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I’m sorry to say, there is not a single SMSL product that should be even close to $800. Way over priced for what they are not. It is a Markiting scam for the Unknowledgeable American market because of the ignorance on audio equipment . When you take them apart and analyze their products the component manufactures they use are of the lowest quality and the to Pieology typology they use is just copied for lower end clones that already existed on the bargain market that are nothing special . For us that build our own stereo equipment from scratch we just cry and shake your head at the people who fall for the scam to buy these reboxed mass market products it’s a disgrace. It’s OK product for about 1/4 of the price maybe 1/3 at the very most but that would be it .
Do you have a recommendation for a DAC (or DAC kit) which is better?
It measures well, uses dual high end ES9038 chips, and when compared to the multi it and r2r shit that other companies put out, this is a bargain. The interior parts are also high quality.
May I ask why you say no smsl product should cost this much? Why can't a company who started making affordable equipment pivot into high end? Do you know how much the parts inside actually cost or just making a claim without facts? I have not looked inside this unit so I don't know what kind of parts they used, but I've seen a video review of this DAC by someone whose opinions I trust and he said parts cost around $300.
My link is listed below; let's see your data to back up the claim that the parts inside are cheap junk.
Go to DIYaudio or Audiokarma or any one of 100 audio online forums where people’s passion is audio gear we are the members to review products and post their findings . If you are a do it yourself kind of person they have several recommendations for buying used older equipment or new cheap Chinese made DACs they give descriptions on what components to replace were upgrade or ad for modifications to turn them for me OK decent component into A higher end unit that is much more acceptable for the price. I myself personally own about three dozen different SMSL amps and DACs . I purchased a shipment of customer returns some defects simple failed components bad solder joints poor quality turn pots easy stuff to fix for somebody just a little do it yourself knowledgeable electronica circuit board repair . As for easy to build in expensive amplifiers designed by Nelson pass and his First Watt Products . He released the schematics of his high end multi thousand dollar amplifiers to the general public located on diyaudio.com form. They sell you just a blank raw PCBs and you populate the components yourself that you ordered or you could you point to point soldering with no PCB if you’re skilled in for a few dollars you have $1000 to multi thousand dollar amplifier . Once you build your first amplifier you get you addicted and you keep on building .
Sorry to say I’ve taken SMSL’s apart to repair them there’s not a single high-quality part in there speaking from experience on disassembly and reassembly of the SMLS product line . It’s amazing what people will believe when they read well written articles . Yes I agree they are a OK product into nowadays with today’s electronics it’s easy to get clean distortion figures this is a no brainer anymore . Here’s food for thought a simple homemade class A (SE) single ended 20 W amplifier simply blows away and destroys 100 W class D amplifier that’s on the mass market produce today. The class D amplifier will measure a THD of 0.001 % or better and a class A linear single ended 20 W amplifier will have a THD of 1.0% you will never hear that 1% and it’ll be in the second harmonic distortion and you’ll have the sweetest smooth is sounding music you’ll never wanna listen to class D amplifiers again . This is what the lowlife snake in the grass marketing and sales personnel from the larger companies do not want you to know .
Law of Diminishing Returns applies here. But in the end its more about the brag if the wallet supports it.
Have you taken apart the D1?
Just cancelled my massdrop order. I wanted to upgrade from a schiit bifrost multibit. I hope indid the rkght thing...everyone is making this dac to seem like it's out of this world, but you seem to actuslly have hand on hardware experience with it.
I jist wanted a new setup because my hd800 sound veiled with the bifrost and asgard 2
At the very best at the highest price of these low quality components in here on the mass-market when they’re having these reproduced by the tens of thousands I would have to be bragging that there’s at least eight dollars and components here . These were broken or defective SMS cell components I buy by the boxful I have to buy the whole gross as a lot no matter what I get everything you see in front of me in the picture was only $70 including shipping I repair them give them away as gifts .
Almost any DAC is better than no DAC I would recommend anybody to start with something cheap and if it pleases you stay with it if you want more then splurge . if you have the HD 800 they will expose any bad components or bad recording‘s with the HD 800s you will find flaws and everything that is not quality they are very very resolving headphone I love them for testing the quality of components .
And these pictures prove what? You have a space with some equipment.
You claim the parts inside the vmv d1 are junk. Showing the interior of another product doesn't prove anything. This leads me to believe your claim is unsubstantiated and should not be taken seriously.
Sorry I did not have the D 1 on my desk at this very moment I have a multitude backlog of some of their other products I’m repairing their smaller amplifiers and smaller DACs . And I never said they were junk don’t misquote they’re just cheap or lower quality components for mass production consumers there’s nothing wrong with that that’s how companies make larger profits . From the beginning assembly line of the parts selection and assembly there has to be 1000+ percent of markup left over for the food chain of all the different middleman distributors before the product gets to the end consumer . If they were to mass produce the D1 with all high-end quality components are in price would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $3500 after mark up and middleman . D1 is not junk just don’t get it sucker in into believing all the beautiful words they lay down on a piece of paper . I was just showing you a photo of the products on my desk today from SLS a.m. but it doesn’t matter what product it is when you open them up they’re all the same to someone who repairs electronics their whole life and sources out parts from the best manufactures down to the cheapest manufactures at your discretion . Not through second hand worthless words coming out the mouth of salesman or marketing distributors who have an f$&@!£& clue of what quality is .
I stand corrected; you did not say junk, but you did say 'lowest quality.' To me, lowest quality is same as junk, but to each his own.
Showing the inside of another product from the same company and inferring it must be the same across all is not logical. That's like showing the inside of a cheap Corolla and claiming Lexus interior uses the lowest quality because it's also made by Toyota.
I don't want to drag this out since it's obvious you haven't looked inside the d1 and made your claim based on other smsl products.
If a company sells direct, they don't need 1000 % markup to make a profit since overhead is less.
You said, "there is not a single SMSL product that should be even close to $800. Way over priced for what they are not. It is a Markiting scam for the Unknowledgeable American market because of the ignorance on audio equipment ."
You claimed the D1 contains "cheap or lower quality components" but did not define what "cheap or lower quality" means to you. "Cheap or lower quality" compared to what?
You said, "don’t get it sucker in into believing all the beautiful words they lay down on a piece of paper"... but did not explain what components in the D1 are "cheap or lower quality".
You did not provide measurements or show pictures of the D1 board... or explain what components are "cheap or lower quality".
You only provided pictures of lower-tier SMSL products. It's safe to assume that you are basing your opinion of SMSL on those products.
You provided no proof to substantiate your claims. Until you do, your opinions and thoughts should be classified into the same category as the classic "It cost too much!".
To make everybody a little happier who doesn’t actually build audio components from the ground up from scratch with no knowledge or background . I myself would even buy the D1 if it came in somewhere at the $500 range to $800 at the very most it would be attractive product to purchase . I myself have an advantage over everybody I’ll just wait for the vendor that I get the defective warranty return parts that I buy by the box full. Sold as broken nonworking scrap electronics and then I fix them myself replacing components or scavenging components from a DAC or amp to fix another one . So in the end I will end up owning a D1 at pennies on the dollar use it for a little while and then give it to a family member as a gift or sell it to a friend at a super bargain price that’s what I do . Dollar for dollar bang for your buck you do usually get more from a Chinese produce product over a USA made product .
What you sad about the D class amps is absolute bullcrapp and I didn't even open any amplifier to be able to say this...
There are always other options on the market and technology evolves!
You should not post these kinds of comments, because you will influence the opinion of everyone that sees this and can not afford to buy a good D class Amp or even be able to lissen to one in a good quiet space.
I have 2 of them and I have noting bad to say about it except the high price.
You should not just crap all of one architecture of Amp because you had a bad expirience with some of them, or because of the audiophiliacs say you should avoid them like the plague, wile they sip on there exquisite glass of wine and talk for 3 h how holographic the sound is from a A class 99999999 euro Amp made out of gold is.
The sad truth about it is, that like in most of the audio world if you have money to spend you have better options.
I'm sorry but you seam like an "old guy talking"...
Sorry that I can hear the difference between D class and A class and it is the difference to those between enjoying music and just having music as background noise to listen to something in a noisy environment. And your right a good class D like a PS Audio amp with the right speaker and preamp combination is vary nice. But class A amps are so easy and cheap to build it is ashame people have not been showen how to build one. As long as someone never hears good class A with good uncompressed recorded music they will be happy with what they have. Just like if a person only knows what McDonald’s food taste like their whole life never having home cooking from a farm . This is s sad thing . Yes I’m now older and came from a time when school used to read the trades and actually had read electronic classes, wood shop, metal casting and machining using lathes , automotive shop so when kids got out of school they ca build thing and fix their own home or car not have to pay someone else . I and many other would like to teach those whom are with out knowledge That for $15 in parts and as soldering iron you can build a class A amp to rival a several hundred dollar class D amp sold by mass production companies. I admit I Owen a few last D amps for talk radio or background music but Just can not sit and enjoy that music from class D. If you want to easily build your first class A amp go to diyaudio.com look for Pass Labs , the ( Amp Camp Amp ) this is the perfect Frost time build with a excellent photo build guide. You may want to research Nelson Pass and his First Watt class A amps at first watt web site. Go to diyaudiostore.com find the ( kits) look for the (Amp Camp Amp) then look for the build guide. Nelson Pass gives away his knowledge how to build a simple version of his word famous Class A amps for free. Once you build your first class A amp you will not want to stop. There is hundreds more to build. Enjoy and become one of the knowledgeable ones.
Thx for the sujestion but I have no room for A class amps powerful enough for the speakers I'm runing, if I went this route the amps would overheat and probably damage my set up in a big way.
If one day I have enough time / money to have this as an hoby maybe I will check it out just for knowledge, I already spent way to mutch time and money modifying my speakers, and this audio business can get really expensive really fast once you pass a certain point of "quality".
And hey... Maybe I end up building a class A /AB and finally try a D one so I can see how affects the sound :p
I build my own speaker to for the last 30 years to and for family members. It do muse for a 1/4 the price you can build a speaker that rivals $1000+ store bought. For simple full range speaker but the cabinet box design can get a little complicated for a back loaded horn speaker go to Planet10 website you can also find him at diyaudio.com
Massdrop and all other large retailers don’t want their customers to find out about this information it bad for sales if people got smart. 🤫
Why not build a house your self instead of buying one already made? There too, you can save an enormous amount of money.
Actually we did with my father when I was 17 we were finished with the house by the time I turn 19 I was 2700 ft.² the hot tub cedar deck all the way around our own well and flowing gardens going down to the street and after that I got a job with the contractor building houses for three years . So yes you are correct we save the norm us amount of money . My brother built all three of his house from my brother built all three of his house from the ground up . You make a good point I forgot to use that as an analogy thank you .
Hey there, I'm intrigued. Do you have any links to a place where I can build a really nice diy dac?
The exact link right to the item I don’t have off top of my head but I found them searching through audio links listed below .
Added information for building your own equipment amplifiers or preamps and where to source components
Nelson Pass links
Also Jan Didden
Linear Audio Lab
It took me about a month of homework and reading literally through hundreds of articles forms and different topics on threads but you have to educate yourself on exactly what you want it’s all there For free . I would highly recommend anybody to read all the articles they can about stereo equipment written by Nelson Pass or Jan Didden, And by searching through some of the contributors and monitors at do it yourself audio they have links below their comments leading to their own personal websites that has a wealth of information leading to different areas and specialties within the audio community .
Would you say that it is more complicated to build a dac? For some reason it seems more daunting to me versus building an amp
Yes a little more difficult to build a DAC just because a lot more components needed more soldering more wires just more of everything so if you’re just starting out do amps first to cut your teeth on and make your simple mistakes and then move to something more complicated .
I would say build two or three different amplifiers first before attempting a DAC. And if your mechanically inclined do a little woodworking you could save a lot of money by building your chassis out of wood if you want to get a little fancier you could purchase copper foil and line the interior of the wood so it has shield them this will save you hundreds of dollars because a big chunk of your change goes to purchasing a chassis . And by building mono block amplifiers and having two or three sets of them you could bi-amp your speakers for a far superior project . If the general public knew how easy it was to build a far superior amplifier for a fraction of the price I don’t think the big chain stores will be very happy . It would be like in the 50s and early 60s when people were actually educated high school in electronics and can build things for themselves by using their own brain something we lack nowadays .
I have some light experience in terms of soldering and assembling stuff. I can consistently solder good joints so I'm not too worried about that. Mostly just curious if there is a software component for building a DAC. Maybe I should also mention that my main use for a DAC/amp would be for headphones and not speakers.
You do realize that a company evolves and changes at it grows right and isnt a static thing ? I remember when KIA sold shit cars that were cheaper than dirt and nobody would buy them. Now KIA sells cars and SUVs that cost more than other companies and have nicer features. SMSL is evolving and getting into high end i agree they used to be average at best but the new products they are releasing are far better than what they used to make. This D1 and SU-8 are top tier dacs and have excellent components inside as well. They also listen to the audio community now very closely and even make changes based off of feedback, you can catch them on audio forums a lot now a days.
Hi, you seems to have knowledge about DACs, what "balanced" DAC you would recommend under 300$?
Wondering if you have ever had to repair any Simaudio Moon products? Mine have been used for 2-3 hours most days for many years and have never once had an issue. Then again neither have my Made In USA preamp and Made In USA amp. Electronics seem very reliable these days. I have had to replace caps in a lot of Korean products and Chinese products though.
There’s nothing wrong with a good Chinese made or a good Korean made product Japanese are usually considered the high-end and best manufactured with the highest quality components including USA made brands from a long time ago when we actually made them here and actually manufactured electronics components that hasn’t been done in many decades . All of us replace caps and electronics components inside audio equipment the Koreans are notorious for having poor quality capacitors specially in their power supplies are usually the first to go . I am myself own and cherish and love my Chinese manufactured Dark Voice 336SE I would not trade it for the world I’ll probably keep it to the day I die . Of course the vacuum tube had to go the Chinese made vacuum tubes I’ll politely say were less than quality and only sound good to somebody who doesn’t know any different . But the Dark Voice 336SE was manufactured produced and sold I believe I got it at either the price of $179 US or I got it on the second buy of $199 US . So I have nothing against Chinese manufactured products when they’re actually sold at a fair market value for what they are for the components used . It’s just I’m on the inside game of actual product development board manufacturing importing and knowing the actual cost of the manufacturing of audio good, it’s pennies on the dollar. It’s all the middleman between importing Wearhouse is distributorship and then finally the sales floor is where most of the high prices come from not the quality of the good not the quality of the performance yes the performance may be good from a Chinese product, but it’s a manufactured cost in marketing that determines the cost when you have a product manufactured from China . A lot of these new late comers to the game from China specially when they team up with a American marketing and distributing corporation invent their prices for their products and profit margin that they want to jump on to the general public . They target market different price bracket to enter A certain product line and literally invent a price not based on cost of manufacturing . Even though I personally owned two completely different businesses and I sell both service and hard products for profit I believe in capitalism but I don’t believe in gouging and inflating false prices of what a product is actually not worth. I take it personally when I see customers getting screwed on prices of products that have no business being in a certain price range or category just because a marketing team can invent some literature and fancy advertisement. But large marketing firms with large sales staff have high overhead and they rely on that old phrase (“there’s a sucker born every minute”) . Those individuals who are in sales or marketing management or owners of larger stores and corporations hate me and people like me .
I don't think you're doing your homework... This Dac measures better than the Chord qutest for $1800! MSRP on this is $1200.
Measurements Are not everything. Its the ears. After it measures 0.0003 or 0.00000000003 who cares make makes no difference to yours or my ears. On the other hand there’s audio products with 1.0 % Distortion that sounds worlds above products that measures at 0.001%
Like sales and marketing Personal who recommend Audio equipment baced on measurements are idiots to make a sales actually shady characters.
The fact remains you have not tried it.
Please name a product with 1.0% distortion that sounds good
You're really just drinking too much of your own kool-aid. Seriously you're a joke...pontificating and singing your own praises. You haven't even heard the thing. By your own logic, the numbers don't matter...but yet, the parts are critical; it's about the sound. Whatever. I could not care less for the number crunchers, but this does happen to be a superb sounding, transparent DAC, built and designed with excellence in mind. The cost seems realistic.
Most all older tube amplifiers that are linear class A will be in that 1% distortion range. Even a very simple linear class a transistor bass amplifier simple afternoon build about $14 in parts original (Amp Camp Amp) released in 2012 the latest version is 1.6 can be built into mono blocks or stereo class A has a distortion level as high as 0.7%
I built both original version at 4W of output power and the latest 1.6 V at 15 W of power output into mono blocks . It’s one of the smoothest finished sounding amplifiers you’ll ever hear. Just using the 4W ACA amplifier and only using one Watt into a custom made full range high efficiency speakers . 97db at one Watt output. Unfortunately very few people have experience or knowledge about tube based amplifiers so they are unaware that most of them are around 1% THD. Most people are unknowledgeable and just what they read in magazines and articles that you must have a distortion with a decimal point and a few zeros after for it to be good (0.0005).
Too much Advertising hype with bragging rights. Bunch of (BS)
oh my, aren't you an annoying parasite troll! The hype around here is what you are spraying. Of course some tube amps will have numbers like that, rarely at normal listening levels and proper bias, but it's not out of the ordinary. You are not the keeper of this knowledge, or much at all. He's talking about dacs and you know it, but it is such a convenient opening to spray more or your BS knowledge.
Liking a tube amp is based on SUBJECTIVITY. Personally, I really dislike OTL tube amps but tube amps with an output transformer are fine. I’d take a well-measuring solid-state amp 9 times out of 10 over tube amps due to no need for maintainance. Some people are the exact opposite, they think tube amps are great. It’s all about subjectivity.
However, when it comes to DAC performance, subjectivity is pretty hard to find. It’s all down to R2R vs. Delta-Sigma. R2R measures like shit but some people like it. For Delta-Sigma, you’ll find people talking about the ideal chip or whatever but the chip doesn’t really matter. It’s the implementation that matters. Personally, I can’t tell a difference between AKM and Sabre DACs, but I can tell when one has a shitty implementation and another doesn’t. Even schitty R2R DACs like the Schiit Yggdrasil have less than 1.0% THD, and they suck. DACs like the Audio-GD NFB-28.38 use the ES9038 Pro, and they suck. The SMSL VMV D1 uses the ES9038 Pro also, and it doesn’t suck because it has lower distortion, whereas the NFB-28.38 has high distortion. There are many other cases that demonstrate that the chip doesn’t matter it’s the implementation. I guarantee that no DAC with THD above 1.0% sounds good to anyone.
Sorry you misunderstand . I just get annoyed at distributors and marketing and sales personnel that try to pull the wool over innocent customers Eyes. Just so they can get into their wallet . It’s nothing against a particular product it’s the industry as a whole and their marketing scam the product can be good there’s no problem in that area. A product can be using the greatest chipset in the world But if the circuitry implemented isn’t quite up to par to the level it does not matter how great the chips is. Just saying there’s too much marketing hype around chasing very small numbers that absolutely mean nothing when they get so ridiculously small their un-measurable to a human ability to hear or perceive anymore . Just comes down to our numbers are smaller therefore that means we can charge more for it. This just means it’s a bad thing for naïve consumers who get caught up in the hyper reading advertisement material . Of course those who want to defend this type of advertisement or on the side of the sleazy salesman themselves who are just thinking about their bonuses . But on the other hand if you want to just talk about DACs Use for example the original old Phillips chips that were the very first generation DACs over 40 years ago been out of production and with all the advancements still considered one of the best. Do it yourselfers to this day are still trying to hunt down old Phillip DACs just to strip them of their old chipset to build their own DAC.
I give you a thumbs up you understand.
Thank you. It seems as though you have an extensive scientific background as well, just don’t be prejudiced
Hi I am based in Singapore and I have been reading your posts about the D1 and I must agree, not worth the money they ask for. I do need some help with a repair of a D1 is there a way I can contact you directly?
Thank you for your inquiry . My workload has me constantly behind anywhere from six months to a year depending on what kind of gear I’m either repairing or building class A amplifiers for friends families and close customers . SMSL I would only get in Repair just because a vendor I know of would get many broken returns or manufacture defects and here in United States and some particular cities you are charged a higher rate for disposing of e-waste . So I would purchase the lot of SMSL site unseen knowing that some of them will be very simple fixes to give away as gifts to family members . Singapore is a very educated country with a high degree of electronics engineers and even students who are into audio for a hobby should have no problem tracing down a simple power supply issue or a cold solder joint often the contacts on switches in SLSM Products is what I see mostly. Slight fractures where the plug-ins on RCA or other connectors go into the back of your unit flex and cracked the circuit board or the solder joint this is very common They also use very poor quality power plugs from the external power brick or source from the cord or the female side pin in the unit will make Bad contact . SLSM is basically considered a throwaway disposable audio equipment not worth repairing even the higher end more expensive units are questionable unfortunately . Sometimes your best source for audio repair is not always the large professional shop but kind of electronics nerd or geek who is really into equipment and loves to repair things for fun . Often you can track down a Electronix nerd or audio geek at one of the do it yourself conventions or meetings where they get together and show off their equipment at a little show or expo that you can probably track down in your local area on the Internet. I’m lucky to live in the San Francisco Bay area the local do it yourself community there is a lot of support . DIY audio.com with the support of Nelson pass from First Watt audio yearly gathering in San Francisco that is called (Burning Amp )
Sorry I cannot be of help to you I hope you have luck in your search for either a good technician or a local nerd hobbyist who likes to fix things to repair your DAC.
Thank you for your extensive replay. Much appreciated. I totally understand the backlog issue. we also are dealing with similar here and it is a constant struggle to stay on top. I hope that there is still one question I can ask. see the attached pictures have you ever seen this and can you guide me to some area to look at? the issue is the that USB is not longer communicating. and I have found burn marks and sparking damages on the USB connector. Thanks again for your time and I hope that you have at least some guidance in this..
Yes I have seen that it usually occurs to that extent with high voltage . Not at the voltages that are obtained from a USB port . From looking at that photo straight on at the USB The chromed metal shielding around the housing of the USB port . It appears in that photo lower left corner where the metal was literally blown away and burnt through from a high voltage high amperage contact short with something . It appears to be one of those scenarios if somebody was plugging it in at that moment they definitely would’ve seen and heard and smelled that tiny explosion . The other uncommon scenario for a voltage spike somehow to come up the ground shielding of the USB cable at that contact point. Usually a voltage bike will come up through the power supply cable but it is possible to come up the ground side shielding of a USB cable to . That’s smoky splatter design of hot bits of metal shooting over the circuitboard you would sometimes see when a little piece of leftover wire or a loose nut or bolt rolling around on a circuit board contacts between high-voltage and short something out and explodes at that point sending burning material sputtering across the circuitboard to make that design of burnt smoky dots. If you have the original USB cable I would look on the inside at the connectors and the metal shielding of the male connector at the same location of that contact point in the lower left-hand corner . That would confirm that it came up the ground side shielding of the USB cable .
Great so my conclusions here were correct, I had come to same. Now of course the issue is what is causing the USB not to work. I will replace USB port but not certain if that will fix it. I have checked the IC's behind the port they measure ok. the XMOS Ic I cannot measure correctly and replacing this I am not sure as I do believe it contains firmware? Other than this I cant find anything else. Should USB housing not be connected to ground? and be same ground as housing?
And when it’s time to test the device I would not plug it in to whatever it was plugged into before and use a new USB cable . Or at least test the other component being plugged into that is in question to make sure between the ground of the USB of the other device to the ground shielding of the DAC there is not some kind of positive voltage floating on that USB shielding before plugging it into the DAC.
May want to use a voltage surge protector on the power outlet on the wall just as a extra safety measure . And confirm that there is a good ground at the plug outlet because search protection devices do not work if the ground is missing .