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SMSL M400 Balanced USB MQA DAC Review

Veri

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Would the I2S input work with HDMI audio source?
I would like to know this too but I suspect no.
It's a definite no. This is not a "plain" HDMI input the likes your playstation/TV uses, it is an intermediary I²S input for direct data transfer bypassing the spdif receiver / XMOS USB. only devices that can do I²S output can interface with it.
 
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Hi @Veri, thanks for your response.
Looking at the drawings of some implementations, I also tend to understand that the I2S is not going through either of the circuits in charge of clocking (USB or SPDIF). So I would infer from that that there is no reclocking of the I2S flow. But a confirmation of @SMSL-Mandy would be appreciated :)
+1 I would like confirmation from @SMSL-Mandy as well since I did a small trace and the I2S signal (from the HDMI connector) enters the Altera IC which should be doing the re-clocking. Maybe it's just for signal switching purposes, but maybe not.
 

misterdog

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@SMSL-Mandy
Is anyone having issues with the M400 and the Thesycon ASIO driver ?
After a Windows 10 update I am unable to use the driver using JRiver Media 27.
I have tried reloading it with no success.
 

MakeMineVinyl

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@SMSL-Mandy
Is anyone having issues with the M400 and the Thesycon ASIO driver ?
After a Windows 10 update I am unable to use the driver using JRiver Media 27.
I have tried reloading it with no success.
The only issue I've had with this DAC and driver is that sometimes one of the channels is flipped in phase. A reboot cures it.
 
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Hello all and @SMSL-Mandy, i decided to buy SMSL M400 to pair with Flux Labs FA-12S amplifier and beyerdynamic dt 1990 with A pads, i placed an order on aliexpress because of free DHL delivery, i hope this unit will be my endgame, currently i'm using allo revolution dac, it is good, but i wan't go to another level, hope my expectetions will be fullfilled, that it will be better 20-25% than allo revolution, i will be happy then:)
Maybe somebody had an experience with both dac's, share your experience:)

Unit which was purchased in the middle of February will be with fixed dac issues i read before in this thread? I'm going to use it via RCA.
 

jc7788

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Guys, i am using this SMSL M400 DAC for 2 days, and found an issue with the M400 involving the usb input -
  • When I connect it to USB3 port, and choose the sample rate above 192khz (be it 24bit or 32bit), it will produce noise or distort sound. The noise or the distortion is damn annoying and it drive me crazy. So to make the noise goes away, the max sample rate I can set is 192khz.
  • When I connect it to USB2 port, I can choose to use any bit rate and any sample rate, and the noise or distortion disappear and nowhere to be found.
I just want to share with the others about my findings, because when I try to google about this issue, I can't find anyone having the similar issue.
 
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jc7788

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Jc7788 hi! Please clarify, what do you mean under the names USB2 and USB3?
I think he meant USB2 - usb2 port and USB3 - usb3 port.
Yes, I meant usb port, because i am connecting this DAC into my PC.
For those who are not tech savvy, there are usually three types of physical usb ports in a PC - usb2, usb3 type a, usb3 type c.
 
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MakeMineVinyl

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I might be wrong, but I believe the driver only supports USB 2.
 
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Just received my M400, question to users which already own/owned it, burn in - will change anything in sound in comparison to straight from the box? I'm not about measurements, i'm about sound perception, thank you, and please don't throw your tomato's to this question:)
 

MakeMineVinyl

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Just received my M400, question to users which already own/owned it, burn in - will change anything in sound in comparison to straight from the box? I'm not about measurements, i'm about sound perception, thank you, and please don't throw your tomato's to this question:)
Burn-in with purely electronic components is a myth; there will be no change in sound or in measurements. Speaking as a manufacturer, there should not be any changes taking place in electronics because all those calculations and design work would essentially go out the window if the electronic components suddenly decided to have a mind of their own and start changing characteristics! If this kind of thing happened, the Mars rover would probably be on its way into some random planet by now depending on how it 'burned in'. :rolleyes:

BTW, did you ever notice that reviewers always say that components sound better after burn-in, and never worse? Think about that......
 
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Burn-in with purely electronic components is a myth; there will be no change in sound or in measurements. Speaking as a manufacturer, there should not be any changes taking place in electronics because all those calculations and design work would essentially go out the window if the electronic components suddenly decided to have a mind of their own and start changing characteristics! If this kind of thing happened, the Mars rover would probably be on its way into some random planet by now depending on how it 'burned in'. :rolleyes:

BTW, did you ever notice that reviewers always say that components sound better after burn-in, and never worse? Think about that......
Thank you for response. And one more question, currently i connected m400 through rca outputs, what the difference in sound between RCA and XLR on this dac? Is it worth to buy klotz cable with neutrik connectors for this unit to connect the headphone amp? amp single ended, but with XLR inputs, Flux FA-12S, XLR sounds better?
 
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I just received my M400 DAC just a couple of hours ago. Previous to this I was using the Gustard A18 DAC. I was satisfied with the Gustard sound but a couple things I wasn’t happy about. The display is tiny and difficult to read. Also the unit has the power switch on the back.

On a quick evaluation, the SMSL gives a clean presentation. The display is large and readable. So far so good with just a couple hours of listening.
 

Veri

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amp single ended, but with XLR inputs, Flux FA-12S, XLR sounds better?
It can solve ground hum/ground loop noise issues if there are any, and it will make your amp louder (XLR = doubled input voltage). If you don't need noise immunity nor more power, you can continue to use RCA. It won't sound worse.
 

Harmonie

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I just received my M400 DAC just a couple of hours ago. Previous to this I was using the Gustard A18 DAC. I was satisfied with the Gustard sound but a couple things I wasn’t happy about. The display is tiny and difficult to read. Also the unit has the power switch on the back.

On a quick evaluation, the SMSL gives a clean presentation. The display is large and readable. So far so good with just a couple hours of listening.
+1
I agree about Gustard's tiny font, it's a particular no no regarding the volume.
What's the point having a remote control, if you have to be 1 m away to see the volume.
 
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It can solve ground hum/ground loop noise issues if there are any, and it will make your amp louder (XLR = doubled input voltage). If you don't need noise immunity nor more power, you can continue to use RCA. It won't sound worse.
Im trying to obtain different sound signature, from rca output i can't say im satisfied with sound, i looked to m400 pcb and thought that different output stage provide different sound signature, well i will try it tomorrow.

I just received my M400 DAC just a couple of hours ago. Previous to this I was using the Gustard A18 DAC. I was satisfied with the Gustard sound but a couple things I wasn’t happy about. The display is tiny and difficult to read. Also the unit has the power switch on the back
What about the sound in comparison in a18? The same?
 
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