EMM Labs DV2 Integrated Digital-To-Analog Converter $30,000 Review
December 9, 2019 § Leave a comment
“If you are also running analog, you will need a preamp or integrated amp so this digital volume control may not have the appeal it has to me, since you will already have a volume control. You may be better off saving $5000 by buying the DA2. So, this is for digital-only guys like me. Is the volume control here as good as a top rate analog volume control? Not in terms of range – you can go both louder and softer on some preamps which incorporate a gain stage and the steps may also be finer. But in terms of quality, if the range and granularity on offer here suits you, this one is pretty much perfect. In practice, I could not differentiate between the sound coming through the EMM Labs PRE Reference Preamplifier into the Soulution 511 Power Amp and the sound of the DV2 going directly into that power amp.
There are competitors to the DV2. dCS, Chord, Esoteric, MSB, Berkeley, and others all have or are working on statement DACs, and most now offer a variable output implemented digitally. I’ve been very impressed with the new implementations I’ve heard. Some are much more expensive than the DV2, and may have optional external clocks that can raise the price significantly. But I’ve heard nothing that sounds more like the music I hear in the best performance spaces. More impressive, yes, but more realistic, no.”