Reviewer at Ear Fidelity
Pros: Fantastic sound quality
Detail and Resolution
Very neutral, natural presentation
Good build quality
Small footprint
Great value
Cons: None at this price


Here I should write something about SMSL, but I would be afraid that I would plagiarize something because I feel that there is everything written about this Chi-Fi company already and even if you’re using Internet Explorer you would have to hear something about them.
SMSL and Topping are currently leading the affordable DACs and AMPs market. A couple of years ago my audio gear journey started with their entry-level DAC/AMP SMSL M3, I used to have a significant amount of their gear and now I’m reviewing their almost flagship DAC.
What can I say at first sight? Have you ever driven a car that was made by the Volkswagen group? If yes, then I can say that SMSL is the Volkswagen of audio gear, for you who have never done it (if it’s possible) it’s painfully correct and if you have ever driven one of them, you will probably know what to expect from the whole lineup. The same case is with SMSL – if you liked the sound of M3, but you need more power and improvement in terms of quality sound, but with similar turning, then go for the recently reviewed C200, or a combo of SU-9 and SH-9 there are plenty of possibilities to improve experience staying in your comfort zone.


The unboxing experience of SMSL DO200 MK2 is pretty similar to any other gear made by the company. Simple white box with minimalistic graphics, with a lot of stiff foam that secures everything inside. I wouldn’t be afraid that the device would be hurt during delivery.
The contents of the box are typical as well: the DAC, a power cord, a USB cable, a remote, and a Bluetooth antenna. Everything you need to use the device (maybe almost, there are no batteries included with the remote).

Design and Build Quality​


First of all, as I mentioned above SMSL is like Volkswagen – nothing fancy and painfully correct. Secondly, DO200 mk2 is a DAC – most DACs are simple bricks, sometimes with small displays, sometimes with a couple of buttons or a knob (apart from Chord or ifi). So if you expected fireworks, then you will be disappointed.
SMSL DO200 mk2 is a big (not as big as Ferrum ERCO, but bigger than Topping D90), black box with a display, which can dim after a few seconds (that’s a great feature for people that listen to music in darkness), and a multifunctional knob. The housing is made of aluminum, and it feels rock solid.
Shortly speaking, yet another SMSL device, that isn’t a piece of art, but I can’t find anything to complain about in terms of build quality, almost anything, because I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t find anything and this thing is the knob, which is very functional and looks great, but it could fit tighter, because the one from the reviewed model gently bends to the sides, pretty similar to the one from SU-9. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t a big deal, but I had to find something.

Tech and I/O​


First things first, let’s start with the heart of the device – dual DAC chips ES9068AS, which are characterized by very low noise floor and very transparent sound. The chips also allow full MQA decoding of signals provided with both USB and SPDIF connectors.
I’ve written that DO200 mk2 is quite big and this paragraph will clarify why it’s so big because I think you won’t blame Victorinox SwissChamp (that’s a swiss army knife that has over 70 different tools and many more use cases) for being so big since it has all the tools you will ever need or even some tools you will never need. As I mentioned, DO200 mk2 has USB and SPDIF inputs, but it’s also fitted with optical, I2S, and AES/EBU inputs – that’s probably more than enough for most users. Outputs are pretty standard – single-ended RCA and balanced XLR. To be honest, the DAC has the most ports among all my audio devices. My only problem is that DO200 mk2 is featured only with USB type B. I know it’s the audio world, and real, I mean REAL audiophiles have their super expensive USB cables, but come on, it’s 2022 and even lower-end DO100 has USB-C, so if SMSL didn’t want to block “experienced” users from utilizing their cables, then they could solve it as it’s done in HiFiMan EF400, there are both sockets – Oldschool USB type B and modern USB type C.
Another great functionality is Bluetooth 5.0 which supports AAC, AptX, and LDAC codecs, you can listen to music directly from your phone without any cable. I think this will be especially appreciated by audiophiles listening to music with their stereo setup because you won’t need additional devices, only the phone, and the music can be played remotely.
I’m not the guy who measures the gear, so I can only ask you to google it, but I’m sure that the DO200 mk2 has perfect measurements because it’s an SMSL DAC – yeah, it’s a synonym for a great measuring DAC.



Ok, now let’s jump to the most important part – the sound. To be honest, that’s the tricky one because this DAC is extremely transparent, but I think that audio objectivists will like this review.

I think it would be pointless to describe each frequency because the DO200 mk2 is… Neutral, I could write in each place that this frequency isn’t pushed forward, nor recessed, because it’s… Yeah! That’s right – neutral, I hope you’re getting my point and I promise, I will try not to overdose this word, but I feel I need to use it while describing a neutral DAC. Sorry I had to.

When paired with Topping A90 and HiFiMan Ananda I received an extremely neutral setup, I received everything I wanted to hear in the right amount. This setup doesn’t have any WOW effect, but it can reproduce any kind of music on a decent level and it won’t make you bored or exhausted. When I’m writing about pairing, or in a more poetic way – synergy, I need to mention that SMSL DO200 MK2 will work well with any AMP and headphones, because it’s transparent, so it won’t add anything to the sound. That is really expected if you just want to improve your audio setup, but if you want to tune it slightly, then you need to look for another device.
The technical performance is amazing. In this regard I can’t remember any better sounding DAC, yes, you’ve got me, objectively, there is no point to look for anything else, DAC under $500 is more than your ears would ever need (and hear), but does it mean, that I wouldn’t buy, anything more expensive? Definitely NO, I would. Neutral sound is great, but I like distortions because it makes the sound more natural and analog. The DO200 is amazing and super tasty grape juice, but I like rotten grape juice (some of you would rather call this drink wine). But, that’s amazing, that we are able to get such a perfectly sounding device at such a low price – a few years ago, you would have to pay a couple of times more money for similar or even lower sound quality.
The SMSL DO200 MK2 is a great device as a benchmark, and the manufacturers show how perfect DAC they can make, but sometimes I just wonder what’s the reason to buy it. There are cheaper devices, like DO100, or SU-9, which sound very similar and perform nearly as well as the reviewed DAC, but their price is lower, so in that paragraph, you won’t find the answer, but the one above should do the job, because it’s a very powerful tool in terms of connectivity and available I/O.
I think that the most important question you need to ask yourself before buying the SMSL DO200 is if you are looking for a neutral-sounding DAC. Yes, this is quite a hard question, if you’re new to that hobby, you’re probably looking for the purest sound you can get. In that case, that’s a great device for you, but over time and with the number of gear you have the opportunity to listen to, it may become boring. That’s why you will be looking for something that fulfills only your needs, not the common needs of the average listener, but then the DO200 may be the device to benchmark other audio pieces.



SMSL SU-9 is a DAC priced at $399. It’s based on the ES9038PRO – the flagship ESS DAC chip of its time. The device has USB-B, SPDIF, and optical inputs, and is featured with both single-ended and balanced outputs, that’s the usual set of I/O at this price range, but DO200 MK2 has additional I2S and AES/EBU input.
The build quality of both devices is pretty similar, the SU-9 is slightly smaller and lighter, but it’s not even close to a portable device, so for me, that wouldn’t be a problem.
In terms of performance, when released, it was one of the best measuring DAC and it’s still on top, noise signal ratio, and dynamic range are still very impressive, DO200 mk2 probably improved the performance, but it was already way beyond human hearing.
The sound of both devices is pretty similar, it’s very correct and the biggest difference is the midrange, which is slightly more natural when reproduced by SU-9. The soundstage reproduced by both devices is pretty impressive, especially when considering that both of them are priced below $500.
If I had to decide which device should I choose, then I would go for DO200 MK2 because of its I/O and improved power supply, but if I already had the SU-9 then these features wouldn’t convince me for the upgrade.



Rock solid CNC machined alloy body, Bluetooth, remote control, and the sound – extremely neutral and ultimately clear. The SMSL DO200 MK2 is like a Tesla that leaves far behind much more expensive hyper-cars while racing for a ¼ mile. If you’re looking for a high-performance DAC with any I/O (unless USB-C) you can imagine, at a reasonable price, then I can recommend the reviewed device. For me, this will be the perfect tool for AMPs, and paired with Topping A90 for headphones reviews, because I know that these devices won’t add color to the sound, and it’s a great start for looking for setup synergy.
Highly Recommended.

Gear used during this review for the sake of comparison and as an accompanying equipment:
  • Headphones – Campfire Audio Vega 2020, Craft Ears 4 CIEM,, Dan Clark Ether Flow 1.1, Focal Elegia, HiFiMan Ananda, Meze Advar, Meze Liric,
  • Sources – Astell&Kern SP3000, Chord Mojo 2, Chord Hugo 2, Fiio M11 Pro, HiFiMan EF400, JDS El DAC II, SMSL SP200, SMSL SU9, Topping A90, MacBook Pro 14,
Big thanks to Aoshida-Audio for providing the DO200 mk2 for this review. I wasn’t paid or asked to say anything good or bad about this product, all of the above is just my personal, unbiased opinion. Aoshida-Audio hasn’t seen this review before publishing it.

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Dobrescu George

Reviewer: AudiophileHeaven
SMSL DO200 Balanced DAC - Finest MQA Performance Everywhere
Pros: + XLR Outputs
+ Balanced DAC design
+ Dual DACs
+ MQA Decoding on every input
+ LDAC Bluetooth support
+ Clean USB input
+ Optical Input
+ AES / EBU inputs
+ I2S Input (pretty rare)
+ Clean Sound
+ Good details
+ Price / performance ratio is awesome
Cons: - Dynamics can be a bit soft / not the highest dynamics
- Can be a bit soft in the treble too, good if you want a smooth sound
- Bass quantity is neutral, but fast. Can sound too neutral for some, especially if you come from a warmer DAC
SMSL DO200 Balanced DAC - Finest MQA Performance Everywhere


SMSL DO200 is a high-end balanced DAC priced 490 USD at the moment of writing today's full written review, and it comes with full balanced output, a high number of input interfaces, and the title of being the world's only DAC with MQA support across all its input interfaces. Given its price point, it will be compared to other similarly priced competitors, like Palab M1 Mini (500 USD), Aune S6 PRO (550 USD), and Singxer SDA-2 DAC (700 USD).


I'm starting to get warmed up every single time I review one of those SMSL units, and the store selling them, AOSHIDA, is one of the best there are. In case you don't trust a foreign store to handle your money and products, the store is also active on Amazon, and you should have no trouble finding the best prices as well as wide availability of products with them. SMSL generally provides a unique blend of affordability, yet good quality of construction, combined with good features, making excellent choices, especially for beginner audiophiles. For example, DO200 has more features than most DACs are able to provide around 2000 USD, so the company really likes to tighten the competition for the western producers, the most important aspect right now being the actual sonic performance of the DO200. You should keep in mind that DO200 is made to match perfectly with AO200, the Amplifier made by SMSL, and which I reviewed recently, as well as HO200, a Headphone Amplifier made in the same series, to match aesthetically, as well as functionally with DO200.


With AOSHIDA, we have a really nice 2 year warranty for all products sold by the shop, along with a 50-days return policy for any product purchased from them, in case you're not entirely happy with the purchase. They are also happy to provide help in choosing the best product for your needs, and will not shy away from recommending entry-level priced but well-performing equipment. This is different from most Hifi shops around here that will push the most expensive product, and local shops in Romania like AVstore usually do not carry SMSL products, so AOSHIDA is your best bet for getting reliable warranty, quick shipping and great service for your favorite Chifi products.

It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with SMSL or Aoshida Audio. I'd like to thank Aoshida Audio for providing the sample for this review. This review reflects my personal experience with SMSL DO200. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it. The purpose of this review is to help those interested in SMSL DO200 find their next music companion.


First things first, let's get the packaging out of the way:




The package of DO200 is actually quite nice, and similar in style and fashion to the one we've seen with AO200. We have the same white outer design, that's functional and non-wasteful, made to impress with the contents, and not the outer layers.

Build Quality/Aesthetics/Functionality

Starting with the outer design, SMSL DO200 features a beautiful display, next to the central volume / selection wheel. The whole design matches perfectly with the AO200, and it has a full metallic build, with high quality finish to the entire product. At the back things start to get interesting, as we see some exotic inputs, and even exotic outputs for the price point.

To better understand things, we should mention that DO200 has an ESS DAC chip, or rather two of them, ES9068AS, running balanced, to support the full balanced output. It also uses 5 OPA1612 OP-AMPs, chips that are fairly popular nowadays. It has support for high resolution files, including DSD512, and PCM up to 768kHz / 32 Bit. The USB input is supported by an XU-216 XMOS interface, and DO200 features full LDAC, aptX and Bluetooth 5.0 inputs.


This may not sound that impressive yet, but things start to get interesting when we find out that DO200 is currently the only DAC in the entire world to offer full MQA decoding on all inputs, including USB, Optical, Coaxial, and even on the AES input. We have a nifty remote to control the DAC, and select the input. Although I didn't have the chance to check MQA over the more exotic inputs, I can confirm that it can decode both MQA and Master CD files on the USB input very well. I also want to point out that it is the only full sized desktop DAC that natively supports LDAC and aptX HD. As far as I know, most desktop DACs only have support for SBC and AAC, or aptX HD at most right now. Feel free to leave a comment and point if you know of other DACs that have LDAC and aptX HD right now. All of the Bluetooth communication is handled by the high-end QCC5125 Bluetooth chip, made by Qualcomm.

DO200 has volume control, which means that it has a variable volume output, but that's something positive, as it has one of the clearest and cleanest signals I've heard to date. Usually, when a DAC has volume control, you'd fear of quality loss over the volume, but with DO200 that is not a problem at all.


At the back we have both XLR Balanced outputs, as well as RCA single Ended outputs. We also have AES / EBU inputs, the Bluetooth Antenna, an I2S exotic input, Coaxial input, Optical input, and a USB input. The power input uses a large cattle plug, and has an on-/-off switch, for when you want to make sure you turn down the unit. The remote feels minimalistic, and is kinda cool, light and practical. Although most people seem to hear very little difference between PCM Filters, we have a Slow Minimum, Fast Linear and Minimum Phase filter available to spice up the sound of DO200.

If you want to have DSD or MQA support over the OPtical / Coaxial, you need to enable the processor mode, which basically will use the XMOS processor for the Optical and Coaxial signals, rather than use the DIR or digital receiver chip, as most DACs out there do. I noticed that you need to restart the unit for this to take effect, and it is advised to not change it frequently. There's a DPLL function which basically helps with Jitter and helps avoid interruptions when using poor sources like a TV, but I have not noticed any difference regardless of how I set it up.


You can select normal and inverted I2S modes, which once again is unique to DO200, and most DACs that support this interface do not feature the option to set a specific I2S mode.

The overall specifications are strong too, with a THD of a whopping 0.00008%, and a dynamic range of 129dB over XLR, and 125dB over RCA. The SNR is 128dB, and the output impedance is 100 OHMs, pretty typical for a DAC. If you thought that DO200 would hog power, it consumes just 5W of power, which is quite great for a unit that weighs 1.2 Kilograms.

All in all, I noticed absolutely no issues while using the DO200, all functions work as intended. The interface is fairly snappy, and while you may feel like it is complex, once you read through what each feature does, it all starts making sense. Even better, everything is explained on SMSL's website, which is unique, and most companies do not offer a proper manual, especially online, so I'm grateful for those Chinese companies that do. They all have a style where they don't write a lot of text, but rather offer a ton of photos where they explain things, but those photos are high resolution, so you should have no trouble understanding DO200 and its function.

Sound Quality

A few years ago, when I first heard of an SMSL product, I was not quite that impressed, and it left me wondering how the Chinese market will evolve over time. Today, upon actually healing where we're at in 2021, I am starting to feel a shiver, as it seems like they are going to be a huge threat to the consecrated Western Brands, and with DO200, it feels as if everyone will start to struggle explaining why they are pricing their DACs high, if they can't match with cheaper offerings from the East. I have used DO200 in combination with AO200 and Buchardt S1000DB Speakers, also NHT C3 Speakers, but with a Violectric HPA V340 headphone Amplifier too, together with a HIFIMAN HE6SE, HIFIMAN Arya Stealth, Sendy Audio Peacock, Audeze LCD XC, and Unique Melody MEST MK2 IEMs. opposed to the AO200, which sounded best from its analogue input, DO200 sounds good from all inputs, regardless whether we're talking about the USB, Optical or even Bluetooth, where it has one of the most clear and clean sonic performances out there. In fact, it has, to date, the clearest and most detailed Bluetooth implementation of any desktop DAC I heard, so for those who need a unit to set someplace and forget about, it should be perfect.


The overall signature of DO200 is really clean, crystal clear and dead silent with the noise floor. It is never boring, and fairly musical, has an excellent resolution, without being too bright or harsh. The bass tends to be tight and controlled, and although the dynamics are a bit constrained, it has a quick decay to each musical note, and will present the soundstage wide, with an airy treble. If you need a simpler way to remember the signature, then it is quick, snappy, clean, clear, and has a slightly leaner bass and leaner treble, when it comes to how bitey they are, which is why the dynamics feel a bit on the soft side.


The bass of DO200 is interesting, as it is quick, resolute, and practical. It feels like SMSL does not have a house sound, or their products are engineered to sound different, because where their AO200 felt more potent in the bass, DO200 is neutral, clean and distortion-free. At times, you wish that there was a bit more substance, like a bass boost, but the ideal DAC should never color the sound, and the fact DO200 is very linear is a pro and not a con. It also seems to have a certain tightness to it, so the bass doesn't necessarily lack substance, but rather goes for a tight, clean bass with good nuance. The decay is fairly quick, so DO200 is able to keep up with technical music like technical death metal, fast EDM and Dubstep, and won't smear around the bass or introduce distortions regardless of what you're listening to. The bass feels sharp and deep, dense, but not overbearing in amount.


The midrange of DO200 is clean and detailed, vivid, and very wide. I find it surprising that it has absolutely no background noise, even if you're using the Bluetooth input, which usually induces some loud noise floors in desktop equipment. The pitch-black noise floor is present on all inputs, so you no longer have to fear a high noise floor, like you had with the Mytek Brooklyn DAC+, that made me use Optical more often than USB. You also have the advantage of having a musical, and engaging sound that never feels flat or dull, although the overall dynamics tend to be on the softer side of things. In fact, the stage is not just wide, but also deep.


The treble is clean, airy and brightly open, with good extension up to the highest treble notes. There's a good sense of resolution, without DO200 having any digital glare or unnatural sharpness, and the treble feels smoothly textured, enough so that DO200 never comes through as fatiguing. In fact, this may lead some to call DO200 a bit too conservative, especially if you're used to DACs with a strong bite in the highs. DO200 tends to play music as it is, and as it was recorded, so it may at times feel slightly thinner and more neutral than most DACs, especially if your previous DAC was a smoother or warmer sounding, like Pro-Ject DAC BOX DS.

There is absolutely no loss in quality if you use the Preamp function on DO200, so you don't need to use it as Direct always. There is absolutely no loss in quality when using any of the digital inputs. The XLR outputs sound better than the RCA outputs, and this is shown even on the measurements taken by the company that is selling it to you (you can see it on the official SMSL page).


There are many DACs around this price point, but SMSL DO200 is surely an overachiever, both technically and in design, so I picked some slightly more expensive units too.


SMSL DO200 vs Aune S6 PRO (489 USD vs 550 USD) - The overall function is quite different between the two, and S6 PRO was fine tuned to work best for gaming, enhancing soundstage width, at the cost of depth and potentially sounding slightly digital and bright at times. By comparison, DO200 sounds smoother, more natural, all while having the same amount of detail. DO200 is more musical, and used as a DAC has a smaller soundstage, but better depth and layering, with more instrument separation. Both DACs are very competent, and S6 PRO has a headphone amp as well inside, but it has low power, so S6 PRO won't be able to drive hard to drive planar magnetic headphones, making most sense as a standalone DAC, exactly as DO200. Only DO200 supports MQA on all inputs, and has good MQA support, plus Bluetoth LDAC inputs, I2S, and DSD support.

SMSL DO200 vs Singxer SDA-2 (489 USD vs 700 USD) - SDA-2 actually has a headphone output, which is of a very good quality, so things start to get interesting here, with DO200 having a more snappy, deeper sound, and SDA-2 having a slightly wider sound (if both are used as DACs). SDA-2 supports I2S as an interface, but it doesn't have MQA support on all inputs like DO200, and SDA-2 does not have LDAC Bluetooth input either. In fact, as far as features go, DO200 is much better in every way possible, except the lack of a headphone amplifier. The overall sonic presentation is warmer on SDA-2, which sounds slightly softer than DO200, making DO200 more resolute, with a darker background and a lower noise floor, also with more overall focus on speed and clarity.

SMSL DO200 vs Palab M1 Mini (489 USD vs 500 USD) - Palab M1 Mini is a portable DAC/AMP for IEMs and Headphones, and I introduced it mainly because it has a 4.4mm Balanced output, and because the price is similar to DO200. Comparing the two may feel unfair, since it is quite hard to use M1 Mini as a DAC as well as DO200, and it has a lower number of inputs, but at the end of the day they do similar jobs of processing music. I found DO200 to be more neutral than M1 Mini, which feels smooth and warm, heavier and thicker sounding than DO200. M1 Mini also sounds more fluid, smoother, and has that Mojo-like signature that everyone likes, when driving headphones. This being said, M1 Mini is great if you use it as it comes, and using it as a DAC will result in some unwanted distortion, where DO200 is made to work as a DAC and has a great PRE function and volume control. DO200 sounds more neutral, with a tighter bass, leaner treble, and a quicker overall note decay, making it slightly more technical.

Value and Conclusion

SMSL DO200 has an undeniably excellent value, both for the sonic performance it offers, but also for the overall build quality, and features it has, being one of the easiest to recommend DACs right now, especially if you're an MQA lover or enthusiast.


With a nice package that includes a handy remote, and a display, DO200 is made for those who like to be practical, and unless you're a diehard fan of very simplistic DAC designs, DO200 features far more bells and whistles than most competitors. You need to take a second to think taht there are companies selling DACs worth thousands of USDs that do not have a Bluetooth LDAC input, or a proper working USB / I2S input, and which rely on Coaxial / Optical for their workings.


With DO200, it will have a coherent sound, regardless of the input you're using, and as long as you have some handy XLR Cables, you should be set for fun for years to come. In fact, it is so fun that I will be adding it to Audiophile-Heaven's Hall Of Fame as one of the most competent DACs of today's market.


At the end of today's review, if you're looking for a practical DAC with a remote, volume control, Coaxial, Optical, USB, I2S and AES Inputs, and with a warm and natural sound, then DO200 from SMSL and Aoshida are fully recommended for your next purchase.


Reviewer at hxosplus
A full featured DAC with great sound and excellent measurements
Pros: + Crystal clear and dead silent
+ Musical and not boring
+ Resolving but not analytical
+ Not bright or harsh
+ Tight and controlled bass
+ High resolution Bluetooth
+ Fixed or pre out
+ I2S and AES/EBU
+ Fully balanced design
+ Good build quality
+ Remote control
Cons: - Slightly lacking in dynamics
- Could do with more body
- Decay faster than natural
- Can't follow upstream gear
The DO200 was kindly provided by Aoshida Audio free of charge and I covered import fees and tax.
They never asked for a favorable review and this is my honest and subjective evaluation of it.
All links below are not affiliated and I don't get commission by clicking on them.
The price is $489 an you can purchase it from Aoshida Audio



SMSL is by now, a well known and established brand from China focusing mostly on headphone amplifiers, DACs and Class D stereo amplifiers.
The company is committed to producing value for money products with a rich set of features, excellent performance and top notch measurements.
They have been learning from the past and are attentively listening to customer feedback in order to keep improving.
And this is true because for the past five years that I have been following the brand there is to be observed a steady development regarding craftsmanship and sound quality.

Aoshida Audio

Aoshida Audio is one of the leading e - commerce platforms from China which specializes in providing audio products with excellent service and striving to make continuous improvements.
They offer an authenticity guarantee for everything they sell, lowest price and 2 year warranty plus a 50-day return policy on all the products.

The SMSL xO200 series

The SMSL xO200 series is an exclusive collaboration between the brand and Aoshida Audio to produce some unique and value for money audio products on specifications set after carefully considering the needs of the market.
The first product of the series was the AO200, a small Class D integrated amplifier that I have already reviewed here.
The HO200 headphone amplifier was the second installment of the series (review) and now they have released the DO200 partnering DAC.


SMSL DO200 technical information

Inside the DO200 there are two ES9068AS chips from ESS in a fully balanced configuration with an analogue output stage that utilizes 5 high-end OPA1612 dual op-amps.

The digital signal receiver is the XMOS XU-216, true 32 bit audio processing that supports DoP and Native DSD, with a resolution up to 32bit/768kHz and DSD512.
All interfaces (except Bluetooth) support the MQA decoding function and all inputs (except the Bluetooth) support DSD streaming, including coaxial and optical, although limited to DoP64 for the latter.


An ultra-low phase noise and optimized clock processing circuit are used to achieve ultra-low clock jitter and there is a built-in shielded, low noise power supply with specially designed discrete component linear regulated supply and multiple low noise regulated supplies to provide power for the analog circuits.

The DO200 except for the usual digital inputs (optical/coaxial/USB) has also, the rare to be found at this price point, I2S and AES/EBU audiophile interfaces.

If you are still not happy with all these digital inputs and you hate cables then there is no problem since the DO200 supports wireless connectivity through the Qualcomm's latest Bluetooth 5.0 QCC5125 chip that can handle the high resolution codecs LDAC and aptX HD along with the usual aptX, SBC and AAC.


Build quality and appearance

The DO200 case is made from CNC machined aluminium of medium thickness, which also acts as a shield to block outside any kind of electromagnetic interference.
The craftsmanship and finish are top notch and the device has a minimalistic simplicity with an elegantly beautiful appearance.
Thumbs up here for the design and the build quality.

The AO200, HO200 and DO200 share the exact same appearance and dimensions, so they can be stacked together to make a beautiful and minimalistic sound system to cover both headphones and speakers.

At the center of the front face there is the multifunction button and next to it a tempered glass screen which is used to display the various menus and other useful information like sample rates.
The knob is made from light aluminium and feels a little loose but it gets the job although it is much easier to control the device from the included remote control.

The back is populated with all the inputs and outputs plus the IEC plug and the power switch but as you can see at the attached photo, the positioning is cleverly arranged so it is possible for the user to have everything plugged in simultaneously without a problem even with more bulky, high quality cables.


User interface and functionality

This is a multifunction unit with a lot of configuration options and all the available actions can be performed either from the center switch or even better from the handy remote control that is included inside the box.

You can configure the following


Set the PCM FILTER between three available options Fast Linear/Slow minimum/Minimum Phase

Invert or not the PHASE of the outputs with the following options
ALL Normal/XLR Normal/RCA Normal/ALL Inverted /XLR Inverted/RCA Inverted

Configure the SPDIF MODE, a setting that is only valid for optical/coaxial and AES interfaces.
Only uses the digital receiver chip (DIR) to process the SPDIF signal,
used in most occasions, in this mode supports MQA renderer and DoP playback,
but at this time due to the limitation of the ES9068AS chip, it cannot display the current playing is DoP, and only 176.4kHz input can be displayed. This is normal,
and the internal will still decode DoP and output normal audio.

In this mode DO200 will use the XMOS processor to process the
optical/coaxial signal, so that it can have more powerful computing power and can handle various complex tasks including MQA, DoP, in this mode , Play DoP audio,
the DSD icon will be displayed correctly on the display.

SOUND COLOR which isn't an equalizer since this setting is using the DSP of ES9068AS to make some different sound color and all of these settings will not change the frequency response curve.
There are 9 sound color settings in DO200 - Rich 1/2/3 - Tube 1/2/3 - Crystal 1/2/3
When set to "Standard" this setting will be bypassed.

PRE MODE with two options;
Vol Fixed : In this mode, volume is fixed on max output level, and the DO200 will ignore the volume operations.
Vol Variable: In this mode, volume can be adjusted, and make DO200 a pre-amplifier.

Set the remote control FN KEY between the following values
Switch XLR/RCA
ALL Outputs
Switch Phase

A total of 15 values with the default being 5.
The larger the number is, the stronger the range to adapt to jitter, and the smaller the number, the better the performance against clock jitter.
This DPLL setting is a special function of ESS series products and it can adjust the internal DPLL digital phase locked loop circuit Bandwidth, so that the chip achieves a balance
between anti clock jitter and input tolerance.
When the clock stability of the input signal is good, this value can be reduced so that the clock performance of the system is better.
When the clock stability of the input signal is not good, the sound may be interrupted.
Increasing this value can avoid the sound interruption, for example when using TV as a signal source.

I2S input configuration for matching various sources with the available options between Normal/Inverted, DSD channel and DSD flag.

Lastly we can configure the DIMMER timing, the BRIGHTNESS level and RESET to factory defaults.

Bluetooth connectivity

Bluetooth connection is stable with strong signal and good working range, at least inside the house where I have tested.
You should remember that the transmitter quality is of equal importance in order to achieve the best performance and sound.
Speaking of sound, with the LDAC codec enabled, the loss in quality is minimal and the DO200 is equally enjoyable from the Bluetooth input that many of you will prefer thanks to the ease of use.


Listening set-up and associated gear

Nothing more natural to pair the DO200 with its siblings so I have tested it both with the AO200 and the HO200.
With the AO200 I have used the easy to drive Magnat Signature 703 bookshelf speakers as for headphones I reached for the Sennheiser HD660s, HD8XX, Focal Clear Mg, HiFiMan Sundara and others.
Of course headphone listening wasn't limited to the SMSL HO200 and I have tested the performance with the Schiit Vali 2+ and the Fluxlabs FA-12 among others.
Everything was plugged into an iFi Power station with a DC blocker at the input.


Regarding the digital inputs

After the review was published there were a few readers asking about the digital inputs and if they affect the sound quality.
I have used the DAC with all inputs sans the BNC and sound quality was exactly the same.
And this is something to be expected since they get handled by the same chipset.
So quality mostly depends on the outputs of your transport.
If you have something with better USB out then choose this one or if you have something with a special coaxial output like for example the Allo DigiOne Signature then you better use this one.

Sound impressions

The DO200 is definitely an excellent measuring DAC and you don't need to be an expert and browse into graphs to know, as a few listening sessions are enough to hear the flat and ultra linear frequency response, the exemplary clarity and the complete absence of internal noise.
The sound is very clean with a silent background that helps a lot with detail retrieval which is one of the strongest points of the DO200 which manages to stay resolving but in an effortless and natural way without sounding monotonous or analytical.
To tell you the truth I don't care a lot about measurements and I am mostly interested in how a DAC actually sounds in everyday subjective listening tests because I use my ears and brain and not my eyes to listen to music.
And the DO200 proved to be transparent and stay true to the source material while sounding musical, engaging and not clinical, in a manner that actually connected me to the music and offered great moments of enjoyment.
The timbre is mostly natural and not too digital or artificial so music is portrayed real enough with an extended harmonic palette and great saturation.
The overall presentation is on the lean side and not as full bodied but it never felt lacking in weight and convincing dynamics.
The bass is clear, tight and controlled with good layering and able to resolve in complex and heavily populated passages like the first opening bars of Beethoven's fifth symphony where I was able to hear every last note without compromises.


Mids are openly spacious and although slightly missing in roundness and heft, the listener gets compensated by the fine articulation and the immense effortlessness that allows vocalists and instrumentalists to sing and breathe in glorious grandiose like the opening chorus of Bach's Christmas Oratorio.
If you have been worried till now about the treble being sharp or hot then you should not because rest assured that it is not harsh nor fatiguing or bright even with strident instruments like the baroque soprano recorder.
Higher frequencies have plenty of energy and drive but they always stay under control and sound smoothly enough without losing in extension and sparkle with the only downside being the sense of metallic hue.


While listening to high pitched percussion instruments I noticed that time decay was a little rushed and although not too much as for instruments to sound overly thin, I should have preferred a more natural and relaxed decay.
The soundstage is wider than deep and during listening sessions with the speaker setup I liked very much the spacious and open sound aided by the accurate imaging but I found it lacking in holography and dimensionality something that became pretty obvious while listening to Tchaikovsky's 4th symphony.


Further adjustments and fine tuning to individual preferences can be made with the included DSP and the low pass filters of the DO200 although I stayed with the default bypass mode.


If there is one thing to criticize, although not fair, is that the DO200 can't scale accordingly with upstream gear and a better partnering set up exposes some shortcomings of the design.
But to be honest this is a note on a theoretical basis since I don't see why someone with high end gear would buy the mid priced DO200.

As a final note I should say that I am very happy with the SMSL - Aoshida series and all three products pair well together and can form a great value for money combination system to successfully cover headphone and speaker listening alike.

At the end

The DO200 is cleverly designed to combine good measured performance with satisfying and musical presentation, something that holds true and confirmed during the listening sessions.
If you add the good build quality, the option to go wireless, the extended I/O interface, the multifunctionality and the competitive pricing it easily gets recommended as one of the best options in the sub $500 category and it should definitely be on your shortlist.

Test playlist

Copyright - Laskis Petros 2021
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I have been using a lot and never encountered such issues.
Maybe it is defective? 🤔
Seems like reviewers rank products to fit the price bracket, and to justify the higher priced versions. Don't trust any of these reviews
Words of wisdom....