SMSL D400ES DAC Audio Science Reviewdennis
This is a review and detailed measurements of the SMSL D400ES Balanced Stereo DAC with Bluetooth support. It was sent to me by the company..
The D400ES is quite stylish especially if you look at it an angle where it exposes the black heatsinks. Alas, the rotary control is not my cup of tea but you can use the remote to control the full functionality. Not much else to talk about other than show you the rear terminals:
Naturally power supply is built-in. Minor nit: I wish SMSL would use color coded RCA jacks as it is hard to tell their respective channels easily.
SMSL D400ES Measurements
As usual we start with our 1 kHz tone at full volume using USB connection and XLR output:
No matter how many times I see such superb measurements out of a DAC, it still puts a smile on my face! Distortion is incredibly low at -140 dB or so making SINAD dominant by noise. That lands the D400ES easily in our top 20 best DACs ever measured:
RCA output as usual gives up a bit of performance but it is still superbly transparent:
In case you want to drive a more sensitive amplifier at lower volumes, here is that performance:
Signal to noise ratio is better than dynamic range of your hearing so you are good to go there:
Linearity is perfect:
Multitone is state of the art:
Despite use of ESS DAC, there is no hint of “ESS IMD Hump:”
Jitter over USB is perfect and nearly so using Toslink:
Numerous DAC reconstruction filters are provided:
Note that “off” is not really “off:”
Not that you would want to use it anyway as it cuts way into the audible frequency response:
As noted, Fast Linear filter seems to be the best compromise of all, resulting in excellent wideband noise+distortion vs frequency measurement:
SMSL D400ES delivers flawless state of the art performance in digital to audio conversion. It also looks quite attractive. The only negatives are the cost and the rotary control. Not much else to say really. In case you are comparing it to its D400EX sibling, I think it performs a bit better yet costs less.
I am happy to recommend SMSL D400ES DAC.