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SMSL D400 Pro Balanced DAC Review

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 8 3.3%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 23 9.5%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 122 50.4%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 89 36.8%

  • Total voters
    242

Egoist

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SMSL has 28 DACs listed in their website as of today. It can be 30 by the time you check it out. They should measure them all, send Amir their measurement data for validation and we should close the topic of SMSL DAC until 2024Q4 in my opinion.
Same as Topping. These reviews are getting a "bit" repetitive. I'm guessing absolutely no one has any interest in how the newest models measure and if we gain or loose 1 or 2 db's of SINAD. On the other hand there are many other brands that we do not have a clue of how they measure, although I do understand that those depend on members sending them to Amirm, while Topping and SMSL will always send their latest for review.
 

respice finem

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Not a thing, meaning it's not popular. I'm sure some people in Europe do have, I was just comparing with North America, it's not as common.

Agree that you can use ARC/eARC for stereo TV, that's what I mean Chinese HiFi brands design for their domestic markets, from what I was told, many chinese consumers in China listens through headphones and playing TV audio through HiFi speakers is just not in demand in China (at least what my Chinese friends tells me).
OK, in comparably smaller homes, they will probably tend to either use soundbars, or built-in speakers, or headphones with TVs.
Then again, if expansion to other markets is intended (which it obviously is), they should go by the demand of the target markets IMHO.
 

CleanSound

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Then again, if expansion to other markets is intended (which it obviously is),

That's where I'm questionable about. I think their domestic market is their first and foremost priority. Otherwise, they would of spend some effort to do a focus study in other markets and would have came out with some products targeted specifically for international markets already. I argue they haven't done so yet.
 

respice finem

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That's where I'm questionable about. I think their domestic market is their first and foremost priority. Otherwise, they would of spend some effort to do a focus study in other markets and would have came out with some products targeted specifically for international markets already. I argue they haven't done so yet.
Possibly, we've "seen nothing yet". One shouldn't underestimate their ambition. In Europe, they are already "shaking up" the DAC/HPA segment considerably, and they pretty much "own" the wired IEM market meanwhile.
 
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Roland68

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I suspect that SMSL designs their products for the demand of their domestic market, which I don't believe exist much demand for HDMI and ARC (home theater is not a thing outside of North America).

I have been saying nonstop, these Chinese HiFi brands are designing their products for their domestic markets only and just make them dual voltage with minimal effort, so they can sell their products in other markets as well. International markets are an afterthought for these Chinese HiFi brands.
Sure, no home theaters outside of North America, rarely laughed so hard.
Home theater germany
In Germany and the EU there have been countless companies that have been building professional home cinemas for over 20 years, but that only accounts for a part. There are also many dealers and a large DIY scene. Just take a look through all the home cinema forums in Europe.

You are also way off the mark when it comes to the sales of manufacturers like Topping, SMSL (with Sabaj, Loxie), Gustard, etc. outside of China. There are countless small and large retailers worldwide, in addition to Apos, HiFi-Express, etc. Amazon provides storage spaces on site in Germany and the EU and also sells these products itself (Amazon/Amazon). Both of these only happen with products with high quantities and corresponding sales.
Incidentally, the sales of these companies in China only make up a small share of the local market for such devices.

No HDMI in China? Seriously? Where does this information come from?
China has approximately 450,000,000 households. According to statistics, depending on the province, 65 - 105 televisions per 100 households, i.e. around 360,000,000 televisions with HDMI. According to statistics, sales of HDMI cables are also among the highest in the world. If you have access to the statistics, you can easily check this.

The headphone market in the high-quality sector has increased extremely sharply worldwide, and with it also for DAPs, DACs and HPAs.
This is especially true wherever living space is scarce and expensive. This applies to all major cities/metropolises worldwide and has nothing to do with China.
 

pseudoid

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This may be relevant but a bit Off-Topic:
I recently found out that the 'de minimis' US tariff law is currently at around USD$800.
"[This] rule [currently] exempting packages valued at $800 or less from tariffs as long as they're addressed and shipped to individuals. The exemption is open to all retailers but is most heavily used by Shein and PDD Holdings' Temu, and potentially by TikTok's new e-commerce business..." << link
...aliexpress could not be that far behind.
Yet, US consumers potentially reap the benefits by this 'de minimis' cap on Chinese consumer goods...:) :(
 

LIZI

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当然,北美以外的家庭影院很少能笑得这么厉害。
德国家庭影院
在德国和欧盟,20多年来一直在打造专业家庭影院的公司不计其数,但这只占一部分。还有很多经销商和一个很大的DIY场景。只要浏览一下欧洲所有的家庭影院论坛即可。

当涉及到 Topping、SMSL(与 Sabaj、Loxie)、Gustard 等制造商在中国境外的销售情况时,您也大错特错。全球大大小小的零售商不计其数,除了 Apos、HiFi-Express 等。亚马逊在德国和欧盟提供现场存储空间,并且自己也销售这些产品(Amazon/亚马逊)。这两种情况仅发生在高数量和相应销量的产品上。
顺便说一句,这些公司在中国的销量仅占当地此类设备市场的一小部分。

中国没有HDMI吗?严重地?这些信息从哪里来?
中国约有4.5亿户家庭。据统计,各省每100户家庭拥有电视65-105台,即带有HDMI的电视约3.6亿台。据统计,HDMI线缆的销量也在全球名列前茅。如果您有权访问统计数据,则可以轻松检查这一点。

全球高品质耳机市场增长极其迅猛,DAP、DAC 和 HPA 也随之增长。
在居住空间稀缺且昂贵的地方尤其如此。这适用于全球所有主要城市/大都市,与中国无关。
大家好,我是中国人。以前只是看帖子,现在专门注册了一个账号来回答一些关于中国市场的问题。中国家庭有很多电视吗?是的,几乎每家每户都有一个。但我们中国年轻人很少在客厅看电视。我们使用手机、IPAD、PC。只有长辈才看电视。那么他们会有“家庭影院”的需求吗?不,他们只使用电视内置的扬声器。勤俭节约是老一辈人践行的美德。
 

respice finem

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With Google Translate, I can read Chinese :cool:
 

CleanSound

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they are already "shaking up" the DAC/HPA segment considerably, and they pretty much "own" the wired IEM market meanwhile.

Agree. But the DAC, HPA and IEM and even over the ear headphone market is what is in demand domestically in China. So the Chinese HiFi brands excel in them, because that is for their local domestic market.

Again, this assumes what my Chinese friends tells me are accurate.

And this is what they told me: In China, most people lives in apartments, not just in city centers, but "suburbs" in China are also full of apartment buildings; only when you go out to the rural areas is where you will have independent houses. So living in an apartment, space is limited, which means people want smaller equipment (hence all the desktop form factor products from Topping and SMSL and the like); and you are sharing a wall with all of your neighbors, so people prefer headphones. Though some people in China do have speaker systems, but you will almost never seen anyone with a subwoofer. And they generally have an integrated system like a Bang and Olufsen with bookshelf speakers (again for space saving and they like small and sleek, because it looks cooler to them). You rarely will see anyone in China with a 430mm wide component system with floor standing speakers, generally only the very rich who owns a multi-floor apartment has this type of system.

That is why almost all the HiFi products coming from these Chinese brands are desktop sized and with emphasis on headphones because they are designing for their own domestic markets first and foremost. And international sales is only an after thought.

To illustrate this, how many headphone amps comes out of the North America? No many, I can only think of Schiit, I'm sure there are maybe couple of other companies out there. How many desktop sized form factor gear do you know that's from US companies? Not many, most are 430mm wide form factors. Also how many companies in the US make high end over the ear headphones or IEM? Not sure if you consider Beats and Bose high end. I personally have zero audiophile friends who listens to headphones, maybe except for the much younger generations. who lives in apartments in NY. I personally have a set of headphones and use it only if I have to and that's maybe once or twice a year.
 

DearSX

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I 100% agree.

These DAC manufacturers have become measurebators and seem to be pre-occupied with trying to top the SINAD chart.

What about resolving basic needs like including a 12V trigger.
Topping is doing well with this, they offer it in the higher end models. Even WiiM has this.
 

CleanSound

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大家好,我是中国人。以前只是看帖子,现在专门注册了一个账号来回答一些关于中国市场的问题。中国家庭有很多电视吗?是的,几乎每家每户都有一个。但我们中国年轻人很少在客厅看电视。我们使用手机、IPAD、PC。只有长辈才看电视。那么他们会有“家庭影院”的需求吗?不,他们只使用电视内置的扬声器。勤俭节约是老一辈人践行的美德。
"Hello everyone, I am Chinese. I used to just read posts, but now I have specially registered an account to answer some questions about the Chinese market. Do Chinese families have many TVs? Yes, almost every home has one. But we Chinese young people rarely watch TV in the living room. We use mobile phones, IPADs, and PCs. Only elders watch TV. So will they have a need for "home theater"? No, they only use the speakers built into the TV. Diligence and thrift are virtues practiced by the older generation."

Exactly what my Chinese friends tells me too. Home theater is just "not a thing" in China, especially with younger generations. And also the space and noise level issue living in apartments sharing a wall with all of your neighbors.

Here, I translated for you (这里我给你翻译一下):
"我的中国朋友也这么告诉我。家庭影院在中国“不算什么”,尤其是对于年轻一代来说。住在与所有邻居共用一堵墙的公寓里,空间和噪音水平也是问题。"
 

LIZI

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"Hello everyone, I am Chinese. I used to just read posts, but now I have specially registered an account to answer some questions about the Chinese market. Do Chinese families have many TVs? Yes, almost every home has one. But we Chinese young people rarely watch TV in the living room. We use mobile phones, IPADs, and PCs. Only elders watch TV. So will they have a need for "home theater"? No, they only use the speakers built into the TV. Diligence and thrift are virtues practiced by the older generation."

Exactly what my Chinese friends tells me too. Home theater is just "not a thing" in China, especially with younger generations. And also the space and noise level issue living in apartments sharing a wall with all of your neighbors.

Here, I translated for you (这里我给你翻译一下):
"我的中国朋友也这么告诉我。家庭影院在中国“不算什么”,尤其是对于年轻一代来说。住在与所有邻居共用一堵墙的公寓里,空间和噪音水平也是问题。"
You are right, my friend. I live in Hangzhou, Zhejiang. The house I bought close to the city center cost 52,000 RMB per square meter (the latest exchange rate is about 7,200 US dollars). I can only afford a small apartment of 108 square meters. My study area is only 2.8*2.8 , I am currently shopping for active speakers that can be used in the study room to easily connect to the computer. Based on the size of the room, I will not consider a model larger than the KH120II at all. However, in Hangzhou, most people's income is only about 10,000 RMB, and people's living space is even more limited. . .
 

respice finem

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In China, most people lives in apartments, not just in city centers, but "suburbs" in China are also full of apartment buildings...
Oh yeah... Having grown up in Poland, behind the long fallen "iron curtain", and in an apartment block, 50 square metres for 3 people was a luxury, I know very well how it is.
At the end of this "era", I even had a pair of lean floorstanders, and yes, 43 cm components, because this was the only alternative to a "ghettoblaster". Home theater was really not a thing those days, except my father came home inebriated :p
 

CleanSound

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I can only afford a small apartment of 108 square meters.
Having lived in Hong Kong, 108 square meters is considered huge!

In North America, if you live outside of the city center, you get easily 185 square meters. My current home is close to 280 square meters. I have friends who live in homes that's over 370 square meters. Space is generally not an issue in North America, especially most of the population don't live in hearts of cities.

Anyway, my original point was a lot of the Chinese HiFi brands they design their equipment for their domestic market, so they consider the use cases of their domestic market such as space and volume level. I wish Topping and SMSL would design products for international markets.
 
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