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Eastern Electric Mini Max Supreme DAC Review  Print E-mail
Home Theater Preamplifiers Stereo Preamps
Written by Andre Marc   
Friday, 05 December 2014
Article Index
Eastern Electric Mini Max Supreme DAC Review 
Listening
Conclusion
Bonus Interview

The high resolution Digital Audio Convertor market is, to me, the most exciting and fastest moving sector in the audiophile industry. It is also global. There are superb products being designed and manufactured all over the world, including Eastern Europe, Australia, and especially Asia. Hong Kong, mainland China, and Korea have been hotbeds lately, as I found out with my recent reviews of several SOtM products, including the sMS-100 Mini Server and the sHP-100 Headphone amp/DAC.

Through a business contact I was able to touch base with Bill O’Connell of Morningstar Audio, the importer for all Eastern Electric products in the U.S.A. Bill is one of the nicest and most passionate people you will find in high performance audio. Based in Arlington Heights, IL, he serves the Eastern Electric brand well, with its varied line of tubed phono stage, preamplifier, power amplifier, several integrated amplifiers, a CD player, and two DACs.

Eastern Electric has been on my radar for a while, and I have gotten tips about their amplifiers and digital products, especially the Mini Max DAC. It turns out the folks at Eastern Electric, based in China, have updated the Mini Max to “Supreme” status. It now decodes DSD, along with other improvements. The DAC sells for $1350 and is one of the more complete packages I have encountered at anywhere near this price point.

So what makes the Mini Max Supreme such an impressive deal at its price point and beyond? There are dual power transformers, dual ESS9018 DAC chips, PCM decoding up to 384 Khz PCM and DSD128 via the USB input. There are also AES/EBU, BNC, coaxial, and TosLink inputs which decode up to 192 Khz PCM. There is also a phase selector, and an output selector, which may be the Mini Max Supreme’s secret weapon.

Yes, the Mini Max Supreme is loaded with a single 12AU7 tube, which allows you to choose between it and a solid-state output with a button on the front panel. The whole DAC seems like it was designed to provide maximum flexibility and sonics, and at a hard to believe price. The casework, connectors, and knobs are of superb quality. I also like the intuitive layout and the large display.

Set Up & Listening

I listened to the Mini Max Supreme in two separate systems. First in the main room with the SOtM Mini Server feeding the Mini Max’s USB input, connected to a CIAudio PLC-MkII passive controller, and a Conrad Johnson Lp125se amplifier. Analog cabling was all Audio Art, and the USB cable was the fabulous new DH Labs Mirage. I then used the Supreme with a McIntosh MA6600 integrated amp and the superb Simaudio MiND streamer connected via a DH Labs AES/EBU cable.

 


 

 
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