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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 1.3%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 24 6.3%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 342 90.0%

  • Total voters
    380

MCORN

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Oct 2, 2022
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Is this USB-C input?
Could you play music directly from an iPhone using the USB?
 

martijn86

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Aug 30, 2019
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The Netherlands
Fantastic package.

✅ Internal power supply
✅ USB-C
✅ Balanced output
✅ State of the art transparency
✅ < $200,-

Since the controls are limited, but it is an ESS chip, does anyone know if you can play with the sound modes?
 

renaudrenaud

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Apr 20, 2019
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Tianjin
Fantastic package.

✅ Internal power supply
✅ USB-C
✅ Balanced output
✅ State of the art transparency
✅ < $200,-

Since the controls are limited, but it is an ESS chip, does anyone know if you can play with the sound modes?
- no EQ: done
- I don't like the screen: done.

Waiting for the others...
 

Boxermotor

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May 1, 2022
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49
Location
Indianapolis, USA
Okay, I'll throw in a complaint. I'm assuming based on the pictures that this unit's display, like all SMSL DAC's, will always revert to the sample rate reading rather than the volume (or some other user-selectable option). Yes, you adjust the volume and the display will show it for a few seconds, but then back to the sample rate. Honestly I love SMSL's stuff (sound and construction quality, looks), but this seems like a no-brainer function to include in all their products.
 

Bleib

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May 13, 2021
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Sorry, I'm not a complainer...really. But with the release of the DL200 two months ago and which includes a balanced headphone amp for $10 less, isn't the D-6s obsolete from the start?
Smaller device, some don't need a headphone out. But yeah, DL200 gives more for the money, hopefully they will send it too for testing.
 

IanRoberts

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Joined
Jul 17, 2023
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24
I've been thinking about upgrading my topping E50 to the an E70 for the 5v output and improved jitter performance over spdif (which is my main connection) but this seems to offer the same performance and functionality for a lot less money! Thanks for the review Amir!
 

surroundman

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Apr 24, 2023
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Sorry, I'm not a complainer...really. But with the release of the DL200 two months ago and which includes a balanced headphone amp for $10 less, isn't the D-6s obsolete from the start?
If the DL200 indeed shows the measurements we expect (expectations based on comparing it with similar specs of other DACs/headphone amps) I think it has a chance to elevate SMSL to another level (like the Fosi did with the V3 in the amp section). The DL200 will, hopefully, end up being THE best price to performance DAC/headphone amp. Which really makes me wonder why the company did not send Amir a unit to measure LONG time ago.
 

BeQuietZen

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Joined
Sep 15, 2022
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25
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67
Thanks @amirm for this long awaited review.
Any particular reason for using FL2 filter, except it's default? FL4 filter looks more effective one and probably will give much better THD+N vs frequency measured result (especially at the higher frequencies).

12 SMSL D-6S MQA Audio DAC stereo balanced XLR THD vs frequency measurement.png


So, if you have some free time to spend... :)
 

Veri

Master Contributor
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Feb 6, 2018
Messages
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12,063
Dual AKM AK4493 chips !!! And therefore no ESS hump.
Elite Performance with ES9039Q2M
 

dtaylo1066

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Jan 12, 2019
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I am presuming with the remote having a + and - that the analog output is variable and not fixed, thus the unit can somewhat function as preamp. Can someone pls confirm?

I don't see how the price/performance of DACs can get any lower at this point. Astounding. Margins must be paper thin on this thing.
 

phoenixdogfan

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Does everything for l.t. $200, so a no brainer. Only reservation that I can see is glued on front display. I have to wonder if someeone could snag it with a shirt cuff and maybe pull it off the case entirely which would probably ruin the unit. Don't understand the aesthetics of the design choice either. A simple nondescript box would have been perfect.

Like some others here, I'm also starting to wonder why these units can't include PEQ. Maybe just have a piece of software on the PC, and load the filter on the unit. Should be a no cost part of all the basic feature set for all new DACs going forward rather than some hyper premium feature found only on super expensive units like the RME ADI-2.
 

IAtaman

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Yep, nothing wrong here and priced well too. Thanks for the testing @amirm and to SMSL for sending one for testing.

JSmith
Do you have the product physically? If you do, is there room in there to squeeze in a Pi Zero 2W?
 

fricc

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Joined
May 24, 2019
Messages
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45
Looking at the board pictures, this is a really nice design. I am impressed by how they have segmented the already tiny board in three sections (PSU, Digital, Analog) with deep ground "trenches" separating them.
It is interesting to notice how the DC power lines literally bridge over the trench. They have taken noise isolation very seriously.
 

Talisman

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Sorry, I'm not a complainer...really. But with the release of the DL200 two months ago and which includes a balanced headphone amp for $10 less, isn't the D-6s obsolete from the start?
I would like to point out that the SMSL C200
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/aoshida-smsl-c200-review-dac-amp.36850/

provides the same absolute transparency performance (118db sind instead of 121), the same input package, the same balanced outputs (in trs format instead of xlr), the same internal power supply, the same bluetooth LDAC with the addition of a well implemented headphone output and has consistently cost around 155 euros for months
 

totti1965

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Apr 7, 2023
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Location
Bonn / Germany
Thanks @amirm for this long awaited review.
Any particular reason for using FL2 filter, except it's default? FL4 filter looks more effective one and probably will give much better THD+N vs frequency measured result (especially at the higher frequencies).

View attachment 319961

So, if you have some free time to spend... :)
Maybee I am the typical audiophoooool, but I would go for FL 5 because of it´s slightly higher output / lower attenuation at 21 kHz....... ;). But the behaviour for FL 5 in the ultrasonic frequencies is not as good as FL 2.......

Would be quite interesting to see this graph for FL 2; FL 4; AND FL 5 -
and to see whether there will be big differences in the 5 kHz to 20 kHz range between the different Filters!


But I don´t dare to ask.... ;) because..... is there anything less important?
 
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