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  1. #1

    Chinese Ebay DAC... any good?

    Hey guys, I came across this Chinese Ebay DAC (S.M.S.L. 1955+; I don't want to link it because the Ebay links go dead after a while, but Google will find it) and I was wondering how it compares to other options on the low end (specifically: Schiit Bifrost, Cambridge DACMagic 100, and Peachtree DACit)?

    This would be my first standalone DAC (I was previously using an HK 3490, but it's gone staticky so it's out for now), here is the rest of my system:

    Squeezebox Touch fed FLAC, AAC, and MP3 files from a Qnap NAS
    Pioneer Elite A-35R
    Wharfedale Evo2-8 speakers

    I'm currently using the analog out on the Squeezebox, and it sounds a bit thin, although this may also be the different amp.

    What do you guys think?

  2. #2
    Thou know'st we work by wit, and not by witchcraft iago's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtk View Post
    Hey guys, I came across this Chinese Ebay DAC (S.M.S.L. 1955+; I don't want to link it because the Ebay links go dead after a while, but Google will find it) and I was wondering how it compares to other options on the low end (specifically: Schiit Bifrost, Cambridge DACMagic 100, and Peachtree DACit)?
    With Chinese DACs you normally get what you pay for. That means they are not crap, but you should also not make the mistake of comparing them to equipment which is 3-5 times more expensive.
    Primary ::= Nabla music server | Mutec MC-3+USB w/ Temex LPFRS-01 RB clock | WLM Gamma Reference DAC; Secondary ::= Nabla music server | WaveIO | PrismSound Lyra

  3. #3
    Just a poor ole country boy sjoc2000's Avatar
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    Hello jtk, welcome;

    If you can afford to throw away $100 in the event that it is no good, then go for it.

    But if not, then why not save a few bucks and buy some of the lessor expensive Dacs recommended here, Dragonfly? Possibly one of the good people here will stop buy and recommend a few others.

    Good Luck,

    Jim
    PC (J River-Jplay) > USB > Mytek 192 - DSD > XLR > Adcom GFP-750 Pre > XLR > Emotiva XPA-5 > Snell C/V's (bi-amped) / Klipsch Sub <100 Hz

  4. #4
    Thanks guys, this is about what I figured.

    sjoc2000, I would get the Dragonfly but I actually have nothing in my setup that will connect via usb. I know the SBT can be made to do this, but I'd just as soon use one of the digital outs.

    Also, I may hook up my blu-ray player for use as another source, and I'd like to run that through the DAC too.

  5. #5
    Ph.D. Level Member Paul R's Avatar
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    The PeachTree DAC*IT is a really safe recommendation, and it is a made in heaven match for a Touch.

    There are many others, and I bet at least three or four show up the week announced at the Rocky Mountain Audio Faire.

    Yours,
    -Paul



    Quote Originally Posted by jtk View Post
    Thanks guys, this is about what I figured.

    sjoc2000, I would get the Dragonfly but I actually have nothing in my setup that will connect via usb. I know the SBT can be made to do this, but I'd just as soon use one of the digital outs.

    Also, I may hook up my blu-ray player for use as another source, and I'd like to run that through the DAC too.
    Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.
    Robert A. Heinlein

  6. #6
    Bitter jaded dream-crusher wgscott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul.Raulerson View Post
    made in heaven
    As in the Heavenly Gates of Peace?

  7. #7
    Bitter jaded dream-crusher wgscott's Avatar
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    Dragonfly is a good investment of $250. I have one in my office connected to AudioEngine A2

  8. #8
    Thanks! I'm thinking the DAC*it is my first choice right now. I'm going to see if I can find one in a store to listen to.

  9. #9
    From my personal experience, I suggest we do not underestimate Chinese made DACs. Couple years ago I listened to several DACs from Chinese brands, none of them were $100 DACs, but still very inexpensive vs. European and US brands, and they competed very well in the budget price territory. Amongs those were Yulong, Audio-GD and some others. The best one I really liked was Matrix Mini-I for $300+. I had it back to back with Rega DAC, Arcam and Dac Magic. All I can say it's performance and sonic signature was absolute the same as Rega DAC, which is $1000.
    Main system: Music Server (Win 7/64+Foobar+JPlay) -> Furutech GT2 USB Cable -> Audiolab M-DAC -> Plinius 9200 (Chord Anthem interconnects) -> ATC SCM 40 w/Kimber Kable 8TC speaker cables

  10. #10
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    Try the coax out of the Touch to the Pioneer before buying another dac. I'm not a big fan of the Touch dac. I found the sound thin. Much better as digital out. If your still not satisfied then start looking at dacs.
    Family Room: Panny TCP65S2, Panny BDP-55, DTV HR-24, SB Touch, Schiit Bifrost Multibit, Yamaha RX-V3900, Emotiva XPA-3, Rocket NM 550's, Rocket 150's, X-CS, UFW-10, Harmony 700.

    Computer Room: Dell laptop, Uptone Regen Amber, Schiit Bifrost Multibit, Decware SE84C+, Zu Omen, ALO National, Mr.Speakers Mad Dog headphones

  11. #11
    My concern with spending that amount on a Chinese DAC is the support after the fact. I'd prefer to deal with a manufacturer that doesn't take 3 weeks to send stuff to (not that I think it would break, but you never know).

    The Pioneer doesn't have a digital input (it's the old integrated amp, not the newer AV receiver with the similar model number) but when the HK 3490 worked correctly, the DAC in that definitely sounded better than the Touch DAC. That's why I'm looking now.

  12. #12
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    I would not automatically eliminate Chinese dacs. Audio-gd is highly regarded. Grant Fidelity out of Canada handles a Chinese dac that is well received, and GF's customer service is top-notch. But I'd go up the ladder a little in price. If you're trying to pinch pennies, you might look for a used Emotiva XDA-1. It only does 16.44.1 from usb, but I use mine with the coax out from my SBT and I think it sounds really good. Emotiva has a new dac coming out and XDA-1's should become readily available on the used market for under $200. You can use the EDO plug in on your Touch and go with the Dragonfly for $250. Peachtree's DAC*IT and Schiit Bifrost also are highly recommended by some. With the Touch you don't need hirez usb, so you might look for an older, used upscale dac. Lots of options.
    Family Room: Panny TCP65S2, Panny BDP-55, DTV HR-24, SB Touch, Schiit Bifrost Multibit, Yamaha RX-V3900, Emotiva XPA-3, Rocket NM 550's, Rocket 150's, X-CS, UFW-10, Harmony 700.

    Computer Room: Dell laptop, Uptone Regen Amber, Schiit Bifrost Multibit, Decware SE84C+, Zu Omen, ALO National, Mr.Speakers Mad Dog headphones

  13. #13
    Calyx Femto Matias's Avatar
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    Emotiva, Xindak and Audio-Gd come to mind as some famous chinese DACs. I have a 100usd Zero DAC 2009 with OPA627 in my office, I once compared it with a Benchmark DAC1 USB I had, and found the Zero to be somewhat worst but still very close!