More on Emerson Watrson Analog Streammer /DAC by Eric L
I have been using Emerson Wattson Analog (EWA) for many months and the more I listen with EWA, the more it has become indispensable to me.
It is so compact that it disappears in my setup nicely (behind my TV); I like that since I'm a minimalist and size matters in an opposite way to the majority of hifi enthusiasts.
Since I don't have an iPhone which supports EWA's own App, I have to use a uPNP app by MConnect (free Lite version). It is a bit inconvenient: once listening to Tidal, the music will not continuously play even if you have selected it; the App will pause as soon as the phone is in lockscreen mode. That forces me to unlock the phone and select the App again and it will automatically play from my selected list again. This will not happen when I open the Tidal App to directly play through my BT device. It's just that the sound quality of EWA is so addictive that I'm willing to go through the extra hassle.
I have read a lot of reviews on the internet, ranging from with lukewarm to enthused, but there are some virtues that it has which has not being mentioned and I would like to point out a few based on my extended listening experience.
First of all, I have been spoilt by the natural presentation of EWA. I have never sensed even a bit of digital hardness and congestion, except on a few really shitty recordings, which only happens rarely. Whereas, I often sense congestion playing through my Sparkler CDP with some lesser CDs. To me, the term "sounding analog" cannot fully describe the sound of EWA. There's a kind of rightness and pitch perfection that makes music very very easy to follow. Phrasing of passages become more easy to identify and appreciate. One can effortlessly clearly hear the difference in playing with different pianists playing the same tune: whether the right hand or left dominates, the interpretation more dramatic or poised, more passionate or cooler in presentation etc. EWA just reveals effortlessly and matter-of-factly. Details never sound forced, simply proferred in a relaxed yet precise way.
With EWA, I hear more essential details to help me understand the meaning of the song and different interpretations. I tap my feet due to the assured pace and tempo. To be honest, the music style of EWA is not hot-blooded (usually when something is played in a faster tempo); EWA just displays whatever there is in the recording, and yet it never fails to be uninteresting or lacking in beat and foot tapping elements !
Is the setup musical, engaging and involving? This is the most important question and prerequisite for me! The answer is a big YES!! Its slightly detached style works in really beneficial ways: absolutely no coloration added; harmonic and instrumental decays nicely portrayed; good sense of tempo; analog sounding; and most importantly, allowing one to relax and yet be involved and immersed in the music. What more can one ask for? And yes, sound is free from even one bit of grain and compression; highs are airy and pristine, with top class dispersion and extension; mid's have the right intensity, yet never overdone; low end is rock solid. It played in temp and with authority, providing a solid foundation few equipment at this price point can match.
Yes, I may not be drawn to it every moment while playing music, but it's so effortless it kind of feels like BGM, but in a good way - I still immensely enjoy all the details and inner messages of every piece of music. Its never fatiguing nor in-your-face style allows me to keep on listening. Come to think of it, I have never come across a piece of equipment of this price point that can come close to its performance, period!!
I'm using it with the iFi powers supply that came with the package. As I am so content with the current music performance, I just do not have the urge now to try out a nice LPS.
For anyone who is looking at a simple one-stop solution and not listening much to CDs and want to stream music through Qobus and Tidal, this is definitely worth an audition. For $1600USD, it is not cheap but in terms of quality it far more than satisfactory!
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