SMSL M400 MQA DAC
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KPzypher

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Surprised there's no dedicated thread for the M400 DAC.

I have the D90 (MQA) for my desktop setup, and I like it so much I wanted something similar for my main rig. Thought about getting another D90 but figured i'd try something different with similar specs/function/measurements/price. Seems like M400 is a perfect match.

So I just ordered one of these.

Where are all the owners of M400?
Care to share some thoughts? Not opposed but don't really care much for sound impressions. I think it's silly the way some folks describe DACs as if they're describing HPs. I want to know more about features/functions/build quality, what users like/dislike, or any glaring software/hardware/design issues that can hamper performance.

apos-audio-s-m-s-l-dac-digital-to-analog-converter-smsl-m400-mqa-dac-digital-to-analog-convert...jpg
apos-audio-s-m-s-l-dac-digital-to-analog-converter-smsl-m400-mqa-dac-digital-to-analog-convert...jpg
Product page
 
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]eep

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Itooks great and probably sounds great to. I was actually considering it, but what matters for me is the sound. Yes, there is a difference in soundquality. Now I don't want to step on anyone's toes, but that matters a lot more when played over speakers than it does over headphones. Frankly, I have trouble hearing differences over headphones because I can't tell the soundstage. With my planar I prefer my NOS R2R DAC over my delta sigma because of the absence of artificial detail. It's just a little bit more natural and subdued (as consequence of lack of artificial sparkle, but that doesn't mean lack of detail or information).

However, the M400 probably betters my 9038q2m, probably sweeter. The reason why I choose the Denafrips Ares II is it betters everything I have plus it has everything I need. I thought about it and decided I'm not going to need MQA and my current 9038q2m work great for daily use watching TV and casual listening. So this is a personal choice based on pragmatic as well as theoretic reasons as well as experience with R2R. I think it's a beautiful piece of kit that has it all and looks great.
 
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theveterans

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If you get the M400, do you have issues with PCM playback clicks after switching from DSD?
 
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KPzypher

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If you get the M400, do you have issues with PCM playback clicks after switching from DSD?
I should have mine on Monday. Will let you know regarding PCM playback issue.
 
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smsl mandy

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KPzypher

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KPzypher

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Found this at my doorstep today, way ahead of schedule. Ordered it from APOS on Tuesday and arrived in three days. Impressive.
With that being said, I can tell it's an open box. Way too much fingerprints on the glass top and the front screen. It's disappointing.

Quick initial impression.

Haven't had time to do any critical listening but a few things i'm already noticing.
The volume/menu dial is wobbly and feels cheap. And the rubber feet on the bottom is uneven and makes the whole unit wobble on flat surface.
Overall build quality is less stellar than the D90. For $800, I expected a bit more finesse. I'm also not sure about the glass top. Beside it being a finger print magnet, not sure how it'll hold up to interference.

USB is quiet. No discernible noise/interference. Glad its got the fixed volume option like the D90. Menu is straightforward and easy to navigate.

Firmware update was a pain in the butt, and even after a successful upload, still shows the old FW ver. Gonna have to revisit this later.

20200703_151559.jpg
20200703_151607.jpg

Here's a quick size comparison with the D90. A bit narrower but deeper. It's a square box compared to the more rectangular shape of the A/D90.

20200703_151042.jpg

Once I get some time to sit down and listen without being rushed, I'll report back with additional findings.
 
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KPzypher

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KPzypher

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If you get the M400, do you have issues with PCM playback clicks after switching from DSD?
So far, I'm not noticing any PCM playback clicks switching from DSD64
 
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KPzypher

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@smsl mandy,

Even after a successful upload, the unit still shows the old V2.05 firmware. I tried downloading the 2.06FW from the SMSL website, and the file will not extract (compressed folder empty). Any ideas?
FW update.jpg
@smsl mandy , nevermind. Got it.
 
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]eep

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so, what was the problem? Zip was newer version than your software? You might want to share that in case someone else makes the same mistakes. You're not dumb for making a mistake, it's the best way to learn.
 
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KPzypher

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EDIT1: After further listening, the RCA out seems to be cleaner than the ones on the D90. I haven't tested the XLR yet, but overall, the unit is squeaky clean with zero noise. And I really like the form factor. Also, unlike the D90, it runs really cool, which is perfect for a desktop use. If SMSL introduces a matching HP amp, I will definitely purchase one.
 
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KPzypher

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so, what was the problem? Zip was newer version than your software? You might want to share that in case someone else makes the same mistakes. You're not dumb for making a mistake, it's the best way to learn.
I had to download additional files from SMSL website, which I had trouble unpacking. I also ran into some issues running the JL lite software, where it would stop responding mid-way thru the update. I had to rerun the program several times.
 
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