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New HLLY SMK-III Digital Audio Decoder - Page 3

post #31 of 137

The USB chip inside this DAC is a Tenor TE7022L which only supports 8/16/32/44.1/48/96 KHz sampling rates. So they can't support 88.2KHz, I guess.

post #32 of 137
Thread Starter 

I am not a very technical person, enclosed is a picture showing the TE7022L towards the left of the picture and a PCM1792 towards the bottom Center of the picture. David Gao would have to explain what each does.

 

DSCN1047.JPG

post #33 of 137

Rocksteady65,

 

OOPS, my bad.  PCM1794 not PCM1704 in the new SMK-III (obviously from the photo above).

 

Still, it is BB vs Cirrus, premium chipsets from both manufactures inside the DMK MK-IV and the newer SMK-III.  It would be nice to have a head to head review, but maybe I'm wrong that mrarroyo still has the DMK MK-IV in his possession.  Silly me.

 

I have my DMK MK-IV, and I do really like its DAC (that headamp is. .good, just not great).  If the SMK-III improves on the already stellar DAC and also improves the headamp...at this pricepoint, it might be hard to beat.

post #34 of 137

Hi all,

can anybody compare SMK-III and DMK-IV with Audio-gd Fun, in terms of sonic performance?

 

I want primarily a very good DAC with remote control. But I would not mind if it included a good head-amp too. :-) Can you recommend any device of this kind?

 

Thanks. 

post #35 of 137
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeonardS View Post

Rocksteady65,

 

OOPS, my bad.  PCM1794 not PCM1704 in the new SMK-III (obviously from the photo above).

 

Still, it is BB vs Cirrus, premium chipsets from both manufactures inside the DMK MK-IV and the newer SMK-III.  It would be nice to have a head to head review, but maybe I'm wrong that mrarroyo still has the DMK MK-IV in his possession.  Silly me.

 

I have my DMK MK-IV, and I do really like its DAC (that headamp is. .good, just not great).  If the SMK-III improves on the already stellar DAC and also improves the headamp...at this pricepoint, it might be hard to beat.





Quote:
Originally Posted by blok View Post

Hi all,

can anybody compare SMK-III and DMK-IV with Audio-gd Fun, in terms of sonic performance?

 

I want primarily a very good DAC with remote control. But I would not mind if it included a good head-amp too. :-) Can you recommend any device of this kind?

 

Thanks. 


I do have the DMK-IV as well as the SMK-III and I do plan to compare them. However the SMK-III is about to be sent to Skylab and immtbiker so it will take about a month for the comparison. However the good thing is that two other seasoned members will be able to add their impressions and thus provide two additional perspectives.

 

LeonardS I too enjoy the DAC section of the DMK-IV a lot and I use it just about every day in the office rig. Cheers.

post #36 of 137
Thread Starter 

Ok, both the SMK-III and the TAMP-20 have been shipped to Skylab who will then forward them to immtbiker. Look forward to reading their impressions in the next month or so. Cheers!

post #37 of 137

Great to hear. I love the T-Amp 20 except for a couple of things. The volume knob looks and feels a bit too cheap and when I get past 1 o clock, there is a lot of friction when turning the volume knob. Nevertheless the K1000 still sound great out of it and for the price it's a fantastic piece of kit 

post #38 of 137
Thread Starter 

You like listening at very loud volumes, I do not recall going past 10 o'clock or so.  I believe you can unscrew the knob's holding screw and pull the knob 1/8" or 1/16" out and re-tighten the knob. This should help with the tightness you feel.

post #39 of 137

Miguel was nice enough to loan me the HLLY SMK-III Digital Audio Decoder.  I used it with my Hifiman HE-5LE, Beyer T1, and Audio Technica W1000X headphones, and auditioned it both from the headphone jack .

 

Miguel has described the unit well, so I won’t go into any of that.  One slight operational quirk – there is a button to engage the headphone jack, but I found that just plugging headphones in engaged it, although that did not light the LED.  Turning the HP button “on” then caused the headphones to turn off.  Odd.  There is a relay in there I can hear physically switching.  If the SMK-III is actually turning the whole headphone section off when not in use, that’s pretty cool.

 

I reviewed an earlier HLLY DAC + Headphone amp combo unit, the DMK IV, and while I found the DAC to be quite good, I was less than impressed with the headphone jack.  With the stock op-amps, which is how I asked Miguel to send it to me, I was again not thrilled by the headphone out’s performance.  It was certainly decent, and on par with what I got from the (very similar looking) Music Hall 25.2 DAC’s built in headphone amp.   I no longer have the older HLLY DMK-IV to compare it to.

 

Miguel reports that switching to the AD8620 improves the headphone performance, and I see no reason to doubt that.  As it was, the sound was essentially neutral, but lacking a little in transparency, and nuance.  I found this to basically be true with all of the headphones I tried – I used the W1000X to give the SMK-III something easy to drive, but the basic character remained, which I am now guessing is just the character of the stock op-amps.

 

I tried the DAC line-level outs first with the HLLY T-Amp 20 driving the HE-5LE, and this sounded a little better than the SMK-III’s headphone out, I felt.  It was more dynamic, and more extended on top.  So that was good news.

 

Then I went to the SMK-III’s DAC line outs into the Woo Audio WA-2, driving the HE-5LE (and then the T1) with that.  WOW.  The performance, as you would expect, was MUCH better.  The SMK-III as a DAC is something to really get excited about.  I found the sound clear, transparent, extended and dynamic.  The deep bass from Goldfrapp’s “Dreaming”, from her new “Head First” record, was VERY deep, tight, and punchy.  Her vocals were also very cleanly reproduced, with no hint of artificial edge or sibilance – very natural sounding.  I found the DAC performance to be on par with the Yulong D100, which I thought highly enough of to buy the review loaner I was sent.   The Yulong’s headphone out performance is better, though, at least with the HLLY’s stock op-amps.

 

So as a DAC, and at the asking price of $320, I’d say the HLLY seems like a very attractively priced product. 

 

post #40 of 137
Thread Starter 

Rob, I apologize about not describing the switch in the front. With the light on the headphone amp is on and the dac out is off, then with the light off the headphone amp is on as well as the dac out. I believe there is a third way in which the light is off and where the internal amp is off and only the dac out is on.

 

I did try three other op-amps besides the stock one, these were the LM4562, AD8397, and AD8620. As you wrote the AD8620 was my favorite and IMO the difference was easy to hear. Currently I am waiting for a pair of AD797BR  with single to dual adapter to arrive and try plus I want to also try an AD8066 I have. Cheers and thanks for trying the unit.

post #41 of 137

Thanks for the impressions both mrarroyo and skylab. I'm temped to order one of these, but I don't want to jump the gun too quick. Do either of you know how this compares to a similarly priced Audio GD product? I need a good DAC to pair with my Dynalo

post #42 of 137

I am looking for a very good DAC / preamp with remote control. And I would not mind if it was a good head-amp too. :-)

The best one would be probably something with appearance and features of Hlly DMK-IV and sound quality of SMK-III.

Recently David mentioned that they were going to introduce a new version of DMK-IV in several months. I would be happy if it had the best from both of these.

 

Or can anybody recommend another good DAC / preamp with remote control?

Thanks.


Edited by blok - 9/30/10 at 1:49pm
post #43 of 137

mrarroyo,

 

Did you have to adjust down the voltage in the SMK-III in order to use the AD8620 and AD8397?  I have the DMK-IV and noticed in the schematic posted by David-gao that the supply voltage is +/- 15 vdc.  The AD chips mentioned use a bit lower voltage.  Is the voltage lower on the SMK-III, in order to allow the op-amp rolling?  Or is it easily adjusted?

post #44 of 137

No new informations?

post #45 of 137

David,

 

Perhaps you could answer the question:  Do you need to adjust the power supply voltage in order to change op-amps in the SMK-III?

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