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S.M.S.L SU-8s subjective observations and first impressions

Posted by Aaron . on

Well I don't normally get time to review gear with all the cable building and order packing but with the recent spotlight on SMSL (wink) I though I would spend a little time with this one, the SU8s.  

 

Based on subjective listening tests: 

 

Well I think I will keep this one short and just jump right to my verdict opinion,

"its fantastic!" Why you ask when it is a basic SMPS, op-amp based unit with subpar output stage and only one es9068 chip... well because it actually sounds great! not fatiguing at all like every other DAC I have listened to with this ESS9068 chip.. its tonally accurate and incredibly resolving, it actually sounds more like a AKM chip than an ESS Chip.

Well This DAC rocks and is my new favourite sub 1k DAC! Great Job to S.M.S.L and Shenzhen Audio who designed this DAC. Hopefully there are not any measurement issues :)

 

* Listening tests were done using both headphone desktop set up and speaker's:

Desktop: 

SH8s. HD600 with A.L.A balanced cable, A.L.A Audio 24th bit OCC copper XLR cables, Cardas Quadlink power cords, A.L.A red-series silver USB, Shanling m8 streaming Tidal masters.

Speakers: 

Complete power regeneration etc.., A.L.A Ethereal series cables throughout, Heavily modified DP5 streamer, external LPS etc.. , Topping Pre-90 pre-amp modified with discrete output stage , into Denafrips Apollo power amplifier into modified Elac FS257 speakers.

Music:

Jazz Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, Earl Klugh, Vocals Nina Simone, Barbra Streisand, Electronic, Sebastien Leger, Jody Wisternoff

 

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