UPDATE 30th July 2023: the Eversolo DMP-A6 is reviewed here.
UPDATE 14th August 2023: You can read John Grandberg’s second opinion here.
So — do you want the good news or the bad news? Let’s start with the bad: I will no longer be making a follow-up video (as orginally planned) on the FiiO R7 streaming DAC / headphone amplifier. Well, not quite. This brings us to the good news: I’m handing off the FiiO follow-up video’s timeslot to China’s Zidoo to talk about its similarly-priced streaming DAC, the Eversolo DMP-A6 (€859), which will in turn feature a side-by-side comparison with the FiiO R7.
Slip-sliding review windows is the only way I can squeeze the Eversolo into my already late-running schedule — and I am doing so 1) because the DMP-A6 is easily the most requested product review of 2023 and 2) it will turn our existing duo of sub-€1000 streaming DAC review videos on the FiiO R7 (€699) and Bluesound NODE X (€799) into a nicely rounded trio.
The Eversolo DMP-A6 has just landed in Berlin so let’s dig into some specifics: it’s an audio streamer from Zidoo – hitherto makers of video streamers – that uses a quad-core ARM Cortex-A55 processor, 4GB RAM and 32GB read-only memory to handle digital audio streams arriving via Bluetooth or over Ethernet or Wifi via Tidal Connect, Spotify Connect, Apple AirPlay 2, DLNA, Roon Ready, or via on-device apps (more on those in a moment).
The DMP-A6’s internal DAC specs are also impressive for the price point. The D/A circuit is built around a pair of ESS 9038Q2M chips (compared to a single ES9068AS in the FiiO R7). That internal DAC is also accessible via the rear panel USB-C, coaxial and TOSLINK sockets.
With its RCA or balanced XLR sockets we can connect the Eversolo to a power amplifier or pair of powered speakers. We can also bypass the DMP-A6’s internal digital volume control in favour of that found on any analogue pre-amp or integrated. The FiiO is no different.
Alternatively, outboard DACs can be fed via coaxial, TOSLINK or USB-A with volume attenuation also working in the digital domain (hello Peachtree GAN-1). The latter two features are not offered by the R7 which counters with an SD card slot, an optional DC power socket and a THX AAA-788+ headphone amplifier with single-ended and balanced (Pentaconn or XLR) outputs. The Eversolo strikes back with an M.2 NVME drive bay for standalone UPnP server functionality and an HDMI socket that isn’t an eARC input or I2S output but a multi-channel PCM/DSD output for downstream A/V receivers.
Sitting the two units side-by-side makes their most obvious difference clearly visible: touchscreen orientation. The FiiO device runs close-to-stock Android 10 from a 4.97-inch 720×1280px LCD touchscreen in portrait mode to mirror the smartphone experience. Over on the Eversolo, we access its heavily-customised version of Android 11 via a 6″ LCD screen (resolution unknown) turned to landscape mode, of which one immediately-noticeable side effect is an extra-wide on-screen keyboard. Another is the Eversolo’s horizontally-extended Apple Music app interface whose metaphorical small print informs us that bit-perfect hi-res handling and gapless playback are both part of the deal. Just like the FiiO.
Two features the DMP-A6 has that the R7 does not: 1) a choice of digital VU meter displays and 2) a ‘cast’ mode that works like a remote desktop connection to mirror the device’s screen on the Eversolo Control smartphone app. This gives us access to the Eversolo unit as if we were sitting in front of it and, therefore, remote control of streaming services yet to develop their own Connect service. That means lickety-split couch control of Apple Music and Qobuz, albeit in a landscape view. It really is impressive just how little lag shows up in ‘cast’ mode.
All third-party streaming apps are installed from a white list (and not the Google Play Store as on the FiiO). Of the bigger players, Eversolo has whitelisted the aforementioned Apple Music and Qobuz but also Tidal, Deezer, Amazon Music, Napster, Deezer and Spotify (not to be confused with Spotify Connect). In the fullness of time, I will test Spotify and Tidal for gapless playback. I don’t have accounts with any other services — so gapless testing can fall to reviewers who do.
Darko.Audio contributor John Grandberg might be one of those reviewers. His written coverage of the DMP-A6 will land after my video. Think of mine as a first opinion and his as a second. Perhaps John will like the design of the DMP-A6’s VU meters more than I do. With no headphone output on board, his review will take in the Eversolo’s performance as a streaming DAC (and maybe as a streaming transport) from the perspective of a headphone listener. I will cover the Eversolo as a streaming DAC, with side-by-side comparisons to the FiiO R7 and Bluesound Node X conducted strictly in the loudspeaker domain.
And before you ask: Eversolo sent me the standard version of the DMP-A6. On the costlier Masters Edition – which adds better clocking and better output stage op-amps for an additional €350 – I am unable to comment.
Further information: Eversolo