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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 12.7%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 383 83.6%

  • Total voters
    458

Mr Vinyl

Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2024
Messages
26
Likes
18
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?
Don't fall for the 'latest is the greatest' thing. Mind you, I did get the SU-1 (today actually) and it sounds great compared to certain internal DACs. However, my 10-year-old Sony Bluray can hold its own. However, the SU-1 sounds better than another Bluray I have from the same period. So it really depends on a lot of factors. The best thing to ask yourself is if you feel that your FX Audio is lacking somewhere. The SU-1 has a sparkly signature, so if your system is already too bright - not due to the FX audio - then a warmer DAC might be preferable.
 

Splainder

New Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2024
Messages
4
Likes
1
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.
Mine is the BDP-S490 and sound good, I dont know if I can improve it with the SU-1
 

SuperUnknown1979

New Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2024
Messages
4
Likes
2
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.
I would definitely agree with the give and take aspect for sure.And yes the SMSL does seem kinda fast but I like that aspect and I'm usually use to the warmer aspect of the sony dC which I like but it's nice to have the dynamic feel of the SMSL
 

SuperUnknown1979

New Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2024
Messages
4
Likes
2
Don't fall for the 'latest is the greatest' thing. Mind you, I did get the SU-1 (today actually) and it sounds great compared to certain internal DACs. However, my 10-year-old Sony Bluray can hold its own. However, the SU-1 sounds better than another Bluray I have from the same period. So it really depends on a lot of factors. The best thing to ask yourself is if you feel that your FX Audio is lacking somewhere. The SU-1 has a sparkly signature, so if your system is already too bright - not due to the FX audio - then a warmer DAC might be preferable.
Well my Sony dvd dac does have a warmer feel to it for sure but like how the SMSL has opened things up on the dynamic side of things kinda polished sound but not too digital sounding if ya get what I'm saying
 

Mr Vinyl

Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2024
Messages
26
Likes
18
Well my Sony dvd dac does have a warmer feel to it for sure but like how the SMSL has opened things up on the dynamic side of things kinda polished sound but not too digital sounding if ya get what I'm saying
I hear you loud and clear. It's a question of taste (assuming that all the other aspects are good, like lack of distortion, good imaging, etc). Sometimes one's mood - or even the weather - can make us want something brighter or warmer. Maybe because it's getting warmer now so I'm in need of something brighter. The good thing is, if a ever get back into my 'warm' mood, I can just disconnect the DAC and go back to using my bluray.
 

Mikig

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2024
Messages
453
Likes
518
Location
Italia
I bought one and it arrived. What can I say, as small as it is powerful. Taken to use when I use integrated amplifier that only has unbalanced inputs, I needed a DAC without volume. Used with Roon it works great and reads any format. I was really pleased with the level of performance that this little box can provide. Then considering the price...
 

Loftrocket

Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2024
Messages
16
Likes
5
Is it worth to swap my old SMSL M3 to this SU-1?
Will it be good and noticeable upgrade?
 

Toku

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 4, 2018
Messages
2,449
Likes
2,853
Location
Japan
Is it worth to swap my old SMSL M3 to this SU-1?
Will it be good and noticeable upgrade?
I purchased and am using two SU-1s. Modifications to the SU-1 will be a noticeable upgrade.
SU-1 is very cheap, but don't underestimate it.
 

Mikig

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2024
Messages
453
Likes
518
Location
Italia
Is it worth to swap my old SMSL M3 to this SU-1?
Will it be good and noticeable upgrade?
I don't know your M3 but I can tell you that I'm testing SU-1 in the main system, and as far as I'm concerned it can easily stay there.
 

Splainder

New Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2024
Messages
4
Likes
1
Just got mine few days back and sound really good, maybe a bit too bright, I dont know if the topping E30 II lite is warmer.
Another thing is my unit has static electricity all over the metallic part, even when desconect it from power suply and leave it only with rca.
Anyone notice anything like it?
 

Toku

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 4, 2018
Messages
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2,853
Location
Japan
Just got mine few days back and sound really good, maybe a bit too bright, I dont know if the topping E30 II lite is warmer.
Another thing is my unit has static electricity all over the metallic part, even when desconect it from power suply and leave it only with rca.
Anyone notice anything like it?
I use two SU-1s and have no such static electricity symptoms. I think the problem is with the device to which the RCA cable is connected.
In terms of sound quality, the SU-1 has a wide range and clear sound quality. Depending on the equipment you have been using, the sound quality may vary greatly and may feel strange. It would be best to listen carefully for a longer period of time and evaluate the sound quality later.
 

Nutul

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2023
Messages
348
Likes
203
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the SU-1. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have.
At this bargain of a price I will definitely buy one soon for setting up a sound corner in my workshop. At the moment, at home, I am on an Eversolo Z8: a beauty, and also a beast soundwise... I believe, though, the SU-1 won't disappoint me (and TBH I won't even be able to notice any difference in SQ). The price, though... it's almost a 1/10, interesting.

My questions would be:
1. does it click/pop when transitioning between two local files (or streams) with different sample-rate/bit-depth?
2. does it click/pop when switching inputs?

I will use it on USB 90% of the cases, music videos on a TV through TOSLINK being the occasional exception.

Thank you in advance.

Kind regards, Al.
 

Fahzz

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 27, 2020
Messages
474
Likes
477
Location
Outside Providence
At this bargain of a price I will definitely buy one soon for setting up a sound corner in my workshop. At the moment, at home, I am on an Eversolo Z8: a beauty, and also a beast soundwise... I believe, though, the SU-1 won't disappoint me (and TBH I won't even be able to notice any difference in SQ). The price, though... it's almost a 1/10, interesting.

My questions would be:
1. does it click/pop when transitioning between two local files (or streams) with different sample-rate/bit-depth?
2. does it click/pop when switching inputs?

I will use it on USB 90% of the cases, music videos on a TV through TOSLINK being the occasional exception.

Thank you in advance.

Kind regards, Al.
I've had one of these since they first came on the market, and I've never had pops or clicks of any kind. I've used it with an Allo Digione Player, and now with a mini PC. No problems whatsoever.
 

Nutul

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2023
Messages
348
Likes
203
I've had one of these since they first came on the market, and I've never had pops or clicks of any kind. I've used it with an Allo Digione Player, and now with a mini PC. No problems whatsoever.
That's good to know. Thanks.
 

Toku

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 4, 2018
Messages
2,449
Likes
2,853
Location
Japan
At this bargain of a price I will definitely buy one soon for setting up a sound corner in my workshop. At the moment, at home, I am on an Eversolo Z8: a beauty, and also a beast soundwise... I believe, though, the SU-1 won't disappoint me (and TBH I won't even be able to notice any difference in SQ). The price, though... it's almost a 1/10, interesting.

My questions would be:
1. does it click/pop when transitioning between two local files (or streams) with different sample-rate/bit-depth?
2. does it click/pop when switching inputs?

I will use it on USB 90% of the cases, music videos on a TV through TOSLINK being the occasional exception.

Thank you in advance.

Kind regards, Al.
I checked the operation of SU-1 again to answer your question accurately.
No pop noise will occur even if you randomly switch between PCM44.1~PCM768/16~32bit and DSD64~DSD512 songs while playing them.
However, there are occasional slight switching noises that occur when the song is playing, but it doesn't bother me at all. This is unavoidable in terms of operation.

There is no noise when switching between OPT/COAX/USB inputs. There are no mechanical switching sounds such as relays. It's completely silent. However, when you switch, there will be silence for about 2 seconds.

There is no heat generation from the main unit.

MQA playback using a USB connection works very smoothly. However, as I previously reported on this forum, when playing MQA with OPT/COAX, the first part is cut off by about 1 second when playback starts.
The MQA status display LED works smoothly.
 

Nutul

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2023
Messages
348
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203
No pop noise will occur even if you randomly switch between PCM44.1~PCM768/16~32bit and DSD64~DSD512 songs while playing them.
What I mean is:
1. I have a playlist, containing different tracks with different sample rates / bit depths
2. song 1 is playing (suppose it is 16 / 44.1)
3. once it ends, song 2 begins (suppose this one is 24 / 96)
I do not want any click/pop/pause/silence whatever during the transition from song 1 to song 2. I seem to understand there is none; just want to be sure

There is no noise when switching between OPT/COAX/USB inputs. There are no mechanical switching sounds such as relays. It's completely silent. However, when you switch, there will be silence for about 2 seconds.
Not an issue, I won't be switching inputs at all times; just say the system is on, and I want to watch a movie listening through the DAC via optical; so I switch to optical IN, and I prefer not to hear cracks / pops when I do so. Then, once everything is settled, I will begin playing the movie, so the 2s silence thing won't take place.

MQA playback using a USB connection works very smoothly. However, as I previously reported on this forum, when playing MQA with OPT/COAX, the first part is cut off by about 1 second when playback starts.
The MQA status display LED works smoothly.
Not interested in the MQA stuff; but thanks anyway.

Thanks a lot for taking the time to further investigate, really appreciate.

Cheers, Al.
 

Toku

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 4, 2018
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Location
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To test the DAC, I have prepared a test album in which PCM44.1~PCM768/16~32bit and DSD64~DSD1024 files are randomly arranged in various ways. I use it to test the DAC's playback by playing it continuously for long periods of time and by manually switching it frequently.
Such playback tests are tough for DACs. I report any playback problems I discover through this test to each manufacturer.
 
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