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Eversolo DMP A-8 compared to Eversolo DMP A-6 ‘Master’

xray

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but some people, like me, like anecdotal information about sound experience.
...
Even our ears are different, just as our brains, taste.
So if one person reports their subjective opinion that it sounds better and another person reports that it sounds worse, how would you use that information? What value could those opinions offer? Would you only consider the opinion that matches yours?
 

Frederf69

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the a6 sold well (deliberately underpriced to gain attention) so they launched the release of the master & a8 (hyped up by the usual bought and paid for reviewers) to claw back some of that r&d time/ money.; the game some see as a hobby. if you have a good enough set-up, why would you buy any of these products?
 
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Purité Audio

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To introduce a first reasonably priced product doesn’t appear to be too outrageous, Misue told me this time last year that there would be a more comprehensive model released later in the year the A-8 and it does offer greater versatility, it is a 21st century pre-amp.
The ‘master’ version of the A-6 I question it appears to have been aimed at the neurosis’ of the audiophile a pretty big target.
I wonder how many they have sold compared to the standard.
Keith
 

Mark K

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Just placed my order for an A8. Having an aged Marantz streamer, it should be a substantial upgrade.
I also have a boxed A90 which should be a nice headphone amp to pair with it.
 
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The A-8 is nice bit of kit, but in my experience unless a streamer is ’broken’ I haven’t heard any difference between competent designs.
I made a comparison between the Wiim Pro Plus and the Eversolo DMP A-8 on my Blog.
I would advise buying on features, aesthetics but perhaps don’t count on an improvement in sound quality.
Keith
 

Ucftechguru

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Sorry, but there is no way the A8 objectively sounds better (whatever that means) than the A6 if they measure the same. Maybe with the A8 in your system you have something setup differently than with the A6 that makes it sound better to your ears, but it ain’t the A8.
Is there a review at ASR for the A8? Where did they measure the same? I had these for the past few weeks and I can definitely hear a difference. I’m going to share my thoughts as a reply in this thread.
 
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Purité Audio

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Amir hasn’t measured the A-8 but he has measured the A-6 and that was audibly transparent, so the only way the A-8 could possibly sound different was if it had audible levels of distortion.
I have both here and I can’t hear any difference, and when I compared them unsighted and level matched I couldn’t hear any difference.
Keith
 

MKR

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Is there a review at ASR for the A8? Where did they measure the same? I had these for the past few weeks and I can definitely hear a difference. I’m going to share my thoughts as a reply in this thread.
Didn’t say they measured same, but IF they do, then no way you hear a real objective difference. Would like to see the details of your test setup. And I am sure the test conditions identical between the two units, especially level matched ? Blind (unsighted) test?
 

Ucftechguru

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Amir hasn’t measured the A-8 but he has measured the A-6 and that was audibly transparent, so the only way the A-8 could possibly sound different was if it had audible levels of distortion.
I have both here and I can’t hear any difference, and when I compared them unsighted and level matched I couldn’t hear any difference.
Keith
ASR measures a number of things but they don’t measure every facet of a device that impacts sound and sound signature. I find their reviews extremely helpful. However, if two DAC chips have a SINAD of 120, it does not mean the DACs sound exactly the same hooked up to your gear. Read reviews about AKM and ESS DAC chips. They can measure similarly yet sound different in real world use.

I say this because I disagree with your review, but only based on my gear in my room. I don’t know your setup and maybe in your setup there is no difference. Maybe I missed it, but I didn’t see you list the gear you tested it with in your review.

I did the same thing you did with a blind test and I could clearly hear a difference between the regular A6 and A8. I don’t have the A6 ME but I have a HifiRose 250 and there was a noticeable difference between the three. I will post my thoughts in this thread as a separate reply.
 

Ucftechguru

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Didn’t say they measured same, but IF they do, then no way you hear a real objective difference. Would like to see the details of your test setup. And I am sure the test conditions identical between the two units, especially level matched ? Blind (unsighted) test?
Same response to you as I posted to Purite. I won’t repost but you can see my reply… I disagree. I tested the A6, A8 and HifiRose 250 in the same room, same gear, level matched. A/B back to back each time. All my notes jotted down. It took a long time over the past few weeks just to compare those three. I plan to compare these and the Wiim Pro Plus and ifi Zen Stream. I am biased as I’d prefer the cheapest combo all things being equal or close to equal.
 

MKR

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Same response to you as I posted to Purite. I won’t repost but you can see my reply… I disagree. I tested the A6, A8 and HifiRose 250 in the same room, same gear, level matched. A/B back to back each time. All my notes jotted down. It took a long time over the past few weeks just to compare those three. I plan to compare these and the Wiim Pro Plus and ifi Zen Stream. I am biased as I’d prefer the cheapest combo all things being equal or close to equal.
All good, and appreciate your comments. Curious as to the specific differences you heard. What speakers do you have?
 

Ucftechguru

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There are a lot of opinions on the Eversolo DMP-A6 versus DMP-A8. My initial thoughts were that I would not hear a big difference if I used them as streamers only going into my Gustard R26 or Weiss 204 DACs. Boy, was I wrong. I’d consider my setup middle of the road but definitely not basic.

My test gear:

Gustard R26 DAC

Weiss 204 DAC

Audio Research SP20 Preamp

Buckeye NC502MP 4-channel amp (only 2 amp channels used)

Mofi Sourcepoint 10 speakers (brighter than neutral sound) and Wharfedale Aura 2 (less bright)

Room treatments: 50-60% of my room is treated with sound panels and wool carpet. I have GIK bass traps in each corner and sound panels at first reflection points as well.

My test setup:

When testing as Streamer only: Streamers into DACs using USB. DACs into Preamp with XLR cables. Preamp into amps with XLR cables.

When testing Streamers as all in one units without external DACs:

Streamers into Preamp with XLR cables (used RCA cables with HFR as it doesn’t have XLR). Preamp into amps with XLR cables.

I always used my preamp, so can’t compare what it would sound like only using the onboard preamp/volume control.

Other testing notes: I started with blind tests and ended with unblind tests because I could clearly hear the difference by that point. I level matched each time. I did tests at 63 dBA, 66 dBA, 70 dBA and 75 dBA. The A6 and A8 were new. I let each break in for 2 weeks before testing. I have owned the HifiRose 250 (original version) for a year, so it was fully broken in.

I can say all three are very good and if you don’t compare, you could easily live with any of them. I think that’s why you see a lot of opinions in the Eversolo Facebook groups where people strongly prefer one, but haven’t necessarily A/B tested versus other ones. I saw so many opinions that I wanted to test for myself to see if there was really any difference, especially using these as streamers only. I figured there would be differences using them as standalones with their internal DACs.

Spoiler, there were audible differences between the three as streamers only. Believe me, that surprised me. I listened to them each for a long time and kept A/Bing to see if I was really hearing a difference.

The hype with the Eversolo devices has been HUGE. I think they are both a great value but the HifiRose is not bad. I was surprised that the HifiRose could hold its own given it has not been hyped nearly as much. The HFR can be had on the used market for around the price of a A6 ME. I did not have a ME, so I could not compare the ME version.

My final ranking in order of best to my ears with my setup in my room:

#1 A8, #2 HFR 250, #3 A6

All were better with the DACs. Each DAC adds its own unique sound signature to the streamers. I prefer the Weiss 204. However, most people will be more than happy with the Gustard R26.

The A8 benefitted the least from the DACs as its internal DAC is very good. In fact, I preferred its internal DAC over the A6 with Gustard/Weiss. That surprised me quite a bit. I altered the dBA level during testing because I thought my ears were deceiving me. Results rarely varied even when making the sound louder or quieter. Results varied slightly by song, but it became clear the A8 was the best overall. My hypothesis is that the DACs can’t fix the deficiencies I hear in the streamers.

I will say, if you have warm speakers or a warm setup, you may very well prefer the HFR 250. It is a little brighter than the A8 but still retains 90% of the great sound of the A8. Some may even prefer the A6 if they have a warm setup but it lacks some of the detail and separation of the HFR and A8. I don’t think many would prefer the A6 with a bright setup like Klipsch or Focal BE speakers. In my room, I could not listen to the A6 very long at 75 dBA. It was just too bright even using it with the external DACs.

Songs that showed the A6 to be too bright/harsh: Let’s Dance, Rosanna, Don’t wanna fight, Willow.

Songs where it was almost too close to call between the three when using them each with an external DAC: Jolene, Margaritaville, Piano Man, Titanium, Kawaski, Hurt, Drum Solo.

With warmer songs, the A6 and HFR benefitted from having a brighter sound signature. However, there was still more detail and separation with the HFR and A8 but it was so close, that it wouldn’t be worth the expense for the more expensive units if you primarily listen to warmer songs.

All three benefitted from the external DACs. The A6 benefitted the most, but it still couldn’t tame the brightness. I thought the DACs could but they could not. The A8 benefitted the least and I did not think the Gustard added much benefit unless you like how it changes the sound of the A8. To me, I would save my money and just use the A8 by itself until you can get a more expensive DAC like the Weiss or at that price range or more. I plan to use it with the Weiss but it may be overkill.

Any of the three can be perfect for YOU depending on your setup. All three will work with a warmer setup. I’d probably go with the HFR with a warmer setup and save the money. Avoid the A6 with a bright setup. It will be too bright for certain songs unless you listen at low volumes.

I plan to run more tests and even compare them against a Wiim Pro Plus and iFi Zen over the next couple of months. I hope this helps those looking to make a decision. I know for some that a $2000 streamer seems expensive, but in high end home audio, the A8 could be considered reasonable. There’s lots of “Amazing” gear for $10K+, so $2K seems like a bargain for a true end game piece of gear in this crazy audiophile world. And it can be used without the need for another DAC.
 

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Purité Audio

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Comparisons to be valid have to be level matched to .1dB and conducted completely unsighted.

Keith
 
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MKR

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There are a lot of opinions on the Eversolo DMP-A6 versus DMP-A8. My initial thoughts were that I would not hear a big difference if I used them as streamers only going into my Gustard R26 or Weiss 204 DACs. Boy, was I wrong. I’d consider my setup middle of the road but definitely not basic.

My test gear:

Gustard R26 DAC

Weiss 204 DAC

Audio Research SP20 Preamp

Buckeye NC502MP 4-channel amp (only 2 amp channels used)

Mofi Sourcepoint 10 speakers (brighter than neutral sound) and Wharfedale Aura 2 (less bright)

Room treatments: 50-60% of my room is treated with sound panels and wool carpet. I have GIK bass traps in each corner and sound panels at first reflection points as well.

My test setup:

When testing as Streamer only: Streamers into DACs using USB. DACs into Preamp with XLR cables. Preamp into amps with XLR cables.

When testing Streamers as all in one units without external DACs:

Streamers into Preamp with XLR cables (used RCA cables with HFR as it doesn’t have XLR). Preamp into amps with XLR cables.

I always used my preamp, so can’t compare what it would sound like only using the onboard preamp/volume control.

Other testing notes: I started with blind tests and ended with unblind tests because I could clearly hear the difference by that point. I level matched each time. I did tests at 63 dBA, 66 dBA, 70 dBA and 75 dBA. The A6 and A8 were new. I let each break in for 2 weeks before testing. I have owned the HifiRose 250 (original version) for a year, so it was fully broken in.

I can say all three are very good and if you don’t compare, you could easily live with any of them. I think that’s why you see a lot of opinions in the Eversolo Facebook groups where people strongly prefer one, but haven’t necessarily A/B tested versus other ones. I saw so many opinions that I wanted to test for myself to see if there was really any difference, especially using these as streamers only. I figured there would be differences using them as standalones with their internal DACs.

Spoiler, there were audible differences between the three as streamers only. Believe me, that surprised me. I listened to them each for a long time and kept A/Bing to see if I was really hearing a difference.

The hype with the Eversolo devices has been HUGE. I think they are both a great value but the HifiRose is not bad. I was surprised that the HifiRose could hold its own given it has not been hyped nearly as much. The HFR can be had on the used market for around the price of a A6 ME. I did not have a ME, so I could not compare the ME version.

My final ranking in order of best to my ears with my setup in my room:

#1 A8, #2 HFR 250, #3 A6

All were better with the DACs. Each DAC adds its own unique sound signature to the streamers. I prefer the Weiss 204. However, most people will be more than happy with the Gustard R26.

The A8 benefitted the least from the DACs as its internal DAC is very good. In fact, I preferred its internal DAC over the A6 with Gustard/Weiss. That surprised me quite a bit. I altered the dBA level during testing because I thought my ears were deceiving me. Results rarely varied even when making the sound louder or quieter. Results varied slightly by song, but it became clear the A8 was the best overall. My hypothesis is that the DACs can’t fix the deficiencies I hear in the streamers.

I will say, if you have warm speakers or a warm setup, you may very well prefer the HFR 250. It is a little brighter than the A8 but still retains 90% of the great sound of the A8. Some may even prefer the A6 if they have a warm setup but it lacks some of the detail and separation of the HFR and A8. I don’t think many would prefer the A6 with a bright setup like Klipsch or Focal BE speakers. In my room, I could not listen to the A6 very long at 75 dBA. It was just too bright even using it with the external DACs.

Songs that showed the A6 to be too bright/harsh: Let’s Dance, Rosanna, Don’t wanna fight, Willow.

Songs where it was almost too close to call between the three when using them each with an external DAC: Jolene, Margaritaville, Piano Man, Titanium, Kawaski, Hurt, Drum Solo.

With warmer songs, the A6 and HFR benefitted from having a brighter sound signature. However, there was still more detail and separation with the HFR and A8 but it was so close, that it wouldn’t be worth the expense for the more expensive units if you primarily listen to warmer songs.

All three benefitted from the external DACs. The A6 benefitted the most, but it still couldn’t tame the brightness. I thought the DACs could but they could not. The A8 benefitted the least and I did not think the Gustard added much benefit unless you like how it changes the sound of the A8. To me, I would save my money and just use the A8 by itself until you can get a more expensive DAC like the Weiss or at that price range or more. I plan to use it with the Weiss but it may be overkill.

Any of the three can be perfect for YOU depending on your setup. All three will work with a warmer setup. I’d probably go with the HFR with a warmer setup and save the money. Avoid the A6 with a bright setup. It will be too bright for certain songs unless you listen at low volumes.

I plan to run more tests and even compare them against a Wiim Pro Plus and iFi Zen over the next couple of months. I hope this helps those looking to make a decision. I know for some that a $2000 streamer seems expensive, but in high end home audio, the A8 could be considered reasonable. There’s lots of “Amazing” gear for $10K+, so $2K seems like a bargain for a true end game piece of gear in this crazy audiophile world. And it can be used without the need for another DAC.
Thanks for sharing your observations. I couldn’t quite tell from your write up, but you tested each streamer into same DAC and heard differences? By the way, components do not “break in”, no such thing.
 

Ucftechguru

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Comparisons to be valid have to be level matched to .1dB and conducted completely unsighted.

Keith
I did sound level match and I did run a blind test where my wife picked which one to play and I wrote down my notes and then she told me which one after. Some songs were very hard to find any difference. Biggest difference was on songs that can be bright or benefit from the extra separation of the A8.… What gear/speakers did you use when you compared the A6 ME versus A8? Or, if you have a link, please share. I clicked on your link at the beginning of this thread and didn’t see what gear you tested it with.
 

Ucftechguru

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Thanks for sharing your observations. I couldn’t quite tell from your write up, but you tested each streamer into same DAC and heard differences? By the way, components do not “break in”, no such thing.
I‘m not an expert on break in but the friendly folks in the Eversolo Facebook groups told me to let it break in before I did my comparisons, so I did that just so no one could cry foul. Yes, I used two different DACs. I ran A/B comparisons where everything was the same and used the Gustard R26 DAC. Then I ran a separate set of tests using the Weiss 204 DAC. With both, I heard differences. That surprised me. I thought the sound would be very similar but it was not. There were still distinct differences. I thought by hooking the DACs up using USB that there would be very little difference, but that was not the case. There was a big enough difference that I am willing to spend the extra money for the A8. Now, some people online think a A6 with Linear Power Supply mod will make it sound the same or very close to the A8. That could be true. I don’t know. I only had the base A6 version to test.

I also tested each streamer using the internal DAC. The differences were greater with the internal DACs. If I had to use the internal DACs only and not use an external DAC, I would only consider the HFR or A8. If you have a DAC you love, the A6 could work. Just test it with brighter songs to make sure the synergy with your gear is there. If it becomes too bright/harsh at times, the HFR and A8 will fix it. The A6 ME has a better DAC, so that version could work and be good enough, but I didn’t have that version to test.

I have no skin in the game on which is better. I paid for all the units I tested. I am sending the A6 back and will be refunded. But I bought it myself. I would much prefer to save the money and just use the A6, but I am confident there is a sound difference. Very confident.
 

KING DRANZER

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Does this have Crossover option on Analog outs so that We can use XLR out for Speakers while RCA out for Subs. I hope it does otherwise that be a major turn-down. It looks perfect otherwise.
 
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Purité Audio

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Only peak/dip filters at the moment, perhaps hi/low pass will be added.
Keith
 
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