DMA – 06 Multimedia Entertainment System
Being the only audiophile in my family can be lonely at times. Don’t get me wrong, they all love music but unfortunately no one is as passionate or would ever be accused of being an audiophile; not my wife, son or daughter. But mention a movie like The Avengers Age of Ultron and watch the sparks start flying! Everybody in my family (especially my mom) enjoys a great movie. In response I have put together a pretty impressive home theater system including the newest Epson LS10000 laser-based 4k projector, a 130″ Dalite pull-down screen and a Classe SSP-800 surround processor synced to the Behold APU preamp. Sunny Majestic horn loudspeakers handle front channels with so much dexterity you can’t tell I don’t use a center channel. Surround sound is supplied by a pair of petit Sunny H2W8 loudspeakers. When I listen to music I am usually alone, but when I pull down that Dalite screen the whole family comes in!
Since 2008, I’ve been either ripping Blu-rays and DVD’s or streaming movies on Netflix or RuKu through the S1 Digital’s P500 Media Center. The P500 doesn’t just rip (including cover art and metadata) and stream movies, it also stores all my movies on a four-terabyte internal drive. Then at the 2014 High End Show in Munich, Kurt Hecker (who is the president of the Munich High End governing board) introduced me to Daniel Mayerthaler, who was showing off his newest product, the DMA-06 Media Center. These units are not cheap (the S1 Digital P500 sold for $6,000), and the questions is, at that asking price can these products be considered true high-end audio devices? Mayerthaler certainly thinks so. In fact, he led me to his booth where the DMA-06 was in demo mode. I immediately noticed how fast and responsive the DMA-06 was to its wireless mouse and keyboard. Internally, the DMA-06 is based on Windows 8, 64 bit, open-architecture platform. Open-architecture means that it will support both Apple and Windows software. With the DMA-06 you have a product that allows you to do everything you want—access YouTube videos, download apps, stream hi-rez music and movies, browse the Internet, play Blu-ray movies or video games—all with just the click of a mouse.
I was intrigued and asked Mr. Mayerthaler if I could get a review sample. He graciously agreed and it arrived here in Jersey City within a few months.
The DMA stands for Daniel Mayerthaler Assembly and is headquartered in beautiful Baden, Switzerland. Mayerthaler himself is a computer wiz who runs his own technology company. It was this passion that led him to found DMA. At the heart of the DMA-06 is a multi-core CPU with 8 GB of RAM and an Ultra HD (4k) graphics processor. Inputs include USB 2.0/3.0, gigabit LAN, S/PDIF, HDMI and DVI. Audio inputs support 44/48/96/192 kHz at 16/24 resolution/Bits.
The DMA-06 has an estimated price tag of $3080.00 in the USA (add $150 for a wireless mouse and keypad, and an additional $500 for a 4TB hard-drive). It sports a sleek, low profile chassis that is clean and minimalist in design. The DMA company logo is located on its top panel while the model number is displayed on front. Minimalist for sure. Flipping down the DMA-06’s front panel reveals the Blu-ray/DVD drawer and a pair of USB inputs. Closed, only the power button is visible. The rear has computer connections on the left and analogue connections on the right. The unit comes standard with a Xonar Essence board by ASUS although my unit had the optional DMA-03 analogue preamp board ($1,895 additional cost). Mayerthaler told me the DMA-03 is vastly superior than the Xonar. The unit is powered by an external supply.
Hooking the DMA-06 up to my Epson LS1000 using HDMI, and running its digital output into the digital input of the Classe SP600 took all of ten minutes before I was ready to go. The first thing I reached for was Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel played through Windows Media Player. Soon as I hit the play button, all I could say was “WOW.” The improvement in color saturation and sharpness compared to the more expensive S1 Digital P500 was pretty obvious. The red in Superman’s costume wasn’t just more intense, it was richer and small details (like the fabric) I hadn’t noticed before showed up clearly. There was a remarkable reduction of noise and artifacts as well. Picture quality was both cleaner and smoother, as if someone had wiped the lens. The movie’s soundtrack also sounded both more relaxed and less hyped; the quiet scenes were quieter while the action scenes had more dynamic impact.
Watching the award-winning Interstellar through the S1 Digital was challenging for me because the film seemed slow and boring for the first hour or so. However, watching it again through the DMA-06 offered a level of fidelity to the Hans Zimmer soundtrack that had me far more interested than I was the first time around. I also noticed the dark scenes were clearer and blacker. And whites appeared brighter against a dark and inky black background. I ended watching the entire movie for a second time! And it wasn’t nearly as boring as I originally found it.
I turned next to my iTunes library and found the playback impressive. Bourgie Bourgie, Love Don’t Always Make It Right and Stay Free, from Ashford and Simpson’s “The Warner Years” had all the earmarks of a high-end audio CD player. The sense of ease and liquidity, focus, speed and body were enough to make you wonder, why all the fuss about spending vast sums of money on super high-end gear? Ditto Corrine Bailey Rae’s rendition of Free from Marcus Miller’s “Marcus” release. It was offered up with enough emotional energy and nuance to keep me entranced for the entire nine-song set.
Yes, the DMA-06 plays music back like a high-end machine. Yes, it handles Blu-ray with a quality not normally expected from a PC platform. And yes, I did go on the web and browse around and found the DMA-06 reacts just like a great PC would in terms of speed and load time. I didn’t load any new photos but found hundreds from previous audio shows on the Stereo Times website. The overall quality was impressive; they were richly textured, clear and three-dimensional.
I was impressed and delighted that the DMA-06 performed as well as it did right out of the box. Although smaller and lighter than the S1 Digital P500, it had higher quality sound ands video. It was whisper quiet with lightning-quick response time. I had a great deal of fun both streaming videos and watching Blu-ray movies. I am still discovering its many features (which are discussed on YouTube). I am delighted to have the DMA-06 in my listening room. Most importantly, my family enjoys it the most! Highly recommended.
This is your DMA-06 test configuration
– DMA-06 High-End Entertainment Center / Version STAND USD 3080.-
– OPTION: DMA-03 High-End Sound Module USD 1895.-
– OPTION: US wireless keyboard USD 60.-
– OPTION: DVD/Blu-ray player software USD 70.-
– OPTION: additional internal 4TB hard disc drive (2 x 2TB) USD 500.-
This are end-consumer prices excluding TAX/VAT/shipping
DANIEL MAYERTHALER ASSEMBLY
Im Grund 15
Telefon: ++41 79 686 38 56
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