DMP Beta Review


#1

Well it is official I am sending my old PWT back and keeping the new DMP. I have compared it to both the PWT and The Bridge II on the same music albums and songs with the different types of source and found it to be excellent sounding on my system. Red book CD’s are much better sounding on this new player and the new display format is much more pleasing to me. SACD’s sound even better and that is where this player really shines. if I don’t try to out smart or race with the inputs on the screen it works flawlessly. I find the SACD to be as good or slightly better than the BridgeII using high rez files. I will use both in the future as I do now. The USB stick input is a great feature for friends to share a song or album with me as well. I look forward to future firmware updates to improve this device even more. Thanks to Paul and the entire team for another wonderful device that enhances my ability to enjoy music in my home!!IMG_0081-1.jpg


#2
dew1551 said Well it is official I am sending my old PWT back and keeping the new DMP. I have compared it to both the PWT and The Bridge II on the same music albums and songs with the different types of source and found it to be excellent sounding on my system. Red book CD's are much better sounding on this new player and the new display format is much more pleasing to me. SACD's sound even better and that is where this player really shines. if I don't try to out smart or race with the inputs on the screen it works flawlessly. I find the SACD to be as good or slightly better than the BridgeII using high rez files. I will use both in the future as I do now. The USB stick input is a great feature for friends to share a song or album with me as well. I look forward to future firmware updates to improve this device even more. Thanks to Paul and the entire team for another wonderful device that enhances my ability to enjoy music in my home!!IMG_0081-1.jpg
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#3

This review appears to be bringing up the rear among the beta testers, but its lateness was due to things out of my control. I had to send the unit [and my DSD DAC] back to Colorado because they couldn’t play DSD64 and then, after more than three weeks of down time, the holidays intervened and I was away for some time. I have now spent the past week evaluating the new player.

The DMP is going to be a permanent fixture in my system, which now features four PS Audio products and who knows what may be next. The DMP replaces the PWT, which has served me well but is clearly surpassed by the new player.

I have about 100 SACDs and DVD-Audios in most all genres: classical, rock, jazz [my musical preference], blues and pop. Among the SACDs I have used for evaluation purposes are Terry Evans’ “Mississippi Magic,” Patricia Barber’s “Modern Cool,” Joe Henderson’s “Lush Life,” Shirley Horn’s “Here’s to Life,” “Rhapsody in Blue” with Jon Nakamatsu and the Rochester Philharmonic, and Grofe’s “Grand Canyon Suite” and “Niagara Falls Suite” with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Bass quality and quantity were evaluated with, among others, James Taylor’s “Gaia” and “Up From Your Life” from his “Hourglass” SACD, perhaps the best-sounding disc in my collection.

Interestingly, with no change in other parts of the equipment-speaker chain, the first thing that became apparent was the improvement in bass using the DMP. The entire room shook and, if I didn’t know any better, I could have sworn that the couch moved ever so slightly during the extraordinarily low bass notes of “Up From Your Life” and the drum whacks of “Gaia.” More important, though, was how clear each bass note was on whatever disc I threw at it. The bass solo on “You and the Night and the Music” from “Modern Cool” never sounded so right.

As for vocals, there was no contest between the two combos. Evans’ growl had bite and body that was beyond the DMP, which is no slack in this regard. Shirley Horn was “in the room,” as we are wont to say, during “Here’s to Life.” What also stood out was how the reverb gave this song so much air that the [artificial, of course] soundstage seemed to have no boundaries.

The DMP doesn’t gloss over the harshness in so many recordings, showing at times that such qualities aren’t necessarily flaws but a reflection of certain singers, instruments and engineering-mastering decisions, although, let’s face it, bad digital recordings aren’t uncommon. Vocals were smooth as silk in “Getz-Gilberto,” but the DMP didn’t try to tame hot voices and instruments in any of the discs I used for evaluation. In short, the DMP brings out the best–and, unfortunately, because you cannot have it both ways, the worst–in any recording. Classical recordings with overly steely strings remain just that.

Consider Jonatha Brooke’s CD “Ten Cent Wings,” superbly mastered by the inimitable Bob Ludwig. With the DMP, It has a rock edge that gives way to delicacy and then soars on such songs as “Landmine.” And the bottom end gives each song an underpinning that never seems to be hyped, although I know that hype is not foreign to much of the rock catalog. Ditto the great songs on Tim Buckley’s “Grace,” both on regular CD and the superb, worth-every-penny SACD.

After downloading the 1.94 update, my player has behaved without flaw. No lockups of any kind. I kept the player in continuous album play overnight for three nights and found it operating just as one would expect a $6,000 device to operate. With one exception, though: its inability to navigate DVD-Audios with any consistency. But it’s a fact of life that I have come to accept. DVD-Audio discs, though, sound superb.

The DMP doesn’t blow the PWT out of the water, but the improvements it imparts aren’t always subtle and often are eye-popping [that’s hype, by the way]. That was to be expected considering the pre-production assessments provided by Paul and my own experience using PS Audio gear, which is slowly taking over my racks. Yes, older CDs sound better on the DMP. No, not SACD good. But unmistakably better. And that alone is reason to rejoice, as I am approaching 2,000 digital discs and have quite an investment in the various technologies that I have no intent of jettisoning.

Reviews of this type are, I find, hard to write. There are only so many ways to describe sound that makes sense to me and, I suspect, many audiophiles. My criteria are simple, actually: I want a realistic but fairly fatique-free presentation that allows me to suspend belief and bask in well-recorded music as it unfolds before me.

This the DMP does.


#4

An intelligent, thoughtful review. Thanks!


#5

Rob,

Has your DMP been returned to you yet from PSA? Any insights gained?

Ditto the few others who had sent their units in for therapy.


#6

Both of my units have been returned. I’m glad to have an opportunity to answer this question because I had posted earlier about the need to send both the DMP and Direct Stream DAC back to Boulder, but haven’t stated which unit was causing the glitch regarding DSD64. Turns out that the DAC had a short. The DMP was behaving normally–or at least as normal was defined at the time, which was long before the latest download that appears to have solved many of the issues users were reporting.

The only insight I gained was don’t jump to conclusions. While I was told that either of the units could be malfunctioning, I assumed it was the DMP because the DAC has been such a great performer.


#7

Nobo, before I returned my DMP to Boulder, PS Audio graciously acceded to my request to replace it with a new one. Accordingly, I may not see one until February.

And the new one would need to come without any of the display and touchscreen anomalies that I was experiencing. If no one provides details of the pathology report on the old unit before notice that a new one is ready to ship, then I will certainly ask. It wouldn’t make sense for me to accept a new replacement if no rhyme or reason or remedy is found for behaviors found problematic on the first go-around.


#8

Dew1551: Nice looking system. Based on your posted location, PS Audio gear and Aria server you should get together with wglenn, if you have not done so already. I certainly enjoy may Aria.