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SMSL D400ES DAC Review

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 12 5.1%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 11 4.7%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 59 25.0%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 154 65.3%

  • Total voters
    236
I’m not sure why you are asking this question but its programmed with my Logitech Harmony to turn off with everything else when I press the off button.

But even if I left it on, its not a big deal. :)
All my audio devices have a 12V trigger and I can't imagine living and buying a device without this feature. You have a way. Sure, nothing will happen unless it shortens the life of the device.
 
All my audio devices have a 12V trigger and I can't imagine living and buying a device without this feature. You have a way. Sure, nothing will happen unless it shortens the life of the device.
I also enjoy having a 12v trigger between my pre/pro and my 2 amps. I’m not sure I’d buy another amp without it unless it has an auto on feature. That’s cool that the Topping has a trigger option. I’m sure if I waited a few months I could have picked one up that’s the equivalent of the DO300 but I ran out of patience.

If I couldn’t turn the DAC on and off without a remote or a trigger I probably wouldn’t have bought it. Nevertheless, these are cheap so I wouldn’t feel too bad if they died earlier than expected. Now if one of my Gotham G213s croaked because I shortened it’s life by leaving it always on (which some people recommend), I would have a totally different emotion because it would be a royal pain to get them shipped and repaired.
 
I also enjoy having a 12v trigger between my pre/pro and my 2 amps. I’m not sure I’d buy another amp without it unless it has an auto on feature. That’s cool that the Topping has a trigger option. I’m sure if I waited a few months I could have picked one up that’s the equivalent of the DO300 but I ran out of patience.

If I couldn’t turn the DAC on and off without a remote or a trigger I probably wouldn’t have bought it. Nevertheless, these are cheap so I wouldn’t feel too bad if they died earlier than expected. Now if one of my Gotham G213s croaked because I shortened it’s life by leaving it always on (which some people recommend), I would have a totally different emotion because it would be a royal pain to get them shipped and repaired.
That is, you confirm that it may shorten the life of the device if it is always on. You can always return the DO300 and replace it with an e70 or dx7pro+ ;)
 
That is, you confirm that it may shorten the life of the device if it is always on. You can always return the DO300 and replace it with an e70 or dx7pro+ ;)
Lol. I think it’s inconclusive as there are arguments where they recommend to not power cycle components as that may shorten the life of the device.

Also per my previous comment, I don’t leave the DO300 on. My off button on my Harmony remote turns it off and it turns on only when I choose an activity that involves sound running thru the DO300.

I like the DO300. It’s about 3 days old and I don’t plan on replacing it with alternatives that use older ESS chipsets. I just need them to make an inexpensive preamps that sound as good as the $10,000 for less than $1000 with HT bypass, then I’m all set. Hopefully in the next year they will have one that’s worth buying, otherwise I’ll have to spurge next year when I get my discretionary bonus which I don’t want to do.
 
Lol. I think it’s inconclusive as there are arguments where they recommend to not power cycle components as that may shorten the life of the device.

Also per my previous comment, I don’t leave the DO300 on. My off button on my Harmony remote turns it off and it turns on only when I choose an activity that involves sound running thru the DO300.

I like the DO300. It’s about 3 days old and I don’t plan on replacing it with alternatives that use older ESS chipsets. I just need them to make an inexpensive preamps that sound as good as the $10,000 for less than $1000 with HT bypass, then I’m all set. Hopefully in the next year they will have one that’s worth buying, otherwise I’ll have to spurge next year when I get my discretionary bonus which I don’t want to do.
I asked in reference to Gotham G213s. Have you read that probably 9039 is more stripped compared to 9038? higher number is not always better.
 
I asked in reference to Gotham G213s. Have you read that probably 9039 is more stripped compared to 9038? higher number is not always better.
I have not but I don’t follow DACs too closely. What I have read and based my decision on was the reviews where the 9039 based DACs are near the top of the list except for the SU-10 pro that use dual 9038s. My only stance on this since I’m buying in 2023, is that I’ll buy the newest offering for a reasonable price. I personally don’t think the differences in DACs make a huge difference in the overall sound quality. I probably have exhausted all my capacity to discuss DACs for the year 2023 in the last 2 days with you :).

My buddy has never turned off his dual JL Audio F112s and 15 years later one of them croaked out on him - known issue and cost $450 or so thru JL to fix. Other people who regularly turn their JL sub off had their power issue earlier. So, as I said it’s inconclusive but I don’t like to keep any of my stuff on as personal preference. My other JL sub, the F113 is also set to auto on.
 
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If the DAC allows user setting the volume to +2dB, then it simply means the built-in filters are calibrated to have 2dB of headroom to reduce the chance of intersample clipping. A 1kHz sine does not have intersample clipping issue so it won't clip.

Just to understand, If I set the DAC at +2, does it have more chances of intersample clipping than setting it to 0db? Or that it still has 2dB headroom due to the -4dB attenuation of filter?
Which should be the best dB setting to avoid clipping?
 
Price and features are all about what your want, need and are willing to pay. Having been an audio buff since the 1970s, I find it astounding what one can now purchase for less than $1,000.

SMSL and Topping are putting out higher priced models, with slightly better performance, in order to make more money. It's called smart business and capitalism. Selling $100 DACs is not a sustainable business model.
Exactly and same logic as those paying $10K for a watch whose time accuracy can be met by a $20 Timex
 
Exactly and same logic as those paying $10K for a watch whose time accuracy can be met by a $20 Timex

There is a difference though. Nobody that buys a 10K, a 100K, or even a 1M watch will believe that it measures the time better, or in a more “temporal” way (to make a parallel with the meaningless term “musical”) than any decent quartz clock. They know it is jewellery and exclusiveness and it ends there. Some mass delusion has taken a large part of the audiophile world that is akin to religious fanaticism.
 
Hello.
I registered today, although I have been a follower of the Forum for a few years because I believe that there are people who know more than me about this world and I like to learn.
I have a question, after reading this post and realizing that not only my D400ES has problems with the PCM filters in conjunction with the different Sound Colors.
I consulted with "Mandy" from SMSL about this problem and since I still have time to return the DAC, she told me that there is no firmware update but she did not tell me that there will be one, so I ask you, Is it worth keeping the DAC or returning it due to the lack of respect on the part of SMSL in this matter?
 
I contacted my dealer in the netherlands. That would not be oK and other DACs would not have that problem. He suggested to make a reset and if that would not solve the problem a firmware update should be done. After the first reset it was better by 50%. So I did 5 of them switching the DAC on and off between the resets and now everything is fine.
Hello.
Exactly how is this reset done?
Holding down the power button for about 5s until the device restarts?
Because if so, that has not solved my noise problems with PCM and Color Sound mixed.
By the way, my firmware version is V1.01. Do the others have this version?
 
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Well, since SMSL does not give me a solution to the sound distortions that occur in this DAC, I will return it to the seller tomorrow. It hasn't been a pleasure. This speaks very badly of the brand to me.
Bye bye D400Es.
 
Hi Everyone, any known issues with this SMSL D400ES? I did a search on this thread and try to read as much as I can without reading so much tangent conversations. If you own the SMSL D400ES or know of any issues either bug, functionality or reliability issues, please share.

The two reviews that I read on Amazon is that (1) the ASIO is buggy for Windows (2) the firmware needs to be updated to fix for occasional low input level (what is the latest version of firmware for it?)
 
Hi Everyone, any known issues with this SMSL D400ES? I did a search on this thread and try to read as much as I can without reading so much tangent conversations. If you own the SMSL D400ES or know of any issues either bug, functionality or reliability issues, please share.

The two reviews that I read on Amazon is that (1) the ASIO is buggy for Windows (2) the firmware needs to be updated to fix for occasional low input level (what is the latest version of firmware for it?)
Hello.

I returned my DAC to the seller because SMSL does not plan to offer a firmware update to solve musical sound distortion problems when using PCM and Sound Color filters at the same time. In my case it has been like that. And since there was still time to return it, that's how I acted.
 
Hello.

I returned my DAC to the seller because SMSL does not plan to offer a firmware update to solve musical sound distortion problems when using PCM and Sound Color filters at the same time. In my case it has been like that. And since there was still time to return it, that's how I acted.
No one else is having that issue?
 
No one else is having that issue?
For example:
 
Hello.

I returned my DAC to the seller because SMSL does not plan to offer a firmware update to solve musical sound distortion problems when using PCM and Sound Color filters at the same time. In my case it has been like that. And since there was still time to return it, that's how I acted.
You mean you cannot use for example Fast linear in conjunction with Tube 3 sound color?
 
¿Quiere decir que no puede utilizar, por ejemplo, Fast linear junto con el color de sonido de Tube 3?
Exact. I can do it but the music is heard distorted and I have to set the default values of the 400ES using the reset.
But I already returned it to the seller.
Now I am considering purchasing the SMSL 400EX or much better the Gustard A26.
 
Exact. I can do it but the music is heard distorted and I have to set the default values of the 400ES using the reset.
But I already returned it to the seller.
Now I am considering purchasing the SMSL 400EX or much better the Gustard A26.
Really absurd...
It works fine in other Smsl dacs, which chip does it have?
 
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