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SMSL SU-1 Stereo DAC Review

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 7 1.7%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 7 1.7%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 52 12.6%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 346 84.0%

  • Total voters
    412

radix

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So I'm incredibly embarrassed to even ask this as I'm sure the fix is right in front of my face and the problem seems so stupid, but I can't get any sound out of this and I have no idea what the problem is.

I have A HD660S currently and recently was given a SMSL SU-1. I had to buy an RCA-3.5mm adapter in order to connect it but I get no sound. I've borrowed someone's AudioEngine D1 and it works just fine with the 3.5mm jack but when I try to use the adapter with that I again get no sound. Is there some setting in windows you have to enable or is this most likely a bad adapter I have or do the adapters just not work with HD660S? I'm losing my mind with this as I know the answer is something so simple.
The SU-1 does not have a headphone amp. It is only line-level out.
 

ninetylol

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Can anyone tell me if the SU-1 turns on automatically when it gets power?

I want to turn on the DAC with a alexa power outlet, and it would be useless if I had to manually press the button every time.
 
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LtMandella

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It powers up when power is connected- there is no power switch.
And I bought two it sounds so good and I am concerned it will go out of production or SMSL will wise up and increase the price :)
 

Anatols_Dad

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IMG_20231118_204526_edit_609127579728925.jpg

Hm. Mine has a power (slash source) switch, and it DOESN'T turn on automatically... (powered via usb).
 

LtMandella

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View attachment 327231
Hm. Mine has a power (slash source) switch, and it DOESN'T turn on automatically... (powered via usb).
I stand corrected, thank you. I never have used the power button since I first powered up, it always lights up as soon as I plug in power, and these old eyes ain't what they used to be.
 

ekpln

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Hello everyone, do we have any info if the dac has DSD Direct configuration built in? There is no volume control, so I hope that DSD direct configuration set.
 

Toku

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Hello everyone, do we have any info if the dac has DSD Direct configuration built in? There is no volume control, so I hope that DSD direct configuration set.
AKM's 4493S automatically switches to DSD direct mode when in DAC mode without volume control.
The SU-1 is operating in DAC mode, so I think it is operating in DSD direct mode.
 

ekpln

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AKM's 4493S automatically switches to DSD direct mode when in DAC mode without volume control.
The SU-1 is operating in DAC mode, so I think it is operating in DSD direct mode.
Thanks for your comment. I also thought like this, but on the contrary maybe they disable DSD direct mode because of the low price. Because I had a look at the AK4493S datasheet and they mentioned that DSDD mode is enabled on register settings by the developer.

Normally, they mention this feature on the product pages if the DAC has this feature. Anyway, I asked this to their support, hope they will answer.
 

Toku

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Thanks for your comment. I also thought like this, but on the contrary maybe they disable DSD direct mode because of the low price. Because I had a look at the AK4493S datasheet and they mentioned that DSDD mode is enabled on register settings by the developer.

Normally, they mention this feature on the product pages if the DAC has this feature. Anyway, I asked this to their support, hope they will answer.
AKM's DAC chip has a DSD direct mode. DSD Direct is enabled by setting the volume to fixed DAC mode, but SMSL has not commented on this feature at all.
I hope they answer your question.
 

ekpln

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AKM's DAC chip has a DSD direct mode. DSD Direct is enabled by setting the volume to fixed DAC mode, but SMSL has not commented on this feature at all.
I hope they answer your question.
Support team answered to me and unfortunately DSD Direct mode is not enabled. And there is no option or config to perform this by ourselves.
 

DSJR

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I've just received mine - £67 or so on Amazon UK over the weekend, so twenty quid off the usual price. Got to say I'm enchanted by it, as it does seem slightly clearer than the admittedly safe-sounding CD player I compared it with (reverb and 'echo' is slightly less smudged to me) and 'hearing into' the mix is a doddle.

I'm not suggesting at all that it's the best thing since sliced bread and for the main rig, a Schiit would look better (can't get the cheaper Schiit dacs here currently anyway).

As it is for the second rig I'm using it in, it comes on to the previously selected input as soon as it's switched on and it's light enough that I can use 25cm interconnects and allow it to hang down the back of the unit the gear is on as it'll usually be set to take input from the PC SPDIF output, currently via optical, or a USB3 - USB-C cable if I can find a nice one around 3m long that doesn't suffer due to length?
 

Toku

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Support team answered to me and unfortunately DSD Direct mode is not enabled. And there is no option or config to perform this by ourselves.
This is a completely disappointing answer. SMSL does not understand the merits of AK4493S at all.
 

ekpln

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This is a completely disappointing answer. SMSL does not understand the merits of AK4493S at all.
I sent a follow up email and asked if they can prepare seperate firmware for the people who want DSD direct. And their response:

The response from the technical staff of SMSL is: Sorry, this is impossible.

Anyway, still we have a great DAC.
 

Tangband

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I've just received mine - £67 or so on Amazon UK over the weekend, so twenty quid off the usual price. Got to say I'm enchanted by it, as it does seem slightly clearer than the admittedly safe-sounding CD player I compared it with (reverb and 'echo' is slightly less smudged to me) and 'hearing into' the mix is a doddle.

I'm not suggesting at all that it's the best thing since sliced bread and for the main rig, a Schiit would look better (can't get the cheaper Schiit dacs here currently anyway).

As it is for the second rig I'm using it in, it comes on to the previously selected input as soon as it's switched on and it's light enough that I can use 25cm interconnects and allow it to hang down the back of the unit the gear is on as it'll usually be set to take input from the PC SPDIF output, currently via optical, or a USB3 - USB-C cable if I can find a nice one around 3m long that doesn't suffer due to length?
Interesting. :)

Well, does it sound better than a Linn DS or a Ikemi or Rega dac R ? Write what you think.
 

DSJR

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Interesting. :)

Well, does it sound better than a Linn DS or a Ikemi or Rega dac R ? Write what you think.
No idea guv'nor, but it allows me to hear slightly better into the mixes on the rig compared to said rigs CD player analogue outs which in fairness were hardly reference standard, it cost me very little, it came nicely packaged and put together and I can hide it down the back as I don't need fancy-foo displays and so on.

A DAC-R if still available has been shown to be totally out-classed by these sub £200 wonder-dac appliance-commodities now easily available online and apparently Rega have actually admitted this (through clenched teeth no doubt). As for the Ikemi? Oh do leave off as the first ones weren't good and the last ones OK, but two and a bit grand's worth? No idea on the DS and similar era Linn stuff as I was retired from retail by this time and nobody nearby sold Linn then.
 

Toku

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Report of problems with SU-1.
If you are repeatedly playing a DSD album as background music for hours using a USB connection, the USB connection may be cut off and playback may stop without you realizing it. I purchased two SU-1s, and both have the same symptoms. The same problem occurs even if you change your PC to another model. But it does not occur at all with PCM albums. Also, the symptoms do not change for any file from DSD64 to DSD512. I have several other DACs, but this does not occur at all with them, so I think it is a problem specific to the SU-1. The USB driver is the latest V5.58. Well, it's a rare phenomenon, so I won't worry about it. There is nothing wrong with OPT/COAX.
 
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TNT

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Early reports of that track starts being cut off when using toslink and longer pause between previous track (>2 sec) - is this a common problem in this configuration?

//
 
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