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SMSL M500 DAC and HP Amp Review

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I grounded the M500 by grounding the raspberry pi attached to it via USB (connected the 5V ground to earth). But if you connect it to a grounded amp it should be theoretically already grounded.
it is connected to a grounded amp (via RCA, also tried adding an optical cable as well)
 
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There is no preamp section- no extra circuits that can be bypassed- switching the D90 to DAC mode isnt taking anything out of the signal chain- just disabling the ability to reduce the volume- I'll confess to not understanding where in the signal path that happens though :rolleyes:

Here is where @JohnYang1997 tells me I am totally wrong- but I think Im just remembering a previous post of his.

EDIT- here - he is talking about e30 but pretty sure applies to d90 too https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/topping-e30-dac-review.12119/post-481519
In both cases (ES9038PRO and AK4493) it happens within the DAC chip in the DSP part of PCM section. The ESS block diagram shows volume control as part of the Oversampling filter module.



The AKM block diagram shows it to be part of of the DATT module, before the Oversampling module, which is here called as De-emphasis & Interpolator.

 

Jimbob54

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In both cases (ES9038PRO and AK4493) it happens within the DAC chip in the DSP part of PCM section. The ESS block diagram shows volume control as part of the Oversampling filter module.



The AKM block diagram shows it to be part of of the DATT module, before the Oversampling module, which is here called as De-emphasis & Interpolator.

Somewhere between the warp coils and the hyperdrive then. Roger that ;-)
 

Jose Hidalgo

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This integrated DAC & amp looked really nice... until I saw its 50mV output. 81dB seems really poor when devices such as the "little" L30 have 94dB which is nearly 16bit of dynamic range. This is really surprising, as the M500 DAC part looks way better. Could it be that the amp part was poorly designed ? (sorry if it was said before, 75 pages is a bit too much)
 

Veri

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This integrated DAC & amp looked really nice... until I saw its 50mV output. 81dB seems really poor when devices such as the "little" L30 have 94dB which is nearly 16bit of dynamic range. This is really surprising, as the M500 DAC part looks way better. Could it be that the amp part was poorly designed ? (sorry if it was said before, 75 pages is a bit too much)
The amp is a freebie. It can go pretty loud for an embedded amp actually, pretty close to DX3 performance. Best results will be had with external amp, but overall it isn't bad at all. As you say with most sensitive headphones, 50mW will be quite a bit better on L30.

Pretty fierce competition though with Sabaj D5 and DX7 Pro... (both have balanced headphone amp)
 

Jose Hidalgo

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Understood. Better consider this as just a DAC, the amp part being a bonus. In that case, for its price it's a great DAC. :D
Budget-wise, Topping stack remains the best bang for the buck I guess.
 

Jimbob54

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Understood. Better consider this as just a DAC, the amp part being a bonus. In that case, for its price it's a great DAC. :D
Budget-wise, Topping stack remains the best bang for the buck I guess.
I've never really used the HP amp in my m500. The odd times I have, it just doesn't sound "right" like my other amps. But I haven't gone to the bother of blind testing
 

Jimbob54

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So you use M500 as a DAC. With what Headphone amps?
Currently a Geshelli Erish but other amps too including THX 789. All work as they should. Nice and clean and powerful.
 
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DPLL Bandwidth setting - anyone tried?

I just read this:
https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/digital-line-level/314935-es9038q2m-board-584.html

"Regarding DPLL, try setting it as low as you can before the dac playback becomes unstable (depends on incoming jitter level).
You may be able to set it lower with USB than with TOSLINK.
People tend to report that lowering the DPLL setting improves sound quality quite a bit.
"

Then changed the DPLL Bandwidth from Default (7) to MIN (1) - so far so good, no issues.
 

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