The Mytek EMPIRE is to prove to be the true flagship of the newly founded Mytek EMPIRE Series, not only as an outstanding D/A converter and preamplifier, but also as a streaming solution. Moreover, the new Mytek EMPIRE is even equipped with a Roon Core and thus functions as a central data source.
Mytek Digital was founded in 1992 by Michel Jurewicz and initially focused solely on solutions for the professional studio environment. The main focus of the New York-based company was and still is D/A converters, where it is considered a proven specialist, and in the meantime has long since also been in the consumer segment, which it serves with Mytek HiFi.
The direct connection to the professional studio environment has been clearly visible in almost all Mytek HiFi solutions. Always focussed on the essentials, but implemented in outstanding quality, this is how all previous products of the US-American high-end hi-fi manufacturer can be characterised. The newly introduced Mytek EMPIRE Series is a little different, especially with the solution that establishes the series, the new Mytek EMPIRE.
The new Mytek EMPIRE is an extremely versatile solution that performs a number of tasks at once, even acting as the central interface of a high-end multiroom audio streaming system. As the proven flagship of the new Mytek EMPIRE Series, this solution serves as a D/A converter, as a preamplifier, as a streaming system, and even as a data supplier, because at its heart, the new Mytek EMPIRE is Powered by RoonOS and is therefore available as a Roon Core. All this is to be offered at a quality level that offers sound without restrictions.
This latter feature, so much as an outlook, should apply to the entire new product line that the new Mytek EMPIRE establishes. The New York-based company speaks of the Mytek EMPIRE Series as a line that sets no limits to achieve the maximum possible.
The new Mytek EMPIRE is what happens when you give an engineer a free hand and the only goal is to achieve the best possible sound quality. The concept, circuitry, component quality, development and manufacturing effort should not be limited by anything. This ensured that the Mytek EMPIRE offered versatile streaming, was a first-class converter and also fulfilled the task of a reference-quality preamplifier.
Almost three decades of experience have gone into the new Mytek EMPIRE, according to Mytek Digital. It is the ideal centre for audiophile music lovers. It is an all-in-one solution, even though the Mytek EMPIRE may not fit in with what is commonly understood by this term.
At the heart of the new Mytek EMPIRE is a complete Roon Core, so this solution is designed to operate a multi-room audio streaming system based on Roon from the software company Roon Labs LLC. According to the manufacturer, sufficient performance is available for this purpose, so that no external solutions from the IT world need to be used in order to best serve a large number of Roon endpoints. On the one hand, a specially developed MytekOS platform is used, whereby the system is designated as Powered by RoonOS. The MytekOS DAC/ Preamplifier platform also offers the possibility of DSP-based signal processing, whereby the manufacturer has already announced that it will offer a series of exciting updates in the future. They even go so far as to speak of “a la carte Hi-res DSP features”, but do not want to take a closer look at the cards for the time being.
But the promise of not having to rely on any additional “IT solutions” does not only apply to pure “computing power”; the new Mytek EMPIRE is also a data supplier for multi-room audio streaming. For this purpose, it is equipped with a generous 8 TByte storage capacity, whereby SSD is used. Additional data carriers can also be connected via USB 3 ports, USB C ports and, of course, via the network. So even users with a very extensive media library should not come even close to reaching their limits.
The integration into the network is done either via cable, i.e. a Gigabit Ethernet port, or via the integrated WiFi module.
But the new Mytek EMPIRE can not only be used as a central network, of course music playback is primarily possible directly via the system itself.
An outstanding converter is available for this, after all this is precisely the core competence of the manufacturer, and has been for many, many years. The new Mytek EMPIRE, for example, uses two powerful ESS 9038PRO Sabre DACs in the form of two completely separate mono signal paths, each of which is balanced. The aim is to achieve optimum channel separation, minimum noise and, of course, above all a particularly high dynamic range of more than 133 dB.
Of course, the new Mytek EMPIRE is equipped for all relevant digital formats. It can convert signals in Linear PCM format with up to 32 bit and 768 kHz as well as DSD including DSD512.
However, the conversion unit is not only available for streaming, external sources can also be integrated. For this purpose, the new Mytek EMPIRE offers not only S/PDIF in optical and coaxial form, but also AES/EBU, USB for direct connection to a PC or Mac, and HDMI.
Those who want to output signals in digital form despite outstanding converters can do so via S/PDIF and HDMI, whereby the latter option even allows multichannel with up to eight channels.
In addition, the new Mytek EMPIRE is equipped with a large number of analogue inputs with variable sensitivity, no less than seven in number, including unbalanced and balanced connections and a phono preamplifier that is equally suitable for both MM and MC pick-up systems.
Analogue signals are output both unbalanced and balanced, and even a headphone amplifier has been considered, which, like the entire preamplifier, is balanced in a dual-mono configuration, thus providing not only an unbalanced but also a balanced connection for appropriately equipped headphones.
Of course, such a solution also requires a high-quality power supply, whereby separate power supplies are not only used for the individual components, but strict channel separation was also a priority. According to the manufacturer, this too should contribute significantly to the exceptionally clear sound for maximum transparency and the reproduction of all details.
Finally, it should be mentioned that the new Mytek EMPIRE is of course also a true high-end product in terms of design. Not only was a truly impressive design concept chosen, with a curved front, but of course the company has opted for a more than solid aluminium construction. According to the manufacturer, the housing is even milled from one piece of aircraft aluminium.
The front of the new Mytek EMPIRE not only features a multifunctional rotary encoder elegantly framed by an LED ring with which all essential parameters can be adjusted, this system is of course equipped with a generous graphic-capable touchscreen display. Nevertheless, operation via smartphone or tablet will probably be the primary way of controlling the new Mytek EMPIRE.
According to the manufacturer, the new Mytek EMPIRE is expected to be available in specialist stores from December 2020. The recommended retail price is stated at € 19,995.
As a small preview of future products in the Mytek EMPIRE series, it is worth mentioning that a suitable power amplifier is planned for the second quarter of 2021, in the form of a mono-block. We can therefore assume that these solutions will be able to provide the corresponding performance and that the new Mytek EMPIRE will be a highly flexible and powerful high-end hi-fi chain of the most modern design.
Getting to the point
The new Mytek EMPIRE is an extremely versatile solution that can perform a number of tasks at once, even acting as the central interface of a high-end multi-room audio streaming system. As the flagship of the new Mytek EMPIRE Series, this solution serves as a D/A converter, a preamplifier, a streaming system, and even as a data supplier, because at its heart, the new Mytek EMPIRE is Powered by RoonOS and is therefore available as a Roon Core. All this is to be offered at a quality level that offers sound without restrictions.