S.M.S.L DP5 Digital Audio Player Review
by SHENZHEN AUDIO on Nov 16, 2020
A Network Digital Audio Player is a device that connects you to a virtually limitless assortment of music. Network audio players are built for the digital age. You can access a wide variety of digital file formats, all optimised for playback using highly efficient sound-enhancing features. The market for Network Digital Audio Players is growing at a very fast pace.
The S.M.S.L DP5, the latest iteration of Network Digital Audio Player from S.M.S.L, is priced at US$599.99. DP5 is an upgrade over the previous DP3, equipped with latest desktop-grade ES9038Pro DAC chip. It is rich with features making it the optimum choice for the consumer looking for a powerful MQA enabled Network Digital Audio Player.
Unpacking it, the device is held within a heavy cardboard box with foam to prevent damage to the unit. There are also a power cord, a remote, a USB cable, an antenna and a manual included. In addition to the screen, there are 5 buttons on the front. With the multi-function knob, you can basically control all the functions of the machine. In addition, there is a 6.35 headphone jack. And the back is quite busy-looking:there are various interfaces on the back of the machine, WIFI 2.4/5g antenna, AES output, line output, balance Output, micro SD card slot, network cable interface, USB 2.0 interface*2, USB square port (input), optical fiber, coaxial, I2S (HDMI), basically covering various application scenarios.
DP5 can be fed with content stored on SD, HDD or pendrive carriers hooked to one of its available ports, and will also gladly accept digital music from i.e. a laptop if used as a DAC connected to it. One can have today’s item operational in network environment through AirPlay, DLNA, Roon or directly stream music to it via BT from a smartphone.In addition when playing music from HiBy app, the album cover, song name, format and other information will be displayed on the DP5 screen.
The product handles all key file formats and types including MQA, and natively digests PCM data up to 32bit/384kHz and 256. Regardless of music intake method, a typical DP5 usage scenario would involve i.e. it married to a pair of active speakers, integrated deck or a line stage. Its regulated analog outs also allow direct connection to a power amp. Alternately, as a storage/streamer exclusively, it can send music via S/PDIF to a separate DAC. The DP5 as a standalone do-it-all with nothing else connected but headphones and a pendrive/SD with music, sounds like a plan too.
DP5 uses the desktop class ES9038 PRO DAC chip, it is one of the best commercial made DAC chip on the market. Thanks to the dynamics and signal-to-noise ratio of 130DB, the sound background of DP5 is very clean, and many weak sounds in the music can be heard. On the three-frequency, DP5 is balanced, and the connection is relatively natural. The high and low frequencies are more prominent than the intermediate frequencies, the sound is transparent, the high frequency extension is good, there is a little overtone, the low frequency is sufficient, there is a certain degree of flexibility, and the dive and looseness are good.
Roon Ready set-up for SMSL DP5: