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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

Viper Necklampy

Active Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2019
Messages
265
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39
I don't understand, does this upsample everytime to 768khz even if shows 44.1khz or 48khz?

So filters to have hi-res frequencies for trade offs like slow or off would be to discard, theoretically.
 

Veri

Master Contributor
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
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12,016
Because it Is a 768khz device and i once read that It night upsample every signal at 32/768?
No it just supports up to 768kHz if you push that rate over its driver. Windows doesn't even go higher than 384kHz by fault lol. Really it's mostly just marketing: no one needs 768. 44/48 is plenty for most people's use cases.
 

Amuckart

New Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2023
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There is a way to measure lower noise levels using a noise amplifier. And then subtracting that from the measured results. I just don't know if it is the right thing to do beyond the point we are now.
Does it matter? If we’re so far below the threshold of audibility already is there any point differentiating between various grades of “basically silent”?
 

Saverio

Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2023
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5
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4
hi, your smsl on the 10th, after a couple of hours of access and hot? it's normal?
 

silver12

Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2021
Messages
58
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15
Doing upgrade on my system, good price now 765eur is interesting for my budget. Before i was watching rme adi-2, Arcam ST60...one concerne is heating of DAC. Have someone some problem with that?
 

pundel

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2023
Messages
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21
I ordered an smsl su 10 for $ 658 with a discount, I bought an aune s17pro amplifier, I chose everything according to the recommendation from youtube via mesets, I will send my opinion and photos
 

silver12

Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2021
Messages
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15
owners of su 10 please write your settings I really don't understand
Mine arrived today...I would be happy too...I just add filter: Fast Linear...like a lot of people do...but other doesnt touch...

Upgrade from Audiolab MDAC+, this have more grip on bass, les fatigue, its faster...greater presence, nice upgrade :)
 

silver12

Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2021
Messages
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15
Mybe is this ok...founded at review...

  1. Inputs – USB Type-B, USB Type-C, Bluetooth, Optical, Coaxial, AES/EBU and I2S (HDMI)
  2. Outputs – All Line-Out, Balanced (XLR) or Unbalanced (RCA)
  3. PCM Filter – you can select a desired digital filter, built-in in the DAC chip itself. There are 7 filters to play with, but the sound difference is slight at best. I’m using Fast Linear.
  4. DSD Filter – 47, 50, 60 or 70 kHz Cut Off – for the most natural sound choose the first option, for the most extended sound choose the last.
  5. Sound Color – Standard, Rich 1,2,3, Tube 1,2,3 and Crystal 1,2,3. I’m surprised hearing a substantial difference between them. I like the standard one the most, but if you would like to alter its tonality, make it richer, softer or clearer sounding, then there are plenty of options to choose from.
  6. PRE Mode – Variable or Fixed. If you will be using it as a DAC only device, leave it at Fixed.
  7. FN key function (on its remote control) – All Outputs or Bluetooth, it’s self-explanatory
  8. DPLL Bandwidth – 15 positions, 5 is the default one. A lower number will provide a better jitter (noise) rejection, I left it at its default position
  9. I2S Mode – Normal or Reversed
  10. I2S DSD Channel – PCM Data or PCM LRCK. For point 9 and 10, please check its user manual if you are willing to try a few DDCs or wireless streamers via I2S input
  11. Dimmer – Dims its screen from 5 to 60 seconds, OFF position leaves it powered
  12. Brightness – 6 positions from which the lowest one is almost dimming it completely
  13. Reset – Goes back to factory settings
 
Joined
Aug 30, 2022
Messages
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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/
I had an issue when I tried to use both the RCA and balanced outputs simultaneously. There is a setting in the menu to do this. But what I did was connected a Y connector to the left and right channel of the RCA outs so I could run a cable into the LEF input on my subwoofer. After doing this, I noticed the left speaker, intermittently cutting out, and also hearing some scratching noise. After changing the setting back to balanced outputs only and removing the adapter, it seems to be working OK. Is there a chance I could’ve damaged something?
 

siwmad

Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2023
Messages
6
Likes
0
I recently bought a Su-10 and I'm having a strange problem with MQA files in TIDAL. It doesn't matter if the source is Windows PC, Macbook or Wiim Pro. Su-10 always shows MQA 44.1 frequency. However, when I run an MQA file from my local disk via foobar 2000, Su-10 shows the correct frequency of the MQA song. This means that the decoder and render are physically working. It doesn't work with Tidal. I am aware and I have an idea how to configure the system because su-9 shows the frequency of MQA files in Tidal OK.

Does anyone else currently have a similar problem with SU-10 and rendering MQA files in tidal? I'm starting to wonder if there's something wrong with my Su-10.
 

Guldis

Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2024
Messages
5
Likes
1
I recently bought a Su-10 and I'm having a strange problem with MQA files in TIDAL. It doesn't matter if the source is Windows PC, Macbook or Wiim Pro. Su-10 always shows MQA 44.1 frequency. However, when I run an MQA file from my local disk via foobar 2000, Su-10 shows the correct frequency of the MQA song. This means that the decoder and render are physically working. It doesn't work with Tidal. I am aware and I have an idea how to configure the system because su-9 shows the frequency of MQA files in Tidal OK.

Does anyone else currently have a similar problem with SU-10 and rendering MQA files in tidal? I'm starting to wonder if there's something wrong with my Su-10.
Might not be of much help but i’m running Volumio Rivo. Showing mqa logo and 44.1 khz no matter tune played.
 

BrokenOath

Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2020
Messages
27
Likes
7
I replaced my Topping D90 (first version) with the SMSL SU-10, and the difference is substantial. The Su-10 is a beast of a DAC. I never heard bass notes so accurate, so deep, so sweet. This DAC is a keeper. A few of my settings:
PCM filter: Apodizing, I also like the - Fast Linear
DSD filter: 47KHz
Sound color: Standard
Vol Fixed: I am using it as pure DAC only, since I have my own preamp
DPLL: MIN
 

WasM

Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2022
Messages
9
Likes
9
Is anyone using AES input and the DAC is decoding MQA?
I was using the USB (both USB-B and USB-C) previously from my Innous Zen and it decoded fine.
Now I've switched to add a Mutec MC3+ in between and using AES into the SU-10. Doing so the DAC defaults to PCM and does not pickup the MQA unfold.
In the interim I've activated MQA software decoding on the Innuos and the correct sampling is showing up on the DAC, but the recommendation from Innuos and general consensus is to let the hardware chip do all the MQA work for best outcome.
Any help appreciated.
 

cap1980

Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
23
Likes
6
on the jas-audio website. no SU-10 certification. Why ? What is the problem ?
 
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