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SMSL SU-8 Version 2 Balanced DAC

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So, either I let hope override my first failed SU8 experience and order another one, or I get something else — such as the Cambridge DAC Magic with the XLR outs. The performance specs of the CA are not as stellar as the SU8, but the reliability factor is also in the mix.
Keep in mind your usage too. I was going to pick up a used DAC MagicPlus for about the same price as the SMSL SU-8.
However, I had guys on two different forums tell me that it would not work for my application: Sony DAP to OTG cable to DAC.

Food for thought.

Shane D
 

MWC

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Mike Rife said:
"So, either I let hope override my first failed SU8 experience and order another one, or I get something else — such as the Cambridge DAC Magic with the XLR outs. The performance specs of the CA are not as stellar as the SU8, but the reliability factor is also in the mix."

You could consider the Topping DX7s as it also has xlr, but is twice the price and maybe is more reliable?
 
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Mike Rife said:
"So, either I let hope override my first failed SU8 experience and order another one, or I get something else — such as the Cambridge DAC Magic with the XLR outs. The performance specs of the CA are not as stellar as the SU8, but the reliability factor is also in the mix."

You could consider the Topping DX7s as it also has xlr, but is twice the price and maybe is more reliable?
The DX7s is appealing, but at $2X, I am less excited. But never say never. Thanks.
 
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Set up my second try with the SU-8; this one works! it is XLR connected, and so far, so good; will be running a "break in" session today and possibly tomorrow.
Good to hear! I will be watching closely to see how you make out. Could I ask a favour? Could you recap your whole adventure so far?
1) When did you order it and where are you?
2) When did you receive it?
3) When did you notify them that it was defective?
4) How long did they take to reply to you?
5) When did you receive the replacement piece?
6) Did you have to return the defective unit and if so, did you have to pay?

I know you probably have all these facts throughout the thread, but it would be cool for me and future readers to be able to see the whole adventure in one post. I think I am going to buy it the next time Shenzen puts it on sale. Hopefully next week.:)

Shane D
 
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That's fine, I am happy for you. I know the subject is science here, but feelings are brain chemistry. So in this point of view (chemistry), what is your feeling about the SU8?
 
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Good to hear! I will be watching closely to see how you make out. Could I ask a favour? Could you recap your whole adventure so far?
1) When did you order it and where are you?
2) When did you receive it?
3) When did you notify them that it was defective?
4) How long did they take to reply to you?
5) When did you receive the replacement piece?
6) Did you have to return the defective unit and if so, did you have to pay?

I know you probably have all these facts throughout the thread, but it would be cool for me and future readers to be able to see the whole adventure in one post. I think I am going to buy it the next time Shenzen puts it on sale. Hopefully next week.:)

Shane D
OK, Shane, since you asked:

1. I found ASR while researching lower cost DACs with balanced output. I was running a Roon Nucleus server using USB out to the built-in DAC on my pre/pro. It works, but I have always expected better DAC performance is possible. On a fixed income retirement, I can't justify a $1000++ outlay for a major league device. The SU8 V2, as reviewed here, seemed to fit my needs. I worked through all 45 or so pages of this review and read all I could find about the unit on the web. I ordered from Amazon (1. Two day delivery, 2. Six months no interest on their credit card, 3. Thirty day no questions return policy) on 16 May.

2. It arrived two days later at my home in Colorado.

3. I worked with the device, powering on/off, etc. for 48 hours, attempting to get it to "unlock" using the "C" button on the remote. I could not get it to work; while it would seemingly operate the device, it kept defaulting to the "unlock" screen. And my Roon server failed to "see" the device when connected. I then connected the SU8 to my Mac laptop which also did not "see" the DAC. I arranged for a return on 20 May. Scanned and packed at UPS, it went to Nevada.

4. I contacted the manufacturer twice, setting up an account and asking for help. Although automated email assured me someone would reply within 24 hours, no reply from Shenzhen has yet to arrive. Not a good sign. Made me glad I was dealing with Amazon. Maybe a few $$ more than Shenzhen, but it is a small price for active customer service.

5. I reordered from Amazon as soon as all financial exchanges were in place -- May 24. It arrived Sunday, the 26th. Had holiday company until yesterday, but I managed to power up, unlock and connect it by USB to my Nucleus to insure it was "seen". Got it set up and running this morning.

6. Amazon of course covered the return shipping costs. I was out $00.00 for the defective unit.

First impressions? I played portions of files I know very well this morning. While not discounting the placebo effect of new equipment, I heard a smoothing of the audio output from what I formerly heard. Plus some new details I am anxious to explore. Whether this is from better chips, the XLR output, or wishful listening, I can't be sure. I am running a shuffle playback as I type, expecting it to run at least overnight before I start critical listening.

But so far, I am happy with the results. Thanks for your interest!

MIKE
 
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OK, Shane, since you asked:

1. I found ASR while researching lower cost DACs with balanced output. I was running a Roon Nucleus server using USB out to the built-in DAC on my pre/pro. It works, but I have always expected better DAC performance is possible. On a fixed income retirement, I can't justify a $1000++ outlay for a major league device. The SU8 V2, as reviewed here, seemed to fit my needs. I worked through all 45 or so pages of this review and read all I could find about the unit on the web. I ordered from Amazon (1. Two day delivery, 2. Six months no interest on their credit card, 3. Thirty day no questions return policy) on 16 May.

2. It arrived two days later at my home in Colorado.

3. I worked with the device, powering on/off, etc. for 48 hours, attempting to get it to "unlock" using the "C" button on the remote. I could not get it to work; while it would seemingly operate the device, it kept defaulting to the "unlock" screen. And my Roon server failed to "see" the device when connected. I then connected the SU8 to my Mac laptop which also did not "see" the DAC. I arranged for a return on 20 May. Scanned and packed at UPS, it went to Nevada.

4. I contacted the manufacturer twice, setting up an account and asking for help. Although automated email assured me someone would reply within 24 hours, no reply from Shenzhen has yet to arrive. Not a good sign. Made me glad I was dealing with Amazon. Maybe a few $$ more than Shenzhen, but it is a small price for active customer service.

5. I reordered from Amazon as soon as all financial exchanges were in place -- May 24. It arrived Sunday, the 26th. Had holiday company until yesterday, but I managed to power up, unlock and connect it by USB to my Nucleus to insure it was "seen". Got it set up and running this morning.

6. Amazon of course covered the return shipping costs. I was out $00.00 for the defective unit.

First impressions? I played portions of files I know very well this morning. While not discounting the placebo effect of new equipment, I heard a smoothing of the audio output from what I formerly heard. Plus some new details I am anxious to explore. Whether this is from better chips, the XLR output, or wishful listening, I can't be sure. I am running a shuffle playback as I type, expecting it to run at least overnight before I start critical listening.

But so far, I am happy with the results. Thanks for your interest!

MIKE
Thanks for the thorough reply Mike! So, you still haven't heard from Shenzen??? So, you think it is worth the difference of paying $249.00 (as it never seems to go on sale on Amazon), compared to the sale price of $212.49 from Shenzen?

Now, you have given me more to think about. I would love to hear Mandy chime in on your ordeal. That is why I keep thinking about buying higher end used, well known products with dealers in Canada/US.


Shane D
 
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Thanks for the thorough reply Mike! So, you still haven't heard from Shenzen??? So, you think it is worth the difference of paying $249.00 (as it never seems to go on sale on Amazon), compared to the sale price of $212.49 from Shenzen?

Now, you have given me more to think about. I would love to hear Mandy chime in on your ordeal. That is why I keep thinking about buying higher end used, well known products with dealers in Canada/US.


Shane D
Well for $38 I got quick delivery, easy return, and quality personal service. If you can find a used hi end device from a seller who will stand behind the DAC and support your needs, you might be right.
 
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Well for $38 I got quick delivery, easy return, and quality personal service. If you can find a used hi end device from a seller who will stand behind the DAC and support your needs, you might be right.
Well, nobody is going to stand behind used. My thinking was that you know, generally, the track record of a product and there are places that can repair it, if need be.
Yeah, that $38.00 does sound like good insurance. I just did a quick search on Amazon.ca and it is only carried by gangsters with jacked up prices. But $249.00 on Amazon.com...

Shane D
 
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So, all of the sudden, my SU-8 via USB under windows sounds like it's artificially louder.
When I press the windows "test" button, the sound is all saturated and ugly.
Lowering the volume only "hides" this loudness.
I remember this happening before with an iFi iDSD, but I don't recall how to fix it.
Any ideas?
 
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Working with Amazon, it wasn't an "ordeal", just a DOA device. It happens. It has happened to me more than twice. Amazon made it right. Hard to beat that.
 
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Another symptom:
- when I bitstream DSD64, I hear "white noise" with the music in the background
- if I convert it to DSD512, it sounds normal

I've tried 3 different PCs and 2 OS. It's the same from XLR and RCA outputs.
I factory reset it, but that didn't help.
Is there another thing I can try out?
 

MWC

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@RainyMirror
Are you using an ASIO driver for the SU8? I find ASIO is important, especially for DSD. WASAPI is OK, but I think you might be still using Windows sounds, because you mention, "...windows "test" button, the sound is all saturated and ugly." Can you not turn off all Windows sounds in the BIOS and only use the drivers made for the DAC?
 
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@RainyMirror
Are you using an ASIO driver for the SU8? I find ASIO is important, especially for DSD. WASAPI is OK, but I think you might be still using Windows sounds, because you mention, "...windows "test" button, the sound is all saturated and ugly." Can you not turn off all Windows sounds in the BIOS and only use the drivers made for the DAC?
I tried it on a clean linux, same issues.
I'm going to discard that it's my tube amp later, since I didn't perceive the problems on a regular amp.
 
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It wasn't the amp or the tubes, but that was almost certain because it sounds different with different digital formats.
It turns out the XLR output sounds horrible and the RCA doesn't, trying the same DSD64 source.
It's not the cable or the XLR input on the amp, because I tried with another DAC.

I made recordings for both, I'm playing a DSD64 file via ASIO USB.
XLR sounds awful, with a lot of noise and the music in the background.
RCA sounds "normal".

I'm lost and desperate. I don't qualify for a warranty since I bought it from a vendor.
Factory reset does nothing.

Should I open it up? smell it? Sigh.
 

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amirm

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Be sure whatever is receiving the signal from XLR can handle its 4 volt maximum swing. Hopefully you are not using the XLR output to drive RCA input on another device.
 
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I'm using a Jolida 302CRC, and I've been using it with the SU-8 for 2 months, this started happening suddenly without me changing anything.
You're saying that maybe my amp XLR input is crap and it failed after some time of use? You're scaring me
 

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