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SMSL SU-1 Stereo DAC Review

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 8 1.7%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 9 2.0%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 58 12.6%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 385 83.7%

  • Total voters
    460

hkrooner

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Mar 4, 2024
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Thank you so much! I think the problem was not so much the difference between 2.5 and 4.5w, but probably the fact that I was way above this!

I found that 2.5 did not change volume so much in relation to 5w, at least not to my untrained ears, testing with both my headphones and the Zeppelin, but sound quality was a tad impaired at 2.5. Maybe my power source -- an old 5V / 0.5a adapter.

In any event, it's clear now that the power source matters a lot for the SU-1, so thanks for drawing my attention to that.

At proper 5w, things improved a lot. Maybe there was a combination of factors as the sound entered the Zeppelin at high volume and already somewhat clipped by the SU-1. The potentiometer was probably helping a bit (and I still need it), but it's much better now.

I still wish there was a way to half the SU-1's output, though.
 

staticV3

Master Contributor
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I still wish there was a way to half the SU-1's output, though.
Since you're feeding the SU-1 with your WiiM Mini, you should be able to effectively halve the SU-1's output by setting a volume limit in the WiiM Home App.

Go to Device->WiiM Mini->Cogwheel->Audio Settings and there, disable Fixed volume output and set the Volume Limit to something <100.

I don't know if 50% translates to -6dB (=1Vrms) or not, but that can easily be assessed with a multimeter.
 

hkrooner

Member
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Mar 4, 2024
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Thanks much, @staticV3 . I think the Zeppelin's input is significantly more tolerant than 1Vrms only. The issue with halving the WiiM Mini, though, is that I lose MQA (I know... :facepalm:).

In any event, I have managed to hook the projector directly to the SU-1 with a Toslink/Coaxial converter, and now there is no volume loss as there is through the WiiM Mini's aux input. Much easier to juggle everything together -- and sounding very fine too!
 
Last edited:

Tonton marc

Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2024
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Location
France
Hello, I finally tested Sony Music Center for PC and I can now play DSD files without going through DOP mode. The music bee player interface was nicer but they didn't really manage to solve their problems with reading DSD files. Sony music center is free and now I can read DSD 512 with the SMSL SU-1.
 

Bleib

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May 13, 2021
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Mantra

Active Member
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Oct 1, 2023
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Location
Europe
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
but the way the quality is like SMSL SU-1 Stereo DAC Review isn't it?
does the power supply of Topping D10S and the SMSL PO100AK introduce some noise?
thanks
 
Last edited:

SuperUnknown1979

New Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2024
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Few questions about the S.M.S.L. dac

How's it sound with heavier music,like Metallica,Judas Priest etc. What can I expect with the sound signature I plan on using it as an external dac using a Sony dvd player as the transport.

And does this dac need like a warm up period for the dac to run too its best potential if that makes sense?

And does a regular cellphone charger adapter work best to power it?some say it doesn't bring out its true potential using just a regular cellphone usb adapter
 

staticV3

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How's it sound with heavier music,like Metallica,Judas Priest etc. What can I expect with the sound signature
You can expect to hear Metallica, Judas Priest etc. in their original, unaltered sound signature. Nothing added and nothing taken away.

And does this dac need like a warm up period for the dac to run too its best potential if that makes sense?
No.

And does a regular cellphone charger adapter work best to power it?
Yes.

some say it doesn't bring out its true potential using just a regular cellphone usb adapter
Nonsense
 

Bleib

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You can expect to hear Metallica, Judas Priest etc. in their original, unaltered sound signature. Nothing added and nothing taken away.


No.


Yes.


Nonsense
Exactly, the main limitation will be recordings (mixing / mastering) but obviously also loudspeakers and room
SU1 is much better than human hearing
 

hkrooner

Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2024
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And does a regular cellphone charger adapter work best to power it?some say it doesn't bring out its true potential using just a regular cellphone usb adapter
I would use a dedicated USB 5V/1A charger or at least make sure I was using a USB2.0 (USB-A > USB-C) cable. Had problems with both my DL200 and my SU-1 when using something different from this.
 

Karl17

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Mar 19, 2024
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Maybe the question is stupid, but still. I have an FX Audio DAC-X6 DAC. I saw a review of it on this forum. The measurement characteristics are poor. But I’ve had it for 6-7 years now and the sound suits me. Will the SMSL SU-1 be better than it, how much better and will I hear the difference with my old ears?
 

Toku

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Maybe the question is stupid, but still. I have an FX Audio DAC-X6 DAC. I saw a review of it on this forum. The measurement characteristics are poor. But I’ve had it for 6-7 years now and the sound suits me. Will the SMSL SU-1 be better than it, how much better and will I hear the difference with my old ears?
I don't think anyone can answer such questions except you. The only thing I can say is that DAC technology is progressing very quickly and the sound quality has improved greatly. The SU-1 is very inexpensive, so please buy it and compare it with the DAC-6 for yourself. I think you probably won't regret it.
 

SMc

Active Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2018
Messages
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227
I just installed my new SU-1, replacing an ancient NAD D1050 that at last developed a fault after a decade of use. My initial impression is it works, seems cleaner than the NAD, and has no obvious faults. I subjectively felt less need to adjust eq for different headphones. I chose it over other inexpensive USB DACs for its ability to deal with Tidal's magic Master tracks and the good measurements seen here on ASR. For $75, it adds no digital worries to the desktop system.

I'll miss the NAD's five digital inputs, serviceable headphone amp and choice of balanced or unbalanced output. I wish NAD had designed it as a digital preamp but a JDS Labs Ol Switcher was an acceptable solution for volume control. Yes, the interface was unwieldy and the rubber case deteriorated after a few years but had it not broken down I wouldn't have replaced it.
 

Toku

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how to remove pop-up noise\clicks on SU-1 when using coax input?
I am continuously testing the operation of this product using two SU-1s, and I have not had any such symptoms with either OPT or COAX. I tested the COAX input again based on your report, and there were no problems.
There is no information about what kind of equipment is connected to the COAX input of your SU-1 and what kind of player it is used with. So I can't give you any advice. However, from my experience, I think the cause is the device connected to the COAX input. Please let us know more about the usage pattern and specific symptoms.
 

tlr125

Member
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Jan 4, 2022
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I am continuously testing the operation of this product using two SU-1s, and I have not had any such symptoms with either OPT or COAX. I tested the COAX input again based on your report, and there were no problems.
There is no information about what kind of equipment is connected to the COAX input of your SU-1 and what kind of player it is used with. So I can't give you any advice. However, from my experience, I think the cause is the device connected to the COAX input. Please let us know more about the usage pattern and specific symptoms.
i have same pop-up noise while using USB (start\stop playing any track), but i can fix it with driver option "Always on", also music won't start to play immediately without that option (short pause before playing a track), and same behavior with coax input - but in that case driver panel is not available so i can't fix the issue
i need to use Asus Xonar STX coax output to SU-1 coax input, at the same time i hear no clicks while using RCA output of my Asus Xonar,
i think that's issue of my SU-1
 

kibs

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Aug 4, 2023
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ICYMI there's a sale on aliexpress currently, with the SU-1 going for $68.
However my current opinion is that it's better to get the SU-6S(currently at $170)so one doesn't have to worry about how to power it. The remote, display and balanced output are welcome bonuses. Oh, and Bluetooth.
 

Mr Vinyl

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Feb 1, 2024
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Few questions about the S.M.S.L. dac

How's it sound with heavier music,like Metallica,Judas Priest etc. What can I expect with the sound signature I plan on using it as an external dac using a Sony dvd player as the transport.

And does this dac need like a warm up period for the dac to run too its best potential if that makes sense?

And does a regular cellphone charger adapter work best to power it?some say it doesn't bring out its true potential using just a regular cellphone usb adapter
One of my setups is similar to yours. I just used it out of a Sony Bluray that has a very good internal DAC. I just got it today and just listened to Riverside's last album. The SU-1 is sparkly and fast. My Sony BDP-S360 is slightly warmer with a larger soundstage, and slightly deeper. It's a give and take. I also have the Sony 510H dvd, but I haven't compared that one yet. If that's the one you have, the SU-1 should sound better as my S360 already sounds better than the 510H.
 
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