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SMSL D300 Review (Balanced DAC)

pickyAudiophile

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Here's what I mean. At first there is a click, then comes the "full throttle" outbut for maybe 1/20 of a second. Played from Qobuz (Exclusive mode with changing sample rate).
(Not shown in the footage: When I set sample rate to a fixed e/g 24 Bit 192 kHz then there's just the clicks but not the blast. Blast just occurs once the device gets USB detected on power-up in that case.)
I hooked up a pair super tiny 3" woofer equipped decommissioned monitors to my amplifier just for the demo so there is no huge blast audible. Same time auto modulation magnitude from recording device comes into play. @SMSL-Mandy
 
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pickyAudiophile

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Here's one more.
SMSL D300 at preamp mode with volume set to "4" (4 from 100!), connected to "pure analogue" power amplifier ATOLL AM300 with no speaker protection feature.
And somewhat larger speakers connected.
Crank up the volume to barely hear the music. And hear these severe blasts when changing sampling rates (from PCM via USB). That gives you an impression about how powerful it is. Remember, this is at 4% volume setting!
When volume is set to "8" (still 8 from 100!) that's when it gets really nasty for my speaker's poor drivers.
The question to @SMSL-Mandy is if we can expect new firmware or just a new device (MK II)? Or just none of that?
@Toku If you like - what's your take on that? You're always so well informed (when it comes to Sabaj and more...). Do you see a chance they might get a grip on these nasty issues?
 
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lordearl

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Here's one more.
SMSL D300 at preamp mode with volume set to "4" (4 from 100!), connected to "pure analogue" power amplifier ATOLL AM300 with now speaker protection feature.
And somewhat larger speakers connected.
Crank up the volume to barely hear the music. And hear these severe blasts when changing sampling rates (from PCM via USB). That gives you an impression about how powerful it is. Remember, this is at 4% volume setting!
When volume is set to "8" (still 8 from 100!) that's when it gets really nasty for my speaker's poor drivers.
The question to @SMSL-Mandy is if we can expect new firmware or just a new device (MK II)? Or just none of that?
@Toku If you like - what's your take on that? You're always so well informed (when it comes to Sabaj and more...). Do you see a chance they might get a grip on these nasty issues?

Wow - thanks for posting this - cautionary tale for sure!

This is one reason I still always use an analogue preamp - sure, it adds another obstruction in the audio chain, but anything on the digital side could fail if the manufacturers haven't tested the firmware properly!
 

shadowmdj

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Hi,

I am planning to buy D300. I don't play DSD at all. I will stream Spotify or Apple music from a raspberry pi based streamer. Will I still get loud blasts or pops and clicks from the DAC? The D300 will be connected directly to a power amp.
Thanks in advance. :)
 

subcode

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Hi,

I am planning to buy D300. I don't play DSD at all. I will stream Spotify or Apple music from a raspberry pi based streamer. Will I still get loud blasts or pops and clicks from the DAC? The D300 will be connected directly to a power amp.
Thanks in advance. :)
From my raspberry pi4 every time i change a song d300 produces a loud click...also when the raspberry boots also produces a loud click grom the left channel only... But when i connect it to my Zen Stream it doesn't do that but only when the zen Stream boots.
 

shadowmdj

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From my raspberry pi4 every time i change a song d300 produces a loud click...also when the raspberry boots also produces a loud click grom the left channel only... But when i connect it to my Zen Stream it doesn't do that but only when the zen Stream boots.
Thanks a lot. Is it the same with old firmware too?
 

subcode

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Thanks a lot. Is it the same with old firmware too?
From all those horror stories i read here i didn't bother to install the newer firmware... Mine i assume is with the old firmware because i bought the unit when this dac was introduced... Its a very nice sounding dac that does some things like an r2r dac...BUT SMSL Support is terrible. If you want to buy one and use it as a preamp also, AVOID...Until (if ever) SMSL corrects those issues.
 

pickyAudiophile

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Thanks a lot. Is it the same with old firmware too?
As @subcode stated, while maintaining sample rate there will be just clicks with playback starting, resuming, stopping via USB. Severe "blasts" will occur any time you change sample rate or start-stop-resume playback in exclusive mode. That means in situations when sample rate is controlled by source you can expect "blast after blast". Since in exclusive mode access on device will be released and re-established anytime you start or stop playback.
With that new firmware the problem was only shifted from DSD playback to PCM playback - as far as we managed to identify.
This time, there is new older firmware available for download.
We don't know yet if there will be new firmware to resolve these issues. I could imagine they might release a "MK II" of the D300 and leave the other customers just out in the rain. Hopefully not.
 

Sokel

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Here's one more.
SMSL D300 at preamp mode with volume set to "4" (4 from 100!), connected to "pure analogue" power amplifier ATOLL AM300 with no speaker protection feature.
And somewhat larger speakers connected.
Crank up the volume to barely hear the music. And hear these severe blasts when changing sampling rates (from PCM via USB). That gives you an impression about how powerful it is. Remember, this is at 4% volume setting!
When volume is set to "8" (still 8 from 100!) that's when it gets really nasty for my speaker's poor drivers.
The question to @SMSL-Mandy is if we can expect new firmware or just a new device (MK II)? Or just none of that?
@Toku If you like - what's your take on that? You're always so well informed (when it comes to Sabaj and more...). Do you see a chance they might get a grip on these nasty issues?
I would suggest to unplug it and wait for a fix,what we just watched is a horror film,don't put your rest of the chain to the torture table.
(reminder that I'm not paranoid insisting to the use of preamp with analog VC).
 

subcode

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I could imagine they might release a "MK II" of the D300 and leave the other customers just out in the rain.
If they treat us like that,SMSL will be another one typical Chinese company with Zero support and onother one company for us that we should avoid.
 
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Sokel

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Thank you so much @subcode, @pickyAudiophile, and @Sokel. I will look for an alternative. Hopefully, SMSL will release a new firmware fixing the issue. I guess not only D300 but also other DACs from SMSL too have this clicking issue.
It's not only SMSL,other brands have problems too regarding erratic behavior.Rare but is there best abvice is to power the dac first,check it's output and then power the rest of the chain.
 

Snoopy

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I have no click, pop and blast issues with my D300. Raspberry pi 4 into DAC with USB.

Roon plays all local files as DSD512 or PCM768khz. Source is qobuz, tidal and local files.

Headphone amp (SMSL SP400) is connected to the DAC via XLR.

The D300 is running in fixed mode.

I had my android phone connected directly to the DAC before and no issues either.

I used the D300 with the Singxer SA-1 before. (MacBook instead of Raspberry pi) and used the roon digital volume control. No issues either.
 

Snoopy

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Seems like at least for some weeks(?) that firmware was installed ex factory before maybe withdrawn again. My S/N 1108213221134, received early November from P.R.C. located stock, sent out mid October.
Got mine in January this year.
 

Happyhammer

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I also had no problems with the my D300 until I foolishly installed a buggy firmware from @Toku... :facepalm:
I was unaware of this thread and upgraded my d300 today and since then I now have these terrible blasts/pops. I hadn tried to update MCU with ftn button but thatvfailed so was given updatee instructions to open box and short a couple of pins on powwr up. Any original MCU firmware around to rollback?
 

Happyhammer

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I was unaware of this thread and upgraded my d300 today and since then I now have these terrible blasts/pops. I hadn tried to update MCU with ftn button but thatvfailed so was given updatee instructions to open box and short a couple of pins on powwr up. Any original MCU firmware around to rollback?
I have rolled back the MCU and now it's back to normal for PRE amp mode again.

Trick is to only attach USB cable AFTER you have the program loaded and the box prevented from booting via the power/ ftn button method

V1.0 MCU Hex file attached, just added .zip to file name so I could attch
 

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shadowmdj

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A person in another forum recently bought one and he had no issues with his d300. Seeing that I ordered one from the same seller. I have been using it for two days now and I hear no clicks or pops. Touchwood!
 

Snoopy

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Simple solution for people with clicks and pops when changing samplerates and from pcm to DSD would be to upsample everything in software to the same samplerate.

These days even a raspberry pi 4 based streamer should be able to handle that.



I upsample everything in roon to DSD512 for example. The MacBook is running anyway in another room.
 
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