• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are many reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

VMV D1se2 Stereo DAC Review

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 13 6.3%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 11 5.3%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 60 29.1%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 122 59.2%

  • Total voters
    206

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
45,168
Likes
246,970
Location
Seattle Area
This is a review and detailed measurements of the SMSL D1se2 stereo balanced DAC. It was sent to me by the company and costs US $720.
SMSL VMV D1Se balanced stereo DAC RCA USB Review.jpg

I like the smooth font used and the highly responsive rotary control. VMV is the high-end brand of SMSL and it shows in inclusion of a nice metal remote:
SMSL VMV D1Se balanced stereo DAC RCA USB remote back panel Review.jpg

I wish SMSL would add trigger in/out and color code the RCA connectors. Otherwise, the unit is easy to use and configure.

VMV D1se2 Measurements
Let's start with our balanced output dashboard with volume set to 0 dB (goes to +2 dB):
SMSL VMV D1Se balanced stereo DAC XLR USB Measurements.png

This is excellent performance and easily lands the D1se in our top 20 best DACs measured as far as SINAD (noise+distortion):
best stereo audio dac review 2023.png

RCA performance as usual is a bit worse but still beyond transparent:
SMSL VMV D1Se balanced stereo DAC RCA USB Measurements.png


Here is the SINAD vs position of volume control:
SMSL VMV D1Se balanced stereo DAC XLR USB THD vs Volume Measurements.png


Noise performance is a bit worse with RCA (typical) and hence the slightly lower SINAD:
SMSL VMV D1Se balanced stereo DAC XLR USB dynamic range Measurements.png


IMD performance is superb:
SMSL VMV D1Se balanced stereo DAC XLR USB IMD Measurements.png


There is a hint of low frequency jitter which is utterly inaudible:
SMSL VMV D1Se balanced stereo DAC XLR USB Jitter Measurements.png


Multitone performance is exceptional:
SMSL VMV D1Se balanced stereo DAC RCA USB Multitone Measurements.png


Linearity is perfect:
SMSL VMV D1Se balanced stereo DAC RCA USB Linearity Measurements.png


We have the usual set of filters:
SMSL VMV D1Se balanced stereo DAC XLR USB Filter Measurements.png

SMSL VMV D1Se balanced stereo DAC XLR USB Frequency Response Measurements.png


Suggest avoiding "off" and going with Fast Linear:
SMSL VMV D1Se balanced stereo DAC XLR USB THD+N vs Frequency Measurements.png


Conclusions
I expect state of the art performance in DACs from SMSL and hence VMV and that is what we get in D1se. Competition is starting to advance feature set with fancy display and such. Hope SMSL follows the same trend and give us something to look at while playing music! :)

I am happy to recommend the VMV D1se2 stereo DAC.
----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 
What's inside, ESS or AKM?
 
Look at that CNC'ed aluminum remote, truly glorious! At this price I would imagine buyers wanting a large and hefty CNC'ed chassis as well, so maybe throw in some extra metal next time.
 
Last edited:
@amirm thanks for the review, I understand that this is a nuisance for you, but it would be nice to test the bluetooth of the dacs, especially regarding Ldac, there is still a black hole in the measurements of these protocols (excluding some of your measurements, but few). I wonder if they are all implemented the same way and what performance they offer. It would be nice to have them
 
with SOTA DAC come out more and more, I hope manufacturer shift their focus on reducing the price of next products. Keep throwing $700 DAC at us doesn't make any sudden increase of wallet thickness :(
you can find dacs with sota performance and balanced outputs even under 200 euros by now. see smsl C200
 
Thanks for the review, @amirm

I honestly don't understand the very existence of this product, tho. Do Topping and S.M.S.L plan for different offerings for every 50€/$ slices ?... Their own market and ranges are just overcrowded.

I understand that this is a nuisance for you, but it would be nice to test the bluetooth of the dacs, especially regarding Ldac, there is still a black hole in the measurements of these protocols (excluding some of your measurements, but few)
AFAIC, I measure every BT codecs available when I can. I made quite a few THD+N measurements with LDAC (both Analog and Digital domain) and it's often on par with what you get from regular digital inputs, for sub-110dB SINAD DACs. And about 112dB+ SINAD in digital measurements (still 1kHz sine, WAV file, 24b/44.1kHz).

I happen to have a CD Player/DAP, planned for review someday, which gives me about the same results with USB-in and LDAC (≈104dB in that case). Haven't seen a "broken" implementation so far. Still have to measure aptX HD, tho.
 
Last edited:
and it's often on par with what you get from regular digital inputs for sub-110dB SINAD DACs. And about 112dB+ SINAD in digital measurements (still 1kHz sine, 24b/44.1kHz).
So basically transparent? This is good news (and I've never recognized ldac from optical or coaxial signal)
 
@amirm thanks for the review, I understand that this is a nuisance for you, but it would be nice to test the bluetooth of the dacs, especially regarding Ldac, there is still a black hole in the measurements of these protocols (excluding some of your measurements, but few). I wonder if they are all implemented the same way and what performance they offer. It would be nice to have them
I think they are all the same: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...c3-review-bluetooth-receiver-bt-codecs.23740/

But sure, I will do a spot check here and there. In general, if you have LDAC, that is the codec to use. All the others sound pretty lousy to me with the worst being AAC. If you don't have LDAC, then SBC is the second best.
 
Adding on, it is fair bit of work testing Bluetooth as my analyzer doesn't have that option. So I have to mess around using my phone. Audio Precision Bluetooth option costs $6,000 or so! I don't know how they justify that cost but I am not going to pay it. :)
 
I think they are all the same: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...c3-review-bluetooth-receiver-bt-codecs.23740/

But sure, I will do a spot check here and there. In general, if you have LDAC, that is the codec to use. All the others sound pretty lousy to me with the worst being AAC. If you don't have LDAC, then SBC is the second best.
To be clear though, you use an Android phone. I believe AAC is more optimised for iOS devices and sounds good to me via bluetooth
 
Adding on, it is fair bit of work testing Bluetooth as my analyzer doesn't have that option. So I have to mess around using my phone. Audio Precision Bluetooth option costs $6,000 or so! I don't know how they justify that cost but I am not going to pay it. :)
Sure, playing some test files with UAPP set as bitperfect, selecting the codec in Android settings, and measures what comes out either analog or digital outputs of DUTs works fine for me. ;)

Not sure the need for spending 6k on this. o_O
 
Great product, technically, but why drop $720 on a DAC? Probably the same reason I prefer to drink $15 bottles of wine instead of those selling for $150— my ears and taste palate (and ego) are no longer that discriminating
 
Great product, technically, but why drop $720 on a DAC? Probably the same reason I prefer to drink $15 bottles of wine instead of those selling for $150— my ears and taste palate (and ego) are no longer that discriminating
Maybe they're testing the waters of the "audiophile" swamp market :cool:
 
Back
Top Bottom