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SMSL SU-8S MQA Bluetooth 5.0 Full Decoding Hi-Res Audio DAC

$180
$360.00
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+67 Deal Score
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Drop.com has SMSL SU-8S MQA Bluetooth 5.0 Full Decoding Hi-Res Audio DAC on sale for $180. Shipping is free.

Thanks to Staff Member inspirited for posting this deal.

About this Product:
  • DAC: ESS ES9068AS
  • Processor: XMOS 16-core
  • Sampling rate: Up to 32-bit, 768 kHz
  • Output impedance: <10 ohm
  • THD+N: 0.00009%
  • SNR: 126 dB
  • Dynamic range: Up to 126 dB
  • Power consumption: 5 W
  • Bluetooth version: 5.0
  • Bluetooth codecs supported: aptX, aptX HD, AAC, SBC
  • Inputs: Optical, coaxial, USB
  • Outputs: RCA, XLR
  • Dimensions: 7.3 x 6 x 1.5 in (18.8 x 15.4 x 4 cm)
  • Weight: 1.7 lbs (0.79 kg)\

Editor's Notes & Price Research

Written by
  • About this Deal:
    • For reviews of the SMSL SU-8S refer to Headfonics, for audio details & measurements refer to AudioScienceReview.
    • At the time of this posting, Our research indicates that this is $179.99 lower (50% savings) than the next best available options with prices starting from $359.99. -SaltyOne
  • Refer to the forum thread for additional deal discussion.
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Original Post

Written by
Edited June 23, 2022 at 09:05 AM by
SPECS
SMSL
DAC: ESS ES9068AS
Processor: XMOS 16-core
Sampling rate: Up to 32-bit, 768 kHz
Output impedance: <10 ohm
THD+N: 0.00009%
SNR: 126 dB
Dynamic range: Up to 126 dB
Power consumption: 5 W
Bluetooth version: 5.0
Bluetooth codecs supported: aptX, aptX HD, AAC, SBC
Inputs: Optical, coaxial, USB
Outputs: RCA, XLR
Dimensions: 7.3 x 6 x 1.5 in (18.8 x 15.4 x 4 cm)
Weight: 1.7 lbs (0.79 kg)

https://drop.com/buy/smsl-su-8s-dac/
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Created 06-21-2022 at 07:20 PM by inspirited | Staff
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Last Edited by sarcasmogratis June 22, 2022 at 11:38 PM
Additional $20 Discount Code
SUMMEROF22
Thanks to @whodiini and @jamesp66
Questions & Answers BETA
Siba asked this question on 06-23-2022 at 12:16 PM
06-23-2022 at 12:16 PM
It can receive Bluetooth signals, not relay them. I posted a chart a few posts back about the audio formats / resolutions it can handle via BT.
fastsvo asked this question on 06-23-2022 at 01:14 PM
06-23-2022 at 03:42 PM
this will do a good job as part of a 2-channel home theater and should outperform the built-in DACs in any Denon amp. Whether on not you will hear that difference will be based on the level of quality of the rest of your system (i.e. amp & speakers).
LovelyGiraffe4883 asked this question on 06-22-2022 at 11:51 AM
GreyGoat3942 asked this question on 06-23-2022 at 12:09 AM
nickyeah asked this question on 06-23-2022 at 01:15 PM
jciron asked this question today at 02:39 AM

141 Comments

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Featured Comments

Tldr; Yes, this is the best DAC for the price

@lovelygiraffe4883 it depends on who you ask. Audiophiles typically fall into two categories, subjective reviews (people) and objective reviews (measurements).

Objectively this DAC is the best at this price ($180). Below is the audio science review's SINAD scores for all the DACs they've tested.

https://www.audiosciencereview.co...ng.207893/

I checked on Amazon and everything that scored better is more money. You may find a deal, like this one, where something is on sale and beats it in the future though.

Subjectively, this has been well reviewed but you'll need to take it home and listen for yourself.

My take, I just placed an order for one to add it to the collection. This will be my highest rated DAC. If you want to play the subjective game then the one to purchase is the Schiit Modi Multibit, but it goes for ~$350/250 new/used if you can find it.
You need a ***really*** good system or headphones to be able to hear the difference in quality that this DAC provides. For those that can benefit from the quality, this is a very good price. For those who dont need the quality then I would recommend an all in one DAC/AMP unit: Loxjie A30. Its the same price as this but also includes an amp. It also has bluetooth. Sounds great, read the reviews. For most people, the Loxjie A30 would work really well as an all-in-one. I have both the Loxjie A30 for my office system and the SMSL SU-9 for my electrostatic headphones. Seems the SU-8s is a cost reduced version of the SU-9.
Your explanation is a layman's explanation for people who aren't into hi-fi. Here is what is missing…

Different DAC chips can process different bitrate signals. The Apple dongle is only good for CD quality bitrates. MQA (Master Quality Audio) is another standard that an Apple/Google dongle doesn't support… there are loads more of these sampling rates and chances are if you pay for Amazon prime you have access to higher than CD quality music already. If you know what to listen for you can tell a difference easily in dynamic range.

The second reason DAC's matter is because the electronics produce noise. The SINAD graph I provided in an earlier post shows the noise floor of each DAC. What this means is that at a certain dB you'll start hearing distortions, noise, or static. There was a person in an earlier post who described his listening experience as such, he needs a better DAC. This is caused by placement of resistors and capacitors, wire placement, electrical noise from the dc converter…

So while yes the chips produce a pretty tight toleranced digital to analog conversion not all DACs are created equal.

*Edit*
More reasons to purchase this over a dongle DAC…

More and higher quality inputs (LDAC BT, toslink, coaxial…) / outputs (balanced xlr…)

Tone control ( 3 roll off modes and 10 sound color modes)

Remote volume control

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Does this ship international ?
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Quote from LovelyGiraffe4883 :
Does this ship international ?
I live in US so don't know from experience but it appears they do. See: https://drop.com/talk/58443/lets-...e-shipping
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#6
Tldr; Yes, this is the best DAC for the price

@lovelygiraffe4883 it depends on who you ask. Audiophiles typically fall into two categories, subjective reviews (people) and objective reviews (measurements).

Objectively this DAC is the best at this price ($180). Below is the audio science review's SINAD scores for all the DACs they've tested.

https://www.audiosciencereview.co...ng.207893/

I checked on Amazon and everything that scored better is more money. You may find a deal, like this one, where something is on sale and beats it in the future though.

Subjectively, this has been well reviewed but you'll need to take it home and listen for yourself.

My take, I just placed an order for one to add it to the collection. This will be my highest rated DAC. If you want to play the subjective game then the one to purchase is the Schiit Modi Multibit, but it goes for ~$350/250 new/used if you can find it.
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Quote from skhurana :
Tldr; Yes, this is the best DAC for the price

@lovelygiraffe4883 it depends on who you ask. Audiophiles typically fall into two categories, subjective reviews (people) and objective reviews (measurements).

Objectively this DAC is the best at this price ($180). Below is the audio science review's SINAD scores for all the DACs they've tested.

https://www.audiosciencereview.co...ng.207893/ [audiosciencereview.com]

I checked on Amazon and everything that scored better is more money. You may find a deal, like this one, where something is on sale and beats it in the future though.

Subjectively, this has been well reviewed but you'll need to take it home and listen for yourself.

My take, I just placed an order for one to add it to the collection. This will be my highest rated DAC. If you want to play the subjective game then the one to purchase is the Schiit Modi Multibit, but it goes for ~$350/250 new/used if you can find it.
Thanks for your reply, the shiit used does seem to be a good/better option but its lack of ports doesn't make it very appealing. Did the smsl su-9 ever go under 220 ? (I can't see price on drop.com because it's out of stock).
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#8
In the top 20 of all the DACs tested on Audioscience

Really great price

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#9
This is just a DAC. You would still need an amp if you dont already own one. Keep that in mind if you are new to the hobby. Also $180 ish could technically get you a great dac/amp combo provided it has the inputs you need so really depends on what you're after. Otherwise, 180 is a great price for a DAC unit with these specs
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#10
there is also a $20 discount of the price, I think the code is "summer22"
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Can I stack this one with a THX789 amp? My current DAC is modius. Is it worth upgrading?
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#12
You need a ***really*** good system or headphones to be able to hear the difference in quality that this DAC provides. For those that can benefit from the quality, this is a very good price. For those who dont need the quality then I would recommend an all in one DAC/AMP unit: Loxjie A30. Its the same price as this but also includes an amp. It also has bluetooth. Sounds great, read the reviews. For most people, the Loxjie A30 would work really well as an all-in-one. I have both the Loxjie A30 for my office system and the SMSL SU-9 for my electrostatic headphones. Seems the SU-8s is a cost reduced version of the SU-9.
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Quote from jamesp66 :
there is also a $20 discount of the price, I think the code is "summer22"
doesnt work

SUMMEROF22
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Last edited by whodiini June 22, 2022 at 06:09 PM.
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Quote from whodiini :
You need a ***really*** good system or headphones to be able to hear the difference in quality that this DAC provides. For those that can benefit from the quality, this is a very good price. For those who dont need the quality then I would recommend an all in one DAC/AMP unit: Loxjie A30. Its the same price as this but also includes an amp. It also has bluetooth. Sounds great, read the reviews. For most people, the Loxjie A30 would work really well as an all-in-one. I have both the Loxjie A30 for my office system and the SMSL SU-9 for my electrostatic headphones. Seems the SU-8s is a cost reduced version of the SU-9.
Would a pair of Sennheiser 6XX, a pair of Klipsch Fives and a JDS Element II amp qualify as "really good" system that would benefit from this?
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Quote from whodiini :
You need a ***really*** good system or headphones to be able to hear the difference in quality that this DAC provides. For those that can benefit from the quality, this is a very good price. For those who dont need the quality then I would recommend an all in one DAC/AMP unit: Loxjie A30. Its the same price as this but also includes an amp. It also has bluetooth. Sounds great, read the reviews. For most people, the Loxjie A30 would work really well as an all-in-one. I have both the Loxjie A30 for my office system and the SMSL SU-9 for my electrostatic headphones. Seems the SU-8s is a cost reduced version of the SU-9.

^ This. I also own the SU-9 and it's amazing. But a DAC is fine tuning an already good system, it's not going to make your SHP9500s sound like a Focal Clear. If you have a Clear or even an Elex or an Ananda level headphone then a good DAC is a no brainer. Even with an HD600/650/6xx/660S. But with entry level mid-fi and lower....get a cheap all in one.
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