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SMSL SU-10 DAC Review

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 12 3.4%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 14 4.0%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 56 15.8%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 272 76.8%

  • Total voters
    354

yodog

Active Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2019
Messages
188
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52
Anyone having stuttering issues with the toslink input? I have swapped sources and cables but still face the same issue so I have narrowed it down to the SU-10 being the cause.
Maybe tv isn’t in pass through mode?
 

zajogungster

Active Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
106
Likes
37
Anyone having stuttering issues with the toslink input? I have swapped sources and cables but still face the same issue so I have narrowed it down to the SU-10 being the cause.
I have the same problem with DAC SU9 pro! this is probably a manufacturing problem of the given component.
 

staticV3

Master Contributor
Joined
Aug 29, 2019
Messages
7,120
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11,331
Which one should be preferred, a high DPLL setting or bypassing the DPLL with SYNC mode
Depends on which device has the cleanest clock - the DX7Pro+ or the audio source it's plugged into.
 

GPx86

Member
Joined
May 24, 2018
Messages
35
Likes
51
How does the 2 USB input work? Can you select the 2 sources from the remote? It is kind of a dream for me to have a single DAC with 2 USB inputs. I have a source from my music server and from an Nvidia Shield TV.
 

WasM

Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2022
Messages
9
Likes
9
How does the 2 USB input work? Can you select the 2 sources from the remote? It is kind of a dream for me to have a single DAC with 2 USB inputs. I have a source from my music server and from an Nvidia Shield TV.
Yes you can select input via remote. Each usb source is selectable.
 

kitsura

New Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2022
Messages
4
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0
Another firmware has been released. The version is similar to the one released in Nov so not sure what is changed but the filesize is different.
 

DRuszaT

Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2022
Messages
20
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22
This is not similar, but the same version IAP_SU10_1v02_b1. It is incomprehensible what they are doing at SMSL.
 

WasM

Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2022
Messages
9
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9
Previous version before 7 Jan release was 1v02_b0 so the latest an update to version "b1" implies a different version.
Would be good practice for SMSL to provide a changelog within each release file to detail each update.
Anyone tried the update and found any issues or changes?
 

DRuszaT

Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2022
Messages
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22
Nope. The latest firmware is version IAP_SU10_1v03_b0, released on 2 December 2022. Thus, the newly re-released IAP_SU10_1v02_b1 is actually meaningless.
 

kitsura

New Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2022
Messages
4
Likes
0
Previous version before 7 Jan release was 1v02_b0 so the latest an update to version "b1" implies a different version.
Would be good practice for SMSL to provide a changelog within each release file to detail each update.
Anyone tried the update and found any issues or changes?
Running it now but didn't notice anything different so far.
 

Lucaxxaa

Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2019
Messages
19
Likes
3
has anyone done a comparison with the su-9? I currently own the su-9, is there a big difference in audio quality? is this change worth it?
 

DrFG51

Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2022
Messages
11
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15
has anyone done a comparison with the su-9? I currently own the su-9, is there a big difference in audio quality? is this change worth it?
I think we can rejoice now in the fact that those comparisons are almost irrelevant :) Any of the top 50 - maybe even top 100 - are all virtually perfect performers. Make your choice based on budget, aesthetics and feature set and be happy that you know the performance will be amazing.
 

ROQUE

New Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2023
Messages
3
Likes
2
This is a review and detailed measurements of the SMSL SU-10 Balanced DAC with Bluetooth. It was sent to me by the company and costs US $900.
View attachment 238217
Front panel is smooth and slick and sports the new colorful display from SMSL with large volume level which I very much appreciate. Interestingly volume goes up another 2 dB (or so) so you have a bit of headroom. Back panel shows some new features:
View attachment 238218
For the first time we have a choice of USB-B and -c inputs which you can select from the menu. Another new feature is ability to turn on the balanced or RCA outputs independently or together. Nice!

The high cost is partially due to use of not one, but two ESS ES9038Pro DAC chips. The 8 channels in each chip is combined to get the best dynamic range for each channel.

Based on company recommendation, I upgraded the unit to latest firmware.

SMSL SU-10 Measurements
Let's start with our usual balanced output after letting the device warm up (SMSL recommendation):
View attachment 238219
Distortion is extremely low at -140 dB so SINAD is noise dominate as usual. It is hitting the limits of the analyzer in this front but it still manages to squeak by to get #1 place:
View attachment 238220
Of course no one should worry about fraction of dB SINAD as the measurements are highly variable in that regard.

RCA output performance is a bit lower as usual but still excellent:
View attachment 238221

Dynamic range is superb as we would expect:
View attachment 238222

At max volume, balanced dynamic range got close to 132 dB.

IMD distortion and noise is very low although there is more than a hint of "ESS IMD Hump:"
View attachment 238223

Linearity is perfect:
View attachment 238224

Multitone test shows the very low distortion:
View attachment 238225

Jitter performance is uniform and excellent on all three inputs:
View attachment 238226

The usual set of filters are provided:

View attachment 238227

As you can see, there is also an "off" mode available which oddly was the default.

Frequency response suggest Fast Linear as one of the better filters to use:
View attachment 238228

Using that we get excellent broadband THD+N vs frequency:
View attachment 238229

Conclusions
The SU-10 is an excellently engineered DAC. It aims to squeeze the last bit of performance available. Such improvement is limited by how well I can measure it due to analyzer noise itself. We clearly have state of the art performance here. Whether that justifies the higher cost is something that is your business and not mine. :)

Besides performance we have nice new functionality in the form of two independent USB inputs and support for independent audio outputs. One or the other may be critical for some of you.

I am happy to recommend the SMSL SU-10 DAC.

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

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
Good morning, I'm new to the group.
Congratulations to all participants for the great help.
I'm ready to buy a DAC - SMSL SU 10, will it be a good deal?
 

ROQUE

New Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2023
Messages
3
Likes
2
foto1.jpg
 

zajogungster

Active Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
106
Likes
37
I think we can rejoice now in the fact that those comparisons are almost irrelevant :) Any of the top 50 - maybe even top 100 - are all virtually perfect performers. Make your choice based on budget, aesthetics and feature set and be happy that you know the performance will be amazing.
this post is very funny, because it's "nonsense", every DAC has its own character, whether we like it or not.. I own a few of these machines and the face and appearance are irrelevant, or they say nothing about the sound! so such confusing contributions are fine on the forums type (I think)
 

DRuszaT

Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2022
Messages
20
Likes
22
Dear zajongungster!
I don't think you have a clue what ASR is all about. It's not about the tonal characters, that's for sure. ASR members use instruments to measure the performance of their devices, thus eliminating the effects of human subjectivity. Your forum is on head-fi.org, where we are considered ASR idiots.
 
Last edited:

zajogungster

Active Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
106
Likes
37
Good morning, I'm new to the group.
Congratulations to all participants for the great help.
I'm ready to buy a DAC - SMSL SU 10, will it be a good deal?
I have been dealing with sound for 30 years, I am a musician and system builder. SU 10 is a DAC, it finally does what a DAC is supposed to do, i.e. (nothing) neutrality... the rest will depend on the rest of the chain and the quality of the signal! for me, posum far ahead for the money. Get ready for a shock :)
 
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