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SMSL SU-8 vs JDS Labs El Dac

  1. ls13coco
    Hey all, having a bit of an issue deciding on a dac but I've narrowed it down to these too, aside from the Airist Audio R2R that I'm waiting on another drop for.

    I don't necessarily need another dac, I'm interested in a R2R for sure though but I'm looking now as I'm running into an issue of having too many amps with only one dac. I also don't want to be running multiple splitters.

    So, if anyone has experience with both of these dacs and could share some impressions, pros/cons, that would be greatly appreciated! :)
  2. prymortal
    I have a little experience, I'm just going to say first Just get the Sdac from Massdrop, it might not be the best, but sound wise it makes a decent filler Dac until you can get the one you want!
    But yeah El Dac limited experiance i wasn't a fan personally, It's not just of the Dac but the Chip in general all Dac's i've heard using the AK4490 have a "off tone" in the highs that my ears pick up, its to soft & unnatural sounding So obviously i'm not the best person to advise on it but here goes: softer sound, clear & fairly detailed sound.
    The SU-8 well more familar with using it right now, Sharp but natural sound, Clear & Detailed. (Fast linar/Standard) Only downside is it has a lot of options, my advice leave it on factory settings.
    ls13coco likes this.
  3. So.Seven
    Apologies I have no experience with both but still have thoughts to share!

    I agree with prymortal except I think depending on your budget you may want to go for something more upper end so you don't end up feeling the 'need' to upgrade as often later on.

    If you are still wanting one of the two post title dacs, I suggest checking out more reviews and (nobody beat me) also actual statistical values. BOTH objective stats AND subjective sound impression are important. Now, how important each is depends on you.
    ls13coco likes this.
  4. ls13coco
    You do make a good point.
    I also read very often that there isn't really an audible difference is most decent AKM or ESS dacs and I do have a decent dac already, so I am kind of leaning towards the idea that I should just wait and get a R2R dac as my second dac instead of adding another that has less difference about it than what I already own.
  5. So.Seven
    And thus it seems a decision has been reached! But anyway, yes I think that would be what I'd do. For example, I have an ifi iDSD black micro that can be used on the go. Now my next upgrade can be any home-use only dac/amp or combo unit because I can justify the ifi as being for portable use heh. Although of course, I want to upgrade to something with noticeable improvements and not a side grade.

    Be sure to post up what you think when you get it!
    ls13coco likes this.
  6. ls13coco
    I will definitely post impressions/comparisons when I get one. I have a fair few amps so it will be fun discerning a difference, especially as many people can't seem to differentiate DACs, but a R2R has the most unique architecture.

    So far I'm leaning towards the Airist Audio R2R on "Drop" pending reviews once people finally receive theirs, also depending on next drop. :)
  7. marka250
    both bad, get the schiit modi multibit!
  8. buke9
    I for one didn’t have the same experience with the EL Dac that @prymortal had I found it to be a very good dac not “soft” at all. Went to a meet at JDS Labs and my Yggdrasil had a broken usb connector and they graciously loaned my a EL for the meet and I found nothing at all wrong with it as the best I can say as it didn’t get in the way of the music at all. If it were soft my Amps and Sounds Kenzie would have let me know that and also was just as good with my Cavalli Liquid Carbon all in all a fine dac that does what it needs to do.
    Have not heard the Airist R2R dac but really liked the Heron 5 headphone amp it was really nice with the HD-800’s. For R2R dacs you might have a look at Audio GD they make some really nice stuff and the the old DAC-19 was also good but no longer made.
    Another dac is the Khadas Tone board people on Reddit just go crazy about it as it measures so good but haven’t heard it myself but it is in my Amazon cart so for $99 might give it a shot and see if it as good as they say it is a open board thing meant for a Raspberry PI or something similar I guess.
    It’s your money so do what you want to do no harm in waiting.

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