S.M.S.L M400 MQA Audio DAC, AK4499 Chip Full Balanced Hi-Res Decoder, APTX-HD Bluetooth 5.0, Support MQA decoding DSD512 32Bit/768kHz,Coaxial Optical HiFi Music USB DAC XMOS
About this deal
When D1SE arrived, a Benchmark HPA4 was sitting on my desk and I though that I should give them a try together, with HE1000SE hopping on my head. All that power will mean nothing if there isn’t a wide bandwidth to deliver all that instantly to your precious headphones.
SMSL D400EX DAC Review | Audio Science Review (ASR) Forum SMSL D400EX DAC Review | Audio Science Review (ASR) Forum
At a later date, a SMSL representative reached out, asking how their devices should look for the Western market.Compared to that one, SH-9 was struggling in offering higher dynamics, pace, rhythm and timing, especially with Susvara. It doesn’t leave a stain on your music, it simply wants to disappear from your acoustic chain, without adding or drawing anything from there.
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SP400 was good when I’ve put it in between the Matrix Element X and Keces S300, driving a pair of KEF Reference 3, but HPA4 sounded cleaner and it had a better flow and easiness to it. While I normally do not hear any difference between filters, the DO400 actually offers significant changes when you use them.After digging a bit more and detaching a few ribbon cables, it seems that SMSL combined a few OPA op-amps with discrete components…how interesting. I couldn’t believe my ears, an ES9038 PRO based D/A converter was transforming my daily driver headphones into music-making machines that I could use even with ultra-linear headphone amplifiers. The knob itself is actually a digital stepped wheel, with discrete steps for volume adjustment as well as navigation through the menus of the firmware.