I don't think the SMSL SD-650 looks very nice on the inside, the placement of the capacitors looks pretty random to me. In contrast the Fire Phoenix has a much nicer layout on the inside.
I don't personally like the sound of the OPA2604 it's using since I listened to that for pretty much several hours daily for over a year in my Teclast T51.
I remember once when I put OPA2604 in my AK4396 desktop DAC I was suddenly reminded of the sound of my Teclast T51.
In experiments like that I realised the line-out op-amp of a DAC is important, if it's a 'weaker' chip it will only partially override the sound of the DAC chip.
I don't believe you can take advantage of an amplifier with let's say OPA627 in it with an Xperia phone, since I have one and I can't. You need to look at the total synergy of the total circuit - from the media player to the transducer!
[so yes, sure, this is 'implementation' like the French user was saying, or this user, and hundreds of others recently, however they use that term in such as weak parts can measure well, and fancy parts can measure weak, i.e. the parts are not very important only their final result in unison, in an EE sense. This is irrelevant - unless you only believe in specifications.]
I didn't really believe in high-end DAC's before, and I tried a couple 'audiophile' media players and couldn't hear any difference*. I've tried different cables and can't hear any real difference, I've tried high-rez content like 24/192 a lot and can only hear something like 1% difference after I downsample it to 16/44.1.
So why then can I hear a difference in DAC's and op-amp chips, plus thousands of others online? It doesn't make any sense. I'm 'over' the whole placebo phase when you can 'hear more detail' or 'hear more highs' just because you're focusing more tightly.
So back to the SMSL SD-650 it doesn't look very good for the price, you could just buy my CS4398 DAC instead, and put AD797 on the line-out. http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Finished-CS4398-CS8416-USB-DAC-With-Transformer-case-/120769856777
Or you can try the Breeze Audio TE7022 / CS4398 PD01 for a lot cheaper - http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Finished-CS4398-CS8416-USB-DAC-With-Transformer-case-/120769856777
None of us know exactly how the PD01 sounds but I it's the cheapest you'll ever find with CS4398.
If you look at the listing minishow wrote... "Output of OPA2132 from BB company: performance better than OPA2604 /"
I haven't actually heard the OPA2132 but there are 17 reviews of it here - http://www.ti.com/product/opa2132
I have heard the OPA2134 which is an awesome chip, it's 'fast' sounding and clear, and the OPA2132 is only supposed to sound better - http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/digital-source/101905-opa2132-2134-a.html
Everything is soldered down in the PD01 but that's probably a good thing so you can just listen to the music and not read .pdf sheets lol.
*Edit: I can hear the difference in at least one media player now, Neutron on Android smartphones is very good, I think it uses 32-bit floating point and some kind of hardware optimization? There are always scientific reasons for higher sound quality which we are not familiar with, just listen first and ask questions later.
Edited by kiteki - 11/10/12 at 9:46pm