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AOSHIDA SMSL C200 Review (DAC & Amp)

Rate this DAC & HP Amp

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 7 2.9%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 1 0.4%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther

    Votes: 45 18.8%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 187 77.9%

  • Total voters
    240

Wolven

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That’s just the pre-amp function, you’re adjusting the DAC output voltage, not the headphone amplifier stage.
I see, so the two are separate. At what value do you normally put the pre-amp output voltage, 1-99?
On my topping dx3pro I always had it in pure DAC mode, no voltage adjustment.
 

Merkurio

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I see, so the two are separate. At what value do you normally put the pre-amp output voltage, 1-99?
On my topping dx3pro I always had it in pure DAC mode, no voltage adjustment.

I don’t have a C200 yet (my last DAC/Amp was precisely a DX3 Pro too), but if you want the full DAC output, I suppose you need to leave it at the maximum setting, 99.
 

Wolven

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I don’t have a C200 yet (my last DAC/Amp was precisely a DX3 Pro too), but if you want the full DAC output, I suppose you need to leave it at the maximum setting, 99.
I had it at 99, but read something of it being better to decrease that by 6db. Of course I thought I was adjusting volume not pre-amp voltage.
I think it sounds better at 93, not blind tested.
 

Merkurio

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I had it at 99, but read something of it being better to decrease that by 6db. Of course I thought I was adjusting volume not pre-amp voltage.

I think it’s better to leave it at maximum to get the same results of the review’s measurements, since if you go down from 99 to 93 for example, you would no longer be getting a full 2V output (or a full 4V if you use TRS) as the review shows.
 

Wolven

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I think it’s better to leave it at maximum to get the same results of the review’s measurements, since if you go down from 99 to 93 for example, you would no longer be getting a full 2V output (or a full 4V if you use TRS) as the review shows.
Got it, back to 99 it is.
 

xaviescacs

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I've been using this devices for some days.

- Screen is readable from any distance. The fat it displays the sample rate is a shame, specially if your volume setting is near to the actual sampling rate, 48 in my case, because it's quite easy to forget is not the volume what you are looking at.

- Low and High gain only works for headphones, both balanced and unbalanced. Manual and website aren't clear on this.

- Gain setting and output setting, headphone or line, is controlled by relays.

- Remote works well from any direction.

- Power on headphones is quite good. It indeed, as specs say, has a bit more power than the Sabaj A10h. For the AKG 271 the Sabaj was a bit low.

- I feed it exclusively with toslink from TV, and until now it works perfectly.

- Construction is very solid
 
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mrlb

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Do these DAC's have an option for auto on/off when a signal is valid? Can't see anything in the manual or marketing so I'm guessing not. Unless it's not advertised.
 

Neutronman

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Wondering if it's worth upgrading from my Fiio K5 pro with AKM dac? I was kind of thinking about a small upgrade. The Fiio K5pro Ess version, the Topping DX3 pro + or this Dac/amp. Thera are all the same cost.
I'm listening to Flac on PC and Spotify via desktop app... I have a new pair of Hifiman 400se headphones.
So is it worth selling my current Fiio K5pro?
If yes them what Dac/amp will give me best bang for buck....
 

Wolven

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Do these DAC's have an option for auto on/off when a signal is valid? Can't see anything in the manual or marketing so I'm guessing not. Unless it's not advertised.
Does not look like it with SMSL C200 my Topping does have auto. I keep forgetting to turn it off.
 
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xaviescacs

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Wondering if it's worth upgrading from my Fiio K5 pro with AKM dac? I was kind of thinking about a small upgrade. The Fiio K5pro Ess version, the Topping DX3 pro + or this Dac/amp. Thera are all the same cost.
I'm listening to Flac on PC and Spotify via desktop app... I have a new pair of Hifiman 400se headphones.
So is it worth selling my current Fiio K5pro?
If yes them what Dac/amp will give me best bang for buck....
If your current device works for you, I wouldn't change anything. The need to move to balanced, some extra functionality or more power could be good reasons to change.

The Fiio K5 is a desktop product: without remote, without display, with nice control buttons on the front and a huge volume knob. The C200 is a different animal. I would choose based on how you use the device, rather than some SINAD points up or down. DAC performance differences are absolutely negligible.
 
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Neutronman

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In terms of sonic performance, this is not important. Perhaps you want some filter that ESS have and AKM doens't...
Always the next shiny object, lol.... I'll stick with my K5 Pro, it drives these headphones to adequate volumes....
 

xaviescacs

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Always the next shiny object, lol.... I'll stick with my K5 Pro, it drives these headphones to adequate volumes....
Ok, looking at the data of your device https://www.audiosciencereview.com/.../review-and-measurements-of-fiio-k5-pro.9118/

It's true that SINAD is below 96, which is (I think) the magic number for transparency of CD content, 16 buts content.

I wouldn't discard that with a device of ~ 110 SINAD or better you could get hear some improvement, perhaps a bit more clarity because the K5 has a lot of distortion.

So yes, you can get s better device in terms of transparency in this day and age. It's not critical IMO, but it's natural.

However, my advice stays the same: look for functionality rather than chip or best performance. Once you are at around 110, there is nothing to improve. For instance, there are some nice SMSL devices with front buttons like the K5. You can go to the review index and filter using the keywords "Headphone Amp", and start from there.
 
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Neutronman

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Ok, looking at the data of your device https://www.audiosciencereview.com/.../review-and-measurements-of-fiio-k5-pro.9118/

It's true that SINAD is below 96, which is (I think) the magic number for transparency of CD content, 16 buts content.

I wouldn't discard that with a device of ~ 110 SINAD or better you could get hear some improvement, perhaps a bit more clarity because the K5 has a lot of distortion.

So yes, you can get s better device in terms of transparency in this day and age. It's not critical IMO, but it's natural.

However, my advice stays the same: look for functionality rather than chip or best performance. Once you are at around 110, there is nothing to improve. For instance, there are some nice SMSL devices with front buttons like the K5. You can go to the review index and filter using the keywords "Headphone Amp", and start from there.
Good advice, so do I go for this c200 or save some bucks and spring for the Dx3pro +? The C200 does have a balanced out, would this be of value to me with my new Hifiman 400se? Or just not worth the extra $30 and the cost of a balanced cable???
 

xaviescacs

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Good advice, so do I go for this c200 or save some bucks and spring for the Dx3pro +? The C200 does have a balanced out, would this be of value to me with my new Hifiman 400se? Or just not worth the extra $30 and the cost of a balanced cable???
Both have better SINAD and more power than the K5. However, the main question is how much do you value using those front buttons to control gain and output. Because in those other devices you would need to use the remote, which in a desktop environment may no be that comfortable. If this is not an issue, meaning that you just don't care, then it depends on details: if you want balanced output and 6.3 jack or not... If you don't have any issue with unbalanced right know and budget is tight, I would keep with unbalanced.
 

Neutronman

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Good points. I wonder if the newer K5 pro with the Ess dac has better sinad than the older AKM version. I do appreciate the volume knob and don't need a remote. Wish Amir had a review of this Dac/amp to compare.
 

Aperiodic

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I currently run a JDS Atom amp and SMSL Sanskrit II. Looking for a more 'minimalist' desktop system with a DAC/amp. Internal power supply strongly favored. Is there something that will bridge the gap a little lower price point? Although this is great value for the performance and feature set, I really don't need balanced operation. Does such a thing exist or is it "In for a dime, in for a dollar"?

Also: Other than a fancier display, what exactly does the the Topping DX7 just reviewed deliver for > 3X the price?
 

staticV3

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I currently run a JDS Atom amp and SMSL Sanskrit II. Looking for a more 'minimalist' desktop system with a DAC/amp. Internal power supply strongly favored. Is there something that will bridge the gap a little lower price point?
There's the DX3Pro+ at $200 and then some (objectively) lower quality sets like the ifi Zen Air DAC and Fiio New K3, both costing $100.

Also: Other than a fancier display, what exactly does the the Topping DX7 just reviewed deliver for > 3X the price?
Lower noise headphone out for sensitive IEMs and 25% more volume with high impedance headphones (with 32Ω headphones, volume is the same).
All other performance differences are imo academic in nature. They won't affect your experience as consumer.
 
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