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Review and Measurements of SMSL M10 DAC & Amp

Veri

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#41
Who knows? Maybe the D70 will doing fine in Amir's hands.
Would also be curious to see an "ADI-3 DAC" with AK4499 in the future. :)
Absolutely. I think the ADI-3 would be a tad more expensive than the current ADI-2 price though but let's see, might be year(s) from now really.
 

bravomail

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#42
I've seen companies where they hire engineers (very good ones) to make a product, and then once product is ready - fire them all. Move on to the next better future product. Of course, there is no consistency. No improvement from product to product. You shoot all over the place.

SMSL are confusingly inconsistent. They must have multiple engineering teams to be able to put out the M10 and also the VMV D1 under the same label.
 

Frank Dernie

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#43
I am slightly bemused by people's obsession by which DAC chip a device contains.
The implementation makes far more difference than the DAC chip, the DAC chip is pretty well a solved bit of technology in the area that may be audible. The board layout and analogue stage will have a much bigger influence on the performance of the product than the DAC chip.
After all the 2006 TI PCM1792 had all the important parameters to a superb level already and as a DAC chip hasn't been improved upon in any audible way since.
IMHO of course.
 

confucius_zero

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#44
bemused by people's obsession by which DAC chip a device contains.
The implementation makes far more difference than the DAC chip
This website perfectly demonstrates that!
 

amirm

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#45
I am slightly bemused by people's obsession by which DAC chip a device contains.
The implementation makes far more difference than the DAC chip, the DAC chip is pretty well a solved bit of technology in the area that may be audible. The board layout and analogue stage will have a much bigger influence on the performance of the product than the DAC chip.
This is the key point. We have seen this so many times now. This is why I rarely even mention what DAC chip is inside a DAC.
 

Roen

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#46
This is the key point. We have seen this so many times now. This is why I rarely even mention what DAC chip is inside a DAC.
I'm not.

At the end of the day, the DAC chip ultimately governs the ceiling of how good an implementation can be. Whether manufacturers can hit that ceiling is a separate issue altogether.

The latter condition should trump the former, but the former is very important for those that want the best, in conjunction with the latter.
 

Frank Dernie

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#47
The latter condition should trump the former, but the former is very important for those that want the best, in conjunction with the latter.
But DAC chips with superb performance, certainly better than any preamp, power amp or speakers, have already been available for over 10 years.
DAC chips are a non-problem and have been for a very, very long time.
I can see the point of developing better, cheaper manufacturing methods and simpler implementation, but "improvements" in technical performance is just a fashion red-herring and pointless.
If you want to improve your hifi getting better speakers or a power amplifier with distortion and SNR anywhere near inexpensive DACs is where effort is worthwhile.
 

Roen

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#48
But DAC chips with superb performance, certainly better than any preamp, power amp or speakers, have already been available for over 10 years.
DAC chips are a non-problem and have been for a very, very long time.
I can see the point of developing better, cheaper manufacturing methods and simpler implementation, but "improvements" in technical performance is just a fashion red-herring and pointless.
If you want to improve your hifi getting better speakers or a power amplifier with distortion and SNR anywhere near inexpensive DACs is where effort is worthwhile.
And if you already have what you consider are end game speakers or amps, then the DAC is where you look next, no?

I'll admit, my amp could use some work, but I'm very happy with my Sierra-2's with true ribbon tweeters and SEAS woofers and have no interest in improving that part of my chain.
 

confucius_zero

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#49
you already have what you consider are end game speakers or amps
like @Frank Dernie mentions, many amps measured here barely reach an equivalent SNR to perfectly transmit the performance of a DAC. Perhaps only the Hypex NC400?
 

Roen

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#50
True, but I was originally approaching it from a headphone perspective, and with a THX AAA 789, you're more than covered on the amplification side. Paired with an HD800S, SE846 or ER4-SR, the DAC then becomes the next thing to look at, no?
 

confucius_zero

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#51
SINAD is usually a good place to start. Not DAC chips. You can play a Lionel Messi (end game soccer player) level dac chip with the implementation level of the Argentinian team, he won't perform as well as he does with FC Barcelona.
 

wadec22

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#52
I am slightly bemused by people's obsession by which DAC chip a device contains.
The implementation makes far more difference than the DAC chip, the DAC chip is pretty well a solved bit of technology in the area that may be audible. The board layout and analogue stage will have a much bigger influence on the performance of the product than the DAC chip.
After all the 2006 TI PCM1792 had all the important parameters to a superb level already and as a DAC chip hasn't been improved upon in any audible way since.
IMHO of course.
you are absolutely right. I do get why people are quick to research or ask about the DAC chip utilized. To those of us not so technically inclined, we simply do not have any other component, schematic, implementation questions to ask. Any other component or tech speak is likely to go right over our head. But we sure recognize those four numbers. :)
 

Jimster480

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#53
This is the key point. We have seen this so many times now. This is why I rarely even mention what DAC chip is inside a DAC.
This is what I used to think too.
If you are not in the audiophile "know" (this forum alone basically) then you will think that different DAC chips really make a difference in how the DAC sounds or performs.
But now we have seen competant designs using literally every major DAC brand aswell as custom things like Chord FPGA's all perform similarly. Basically showing that any Modern DAC chip is totally fine and its all based on the implementation of said DAC.

When this M10 came out it peaked my interest aswell as it looked quite nice. But once again since I have my DX7 I'm not overly excited to purchase anything else and just wait to see if it gets reviewed here :)
 
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#54

SMSL-Mandy

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#55
@amirm, our test is different to your test result, do you add the AES17 filter ? And if we tune down to the -10dBFS the THD+N is 0.0006%, not you had mention will not improve! And the Dynamic Range is 123dB with A-WTD.
 

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amirm

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#56
@amirm, our test is different to your test result, do you add the AES17 filter ? And if we tune down to the -10dBFS the THD+N is 0.0006%, not you had mention will not improve! And the Dynamic Range is 123dB with A-WTD.
No, I don't use a-weighting or AES-17 filter.
 

wadec22

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#58
@amirm, our test is different to your test result, do you add the AES17 filter ? And if we tune down to the -10dBFS the THD+N is 0.0006%, not you had mention will not improve! And the Dynamic Range is 123dB with A-WTD.
I also want to compliment you for giving some feedback. What settings do you test with that the product would perform at .0004% THD+N, as the website specifies?
 
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#60
Gross

- really weird part is the output impedance. I detected the distortion in the headphone amp without measurements (see my initial impressions) but the output impedance did not cause any hiss in my very sensitive headphones. very odd.
I thought you bought one? Did you return yours?
 
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