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Mytek EMPIRE Streamer DAC
Foto © Mytek Digital

Mytek EMPIRE Streamer DAC „Powered by RoonOS“

The true flagship of the newly founded Mytek EMPIRE Line is the Mytek EMPIRE Streamer DAC, which is not only an outstanding D/A converter and preamplifier, but also a streaming solution. Even more, the new Mytek EMPIRE Streamer DAC is designated as “Powered by RoonOS” and is even equipped with a Roon Core, thus functioning as a central data source.

Mytek EMPIRE Streamer DAC is the name of the completely new Mytek EMPIRE line from Mytek Digital, which, by the way, was founded in 1992 by Michel Jurewicz. Mytek Digital 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 the company is considered a proven specialist, and in the meantime also in the consumer segment, which is served by 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 HiFi forge can be characterised. With the newly introduced Mytek EMPIRE Series, this is a little different, especially with the solution that establishes the series, namely the new Mytek EMPIRE Streamer DAC.

Mytek EMPIRE Streamer DAC as an audiophile universal solution

The new Mytek EMPIRE Streamer DAC is a highly versatile solution that performs a range of tasks, even acting as the central interface of a high-end multi-room audio streaming system. As the flagship of the new Mytek EMPIRE line, this solution serves as a D/A converter, as a preamplifier, as a streaming system, and even as a data provider, because at its heart the new Mytek EMPIRE Streamer DAC is Powered by RoonOS and is thus available as a Roon Core for the software from Roon Labs LLC. All this is to be offered at a quality level that provides sound without limitations.

This latter feature should, as much as a preview, apply to the entire new product line that the new Mytek EMPIRE Streamer DAC establishes. The company from New York speaks of the Mytek EMPIRE Line as a line that sets itself no limits whatsoever in order to achieve the maximum of what is possible.

When an engineer is given a completely free hand

The new Mytek EMPIRE Streamer DAC is what happens when an engineer is given a completely free hand and the only goal is to achieve the best possible sound quality. Concept, circuitry, component quality, development and manufacturing effort should not be limited by anything. This has ensured that the Mytek EMPIRE Streamer DAC offers versatile streaming, is a first-class converter, and also fulfils the role of a reference-quality preamplifier.

Nearly three decades of experience have gone into the new Mytek EMPIRE Streamer DAC, according to Mytek Digital. It is the ideal centre for audiophile music lovers. One can certainly speak of an all-in-one solution, even though the Mytek EMPIRE Streamer DAC may not fit in with what is commonly understood by this term.

Roon Core as the basis

At the heart of the new Mytek EMPIRE Streamer DAC is, as described, a complete Roon Core, i.e. this solution is designed to operate a multi-room audio streaming system based on Roon from the software company Roon Labs LLC. Sufficient performance is available for this, according to the manufacturer, so that one does not have to resort to any external solutions from the IT world in order to serve a multitude of Roon endpoints in the best possible way.

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, and 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 reveal more details for the time being.

The promise of not being dependent on any additional “IT solutions” does not only apply to the pure “computing power”, the new Mytek EMPIRE Streamer DAC is also a data provider for multi-room audio streaming. For this purpose, it is equipped with an impressive 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. Even users with a very extensive media library will hardly come close to reaching their limits.

Integration into the network can be done either via cable, i.e. a Gigabit Ethernet port, or via the integrated WiFi module.

DAC and preamplifier

But the new Mytek EMPIRE Streamer DAC can not only serve as a central unit via the network; of course, music playback is primarily possible directly via the system itself.

An outstanding converter is available for this purpose, after all, this is precisely the manufacturer’s core competence, and has been for many, many years. The new Mytek EMPIRE Streamer DAC uses two powerful ESS 9038PRO Sabre DACs in the form of two completely separate, balanced mono signal paths. This is to achieve optimum channel separation, minimal noise and, of course, a particularly high dynamic range of more than 133 dB.

Of course, the new Mytek EMPIRE Streamer DAC is equipped for all relevant digital formats. It can convert signals in Linear PCM format with up to 32 bits and 768 kHz, as well as DSD including DSD512, and it can also process signals from MQA-encoded content.

However, the converter unit is not only available for streaming, external sources can also be integrated. For this purpose, the new Mytek EMPIRE Streamer DAC offers S/PDIF in optical as well as coaxial form, AES/EBU, USB for direct connection to a PC or Mac, and HDMI.

If you want to output signals in digital form despite the outstanding converters, you can do so via S/PDIF and HDMI, the latter option even allowing multichannel with up to eight channels.

Phono preamplifier included

To do full justice to its role as a preamplifier, the new Mytek EMPIRE Streamer DAC even has a large number of analogue inputs with variable sensitivity, no fewer than seven in fact, including a phono preamplifier in addition to unbalanced and balanced connections, which is equally suitable for drives equipped with MM and MC cartridge systems.

Analogue signals are output both unbalanced and balanced, and even a headphone amplifier has been thought of, which, like the entire preamplifier, has a balanced dual-mono design and thus offers 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 not only separate power supplies for the individual components are used, but also a strict channel separation is important. According to the manufacturer, this also contributes 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 Streamer DAC is also a true high-end product in terms of design. Not only did they decide on a really impressive design concept with a curved shape of the front, but of course they rely on a more than solid construction made of aluminium. According to the manufacturer, the housing is even milled from one piece of aircraft aluminium.

The front of the new Mytek EMPIRE Streamer DAC is not only adorned with a multifunctional rotary encoder elegantly framed by an LED ring, via which all essential parameters can be adjusted, this system is of course equipped with a generous graphics-capable touchscreen display. Nevertheless, operation via smartphone or tablet will probably be the primary way of controlling the new Mytek EMPIRE Streamer DAC.

According to the manufacturer, the new Mytek EMPIRE Streamer DAC is expected to be available from specialist retailers from May 2021. The recommended retail price is € 19,995.95. You can choose between a black and a silver version.

More to come… Mytek EMPIRE Monoblock

As a small preview of future products of the Mytek EMPIRE Line, we can reveal that a matching power amplifier is planned for the second quarter of 2021, namely in the form of a mono block. It is certain that this will be called simply Mytek EMPIRE Monoblock. It is safe to assume that these solutions will be able to offer the corresponding performance and that the new Mytek EMPIRE Streamer DAC will be able to create a not only extremely flexible but also powerful high-end hi-fi chain of the most modern design.

Getting to the point

The new Mytek EMPIRE Streamer DAC is a highly versatile solution that takes on 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, as a preamplifier, as a streaming system, and even as a data provider, because at its heart it is Powered by RoonOS and thus available as a Roon Core. All this is to be offered on a quality level that provides sound without limitations.

Manufacturer: Mytek Digital
Distribution: cma audio GmbH
Price: € 19.995,95

About Michael Holzinger

Michael Holzinger, founder and editor-in-chief of HiFi BLOG and sempre-audio.com, has been working for years as a journalist in the fields of IT, photography, telecommunications and consumer electronics.

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