• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

SMSL D300 Review (Balanced DAC)

redjr

Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2018
Messages
64
Likes
55
Wonder what the subjectivists will say about the "sound" of this DAC chip.
It holds its own sonic status just like many other DACs at this price point. Articulate, transparent, with wide dynamic vigor. I had the pleasure to sample this DAC for 7 days, along side my ESS based chip DAC and I was hard pressed to find any sonic nuances that were objectionable with numerous high-def and a few DSD tracks in my library across a wide genre of music. I only returned it because of a couple nits that I didn't want to use long term. That flush mounted dial was a gastly mistake, as anyone suffering from dry hands can attest. Please give me a weighty knob that I can grab between two fingers for manual control of features. Sonically it was clearly above par IMO. I'm glad Rohm is now in the DAC chip business.
 

redjr

Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2018
Messages
64
Likes
55
Very nice looking DAC.
You should check out the Fiio K9. From a looks standpoint the competition can't touch it. There is simply simply nothing in the consumer consumer market that even comes close! I've never seen such a sleek and professional grade piece of kit. And it has specs that nudge ahead of D300. Waiting for Amir's review of it. I'm getting one for Christmas. :)
 

oneman

Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2021
Messages
21
Likes
12
I do not understand why in those Chinese DACs are only one coax | one optical | AES iputs. Is it so difficult to make a DAC equipped with three optical inputs + three coaxial + two AES, just like it used to be in a past?
I guess it is also unbelievably impossible to make a DAC with at least one digital output
 

pseudoid

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 23, 2021
Messages
2,788
Likes
1,667
Location
33.6, -117.9
I do not understand why in those Chinese DACs are only one coax | one optical | AES iputs. Is it so difficult to make a DAC equipped with three optical inputs + three coaxial + two AES, just like it used to be in a past?
I guess it is also unbelievably impossible to make a DAC with at least one digital output
If this is a wHine-party, I want dibs too:
>> I want more XLRs, for both analog inputs and outputs.
Does ASR have a post for whiners like us? It could be interesting...:cool:
 

Paweł L

Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2021
Messages
55
Likes
27
Yeah, 3 opticals instead of one, is what decent audio equipment should have to begin with, unless we add HDMI instead, since HDMI is starting to be a norm for many players. One of each really feels very budget oriented these days.
 

Wuzel

Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2021
Messages
35
Likes
21
I do not understand why in those Chinese DACs are only one coax | one optical | AES iputs. Is it so difficult to make a DAC equipped with three optical inputs + three coaxial + two AES, just like it used to be in a past?
I guess it is also unbelievably impossible to make a DAC with at least one digital output

While it makes the device more expansive.
And only a few customer are need these....

And this few people can use a active switch for 20-60 bucks... whos the problem?
 

May Kasahara

Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2021
Messages
13
Likes
11
Why is SMSL releasing another DAC in this price range? Don't they already have one for 399?

Problem solved!

Yesterday I saw two reviews on Youtube that probably answer this question.

SMSL Review 1
SMSL Review 2

In summary, I would argue that they come to the same conclusion. Yes, S.M.S.L already has DACs in this price range, but this one with the ROHM dac just sounds different. Less DeltaSigma (sharp, analytical) more towards R2R (musical). Of course, that also explains why just noticing and measuring numbers, here on ASR, could not detect this fact.

OT: Sometimes I think that is also the weak point of asr. Yes, I know this is about numbers but at the end of the day I just can't hear numbers, but that's another topic.
 

Veri

Master Contributor
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
9,140
Likes
11,358
Less DeltaSigma (sharp, analytical) more towards R2R (musical). Of course, that also explains why just noticing and measuring numbers, here on ASR, could not detect this fact.

OT: Sometimes I think that is also the weak point of asr. Yes, I know this is about numbers but at the end of the day I just can't hear numbers, but that's another topic.
It is though, quite literally that. 100% DeltaSigma DAC, nothing multibit about it.
 

Wuzel

Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2021
Messages
35
Likes
21
Why is SMSL releasing another DAC in this price range? Don't they already have one for 399?

Problem solved!

Yesterday I saw two reviews on Youtube that probably answer this question.

SMSL Review 1
SMSL Review 2

In summary, I would argue that they come to the same conclusion. Yes, S.M.S.L already has DACs in this price range, but this one with the ROHM dac just sounds different. Less DeltaSigma (sharp, analytical) more towards R2R (musical). Of course, that also explains why just noticing and measuring numbers, here on ASR, could not detect this fact.

OT: Sometimes I think that is also the weak point of asr. Yes, I know this is about numbers but at the end of the day I just can't hear numbers, but that's another topic.

For me it sound like a few bucks 'standard' dac - way behind the ESS/AKM Flagship DAC's. I think that's it why some people think its sound better - or more 'music'.
The ears overwhelmed with the massive information, special in high-band. When u hear some crappy devices or vinyl its hard limited in detail and high band - no overwhelming here :D
 

SMSL-Mandy

Active Member
Manufacturer
Joined
Aug 31, 2018
Messages
290
Likes
653
This is our first dac on Rohm Chip. D300 sounds more like playing vinyl, the felling more analog
 

Hapo

Active Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2022
Messages
225
Likes
105
This or the Topping D30 Pro? I’ve always owned Topping and have enjoyed them, but the SMSL units are sleek and the screen looks cool.

...this is where I am aboot now...this video didn't really help much... (grin)

...I am liking the easy on the ears part of the equasion these days...
 
Last edited:

Hapo

Active Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2022
Messages
225
Likes
105
You should check out the Fiio K9. From a looks standpoint the competition can't touch it. There is simply simply nothing in the consumer consumer market that even comes close! I've never seen such a sleek and professional grade piece of kit. And it has specs that nudge ahead of D300. Waiting for Amir's review of it. I'm getting one for Christmas. :)

...did you like the K9...???...did it sound like you hoped it would...???...

 
Last edited:

redjr

Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2018
Messages
64
Likes
55
...did you like the K9...???...did it sound like you hoped it would...???...

The K9 sounds great. I'm very happy with it. It's equally as good as my other ES9028Q2M based DACs. (I can very easily do basic A/B comparisons) with roon.) There's simply no audible differences that I can hear with my system. In addition, you get plenty of I/O options with the K9. Interestingly, to my ear, I'm favoring the sound using single-ended (SE) output > Freya S pre > Elac Navis active speakers.
If you're into build quality, the K9 bests the competition at any price-point. It's very substantial in every way.
 

Lupin

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Feb 11, 2021
Messages
525
Likes
833
If you're into build quality, the K9 bests the competition at any price-point. It's very substantial in every way.
Using a plastic sheet over the PCB for structural integrity of the chassis does not really count as the pinnacle of "build quality" in my book. :rolleyes:

Personally I feel the K9 Pro is way too expensive for what it is and what it does. FiiO is banking heavily on subjective audiophile believes with the K9 Pro.
 

redjr

Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2018
Messages
64
Likes
55
Using a plastic sheet over the PCB for structural integrity of the chassis does not really count as the pinnacle of "build quality" in my book. :rolleyes:

Personally I feel the K9 Pro is way too expensive for what it is and what it does. FiiO is banking heavily on subjective audiophile believes with the K9 Pro.
I can't speak to the plastic sheet over the PCB. I haven't opened mine up to see what's in there. I was simply observing the heavy casing and quality fit-n-finish. One is generally indicative of the other. I have owned/tested many of the Topping and SMSL recent generation of dacs and they seem less substantial. My K9 was a gift, so I can't complain too much. ;)

I'm finding the range of connectivity and versatility of the K9 fitting in nicely to my system, and I've found nothing objectionable about it's sound.
 

Snoopy

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Jul 19, 2021
Messages
909
Likes
562
I've just ordered a D300. Shipped and fulfilled through Amazon so there should be no problems with warranty and return.

Measurements look good and at the same time some audiophile reviewers seem to really like it.

Going to use the DAC with the Singxer SA1
 

redjr

Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2018
Messages
64
Likes
55
I've just ordered a D300. Shipped and fulfilled through Amazon so there should be no problems with warranty and return.

Measurements look good and at the same time some audiophile reviewers seem to really like it.

Going to use the DAC with the Singxer SA1
I don't think you'll be disappointed with the sound. I had a chance to listen to one for a couple weeks last year, shortly after it was released. I was impressed with sound. I felt like it matched anything I had in my DAC stable. You will likely have other pieces of gear in your playback chain that will hold back what the D300 can dish out. YMMV. Amir gave it a 'recommended'.
 

Snoopy

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Jul 19, 2021
Messages
909
Likes
562
I don't think you'll be disappointed with the sound. I had a chance to listen to one for a couple weeks last year, shortly after it was released. I was impressed with sound. I felt like it matched anything I had in my DAC stable. You will likely have other pieces of gear in your playback chain that will hold back what the D300 can dish out. YMMV. Amir gave it a 'recommended'.


Will be using it with qobuz and my headphones. Focal Elegia and DC Aeon 2 Noire.

Should be ok together.
I have currently a Cambridge cxn V2 with a dual Wolfson DAC.. the D300 will be probably better
 

Chobabi

New Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2022
Messages
1
Likes
0
Hi everyone, new member here (long time lurker) and a new owner of this DAC. Currently I am experiencing an issue playing DSD files at native sampling rates w ASIO, all I get is a bunch of static. I have uninstalled and reinstalled the drivers but nothing seems to be working.

Current setup is PC > D300 > Passive Preamp (RCA)/THX 789 (XLR) > Genelec 8040b/Hifiman Arya 2021

When I just do regular PCM 44.1 it plays perfectly, and ASIO works perfectly fine with other hi-res FLAC files I have in my library.

Any inputs are appreciated.
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom