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SMSL M500 DAC and HP Amp Review

MrBrown

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Hello guys, I currently am using Topping MX3 on my pc desk for my headphones and Dali Spektor 1 speakers. I'm not quite happy with the Topping, and would like to upgrade the sound quality for both speakers and headphones.

I don't mind getting 2 seperate devices (DAC + AMP) and wanted to ask if some of you guys are using the M500 with an external amp and speakers? Can you recommend an amp that I could connect to M500 to power my Dali Spektor 1 speakers? Doesnt have to be super cheap or super expensive but all suggestions are welcomed, even up to like 700 usd or so.

I also tested the NAD D 3045 but I didn't like it for several reasons- the main reason is that when it gets hot, it evaporates some sort of stuff from electrical components through the venting holes and after an hour or two of usage, my room stinks like a chinese electrical factory. Even after a few days of using the NAD 3045, this strong smell didn't disappear. Even with half open window, the smell coming out of the NAD is too strong to bear with. With completely closed windows, it's almost impossible to breathe after a few hours of the device running, because of the evaporations from electrical components filling the room with unbreathable air.

Ofcourse I would prefer 1 device like Topping MX3, that has everything (DAC, headphone + speaker amp) but afaik there aren't many devices available that are portable like MX3/ D3045 (and the cheap SMSL one, which is even worse than MX3 afaik) and have everything on board AND have good audio stats. This is why I consider getting 2 separate devices.
 
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somy

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Hi @amirm, in the review "we fall short of its output power though, stopping at 63 milliwatts. I like to see 100 milliwatts or more to make it more future proof in case you use higher impedance headphones." - How could it drive HD650 with 300ohm which I think is in the "higher impedance" category? Is there any headroom for HD650 (in terms of volume and dynamics)?
 

Veri

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Hi @amirm, in the review "we fall short of its output power though, stopping at 63 milliwatts. I like to see 100 milliwatts or more to make it more future proof in case you use higher impedance headphones." - How could it drive HD650 with 300ohm which I think is in the "higher impedance" category? Is there any headroom for HD650 (in terms of volume and dynamics)?
From a little lower:
I had a bit less headroom with Sennheiser HD-650 with less ability for "skull resonance" than I like to see. :) Fidelity otherwise was excellent though. To wit, I am still listening to the M500 using the HD-650 as I type this. Typically a good sign that I like what I am hearing.

So unless you listen crazily loud, it should work out OK.
 
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FWIW, using M500+SP200, got Monoprice M1060 open box for $168.45 USD all in, I have to say I was floored by how much better they were than my HD650. Can't compare, really.

Possibly my taste preferences though.

Also, may simply be planar vs. dynamic.

Using both HD650 and M1060 with a balanced cable.
 
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Do you have audio/video equipment with grounded chassis (3 wire connector)? If it has coax spdif out you can try to connect it to the dac spdif in. This should ground the DAC. The Amp will be automatically grounded via the XLR connection.
Hey there, could you please clarify this? I have a ground loop between the computer and the smsl m500 (whenver I connect the USB cable, even if the smsl m500 is unplugged from the current). My amp doesn't hava balanced ins, but it does have a digital in, do you mean to plug the smsl to the amp using the digital ins for both? My PC also has a digital out, maybe I should try connecting it to either the amp or the DAC? I don't see how it could eliminate the ground loop though.
 

Oklei

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Hey there, could you please clarify this? I have a ground loop between the computer and the smsl m500 (whenver I connect the USB cable, even if the smsl m500 is unplugged from the current). My amp doesn't hava balanced ins
Is your amp floating or grounded? I had a hum on headphones whenever usb was connected even when the m500 was not plugged in and solved it by grounding the m500.
 
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I got my M500 since 2 days! :D:cool: I love it! (Comming from M6 , and Xonar STX)

Info:
SW: 1.7 HW: 1.3 ; 2020-05-30

Wich driver do i need to install? Do i need to make firmware update?
Asio or Wasapi?
Grounding is needed? (It would get earthloop i think)
-------------------------
For the first 10 minutes it sounded horrible, i was sad. The highs were ear piercing, i didnt get it ...
And then playing more music with it: the bass was more extended, punchier, tight. An accousting gitar got more body, it was there in space.
Field is bigger, highs are clear, i cant stop listening all my music all over again.

I got a cheap Microlab Solo 7C speakers, i didnt listen to them to much, just for movies maybe, i didnt like the sound with M6 or STX.
I thinked the speakers are muddy, to much bass, bad stereo imaging, maybe its to big for the room, bad placing.
With M500 its great, i listen to them from now on more :D. Bass got controlled. It made magic!

And the earpiercing high? It went away a little bit, but i think that the headphone got more power so the headphone properties come to life.
More bass, extended, tight. I got more space, more air. The earpiercing is maybe just a thing of AKG K612 Pro :D
 
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Just checking .. I have a bunch of IEMs with 4.4mm pin .. can I just use a 6.35mm male to 4.4mm female adapter to connect my 4.4mm pin IEMs. I know its not going to be balanced, but just wanted to make sure that I don't mess up the M500 or my IEMs by doing this. Thanks!
 

Jimbob54

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Just checking .. I have a bunch of IEMs with 4.4mm pin .. can I just use a 6.35mm male to 4.4mm female adapter to connect my 4.4mm pin IEMs. I know its not going to be balanced, but just wanted to make sure that I don't mess up the M500 or my IEMs by doing this. Thanks!
yes. You cant go the other way though (single ended cables into a balanced socket via adapter)
 
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