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The problem with the choice of DAC

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#1
Hello. I can not decide on the choice of DAC. On sale there are sabaj d5 and smsl m300. But I can not find a single review or measurement for these models. Should I take d5 or can I get something simpler, for example KTB or topping d10 and there is no point in overpaying?
 

amirm

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#2
There is some chance that I may get the sabaj D5 for review. Also working on getting the m300 but it is not certain.

For now, I highly recommend getting a DAC that is measured. Without it, there is no guarantee of good performance.

KTB has excellent performance so it is unlikely that much outperforms it. Topping D10 is really cute and one of my favorites for low cost DAC. :)
 
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#3
Hi @amirm i ordered the SU-8 V2 after long deliberation yesterday to work with the THX AAA 789 in balanced mode... Only to find out that the M300 existed. My order is placed... But they haven't shipped so I can ask them to hold the shipment and replace the SU-8 with the M300 should I change my mind. What's your opinion? Should i prefer the AKM 4497 chip over the dual Ess9038 chip in the SU-8 going by what they have published? Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury to wait for a detailed review to make my decision under the circumstances... And I don't wanna be stuck with a 2nd grade DAC knowing another existed at the same price when I bought it! Crazy question... I know... But Any help based on early published parameters between the SU-8 and the M300 will help in making my decision. Thanks
 

Veri

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#4
Hi @amirm i ordered the SU-8 V2 after long deliberation yesterday to work with the THX AAA 789 in balanced mode... Only to find out that the M300 existed. My order is placed... But they haven't shipped so I can ask them to hold the shipment and replace the SU-8 with the M300 should I change my mind. What's your opinion? Should i prefer the AKM 4497 chip over the dual Ess9038 chip in the SU-8 going by what they have published? Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury to wait for a detailed review to make my decision under the circumstances... And I don't wanna be stuck with a 2nd grade DAC knowing another existed at the same price when I bought it! Crazy question... I know... But Any help based on early published parameters between the SU-8 and the M300 will help in making my decision. Thanks
The best AK4497 implementations such as yulong DA10 use very complicated designs, it is unlikely the M300 will best the SU-8. Be happy with your purchase, it will surely be a fine choice. Try not to worry so much :)
 
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#5
The best AK4497 implementations such as yulong DA10 use very complicated designs, it is unlikely the M300 will best the SU-8. Be happy with your purchase, it will surely be a fine choice. Try not to worry so much :)
Thanks. Let's hope it works out then. Cheers
 
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#6
The best AK4497 implementations such as yulong DA10 use very complicated designs, it is unlikely the M300 will best the SU-8. Be happy with your purchase, it will surely be a fine choice. Try not to worry so much :)
BTW, not an expert here but I use my DACs in USB mode... Have the old laptop running Tidal app. The M300 doesn't have a separate power supply and therefore will get power and signal from the same port... Kinda like my existing Dragonfly Red which means power supply noise could be a problem in the implementation...unless I'm missing something. Thanks
 

Veri

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#7
BTW, not an expert here but I use my DACs in USB mode... Have the old laptop running Tidal app. The M300 doesn't have a separate power supply and therefore will get power and signal from the same port... Kinda like my existing Dragonfly Red which means power supply noise could be a problem in the implementation...unless I'm missing something. Thanks
Power and signal can be isolated perfectly well, but this means attention must be paid to this. Not every device will handle it as well. That's where Amir's tests come in :) He pretty much always tests via plain USB. So if it works well with him, it should work well for us all.

The SU-8 shows no defects in this in any case.
 

andreasmaaan

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#8
And I don't wanna be stuck with a 2nd grade DAC knowing another existed at the same price when I bought it! Crazy question... I know... But Any help based on early published parameters between the SU-8 and the M300 will help in making my decision. Thanks
I certainly wouldn’t stress if I were you. The SU-8 far outperforms any demonstrated human hearing ability, there is no way you’ll hear anything but the signal from that thing.
 

L5730

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#9
I can say that unbalanced outputs from a USB device can be reason for ground loops if using a Desktop computer and mains grounded powered speakers/amplifier(s).
A lot of consumer HiFi amplifiers are now double-insulated and so do not have a mains earth/ground, so it doesn't matter. If using a laptop with 2-pin AC-DC PSU, then it won't have a ground either, so no ground loop.

For what it's worth, in terms of a non-blind listening test comparing the Topping D10 (from Laptop) to a £400 CD player, once the level was matched (+gain [64 bit floating-point > 24 bit w.TPDF dither] on the Topping) they were as good as indistinguishable!
I say a non-blind listening test, but bear in mind we are going to want something that cost some cash to actually outperform something that didn't. Jaw dropping moment! Bought a second D10 straight away.

I'd imagine the Khadas Tone Board sounds just as good/maybe better, but doesn't have a case.

My mind tends to wonder what does buying the next model up, and then the next above that, of the international branded CD player get? Is it all just BS and a slight tweak of gain? After all a small change of about 0.2dB will be felt as body/thickness/richness but not heard as a level/gain difference. For us to perceive a volume/gain difference, the difference has to be around 0.5dB or more usually.

I need to buy an recording interface, but for a new output interface I'd be looking for internal isolation via putting the USB chip on one side and sending a IIS (I2S) signal over an isolated boundary and some thought and planning with regard to reducing jitter produced from this isolation. That and/or balanced outputs.
Ground loops are a pain!

At least, at the time I bought it, the Topping D10 was fulfilled by Amazon in UK, so an easy purchase and warranty is handled without much fuss. Importing adds customs duty and a potential nightmare for warranty claims (shipping back/waiting).

All the best on your choice of purchase.
 
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#10
Again I was faced with the problem of choice. I really want to take topping d70, but I can not understand whether there will be differences in sound, for example, from the khadas tone board? Is it worth the overpayment for d70?
 

Krunok

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#11
Again I was faced with the problem of choice. I really want to take topping d70, but I can not understand whether there will be differences in sound, for example, from the khadas tone board? Is it worth the overpayment for d70?
Beyond any doubts you will not hear ANY differences. DACs like D70, Khadas, SMSL SU-8, D50, D10, etc.. are all completely transparent to our ears as demonstrated by measurements made by @amirm .
 

andreasmaaan

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#12
Again I was faced with the problem of choice. I really want to take topping d70, but I can not understand whether there will be differences in sound, for example, from the khadas tone board? Is it worth the overpayment for d70?
There will be absolutely no difference. Have you listened to @Blumlein 88's recording of a digital file run through a chain of 8 Khadas Tone Boards and 8 ADCs? Listen to that. There is just no chance that passing your audio through one of them could be an audible problem.
 
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#13
Beyond any doubts you will not hear ANY differences. DACs like D70, Khadas, SMSL SU-8, D50, D10, etc.. are all completely transparent to our ears.
So I can buy ktb and close this question for a long time? It makes no sense to overpay for d70? And so it cannot be that the d70 has more detail and deeper bass than ktb?
 

andreasmaaan

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#15
So I can buy ktb and close this question for a long time? It makes no sense to overpay for d70? And so it cannot be that the d70 has more detail and deeper bass than ktb?
Listen to the files in the link in my previous post. Being told is no substitute for hearing it for yourself :)
 

PierreV

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#16
Don't stress, I purchased the Cambridge Audio Dac Magic+ because it had XLR out and compared it to the KTB and the Linn I owned (and were also measured here). Even though I was biased knowing the CADM+ doesn't measure as well as the others, I have been unable to hear differences, no matter how hard I tried. From my point of view and to my ears, DAC is solved and settled and it the only questions worth asking are about features and reliability.
 

Veri

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#17
Don't stress, I purchased the Cambridge Audio Dac Magic+ because it had XLR out and compared it to the KTB and the Linn I owned (and were also measured here). Even though I was biased knowing the CADM+ doesn't measure as well as the others, I have been unable to hear differences, no matter how hard I tried. From my point of view and to my ears, DAC is solved and settled and it the only questions worth asking are about features and reliability.
CADM+ is really quite good in its own right though :) doesn't surprise me at all.
 
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