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SMSL D-6 DAC Review

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 4 1.4%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 10 3.4%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther

    Votes: 91 31.1%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 188 64.2%

  • Total voters
    293

decomo

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Feb 2, 2022
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It's not an SMSL feature, it's built into the DAC chip by AKM. SMSL has just allowed the user to change those settings in the UI.

The six different digital filters have different sharpness which can be seen in a frequency curve, only the sharpest kills everything above 22kHz. But filters do not only affect frequency response but also ringing/pre-ringing of the waveform, some are sensitive to this and will hear a difference, others will not. AKM describes it as a too sharp filter will make fast transients to have less spatial definition, meaning a less controlled stereo image and they mean some will take the disadvantages with less sharp for the better stereo definition. All this is described on the AKM website.

The "scenes" SC1-SC4 is more of a mystery, it's sort of like a tone control but a extreme slight one. I suppose it's the AKM response to ESS various "tube" sound and such. Maybe some added harmonics or something like that, still a mystery but should be regarded like a "tone control" meaning not transparent in all settings.

Thank you for your explanation. Those digital filters are mystery tone control are too confusing to a novice like myself. I will just discard them and use as #1 option for both and forget that they exist. :)
 

LGD_

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Feb 17, 2023
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Those sc1-4 settings seem to switch the sound color of the AKM Dac Chip
Yes, that's mentioned in the datasheet, but no clear explanation there of how or what it's actually doing.
..
.. Interesting info, but it doesn't seem to apply to the chip in the D-6 (AK4493). At least there's no mention of it.
But as long S.M.S.L gives no explanation what is what, foregetting it's existance is surely a good strategy
Respectfully disagree:
Listening to Classical music, I do hear a change between SC 1 - 4 settings, some sound better than others depending on program material.
Try them, and let your ears be your guide ;) .
 
Last edited:

xeizo

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Oh yes it is mentioned, it is listed as a Velvetsound-chip:


Premium D/A Converters​

bitdBdBkHzMHz
Part NumberCh #Res.S/NTHD+N *Max
fs *
DSD
Input *
Sound
Color *
AK4499EX2-135-124---
AK4191EQ264156-153153645.27 types
AK4493SEQ232123 (126 *)-11576822.46 types
AK4490REQ232120 (123 *)-11276811.26 types
AK4452VN232115-10776811.25 types
AK4454VN432115-10776811.25 types
AK4456VN632115-10776811.25 types
AK4458VN832115-10776811.25 types

Audio D/A Converters
 

rentaclaus

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Listening to Classical music, I do hear a change between SC 1 - 4 settings, some sound better than others depending on program material.
Try them, and let your ears be your guide ;) .
A longlong time ago (in the 60ies...) Acoustic Research did a blind-test. A live playing band against the same track recorded and played via tape/electronics (tubes at that time)/and naturally AR speakers. Most people voted for the recorded track as sounding better/more natural/live. So much to: trust your, my or any others ears.
 
Last edited:

xeizo

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A longlong time ago (in the 60ies...) Acoustic Research did a blind-test. A live playing band against the same track recorded and played via tape/electronics (tubes at that time)/and naturally AR speakers. Most people voted for the recorded track as sounding better/more natural/live. So much to: trust your, my or any others ears.

Trust or not trust, our ears are not total worthless otherwise we would think everything sounds the same which it do not LoL
 

Music1969

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A longlong time ago (in the 60ies...) Acoustic Research did a blind-test. A live playing band against the same track recorded and played via tape/electronics (tubes at that time)/and naturally AR speakers. Most people voted for the recorded track as sounding better/more natural/live. So much to: trust your, my or any others ears.
That sounded like more of an ad for their speakers than a scientific test
 

LGD_

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Feb 17, 2023
Messages
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Oh yes it is mentioned, it is listed as a Velvetsound-chip:


Premium D/A Converters​

Part NumberCh #Res.S/NTHD+N *Max
fs *
DSD
Input *
Sound
Color *
bitdBdBkHzMHz
AK4499EX2-135-124---
AK4191EQ264156-153153645.27 types
AK4493SEQ232123 (126 *)-11576822.46 types
AK4490REQ232120 (123 *)-11276811.26 types
AK4452VN232115-10776811.25 types
AK4454VN432115-10776811.25 types
AK4456VN632115-10776811.25 types
AK4458VN832115-10776811.25 types
Audio D/A Converters
I stand corrected, thank you.
 

PrzemeeK

New Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2023
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Hi, I'm considering buying this dac, the budget still includes m200 (260eur) and m300 mk2 (200eur) D6 (180eur), I'm looking for something with akm and a balanced output to connect to Monolith THX. Will there be any visible differences in audio quality between these devices, apart from the functionality, which is very similar anyway? I saw that the m200 was the worst in the tests and the m300 goes head to head with the D6. Any hint what to buy? :)
 

doug s.

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Jan 10, 2021
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Hi, I'm considering buying this dac, the budget still includes m200 (260eur) and m300 mk2 (200eur) D6 (180eur), I'm looking for something with akm and a balanced output to connect to Monolith THX. Will there be any visible differences in audio quality between these devices, apart from the functionality, which is very similar anyway? I saw that the m200 was the worst in the tests and the m300 goes head to head with the D6. Any hint what to buy? :)
whichever has the looks, ergonomics and features you want. if it's a tie, then whichever you can get the best deal on.
 

Music1969

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Hi, I'm considering buying this dac, the budget still includes m200 (260eur) and m300 mk2 (200eur) D6 (180eur), I'm looking for something with akm and a balanced output to connect to Monolith THX. Will there be any visible differences in audio quality between these devices, apart from the functionality, which is very similar anyway? I saw that the m200 was the worst in the tests and the m300 goes head to head with the D6. Any hint what to buy? :)
D-6

Cheaper and just as good ?
 

usafa77

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Jan 19, 2021
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Location
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Not sure, what clip are you referring to? I don't like his whole video, but i Guess its a format for people who don't like to read.... most of the video is him just going over the actual products specs...
I'd love to tune into your YouTube channel to hear what you have to say. We need more informed information out there. What's the link?
 

halcyonian

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Mar 2, 2023
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Adding some more context to the FL "filters" and SC "sound colors" below.

Based on the manual and AKM technology site, I'm able to correlate filter/FL settings to "DAC Sound Colors", however not sure about mapping SC to the four ADC/SRC sound colors, although I assume they correlate.

Filter (FL) settingAKM Sound TypeAKM Description == SMSL D6 user manual
1Traditional SoundSharp Roll-off filter
2Traditional ToneSlow Roll-off filter
3Acoustic SoundShort Delay Sharp Roll-off filter
4Acoustic ToneShort Delay Slow Roll-off filter
5Natural ToneSuper Slow Roll-off filter
6Harmonic SoundLow Dispersion Short Delay filter

Will try out SC2 / FL6, as mentioned earlier.

If anyone knows how the sound colors relate, please post. Hopefully I didn't miss something there. I may contact SMSL to seek clarification on those, and I'll update if I hear something back.
 

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xeizo

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Totally unscientific I just flipped through the colors/filters and picked the ones I liked the most. It happened to be SC2 / FL6 , but I wont be able to defend that in a debate.
 

Bjorn

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I purchased one of these to use with some PC speakers. I'm also experiencing clicks and pops in one of the channels. Which is not the case with the other sound cards or DSPs units I have. Tried on two different computers with the same result.
I bought it from Shenzhen Audio and service is terrible. They didn't reply at all before I threadened with raising a Visa case. They then told me to reset it without telling how and there's no explanation in the manual either. Can't get hold of SMLS.

This is the last time I order a Chinese electronic product directly from China and I will most likely avoid Chinese electronic brands. I have done it one time before many years ago and that was also a negative experience. Thought it would be better now, but clearly it isn't.
 

rentaclaus

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I purchased one of these to use with some PC speakers. I'm also experiencing clicks and pops in one of the channels.
If the clicks and pops occur really only on one channel the device is defunct and should be replaced.

To avoid any hassels with chinese companies I bought mine in Europe (e.g. here https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/?controllerUri=index ) so I have european warranty conditions and communication in a language I can speak and write.
 

Music1969

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If can't buy in own country, other best option is through Amazon.

Shenzhen Audio sell through Amazon.

Amazon handle these things well (in my own experience anyway).

D-6 is a brilliant DAC !
 

anli

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Oct 20, 2021
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So, has anybody resolved the issue with loud click on coaxial or optical reconnection?

For me it takes place on source change (and it is still acceptable) and on track change with Chromecast device as source (WiiM Pro at my case). And the last one isn't acceptable.

Probably somebody knows not too expansive and in par in params D-6 replacements without this outstanding bug?
 

rentaclaus

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So, has anybody resolved the issue with loud click on coaxial or optical reconnection?
With both my coaxial sources - bluray player and dvb-t receiver - this never happens, regardless what I do.
 
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