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SMSL SU-1 Stereo DAC Review

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 8 1.8%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 7 1.6%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 56 12.7%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 371 83.9%

  • Total voters
    442

Tangband

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Yeah, probably. Thanks.
IMG_0846.jpeg
This is how non-fake lme49720 IC looks.

The one inside su1 might be a relabelled rc4558 or tl072 , like this 49710 is a relabelled 741.

 
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Apprentice

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It is unclear whether the SU-1 uses DSD Direct as there is no mention in the product description and we have not received a response from SMSL.

DSD512 is the same as DSD22.5MHz.
There are two types of names for DSD: one that expresses the sampling frequency directly, and one that expresses it as a multiplication factor relative to CD's 44.1kHz. DSD512 files are not sold as general music files, but you can find sample sound sources for testing on the internet. I use a file conversion tool to create and use a test sound source myself.
See post #712 by ekpln:
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.
 

Mantra

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hi
but at this price is the best dac or there are alternative under 100% with this quality?
the usb cable is shot ,innit?
thanks
 
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hi
but at this price is the best dac or there are alternative under 100% with this quality?
the usb cable is shot ,innit?
thanks
I spent several hours listening to my new SU-1 DAC in my listening room yesterday. It was a very enjoyable experience. I was A/B switching against my Denafrips Aries 12th-1 and came away very impressed with the budget SU-1. The SU-1 pulled me in and immersed me in a 3-d soundstage as convincingly as the more expensive Denafrips. With some music genres I enjoyed the SU-1 more so surprisingly. So yah, I am Extremely happy with my $80 DAC! It even offers MQA which is a new experience for me via Tidal. Just one more flavor of sound presentation to try out.

I am now waiting for my $99 iFi Zen Air DAC with Burr-Brown chip and MQA support to arrive this evening so I can compare and contrast. I also used the SU-1 on my desktop setup as pictured. I really appreciated how it improved my center image in this setup. The center image was less fleshed out and consistent when using my Motu M2.
 

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Mantra

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I spent several hours listening to my new SU-1 DAC in my listening room yesterday. It was a very enjoyable experience. I was A/B switching against my Denafrips Aries 12th-1 and came away very impressed with the budget SU-1. The SU-1 pulled me in and immersed me in a 3-d soundstage as convincingly as the more expensive Denafrips. With some music genres I enjoyed the SU-1 more so surprisingly. So yah, I am Extremely happy with my $80 DAC! It even offers MQA which is a new experience for me via Tidal. Just one more flavor of sound presentation to try out.

I am now waiting for my $99 iFi Zen Air DAC with Burr-Brown chip to arrive this evening so I can compare and contrast. I also used the SU-1 on my desktop setup as pictured. I really appreciated how it improved my center image in this setup. The center image was less fleshed out and consistent when using my Motu M2.
hi
iFi Zen Air DAC doesn't need a short usb cable ,does it?
i'm thinking about SU-1 DAC , just for the cable it's too short right?
thanks
 
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hi
iFi Zen Air DAC doesn't need a short usb cable ,does it?
i'm thinking about SU-1 DAC , just for the cable it's too short right?
thanks
Not sure what you are asking. The USB cable that comes with the SU-1 is about 41 inches long as pictured.
 

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Mantra

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Not sure what you are asking. The USB cable that comes with the SU-1 is about 41 inches long as pictured.
hi
good it's 1 meter , in some information i have read it's pretty short
good to know
thanks
 

staticV3

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hi
but at this price is the best dac or there are alternative under 100% with this quality?
The E30II Lite is <$100 and has a remote control, sample rate display, switchable oversampling filters, and volume control.

Measured performance is just as good as the SU-1.
 

UA8890

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The E30II Lite is <$100 and has a remote control, sample rate display, switchable oversampling filters, and volume control.

Measured performance is just as good as the SU-1.
I'll add to this:Topping 30ii lite has the same chip as su-1, during promotion days on Aliexpress it costs less than $80, has a very useful function - it automatically turns on when a signal appears and automatically goes to sleep when there is no signal, in any operating scenarios even the slightest pops and clicks are completely absent. I have both of these DACs. Both are excellent DACs.
 
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ttt

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I'll add to this:Topping 30ii lite has the same chip as su-1, during promotion days on Aliexpress it costs less than $80, has a very useful function - it automatically turns on when a signal appears and automatically goes to sleep when there is no signal, in any operating scenarios even the slightest pops and clicks are completely absent. I have both of these DACs. Both are excellent DACs.
There are many differences under the hood. Starts with the unknown RT6863 output opa in Topping vs the LME49720 well known, good sounding - and measured - one in SU1. Doesn't say that SU1 output stage works from +-12V vs the Topping +-5.6V, provides better output dynamic range. The SU1 has the Texas DIX9211 DIR for toslink input (despite it's marking removed) , which provides superior jitter-free, resampled performance vs Topping...
These are all around the DAC chip make sense not just the DAC alone. All of them affects overall measurement and sound performance. From that viewpoint, SU1 is engineered better.
 

Mantra

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The E30II Lite is <$100 and has a remote control, sample rate display, switchable oversampling filters, and volume control.

Measured performance is just as good as the SU-1.
hi
my music is almost aac 256vbr or 320vbr itunes , lame at 320 and some at flac , all at 44.100 and 16bit some albums bought via internet 24bit 44.100
about aac , lame and flac i can't hear any differences
about E30II Lite , i like the power imput and the remote ,it's easy to use a remote ?
by the way what i can't understand , they have both coaxial and optical imput and Not output
I would like to use one of this dac to connect via coaxial or optical cable to my amp , i guess I can't do it ,they are imput and not output
Can i connect these 2 dacs to my amp via coaxial or optical cable?
thanks
 

staticV3

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by the way what i can't understand , they have both coaxial and optical imput and Not output
I would like to use one of this dac to connect via coaxial or optical cable to my amp , i guess I can't do it ,they are imput and not output
Can i connect these 2 dacs to my amp via coaxial or optical cable?
thanks
They both have coaxial and optical input and not output.
You cannot connect an input to an input.

If you're looking for a DAC with both RCA analog out and Coax/Toslink out, then take a look at the Topping D10S or the SMSL PO100AK.
 

Mantra

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They both have coaxial and optical input and not output.
You cannot connect an input to an input.

If you're looking for a DAC with both RCA analog out and Coax/Toslink out, then take a look at the Topping D10S or the SMSL PO100AK.
hi
thanks ,just because i want to remove any kind of cable noise , i think coaxial or optical cable should remove it
thanks again
 

staticV3

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hi
thanks ,just because i want to remove any kind of cable noise , i think coaxial or optical cable should remove it
thanks again
If all you need is a way to connect to your Amp's Toslink input via USB, then take a look at the Hifime UT23.

It's significantly cheaper than the Topping and SMSL and does basically the same thing.
 

staticV3

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I'm talking about the output opamp dynamic range. It means that bigger +- supply voltage obviously can provide wider (THD free) range, at the output stage, despite what messured above. Bigger supply voltage also has some positive effect om slew rate and SNR...
None of these theoretical advantages actually materialize at the SU-1's outputs though.

-The RT6863 is just as good in practice.
-The bigger supply voltage doesn't matter as both DACs output 2.0Vrms at 0dBFS with equally low THD.
-Slew rate is inconsequential as both DACs play >20kHz with no attenuation and anything beyond that is useless for human ears.
-And SNR is actually better on the E30II Lite, despite lower supply voltage.

The only advantage I can see is in Jitter using Toslink/Coax in, but the SU-1's advantage there is highly unlikely to be audible.
 

ttt

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None of these theoretical advantages actually materialize at the SU-1's outputs though.

-The RT6863 is just as good in practice.
-The bigger supply voltage doesn't matter as both DACs output 2.0Vrms at 0dBFS with equally low THD.
-Slew rate is inconsequential as both DACs play >20kHz with no attenuation and anything beyond that is useless for human ears.
-And SNR is actually better on the E30II Lite, despite lower supply voltage.

The only advantage I can see is in Jitter using Toslink/Coax in, but the SU-1's advantage there is highly unlikely to be audible.
Yep, you are right. Anyways I can see multitone measurement differences as well. Probably inaudible.
 

ttt

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This DAC is too cheap no to play with it a bit :) I decided to order from a trusted supplier an official LME49860 (same as 49720 but higher voltage tolerance - it was in stock). It looks different, not just the front, but it has marking at it's back side (49720 has nothing).
Replaced on board. Also, added two Nichicon 470u/16V filter caps the -+12V supply (cannot see higher val filter caps, only few MLCs after the SMSL +-12V smps module).
Result is OK (looks a ugly on the pic, sorry).
I cannot say it improved or decreased the sound. Probably a bit better, the highs, but it's maybe just psychoacoustic improvement :) I only have scope, generator, so cannot measure thd and sinad results after mod :(
20240218_160908.jpg
 
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