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Massdrop SMSL VMV D1 Dual ESS9038Pro DAC

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I am starting this new topic on my Massdrop SMSL VMV D1 DAC featuring dual ESS9038Pro chip.

It is in burning in stage.. I will be comparing it against the iFi iDSD Micro BL

SW will be Win10 Pro , WinServer 2019 Data Center Core Mode/Audiophile Optimizer 3.0Beta

End points used: Fanless minipc 8550u and Cherry Trail Minix Neo fanless minipc And SOTM SM200 Ultra Neo



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Image from the Web!

1. Initial impressions: Packing.. Double box with the unit in its fabric bag snugly fitted into foam packaging blocks.. Almost bullet proof 

2. Nicely machined aluminum remote. the key to remove and tighten the battery lid is plastic🤔 Won't last that many times before wearing out the two prongs.


3. To it test in case of warranty returns . downloaded the XMOS USB driver. Hooked it up to an old laptop and hooked up a portable Hp amp and some earphones!! Everything worjed like a charm ! Ran Hqplayer on Win10..  Dsd512/PCM 768khz all showed up w/o issues.


4. Installed it into my main system in lieu of my iFi iDSD Micro BL.. fed by a SOTM SM200 Ultra Neo and a 6700k HQPlayer server on WinServer2019DataCenter Core /AO Beta 3

Installed the Xmos 4.70Usb driver on the Hqplayer Server same as for the old laptop.. Sotm Sm200 runs their linux Eunhasu OS recognizes my iFi iDSD Native up to Dsd 512! No need or no way to load usb drivers

Problems immediately??

ON NAA network streaming mode...

No Dsd at all?? Only PCM 768 shows up.. 

When i put the settings to DSD/DOP .. DSD now shows up,,,

But only up to Dsd 256 for 44.1k AND 48k????

What is going on?

Music plays ok in both Dsd 256 rate families!


5. Went direct USB fron HQPlayer Server to D1 DAC!

EUREKA!! Dsd512 for bith 44.1 and 48 k families  show up!

Music played flawlessly on DSD512 44.1k sbd even plays 48k rate(I hv to confirm this if stuttering happens for Dsd 513/48k) but on the polysinc xtr-2s /ADSM 512 setting for 44.1 k flawless ! 

SQ as I know well is inferior to the NAA mode.

6. Next test.. pulled out my Minix Neo fanless minipc NAA . running Win10Pro and loaded the XMOS 4.7 USB driver .

7. NAA mode.. AH😊 Dsd /44.1 and 48 k shows up native mode(NOT DOP) 🤔 But NO DSD512???

Conclusion XMOS 4.7 driver from SMSL can only do DOP in Linux or SOTM does not fully support XMOS native DSD mode? 


Will follow up with SOTM dealer Monday🤔🤔



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It does support Native DSD 512 in Linux, problem is you need a kernel that's at least 4.18 that has the "XMOS detection code", otherwise as you see it gets DOP DSD 256.  This applies to ALL XMOS gen 2 devices that don't have their codes "prefixed". 


As for my own SMSL D1 - its hard to say what broken in lately, but its now leaving my previous T+A DAC 8 DSD "in the dust" so to speak. 


Problem is, I've changed quite a few things on the way (ATL LPSU could have broken in?  NUC7I7DNKE broken in?), but haven't fiddled with much in a month yet its "stepped up" all by itself.  Didn't fiddle as it was sound very very fine as is.  Nice problem to have.

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Latest update: 

Loaded 4.56 Eunhasu OS from SOTM audio document download site.

Burnt into a new 16gb microsd and swapped out the 4.22 OS microsd.

Powered up and pressed the Setup Configuration symbol under the HQPlayer NAA mode.

It asked if you want to install the HQ NAA. Press Yes. 

I waited and the HQ NAA mode became Active.

Just to be sure, I powered down and powered up again.


This did 2 things. SOTM must have added the new settings under XMOS USD latest settings as indicated by @guiltyboxswapper above. I emailed support at SMSL and their reply was also to send me a link to download the latest plug - in for Linux. But it may work for a Endpoint running linux but does not work for the SOTM SM200 Ultra series.


Now I power up the HQPlayer Server. Hey presto! The SOTM SM200 Ultra Neo shows up linked to the USB Gen 2 DAC under NAA.

Under Settings, DSD mode shows up as NATIVE!!!

Dsd 256/512 all available (i think for 48k sample rate too.- I have to double check)


I press play DSD 512 - Stutters. Alright - My system is underpowered for a NAA mode for this. 
So I select DSD 256 for either 44.1 or 48k - Plays OK
BUT stuttering is evident and seems to be worse at the beginning of the first track. Seems to stabilize as the music plays on. I will need to do extended testing to verify this.


SQ is good. I have not done 4.22 to 4.56 comparison so hard to say. But to have my new SMSL VM D1 Dac on DSD Native was a relief.


Back to the SMSL VM D1 SQ


It has been powered up for 10 days now, Played about 20 hours of music.


Functionality wise, 

1. Set it to Asynch on the CLock mode

2. Cut off PCM at 70khz 

3. Cut off DSD at 100khz

4. Vol fixed mode

5. Sound Output Mode  - I tried Crystal - As it says Crystal CLedar with i feel digital hard edge of the ESS chip sound. Switched back to the TUBE sound out - There are 3 modes Tube 1, 2 and 3. Chose Tube 2 and sticking with this for the moment.


Observations with my Headphones.

1. Using the Sennheiser HD800 - It seem to miss the Xbass Boost of the iFi iDSD Micro BL Lower Registers a bit thinner. But this is because the bass bloom of the iFi is not in the circuit. SQ in the lower registers is there. Overall SQ is really good

2.. Switched to my Hifiman HE560 - The lower registers really shines through. On the OMG Not that Tune again... Hotel California --- The Tom Tom in the opening bars - Wow the head slam from the Tom Tom is really something to experience. 

This SMSL VM D1 Power Supply is really Strong and powerful.

I tried Sultans of Swing on Dire Straits Greatest Hits. The bass guitar and drums on the opening bars was really tuneful. Makes me want to play my Air Guitar and AIr Bass to join in. It was FUN!


3. To illustrate the point about the D1 Power Supply. I have DIY a special RCA to 4 pin XLR wire harness to connect my HPs to Preamps and my iFi iDSD Micro before I set up my various Resistor boxes to hook up my HPs to the speaker output taps on my various Tube Power Amps.

So I connected my Senn HD800 to the D1 RCA output . Put the Volume on Variable.

Hey I had music . Loud and clear. 
It was perfectly acceptable compared to any normal Headphone Amp under say 1k USD.

But compared to the punch and richness of tone using the speaker taps of my 300b monoblocs is of course Not There.


More to Come.

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Using the Minix Neo Cherry Trail minipc as a NAA. 

1. Autorate family ASDM7+512 polysinc xtr-2s 

press play on a 44.1khz album 

AND it played at 24mhz (48k family Dsd 512) w/o stuttering 

The New Xmos USB card in the SMSL VMV  D1 DAC is fantastic ( i have only a 6700k with a GTX970!!!!)

And I had a 3db bass boost 10hz to 750hx using  the REW 192khz mono bi-channel settings in ON setting👍

Unbelievable DAC 

Just a short note on Sound Output Settings of the DAC

See my posting on Massdrop https://www.massdrop.com/buy/smsl-vmv-d1-dac/talk/2369930

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