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New SMSL AL200 Intergrated Amplifier

Shayzer

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Hello, Quick question, I am looking for a new Dac/Amp combo. After searching and reading a lot I’ve found these one :
- Sabaj A10D 2022 (200€)
- SMSL DL200 2023 (185€)
- SMSL AL200 2023 (240€)

What would you choose between these 3 ? The AL200 seems to be the best with an EQ integrated ?

Thanks for the help :)
 

Hellboy.

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@Shayzer
- Sabaj A10D 2022 (200€) = DAC
- SMSL DL200 2023 (185€) = DAC
- SMSL AL200 2023 (240€) = Amplifier
 

CuriousMike

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I wasn't talking about a specific model either, as it applies to all DAC models from SMSL, Sabaj, Topping and many others.
There is only the DSP function for volume reduction and nothing else, no matter what these manufacturers write. Look into the devices, you will not find the parts you need.
Sue Amazon or the manufacturers.

I find it more interesting that a reputable manufacturer like RME, which builds a real dedicated and harmless volume control (with real components) into its DACs, only speaks of a volume control in its devices, but never of a preamp function. At least that's honest.
@Roland68 if the volume control is purely digital - does it mean that it internally digitizes the analog (line in) input?
 

Toku

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@Roland68 if the volume control is purely digital - does it mean that it internally digitizes the analog (line in) input?
Amplifiers such as AL200, A300, AO200MKll, AO300 have built-in digital step control electronic volume, but these actually operate as analog volume.
The JRC NJW1194 IC chip does this. This IC internally has a ladder-arranged step attenuator volume circuit, analog circuit EQ, tone control, and input switch. At first glance, it looks like a digital processing IC, but inside it is completely composed of analog circuits. It simply uses digital control signals to externally configure the circuit's operation.
 

Boegmunken

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I can't tell if you're doing anything wrong. Maybe it works for you.

There were different problems that struck me.
- Frequencies not adjustable
- LPF and HPF did not match
- Bass present on the recording was attenuated too much
- Volume levels of satellites and subwoofer differed across the volume range
- Subwoofer had fixed volume


It can be due to immature firmware or different firmware versions. Wouldn't be the first time that a firmware is updated by these companies without it being recognizable or the update being published.
It was just a quick test of each amp in an existing 2.1 system. Actually, this should have worked immediately and without much coordination, as tested with many AVRs before.
I have never experienced anything like this in 30 years, neither with umpteen AVR/AVPre nor with active or passive 2.1 systems.

At this point, all buyers would be much better off with a separable preamplifier/power amp connection and a volume-controlled full-range output for the subwoofer.
This allows active crossovers, DSPs and equalizers to be looped in and active subwoofers to be operated. And well-functioning active 2.1 crossovers have been available in all quality classes from the automotive sector for umpteen years. These often only cost an apple and an egg and run on any 12v power supply.

This is so true. I just tried two cheap desktop USB amps (SMSL A100 + Fosi DA2120A) and both of them have the subwoofer volume issues. It's not a good solution if you have to separately adjust the subwoofer volume to match the speaker volume. Thank you for pointing this out Roland! (Now I can't be satisfied with those kinds of products anymore, lol.)

I wonder if it's the same for all cheap amps - and also if the more expensive ones have the same issue. I'm probably going to try the much more expensive NAD D3045 soon to see if the subwoofer volume is synced with the speaker volume - or if it has the same issue.

Edit #1: I also just tested the SMSL A300 and it has the same issue. After a certain volume level the subwoofer becomes too low and the speakers take over. On low volume however, the subwoofer is very prominent, even too much. I will be trying out the AIYIMA D03 and the LOXJIE A30 in a couple of days as well, but it wouldn't surprise me if the results are the same there.

Edit #2: To be fair the subwoofer volume does adjust on the lower volume levels for all of my tested amps. However, as soon as one starts entering the ~30% volume and more, the subwoofer volume just doesn't go any higher, resulting in speakers that are playing in a way higher volume than the subwoofer. There is definitely some kind of async going on here.
 
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Roland68

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This is so true. I just tried two cheap desktop USB amps (SMSL A100 + Fosi DA2120A) and both of them have the subwoofer volume issues. It's not a good solution if you have to separately adjust the subwoofer volume to match the speaker volume. Thank you for pointing this out Roland! (Now I can't be satisfied with those kinds of products anymore, lol.)

I wonder if it's the same for all cheap amps - and also if the more expensive ones have the same issue. I'm probably going to try the much more expensive NAD D3045 soon to see if the subwoofer volume is synced with the speaker volume - or if it has the same issue.

Edit #1: I also just tested the SMSL A300 and it has the same issue. After a certain volume level the subwoofer becomes too low and the speakers take over. On low volume however, the subwoofer is very prominent, even too much. I will be trying out the AIYIMA D03 and the LOXJIE A30 in a couple of days as well, but it wouldn't surprise me if the results are the same there.

Edit #2: To be fair the subwoofer volume does adjust on the lower volume levels for all of my tested amps. However, as soon as one starts entering the ~30% volume and more, the subwoofer volume just doesn't go any higher, resulting in speakers that are playing in a way higher volume than the subwoofer. There is definitely some kind of async going on here.
I've already written it elsewhere, every car hi-fi subwoofer crossover does it better. For $20 - $50

All of these manufacturers should just stop this nonsense and take a look at the old NAD amplifiers.
These amplifiers have a pre-out and a power amp input. You go with the pre-out (volume controlled) into the subwofer or 2.1 crossover and with the satellite output back into the power amplifier input, done.
This is exactly how you can connect a MiniDSP, the thomann t.racks DSP 4x4 Mini or another DSP in between, or a car HiFi subwoofer crossover.

That would make much more sense and work much better.
 

Boegmunken

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I've already written it elsewhere, every car hi-fi subwoofer crossover does it better. For $20 - $50

All of these manufacturers should just stop this nonsense and take a look at the old NAD amplifiers.
These amplifiers have a pre-out and a power amp input. You go with the pre-out (volume controlled) into the subwofer or 2.1 crossover and with the satellite output back into the power amplifier input, done.
This is exactly how you can connect a MiniDSP, the thomann t.racks DSP 4x4 Mini or another DSP in between, or a car HiFi subwoofer crossover.

That would make much more sense and work much better.

Interesting!

Have you found any USB amps that don't have this issue?

Also, do you know any specific NAD models that you are mentioning?
Is the reason why they solved it simply because they don't have a single SUB OUT but instead double Pre-outs? (Sorry if it's a stupid question.)
 

iNetRunner

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Interesting!

Have you found any USB amps that don't have this issue?

Also, do you know any specific NAD models that you are mentioning?
Is the reason why they solved it simply because they don't have a single SUB OUT but instead double Pre-outs? (Sorry if it's a stupid question.)
Roland68 just used old NAD amplifiers as an example. It used to be rather common feature that integrated amplifiers had bridged/jumpered preamplifier outputs and power amplifier inputs on the back. That feature has fallen out of style these days.

There are some rather rare integrated amplifiers that can still separate the preamplifier and power amplifier sections, but I don’t remember specific models off the top of my head. Also that feature is mainly done for the purpose of either adding/using separate power amplifiers, or using the integrated amplifier’s power amplifier in a HT-bypass fashion — not for the purpose of looping in an external DSP/crossover.
 

vrobec

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Ordered the AL200. Will see how it compares to my beloved Harman Kardon HK680 integrated and how it sounds on JBL L110A.
 

Boegmunken

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Roland68 just used old NAD amplifiers as an example. It used to be rather common feature that integrated amplifiers had bridged/jumpered preamplifier outputs and power amplifier inputs on the back. That feature has fallen out of style these days.

There are some rather rare integrated amplifiers that can still separate the preamplifier and power amplifier sections, but I don’t remember specific models off the top of my head. Also that feature is mainly done for the purpose of either adding/using separate power amplifiers, or using the integrated amplifier’s power amplifier in a HT-bypass fashion — not for the purpose of looping in an external DSP/crossover.

Allright, thank you for clarifying.

I have ordered a NAD D3045 and will see if it works like this. After 5 different cheap desktop amps where all of them had this issue, it will be interesting to see how the NAD handles subwoofer volume.
 

iNetRunner

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Allright, thank you for clarifying.

I have ordered a NAD D3045 and will see if it works like this. After 5 different cheap desktop amps where all of them had this issue, it will be interesting to see how the NAD handles subwoofer volume.
Nowhere does NAD state (on product page, spec sheet PDF, or in the manual) that the D 3045 would have any sort of bass management features. The preamplifier/subwoofer outputs simply get the full range signal, same as going out of the left/right speaker terminals. If that is the kind of feature you are looking for.
 

Boegmunken

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He specifically mentioned subwoofer volume. I guess he is going to be disappointed.
Nah, I don't want to control the subwoofer volume from the amp. I'm just saying that the SMSL amps don't fully control the subwoofer volume with its SUB OUT, making it more or less unusable. I'm curious to see if the NAD will handle it better.

Nowhere does NAD state (on product page, spec sheet PDF, or in the manual) that the D 3045 would have any sort of bass management features. The preamplifier/subwoofer outputs simply get the full range signal, same as going out of the left/right speaker terminals. If that is the kind of feature you are looking for.
That's not what I'm looking for, please see what I wrote to himey here.
 

vrobec

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Someone compared the inbuilt cs43131 with the standalone smsl su-1's ak4493s? Which one sounds better? I can't decide which one is the better solution. The AL200 or the AO200 MKII + SU-1?
 
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Toku

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Someone compared the inbuilt cs43131 with the standalone smsl su-1's ak4493s? Which one sounds better? I can't decide which one is the better solution. The AL200 or the AO200 MKII + SU-1?
Below are my personal impressions.
I am also very interested in the AL200 and have been collecting information on its operating status, but unfortunately there have been many reports of problems such as pop noise. It seems that the DAC section using CS43131 is not very complete. On the other hand, the AO200MKll and SU-1 have many high ratings and seem to be safe to use. I also use two SU-1s, and the sound quality is incredible considering the price. Also, all functions work stably. There are no problems to be concerned about. Also, the AO200MKll is an excellent amplifier that operates most stably among the amplifiers using MA5332MS. It is a product that can be evaluated well for its manufacturing quality.

Please be sure to collect and confirm product information yourself before purchasing.
 
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