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SMSL SU-6 Review (Desktop DAC)

PeteL

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The Motu M2/M4 are bus powered with LCD displays and manage to fit within the 500mA USB 2.0 max.

Granted, no bluetooth. I don't know if that would push it over.
Plus it's got Mic preamps, 48V Phantom power and a basic headphone amp. I have to say I'm a bit puzzled by that but yep. Can be done.

Edit: It does say it require drivers for windows tough (not for MacOS), wondering if one more knowledgeable than me know if it could be related. Limited to 192kHz too and no DSD, don't matter to me but to be fair.
 
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F1308

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There are no 1/4" jacks, only RCAs.
Yes, yes, and yes indeed. I was told before...
Thank you.
At times, our brains just see what they would like to be there although it is not.
 

amper42

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This might be a good DAC but I can't imagine ever wanting to place an order with Shenzhenaudio again. They charged my card and did not ship anything. When I wrote to find out when it would ship they told me it was packed and waiting for DHL to pick it up. Nine days later I asked why the product had not shipped and Shenzhenaudio said the product was not in stock. I cancelled the order as the company misled me in each communication. I did a google search and found other Shenzhenaudio customers experiencing shipping delays and similar misleading communications. Buyer beware, it's not like dealing with a quality US company that shows availability and tracking almost instantly and doesn't charge the card until it ships.
 
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Ajax

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Apologies in advance for what many will see as a dumb question but can anyone provide a rational reason (s) why you would buy a DAC that costs in excess of US$10k, such as a Chord Dave or PS Audio direct stream, in lieu of a product such as this, or the Topping D50 or E30, all of which measure superbly and cost below US$250.

For the exercise please ignore there is no balanced output or headphone out, I'm just asking about using the item purely as a DAC, that coverts a digital bit stream into a electrical voltage, ready to feed the RCA inputs of a power amplifier or a pair of active speakers.

My understanding is that as long as the DAC performs its function correctly, without adding audible noise or distortion, and provides the correct filters then no benefit scan be gained by paying the extra $s.

It's a serious question that I've struggled with for a long time to understand - "why do manufactures produce such expensive DACs and why are they being bought?".

I would genuinely appreciate people's thoughts on why such a market exists.
 

Vini darko

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Apologies in advance for what many will see as a dumb question but can anyone provide a rational reason (s) why you would buy a DAC that costs in excess of US$10k, such as a Chord Dave or PS Audio direct stream, in lieu of a product such as this, or the Topping D50 or E30, all of which measure superbly and cost below US$250.

For the exercise please ignore there is no balanced output or headphone out, I'm just asking about using the item purely as a DAC, that coverts a digital bit stream into a electrical voltage, ready to feed the RCA inputs of a power amplifier or a pair of active speakers.

My understanding is that as long as the DAC performs its function correctly, without adding audible noise or distortion, and provides the correct filters then no benefit scan be gained by paying the extra $s.

It's a serious question that I've struggled with for a long time to understand - "why do manufactures produce such expensive DACs and why are they being bought?".

I would genuinely appreciate people's thoughts on why such a market exists.
You could ask the same question about the majority of luxury goods. People just like it and are willing to pay the premium.
 

Lambda

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@Ajax

This thread is not the place for this question.
This question has been asked hundred times in this forum and answered even more often.
It is always this kind of conversation:
1637758185109.jpeg

If you have fun with this go a head there are many treads about this.

Plus it's got Mic preamps, 48V Phantom power and a basic headphone amp. I have to say I'm a bit puzzled by that but yep. Can be done.
This is a very good point.
If a 4ch DAC and ADC with phantom power and preamps and balanced output can do it there is little excuses for a DAC like this to not do it.

Back panel shows one of my favorite features: in-built power supply
I actually like External power supply more.
1. It can lower the price since the Power supply can be shared design or from a third party build in way higher Quantity.
2. It Keeps the Unit smaller
3. It Keeps the noisy PSU away from the analog parts
4. No need to rout a extra AC wire. (DC wire is usually smaller and has better shielding)
5. If only we had a DC standard connector so all the Equipment could be powers from a single Power-supply...

Oh wait we have a universal power connector that can also provide up to 240W of power and also data at the same time :facepalm:
 

F1308

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This might be a good DAC but I can't imagine ever wanting to place an order with Shenzhenaudio again. They charged my card and did not ship anything. When I wrote to find out when it would ship they told me it was packed and waiting for DHL to pick it up. Nine days later I asked why the product had not shipped and Shenzhenaudio said the product was not in stock. I cancelled the order as the company misled me in each communication. I did a google search and found other Shenzhenaudio customers experiencing shipping delays and similar misleading communications. Buyer beware, it's not like dealing with a quality US company that shows availability and tracking almost instantly.

Well, my personal experience is pretty much worse, than yours.

1...I was suscribed, in those times internet simply did not exist, to some ten magazines, about music, cars, computer gear, modelling. I halted all since the postman insisted week after week to damage most of them while trying to encapsulate everything into the postbox.

2...Visiting a zoo and waiting for that picture showing the whole family happily croosing the access bridge ? It was a clear warning on the envelope: Please, do not fold: picture inside.
Don't remember if the postman folded it eight or just four times, but It was rendered useless.

3...An SMS saying at 8 am that the goods would be delivered between 1 pm and 3 pm ?
Lovely, let's arrange everything and cancel this and that so as to be at home from 1245 pm to 3:15 pm, just in case...
Ohhhh... here's is an incoming call at 1115 am....Yes ...yes...yes. You are at the door of my home ? I am half an hour away now, since I was told you would arrive anytime from 1 pm to 3 pm ...????!!!! Ohhh... you say the people sending those SMS are blatantly stupid and they are not arranging your agenda whatsoever... since this is your delivery business and you are the master and commander...I see, I see...you are coming back later... don't know when...may be tomorrow...I see. Or the day after tomorrow... I see...

4...Goods couldn't be delivered due to lack of address, was announced in their web page.
After a week waiting, I was told to drive 20 km to collect the items. Upon arrival, I was about to tell that man the number of the order but I was told it would be useless while invited to say my phone number, my name, my address, the size of the box...Nothing worked. No, no, nothing was there for me. Then, by chance, after some good fifteen minutes, a passing fellow of him brought the goods. And after printing a paper I was given the box and the paper and to my amusement, everything was there: order number, name, phone, address... Reason for not having been delivered to my home ? Oh, look, our printer just writes two lines and your address is on the fourth...

5...Sorry to tell you the honey that was meant to be delivered one hour ago has wrongly been sent to a city 500 km northwest of yours and therefore I think perhaps it might be with you within this week.
Of the two cans, one was damaged and open.

6...Ohhh, how sorry we are. Yours was the last delivery to be made today but my fellow just forgot it and now he is back at the hub. We will try again along the week...sorry.
Try again ? What do you mean ? You forgot !!!!

7... Sorry. Your replacement battery was collected by costums due to an unlawful way of delivery by air mail. Please, please, give us five star rating and don't ask for a refund.
 
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mga2009

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Amir, thanks for this review.

It's great to have this HI performers at such a low price, but... why there are so many models from TOPPING and SMSL! or maybe these are new and other reviews are from older models? IDK, but still is great to have so many alternatives.

OTOH... WHEN will Topping or SMSL enter the multichannel DAC arena! 8 channel of this + HTPC and -ATMOS aside- you have one hell of home theater setup with FIR & IIR filters, room EQ, 3D LUT, etc.
 

Veri

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Amir, thanks for this review.

It's great to have this HI performers at such a low price, but... why there are so many models from TOPPING and SMSL!
Because they have a large volume of (new) products/product iterations using latest chips, and send them in :p
 

PeteL

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This is a very good point.
If a 4ch DAC and ADC with phantom power and preamps and balanced output can do it there is little excuses for a DAC like this to not do it.
Sure thing, I believe they can, but the question is, do they want? I have seen very many noisy USB ports from source device, and it does make it's way to audio. Bus powered is convenient, and I guess a receiver device should be implemented in a way to filter out crap from the Source device USB bus power supply if that's the one we want to use, but the reality is that in real life, it often doesn't. May be safer to implement your own PSU than rely on someone else's PSU that you do not know...
 

Transmaniacon

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Wow, this looks like my next desktop DAC. Excellent sound, internal power supply, a display showing the current rate, and a correct filter at 44 kHz that is flat at 20 kHz and fully attenuated at Nyquist.

Does this in fact show the current rate or just the input you have selected?
 

Ra1zel

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It's weirdly reminiscent of Khadas Tone Board
 

Lambda

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have seen very many noisy USB ports from source device, and it does make it's way to audio. Bus powered is convenient, and I guess a receiver device should be implemented in a way to filter out crap from the Source device USB bus power supply if that's the one we want to use, but the reality is that in real life,
They share the Ground with die USB Port anyways so Common mode Noise over the USB port is unaffected no matter if they use a spearate PSU or not.
So they need to (or better should have) implemented a Common mode filter anyways.
(something sadly not tested btw.)
So real life performance on a custom PC that has never been tested for EMC compliance can be significantly worse.


The separate power supply only helps with differential mode noise. Differential mode noise is no problem too dale with on DC lines.
Especially since they would have use local DCDC converters and Linear regulators anyways.
 

Lupin

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Looked at the picture of the front and thought "Topping D10b competitor from SMSL"
Looked at the picture of the back and noticed it's SE output only.. missed opportunity perhaps.
SE is totally fine as long as you don't run into ground loop issues, so all in all nice product from SMSL. Extra points for not going with micro USB-B input connector.
 

Tatteredmidnight

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Looked at the picture of the front and thought "Topping D10b competitor from SMSL"
Looked at the picture of the back and noticed it's SE output only.. missed opportunity perhaps.
SE is totally fine as long as you don't run into ground loop issues, so all in all nice product from SMSL. Extra points for not going with micro USB-B input connector.
It’s all trade offs. Going TRS balanced to RCA single ended (if the device you are connecting to doesn’t happen to have balanced inputs) means you are going to have to make your own interconnects most likely (or use a 1:1 transformer), just try looking for a real TRS to RCA cable, they are all TS to RCA, and those short 2 poles, so they work fine for unbalanced to balanced, but I’m not sure it would be viable going the other way. The D10 line is also very limited in connectivity, with only usb input. I think that there is enough differentiation here so they are not in direct competition.
 

Ron Texas

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There are so many well engineered DAC's for under $200. The category is mature. Class D amps are almost there although there is some room to improve on the pricing.
 
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