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SMSL DO100 Review (Stereo DAC)

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 4 1.1%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 7 2.0%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther

    Votes: 32 9.1%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 308 87.7%

  • Total voters
    351

SMSL-Mandy

Senior Member
Audio Company
Joined
Aug 31, 2018
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Hi all,

I just got a DO100 from Amazon and using it with my Kali LP-6V2 studio monitors with XLR. There are popping noises via USB 2.0 when I change tracks and change videos on youtube and when I stop and start songs as well as random popping during computer usage. It also pops during computer boots/reboots. I have the USB driver installed from SMSL website. Also, played around with filters and DPLL settings and nothing changed

In USB 1.1 mode, the popping only happens during boots/reboots. However, with optical connected to my PC, the popping disappears entirely. Anyone knows what is the problem? I am getting a replacement from Amazon to see if the USB issue would be fixed. I would really like to use USB 2.0 but if I had to use optical, that is fine too. There shouldn't be any audio quality loss going from USB to optical for this DAC right?


Thanks,
Is the switch USB1.1/2.0 will appear burst popping, it is recommended to switch after the need to power off and restart. Then it will be fine.
 

Count Dacula

Member
Joined
May 24, 2023
Messages
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Likes
36
Yes.


ESS advertize one freely programmable filter slot.
I guess just a fraction of manufacturers realize that ESS put a unique filter in there from the factory.
And just a fraction of those make an effort to make that filter accessible to the end user.

I was thinking that the group of 7 or so filters may have originally been devised and included by ESS was for the equipment manufacturers to select a single default filter, in order to color their product a certain "unique" way, without necessarily divulging this to their customers.

As SMSL or Topping eventually implemented these D/A chips, they found room in their OS to make them available and user selectable.

I use 3 & 6 on my C-200
 

Count Dacula

Member
Joined
May 24, 2023
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I ordered a DO-100 last night, mostly because I'm so happy with my new C-200....and also because of this thread.

Originally I planned on swapping all of my existing DACs down one "grade" of system, but I'm in fact unhappy enough with my Modi 2 Uber to banish it to 3rd or 4th rate duty. Going down the scale, I have a ARCAM compact DAC that's pretty old, I'll look up some info on it, and listen again before deciding where it should go. Also an orig Wolfsen FiiO D3 that has many many hours on it with AV duty, I have no complaints there, it's transparent to my ear. Also grabbed a $15 brown box DAC while I was putting the old system back together at the vacation spot, because the Blutooth device I bought failed....I would normally have no use for something like that, but it worked. I hope it gets used someplace.

The best thing ever has been putting a volume knob on DACs, letting them preform the preamp function. My last preamp was Asgard 2, a headphone amp that drives theVidar pretty well. Also I've been using mini mixers, like the Mackie 5ch, just to get by on my secondary systems. Previously had NAD 1300 pre with the parametrics, it was sweet and I should have NEVER got rid of it. Traded it on Parasound Pre mini thing, I hated it. Also DNL the Para 2125 NC amp. I still prefer my old ADCOM 545-II when I use it.

I don't swap and compare systems and components much. Once I have a functional system , I just use it and make very occasional upgrades as I go. The point being that all my experience, and all of these systems, really don't resolve like a pair of headphones would, nor is there a consistency to "reference" with loudspeakers. So, imo unless you are doing headphones or studio nearfield or STOA, there's not a lot to be gained betweens DACs of the same class or age, pardon the pun. In the spirit of ASR I will try my different units on different systems, and would welcome any input (damn, another pun)

But forsure the new gen of DAC/Pre/Head far exceeds the old gens by a significant margin that is easily demonstrated on loudspeakers, my main system w/Q-350s. I would just recycle my old Modi 2U if I wasn't sure that this DO-100 will put it to shame on my modest NAK Receiver 2 Stasis / KEF Q-150 living room system. Sure it has a few convenience features, but I seriously expect a SQ improvement. I'll include everything in my full report. :rolleyes:
 
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Misguided

Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2022
Messages
55
Likes
22
Hi. I bought this about a week ago and the USB does not appear to work at all. I’m using windows 11 and my DAC does not show up. I switched the cable and also tried connecting via cable to my iPhone using the camera kit but nothing. Tried both USB modes each time.

There are drivers on the SMSL website but Windows won’t allow me to download them as it says the file contains a virus.

I bought it on sale and although I can get a refund I cannot buy it again at the same price. It seems very much like the USB is broken but thought I would check in case it is another issue I can resolve myself and save the hassle of a return.

Thanks
 

drewdawg999

Active Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2021
Messages
186
Likes
167
Location
Suburban Los Angeles
Hi. I bought this about a week ago and the USB does not appear to work at all. I’m using windows 11 and my DAC does not show up. I switched the cable and also tried connecting via cable to my iPhone using the camera kit but nothing. Tried both USB modes each time.

There are drivers on the SMSL website but Windows won’t allow me to download them as it says the file contains a virus.

I bought it on sale and although I can get a refund I cannot buy it again at the same price. It seems very much like the USB is broken but thought I would check in case it is another issue I can resolve myself and save the hassle of a return.

Thanks
I'm pretty sure that for Windows you have to use the driver. I downloaded it and works fine for Windows 11. I doubt there's an actual virus on there. I would download it anyway.
 

Graham849

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 14, 2022
Messages
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199
Location
Australia
Hi. I bought this about a week ago and the USB does not appear to work at all. I’m using windows 11 and my DAC does not show up. I switched the cable and also tried connecting via cable to my iPhone using the camera kit but nothing. Tried both USB modes each time.

There are drivers on the SMSL website but Windows won’t allow me to download them as it says the file contains a virus.

I bought it on sale and although I can get a refund I cannot buy it again at the same price. It seems very much like the USB is broken but thought I would check in case it is another issue I can resolve myself and save the hassle of a return.

Thanks
Have you tried coax/optical inputs?

Are you using USB 3 or 2 port?

Device manager should show SMSL USB DAC with native window drivers.

Do a refresh windows install.

Good luck.
 

Misguided

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Sep 8, 2022
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I'm pretty sure that for Windows you have to use the driver. I downloaded it and works fine for Windows 11. I doubt there's an actual virus on there. I would download it
So I finally got windows security to allow the download and it worked. Haven’t been able to mess about with the settings etc yet but it’s looking good.

Will do a refresh windows install tomorrow as well. Thanks for the help, much obliged.

Edit: just an fyi in case this helps anyone else. It was connected to USB C via a hub which has USB 2.0 and 3.0. I tried both. I have a Huawei Matebook E (similar) to a MS Surface and it only has USB C or Thunderbolt.
 
Last edited:

Misguided

Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2022
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Hi further update. I think part of the issue was that I had already set up the DAC as a Bluetooth device so windows was defaulting to that rather than setting it up as a USB device.

I removed it as a Bluetooth device today and Windows recognised it straight away.
 

RoccoS

Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2022
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2
Hi, does someone know if the DO100 - when used in Bluetooth-mode - uses Qualcomm's internal DAC to convert the digital signal OR does it get passed to the two ESS chips for conversion? If I'm not mistaking, e.g. the Topping DX3 Pro+ does that...

I am looking for a good BT-DAC around this price range. Any suggestions?

Thx guys!
 

dumpingg

Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2019
Messages
52
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74
I just purchased my second DO100. I am using them in an active speaker setup. One DO100 on the woofers and one DO100 on the tweeters. The top unit is the recent unit just purchased refurbished from Amazon. It seems to work fine, however the display after powering on settles to 3 dashes instead of displaying the sampling rate of the COAX SPDIF signal (96). See the attached photo. The top unit is the one that is a refurb and seems to be behaving oddly on the display. What do the three dashes on the display mean?
IMG_6451.jpg
 

dumpingg

Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2019
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74
I am presently getting some support from Aoshida on the --- display issue. Still not resolved, but to help anyone else, here is the factory reset procedure for the DO100 DAC:

Unplug the DO100 from power, long press the volume knob, and then use the AC power cable power to it until the machine screen lights up, and then release the volume knob.
 

djeka

New Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2023
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Can someone explain this chart to me. I use filter 6, does that mean i should set volume level to 88-90% for best quality? What is best volume level that keeps quality at maximum? Is it 96 or somewhere in range 88-90 or something else?

I am new to this and cant really read this charts. Is there some kind of guide for this?

Thanks!

Edit chart
 

Attachments

  • SMSL DO100 DAC Measurements Stereo Filter Balanced USB DAC.png
    SMSL DO100 DAC Measurements Stereo Filter Balanced USB DAC.png
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Last edited:

staticV3

Master Contributor
Joined
Aug 29, 2019
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@djeka the way you link charts does not work.
Please post either the image URL, or download the graph from the review, then attach it to your post.
 

staticV3

Master Contributor
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I am new to this and cant really read this charts. Is there some kind of guide for this?
This graph shows the frequency response of the DAC close to the Nyquist frequency (sample rate divided by 2) and how the different Oversampling filters affect it.

The ideal filter response is completely flat to the left of the red vertical line and drops off sharply to the right. Here's one example of an ideal filter response:
Chord DAVE stereo balanced dac Filter Toslink Measurement.png

The graph does not have anything to do with volume level.
 

Ritz

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May 8, 2022
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Location
Virginia
This graph shows the frequency response of the DAC close to the Nyquist frequency (sample rate divided by 2) and how the different Oversampling filters affect it.

The ideal filter response is completely flat to the left of the red vertical line and drops off sharply to the right. Here's one example of an ideal filter response:
View attachment 299761

The graph does not have anything to do with volume level.

So wouldn't filter 4 or 6 be more "ideal" then? The default seems to have the worst performance of them all based on this definition, but Amir says it performs well in his review. I've left mine at the default setting.

For what it's worth, I just got one of these and I'm using it in conjunction with a Wiim Pro Plus streamer to stream Amazon Music HD. I had been using the Denon HEOS app to stream directly to my Denon AVR-X4300H which then outputs to a Schiit Vidar amp into my heavily modified Magnepan MMGs. This combination is easily MUCH better sounding than direct to the Denon's DAC and now I don't have to deal with that horrid HEOS app any longer.

Amazon-->Wiim-->coax-out-->DO100-->RCA to Denon CD input-->RCA to Vidar-->Maggies

I'm assuming the Denon AVR is the weakest link in the chain. I'll be building a dedicated 2 channel system in my office using smaller/more efficient speakers, a higher quality pre-amp (Schiit Kara) and probably a Vidar 2 along with the Wiim/DO100.

It's amazing how inexpensive it's gotten to get REALLY high quality music these days.

Best,
 
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