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SMSL SU-8 Version 2 Balanced DAC

MAK1975

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Sep 30, 2021
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Have you tried using the SU-8's USB port with another source besides the Zen Stream and Roon? Maybe a PC? Does it behave the same? It is well known that the DAC produces this fade transition when changing bettween different sample rate tracks when using USB (I have confirmed it myself) but nothing about clicks and pops. At least I've never experienced that problem

From iFi website:

"The USB ports – both input and output – support the SuperSpeed USB3.0 standard and benefit from iFi’s Active Noise Cancelling technology to remove distortion from the audio signal.
Similarly, the coaxial S/PDIF output incorporates iFi’s iPurifier signal purifying technology."

ANC for USB ports? What is that even mean? Could it be that said implementation is producing the different volume levels between outputs?
So I have done some more testing on the USB port of my SU8 V2 and a small audible pop or click happens only when the bit rate changes when I switch tracks. If I go from a 96K track to a 192k it makes the popping noise before the track starts up. If I switch to another song with the same exact bit rate then no audible pop happens. I have tested the USB on my other DACs (ifi Micro iDSD BL and Schiit Jotenheim AK4490 internal DAC) and neither of those have any aubile pop at start up. I also tested using my Roon player connected directly to my Laptop's USB and through the ifi Zen Stream and still the same audible pop at startup. Also tested both using Tidal and Qobuz desktop apps and the SU8 still makes the audible pop at startup. The drop outs via USB at the beginning of a track don't happen in Tidal or Qobuz apps whether I use my laptop or through the ifi Zen Stream. The dropouts at the beginning of a track change appears to be a Roon issue and happens occasionally on both USB PC and Zen Stream. The dropout of a song doesn't always occur. If I reboot my Roon Server then the drop outs seem to go away for awhile. I'll have to watch this further. I started hearing this pop and so I did a search to see if anyone else was having this issue. I noticed this thread in ASR forum discussing this SU8 V2 popping noise. At the end of the day I can live with it, but it seams to be an issue with this particular DAC. The Coax port works great and I notice in Roon it switches tracks much faster than the USB does.

As far as the volume you make a good point about the different port implementations. The USB ports on all my other dacs also start up quieter than the coax port on my SMSL. So that looks to be due to the hardware implementation. The coax just starts at a higher volume level vs all my USB DACs.
 

JRG123

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happens only when the bit rate changes when I switch tracks
Yeah, that's the issue we all owners of this DAC already know, sadly we'll never get rid of that. It only happens with USB though
If I switch to another song with the same exact bit rate then no audible pop happens.
Fortunately for me I only listen to full albums so it doesn't affects me very much. If you're listening via Roon you probably use playlists containing different sample rate songs. Same happens with Tidal, you can stream redbook and hi-res tracks, when the format changes, the DAC struggles
I also tested using my Roon player connected directly to my Laptop's USB and through the ifi Zen Stream and still the same audible pop at startup.
I didn't understand if the SU-8 was out of the equation here. You mean the Roon application for Windows/Mac? I could also intetpret it as if Roon Player was a physical device
Also tested both using Tidal and Qobuz desktop apps and the SU8 still makes the audible pop at startup
Because of the difference in sample rate
The dropouts at the beginning of a track change appears to be a Roon issue and happens occasionally on both USB PC and Zen Stream. The dropout of a song doesn't always occur. If I reboot my Roon Server then the drop outs seem to go away for awhile
This independently of the variation in sample rates, right? In your Roon app, do you have access to output configuration like buffer size, drivers (say ASIO or WASAPI), cache cleaning, etc


It seems to me that is a combination of many factors. The fisrt and obvious being the DAC that can't handle the switch between different sample rates. Roon compatibility with the SU-8 and that mysterious ANC technology nobody knows what it does (Sounds like something waiting to be debunked by Amirm, if you ask me)

I'm worried though because you keep talking about popping sounds when what I listen is a fade out/fade in transition that's actually very smooth, it's the same one that occurs when you change between filters while playing music, annoying but harmless. Pops in the other hand can be dangerous for your speakers and headphones, they can result damaged
 

Oukkidoukki

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I haven't have any issues so far with su8 v2. Samplerate change is working fine. Playing gobuz and tidal from pc via usb, same with phone is also fine. Spdif and toslink all good.
 

MAK1975

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Yeah, that's the issue we all owners of this DAC already know, sadly we'll never get rid of that. It only happens with USB though

Fortunately for me I only listen to full albums so it doesn't affects me very much. If you're listening via Roon you probably use playlists containing different sample rate songs. Same happens with Tidal, you can stream redbook and hi-res tracks, when the format changes, the DAC struggles

I didn't understand if the SU-8 was out of the equation here. You mean the Roon application for Windows/Mac? I could also intetpret it as if Roon Player was a physical device

Because of the difference in sample rate

This independently of the variation in sample rates, right? In your Roon app, do you have access to output configuration like buffer size, drivers (say ASIO or WASAPI), cache cleaning, etc


It seems to me that is a combination of many factors. The fisrt and obvious being the DAC that can't handle the switch between different sample rates. Roon compatibility with the SU-8 and that mysterious ANC technology nobody knows what it does (Sounds like something waiting to be debunked by Amirm, if you ask me)

I'm worried though because you keep talking about popping sounds when what I listen is a fade out/fade in transition that's actually very smooth, it's the same one that occurs when you change between filters while playing music, annoying but harmless. Pops in the other hand can be dangerous for your speakers and headphones, they can result damaged
What I meant by Roon player was the Roon application running on my Windows 10 PC. I am running the actual Roon Core Server on an Intel NUC PC that I built and installed the ROCK OS on. But, when I use Roon its generally from my Windows 10 PC as the remote control for my music library. Sorry for the confusion. What I meant by popping was the short audible noise when I switch sample rates in the music player application whether it be Roon, Qobuz, or Tidal desktop apps. If I am listening to a full album then its not an issue like you said as each track change is seamless with no audible pop.

Yes, I am definitely using different playlists within Roon that have tracks with a variety of different sample rates which causes the pop between tracks with different sample rates.

With my testing the SU8 with USB was always in the equation. The difference was whether I had the SU8 hooked up direct to my PC's usb port or instead hooked it up to the iFi Zen Stream's USB port as my streamer and then out to the SU8. Also both my PC and Zen Stream are both hardwired via 1GbE. (No WiFi being used in the chain)

Yes, in Roon I have output configuration like buffer size, drivers ( ASIO or WASAPI), cache cleaning, etc.

Let me explain the drop out issue. When I switch tracks with different sample rates I have the short pop. Then when track first starts up its almost like the volume goes low for a quick second an then correctly comes up to the correct level I have it set on with my headphone amp. I'm probably using the term "drop out" incorrectly as it may be the short fade out/fade in you are describing. I don't actually lose any of the music. Nothing like the sound of a scratched CD, as an example, where you lose a complete section of a recording. I only notice this on the SMSL V2's USB port when I am switching to a new album with a different sample rate. Otherwise, like I said before its a seamless transition with no audible noise if the sample rate is the same.

At the end of the day, this short audible pop is a minor annoyance, that I just have to live with when I listen through the SU8 V2's USB port. It's a very soft/faint sound.

Thanks for all of your explanations above. I am trying to be as accurate as possible in describing the small issue/issues I have experienced with this DAC. Other than that it's been a great device that I enjoy very much.
 

JRG123

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Yes, in Roon I have output configuration like buffer size, drivers ( ASIO or WASAPI), cache cleaning, etc.
And I guess you already have the SMSL ASIO driver installed on W10 and the output properly selected in the Roon configuration. Unfortunately, as long as the playback is bit-perfect, the issue won't dissapear. A non very elegant solution that comes to mind right now would be selecting the 'defaul: primary sound driver' output on the player instead of ASIO/WASAPI and set a fixed sample rate and bit depth on Windows audio devices configuration, the highest available or as high as your PCM files can reach (you mentioned 24-192 khz, for example). That way every song will be resampled to said rate but there will be no difference and therefore no interruptions. But... that will not be bit-perfect. Depending on if that's a big issue for you, you could give it a try
 

JRG123

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I haven't have any issues so far with su8 v2. Samplerate change is working fine. Playing gobuz and tidal from pc via usb, same with phone is also fine. Spdif and toslink all good.
Really? There are many posts on this thread pointing out that problem and I've confirmed it on my laptop, are you sure your players are configured for bit-perfect playback on Windows? What about Foobar/MusicBee/Jriver and local audio files?
 

Oukkidoukki

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Really? There are many posts on this thread pointing out that problem and I've confirmed it on my laptop, are you sure your players are configured for bit-perfect playback on Windows? What about Foobar/MusicBee/Jriver and local audio files?
Haven’t been using foobar, musicbee, jriver or local files. Tidal and gobuz, they should be configured so that output is bit-perfect in windows. At least su8 shows 96khz , 192khz and so on. Using usb audio player in phone works fine too. But if everyone has it, I guess I have it too, just haven’t notice it.
 

JRG123

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Haven’t been using foobar, musicbee, jriver or local files. Tidal and gobuz, they should be configured so that output is bit-perfect in windows. At least su8 shows 96khz , 192khz and so on. Using usb audio player in phone works fine too. But if everyone has it, I guess I have it too, just haven’t notice it.
Oh you'd notice if you had it. Maybe is not all units that have this issue
 

denydog

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They don't all have it. My SMSL SU-8 V2, using the USB input, never makes noise, nor makes any volume changes when switching tracks. I have lots of mixed format playlists.

I've had it about a year now.
 

Paul_d

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is this DAC still worth to buy in 2021 ? $180 for new one here, should I stack it with THX AAA 789 ? Or better find smth newer ?
 

Tommy34

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I just recently purchased the LCD-X and am pairing it with an SU-8 DAC and a THX 887 Amp, which I just picked up too. I've been using the APO Peace EQ because the X needs it pretty bad. I'm also listening out of Foobar2000. But I'm sort of stuck in a crappy situation right now. Check out the photo I attached below please.

If I choose the first one circled at the top, I'm able to use the Peace EQ software through Foobar2k on my Windows 10 computer. But the thing is, whatever bit and sample rate I chose in the Windows Sound properties setting in my computer, is what it stays at constantly the whole time no matter if each song differs. So for example, I set it at 24-bit, 192kHz but I listen to a song that is 16-bit, 44.1kHz. The reading on my DAC display will still show 24,192 because that's what I set it at in my computer. So, I'm not sure if it's upsampling or actually playing the 16-bit, 44.1kHz but is just not displaying it on my DAC display. Honestly, the only incentive for that first circled option is that I can use the Peace EQ. But that's about it.

Now, as far as the other three that are circled below. If I choose any of those, it will actually automatically adjust and show the correct bit and sample rate of each song that's played. That's a good thing, because I don't have to manually go in my settings and change it. But here's the thing...the Peace EQ will not work at all with any of those three circled options. That sucks, because I definitely need to EQ these headphones. But I just want the best of both worlds. The correct bit and sample rate showing up on my DAC display screen and being able to EQ.

So, that's pretty much where I'm at right now. Trying to figure out if it's possible. But if anyone knows or can shed some light on this issue, I would really appreciate it. Thanks.
 

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djigibao

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This WASAPI is bypasses Windows and is direct sound to DAC (that is Bitperfect) but if you don't use WASAPI then it go through Windows OS.
This is normal behavior, you can't have booth.
 

MrC

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I just recently purchased the LCD-X and am pairing it with an SU-8 DAC and a THX 887 Amp, which I just picked up too. I've been using the APO Peace EQ because the X needs it pretty bad. I'm also listening out of Foobar2000. But I'm sort of stuck in a crappy situation right now. Check out the photo I attached below please.

If I choose the first one circled at the top, I'm able to use the Peace EQ software through Foobar2k on my Windows 10 computer. But the thing is, whatever bit and sample rate I chose in the Windows Sound properties setting in my computer, is what it stays at constantly the whole time no matter if each song differs. So for example, I set it at 24-bit, 192kHz but I listen to a song that is 16-bit, 44.1kHz. The reading on my DAC display will still show 24,192 because that's what I set it at in my computer. So, I'm not sure if it's upsampling or actually playing the 16-bit, 44.1kHz but is just not displaying it on my DAC display. Honestly, the only incentive for that first circled option is that I can use the Peace EQ. But that's about it.

Now, as far as the other three that are circled below. If I choose any of those, it will actually automatically adjust and show the correct bit and sample rate of each song that's played. That's a good thing, because I don't have to manually go in my settings and change it. But here's the thing...the Peace EQ will not work at all with any of those three circled options. That sucks, because I definitely need to EQ these headphones. But I just want the best of both worlds. The correct bit and sample rate showing up on my DAC display screen and being able to EQ.

So, that's pretty much where I'm at right now. Trying to figure out if it's possible. But if anyone knows or can shed some light on this issue, I would really appreciate it. Thanks.
As @djigibao mentions, you can't use Wasapi and Peace, as Wasapi bypasses everything.

The thing you can do is use a VST PEQ plugin in Foobar which allows you to EQ within Foobar and then the output can be routed directly via Wasapi.
 

Mr:River

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Anyone using Jotunheim 2 + SU8v2 XLR Bal?
Can you report noises etc or is it still playing very well?

I have SU8v2 for more than 1 years and it remains firm and strong here, zero noises, crackles etc.

PC >> USB >> SU8 >> XLR >> Jot 2 >> Ananda v2
 

Oukkidoukki

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No jot 2, but can report su 8 v2 going strong here after 1.5 y. Not a single clitch whole time. Sound is still pretty sublime to my ears.
 

TomSyb

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Hello. I have a problem with my SU8. Namely, when it is turned on, there is the inscription UNLOCK, and then only 44.1. This is my message when I turn on the USB DAC mode. Factory reset doesn't help. Two times after the reset, the word DSD512 appeared and it returned to 44.1. I have no sound at any output if Su works as a USB DAC. If it is connected to the optical input, it is ok. What else can I do? SU is not detected by windows on several computers. Please help.
 

NoFuzz

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Hello. I have a problem with my SU8. Namely, when it is turned on, there is the inscription UNLOCK, and then only 44.1. This is my message when I turn on the USB DAC mode. Factory reset doesn't help. Two times after the reset, the word DSD512 appeared and it returned to 44.1. I have no sound at any output if Su works as a USB DAC. If it is connected to the optical input, it is ok. What else can I do? SU is not detected by windows on several computers. Please help.
Did you try other USB cables?
 

TomSyb

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Did you try other USB cables?
Of course, that's the first thing I did. I wonder if the internal DAC works when the signal comes from the coaxial or optical input? Because if so, at least in this way I will listen to music. However, I connect my Pioneer N30 via the optical cable and I only have 44.1. After coaxial with DP3 there is such a signal as it comes out of DP3. What else can I do? I would like the USB in the SU to work because the sound suited me best then.
 

TomSyb

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Has anyone had a problem with the UNLOCK display? The other inputs are working. Unfortunately, USB is not. The reset does not help - the DAC USB-UNLOCK-44.1 appears for a while and nothing else. How to unlock it?
 

JRG123

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Has anyone had a problem with the UNLOCK display? The other inputs are working. Unfortunately, USB is not. The reset does not help - the DAC USB-UNLOCK-44.1 appears for a while and nothing else. How to unlock it?
Does it show 'unlock' or '44.1'? I don't think it's both at the same time. If it shows the sample rate, that's normal behavior, if it stays on 'unlock' forever, that's bad news

Have you tried also?:
- Re-installing the driver
- If you disconnect the USB only from the computer and keep it on the DAC, does still says 'unlock' or 'no signal'?
- Try feeding the DAC with all digital inputs, then switch between them and see what happens when you get to USB
- On your Windows sound settings, do you have the SU-8 selected as the default playbak device?
 
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