Dual Sabre ES9068AS + XMOS
Once again, SMSL laid out a balanced design, giving the DO200 no less than two Sabre ESS9068AS DAC. A chip we’ve already encountered in the Astell&Kern Kann Alpha, which promised « ultra-low harmonic distortion and wide dynamic range ».
Upstream, to feed those chips, the brand gifted the DO200 an ARM CPU, paired with an FPGA chip from Altera and a new-generation chip from XMOS, the XU-216. Dedicated to the USB and I2S (HDMI) port, this chip offers full support of 32bit PCM stream, up to 768kHz, and DSD512 files for utmost precision.
With 4 ultra-low distortion precision linear feedback circuits, a custom ultra-low noise power supply, and Texas Instruments capacitors, the DAC is advertised as “noiseless, or almost”. On paper, the SMSL DO200 should be able to match, my Cayin iDAC-6 which remains my personal choice in this price range.
Yet, the “piece of resistance” remains the fully-balanced circuitry. I couldn’t open this device as I didn’t have my iFixit kit at the moment, but from the official pics, you can easily see how clean the build is: blackboard, symmetrical supply lines, topped up by capacitors perfectly aligned and ready to work.
Numbers? With a 32ohm Load, the SMSL DO200 harmonic distortion reaches an abysmal level (0.00008%) while maintaining a high signal-to-noise ratio (128dB). Some DAC outperforms the device in this aspect, but almost none are available in the same price range.
Last but not least, SMSL gave us some measurements and if I couldn’t do the same, RMS Level and scope are always interesting to look at, from an objective point of view. Line level, the DO200 reaches 123dB per channel, with a 0.000066% THD+N ratio.
The SMSL DO200 bundle is fairly good.
Inside the box you have :
- 1x SMSL DO200
- 1x power plug
- 1x Bluetooth antenna
- 1x USB-B cable
- 1x remote (but no batteries)
If the brand packed an RCA cable with the DAC, I’d have given a full mark here.
For the nerdiest one, here are the graphs and full technical data, for the rest, you can go to the next page already.
- Model: SMSL DO200
- Type: DAC
- Output : RCA/XLR
- Input: USB / Optical / Coaxial / Bluetooth / I2S / AES/EBU
- THD: 0.00008% (-122dB)
- SNR: > 128dB
- Output impedance: 100 ohms
- Sampling rate: USB/I2S – PCM up to 32bit/768kHz / DSD512 // Optical/Coaxial/AES – PCM up to 24bit/192kHz / DSD64(DoP)
- Bluetooth : v5.0 – SBC / AAC / aptX / aptX HD / LDAC
- Size : 210mm x 170mm x 40mm
- Weight : 1200g
- Price : $499
The review continues on Page Four, after the click HERE or by using the jump below.
Page 1: About the brand
Page 3: Specifications
Page 4: Sound performances