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SMSL Sanskrit 10th MK II DAC Review

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the SMSL Sanskrit 10th MK II. It has been upgraded from AKM AK4490 to AK4493 DAC chip. It was kindly sent to me by the company a few weeks ago. I see it on Amazon for US 109 with free but not Prime shipping. I will be calling it SK10 from here on.

The SK10 has the familiar SMSL look with a small LED display:

Sanskrit 10th MK Ⅱ USB DAC Audio Review.jpg

A remote control is provided which makes navigation easy although you still have to deal with "In1" and such for input names as opposed to "USB," etc. It is workable though.

The back panel also follows previous SMSL small DAC products:

Sanskrit 10th MK Ⅱ USB DAC Back Panel Audio Review.jpg
I am not a big fan of the micro-USB connectors but they work. When I tested the Toslink input, my cable got stuck there and took fair amount of force to pull it out. So there is a bit of tolerance issue there.

Really, I am nitpicking here as these products are easy to use and you can adapt to their ins and outs.

DAC Audio Measurements
As usual, we start with our dashboard of a pure 1 kHz digital tone and see what analog output the DAC generates:

Sanskrit 10th MK Ⅱ USB DAC Audio Measurements.png


Wow, SINAD of 115 dB is impressive. Distortion products are well under -120 dB which are provably inaudible. There is some noise which mimics more or less of the last DAC I tested with AK4493. One channel is more susceptible to it though. Playing with grounding did not help. Going with what we have, the ranking is still superb for such a budget product:

Best USB DAC Small Review 2020.png


These "pocket DACs" used to be in the green section but have now comfortably moved up the bracket, narrowing the gap with state of the art DACs at much higher cost.

IMD test shows very good performance with respect to distortion and noise:

Sanskrit 10th MK Ⅱ USB DAC IMD Distortion Audio Measurements.png


Multitone is bit less perfect than I like:

Sanskrit 10th MK Ⅱ USB DAC Multitone Audio Measurements.png


We can see the same rising noise/distortion in THD+N versus frequency:
Sanskrit 10th MK Ⅱ USB DAC THD vs Frequency Audio Measurements.png


Jitter performance with USB is very good:

Sanskrit 10th MK Ⅱ USB DAC Jitter Audio Measurements.png


Switching to either Toslink or Coax input brings fair bit of jitter with it though:

Sanskrit 10th MK Ⅱ USB DAC Jitter Coax SPDIF and Toslink Optical Audio Measurements.png


Linearity is near perfect:
Sanskrit 10th MK Ⅱ USB DAC Linearity Audio Measurements.png


The filters are the usual types:

Sanskrit 10th MK Ⅱ USB DAC Filter Audio Measurements.png


Conclusions
These mini "pocket" DACs are changing the game with their excellent performance and budget prices. There is really no excuse to use sub-par DACs or spend orders of magnitude for boutique DACs with far worse performance.

I am happy to put SMSL Sanskrit 10th MK II DAC on my recommended list.

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

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Doodski

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#3
Quote>> "I am not a big fan of the micro-USB connectors but they work."

The last time I spec'd mini-USB compared to a full size USB-A plug the mini was rated for more insertion and removal cycles. So the mini has some advantage there for longevity.

"Standard USB has a minimum rated lifetime of 1,500 cycles of insertion and removal, the mini-USB receptacle increases this to 5,000 cycles, and the newer Micro-USB and USB-C receptacles are both designed for a minimum rated lifetime of 10,000 cycles of insertion and removal."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB_hardware#Durability
 

JohnYang1997

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#4
How is the multitone so high? It wasn't even that high in WolfX700's measurement.:facepalm:
The noise on one channel is quite low tho.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #5
How is the multitone so high? It wasn't even that high in WolfX700's measurement.:facepalm:
The noise on one channel is quite low tho.
I think by default I am measuring the underperforming channel. Somehow Wolf and SMSL setup is cleaner than mine.
 

Doodski

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#7
@ -160dB is there another test rig available for this low level stuff? Is this the max?
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #9
@ -160dB is there another test rig available for this low level stuff? Is this the max?
Don't need another test rig. I can increase the FFT length and keep reducing the noise floor so we are good. :)
 

Cahudson42

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#10
Maybe I missed it - was this tested with - or without - an external 5v microUSB PS attached?
(Remembering how earlier version suffered greatly unless powered)
 

Doodski

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#12
Don't need another test rig. I can increase the FFT length and keep reducing the noise floor so we are good. :)
So... I've measured down to 5 micro-volt per division. What is your rig capable of? What is -160dB in these terms?
 

JohnYang1997

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#13
So... I've measured down to 5 micro-volt per division. What is your rig capable of? What is -160dB in these terms?
The residue of noise from of 20khz bandwidth is 850nVrms. At individual frequencies, the resolution can be as good as about 50nV or better.
 
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#15
Thank you for posting the SPDIF input jitter measurements. Please attach them to every future review if possible.
 

ichonderoga

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#16
Thx @amirm for this! After reading it and @WolfX-700 review I decided to go ahead and buy one of from audiophonics.fr to replace my trusty Sanskrit Pro-B (AK4490). (on a sidenote) I have also ordered the Meizu HiFi Audio Pro (CS 43131) dongle. These "mini" DACs are an excellent value and can't wait to hear them.
 
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Koeitje

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#18
Thanks for testing Toslink, a lot of setups can't use USB so its interesting to see how Toslink performs. think Coax is less common, so you could drop that test imo.
 
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