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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: 341 90.0%

  • Total voters
    379

trungdtmc

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AA0E2F68-A2B2-4F65-A067-5091D54D7A4F.png
Only 150$ on Aliexpress
 

PyramidElectric

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You can actually turn the display off, i wonder what that would do to both yours and Amir's tests....
 

BL82

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Would a DAC like this be sufficient to go from Wiim pro into this, and then directly into my amp through the balanced outputs? I read a few pages back where it seems someone was getting a loud popping noise. I'd like to have a setup where I don't need to run through my old Marantz receiver since it doesn't have passthrough ability. If this DAC isn't a good choice for that, then any suggestions would be appreciated.
 

nanook

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There was an issue that was not finally tracked down.
I will give the combination WIIM Pro -> D-6s -> active speakers a try the next days and will report back.
This is my target setup, I will however not turn up the volume at the speakers more than necessary for normal hearing level because I'd like to stay within reasonable attenuation with the digital volume control.
I will mainly be using Spotify as input for now.
 

nanook

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Tried both XLR and RCA - both pop.

Just got the 2nd unit, also has the exact same pop. The pop can occur anytime the display switches to (---), which happens mostly during bitrate switching - it happens 80% of the time. Locking bitrate to 44khz the pop obviously vanishes.

Using Tidal via my PC over USB eliminates the pop completely on the 2nd unit.

Will test using a new optical cable and WiiM Pro... hopefully that combination works better.
@Feesh : I have a WIIM Pro connected to a SMSL D-6s meanwhile. Connection is Toslink.
Since I mainly use Spotify (my wife's preference - I might actually opt for Tidal) I cannot comment on sample-rate changes.
BUT: I came across a menu item in the WIIM home app (see screenshot). It seems, the WIIM firmware allows to set a latency when switching the sample-rate. The default was 0ms as far as I remember. I have set it to 1000ms (maybe 100ms would be ok. as well - I've not played with this setting), just because I thought 0ms might cause an issue.
-> You may want to try to configure a latency and see if this eventually solves your pop noise issue
 

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Feesh

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@Feesh : I have a WIIM Pro connected to a SMSL D-6s meanwhile. Connection is Toslink.
Since I mainly use Spotify (my wife's preference - I might actually opt for Tidal) I cannot comment on sample-rate changes.
BUT: I came across a menu item in the WIIM home app (see screenshot). It seems, the WIIM firmware allows to set a latency when switching the sample-rate. The default was 0ms as far as I remember. I have set it to 1000ms (maybe 100ms would be ok. as well - I've not played with this setting), just because I thought 0ms might cause an issue.
-> You may want to try to configure a latency and see if this eventually solves your pop noise issue
Have already tried using the delay while doing all of my testing (up to and even more than 1000ms) and it did not fix the pop.

Having gone through 3 different D-6s and one DO300 unit, all of them exhibited the same pop on my system (as stated before only my old Sanskrit 10th MKII did not pop at any point).

I have decided to keep the third D-6s and live with the minor annoyance for now (while the amp is at listening volume the pop is not that loud - but mostly still audible from my listening position), will see what happens down the line when I buy my next amp.

The D-6s just sounds too good and is too cheap to pass on at the moment.

Thanks for your time and effort!
 

Feesh

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Feesh, am I reading your test write-up of February 15 correctly, and all cases of D6-s pop are via the XLR outputs? No cases of a pop when using the RCA outputs? Thanks.
Switching from XLR to RCA did not have any positive effect, both connections exhibited the pop.
 

nanook

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Switching from XLR to RCA did not have any positive effect
The RCA output indeed just sums up (precisely speaking subtracts) the XLR output. If the XLR 'pops' the RCA will 'pop' too.
The RCA outputs do have their own muting switch, but I suspect all of the outputs get muted with the same signal.

I'm actually wondering, why SMSL missed the opportunity to mute XLR and RCA separately. The Topping E50 e.g. does allow to activate RCA or XLR or both, which is a nice feature if you have the speakers connected to XLR and the headphone amp to RCA.
 

Feesh

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The RCA output indeed just sums up (precisely speaking subtracts) the XLR output. If the XLR 'pops' the RCA will 'pop' too.
The RCA outputs do have their own muting switch, but I suspect all of the outputs get muted with the same signal.

I'm actually wondering, why SMSL missed the opportunity to mute XLR and RCA separately. The Topping E50 e.g. does allow to activate RCA or XLR or both, which is a nice feature if you have the speakers connected to XLR and the headphone amp to RCA.
The DO300 has an option to output XLR or RCA seperately, or both at the same time.

Guess it has all to do with market segmentation.
 

staticV3

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Hi PhnomPenhPaul,
Get informed first, what you say isn't true.
I have a Topping E70 and this model uses the Sabre ES9028 Pro chip and transmits in direct DSD
DSD Direct ≠ Native DSD.

DSD Direct refers to some DAC chips' ability to bypass the oversampling filter and ∆Σ Modulator for DSD audio, like what you can see here for the AK4493S:
Screenshot_20240402-125850_Drive.png

As you can see in this block diagram, the ES9028Pro is not capable of DSD Direct:
Screenshot_20240402-125610_Drive.png
 

nanook

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Thanks, very nice visualization. And I think people are not aware of the fact that DSD Direct ≠ Native DSD.
Native DSD just takes the bitstream and applies a lowpass filter only. Very minimalistic.
ESS chips are capable to process a DSD stream as well, but they need conversions ahead of the multibit SD-converter.
 

Skelethor

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DSD Direct ≠ Native DSD.

DSD Direct refers to some DAC chips' ability to bypass the oversampling filter and ∆Σ Modulator for DSD audio, like what you can see here for the AK4493S:
View attachment 360832

As you can see in this block diagram, the ES9028Pro is not capable of DSD Direct:
View attachment 360833
Ok my mistake.
My apologies.
Thank you staticV3
 

nanook

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It is indeed very confusing, especially the wording companies/ marketing use. As far as I understand Native DSD usually refers to a DSD bitstream "as recorded with a 1-bit SD- AD converter" (i.e. a bitstream that has never been converted to PCM in between).

I just read into the DSD flavors a bit. The main points for me were:
- most of the DSD stuff has been converted to PCM at some stage (and been converted back to DSD) because the native DSD bitstream cannot to be processed
- DoP is just a container, so a real (native) DSD bitstream can be packed into PCM frames and be unpacked without loss or signal processing
- An elaborate ABX double-blind comparative study conducted at the Erich Thienhaus Institute of the Detmold University of Music in 2004 did not prove that the difference between HiRes PCM (176.4kHz/24bit) and DSD was audible.

The best sites I found were these - some of them have commercial interests though:

I'm sure, there have been lots of discussions in this forum already ....
 

Human Bass

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One thing I love about my D-6s is how well handle jitters. Even in the lowest sensitbivity it never skips with my tv outputting from toslink.
 

pavuol

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Looking at their webpage, SMSL seem to issue considerably fewer firmware updates to their products than Topping. Either their devices are flawless out of the factory, or...(?)
 

Toku

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Looking at their webpage, SMSL seem to issue considerably fewer firmware updates to their products than Topping. Either their devices are flawless out of the factory, or...(?)
The number of FW update registrations on the SMSL website is small.
The reason is that FW updates are registered on HP for a certain period of time and then deleted. Also, with SMSL, FW updates themselves are not performed much in the first place. I don't know the reason, but it may be due to SMSL's corporate structure or company policy.
 

pavuol

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The number of FW update registrations on the SMSL website is small.
The reason is that FW updates are registered on HP for a certain period of time and then deleted. Also, with SMSL, FW updates themselves are not performed much in the first place. I don't know the reason, but it may be due to SMSL's corporate structure or company policy.
Best price/performance ratio is tempting, but both HW longetivity and aftersale SW support is a question, if it is not "wiser" to pay a bit more.
Surely the DAC is not a network player, but still. On the positive side, both their network players have latest FWs listed. I'd be curious how many years is the typical software support span for them.
 

KadoPT

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In that case, it is down to if you can trust SMSL to give you a virus free update. LOL.
It's not "exactly" virus related but the MSI installer can be exploited in repair mode to execute external code with SYSTEM privileges, installers since v5.40 and before v5.68 are affected, the drivers are actually provided by Thesycon, SMSL just requests custom branding, specific USB VIDs and some extra settings, so the latest package is not exploitable.
 
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