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SMSL SU-8 Version 2 Balanced DAC

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Hi all,

First post but I've been browsing for a while and it's good to find a resource like this for objective data.

I'm considering buying an SU-8 but after reading through the two main threads I have a few questions I'd be grateful of any responses to:

1) Has anyone successfully run REW frequency sweeps through an SU-8? (I've read that the Topping D50 has a fault that prevents this and I wanted to check it's not a wider issue.)

2) Does the DAC 'remember' volume settings when switching between inputs, and when fully switched off? I'm considering using the DAC connected direct to a power amp and am wondering about the risk of accidentally sending it a full amplitude signal.

3) Has anyone had any issues with either the volume range being too limited, or the volume steps too course? It would be much easier if it just displayed attenuation in dB...

Thanks .
1) I can't help you with that.
2) yes the dac always remembers the current (global) volume setting when switching inputs, even when turned off and unplugged from the power. No volume surprises.
3) The volume range is in my opinion very well calibrated for remote control operation, no issues to report.
 
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Also bit more power, not saying that THX AAA 789 needs more power, but other amps might..
By the way I'm trying out SH-8, and i'm loving it! The first day I was disappointed, but after leaving it on for 72+ hours to my surprise the thing opened up considerably! To the point I want to keep it (I'm using it single ended and RCA in from SU-8). Sounds really pleasing, I wonder why nobody talks about it..
I also picked up an SH-8 to go with my SU-8 and was pleasantly surprised by it. I am using balanced cables between the two and primarily using my Amiron Home with a balanced cable and it sounds better than my Multibit Bifrost/Asgaard 2 combo, runs much cooler and has no obnoxious ground noise. Having a remote that controls both is a connivence that I am quickly coming to love.
 
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@badyard, @richpjr

I'm also interested in the SH-8 but there's almost no information about the amp anywhere on the internet (odd!). Do you know what's the output impedance on both headphone outputs?

Thanks!
 

amirm

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@badyard, @richpjr

I'm also interested in the SH-8 but there's almost no information about the amp anywhere on the internet (odd!). Do you know what's the output impedance on both headphone outputs?

Thanks!
I have not measured it but looking at the specs, it is no match for Massdrop THX or JDS Labs Atom:

1549913448600.png


Both have much more power. So if you have headphones that are not sensitive, I suggest going with an alternative.

That said, it looks very nice with SU-8 so if someone wants to buy it and send it to me to measure, I am happy to do that.
 
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@badyard, @richpjr

I'm also interested in the SH-8 but there's almost no information about the amp anywhere on the internet (odd!). Do you know what's the output impedance on both headphone outputs?

Thanks!
No idea about the output impedance, it's class A/B fully balanced signal path, discrete output stage. Plenty powerful compared to other smsl amps, also the components inside are very high quality.

1549913925153.png
 
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Having a quick play with my miniDSP 2x4 HD last night it looks like I'd typically need around 24 dB attenuation to the DAC output going into my power amp (for a 2V unbalanced input). Obviously not ideal but also fairly typical for most HiFi power amps I suspect. Should the SU-8 still offer adjustment around this range?

An alternative would be to use fixed passive attenuators like Rothwell sell, although I'm not sure if there are any potential downsides to their use? They're basically just potential dividers formed by two resistors.
 
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I know this is a SU-8 topic but regarding the SH-8, tho specs on the paper are not even closed to THX 789 and Atom, amir mentioned, it has just enough power to run my DT880 600ohm headphones. On the max volume, it's doing a very good job, doesn't seem to lack power, loudest I could ever listen to it, even on quiet songs.
 
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I know this is a SU-8 topic but regarding the SH-8, tho specs on the paper are not even closed to THX 789 and Atom, amir mentioned, it has just enough power to run my DT880 600ohm headphones. On the max volume, it's the loudest I could ever listen to it, even on quiet songs.
It does not have nearly the power of those two, but plenty for my Beyerdynamic Home and HD600s. I was going to get a THX 789 but missed the drop and who knows when it will be available and the Atom does not have balanced connectors so I took a chance on the SH-8. Works for my uses.
 
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Regardless of power, I think SH-8 sound is very pleasing, transients seems to have a nice relaxed "slowness" yet still impressively resolving.

By no means a clinical and sterile sounding amp, very pleasing to my tastes as I like a nice relaxed sound, not fatiguing, not making my eardrums fry with crazy fast trasients. SH-8 Nice and smooth indeed!
 
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After a few hours of testing, I have noticed that the loudest (most frequent) popping/sound cuts accores while playing YouTube videos and lower quality music files from harddisk (44100hz/16bit). When playing higher quality music fiiles (96000hz/24bit) from harddisk there is almost no popping and zero sound cuts, which is very werid. Same results are present while using real-time kernel on Debian. While USB PC output/DAC input are active, all sources are perfectly clean, no issues at all. I know that it sounds like i'm crazy, but I checked with various songs. :) There are some reported kernel bugs while using HDA Intel PCH (what I use), but all of them are very old and solved.


I'm using MPD for movies, but sure I will check out MPDroid, it sounds like a nice and useful feature. Also tried to play some music with MPD, but same result as with DeadBeeF.
After compiling the latest kernel to get very last ALSA and some other tricks from: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Advanced_Linux_Sound_Architecture/Troubleshooting and a few other sites. I have noticed that a few more users have the problem like mine with optical ouput on z97 Extream 6 MBOs. I pulled the trigger on external sound card Asus Xonar DGX, just to get another optical output and driver, so I can test against ALC 1150, and see if I will get popping again. Anyway, I can ship it back, so yeah, will keep you posted.
 
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Just ordered the SU-8 from ShengenAudio. I know there is a driver ver 4.47 that needs to be installed. Is this required for the latest version/update of Windows 10? I've read some comments that you don't need to install anything additional. True? Also, my understanding is if you do install the driver, it comes with a WASAPI, ASIO and a Direct Sound selection. Which is the best to have if I am only playing FLAC up to 24/192?
 
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amirm

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Just ordered the SU-8 from ShengenAudio. I know there is a driver ver 4.47 that needs to be installed. Is this required for the latest version/update of Windows 10? I've read some comments that you don't need to install anything additional. True? Also, my understanding is if you do install the driver, it comes with a WASAPI, ASIO and a Direct Sound selection. Which is the best to have if I am only playing FLAC up to 24/192?
I don't use drivers with any of these DACs. WASAPI is then automatically generated as an interface for it. ASIO is not included as that does require a driver. I see no need to use ASIO. So simply plug the DAC in, configure your layer to use WASAPI and you are golden.
 
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I don't use drivers with any of these DACs. WASAPI is then automatically generated as an interface for it. ASIO is not included as that does require a driver. I see no need to use ASIO. So simply plug the DAC in, configure your layer to use WASAPI and you are golden.
Hey amirm. So, basically, the driver that SMSL provides is the ASIO one? If you go WASAPI with the drivers that Win10 installs, does it give you the option to have exclusive or shared WASAPI? From my research, it seems that exclusive WASAPI gives you more accurate sound but it is locked to the application which can causes issues if you want to switch let's from Foobar to Youtube (Youtube will not have sound). Shared WASAPI seems to be using Win10 sound mixed but if this a bad thing? I am reading that this used to be an issue with Win Vista/7, not newer OSes like Win10.
 

amirm

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Hey amirm. So, basically, the driver that SMSL provides is the ASIO one?
No, they give you everything. It is just that this is no longer needed post Windows 10 Creators edition. If the device is USB Audio Class 2 (UAC2) compliant, as SU-8 is, no driver is needed. By using the Windows driver you are relying on tested and common driver.

If you go WASAPI with the drivers that Win10 installs, does it give you the option to have exclusive or shared WASAPI?
Of course. This is an option in your player usually. Here it is in my Roon player:

1550035054130.png


Exclusive mode bypasses the operating system audio processing giving the bits exactly to the DAC as they came from your player.
 

amirm

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Shared WASAPI seems to be using Win10 sound mixed but if this a bad thing? I am reading that this used to be an issue with Win Vista/7, not newer OSes like Win10.
I answered that above. The issue with using shared mode/kernel stack is that everything gets resampled to one sample rate. This is not optimal for playing different sample rates. There is also other processing that can impact the measurements. Audibly the impact is small to non-existent.
 
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Hi, sorry for the newbie question.

I am in the market for a DAC that has to output in order to connect both my Little Dot MKII and a simple DOUK Audio speaker amplifier for my passive bookshelf speakers. Both amps have unbalanced rca inputs.

Is it possible to connect the balanced output of the SU-8 to the unbalanced input of the speaker amplifier?
 
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Comparing the unbalanced and balanced results at the start of this thread, although there are lower specific mains frequency related peaks, the overall noise level appears to be higher for the balanced result. Why might this be?
 
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Hi, need some help. recently got the su-8 and noticed a weird behaviour.

If i'm on balanced cable connected to my amp and i switched the input from usb to optical while music is playing on the current input, there will be an extremely loud boom and subsequently no sound is coming out.

This does not happen if i connect the su-8 via unbalance cables. Has anyone else experienced this?
 
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the overall noise level appears to be higher for the unbalanced result. Why might this be?
That's an inherent benefit of a balanced end to end signal path, less noise. Although it is to mention that the noise levels even with the unbalanced connection are so low, to the point it hardly makes a noticeable difference anyway.
 

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