SMSL M8A (ES9028Q2M)

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by vaki, Mar 30, 2017.
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  1. Triplefun
    Note that to process DSD upsampling you need a decent CPU and clean processing environment to do it properly. I think a lot of issues people are experiencing has more to with limitations with their systems than the DSD upsampling. If you want to try something different I highly recommend you give Daphile ( a go. It is free, can be loaded from a USB stick, runs in memory, does not disturb your windows environment, and being Linux is very efficient in its processing. Also it does not require specialised drivers and supports a wide range of DACs out of the box. Well worth a try.
    chongky likes this.
  2. chongky
    I'm talking about DSD being 1 bit, and not about the DAC. It's true all Delta sigma dacs nowadays are multibit, but DSD still remains a 1 bit audio format.
  3. chongky
    To experience true native DSD, you need a DAC that can decode DSD, and select native DSD files. This means recordings that have not been mixed or edited to go through the "PCM narrow" processing. In other words files which are one take studio recordings or live recordings (mostly classical).

    I've heard native DSD recordings of country music and classical music, and I must say the country music file was particularly uncanny in its realism. Something is gotten right in native DSD, was it the lack of filters and processing, I don't know...But subjectively I actually prefer native DSD over most PCM files, especially when the DSD sampling rate is high. But of course it's all subjective, it's hard to argue that native DSD recordings are hard to come by, most have already been adulterated by the PCM processing.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2017
  4. Jimster480
    Yes that is true, its 1-bit at a very high sample rate.
  5. yangian
    Yeah, I see. I don't know my DSD files are native DSD or not. Anyway, I don't have many DSD files. So I don't think a native DSD DAC is imperative to me. I can wait for when I want to update my whole system, when native DSD files might be popular or something much better will have poped up.
    Jimster480 likes this.
  6. DjBobby
    Received yesterday M8A in addition to my now almost 2 years old M8. After careful listening forth and back, I am convinced that M8A is really an improvement over the old M8. Using headphones the difference is subtle, but used in a big system with an amp and the floor-standers it can be really heard very clearly.
    The first thing which springs to my mind is dynamic. M8A sounds more dynamic, more engaging and more foot tapping then the M8, which sounds flat, dull and slightly veiled. Also M8A seems to be less harsh up and goes a little bit deeper down, with some more warmth at the bottom. Listened to some brass dominant music and M8A is more forgiving than M8. It is of course not a night a day difference which will will leave you open mouthed, but it's definitely there. Both were used with the P1 linear supply.
    I'll keep them both for now. M8 connected to a tube amp, to be used only with headphones, where the difference is not so big, and M8A connected to my home stereo system, where it's advantage comes through quite clearly.
    In the next stage I will make some comparisons against the Mojo.
    Matias and Katji like this.
  7. Jimster480
    I'm not sure where you get that from.
    I a/b tested over and over again for weeks.... even on technical tracks with very subtle microdetails I couldn't tell any difference.
    Additionally the M8A measures worse than the M8.... so there is that too.
  8. DjBobby
    M8 was measured by the SMSL. So like many of the companies do, they might have boasted the specs. M8A was measured by the Japan Audio Society, which might be more accurate and realistic.
  9. wwmhf
    Also, sometimes measurements do not tell us anything about how an equipment sounds. A tube amp usually has a horrible measurement in distortion, but many people prefer a tube amp to a solid state amp even though a solid state amp can easily beat a tube in distortion measurement.
    GChief likes this.
  10. pasa
    I just received my SMSL M8A today and my initial impressions are "wow". Very smooth and extended. I am running a microRendu>USPCB>SMSL M8A.
    Jimster480 likes this.
  11. Jimster480
    Well yes and no, people prefer tube amps but they do sound worse in terms of details in many cases.
  12. mvneufeld
    Jimster480, I'm a little late to the party here, but at this point do you still recommend the SMSL M8A over the Mimby or the Topping D30? I have a SMSL Sanskrit 6th that I'm using with a headphone amp and I'm thinking about returning it and getting the M8A (or an M8 and spend the $50 I save on a Breeze Audio LPS...)

    Anyone else's opinion is also welcome!
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2017
  13. GChief
    Because what people hear and like is subjective. We tend to forget that in this hobby.
  14. mvneufeld
    Wait, this is not a religion???
  15. GChief
    Kind of for me, but that gets twisted more than audio talk.:ksc75smile:
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