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SMSL M8A (ES9028Q2M)

post #1 of 58
Thread Starter 

SMSL just released upgraded version of SMSL M8 with ES9028Q2M chip and DSD512 support. Anyone heard it already? Strangely, they state it has lower SNR than M8 (M8a ~ 117 vs M8 ~ 125). Dunno if to believe those numbers anyway.

 

https://www.amazon.com/SMSL-ES9028-Optical-Coaxial-Decoder/dp/B06XVWS9DV

 

It's on their website as well but antivirus says it's corrupted so I am sending Amazon link.

post #2 of 58

I believe that the ESS9028 is the cheaper lower power version.

 

http://www.esstech.com/index.php/en/products/sabre-digital-analog-converters/audiophile-dacs/classic-sabre-8-channel-dacs/es9018/

 

http://www.esstech.com/index.php/en/products/sabre-digital-analog-converters/sabre-hifi-mobile-dacs/sabre-hifi-stereo-dacs/es9028c2m/

 

If you see the specs are slightly worse but its application is for smartphones.

So its "better" because its "almost as good" but now can go into phones without destroying the battery life.

 

That is one thing that the ESS chips have historically failed at, power usage.

Thats why you regularly do not see them in phones or portable players and find TI or Cirrus DAC's instead because they are significantly better in power consumption vs audio performance.

post #3 of 58
Thread Starter 
I believe the original m8 chip was 9018k2m, which is mobile version of 9018 and has worse parameters than 9028q2m
post #4 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by vaki View Post

I believe the original m8 chip was 9018k2m, which is mobile version of 9018 and has worse parameters than 9028q2m


You are right about that, my bad.

 

http://www.esstech.com/index.php/en/products/sabre-digital-analog-converters/sabre-hifi-mobile-dacs/sabre-hifi-stereo-dacs/es9018k2m/

 

http://www.esstech.com/index.php/en/products/sabre-digital-analog-converters/sabre-hifi-mobile-dacs/sabre-hifi-stereo-dacs/es9028q2m/

 

I guess they changed up the analog section or power section...

 

But in all Honesty I think the Topping D30 is better than the M8 (I have both) and its significantly cheaper, infact you can get the A30/D30 stack for the price of just an M8.

post #5 of 58
That's interesting.

Worse parameters? ...Other than power usage?

Topping D30... Just an overall impression that it sounds better, or can you...describe? smily_headphones1.gif

I hope the SMSL prices are where they are because of more expensive components. (According to their marketing stuff.)
post #6 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katji View Post

That's interesting.

Worse parameters? ...Other than power usage?

Topping D30... Just an overall impression that it sounds better, or can you...describe? smily_headphones1.gif

I hope the SMSL prices are where they are because of more expensive components. (According to their marketing stuff.)

Topping is very transparent about what parts they use to build.
From what I have looked at from the M8 diagram it doesn't contain more expensive parts really, just the little OS with the OLED screen and stuff where the topping just has basic switches.
Also I imagine the ESS chip is more expensive than the CS one.

The D30 is more reference style. The M8 tinkers with the audio with its different filters which you cannot disable entirely. For this reason the D30 actually seems to resolve more in technical pieces.
post #7 of 58
Thread Starter 

M8A is currently on sale at one ali seller ~ $172. I am still undecided whether to go for it or buy the Topping D30. I am very curious about first reviews of M8A.

 

I contacted SMSL with the question about SNR and difference between M8 and M8A. I'll post the answer once I have it.


Edited by vaki - 3/31/17 at 4:28am
post #8 of 58

I wonder how anyone can compare the Topping D30 with the SMSL M8A.

Totally different league.

I think the M8A is the best price to performance ratio to be found anywhere currently.

I'm pretty sure no other company has a DSD512 capable DAC at this price point not to mention all the other goodies (ESS9028, XMOS U8, OPA1612, ...).

post #9 of 58
It's subjective, whatever seems to sound better to you. With your other components and the type of music you listen to.
post #10 of 58

Is it really? Does DSD 512 sound the same as DSD 128?

post #11 of 58
Thread Starter 

Did you actually heard it or is it just the "specs looks good" opinion?

post #12 of 58

I already have the M8, the previous model, and I'm really impressed.

My M8A is due early next week.

I use the M8 driven from a USB port currently to drive a pair of Adam A5X I use on my desktop system through a Mark Levinson ML-7A preamp.

I do not think you can beat the M8 (and I suppose the M8A) even at 4 times their price.


Edited by st939 - 4/6/17 at 8:13am
post #13 of 58
Thread Starter 

Have you heard the topping as well?

 

I'll be looking forward to hear from you about the M8A. As I still don't get how could it have lower SNR than M8 while having better components.

post #14 of 58
Maybe the M8A specs are more accurate as they are certified by Hi Res Japan (Japan Audio Society).

Just checked out their site. Differences with the original M8, other than the updated DAC chip and receiver:

Heavier at 398g

Power now at 5v and not 9v, some circuitry redesigned because of this and now includes Overvoltage protection

Slightly lower SNR (117dB) but better THD+N

Accepts up to 768kHz and DSD512
Edited by chongky - 4/7/17 at 12:27pm
post #15 of 58

Beyond -100dB noise levels are pretty meaningless.

The Topping is using an inferior DAC (Cirrus) and an old implementation of the XMOS chip. It can therefore only be inferior (albeit cheaper as well).


Edited by st939 - 4/7/17 at 9:52am
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