One potential concern is the AKM chips themselves. After the fire at the AKM factory I asked Sales Manager Daryl Berk how they were set for supply. “We were lucky, he said.” “We had a significant supply in house and so we are not experiencing any delays or shortfalls with our production.” Good to know that it is full steam ahead for the DMS-700.
In an interview I conducted with Enno Vandermeer of Roon I asked him why he and his team developed their product. He said it was to remove the tyranny of choice when his friends could not decide on what song to listen to next. I chuckled remembering this as I connected the DMS-700 and logged into Roon, Tidal and Qobuz. Here I am with a state-of-the-art streamer connected to virtually unlimited music access. Now what? I was at the true square one of the tyranny of choice. Ha!
Starting with the letter A but not too close to the beginning I queued up Audioslave’s I am the Highway [2002 Epic – Interscope]. Any listening session with some Chris Cornell is a good one. This slow driving song features guitars with some great reverb. The file I selected through Roon came from Tidal and was a 16/44 FLAC. My initial impression was it had a great sound. Full of great depth and space. But wait, the DMS-700 is also a DAC and an incredible upscaling DAC at that.
Cary Audio has spent years working on taking the chunkiness (Technical term!) out of upsampling via their Trubit DSD & PCM upscaling and PCM to DSD conversion process. A 16/44 PCM file can be upsampled to 32/384 or DSD 256! (The DMS-700 can process DSD 512 files as well) What I enjoyed was using the remote to go step by step through ten levels of upsampling with PCM files. You can also set a particular sampling rate, and everything will be set to that rate until changed. PCM conversion to DSD is made simple should DSD be your choice. What I found interesting was that different files sounded better at different sampling rates. Just cranking things up to DSD 256 was not the universal nirvana. Playing a PCM file in FLAC at a native 16/44 could be best at 24/176.4. It was fun to experiment.
But what about your large personal collection? The DMS-700 can render via DLNA/UPnP using JRiver or several other external software-based devices from their PC or Mac’s rather than use the Cary app. You can also plug in your NAS, hard drive or even an SD card and the Cary will sort your files using the app to allow file choice and playlist building. However, you choose to access a song either locally or remotely from a service it will all flow in a very natural way through the DMS-700 and once accessed you can apply whatever DAC settings to it that you choose. This is control and flexibility to a high standard.
Bluetooth connectivity was also easy. Press Bluetooth on the remote control and the DMS-700 went into Bluetooth search mode. I had my iPhone 12 Pro Max connected in seconds. I queued up Pink Floyd’s Dogs from their Animalsalbum [1977 Harvest, EMI] and sent a native 24/48 signal to the DAC. Seventeen minutes of fun later it was obvious the Cary was right at home with Bluetooth as one of its many sources. Sonics were full and gave no hint of their origins from my iPhone. There is also a Bluetooth send function to output to your wireless headphones. My VModa Crossfades quickly became best friends with the DMS-700.
Queuing up some Leonard Cohen 'Almost like the Blues' [Popular Problems, 2014 Columbia] via Roon I was rewarded with Leonard’s deep gravelly voice being offered up from between the bass guitar and piano. I upscaled the native 16/44 FLAC to 24/176.4 via Trubit and the fit was wonderful. The sense of room space was very lifelike. The presentation had depth and positioning that suggested an intimate club atmosphere. By the way, remotes can be somewhat hit or miss. The DMS-700 remote gives easy control of a complex device. The remote and the OS work cleanly and allow for you to not have to focus on the remote, just control the music. I appreciate the work that went into this by the Cary Audio engineering team.