SMSL VMV D1SE Measurements

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This unit was sent to me for review by Apos Audio.


The SMSL VMV D1SE has quickly become my favourite DAC in the <$1000 price range.
It offers some excellent objective performance, some excellent features for customising your sound, an excellent selection of components and internal design, and most importantly it sounds great!

If you’d like to watch my full review where I discuss the build, design, features and sound you can do so here:

But if you’re looking to find measurements of the DAC, then read on.


Test Setup:

– Audio Precision APx555 B-Series Analyzer with 200kOhm input impedance set unless otherwise specified
– USB Source: Intel PC via ifi iGalvanic 3.0 and iUSB 3.0
– Measurement setup and device under test are running on an AudioQuest Niagara 5000 power supply
– Audioquest Mackenzie XLR and RCA interconnects
– Intona Reference Impedance Characterized USB Cable
– All measurements shown in this post are taken using the Fast Linear filter unless otherwise specified
– All measurements shown are using the balanced output with RCA output disabled unless otherwise specified
– Exact analyzer/filter configurations for each measurement are detailed in the full reports

Full Measurement Reports:

Reports available here:

Dynamic Range (AES17): 126.8dB

SNR: 128.4dB

Noise Level RMS (20-20khz): 1.93uVrms

Noise Level RMS (20-90khz): 3.84uVrms

DC Offset: 1.04mV active, 1.13mV idle

1khz 0dBFS Balanced Out:

At full scale performance is excellent. Quite a ‘hot’ output at 5.18v which may be a little too much for some amplifiers as normal line level is 4v, but you can simply reduce the volume on the DAC by 1-2dB if this is an issue.
Best performance is achieved by reducing vol by 1dB anyway.

1khz -1dBFS Balanced Out:

As well as the standard settings, you also have the option to use one of the ‘Sound Colour’ modes which changes the distortion profile of the DAC.
There are three settings, ‘Tube’, ‘Crystal’ and ‘Rich’, with three strengths of each.
These do NOT change frequency response. They just alter harmonic distortion, with ‘Tube’ adding 2nd order harmonics, ‘Crystal’ adding 3rd order harmonics, and ‘Rich’ adding both 2nd and 3rd order harmonics.


Left: Tube 1, Middle: Tube 2, Right: Tube 3
Left: Crystal 1, Middle: Crystal 2, Right: Crystal 3
Left: Rich 1, Middle: Rich 2, Right: Rich 3

-90.31dBFS 1khz sine (96khz capture bandwidth):

The D1SE has a very high dynamic range and hardly any ultrasonic noise, resulting in exceptionally clean low level signals.

Filter Ultrasonic Attenuation:

Pretty standard filter design, could use external upsampling for better performance, but the stop-band attenuation is very good.

Idle Noise FFT:

THD+N vs Frequency:

20khz AES Filter
40khz AES Filter


Left: -104dB, Right: -108dB
Note: Channel difference here may be due to the output level being right on the edge of the analyzer’s selected input range. Will re-test this later.

Overall very low IMD. Sliiiiiiiiiight ‘ESS Hump’ but almost nonexistant.


With Bandpass Filter
Without Bandpass Filter

Even without the bandpass the linearity is excellent!


Even though this is a single-chip design, crosstalk is exceptionally low.


44.1khz USB
48khz USB

Jitter is very good. DPLL also does a nice job of cleaning up jittery input signals. Not quite as ‘invulnerable’ as some higher end DACs and the source you use should still be taken into account, but it is nice that you can configure this.

D1SE with input fed by APx555 Coax SPDIF.
10uS 1khz sine Jitter added to signal.
Left: PLL = Min, Middle: PLL = 7 (default), Right: PLL Max

Can see that the lower the number, indeed the more effectively Jitter is removed. Though confusingly ‘Min’ is actually the strongest setting.



Some evidence of switching noise out past 100khz, but quite low level.

Measurement summary:

The D1SE is clearly a well designed product with some great objective performance. It’s also quite configurable in many ways and also has a good internal USB solution. So whilst I2S is very nice to have and if you’ve got a good DDC it may be worth trying on this, it certainly is not in need of it like some other DACs.
To me the D1SE sounds great, and objectively there’s pretty much nothing to fault so regardless of if you’re looking for a DAC for objective or subjective reasons it has a high recommendation from me.

8 thoughts on “SMSL VMV D1SE Measurements”

    • I’ve just got my VMV D2 and oh my god I love it
      I’m done now I’m just going to sit back and listen to the music

  1. Great Review!! I’m torn between the SMSL VMV D1SE and the Denafrips Aries II. Don’t know which one to go for. This is my first DAC that I plan to purchase while beginning my journey into the audiophile world.

    • I couldn’t believe my luck I got a great used VMV D1SE for $500 Canadian delivered. After over 30yrs in audio it put a smile on my face. I plugged the dac into The Kinki EXM1 in balanced mode and took about 100hrs to run in the cables. Fast, with unbelievable dynamics and synergy with my own built custom 3-way. Had settings off for DAC and the timber was so live sounding. Listening to Jazz and Spanish acoustic and piano higher quality tunes on Tidal and from computer hard drive. Black back ground was astounding on speed of stops and starts.
      I’ll keep awhile and digital has come a long way.

  2. Hi excelent review. Just one question, as a preamp for my amp, is it any good. I have a Parasound zpre3 (entry level) and think is a weak link on my chain. Thanks really for your hard work!!!!

  3. I have treble issues that mess with my head nerves. Would you say this is less harsh or warmer? sound. I think I would like a warmer sound. I’m looking at this DAC the SMSL SU-9 and the SMSL SU-8S, SMSL DO200, LOXJIE D50, LOXJIE D40, SMSL M500 MK2, and the SMSL VMV D1SE or the SMSL SU-9N. I stream music with Tidal and never heard MQA but would like to have. I have an SMSL SP200 Amp with Hifiman Ananda and soon will get Focal Clear or Elex.


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