EVERSOLO DMP-A8 REVIEW

Eversolo DMP-A8 is a fully featured DAC, Streamer and Preamplfier all-in-one box of tricks that costs less than £2000. In this first official UK review, Oscar Stewart takes a listen for HiFi PiG.

Earlier this year I reviewed the Eversolo DMP-A6, a streamer/DAC that has become incredibly popular and one that provides excellent features and sound quality for a reasonable price. Eversolo has been busy behind the scenes and recently introduced the DMP-A8, this sits at a slightly higher price bracket and comes with a few distinct features that look to impress. 

This promises to be the main hub for all your sources whilst still having a strong focus on sound quality above all else.  

BUILD QUALITY AND FEATURES OF THE EVERSOLO DMP-A8

The DMP-A8 follows a similar styling to the A6, with an aluminium housing that has fins on the side for aesthetics as well as heat management. The front panel has a nice big touchscreen on it, along with a multifunction knob that has a glowing white LED ring around it. The touchscreen allows you to control the device, but there is also an accompanying app that allows you to change settings too. 

On the back is where things get a little different, first off, the A8 is quite a bit wider than the A6, secondly, you’ll notice this one accepts analogue inputs as well as having a plethora of digital inputs and outputs. The A8 comes with a remote in the box allowing you to use this as a DAC, Pre-Amp, Streamer, and media player all in one unit. It has a single pair of RCA analogue inputs and a single pair of XLR balanced inputs, and the same goes for analogue outputs. Digital inputs consist of 2 optical, 2 coaxial, USB, HDMI ARC (supports eARC) and Bluetooth. There are also digital outputs for hooking this up to an external DAC, these include optical, coaxial, USB and HDMI IIS. There is also a trigger output allowing you to turn other equipment on/off at the same time. 

There’s an additional USB input that supports external storage, allowing you to use the DMP-A8 as a media player for audio files. On the bottom you will find a plate that can be unscrewed, under the plate there’s space for an M.2 NVMe SSD slot for increasing the internal storage (up to 4TB), once again for storing local music files. There are 3 antennas, 2 for WiFi, one for Bluetooth, and a single gigabit ethernet port. The power supply is split into two stages, one is linear for the analogue audio circuits and the second is a high-quality switching power supply for the system power. 

Internally you get higher support over USB (up to 768KHz/32Bit) and native DSD512 support, and 192KHz/24Bit over Coaxial/Optical. The DAC section consists of separate AKM4499EX / AK4191EQ chips and Eversolo employ dual femtosecond high-precision clocks for the audio decoding circuit. Bluetooth support is excellent with support for SBC/AAC/aptX/aptX LL/aptX HD and LDAC.

Earlier I mentioned the DMP-A8 has analogue inputs, well this is excellent news for people like me who like to hook their turntable (with phonostage) up to a central hub and, the DMP-A8 keeps analogue sources in the analogue domain. It features a fully balanced analogue input circuit which also includes +10dB gain should you need it. The analogue audio circuits then pass to another excellent bit of this device, the R2R volume control which uses precision resistors and relays for accurate channel balance across the range and, low noise. I love R2R volume controls, they are brilliantly accurate and the clicky sound is cool, but I know some people don’t like the noise. 

Back to the digital domain. The DMP-A8 features a powerful DSP engine for digital audio signals (it can be applied to sample rates up to PCM 192KHz). The DSP allows you to control the DSP volume, a fully featured parametric EQ, FIR filter, HPF/LPF, Loudness enhancement, compressor and finally delay. One of the handy things about the EQ on the A8 is that it can be applied to certain inputs, so you can choose which specific inputs you would like it applied to. 

It may not have room-perfect modes or a way of measuring your room, however, the FIR Filter is a way of improving the sound in your room but it does require you to hook up a PC/laptop with REW and measurement microphone to the DMP-A8. This requires some time to do but could be a very handy feature for those looking to flatten the sound of their speakers in a less-than-ideal setup. Make no mistake, the DSP of this device is powerful and flexible and will help you get the best out of your system if you take some time to figure out where your system needs adjusting. Equally, you can bypass the DSP section and just have a clean and neutral sound from the DMP-A8.

Streaming wise the DMP-A8 supports most of the main platforms (Tidal, Qobuz, Deezer, HIRESAUDIO, Radio Paradise, Amazon and Apple Music) – note that Roon is currently missing, but this is hopefully being resolved using Roon certification coming soon. It’s a bit of a shame it didn’t ship with Roon certification as you are limited to AirPlay quality currently when using it with Roon – this should be fixed soon though. There is also an internal music library that can read files off a USB stick or from a location on the network, so you can have it read from a NAS if you like, and the internal player works very well from the app. Like the DMP-A6, you can hook up an external optical disc to read and rip CDs directly to a location of your choice. 

Finally, the screen can be set up with different skins and there are various VU meters and spectrum displays for your visual pleasure whilst listening to music. Both the VU meters and spectrum analysers are responsive and do look great whilst music is playing. If you don’t want those though, you can just display the track/artist/album artwork or turn the display off from the remote. One slight annoyance I found was that the screen comes back on and stays on when changing the volume – I would have liked to see the screen either stay off or return to being off once the desired volume level has been achieved.

SOUND QUALITY

I’ve been putting the DMP-A8 through its paces as a streamer, DAC and pre-amp – it’s been used with my TV, used as a Roon endpoint, played back local files, and I have hooked up my phono pre-amp to it to test the analogue input and use it as a pre-amp into my power amp. 

First off, the app is excellent for controlling the A8, it allows you to access all the necessary features and more, along with allowing you to playback local tracks or those that are stored on a device on your network. I’ll start with this and I managed to connect it to the SSD that is attached via USB to my mini-PC running Roon Rock – this allowed me to playback those files directly instead of playing them back via Roon. 

Playing back local files worked well, Evanescence – Fallen has recently enjoyed its 20th anniversary and it’s a superb album, one that comes through with both impeccable detail and at the same time, excellent dynamics via the DMP-A8. Amy Lee’s vocals cut through with presence, yet it is the tonality here that grabs your attention, this has a natural sound that is unforced. It does sound different to the slightly more analytical DMP-A6, the DMP-A8 has a slightly more relaxed and overall spacious sound in comparison. It is a grown-up version of it is more budget sibling, yet it manages to have more resolution, digging deeper into the finer details of the tracks without sounding fatiguing or trying to draw your attention to it. 

Streaming via Roon is sadly limited until this is properly Roon certified but, I did stream via Roon quite a bit and didn’t notice any real sound impact from it using AirPlay. The DMP-A8 still has a familiar house sound, whilst it is a little more natural and spacious, it is still a very clean and crisp sound that comes across as nuanced and balanced. Machine Head – Halo came on and, with the DMP-A8 acting as a streamer you could easily separate every instrument in the mix, whilst it accurately placed them within a slightly larger than average soundstage. Kick drums hit with real impact, the bass guitar line is well articulated and full, and the vocals and guitars are layered with great separation and treble extending with excellent clarity and shimmer. 

Using my TV via eARC was simple! To me, it was plug-and-play and allowed me to enjoy TV audio through my usual 2ch setup. This is something I feel more and more people are doing, and I for one, am happy to see this being featured in more products. It’s not something you can judge the quality on much, but watching films and series was a joy with the DMP-A8 acting as a DAC/Pre-amp into my 2ch power amp. 

The volume control is excellent! The ladder resistor-based circuit clicks with every increment yet the main things it brings to the table are low noise and perfect channel balance at all volumes. The screen is also lovely, allowing you to choose between different skins for the track details / VU meters / Spectrum analyser displays.

Using this as a pre-amp between my Rega Planar 3 50th Anniversary Turntable > Classic Audio Ltd Spartan 5 phono pre-amp and my Rotel power amp, the Eversolo didn’t exhibit any noticeable colouration in the sound path. The analogue input allows fine volume control without affecting the quality of the original signal, it can even give you a nice 10dB of gain should you need it for weak input sources. I decided to listen to The Cure’s album Disintegration on vinyl and played back one of the songs via streaming afterwards. Streaming from Qobuz and utilising the internal DAC did have a slightly drier and more controlled presentation vs vinyl, however, it is interesting to note that streaming wasn’t necessarily better and that this was more of a preference in presentation over anything more technical. 

In all its functions, not once did I ever feel like it was imparting any unwanted colouration on the music. Everything comes across as clean, yet it’s not as dry or analytical as some DACs out there. In my opinion, there is a spectrum of neutral that most modern DACs adhere to and this one falls into the neutral/natural category much like the slightly smoother iFi NEO Stream. For example, Portishead’s Western Eyes has a lovely piano part playing throughout the track with a driving bassline underneath and the DMP-A8 really excelled at bringing out a more rounded and less brittle sound, easily distinguishable during piano sections.

QUIBBLES

When using it with my TV and the screen is off, if you adjust the volume the screen comes on and doesn’t automatically go off again, you have to manually press the button on the remote to get the screen to turn off. This kind of ruins using the TV remote to adjust the volume as you must have the Eversolo remote handy to turn the screen off again.

No proper Roon certification yet, however, this will come with future updates, I’m sure. 

CONCLUSION

I have really enjoyed my time with the DMP-A8, it’s a clear step up from the brilliant DMP-A6 and brings some excellent additional features to the table. The sound is open, spacious, and detailed and it doesn’t seem to add, or take away, anything from the music. The DAC section is fantastic with a slightly more natural tonality over the cheaper A6 and, the analogue inputs are a much-welcomed feature for people like me who enjoy a central hub for all sources (including ARC/eARC for TVs).

Functionality it is incredibly versatile with the ability to playback from internal files, streaming, and Bluetooth along with plenty of tweaks in the settings for digital filters and more. There is a powerful DSP engine in the DMP-A8 which can help you get the best out of your system if you dedicate the time to figuring out where your setup needs help.

Overall, it is a fantastic DAC/Streamer/Pre-amp/music player you name it… Eversolo has done a great job at making flexible and versatile devices that still have a firm focus on producing excellent sound. 

AT A GLANCE

Build Quality And Features:

Lovely aluminium casing and sharp touchscreen on the front

Huge array of inputs and outputs on the back

DAC/Pre-amp/Streamer with DSP functionality and much more

Sound Quality:

Natural, spacious, and detailed

Value For Money:

Not cheap, but also not expensive, it represents good value for those who want this level of versatility

We Loved:

The functionality

Superb build quality

Brilliant sound to match

We Didn’t Love So Much:

The screen coming on when adjusting the volume

Lack of Roon certification (yet)

Elevator Pitch Review: The Eversolo DMP-A8 builds on the success of the DMP-A6, this time adding in analogue inputs so it can be used as a pre-amp and a R2R ladder resistor volume control system for perfect channel balance. It’s a hugely versatile hub that can sit at the heart of your system acting as a pre-amp, DAC, streamer and DSP engine to feed either an integrated or power amplifier. 

It even has digital outputs should you wish to pair it with a higher end DAC and benefit from a lovely interface and screen at the heart of your system.

Price: £1890

Oscar Stewart

SUPPLIED BY AUDIO EMOTION

SUPPLIED SPECIFICATION

Display: 6″ LCD touchscreen
Internal Memory: 4GDDR4 +64GeMMC
DAC: AK4191EQ+AK4499EX
Audio Processor: XMOS XU316
Op-amp: Chip OPA1612
Power Supply: High-quality, low-noise linear + digital dual power supply
SSD Support: M.2 NVME 3.0 2280 protocol, up to 4TB (SSD isn’t included)
USB-A Port: USB3.0*2
Ethernet: RJ-45(10/100/1000Mbps)
WiFi: WiFi 2.4G+5G dual band
Playback and DAC Decoding: Support up to stereo DSD512, PCM 768KHz 32Bit

Music Service:

  • Tidal, Qobuz
  • Highresaudio
  • Amazon Music
  • Deezer
  • Radio Paradise
  • WebDAV
  • UPnP

Streaming:

  • AirPlay
  • DLNA
  • Tidal Connect etc.

Bluetooth Audio Input: BLuetooth BT5.0, support SBC/AAC/aptX/aptX LL/aptX HD/LDAC
USB-B Audio Input: Supports Windows (10, 11), Android, IOS. Support up to stereo DSD512, PCM 768KHz 32Bit
Optical/Coaxial Audio Input: Support up to stereo PCM 192KHz 24Bit, DOP64
HDMI ARC: Support up to stereo PCM 192KHz 24Bit
Analog preamp audio input: XLR(Balanced)*1+RCA(Unbalanced), Maximum Gain +10dB
USB Audio Output: Support up to stereo DSD512,PCM 768KHz 32Bit
IIS Output: Support up to stereo DSD512, PCM 768KHz 32Bit
Optical/Coaxial Audio Output: Support up to stereo PCM 192KHz 24Bit, DOP64
Analog Audio Output: Preamp Audio Output:XLR(Balanced)+RCA(UnBalanced)

XLR Output Audio Characteristics

  • Output level: 4.2V
  • Frequency response: 20Hz~20KHz(±0. 25dB)
  • Dynamic range: > 128dB
  • SNR: >128dB
  • THD+N: <0.00009%(-120dB) @No-wt
  • Crosstalk: >-121dB

RCA Output Audio Characteristics

  • Output level: 2.1V
  • Frequency response: 20Hz~20KHz (±0. 25dB)
  • Dynamic range: > 125dB
  • SNR: >125dB
  • THD+N: <0.00010%(-119dB)@A-WT
  • Crosstalk: >-121dB

5-hearts

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