Eversolo DMP A6 with or without preamp

I just bought an Eversolo DMP A6, and it sounded great by connecting directly to my MacIntosh MC302 amp. I am trying to figure out why it seems to sound better than going thru my Mac C2300 tube preamp which shouldn’t be too shabby. 

Are most of you using this DAC/Streamer by directly connecting to the amp?  Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. 



My Dad has one connected digitally via USB to his Mac 8950 and it sounds great with the Mac DAC 2 card doing all the heavy lifting.  Yours is all analog so I am surprised to hear you say it sounds better with no preamp.  

Maybe time  for new tubes?   

Maybe having both a Mac pre and amp was too much of a good thing?  Agree with maybe trying some new and maybe more transparent tubes.  Hard to believe you couldn’t significantly improve upon the preamp section of a $900 streamer/DAC combo unit either with new tubes or a different preamp altogether.  FWIW, and best of luck. 

I ran mine USB and then I switched it to analog directly into my MC 601s. I’d like a direct into my 601s better than going USB. It just sounds more lively, more dynamic I guess. I don’t think the differences in my head, there’s no way to a-b it.

I first plugged the A6 to an Anthem mix 510 via analog and thought it sounded real good.  

Today's digital gear ain't too shabby.   I just picked up a Cyrus i7-XR  Integrated Amp and I love that little amp.  It has a built in DAC and coincidentally it has the same ESS chipset as the Eversolo.   I can't believe how good my TV, PC , and Vault 2i sound with that little guy.    That said I'm not surprised you like how it sounds.   

Some Mac preamps and integrateds have an input trim setting. Personally I would start with the Eversolo' s output set to fixed or maxed out.  I forget how it achieves max output , but you want a fixed out equivalent to approx 2 volts like any other source component RCA. 

If you have it XLR , I would do the same as it should be about 4 v when fixed.  

Then with that fixed I would adjust the input trim plus or minus if so equipped

Yes, I turned the analog volume setting to max when feeding it into the preamp.


Btw, the Eversolo volume bypass mode has to be turned on if you want to use it preamp with it. I am new to all of this, and at first couldn’t get it to work with my preamp. 

Direct feed into the amp sounds more clear and transparent.  I don’t have a mic to precisely adjust the volumes for an equal comparison, but that’s what it sounds like to me. I am also going to play around different interconnects. Maybe that’s also the problem. 

I have gone back and forth with trying dacs straight to amps, and with preamps. Straight into the amp always sounds different,  not necessarily better,  depends on the dac . Some will sound good at first,  then you realize it doesn't really have the drive a real preamp provides. 

So a dac needs a good preamp section,  which  a lot of cheaper dacs doesn't have. 

Direct feed into the amp sounds more clear and transparent.

Shocker.  That’s exactly why I recommended trying some more neutral/transparent tubes.  You can play with wires and tubes if you want, but it sure sounds like too much thick Mac syrup in your system and the A6 is giving you a needed dose of transparency and fresh air when combined with your amp.  If you can, try something like an ARC, Linear Tube Audio, or Backert tube preamp in your system and you may be very positively surprised as they’ll all offer much more than the A6 could ever hope to as a preamp — as they well should.  I think the A6 gave you a small glimpse into the improvements you could have in store, and I’d recommend pursuing that further as there’s clearly (pun intended) something there. 

Thanks for all the great advice. 

I'm going to order some Telefunken tubes for the C2300 (highly recommended on the forums and why not) but also give the preamp more time for my ears to adjust. Never know how it's going to end up but should be a lot of fun with lots of different variations.

Trade in the C2300 for a digital preamp.  I have the MDA200,  it has the preamp section from the C53, and it sounds wonderful straight into my 7270.

I prefer a dac/preamp combo with separate streamer, as compared to streamer/dac with separate preamp. 

You can get the MDA200 for about the same price you can sell the C2300 for, and it has the latest D2 dac.

eyelai777, your experience makes sense.  If a source such as your Eversolo streamer has a variable output with sufficient voltage and current, then you can drive an amplifier directly.  This eliminates interconnects, contacts, potentiometers, capacitors, gain stages (tube or SS), and power supplies that can only get in the way.

Of course, we audiophiles often have multiple sources (e.g. discs, phono, tape, radio) so a pre-amp is a convenient way to select, buffer impedances, and control gain/attenuation. 

Your Mac pre-amp should be close to transparent. I recommend setting the Eversolo output for bypass and re-evaluating.  It's possible that "analog volume setting to max" in variable mode may not be the most linear or noise free condition.

If the sound is still "veiled" then you could experiment with premium tubes as suggested by another post or explore other solutions if you choose.

I have not used the eversolo before. I would say that it depends on the output section of the Dac. I used to use a dCS Bartok straight into an amp and it was good. I have since moved to MSB w currently with the premier Dac and s202 amp. There is synergy there as they are designed to work together. MSB dacs are also designed so there is enough output coming from their ladders. This eliminates the need to boost the signal at the output stage. The implementation of the volume control is really important too.