Listening Impressions of DMC Digital Music Console streamer

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sonicxtc

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I realize this is a new product, yet apparently some units have landed in the hands and ears (ouch!) of AC members. I'm seriously considering a streamer and had been looking at other brands like a mid-level Lumin, so I welcome any listening impressions or mini reviews.  :popcorn: Thank you for sharing.

Tbar

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Hi,
I have compared the DMC-1 to my two stand alone DACs (both costing >$3000).  I was able to perform a/b listening tests by switching inputs on my preamp.  These were not blinded tests.  To my ears the DMC-1 is equal to, or better than, my other DACs. I like it so much, I purchased a second DMC-1.
Tim

mresseguie

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Hi, Sonicxtc.

Mine has now been on for a solid 100+ hours, and streaming music for about 30 hours. I'll defer to Dusty over how many hours of burn in are needed for the DAC to be in its 'happy place', but I like to give my components a good 100 hours of use before I make critical observations. [Simply being on doesn't count in my book.]

Considering I got in at the early bird special price of $1495, I'm quite satisfied with what I have. I got two or three pieces for the price of one. I got a nice sounding DAC, a streamer, and <what shall I call it?> a 'junction box' into which I can attach thumb drives and hard drives filled with music, a CDT, and ????. So far, I have used it solely to stream TIDAL, but I've got a HD with a bunch of music on it that is attracting my attention.

During the first dozen hours, I  noticed some sibilance in some female voices and trumpet music, but I think I've heard this through every new DAC and preamp, so it's nothing to worry about. Just this morning, I listened to Seven Steps to Heaven by Miles Davis, and everything sounded pretty good.

This is my first streamer, so I cannot compare it to any other. The GUI is new to me, and it's the first rendition of it (I believe). It's not as smooth to navigate as TIDAL's GUI, but I know Dusty is working on it. I have not compared the internal DAC to my other DACs. That will come later.

I'm delighted that I no longer need to have a computer tethered to my DAC.

That's all for now.

Michael


CIAudio

Hi Michael,

Yes you’re right... it does take some burn-in (mostly power supply related), and should really come to life after a few days.

-Dusty

MttBsh

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I appreciate the listening impressions so far, but they have made reference only to the quality of the DMC's DAC. I already have a DAC I love (a Schitt Yggdrasil) but am in the market for a streamer - thus, the quality of the DMC streamer itself really interests me. If it competes with the well known brands out there, I could get one and just bypass the built-in DAC if I still preferred my Yggy.
 
In a related thread Dusty said "Several have replaced much more expensive gear from Lumin, Bryston, Auralic, Mytek etc., and find DMC out-performs them". It would be great if one or more of these folks would post their listening impressions here.

Nordkapp

I appreciate the listening impressions so far, but they have made reference only to the quality of the DMC's DAC. I already have a DAC I love (a Schitt Yggdrasil) but am in the market for a streamer - thus, the quality of the DMC streamer itself really interests me. If it competes with the well known brands out there, I could get one and just bypass the built-in DAC if I still preferred my Yggy.
 
In a related thread Dusty said "Several have replaced much more expensive gear from Lumin, Bryston, Auralic, Mytek etc., and find DMC out-performs them". It would be great if one or more of these folks would post their listening impressions here.
I replaced a Bryston BDP3 with the DMC-1. Thus far, I have only used it as streamer for Tidal and files stored on an external SSD sending signal to my outboard DAC. I can unequivocally state the DMC-1 is every bit as competent as the big Bryston machine. By that I am referring to its ease of use and sound. It doesn't have the BDP-3's speed when reading and loading data, however we are only talking a small difference here. I am assuming the DMC-1 is using USB 2.0 ports. No regrets with this purchase. If it sold for $2K w/o the built in DAC, I'd still say it's an honest deal for a really solid product. Mike.

Canard Presse

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I've had mine for a few weeks now and I'm thoroughly impressed with the sound quality. There are some glitches to be worked out with the Tidal interface, but playing high res files off a USB stick has been the most enjoyable digital experience I've had in my system.

To put this in perspective, I've never really rated digital as a source for anything other than background music - convenient, but not exactly involving. I've heard some very expensive digital sources in dealers' listening rooms and shows, and while they supply dynamics and a sort of timbral accuracy (at least the better ones) they always seem to fall short on spatial presentation and there is something about the experience that leaves me wanting to turn them off after a while - a sort of feeling of unease that's hard to pin down.

The DMC doesn't give me that feeling - it's the first digital device that I'm happy to listen to for hours without simply making everything sound bland and polite. It still lacks the low level ambient cues of my analog source (but then, at around ten times the DMC's price that's expected), but it really recalls the sound of a studio master tape with tremendous power and refinement - especially for the price.

The DMC is a worthy addition to the CI line, in my opinion, and a huge bargain as well.

MttBsh

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I’m a little surprised that this new streamer from Channel Islands audio hasn’t generated a few more reviews… likely new owners are too busy listening to music. I've had the DMC-1 running for just over a week now and thought I would share my impressions.
 
Since I already have a fairly high end DAC that costs quite a bit more than the DMC-1, I was really only interested in the using the DMC-1 as a streamer… At least that was my plan. But curiosity won the day and I had to try it out as a one-box solution, I powered it up using its internal DAC and analog outs to my preamp.  A week later I still haven’t bothered to connect it to my external DAC, that’s how good the DMC-1 sounds using its internal DAC ; it produces the best sound I've heard from my system. High Res files in particular sound superb whether played from attached USB drives or streaming Qobuz. It’s a clear step up from the Sonore Microrendu I’ve used in the past; more musical presence, clarity and bass depth across a wider soundstage. Having a one box solution also beats having to deal with a daisy chain of separate power supplies, connectors and converters. The ability to select music sources and adjust playback options on my iPad (such as selecting the DAC filters) is also a very nice feature.

There are a few minor nitpicks, I learned that the DMC-1 will not read NTFS formatted hard drives, only drives formatted for XFat, which really is not a problem, and being a brand new product the user documentation is a bit sparse, but Channel Islands is working on it. Navigation through the File Player menus became pretty intuitive pretty quickly.

Last but certainly not least I  been very impressed by Channel Islands Audio’s customer service, Dusty goes well beyond the call of duty to answer questions and help you get started, should you seek his assistance. He has even phoned me several times to follow up on a question or just to see if I have any more questions, this is a guy who stands behind his products and obviously cares about his customers.

As another reviewer pointed out, were the DMC-1 to be a stand alone streamer it would be well worth the asking price, but with the inclusion of a very high performing DAC I find his pricing more than reasonable. I haven’t tried the big-name multi-thousand dollar streamers out there but my sense is that the DMC-1 could compete with any of them.

Paulie

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Having a network transport and DAC of this quality is really nice.  There's a lot of do-it-yourself options, especially in regard to network transports, but inevitably I end up with a million boxes for various power supplies, format converters, etc...  I appreciate the simplicity and quality of the DMC. 

Things did open up a bit after some burn in. It's a pretty smooth presentation, which I like.  Part of that is from the AKM chip, but from my experience with CI Audio equipment, the sound signature is smooth, open, and listenable.  Loving it.

CIAudio

Thanks for the feedback so far... we’re very happy that you’re all loving it!

jd3

Re: Listening Impressions of DMC Digital Music Console streamer
« Reply #10 on: 18 Aug 2020, 07:03 pm »
I've had mine for a month now and after a few hiccups (and a long phone call with Dusty!) I really like it.  It's easy to navigate.  I originally had an issue with it locating all my files on my Salk Streamer (which I still use for Roon), but that's all sorted out.  I've got a 1tb hard drive along with a 64 gb flash drive plugged in.  It finds everything easily.  The DAC sounds very good.  I have the same DAC (I think) in my Anthem STR preamp, and I really think the DMC's DAC is just a touch better sounding.  I've streamed Qobuz through it as well and I have no complaints. 

For someone who's got a lot of stored music files and doesn't have internet or use Roon I think it's a great option.     

CIAudio

Re: Listening Impressions of DMC Digital Music Console streamer
« Reply #11 on: 18 Aug 2020, 11:06 pm »
Yes, this is one thing you can’t do with most other players.
DMC can run in hotspot mode which allows it to connect to your control device without an internet connection, enabling playback from hard drives, flash drives, or CD drive in stand-alone mode.