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SMSL D400ES and SMSL D400Ex

populous909

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Dec 6, 2022
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Use pipewire for bitmatched playback without resampling.

Yeah sure, I'm happily using pipewire, but the alsa is the underlying interface to the kernel audio level. (see pipewires faq: does-pipewire-run-on-top-of-a-pulseaudio-or-jack-server and does-pipewire-replace-alsa)

While talking about ubuntu using pipewire, I have some experience to share.

Briefly speaking:

* Ubuntu 22 distribute pre-installed part of pipewire library, but still using pulseaudio as the default audio lib.
* You can manually install full pipewire and make it as default.
* Sadly, the ubuntu packaged pipewire version is at 0.3.48 which has a bug and be fixed on 0.3.49
* But ubuntu not packaged the newer version yet, so can't be upgraded by the default updater.
* You have to MANUALLY add pipewire PPA to your apt repository then do a upgrade again, enjoy. ( I'm at 0.3.60 )
 
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MadMaxx

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Is that out yet, as in available for purchase?
Just listed on HiFiGo for $1499


Gonna have to find out why the Gustard is so much more $$ than the SMSL before I even consider dropping that much on it. I might go for the $799 Schiit Bifrost 2/64 instead.
 
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staticV3

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Gonna have to find out why the Gustard is so much more $$ than the SMSL
Here's a clue:
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It connects to WiFi as well.
 

Aleksandar RS

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About two weeks ago I received the SMSL D400ES DAC. Very solidly made, good screen, connectors on the back are not of high quality. The sound is transparent, with not completely perfect clean edges, very detailed. PCM filter make a very audible difference in the sound. It seems to me that the filters dampen the sound a bit. I did not notice any significant difference between several PCM filters. Switching between the 9 modes in Sound Color makes no audible difference to me. It is possible that it will take more time to show its full capacity. These are the first impressions.

However, DAC has a big flaw, when the DAC volume is high, the sound cracking. If I lower the volume to around -10dB on the DAC the cracking stop, but dynamics are lost, and it cannot be fully restored by amplifying the sound on AMP. It happens both over XLR and RCA. It is significant that another owner of this DAC has the same problem.
 

Veri

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PCM filter make a very audible difference in the sound. It seems to me that the filters dampen the sound a bit. I did not notice any significant difference between several PCM filters. Switching between the 9 modes in Sound Color makes no audible difference to me. It is possible that it will take more time to show its full capacity. These are the first impressions.
I'm confused.

Too bad about the cracking/crackling :/
 

Aleksandar RS

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In addition to PCM filter (there are 7 different ones), which have a very audible, but all 7 have a very similar, impact on the sound, SMSL D4000ES it also has a something like a filter called Sound Color (9 options: Rich 1,2,3; Tube 1,2,3 and Crystal 1,2,3).

It's a bit difficult for me to write in English, so sometimes something is a bit confusing.
 

Rover

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SMSL filters are always well audible, in contrast to Topping where the difference is not audible between the filters. :)
 

Doodski

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They're the same filters in both brands, because they're dictated by the DAC chip, not by the brand. Your brain is tricking you.
This is a perfect example of the power of suggestion and non-blind listening tests. If there was some way to keep this comment #134 on file for others....lol. I had a great morning chuckle when I read it. :D
 

Veri

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SMSL filters are always well audible, in contrast to Topping where the difference is not audible between the filters. :)
Funny how the filters on both have the same name etc, almost as if they come stock on these DAC chips.....
 

Aleksandar RS

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It's very possible that it needs a few more days of playing and the sound will get better and better. For the filters, I described the first impression, it is quite possible that everything will slowly crystallize. For the problem with the crackling sound (not cracking as I wrote in the previous post) when the DAC volume is approximately at maximum, I think there is some problem with the DAC driver and my computer. I am not so worried about that issue, I believe that it is something that will be solved. Even so, he is far better than my previous DAC - Musical Fidelity M1.

In the coming days, I will try combinations of different computers and cd transports, so we will see.
 

jaraheel

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Just listed on HiFiGo for $1499


Gonna have to find out why the Gustard is so much more $$ than the SMSL before I even consider dropping that much on it. I might go for the $799 Schiit Bifrost 2/64 instead.
The review over at l7audiolabs didn’t come out that good. I’ll stick to my D400EX (the replacement just got sent)
 
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SMSL-Mandy

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Amir tells me that the Review report is almost done and will probably be updated on the ASR forum in the next couple of days regarding the results of the D400es and D400ex. You can share your usage realities there then. Thanks:D
 

Streamc

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Amir tells me that the Review report is almost done and will probably be updated on the ASR forum in the next couple of days regarding the results of the D400es and D400ex. You can share your usage realities there then. Thanks:D
What means updated? Where is original review? Head of this topic?
 
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