• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

SMSL SU-8s Review (Balanced Stereo DAC)

laudio

Active Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2019
Messages
190
Likes
183
The Topping EX5 is roughly the same price and has a very good headphone amp in the same box.



Cheaper, but not balanced, it’s nice to have options :). The Joxjie offerings seem be in scarcer supply in the US as well, frequently making them difficult to find for sale.

The loxjie was a smoking deal right after it was reviewed here. The smsl looks nice but not at 2x+ the price.
 

PeteL

Major Contributor
Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
1,343
Likes
1,278
I remember reading it a few times, now that I searched it I couldn't find a link between the two but couldn't also find any official filings, also it's not a strange concept, many holdings create competition with sub brands since it has lots of advantages, but with no data can't say they are or aren't.
I think this rumor has been corrected in a thread here, I don't remember which
 

Bel Canto

Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2021
Messages
35
Likes
25
Is there any way of NOT displaying the 99 volume level when using this in fixed DAC mode?
 

rickyhgarcia

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2019
Messages
40
Likes
16
At the level of performance of these units....why should I buy a Topping D90SE ($899) when this $360 unit performs similarly? Just like this box, the Topping is only a DAC. Why the $600 difference?
 

kiyu

Active Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2021
Messages
111
Likes
43
At the level of performance of these units....why should I buy a Topping D90SE ($899) when this $360 unit performs similarly? Just like this box, the Topping is only a DAC. Why the $600 difference?

you got the E50 cheaper and can perform similar to this one.
D90se is top of the chart 9038 8 channel all in use, while 9068 is stereo.
I don't know if would be actually real hearing different, might but I don't know.
in other hands you will see Lumin or other brands that cost 2700-6000 u$s and probably won't even reach those numbers, but they are still there.
 

kiyu

Active Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2021
Messages
111
Likes
43
I noticed the ESS chip is 8 channel, what gives? any benefits over the well specced ES9068AS ?
I guess that would depend of how the companies implement the dac.
D90se is 9038pro , and all the channels are in use 4 right, 4 left but not sure how many do that.
not sure if the dx7 pro is using 4 channels or just 2.. same as Su 9, I guess most of them just use 2 channels and that's it..
 

Xyrium

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 3, 2018
Messages
464
Likes
340
The ESS hump is much more controlled than ln the SU-8.
Indeed, I was going to blindly reply "don't fear the hump" but you beat me to it! ;)

Nice work SMSL, let's do it consistently and Topping will have to watch their back.
 

JWAmerica

Active Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2021
Messages
189
Likes
114
It says lossless at 16-bit at 44.1kHz. If I’m not mistaken most lossless streams are at high resolution format, which is 24-bit at 48kHz. This will create the same conversion issues we know face with AirPlay.
You can have lossless 8 bit audio, at any sampling rate, if it is transmitted without lossy compression. Not all compression is lossy. Bitrate and sampling rate are independent.
 

sarumbear

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 15, 2020
Messages
1,244
Likes
1,045
Location
Southampton, UK
You can have lossless 8 bit audio, at any sampling rate, if it is transmitted without lossy compression. Not all compression is lossy. Bitrate and sampling rate are independent.
You seem to have missed the thread and jumped in halfway. The new BT standard is expected to transmit lossless 16-bit at 44.1kHz. The lossless streams on the market are 24-bit at 48kHz. This means there will be a translation when BT is used, which will add distortion.
 

JWAmerica

Active Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2021
Messages
189
Likes
114
You seem to have missed the thread and jumped in halfway. The new BT standard is expected to transmit lossless 16-bit at 44.1kHz. The lossless streams on the market are 24-bit at 48kHz. This means there will be a translation when BT is used, which will add distortion.
To be honest, I don't care about Bluetooth or streaming services at all. I rip CDs and use FLAC for compression. 16/44.1 is fine.
 

sarumbear

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 15, 2020
Messages
1,244
Likes
1,045
Location
Southampton, UK
To be honest, I don't care about Bluetooth or streaming services at all. I rip CDs and use FLAC for compression. 16/44.1 is fine.
Thanks for being honest. I was mistaken for a while that you had a point to make in the subject.
 

mario_rouge

Member
Joined
May 29, 2021
Messages
71
Likes
37
I owned a SU-8, SU-9 and now Topping D90SE.
I know that it can't be when looking at the measurements, but I believe to hear differences.

The SU-8 sounded much like many other DAC, I liked the design, but even sighted I couldn't really discern it from more expensive DACs.
I purchased SU-9 to see if it makes a difference. Interestingly it did, it was at the same time cleaner and punchier. At least so I think.

I was annoyed about SMSL's handling of @Wolf 's 3rd harmonic issue so replaced it with the D90SE, hoping maybe even for same or better sound.

However, while it is as detailed and clean as the SU-9 it sometimes lacks some punch.

Obviously this is most likely imagined, but could there be glitches like in the SU-9, which might cause a sonic signature?

Would be interesting to hunt for these on the SU-8s
So do you prefer Su9 over the others DACs?
 
Top Bottom