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SMSL DP5 Music Streamer and DAC Review

ruinevil

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#61
I stream over DLNA from my NAS (Synology, running a customized linux) I am very happy with that. I am against closed systems and protocols like airplay. DLNA is a standard (then well documented and open), also ubiquitous ( smartTVs, AVRs...). For me DLNA should be the protocol to be used for testing streaming, not a particular proprietary one.
Airplay 1 was reversed engineered over 10 years ago. While I haven't ever used an Airplay player, it's basically bulletproof in a Linux distro like Volumio.
 

Glasvegas

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#62
I understand. Sorry ‘bout that.
How do the Denon & Marantz units fare? HEOS is on most of their recent AVRs, but they both make stand alone DAC/streamers. I think they are in the ballpark in price. Cambridge Audio too.
Can't comment on SQ. Some "mainstream" manufacturers are releasing DAC/streamers with built in Cromecast Audio, as well as their own apps. A can't remember exact names, but Pioneer is definitely one, and of course Cambridge.

That has to tell you something - they don't trust their own apps, but CCA is perfect, apart from gapless.
 

Robbo99999

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#63
This is a review and detailed measurements of the SMSL DP5 music streaming player and DAC. It was kindly sent to me by shenzhenaudio. The DP5 costs US $599.99.

The DP5 sports a very nice, high resolution display:

View attachment 88228

Alas, I am not a fan of the rotary control. It has sharp edges and generally feels very cheap. And oh, lest you are tempted to touch the screen to select items, don't as it is not touch sensitive.

The icons are the "VCR controls" are too tiny, especially the menu one.

See if you can find the volume level on that display! It is top left in the tiniest font you can imagine. Even when that menu is not up, it is the same size. It is enlarged nicely when adjusting but then you get a bland picture showing the connection, not the existing volume. I routinely check the volume before hitting play to make sure I am not going to blow my ears off. I can't do that with such a tiny display.

By far the worst part of the interface is that there is no way to select an input! Yes, you read that right. I read the manual 10 times, played with all the menus repeatedly and still can't figure out how you select any input. Hooking up USB cable selected that fortunately so I tested that as you see below. But I could not figure out how to select any other input.

OK, the above is not the worst thing. The worst thing is reliability of the firmware. Airplay was off by default (why? this is a streamer). I turned it on and my Roon player nicely detected it. As soon as I tried to play anything to it, it disappeared from Roon menu and would not come back. Power cycling the DP5 caused it to come back, only to disappear the same. Given this, I could not test any streaming performance.

Even if Airplay did work, it would limit performance to 16 bits which is well below the capabilities of the DAC in this unit. SMSL needs to support Roon. I can get Roon support in a $20 Raspberry Pi. I should be able to get it just as well in this much more expensive device.

There was a System Update option which I selected, only to be told the firmware file is missing. I know desktop products rarely do this but it is time to support network update of the firmware. What was there was version 1.1 by the way.

The back panel shows the myriads of inputs and outputs:
View attachment 88232

Nice to see balanced out which I used exclusively for my testing.

DAC Audio Measurements
By default, the USB interface activates in mass storage mode and you need to go into setup to convert it to USB. Once done, this is our dashboard:

View attachment 88233

It is nice that the output reaches up to 5.6 volts but performance drops as you go above 4 volts or so:

View attachment 88234

Still, good to have the option of higher output.

SINAD at 112 dB is in competent category:

View attachment 88235

I was surprised to see IMD vs level start so good but then degrade toward the end:


View attachment 88236

Is that our ESS IMD Hump but moved to higher level?

Linearity is excellent:

View attachment 88237

I did not see any options to change the DAC filter but the standard one is better than many other choices:

View attachment 88238

Would have been nice to have one that is super sharp and truncates at 22.05 kHz, rather than 24 but this is typical of DAC chip default filters.

Dynamic range was superb:

View attachment 88239

I was surprised to see so much excessive noise and spurious tones in our jitter test:

View attachment 88240

These are not audible artifacts (levels are below -110 dB) but from engineering point of view, is a good step backward from even cheap $100 DACs these days. Likely the Linux subsystem running the networking/streaming software is impacting the DAC performance.

Multitone performance is excellent although the above issue may have degraded it some:

View attachment 88241

Conclusions
The DAC performance of the DP5 is very good to excellent. Alas, I was going to test a streaming device and I could not. Unless I am going blind, lack of simple options like changing inputs shows the product has not been properly tested. When and if that happens, I will test the DP5 again. Until then, I cannot recommend it.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Check out this perfect specimen of a Bosc Pear, peeled and ready to be sliced and dunked in chocolate fondue:

View attachment 88242

As they say in the south, that was good eating!

Massive number of boxes have arrived as of late for testing. So if you have any interest in these grumpy reviews, please consider donating generously using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
Chocolate & fruit is the devils work and so is this DAC! :D
 

Jimbob54

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#66
I don't follow any such religion. I was a founding member of DLNA representing Microsoft. This was a broken effort from day one, meant to advance Sony's IP interest, not that of the consumer. I hate the unreliability and poor implementations of it as well.

As far as I am concerned, a $600 device needs to support Roon endpoint and Airplay. They advertise the latter but I could not get it to work. And the former is not there. So that is that. You are welcome to setup your own shop and test DLNA.
I'll add chromecast to that list. Or whatever its called these days.
 

Apesbrain

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#67
but isn't DLNA the only option to stream hi-res files without additional compression?
LMS will stream up to 24/192 and DSD64 via DoP. It's very solid. Roon can do it as well using their proprietary protocol, and I think it goes even higher. Neither uses data compression. Never been a fan of DLNA.
 

Celty

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#68
Check out this perfect specimen of a Bosc Pear, peeled and ready to be sliced and dunked in chocolate fondue:

View attachment 88242

As they say in the south, that was good eating!

Massive number of boxes have arrived as of late for testing. So if you have any interest in these grumpy reviews, please consider donating generously using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
My favorite yet simple dish with a Bosc pear:

1. Slice the pear into moderately thin slices (say about 1/4 inch).

2. Arrange several slices per portion on a salad plate.

3. Add very thin slices of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on the pear.

4. Drizzle a decent Balsamic Vinegar over it (If not artisanal balsamic, dissolve a bit of brown sugar in the balsamic).

5. Enjoy.
 
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#70
So, Amir couldn't use Roon to stream and then just gave up, rather than trying another option to test the streaming (the main functionality of this device). Pointing out the Roon issue is admirable but the "my way or the highway" approach to testing isn't responsible, IMO.
If a product fails to function as advertised, it is a fail.
 

tmtomh

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#71
  1. Audio performance is very nice.
  2. Software clearly is undercooked - we can argue about whether it's broken, incomplete, or merely very awkwardly/poorly implemented, but it's clearly below par. Good news is a firmware update to fix this stuff (including input selection) is probably not too difficult, and it seems would likely instantly elevate this unit to 2nd-highest Panther rating.
  3. DLNA is garbage. Anyone who uses it with no complaints, that's great, more power to you. But IMHO it's completely reasonable for @amirm or any other reviewer to ding the unit if DLNA is the only functioning option.
 
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#73
I am in agreement with @amirm on the rating. The DAC performs well, but if a consumer purchases the unit, it should function as advertised. Having good performance is only part of the equation. Usability is also key and if the user is unable to access basic functions within a minute or two, that's a fail in my book. Had I had that same experience, I'd box it back up for a return.

I hope SMSL revises the device, maybe also addressing that volume control along with a major firmware fix.. It has potential.
 

PeteL

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#74
Roon compatibility is a different thing. I was testing Airplay and it would fail to play. The only thing left to test it with would be DLNA and I am not a fan of that. Nor do I have a setup to test with that.
We could also, as a side note, look at this the other way, why doesn't Roon support DNLA... We all know why, but their player is already expensive, It should talk to everybody.
 

ac3dtsthx

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#75
Some Dp5 observations:
-Plays airplay but disconnects from my ipad intermittently. It might be just 1 song or several before it cuts off.
-Smb does not see my music folder on my synology NAS. It see's my intel nuc as my roon server and the hd of my sony hap z1es but playing from it cuts the playback intermittently like audio dropouts. Very inconsistent.

Will report later on bluetooth connectivity and roon performance
 

PuX

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#76
LMS will stream up to 24/192 and DSD64 via DoP. It's very solid. Roon can do it as well using their proprietary protocol, and I think it goes even higher. Neither uses data compression. Never been a fan of DLNA.
had to google what LMS is.

did you mean Logitech Media Server? is it widely supported by streaming devices? first time I heard about it so I assume it isn't.
 
OP
amirm

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Thread Starter #77
but isn't DLNA the only option to stream hi-res files without additional compression?
No, Roon endpoint is as well. This is why in my book it is a requirement this day and age.
 
OP
amirm

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Thread Starter #78
My favorite yet simple dish with a Bosc pear:

1. Slice the pear into moderately thin slices (say about 1/4 inch).

2. Arrange several slices per portion on a salad plate.

3. Add very thin slices of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on the pear.

4. Drizzle a decent Balsamic Vinegar over it (If not artisanal balsamic, dissolve a bit of brown sugar in the balsamic).

5. Enjoy.
Thanks. My wife is not a fan of sour things but sounds great to me! :)
 
OP
amirm

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Thread Starter #79
We could also, as a side note, look at this the other way, why doesn't Roon support DNLA... We all know why, but their player is already expensive, It should talk to everybody.
Airplay is so common that fallback to that allows communication to just about everything. Regardless, as I noted, I am the last guy to ask to be an advocate for DLNA.
 

Davelemi

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#80
Can you detail the streamer gear please ?
RPi4, RPi 7" Touch Screen, Ropieee XL (I have Roon), SmartiPi Touch 2 case (Amazon)

I have a HifiBerry SPDIF Hat that I've used in the past but the Atom DAC I'm using for this setup is USB only.
I also use a RPi3 with a HifiBerry SPDIF Hat for my RME DAC/HP Amp and a RPi3 with a HiFiBerry DAC Hat for my outdoor speakers.
 

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