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SMSL M500 DAC Only “Thermal Issue” not “Golden Sample”

SMSL-Mandy

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@SMSL_Liu or @SMSL-Mandy, could you please provide production unit PCB photos (with heatsinks if they are present on the production units) and save @WolfX-700 some trouble? even better, a teardown video from the smsl lab?

given that you've made some pcb photos available, i assume this isn't that significant a request?

i ask because smsl has been very transparent about production and measurements, and it has gone a long way towards reassuring those who are on the fence about purchasing.
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restorer-john

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If you want to get to the bottom of it, dismantle the unit and arm yourself with a hot air rework tool and a can of CO2 freezer spray. The component causing the issue can be identified in a few seconds while the D/A converter and AP are running.
 

Tks

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Man, ESS blunders with their hump issue, and now we start seeing their stuff needs a certain temperature to run at highest performance.

They really are leaving a pretty meh impression with their chips tbh.. It's that whole idea of "if you're letting these sorts of blunders slide through to production units.. what else could possibly be up with your chips?" I guess we see now. SMSL has nothing to do with this, the specs are all valid, the ESS performance is valid. Now if only they would publish nominal operation temperatures, or temperatures past the point of failure, like many other electronic parts makers. Just because the chip runs at it's best performances at those temperatures, doesn't mean those temperatures are actually good for the physical aspects of the chip itself.

I'm still on the side with Sabaj that heatsinks ought exist on any parts producing such concentrated and localized heat for the sake of not having parts stressed from constant and quick thermal shifts. I only say this in the absence of ESS's annoying stance of not providing technical papers for their products.
 

JRG

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If you want to get to the bottom of it, dismantle the unit and arm yourself with a hot air rework tool and a can of CO2 freezer spray. The component causing the issue can be identified in a few seconds while the D/A converter and AP are running.
After the thermal analisis of Amirm it is clear that the component responsible for this issue is the ESS chip because a simple touch with a finger on the chip modifies its temp and changes the SINAD as Amirm said:
"Half-way through the test I touched the ESS DAC chip to see how warm it was. It was not hot at all but my touch was enough to cool it momentarily causing performance to improve. This pointed to very high sensitivity to temperature variation."
So, the problem is in the chip itself, not in other external components.

The key now is to discover what is the optimal operating temperature of the chip, which seems to have a VERY limited range and how much it deviates as the temperature varies.

A simple solution (a fix, actually) could be to place a relatively big heatsink, to make the temperature as stable as possible by having more thermal inertia.

This problem, in the absence of more information, could affect any DAC based on this ESS chip.
 
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JRG

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If you touch something and it’s not “hot” to you, would your finger be warmer or cooler than the thing you’re touching?
Implies that the temp of the chip is near the temp of your finger... may be a little hotter or a little colder.
And in turn, that implies that if the chip changes in performance simply by touching, that chip is extremely sensitive to temperature variations... because that variations must be very small.
If all that is true, the ESS9038 has serious stability issues.
 

Laserjock

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Implies that the temp of the chip is near the temp of your finger... may be a little hotter or a little colder.
And in turn, that implies that if the chip changes in performance simply by touching, that chip is extremely sensitive to temperature variations... because that variations must be very small.
If all that is true, the ESS9038 has serious stability issues.
only if you touch all others and none present this same issue?

I’m not saying there’s not an issue but just wanting to be fair.

Wondering if my Oppo 205 has similar problems?
 
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I'm a little confused with these results. I understood this chip is very temperature sensitive, but it's better keep it cold either warm? Or which would be its best temperature range? The idea of using a heatsink to increase chip's thermal inertia seems quite reasonable.
 

garbulky

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Regardless of the conclusion on this particular case, relying on the companies is already a significant risk that the tests will be biased.
But with a user there's a lot more uncertainity that the product has sustained damage or abuse.
 

mkawa

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i think the primary takeaway from all this experimentation is that the variations don't seem to be SMSL's fault. they're trying to design around a chip that has unpredictable thermal envelopes per sample. if you don't know what your thermal envelope is, it's difficult to even size a heatsink.
 
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Ciao ragazzi,
complimenti per l'analisi ....
Ho letto tutte le tue discussioni sull'M500 e dopo averlo acquistato aspettando che arrivasse, volevo sapere se avevi fatto altri risultati sull'ES 9038 .....
è lui il vero problema? Le differenze nelle misurazioni a caldo influiscono sull'ascolto finale? c'è un modo per risolvere questo?
o dopo averlo portato su Amazon devo restituirlo?
grazie e scusa per l'inglese.
 
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considerando che sono in corso diverse misurazioni, è necessario che sia caldo per funzionare al meglio o no?
 
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la cosa strana in tutta questa situazione è il silenzio assordante di SMSL .....
è possibile che non sia a conoscenza di questo problema e non dica nulla?
Mandy, se ci sei, colpiscilo!
 
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la cosa strana in tutta questa situazione è il silenzio assordante di SMSL .....
è possibile che non sia a conoscenza di questo problema e non dica nulla?
translation for everybody:

"the strange thing about this situation is the absolute silence of smsl......
it is possible that smsl is aware of this problem and does not say anything about it?"

personally, i can hardly imagine that a developer who has audio analyzer does not see this. the sinad degradation occurs very quickly, not after a long time.
still, it is a very good dac.
 
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[QUOTE = "Reddy, post: 291492, membro: 2730"] traduzione per tutti:

"la cosa strana di questa situazione è il silenzio assoluto di smsl ......
è possibile che smsl sia a conoscenza di questo problema e non ne parli? "

personalmente, quasi non riesco a immaginare che uno sviluppatore che abbia un analizzatore audio non lo veda. il degrado sinad si verifica molto rapidamente, non dopo molto tempo.
è comunque un ottimo dac. [/ QUOTE]

Una cosa che non è corretta, tuttavia, devo riferire a questo forum ..... Amazon nella vendita dell'unità M500 poiché le immagini propongono il diagramma di misurazione SINAD ..... la prima misurazione è quella perfetta!
Questo è difficile!
 

maxxevv

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[QUOTE = "Reddy, post: 291492, membro: 2730"] traduzione per tutti:

"la cosa strana di questa situazione è il silenzio assoluto di smsl ......
è possibile che smsl sia a conoscenza di questo problema e non ne parli? "

personalmente, quasi non riesco a immaginare che uno sviluppatore che abbia un analizzatore audio non lo veda. il degrado sinad si verifica molto rapidamente, non dopo molto tempo.
è comunque un ottimo dac. [/ QUOTE]

Una cosa che non è corretta, tuttavia, devo riferire a questo forum ..... Amazon nella vendita dell'unità M500 poiché le immagini propongono il diagramma di misurazione SINAD ..... la prima misurazione è quella perfetta!
Questo è difficile!
Dude, this is an English based forum. Please keep to that instead.
 

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