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SMSL D-6s Balanced DAC Review

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 9 2.5%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 4 1.1%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 24 6.8%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 316 89.5%

  • Total voters
    353

Ra1zel

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Cool that this one has internal PSU instead of a wall wart, looks to me that with this DAC someone really tried to address criticism of previous products.
 

Ra1zel

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This is just further proof the dac problem has been essentially solved.
Yeah, you can also say that about for example reviewed by stereophile in 1993 Mark Levinson No.35
 

Sokel

Master Contributor
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It might be a 'double-insulated' version without the ground tab on the IEC power connector being connected to anything, alongside the X class EMI/RF supression cap connected across the HF transformer (next to the feedback optocoupler). Quite a strange design choice seeing as it would have been possible to easily use the ground from the IEC connector for what might ultimately be better RF performance and stronger decoupling from the mains (the suppression cap will allow quite a bit of leakage - at least from what I've seen in the past), which could be completely mitigated by grounding the low voltage side of the power supply...

Nonetheless the performance is excellent so I really can't complain, although I have a feeling that if the unbalanced output was measured with a cable longer than a meter or so we might see evidence of small mains leakage currents across the suppression cap. Having said all of that, it's highly likely now looking at the PCB layout that the ground is being used as there are pins front the ground that go into the PCB and the tap appears to be possibly just a way to connect it to the chassis, in which case all of what I've just said my be disregarded!
You're maybe not far,the previous one has a similar scheme and no ground connection:

ground.PNG
 

MrSoul4470

Active Member
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Dec 4, 2020
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Location
Regensburg / Germany
I really hate the design with the elevated display glass. I think the designer made a mistake and they didn't want to fix it, because they had already ordered 10.000 pieces of that display glass. So now they sell it as a design feature. Horrible.
 

TonyJZX

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Aug 20, 2021
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but since they release so many models then really these things will be effectively short lived

like even by this time next year will this model even be purchaseable or remembered?

in this market there are so many devices that have excellent performance and so we then screen down by convenience features and even... looks
 

Dennis_FL

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Feb 21, 2020
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Dual AKM AK4493 chips !!! And therefore no ESS hump.
 

dogmamann

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Dec 16, 2022
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This all linear PSU* and the melf resistors at the audio output will make "old" audiophile souls happy :p

Thanks Amir!

Edit:*Nope,SMPS
But for them, this needs to be in a larger heavier case with a larger price tags. Most audiophiles I know write off these products seeing how inexpensive they are.
 

Transmaniacon

Active Member
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Mar 25, 2020
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150
This might be what makes me upgrade from my Topping D10. It’s good to see no drop in performance when using non USB inputs and I like the internal power supply to keep my stereo cleaner.
 

Sokel

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But for them, this needs to be in a larger heavier case with a larger price tags. Most audiophiles I know write off these products seeing how inexpensive they are.
On the contrary,the ones I know buy them buy the tens for fun,they just don't make it to the main display on the rack :)

And now that I said rack,putting a device there amongst all the other with the usual spaghetti at the back it's rare to see the performance shown in the isolated environment and perfect conditions that a review like this is shown.

Once you measure them there you can see all kinds of interferences and interactions.
In some cases,a heavy (not so much for the weight but the thickness) helps.

That's why the greatest audio device is the one who shows you this things,a measuring one,doesn't have to be expensive,just one like a nice Cosmos .or an interface with low noise to help set-up things.
 

RandomEar

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2022
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I really hate the design with the elevated display glass. I think the designer made a mistake and they didn't want to fix it, because they had already ordered 10.000 pieces of that display glass. So now they sell it as a design feature. Horrible.
Not a fan of this "glued on display" style either, but I think there is a strategy behind it: They're effectively maxing out their design department and releasing new DACs as fast as they possibly can. Each unit also has a very limited lifetime. They use a shotgun approach to design choices and produce some quite quirky devices (e.g. the slanted M200) along with more mainstream stuff (mainly the SU-line). Thereby, they effectively cover most of the market including some rather niche tastes and saturate alternating market segments with a never ending inflow of new products. Everytime something "sticks" and sells well, they release a follow-up device with ever so slightly better specs and a similar design. If something doesn't stick, the product line is dropped.

This approach is quite different to most western manufacturers, which heavily rely on a-priori market research and aim to keep development, distribution and support costs lower by focusing on a comparatively much smaller number of products and product lines. I honestly don't know what is better, but each approach certainly has advantages and disadvantages.
 

Sokel

Master Contributor
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Sep 8, 2021
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Not a fan of this "glued on display" style either, but I think there is a strategy behind it: They're effectively maxing out their design department and releasing new DACs as fast as they possibly can. Each unit also has a very limited lifetime. They use a shotgun approach to design choices and produce some quite quirky devices (e.g. the slanted M200) along with more mainstream stuff (mainly the SU-line). Thereby, they effectively cover most of the market including some rather niche tastes and saturate alternating market segments with a never ending inflow of new products. Everytime something "sticks" and sells well, they release a follow-up device with ever so slightly better specs and a similar design. If something doesn't stick, the product line is dropped.

This approach is quite different to most western manufacturers, which heavily rely on a-priori market research and aim to keep development, distribution and support costs lower by focusing on a comparatively much smaller number of products and product lines. I honestly don't know what is better, but each approach certainly has advantages and disadvantages.
I suppose it's a no-go for people who stuck them on desktop use.
That would be inconvenient,the device on top them would had to have those funny feet we saw in another :facepalm:
 

amper42

Major Contributor
Joined
Dec 21, 2020
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Another adequate DAC with a boring display but good SINAD. No loudness feature or custom EQ capability. It doesn't come close to the functionality of the RME ADI-2 DAC FS with the new web setup interface but the D6s is adequate as a basic DAC at a low price.
 
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