Sound quality is generally impressive. With Amy Winehouse’s Lioness: Hidden Treasures streamed from iTunes via AirPlay, the DA-E750 musters a sound that’s best described as chunky. There’s a lovely depth and solidity to the low-end frequencies and midrange, no doubt a result of the vacuum tube amp at play inside. It’s punchy and robust, perfect for the hip-hop beats and pulsating bass of Half Time and Like Smoke.
But this is complemented by a decent amount of high-frequency detail, allowing hi-hats, percussion, plucked guitars and the upper end of Winehouse’s distinctive voice to shine through. Individual elements are given plenty of room to breathe within the stereo image, and the listener isn’t overwhelmed by boomy bass.
Turn on the Bass mode and the overall sound is fuller and richer, giving songs even more presence than they had before, but there’s still an abundance of top-end detail and vocals are allowed to burst through unimpeded.
It’s also testament to the unit’s classy processing that it makes any source sound good, whether it’s playing tunes beamed from a phone via Bluetooth, or CDs from a portable player hooked up to the minijack input. We can’t fault the quality of MP3s played from USB or over a network either.
We would say, however, that the DA-E750 doesn’t quite reach the same levels of refinement and insight as other high-end docking systems like the Monitor Audio i-deck and B&W Zeppelin Air. The Monitor Audio in particular has a lightness of touch and a more convincing sense of openness and texture, which the Samsung struggles to emulate. That makes it a better bet if you’re into jazz or classical, genres with which the DA-E750 is a little heavy handed.
But that’s us talking with our audiophile hat on – most listeners will enjoy the DA-E750’s crisp and punchy sound, which puts the vast majority of speaker docks on the market to shame. This is a premium product in every sense of the word, with sound quality that befits its price tag.
Although there’s room for improvement, the DA-E750 is an impressive audio system. First up, its design and build quality are simply stunning, with a look and feel that’s every bit as classy as you’d expect for the money. The gorgeous piano finish, the visible valve amp on top and the glimmering silver detail on the front give the unit a distinctive, distinguished look, all bolted together with the sort of care and robustness you’d normally get from an esoteric audiophile brand.
The DA-E750’s feature list is equally attractive, leaving its competitors standing with its dual Apple/Galaxy dock, support for AirPlay and AllShare Play and compatibility with the latest incarnation of Bluetooth. Throw USB playback, Samsung’s vacuum tube/digital amp and a built-in subwoofer into the mix and you’ve got one talented audio system.
On the downside, the limited format support (no FLAC or AAC) and lack of radio tuners are disappointing, as their inclusion could have turned this into an essential music epicentre. Network setup isn’t the most straightforward process either (not helped by the lack of a display panel) and USB playback is a guessing game.
But even when you take these drawbacks into consideration, we still think the DA-E750 deserves our recommendation by virtue of its excellent sound quality and killer features, many of which you won’t find on its high-end competitors.