A few months ago, the EverSolo DMP-A6 was somewhat unceremoniously dropped on my desk for evaluation with no further information. I started the setup 100% blind – without checking for a manual or guide from EverSolo – and was shocked by one of the simplest, cleanest setup processes I’ve ever experienced in a streamer. After a bit of listening, I was further surprised to learn that this wasn’t a $2000 or $2500 product, but instead checks in at just under $900. Is DMP-A6 as good as my first impressions led me to believe?
Build and Design
When you open the box, there’s not much there, besides the sturdy aluminum box that is DMP-A6. You get a power cable and the necessary antenna attachments for WiFi and Bluetooth, but you’ll need to bring your own input and output cables. The build itself is solid, and the simple black metal design will help it fit right in with most high end setups – as long as your other components are black.
On the back you have a variety of input and output options with an array of digital inputs and both digital and analog outputs. On the front, you have a single volume knob (which also serves as the power switch) and the large touch screen, which displays the track information and also serves as your primary point of interaction with the device. You can also use EverSolo’s app to access all the features and settings of the device, but there isn’t a traditional I/R remote included.
For input options you have USB-C, Optical, Digital Coax, and Bluetooth. You can also output digitally via USB-A, Optical, and Digital Coax, but the digital outputs are only available if you're using network streaming or the devices internal file storage. The analog outputs are RCA and XLR, and you can set them up to output in parallel or connect different devices for separate RCA and XLR output.
Interface and Features
With most streamers I’ve used, the initial setup is the biggest pain point. Often, even if you think you got everything set up correctly, something will go wrong, requiring you to reset and start again. With DMP-A6, the setup was about as easy as connecting a new tablet to the WiFi, and it took less than two minutes between turning the device on for the first time, and using it to listen to music. All the information was input directly through the touchscreen, and there were no connection or stability issues on WiFi or Ethernet connections after the initial setup.
Connecting the app was similarly seamless and straightforward. Like many HiFi products, EverSolo uses a modified version of Android for their streaming interface allowing for the installation of a number of streaming apps directly onto the device, and direct control of your streaming services via the app. You can also skip the EverSolo app and use protocols like AirPlay, Roon, or DLNA for streaming without the apps, or connect directly through the TIDAL, Amazon Music, Spotify, or Qobuz app on your device.
As a part of our evaluation, we tried to really put the device through its paces. After testing a few more typical situations (a single user using the app and Spotify Connect to listen to some songs) we tested the functionality of multiple users connecting from multiple devices with multiple connection types. For example: I would connect via the Qobuz integration in the EverSolo app on my iPhone and play a song, then I would use a Astell&Kern Acro CA1000T to connect via AK Connect/DLNA to stream files from the device, and finally interrupt that with an AirPlay from a MacBook to play a song. While this generally worked great, sometimes mixing in multiple devices would cause mild glitches: like a new song playing without the screen updating to reflect the album artwork and playtime. Glitches aside, I don’t think I’ve experienced a streamer working this smoothly under this sort of pressure.
Along with streaming apps and connecting to local file storage, DMP-A6 has internal storage that you can copy files to over a USB connection, and the ability to install an up to 4TB hard drive for large hi-res music collections. The device did not seem to support storing files from the TIDAL/Spotify app on the hard drive, so the storage is only for your music collection.
While every aspect of the device is strong – especially for the price – the general usability and connectivity was the biggest highlight. Whether on wired or wireless connection DMP-A6 provided stable high quality playback, and handled a variety of use cases with aplomb. Having tested streaming with devices ranging from the NAIM Uniti Atom, to Chord Poly, or the iFi NEO Stream, only the NAIM – at four times the price – was in the same class in terms of setup, functionality, and streaming stability.
With a DAC/Streamer combo, there are two main components of the sound: the quality of the DAC and the transparency of the streamer function. As a standalone DAC, DMP-A6 performed well in the sub-$1000 DAC class – though it’s quite bulky and somewhat impractical if you’re only using the DAC function. As a streamer, DMP-A6 exceeded expectations, even feeling strong with ultra-high end components.
As a DAC, DMP-A6 demonstrates a solid “reference” tuning, with a touch of smoothness in the highs some of the edginess or graininess associated with the treble associated with the ES9038Q2M chip. The presentation of detail and imaging is comparable with other popular DAC options in the $500-$1000 range, but in most cases, you’re not buying DMP-A6 to use solely as a DAC.
As a standalone streamer or player I found that DMP-A6 provided a transparent connection point between the music and your DAC. As an example, when using the dCS Lina DAC, connecting DMP-A6 via USB was essentially indistinguishable from connecting a PC or iPad via USB, but didn’t have quite the same level of absolute pitch black background as using the Lina’s built-in streaming functionality.
Our favorite use case thought was using it as an “all-in-one” with a set of powered speakers. DMP-A6 easily combined with the old Edifier bookshelf set that floats around the office to become a very robust jukebox resting on top of our cubicles, and provided an absolutely stunning combo with the Canton Smart Townus 8 set for a bigger, bolder – and much more generally impressive – version of the same thing. The Smart Townus series has a Bluetooth option for wireless, but wireless playback via the DMP-A6 provided a huge upgrade over the direct Bluetooth connection.
We weren't able to test it, but EverSolo has also released the DMP-A6 Master Edition. The Master Edition has the same features and interface as DMP-A6, but upgrades a number of internal components, most notably the op-amps, which further reduces noise and distortion in the analog outputs, and the oscillators, which improves the clock performance and reduces jitter.
The Bottom Line
Usually when I write a review, it’s for something that I’ve spent a couple weeks with, forming an opinion on the sound and doing comparisons with similar products. With DMP-A6, I’ve been using it, not for a couple weeks, but for several months now, and while I was initially impressed with how it functioned as a sort of “office jukebox” I was even more impressed as I’ve gone deeper into the features and compared the performance with other streaming options. The combination of price, features, and quality that DMP-A6 delivers is simply unmatched.