of the opposite, but as examples of more unforgiving or linear Delta-Sigma DAC's. They sound better as they are more transparent to source, without trying to tailor the sound to be forgiving of offensive recordings.

I won't point anything to the LA-4, as I own the HPA-4 and know that preamp is not the culprit of any signature, outside of maximum depth of field presentation (which is always up for debate). I use the HPA-4 with thousands of dollars of AudioQuest Colorado XLR and RCA.

It is very easy to think less of something means more, as it is often in audio. Most times with 'budget' audio, it does not. (Not trying to offend, but break biases here.)

helomech's picture

that perhaps you are displaying the greater bias. I went from a $3000 DAC with a large linear power supply to the Topping, and the latter gives up nothing to the former. The $3000 DAC was the best I’d owned out of dozens until I tried the Eversolo, and subsequently the E70V. The Eversolo wasn’t better but merely different from the Electrocompaniet, but on balance they are equally good. The Topping is audibly better, and not remotely lean or thin in the midrange relative to most solid state DACs. Nor does it roll off the top end or sound overtly smooth. Similar to the Benchmark LA4, it simply “gets out of the way.”

BTW, have you ever looked into objective analysis of the performance of Audioquest products? You might be a little alarmed by how poorly some of them perform relative to generic cables.

Lastly, money only dictates how good a system sounds to a point. I’ve heard six figure systems that sounded terrible because the people who assembled them were inexperienced or clueless.

Glotz's picture

Heard it across many examples as mentioned above. Others agree.

I've tried tens of cables and tens of manufacturers with my and other combinations, expensive and cheap.

If you are using generic cables, you have clearly ruled your objectivity out. You lack experience with cables and therefore the ultimate sound of your $500 DAC or your $3000 one.

Most would agree you have no firm benchmark to what either of those sound at max ability, with generic cables. The others that do not agree, limit themselves with a lack of experience and actually only have 'a priori' knowledge- Because of measurements or dogma.

To challenge your statement of bias above- Why not a more expensive Topping DAC vs. the $450 one you use here? And what of R2R DACs that you've auditioned? Dozens were all inferior to your findings with the '70?

I'd find any answer curious.

DaveinSM's picture

To be fair, I’d challenge you or anyone here to reliably pass an ABX testing of just interconnect or speaker cables.

I have my doubts that anyone here would reliably pass such a test.

Talk about splitting hairs.

Glotz's picture

I'm sure you have doubts about everything.

And all of the editors and writers here are just lying to you.

Enjoy your crappy stereo.


DaveinSM's picture

You don’t know what my setup is, or how it sounds…

But your angry defensiveness indicates to me that you would not pass that ABX test.

Glotz's picture

Dude, you are like every other stupid troll over the past 30 years here.

You use generic cabling- your system sucks bro. Sorry. It does and it's from doubling down on pure ignorance.

I've also performed many blind listening tests... and passed.

No, there aren't any 'test results' you can review.

Pointless if you are honest with yourself.

It is your money spent on gear, no one else's. If you buy crap gear and cables, only you suffer. No one else.

I learned decades ago, one better be honest with one's self and AB test consistently, yes, but blind is not necessary.

There is nothing to be gained from blind ABX vs. AB sighted.

No wait, you seem like you lie to yourself, so you may want to still ABX test. Lol..

DaveinSM's picture

I’m just replying to your snobby, condescending reply to helomech.

You know what you are? You’re a SNOB. And evidently you think you have some sort of Golden Ear. I have my doubts.

I had a guitar teacher some time ago who had a good ear. Amazing, in fact. We would go over solos and licks that he played back on an iPod using mp3 files onto his desktop monitors and we would painstakingly go over and tab them out, note for note. I just plugged into a small, cheap guitar amp sitting on the floor of his tiny studio.

This was when software that slowed down tracks wasn’t as common, so we did it in real time, 100% speed. We could rewind over the passage over and over, which we did at times. And I was amazed at how he could hear fast runs of notes, catch every one, and knew where they were on the fretboard. He could hear all the grace notes, subtle bends and fast slides. It was largely minor pentatonic rock stuff, but it was undoubtedly impressive. He seemed to know almost *every* song I could throw at him. And if he didn’t know it, he could figure it out, fast. And it made me realize what it means to really listen closely to the music, and not just concentrate on the sound quality.

I’m telling you all this because he had what I consider a great ear for MUSIC. And he was FAR from a gear snob.

I like great sound out of my system, and have had a variety of AudioQuest, Alpha Core silver, and Kimber cables in my system over the years. But I also have enough sense and basic knowledge to know that a person’s speakers, their placement, and how they interact with their room, including room treatments, is FAR bigger a factor in the kind of sound a person perceives rather than quibbling over DAC tunings and $500 vs $5000 cables.

Maybe you should spend more time actually *listening* to music and less time venting your anger and condescension on these boards.

Glotz's picture

Are you the ranting, indignant poster telling me to listen to music and not gear? Who said system set up isn't important- me? Lol.. lies.

How did I insult helomech specifically? What did I accuse him of being?

By telling him his logic was wrong and that cables do matter?

That his DAC beautifies all sound that endemic to that DAC chip?

Well, sorry but it's true.

And you just admitted you use audiophile cabling. That's agreement with me. Cables matter. Was that offensive? Awwww.

This hobby is about experimentation- while listening to music. One does not know what they are listening to until they test multiple cables with the gear they looking to purchase. Yes, on music they love.

How else will you pin down the sound of one component?

Stop assuming that everyone you disagree with doesn't listen to music and doesn't love it every bit as you do... 'Cause that sounds like you're the SNOB, dood.

DaveinSM's picture

.Well, I know what it means for someone to have a good ear. And sorry, but it sounds like you don’t.

Glotz's picture

Now my ears are butthurt. Lol.

Everyone adds to the discussion dude.

My intent is never to insult people but look closer at their observations from listening.

If people wanna fight, I'm cool with that too. Lol.

JohnnyThunder2.0's picture

or your lack of disposable income. And what kind of music do you listen to and on what kind of system?

DaveinSM's picture

Is this addressed to me?

JohnnyThunder2.0's picture

tone deaf audiophile sub group, the blind testing advocates.

DaveinSM's picture

Well, that’s a relief. But I do think that if something isn’t reliably detectable in blind ABX testing, it’s negligible to insignificant.

Facts are facts.

DaveinSM's picture

Man, your last sentence really hits home here:

“Lastly, money only dictates how good a system sounds to a point. I’ve heard six figure systems that sounded terrible because the people who assembled them were inexperienced or clueless”.


DaveinSM's picture

Thanks - this is all good to know!

There are so many options and settings on the DMP-A8, it’s hard to get the scoop on all of it before actually using one at length.

JohnnyThunder2.0's picture

uses Topping equipment to demonstrate their equipment.

Anton's picture

Kal even predicted your post about Topping...

"Some people may summarily reject it because of its low cost, small size, limited warranty, Chinese manufacture, or the fact that it's only sold online. All those parameters must be weighed against its low price and outstanding performance. It fits my needs, and it fits my ears, so for me it's a great bargain."


Objectivists yell about measurements telling us all we need to know. Subjectivists yell about gear not costing enough to sound good. Both sides are wrong!

Not meant in a disagreeable way.

Glotz's picture

It takes a lot to push away biases and try Chinese gear.

I did that. I also listened to SMSL as well. Great stuff for the cash, but if anyone implies those mfgs themselves don't have a sound hierarchy based on price is lying to themselves. Topping would say the same thing. You pay more, you get more.

And those companies both use 2 different chip sets in separate gear for each price point to satisfy the market. Good on them.

Some are reference, some are close. It depends on the parts- and parts quality- that goes into the gear itself.

But there is a third brand with a lot of exposure in this magazine as well. And they do things pretty differently. And yes, as accurate to measurements or as pleasurable to the ears...


For the arguments raised in above posts, it's valid as it doesn't use an off the shelf chip.

supamark's picture

Pick two.

$2k is not inexpensive. There's a lot of inexpensive/DIY tube stuff, and people like the harmonic distortion. Measures awful. My $300 OG Schiit Modi Multibit DAC; not great measurements but (imho) their best sounding DAC I've heard.

On the other hand, Behringer stuff is very cheap and measures well. Sounds like crap when it works.


hb72's picture

sounds like inverted power phase to me (P > N, N > P ). Here in central Europe, with Schuko plugs, that is easy to fix, because they can be plugged in, rotated by 180deg.

audiolab1962's picture

Lacks just one feature for me, built in ADC. Shocking to many but the ability to rip all my vinyl to it would be immense.

Also re dmp8 all the dsp functions are limited up to 192k sampling rate, is this lack of processing power or.....

An output for a larger display would not go amiss either.

DaveinSM's picture

I’m just waiting to hear the vinyl purists come out with their torches and pitchforks over this one.

Good luck to you, man.

I’m with you on the display size of the A8, but I’m hoping using the app on an iPad will largely negate that caveat.

Bonsai's picture

Absolutely superb set of measurements. Chinese manufacturers are pushing the available technology to the limits and at reasonable cost. We saw this on the Topping preamplifiers and DACs as well. Getting noise floors down at -140 dBV is exceptionally difficult, ditto the distortion figures. Getting results like these not only requires extreme attention to circuit design, but as much effort again in layout.

DaveinSM's picture

Similarly good write up in Stereophile’s sister publication: https://www.hifinews.com/content/eversolo-dmp-a8

Glotz's picture

Having an ADC is awesome! Why wouldn't one want to have digitized versions of the LP's?

Especially LP's in great condition with a rare or favorite orginal title... it saves on use everywhere.

An analog collection is inherently rare.

Anton's picture

I believe that whatever floats someone's Hi Fi boat is fine.

ADC, DAC, LP...any set of initials you have a hankering for makes the hobby more fun.

I do admit that audiophiles tend to land closer to astrology than astronomy. Fantasy more than physics. Me included. We all have our sections of magical thinking, but, so long as no one tries to legislate unto others, terrific.

I heard an all MBL demo using Home Depot zip cord for speaker wiring...and then again using a Discman CD player. It sounded great each time. I heard a full blast Cello based system using little Acoustic Research wedge speakers. It sounded awesome. I could have lived with either set up!

Enjoy any wires you like. You can't judge another person's system unless you have heard it.

Glotz's picture

I was asking the poster to check their work and verify their point of the bass boost heard. Initially, I lauded their efforts before asking for clarification. I shouldn't have asked for clarification- it did come off haughty if you read with a negative tone towards me.

You hit my original point well though, Anton. I was stating that cables do indeed give one much leverage into understanding the comprehensive sound of one's system, great or small.

But, much like Cog skewering himself on his wine positions, Mech also decried audiophile cabling. I saw that as pretty damning.

We both know what can be wrought with better cabling- Even an MBL system upgraded over lamp wire will sound not just different, but much better. The same can be said about every level of investment in cabling that any reputable audio performance cable manufacturer produces and sells to market. Each line has been carefully curated by the manufacturer in this era.

Audioquest Diamond USB sounds substantially better than the already excellent sounding Carbon USB. (Wider, deeper, more transparent and with wider bandwidth to wit.) I find that true with AQ coax and HDMI as well.

It's a experimental hobby intrinsically. But a hobby that if some feel certain areas can be ignored, like cabling, they themselves are ignorant by an lack of their own personal, experiential method in exhaustively determining whether they are efficacious (or not) in their own system.

To use another point from Kal from his experience- He too, was a cable skeptic! He is not anymore per his review findings.

I posit any serious listener that experiments with audiophile cabling will return a positive response if the rest of their system is up to the task of revealing cable differences.

It really is also the benchmark that we have gauged a components' resolving ability in the past. I find that it still holds true.