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SMSL M500 DAC and HP Amp Review

Jimbob54

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Understood. Better consider this as just a DAC, the amp part being a bonus. In that case, for its price it's a great DAC. :D
Budget-wise, Topping stack remains the best bang for the buck I guess.
I've never really used the HP amp in my m500. The odd times I have, it just doesn't sound "right" like my other amps. But I haven't gone to the bother of blind testing
 

icsi85

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I've never really used the HP amp in my m500. The odd times I have, it just doesn't sound "right" like my other amps. But I haven't gone to the bother of blind testing

So you use M500 as a DAC. With what Headphone amps?
 

Jimbob54

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So you use M500 as a DAC. With what Headphone amps?

Currently a Geshelli Erish but other amps too including THX 789. All work as they should. Nice and clean and powerful.
 

NorthGraves

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I advice everyone NOT to use this drivers. Causes audio drops on my M500...
Zero issues for me...

Check your buffer size, maybe too small?

2020-10-15_103453.png
 

Toku

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I'm not using ASIO, I'm running WASAPI mode in Roon
You can play PCM files with the Windows audio engine without installing a driver, but that method does not bring out the full potential of the M500.
 

NorthGraves

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DPLL Bandwidth setting - anyone tried?

I just read this:
https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/digital-line-level/314935-es9038q2m-board-584.html

"Regarding DPLL, try setting it as low as you can before the dac playback becomes unstable (depends on incoming jitter level).
You may be able to set it lower with USB than with TOSLINK.
People tend to report that lowering the DPLL setting improves sound quality quite a bit.
"

Then changed the DPLL Bandwidth from Default (7) to MIN (1) - so far so good, no issues.
 

Veri

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Then changed the DPLL Bandwidth from Default (7) to MIN (1) - so far so good, no issues.
Yeah that should work fine. You should most importantly put it higher if you use a jittery source like a smart TV, chromecast, ...
It is trial and error, that's why most manufacturers set some kind of compatible default rather than expose it to the user.
 

osasglo

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Anyone else notice something wrong with the SMSL drivers? There seems to be some signal clipping on the M500 with XLR and this is very noticeable especially in the bass region at max volume (40/40). The default windows usb audio 2.0 drivers however works fine with accurate signal from the XLR. Anyone else notice this?
 

Toku

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Anyone else notice something wrong with the SMSL drivers? There seems to be some signal clipping on the M500 with XLR and this is very noticeable especially in the bass region at max volume (40/40). The default windows usb audio 2.0 drivers however works fine with accurate signal from the XLR. Anyone else notice this?
Since the device used in your system, connection conditions, type of playback file, etc. are unknown, the symptom cannot be searched.
The point that immediately comes to mind is that the output voltage of the M500's XLR is much higher than the rated 4V, so depending on the rating of the connected amplifier, the input may be over and the sound may be distorted.
In that case, try lowering the output level of the M500 to about 30.
 

Blew

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I'm considering buying a pair of Sennheiser HD-660S, which have an impedence of 150ohm, to use with this DAC/amp. Given that the max output power is 63mw at 300ohm (HD-650), how well would the HD-660S headphones work with the m500?

In the review Amrim says:
"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."

Would the 660S have more headroom then, given that it has lower impedence? I have seen reviews were people mention that although the 660S headphones have lower impedence the output power is still roughly the same as the HD-650.
 

westway

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I've owned the SMSL M500 for a year. I bought it after the first review by Amir. At that time, USB firmware update 1.08 was already available, so I updated it immediately after unboxing. I used its TOSLINK and USB inputs daily (the first from a PlayStation 4 Pro through an HDMI extractor and the second from a Windows 10 PC). I configured foobar2000 following the guide for BitPerfect outputting native DSD through DSD Transcoder on DIY-Audio-Heaven. I've always been happy with the unit, except for some quirks that made me want to return it and get an updated unit.

I've always experienced a problem switching from foobar2000 to the browser or another application audio. Even after stopping reproduction and closing foobar2000, I couldn't hear anything from other programs, unless I switched the M500 to another output modality and back to USB or turned it off and on. I also had some regular low ticking noises during the reproduction of DSD files. I then decided to risk and update the USB firmware to version 2.01 using the file attached to this post. I didn't encounter any problem, so I challenged the luck another time updating the USB firmware to 2.06 using the SMSL M400 file from the official site. Everything again went smooth and I solved all of my issues with the ticking noise in DSD files and the other applications audio reproduction. In the end, I decided to keep my unit even if I could have been fully refunded by Amazon and get the updated version because it has no more issues for my daily use.

I also tried the 4.82.0 driver update from Shenzhen Audio official website, and it works without issues.

My configuration is:
- SW: 1.5
- HW: 1.2
- 2019-10-9
- Revision: v2.06
- Driver version 4.82.0
- Windows 10 Pro 20H2
- foobar2000 v1.6.2
- DSD Transcoder 1.1.0
 

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Foxenfurter

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I have experienced the issue switching from foobar to another audio source when using Asio on all the USB DACs I have connected to my PC.
I don't think it is an issue with the M500.
I am speculating here but I think there are probably some low level flags in the Asio driver that foobar uses to ensure it has exclusive access to the DAC and these are not being released when Foobar is shut down.
 
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