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SMSL DL200 the best ever value DAC/AMP?

Blablaat

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Ah, ok.
In any case you could either set the amp to max and use the DAC as a pre amp to control volume, in which case the clicks will be amplified more, or set the DAC to max and use the amplifier to control volume.

So if you use it at max volume (with a separate pre-amp), the click will be less amplified? That doesn't sound logical at all.
 

FreakyKiwi

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So if you use it at max volume (with a separate pre-amp), the click will be less amplified? That doesn't sound logical at all.
Exactly, I have found that the volume of the clicks is fixed and independent of the DAC level, they are still present if the DAC is at 0.

If you amplify the DAC output less, if the DAC is at max level, the clicks are amplified less.

My experience is using headphones where in a similar way the clicks are louder on more sensitive headphones where a lower DAC level is needed, and imperceptible on harder to drive headphones where a higher DAC level is used.
 
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Blablaat

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I really don't understand it at all. If the volume of the clicks is fixed, why are the clicks less amplified at max volume? The DL200 is a strange device...
 

FreakyKiwi

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I don't understand. If the volume of the clicks is fixed, why are the clicks less amplified at max volume? The DL200 really is a strange device.
The difference is in how much amplification is applied to the DAC output.
If the DAC is at 10% and the amp at 100% the clicks are amplified much more than if the DAC is at 100% and the amp at 10% given that the click level out of the DAC is the same in both cases.
 

Blablaat

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That makes perfect sense.

For the record, I use the DL200 (also) as pre-amp and have no click-related issues whatsoever.
 
OP
nerdemoji

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Hi all,

I'm planning to get a dedicated balanced DAC for my new active Genelec 8030C speakers. My budget is around 200€ and will probably be buying from audiophonics.fr

I need a DAC with volume control and a remote, three digital ins (for Chromecast audio, TV and laptop) and that measures decently well. Bonus for TRS connection instead of XLR as I already own the cables, but buying XLR-XLR cables would not break the bank, so it's not a deal breaker.

My shortlist includes SMSL D6-s and the E50 from topping, but I am also considering this SMSL DL200 as for a similar amount of money I would also get a headphone amp. I was thinking about getting into the headphone game eventually with the classic HD 650, so this seemed like a good option, although balanced line out to my active speakers is the highest priority.

I have read some of the comments in this thread talking about popping issues when changing bit rates between songs with active speakers and the USB output. However, it is unclear if this is still a thing. If so, I think it would drive me crazy and I'd better remove the DL200 from the shortlist. Is anyone aware of what is the current state of this issue? Also, why would this only happen here and not in the D6-s which seems to have a very similar architecture?

As a small aside, would you recommend any other DACs to add to the shortlist?

Thanks!!!
The issue seems to be with certain setups with raspberry pi’s or Linux or something beyond my understanding. I dont remember anyone having problems with other devices on this thread so if you fall into that category I wouldn’t worry about it.

But, I think you should get a DSP DAC system w/ Dirac or something. Like a MiniDSP. Yes, it will be more expensive, but I got speakers yesterday (KEF Q150 and SMSL AL200), and if you want optimal bass response, then I suggest you get a MiniDSP. The reason I have not gotten that yet is because it was not in my budget(around 600) so anyway. The work around the room resonance for me was to go into an online tone generator and find the resonance at 130hz and nuke it in equalizerAPO. (I’m 90 percent certain it was a ceiling bounce) I still have a cancellation around 70 hz..
 

streamophile

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Ah, ok.
In any case you could either set the amp to max and use the DAC as a pre amp to control volume, in which case the clicks will be amplified more, or set the DAC to max and use the amplifier to control volume.
The latter is not possible with active speakers like the Genelec 8030 unfortunately.
 

streamophile

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The issue seems to be with certain setups with raspberry pi’s or Linux or something beyond my understanding. I dont remember anyone having problems with other devices on this thread so if you fall into that category I wouldn’t worry about it.

But, I think you should get a DSP DAC system w/ Dirac or something. Like a MiniDSP. Yes, it will be more expensive, but I got speakers yesterday (KEF Q150 and SMSL AL200), and if you want optimal bass response, then I suggest you get a MiniDSP. The reason I have not gotten that yet is because it was not in my budget(around 600) so anyway. The work around the room resonance for me was to go into an online tone generator and find the resonance at 130hz and nuke it in equalizerAPO. (I’m 90 percent certain it was a ceiling bounce) I still have a cancellation around 70 hz..
I totally agree, but it is also out of my budget. I paid 700€ for the 8030 second hand and the minidsp flex balances is even more than that here in Sweden. It feels like overkill to spend more on the electronics than on the speaker. My hope was that Wiim comes put with the Ultra and that has balanced outs and I can set a some PEQ bands to handle rooms modes that show up in my umik/rew measurements. However that is not confirmed by Wiim yet :C
 
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Deleted member 68540

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Exactly, I have found that the volume of the clicks is fixed and independent of the DAC level, they are still present if the DAC is at 0.

If you amplify the DAC output less, if the DAC is at max level, the clicks are amplified less.

My experience is using headphones where in a similar way the clicks are louder on more sensitive headphones where a lower DAC level is needed, and imperceptible on harder to drive headphones where a higher DAC level is used.
Same case here: clicks produced even with DAC at volume 0. Though none of my headphones are particularly hard to drive, I find that the problem is way less pronounced when I am using the balanced output. With the 6.35mm output, it is just unbearable.

Now clicks are produced across the board. There are those that people are describing here when switching tracks (and these are particularly less prominent with the balanced headphones -- in fact, they seem to be physical clicks at the unit itself), but there is generally some static noise as well -- a bit like connecting your headphones to a bad PC headphone jack, most sadly. I have already tried moving the USB connector to all possible places (Surface Thunderbolt 4 Dock, Philips Monitor's USB-C Hub, and even the USB ports at my monitor stand). Nothing seems to do the trick. Static remains.

If the problem did not affect so many people, I would be considering interference by my Google Nest Wi-fi routers as a possibility. I have a set of Edifier MR4 that would hiss like crazy when the router was close to them. But now the router is farther away anyway.

This is all such a huge pity, as the DL200's sound is just fantastic. If there is no fix soon, though, I am afraid I might need to send them back to Amazon.
 
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Deleted member 68540

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Only when starting/stopping the stream and changing bitrate, not every song as long as the source doesn't disconnect.

With my equipment I have found that the noise is boosted when setting the DAC to high gain, and then quite noticible with high sensitivity headphones.
On low gain it's not loud enough to bother me or with harder to drive headphones all but completely disappears.

I haven't tried it with an amp or speakers yet but surely the gain setting does not apply to the line outs?

I do believe that all units make the noise due to the muting circuit but it depends on the connected equipment as to whether it can be heard.
If anyone who does or doesn't have the issue could provide details of their other equipment and relevent settings (DAC gain and level) we might get to the bottom of it.

I can't see a manufacturing date on my DAC but I doubt that anything has been changed with the design. Mine doesn't have the nut mentioned on the Bluetooth antenna which may have been present in the early or review models.

I'm still happy with it for my use case.
It has a great sound.
Thank you for this! I have changed gain to low and static sound seems to be gone -- at least in balanced mode. So far so good. I will test it with my MR4 with the TRS cables once I have those. Hoping balanced mode there will prevent the problem as well.
 

FreakyKiwi

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there is generally some static noise as well
That seems like a different issue.
What is your source device? A surface laptop/tablet by the sound of it?

Have you tried a different source?
You could try connecting your phone to the USB, or try something with a digital output.
 
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Deleted member 68540

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That seems like a different issue.
Agreed -- though I wonder whether one that should not be present as the unit is powered by an external source. In any event, changing gain to low seems to have totally done the trick. I now need to crank up the volume to around 50 to drive the headphones (Fidelio X3 with custom 4.4 cables), but that's OK. The XMOS change recommended before in the thread has also removed clicks from the beginning of tracks. All perfect now -- though still to test with speakers.
What is your source device? A surface laptop/tablet by the sound of it?
Surface Laptop Studio + Surface Thunderbolt 4 Dock. Should not be particularly prone to statics, I think?
Have you tried a different source?
You could try connecting your phone to the USB
I did try with my phone but briefly, before noticing the problems. MQA light gets purple! :) (as if that mattered...). Will do it again later for tests.

Thanks a lot!
 
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Deleted member 68540

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27 pages is enough to conclude something ;p

That there are many people curious or excited about the product? It does require the right settings, and the pop when turning the unit on is indeed the part that cannot be avoided. With desktop speakers this is very very mild, though. All the rest is pretty amazing. OK, except for the stepped (and tiny) volume knob.
 
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nerdemoji

nerdemoji

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I have AL200 and have no pops or clicks except when changing settings (which I never do) and when turning on. I don't know how comparable the devices are, though.
 

hoverdonkey

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I would also add some positivity to add to the balance, if I may.

I get power-on pops and on sometimes on change of settings. Crucially, however, it never interrupts the music.

Less crucially, I think it sounds like the needle landing on the vinyl, a lovely sound that I miss (because I will not go back to vinyl!)

A very nice DAC and I'm happy. :)
 

hoverdonkey

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Just to add, a Pi 3B+ should not be used to drive a USB DAC when using wired ethernet. That combo always gives random pops in music. wifi + USB DAC works fine.

I wonder if this issue applies to other source hardware?

The reason is, I believe, that the USB & ethernet share the same bus. Wifi is okay... I think because it is not using the same bus (of course... it is going by air :facepalm:). Pi 4B + USB DAC + wired ethernet is fine (separate buses).
 

FreakyKiwi

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Just to add, a Pi 3B+ should not be used to drive a USB DAC when using wired ethernet. That combo always gives random pops in music. wifi + USB DAC works fine.

I wonder if this issue applies to other source hardware?

The reason is, I believe, that the USB & ethernet share the same bus. Wifi is okay... I think because it is not using the same bus (of course... it is going by air :facepalm:). Pi 4B + USB DAC + wired ethernet is fine (separate buses).
Yes, the issue applies to other source hardware.
My experience is the same with my Wiim pro over optical or coax as my wired ethernet Pi over USB (or my Chromecast audio, or PC, or phone), and regardless of music source (LMS/squeeelite, Chromecast, Alexa cast, DLNA, local files).

My biggest win has been using low gain only which reduces the clicks through headphones significantly.
 
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FreakyKiwi

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I think it sounds like the needle landing on the vinyl, a lovely sound that I miss.
Wow, you are right!
What an inspiringly positive way of looking at it and making the best of the situation.

Yes, it is otherwise a great sounding DAC.
I wouldn't buy it again though.
 
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