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I assume many people will say "we know!" but I wanted to add my story as a warning of poor support from SMSL. I have been using the SA300 and SP200 for around a year and a half now, both products have always been great for me.

Recently I re-organized my desk and in the process of it the SA300 stopped working. I noticed the micro-USB port felt a little loose, which was strange because I am always careful with my electronics and I have only unplugged/plugged the SA300 in 2-3 times total. I tried to open the case and inspect what was going on. Removing the screws and starting to slide the guts out, it stopped sliding after about half an inch. The micro-USB port was visible so I shined a light on it and attached the USB cable which caused the connector to fall off the PCB. Looking at photos, you can see the micro-USB is just floating in a slot on the chassis rear panel. It is not physically attached to anything but the PCB so all stress is on the solder joints. Look at the photo FROM SMSL, they don't even hide it.
SMSL-SA300-HiFi-Power-Amplifier-Digital-Sound-Amplifier-Bluetooth-5-0-32bit-384kHz-Subwoofer-W...jpg


To fix it, the plan was to solder the connector back on and load the edges of the connector with JB weld to keep this from happening again. The issue is that the guts still won't slide out. I checked SMSL's website for support and it's literally [email protected], so I assume they don't receive a lot of support requests. I explained what happened and asked what I should do, the response was to re-solder the micro-USB connector back on. I explained the issue of not being able to slide the internal components out due to something stopping it and they recommended removing the nut securing the volume potentiometer (their instructions attached). This did not help and based on YouTube videos about other SMSL products it seems the whole front panel needs to come off. The front panel is attached with adhesive and is nearly impossible to do it correctly without special tools and being skilled at disassembling cell phones, tablets, and MS Surface products, plus you would need replacement adhesive to put everything back together.

SA300.jpg

In conclusion, three key items that I believe SMSL should address:
First is that they should read the spec documents of any components they use, especially something like USB. The official micro-USB spec says you should be able to apply 25 newton meters in any direction on the connector without damage. Perhaps this is just for manufacturing the connector itself, but they should still consider matching their product design to the original spec.

1646665115852.png


Second, they should at least pretend they use a ticketing queue so emails are not lost and forgotten. I understand some people want to have direct 1:1 human interaction, but humans need a ticketing queue so they don't forget about cases.

Third, they should give their support team accurate documentation on servicing devices. The doc I was provided is not accurate and offers very little information. Having an engineer build a comprehensive maintenance book would only require 1-2 weeks of time and provide years of assistance to every customer.

I still like SMSL products because they hit a great price point and deliver good performance for casual listening. It is concerning that they let this obvious design flaw pass, if I had the skill to reverse engineer their circuit design I am slightly afraid at what I would find. I will pretend to believe that's where they spend all their time and couldn't be bothered for the rest of product aspects. That's all I have to say about that.
 

Saponetto

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Uhm.
Something very similar happened to a Sanskrit MkII.
Unfortunately nothing to do, too small spaces to tinker with it, just wasted.
It is a pity that this brand still stands using microUSB sockets, too prone to problems.
 

ThatM1key

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I had a SMSL AD18 SA300, every YouTuber said it was good a "highly detailed transparent" amp but it wasn't for me. Normally my ELAC's are very happy to bass but my SMSL AD18 SA300 cut the bass a-lot and increased the midrange too much, and that was even on "Direct" mode. I went back to my old Sansui 2000A, eventually I gotten an Yamaha A-S301 because that Sansui kept getting worse due to age. I love that Yamaha, it doesn't do anything weird to the sound like the SMSL AD18 SA300 did.

Because of that I have small bias towards SMSL but I still try to keep an open mind. To me, SMSL tries less than Topping. They pump out less products but that doesn't mean they don't preform well. It just means that SMSL has less options for me than Topping, so I am more likely to buy from Topping. I remember the "war" between the "SMSL Sanskrit 10th MKII" and the "Topping E30", The Topping E30 performed better, had more modern connections and looked better for the same money.
 
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Saponetto

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Well, well... it seems that this "customer rant" thread will become soon another DAC-battlefield! ;)

Just kidding... I had both DACs at same time and have to say that the MkII sounded way more dynamic than the E30. Its unique vantage point, imho.
At the end of the day, the MkII went dumped due the port problem, and I kept the E30 for my office and added a D30Pro and a D70s for home purposes.
My eyes loves the D70s, but my ears prefers the D30Pro.
 

Joe Smith

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Build quality is definitely important...the micro-USB port on my Schiit Modi 3 has been doing just fine...
 

Vini darko

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I expect there is a ribbon cable going from the board to the screen. This is probably what's stopping the board from coming out.
Since the board won't slide out enough to get at it. You will have to try and remove the back panel from the board.
From the picture there are the bluetooth nut , 2 screws above the rca's and two between the speaker posts.
Edit: not sure about wether the speaker post will play ball though.
 
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Vini darko

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Found a pictue of the board. Ribbon cable is whats stooping it sliding out. Back panel does come off. Main worry is getting ribbon reconnected after fixing the usb plug.
Screenshot_20220308-012912.png
 

JSmith

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That picture looks like the end result of testing how many rounds of image compression an image can go through before being unacceptable to anyone.
Yeah that's a shocker...

smsl-sa300_3-jpeg.869536


... more pics here;


JSmith
 
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