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SMSL D-6 DAC Review

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 2 0.9%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 5 2.2%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther

    Votes: 72 31.9%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 147 65.0%

  • Total voters
    226

Palladium

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There is this too. Quite a value. Was just on sale for $55. You could do worse for 5k VS this $55.

Side rant: If only the SPDIF/Coax on the D10 variants were inputs; certainly much more useful IMO that way.
 

Jimster480

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When will the current firmware be updated?

The clicking issue is a problem that occurs across users of D-6. I assume that you received the report about this problem before, but there is no notification about when it will be updated.

Tell us your plan, please.
That is not the manufacturer. Smsl is the manufacturer
 

Kevinfc

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There is this too. Quite a value. Was just on sale for $55. You could do worse for 5k VS this $55.
Bought it. My only gripe is that the remote is pretty useless. You’ve got to be close (less than 10 feet) and right on level. I picked one up for $59, so even without the remote it’s a nice deal.
 

irontortoise

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Super happy with the SMSL A12. I had been looking at the D-6, and Amir's review sealed the deal for me. I ordered it. Fingers crossed they release firmware to fix the clicks.
 

Laserjock

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the SMSL D-6 balanced stereo DAC with Bluetooth. It was sent to be by Shenzhenaudio and costs US $169.99.
View attachment 222203
I like the compact enclosure even though there is a built-in power supply and balanced outputs. Included volume control lets you bypass a pre-amp and driver a power amplifier directly.
View attachment 222204
SMSL is joining others in using compact TRS for balanced output. Along those lines, USB input is also the diminutive USB-C connector.

I found the navigation of settings or even changing inputs to be somewhat confusing. This is compounded with selections not rolling back to the beginning. So you wind up pressing buttons while seemingly nothing happens because you are at the end of list of selections.

AKM AK4493 DAC chip powers the unit.

SMSL D-6 Measurements
Let's start with RCA output:
View attachment 222207

Distortion is well below threshold of audibility so noise sets SINAD. Switching to balanced output improves the situation still:

View attachment 222208

For a budget DAC, this is excellent response, ranking above average in that category alone: (highlighted in yello)
View attachment 222209

Dynamic range is situated the same:
View attachment 222210

Multitone test shows off the low distortion:
View attachment 222211

Linearity is excellent to 20 bits limit of measurement:
View attachment 222212

Great to see jitter being extremely low for all three inputs and not just USB:
View attachment 222214

IMD test shows off the low distortion:
View attachment 222218

We have the usual filter settings from AKM:
View attachment 222215

None are sadly very sharp so we see the effect in THD+N vs frequency which uses a wideband measurement spectrum of 90 kHz:
View attachment 222216

We can see why if we perform an FFT:

View attachment 222217
Fortunately not an audible artifact.

Conclusions
SMSL delivers an excellently engineered DAC with my favorite features of included power supply and balanced output at very budget friendly price. You don't get state of the art performance but come close while saving fair bit of money. The D-6 is also stylish with its compact and slim size.

I am happy to add SMSL D-6 to my recommended list.

-----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
Did you check it like the M500 Mk 2?

“ I did test for one channel being active which was an issue with the original M500 and the bug is not here so all is good”
 

carlcamper

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Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know it.

By the way, do you have any idea when the firmware will be updated?
As per SMSL it is Shenzhenaudio who is in charge of support, as they are the official partner for this DAC. Ive been in contact with them, but they cant seem to replicate the issue. Maybe if more of us report, it will expedite a fix.
 

WhyNotHad

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As per SMSL it is Shenzhenaudio who is in charge of support, as they are the official partner for this DAC. Ive been in contact with them, but they cant seem to replicate the issue. Maybe if more of us report, it will expedite a fix.
Yeah so I've already reported this issue to them.

I don't want to replace the product, but want to fix the clicking issue through firmware update.

While Topping's update is fast, SMSL's update process is slower than I thought, so I was disappointed about this recently.
 

carlcamper

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Yeah so I've already reported this issue to them.

I don't want to replace the product, but want to fix the clicking issue through firmware update.

While Topping's update is fast, SMSL's update process is slower than I thought, so I was disappointed about this recently.
Agreed, if I didn't the workaround of having a Topping D10 Balanced with USB in to Optical Toslink out feeding into the D-6, I would be pissed.
 

carlcamper

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Bleib

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May 13, 2021
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Subjective review, according to Randy the S in the DAC's name stands for sibilant
 

Bleib

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Review sucks tbh
Don't know where he gets the sibilant from, likely I wouldn't agree but it can be fun to listen to the review anyhow. He's certainly not right about the price of this DAC.. usually balanced output drastically increases the cost.
 

WhyNotHad

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Subjective review, according to Randy the S in the DAC's name stands for sibilant
-Good measurements
-Bluetooth function
-RCA Unbalanced out
-TRS Balanced out
-Preamp mode

Just satisfaction

and there was no problem with linearity. If I point out the problem in it, it can be the click issue and the absence of the ground due to the -/+-only power supply.

I wonder where he felt the sharpness through this dac, his clip is interesting tho
 

Jimster480

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-Good measurements
-Bluetooth function
-RCA Unbalanced out
-TRS Balanced out
-Preamp mode

Just satisfaction

and there was no problem with linearity. If I point out the problem in it, it can be the click issue and the absence of the ground due to the -/+-only power supply.

I wonder where he felt the sharpness through this dac, his clip is interesting tho
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...
 

WhyNotHad

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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 think"

What I'm talking about is what I felt in it

D-6 is good
 

manudrz

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Mar 27, 2020
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Hi, I've received mine today from Audiophonics. 5 minutes on to check if it's ok and then unscrew :p

The 4700µF are 1 mm above the 2 DACs, I don't think this is in the datasheet...

Can't really test and listen to it now, I'm on a DIY active system and it will need tweaks to plug it together. The SMSL will feed a 3e audio TPA3251 through TRS.
 

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maty

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Interesting.

The material that surrounds the SMPS I assume is to reduce EMI/RF. It looks like cardboard, what material can it be? It should not be too expensive.
 
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