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SMSL D-6s Balanced DAC Review

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 9 2.4%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 5 1.4%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 25 6.8%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 331 89.5%

  • Total voters
    370

Jimi Floyd

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Seems relevant !

Sabaj D10A with CE logo and warning tag versus SMS 6Ds without CE etc...
Makes me remember debate about the Topping RA3 (not for EU market)


NB : I have noticed that a lot of SMSL dacs do not have any CE certification on the back of the device. Except certain models like the SMSL SU-9N

Here are the directives of the European community concerning CE marking (French government source)

here are the directives of the European Parliament :

Which leads me to say that Audiophonics, for example, does not take into account the instructions of article 9 of the European directives.



View attachment 320289View attachment 320290
View attachment 320291

SMSL SU9N (CE certified)

View attachment 320293
OH MY GOD! My SMSL DO100 does not have a CE mark on its back!!!

SMSL1.jpg


Yes, but look what happens if you turn it upside down..............

SMSL2.jpg


MAGIC!!! PSE, FCC, CE and RoHS marks. No rule states that these should be on the back of the device, the underside is legal too. Sometimes internet pictures are not enough to draw conclusions.
 

daniboun

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OH MY GOD! My SMSL DO100 does not have a CE mark on its back!!!

View attachment 320331

Yes, but look what happens if you turn it upside down..............

View attachment 320332

MAGIC!!! PSE, FCC, CE and RoHS marks. No rule states that these should be on the back of the device, the underside is legal too. Sometimes internet pictures are not enough to draw conclusions.

Nice to see it )) thanks oufff
You are absolutely right : my bad ))
 
Last edited:

Rick Sykora

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Have had the very comparable m200 for a few years now and have been very pleased.

The D-6s looks as though they improved and lowered the price too. :cool:
 

Oldasdrt

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the SMSL D-6s balanced stereo DAC with Bluetooth support. It was sent to me by the company and costs US $199.
View attachment 319853
I was pleasantly surprised with the new industrial design which while minimalistic, manages to impress with its modern style. Love the matt diffuser in front of the white LEDs. And the elevated panel gives a distinct and dare I say, luxury feel. A remote control is provided which makes navigation very easy.

Very nice to have built-in power supply in such a small package:
View attachment 319854

SMSL D-6s DAC Measurements
Let's start with our usual dashboard with level adjusted to near 4 volts using XLR output first:
View attachment 319855
Distortion products are at -140 dB! Incredible. SINAD as a result is dominated by noise, and landing the D-6s in our top 20 chart of all DACs tested:
View attachment 319856

Even RCA output is impressive and fully audibly transparent:
View attachment 319857

Output can go to 5 volts using XLR giving us a bit more performance still:
View attachment 319859

As noted, SINAD is determined by noise since distortion component is so low:
View attachment 319858

For compatibility with stereophile magazine measurements, here is the 60 Hz performance:
View attachment 319860

Despite having a "punishing" load of 600 ohm as JA calls it there, D-6s sails with distortion at whopping -120 which I am confident bests anything stereophile has ever tested.

Back to our own tests, linearity is nailed:
View attachment 319861

As is jitter across all three interfaces:
View attachment 319862

Multitone performance makes the company proud:
View attachment 319863

We are some -135 dB in some of the frequency range!

EDIT: Forgot to post the IMD test:
View attachment 319869

Here are the usual filter and frequency response tests:
View attachment 319864
View attachment 319865

Using default F2 filter, we get excellent performance in our wideband THD+N with a slight rise at the upper end:
View attachment 319866

Conclusions
I pride myself in always finding something to complain about in a review but I have nothing for you here. Price is right. The look is right. And performance is top notch regardless of price. I always recommend balanced DACs and here is your chance to get one without any compromise.

I am happy to recommend the SMSL D-6s DAC.

Manufacturer Specifications:

  • Inputs: USB, optical, coaxial, Bluetooth
  • Outputs: RCA, XLR
  • THD+N: 0.00006% (-123dB)
  • Line output amplitude:
    • XLR: 5Vrms
    • RCA: 2.5Vrms (1.13Vrms)
  • Output impedance: XLR: 100Ω
  • Dynamic range:
    • XLR: 129dB
    • RCA: 126dB
  • SNR:
    • XLR: 129dB
    • RCA: 126dB
  • USB transmission: Asynchronization
  • USB compatibility: Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10, 11 (needs driver); Mac OS X 10.6 or later, Linux (driverless)
  • Sampling rate and bit depth:
    • USB:
      • PCM: 44.1-768kHz (32bit)
      • DSD: 2.8224-22.5792MHz (1bit)
      • DoP: DOP256
    • Optical/coaxial: 44.1-192kHz (24bit); DoP64
  • Bluetooth version: 5.1
  • Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, LDAC
  • Power consumption: <10W
  • Standby power: <0.5W
  • Size: 150x42x128.5mm (WxHxD)
  • Weight: 1.57lbs (0.71kg)
----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome. Click here if you have some audio gear you want me to test.

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Wow,
Great bluetooth too,
Thanks for the review
 

Toku

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No one has pointed it out, but I feel very uncomfortable with the model D-6s. D-6 and D-6s are both models planned and sold by Shenzhen Audio.
Looking at the contents of the D-6s, the DAC chip is new, but the rest is the same as the DO100 planned and sold by Aoshida. Is the D-6s the Shenzhen Audio version of the DO100?
Unfortunately, there have been many reports of problems with the DO100, where it suddenly makes a cracking noise and stops working after a certain period of time. Is the D-6s the improved version of that model? I have many things to think about regarding the birth of D-6s.

postscript
The display design of this DA-6S reminds me of SMSL's older model M9.
The DA-6S has a toy-like design that I don't like.
Do SMS design staff like this kind of design?
 
Last edited:

drake5000

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Thank you for the review!
Does it have loud click/pop sound when changing sample rate, while using toslink input?
 
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I would like a RME style EQ for a non-computer based setup where I predominantly listen to CDs (and some LPs/tapes). IDK why SMSL/Topping hasn't done a DAC with EQ.

The streaming part of that setup is Wiim and can use the EQ there, it's just the CD/LP/Tape. I use Soundsource in a desktop setup and love it. They are always updating and the headphone EQ plugins are great.
 

daniboun

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No one has pointed it out, but I feel very uncomfortable with the model D-6s. D-6 and D-6s are both models planned and sold by Shenzhen Audio.
Looking at the contents of the D-6s, the DAC chip is new, but the rest is the same as the DO100 planned and sold by Aoshida. Is the D-6s the Shenzhen Audio version of the DO100?
Unfortunately, there have been many reports of problems with the DO100, where it suddenly makes a cracking noise and stops working after a certain period of time. Is the D-6s the improved version of that model? I have many things to think about regarding the birth of D-6s.

postscript
The display design of this DA-6S reminds me of SMSL's older model M9.
The DA-6S has a toy-like design that I don't like.
Do SMS design staff like this kind of design?

DO100 is based on 2x ES9038Q2M
Sabaj A10D is based on 2x ES9038Q2M
SMSL D6s is based on 1xES9039Q2M

So the closest candidate for DO100 is the D10a
 
Last edited:

Lambda

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For compatibility with stereophile magazine measurements, here is the 60 Hz performance:
Thanks for staying compatible.

Output can go to 5 volts using XLR
I like that more and more DACs have the capability of higher output voltages.
Personalty i would not mind to see 10V and more.

The only thing i don't like with this one is the Ugly unnecessary big display border and that it needs AC power
 

pseudoid

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Interesting that seven of the top 20 best (SINAD) performing DACs at ASR have the letters SMSL in their name. Duh!
It is also interesting that this specific D-6S DAC can almost be considered a disposable commodity at its price-point.
SMSL designers should be given kudos for not just the performance levels and pricing but also packaging the primary power conversion internally without a wall-wart or a brick. Yey!
I pride myself in always finding something to complain about in a review but I have nothing for you here.
My only complaint of SMSL is that they need to up their game and also make provisions for eARC audio-extractor in their products as HDMI I/O.
Maybe in 2024.
 

daniboun

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IMO, D6S inherits quite a bit from the DO100. The D10a has a headphone amp which the D6S and DO100 do not have.
Yes I agree for the design )
For only $152 get the Sabaj D10A that includes a Headphone amp
 
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totti1965

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Yes I agree for the design )
For only $152 get the Sabaj D10A that includes a Headphone amp
You want to say „A10d“ ?
But I think it hasn’t hdmi, and the Jitter of the A10d is only perfect with USB.
 

Iluzun

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Another affordable SMSL product, the AO300 power amp/head/dac has really impressed over the last several days. I’ve already purchased a second unit.

SMSL AO300 Power Amplifier & Headphone AMP & Decoder MA5332MS MQA-CD Audio DAC CS43131 Headphone Amplifier XMOS XU-316 2.1​

$289.00 bucks. eArc, subout, usb-c, very nice ergonomics, simple, easy to use, powerful, great sounding units. Highly recommended.
Interesting that seven of the top 20 best (SINAD) performing DACs at ASR have the letters SMSL in their name. Duh!
It is also interesting that this specific D-6S DAC can almost be considered a disposable commodity at its price-point.
SMSL designers should be given kudos for not just the performance levels and pricing but also packaging the primary power conversion internally without a wall-wart or a brick. Yey!

My only complaint of SMSL is that they need to up their game and also make provisions for eARC audio-extractor in their products as HDMI I/O.
Maybe in 2024.
 

horstman

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DO100 is based on 2x ES9038Q2M
....
SMSL D6s is based on 1xES9039Q2M

Yet the DO100 is currently cheaper (in Germany) than the D6s - what am I missing here?

This is getting quite confusing with all those different models...
I really like the design of the D6s though, with that raised display.
It'd be great if Smsl added some basic EQ options like they do with some other models.

But since I just got my first 'modern' DAC - a lowly but lovely Smsl C100 - I might be able to resist the upgrade urge.;)
 

Cool Runnings

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the SMSL D-6s balanced stereo DAC with Bluetooth support. It was sent to me by the company and costs US $199.
View attachment 319853
I was pleasantly surprised with the new industrial design which while minimalistic, manages to impress with its modern style. Love the matt diffuser in front of the white LEDs. And the elevated panel gives a distinct and dare I say, luxury feel. A remote control is provided which makes navigation very easy.

Very nice to have built-in power supply in such a small package:
View attachment 319854

SMSL D-6s DAC Measurements
Let's start with our usual dashboard with level adjusted to near 4 volts using XLR output first:
View attachment 319855
Distortion products are at -140 dB! Incredible. SINAD as a result is dominated by noise, and landing the D-6s in our top 20 chart of all DACs tested:
View attachment 319856

Even RCA output is impressive and fully audibly transparent:
View attachment 319857

Output can go to 5 volts using XLR giving us a bit more performance still:
View attachment 319859

As noted, SINAD is determined by noise since distortion component is so low:
View attachment 319858

For compatibility with stereophile magazine measurements, here is the 60 Hz performance:
View attachment 319860

Despite having a "punishing" load of 600 ohm as JA calls it there, D-6s sails with distortion at whopping -120 which I am confident bests anything stereophile has ever tested.

Back to our own tests, linearity is nailed:
View attachment 319861

As is jitter across all three interfaces:
View attachment 319862

Multitone performance makes the company proud:
View attachment 319863

We are some -135 dB in some of the frequency range!

EDIT: Forgot to post the IMD test:
View attachment 319869

Here are the usual filter and frequency response tests:
View attachment 319864
View attachment 319865

Using default F2 filter, we get excellent performance in our wideband THD+N with a slight rise at the upper end:
View attachment 319866

Conclusions
I pride myself in always finding something to complain about in a review but I have nothing for you here. Price is right. The look is right. And performance is top notch regardless of price. I always recommend balanced DACs and here is your chance to get one without any compromise.

I am happy to recommend the SMSL D-6s DAC.

Manufacturer Specifications:

  • Inputs: USB, optical, coaxial, Bluetooth
  • Outputs: RCA, XLR
  • THD+N: 0.00006% (-123dB)
  • Line output amplitude:
    • XLR: 5Vrms
    • RCA: 2.5Vrms (1.13Vrms)
  • Output impedance: XLR: 100Ω
  • Dynamic range:
    • XLR: 129dB
    • RCA: 126dB
  • SNR:
    • XLR: 129dB
    • RCA: 126dB
  • USB transmission: Asynchronization
  • USB compatibility: Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10, 11 (needs driver); Mac OS X 10.6 or later, Linux (driverless)
  • Sampling rate and bit depth:
    • USB:
      • PCM: 44.1-768kHz (32bit)
      • DSD: 2.8224-22.5792MHz (1bit)
      • DoP: DOP256
    • Optical/coaxial: 44.1-192kHz (24bit); DoP64
  • Bluetooth version: 5.1
  • Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, LDAC
  • Power consumption: <10W
  • Standby power: <0.5W
  • Size: 150x42x128.5mm (WxHxD)
  • Weight: 1.57lbs (0.71kg)
----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome. Click here if you have some audio gear you want me to test.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
Thanks chief. You reviewed this so fast this product can't even be found yet on the main SMSL website!

I think the DAC issue has essentially been "solved" so to speak.

I hope SMSL, Topping and others will now focus their attention on creating equal value/quality products for Wifi/Ethernet streaming and amplification both desktop and full sized versions.

And also put a bit more attention on QC and UX/UI.
 

daniboun

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But I think it hasn’t hdmi, and the Jitter of the A10d is only perfect with USB.
Yess indeed Sabaj A10D.
BTW the SMSL has no HDMI and no Headphone amp.
 

TonyJZX

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i think there's a general thought that SMSL, being Chinese, can't possibly be doing things by the book... they wouldnt be complying with accepted western standards... and I just had a quick look at my half dozen SMSL products down to the $30 ps100 and they all have the same four certification marks.

If they bother to do it on a $30 unit then I'm pretty sure they would do it on a $200 unit too.

on some units its on the back but if there's no room its underneath

 

withoutsuit

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These mass of chinese dacs is so confusing. I´m looking for a dac, that has:

- spdif input (coax or optical)
- balanced outputs including a good output stage
- good power supply built in, with "cold plug" (C13)
- good upsampling (maybe the option to disable it) including very good reclocking / jitter reduction
- fixed volume output or variable with the option to use it as fixed (without volume control)
- good built quality / optics, no little plastic box
- cherry on top: auto sensing / standby or trigger in/out
- SINAD not that important. I believe just everything over 90 is fine

For example a device like the lake people rs06 (unfortunately EOL) or violectric v850 (has heavy toroidal transformer). The RME Interfaces look also great, but the look doesn´t fit to my equipment.
 
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