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SMSL SU-8 Version 2 Balanced DAC

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XLR is pro standard, with excellent common mode rejection to prevent noise and ground loops. To use it in a consumer setting is quite honestly, for most people and in most situations, overkill.

I mean you will have the best connection. It's all good. But yeah, balanced is pretty overhyped on forums and reviews. RCA will often do the job just fine.

I mean my DAC is hooked up via XLR cables to the amp and then my Turntable is hooked up via RCA so there is a convenience factor to having both connections without having to use a splitter, but what seems like complete hogwash are these balanced headphone cables, I listened for the last hour back and forth between my stock headphone cables and the XLR balanced headphone cables and heard zero difference actually the XLR cables had less volume do to the design of the amp. Maybe if this little THX was a truly balanced amp I would hear a difference. I think I will keep the XLR cables between the amp and the DAC and just return the XLR headphone cables. I did notice some issues with the volume nob tonight on my Amp unfortunately and it will not increase volume from 3-5.... I can use my DAC as a workaround to control volume but maybe it's worth swapping it out for one that doesn't have this issue unless they all suffer from it. They guys at APOS Audio have been great, so I have no doubt they will take care of me.
 
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For me I use the XLR for the amp and RCA to move vumeters, so I am happy with the 2 outputs working in the same time.
exactly, I think that is the benefit for me too, but then investing into XLR headphone cables thinking there will be an increase in quality was my mistake. I heard zero difference.
 

Veri

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I listened for the last hour back and forth between my stock headphone cables and the XLR balanced headphone cables and heard zero difference actually the XLR cables had less volume do to the design of the amp. Maybe if this little THX was a truly balanced amp I would hear a difference. I think I will keep the XLR cables between the amp and the DAC and just return the XLR headphone cables.
Well yes, the single ended and balanced output on SP200 is the same, so there should not be any difference whatsoever. On a true balanced amp, balanced 4-pin XLR will be much louder at some volume knob level. If I were you I would return the headphone cable.
 
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Well yes, the single ended and balanced output on SP200 is the same, so there should not be any difference whatsoever. On a true balanced amp, balanced 4-pin XLR will be much louder at some volume knob level. If I were you I would return the headphone cable.
Thank you @Veri already emailed them for a return label, and asked about the volume from 3-5 not increasing as well. Appreciate it buddy.
 

renaudrenaud

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exactly, I think that is the benefit for me too, but then investing into XLR headphone cables thinking there will be an increase in quality was my mistake. I heard zero difference.
I think you are in the a kind of error: "invest in cable". There is no return on invest, so it means it is not an invest.
You do not have to spend a lot of money in cables, really.

My "audiophiles" friends are crazy when they see what I use for my little system. I used to order with Amazon because it's cheap, most of the time some comments are valuable and I am sure to be delivered one day later. This is not an invest, just a convenient way to interconnect things.
 

Celty

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Thank you for clarifying, I did notice that balanced XLR cable to my headphones has slightly less volume at the same settings on the amp and DAC, which the specs from the SMSL engineer confirm. Maybe I am just overthinking all of this. I just wish I wouldn't have dumped the money into getting balanced cables for headphones, DAC, amp, etc if they really don't make any difference... The price of all these XLR cables adds up fast. After the price match, the SMSL Su8 was 170 dollars so I know the value is good. I just wonder if I wouldn't have bothered with an XLR balanced DAC how much money I could have saved on the DAC and the cables, seems like a couple of hundred bucks, and if I am understanding what you are saying is correct, that couple hundred dollars registers inaudible quality increases from connecting to the THXSMSL 2000 through RCA channel.
Yea, things do add up quickly. It just depends what you are trying to achieve and what your priorities are, as to the value for you. For me I wanted:
1. A DAC that falls into the upper tier of performance measurables.
2. XLR interconnects to eliminate any chance of running into ground loops.
3. Maximum flexibility for future proofing, I hate buying something and then finding I need to replace it because it cannot do this or that. For example, a full range of input / output options. Right now I use a USB input from my PC (Geshelli DAC lacks this), an RCA connection from my STX Essence (Grace Design Standard DAC Balanced lacks this), and XLR interconnects to the amp (D50S, etc. lack this)
4. A DAC with a remote for volume control (since many amps have a degree of imbalance with the volume control), and to a lesser degree other features, Bluetooth being unimportant to me.
5. A DAC that is reasonably priced.

The SU-8 ticked all the boxes for me.

As far as balanced headphone cables, I did not expect inherent quality gains (some folk claim improvements, other say not), but with an amp like mine, I could tap into significantly more power via XLR, so being able to use the full potential I was paying for when needed.

I have no regrets or buyer's remorse, you got a good deal on your SU-8, I hope you will be happy with yours too!
 
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Yea, things do add up quickly. It just depends what you are trying to achieve and what your priorities are, as to the value for you. For me I wanted:
1. A DAC that falls into the upper tier of performance measurables.
2. XLR interconnects to eliminate any chance of running into ground loops.
3. Maximum flexibility for future proofing, I hate buying something and then finding I need to replace it because it cannot do this or that. For example, a full range of input / output options. Right now I use a USB input from my PC (Geshelli DAC lacks this), an RCA connection from my STX Essence (Grace Design Standard DAC Balanced lacks this), and XLR interconnects to the amp (D50S, etc. lack this)
4. A DAC with a remote for volume control (since many amps have a degree of imbalance with the volume control), and to a lesser degree other features, Bluetooth being unimportant to me.
5. A DAC that is reasonably priced.

The SU-8 ticked all the boxes for me.

As far as balanced headphone cables, I did not expect inherent quality gains (some folk claim improvements, other say not), but with an amp like mine, I could tap into significantly more power via XLR, so being able to use the full potential I was paying for when needed.

I have no regrets or buyer's remorse, you got a good deal on your SU-8, I hope you will be happy with yours too!
I think the SU-8 v2 is great! It’s the amp I am debating on..... what amp are you running @Celty?
 

Celty

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Yeah I would love that amp from what I read but it’s big for my desk, is it truly balanced or also unbalanced like the other thx Amps?
 

Veri

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Yeah I would love that amp from what I read but it’s big for my desk, is it truly balanced or also unbalanced like the other thx Amps?
Drop and Monoprice THX amps have proper double output volume over the balanced XLR output, unlike SP200.
 

Celty

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Yeah I would love that amp from what I read but it’s big for my desk, is it truly balanced or also unbalanced like the other thx Amps?
In any sense that matters, the 887 is a balanced amp.
Drop and Monoprice THX amps have proper double output volume over the balanced XLR output, unlike SP200.
Ha thanks Veri, saved me from typing more.
 

BaaM

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Shit...
That's really annoying and potentially dangerous for my speakers...
Thanks!
 
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renaudrenaud

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I suggest you to take a look at the other thread (linked above), the DAC can potentially reset itself, for example after a power cut.
Not likely to happen, but not reassuring.
Ha... Never occurred to me. Anyway you can buy an UPS for 50$ on Amazon and it is fixed.
 

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