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SMSL M500 DAC and HP Amp Review

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.
 
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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.
 
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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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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.
 

westway

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I am going to edit my previous post. In the end, the problem was not the 4.82.0 driver, but the MQA 352.8KHz reproduction. When I play MQA 352.8KHz files, the reproduction is interrupted even with the 4.67.0 driver. No problems experienced with DSD or other formats.
 
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Yoann44

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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
Hi,
Unfortunately, it didn't worked for me...
1.05 -> 2.01 : ok
2.01 -> 2.06 : nok -> back to 1.05 :(
- SW: 1.5
- HW: 1.2

I think that I have to live with that or to contact SMSL.
 
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Hi, I live in Austria which is in EU. I wanted to buy from Hifi Express with recent discount of $50.
I have chosen option to buy from UK which ships free without customs fees to Austria.
Unfortunately, SMSL contacted me saying they will ship from China instead which I wanted to avoid due to customs duties as well as length of shipping.

Later I went to Aliexpress SMSL store and they do offer shipment from UK and I have asked them in inbox message and they have confirmed it.
Also, I sent same question to Mandy via different email and they also confirmed it they will send from UK or EU region.

Is there any experiences about this? Anyone was able to buy at black friday sale?
Why I couldn't buy wanted m500 for discounted price and also I got $5 extra for email subscription.
I am disappointed to be honest with SMSL customer support and marketing. Can something be done?
 
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westway

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Hi,
Unfortunately, it didn't worked for me...
1.05 -> 2.01 : ok
2.01 -> 2.06 : nok -> back to 1.05 :(
- SW: 1.5
- HW: 1.2

I think that I have to live with that or to contact SMSL.
I'm sorry to hear that. I think that my case was a lucky coincidence then, because a lot of users experienced your issue. Unfortunately, the 1.05 is the worst firmware for this unit, so I suggest to return it back - you should be within the warranty period since the unit is one year old - and buy a new one with the new hardware version.
 

Yoann44

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I'm sorry to hear that. I think that my case was a lucky coincidence then, because a lot of users experienced your issue. Unfortunately, the 1.05 is the worst firmware for this unit, so I suggest to return it back - you should be within the warranty period since the unit is one year old - and buy a new one with the new hardware version.
SMSL is proceeding to an exchange. In fact, the new one is already shipped and should arrive in few days :)
 
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- DSD Transcoder 1.1.0
I tried, uninstalled, back to 1.0.10.

On my PC, 1.1.1 can't do native DSD mode for some reason, see the indication at the bottom as DSD?
Only shows PCM when using 1.1.1.

UPDATE: need to go into the ASIO Transcoder driver in Foobar and re-map the outputs, then 1.1.1 works correctly.
 

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ThimGrim

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Hi, I am thinking about buying SMSL M500 on Black Friday promo in Europe (but probably from aliexp ;) ). Can you tell me what is the newest revision or what revisions I should avoid, what should I watch for? I read there were some flaws with previous revisions, but I am not sure how severe they were.
 
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Hi guys - will the headphone amp on the M500 have more juice than Project's S2 Prebox?

Anyone driving any active speakers with its XLR outs?
 
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Project S2 prebox: 68mW @32Ohm
M500: 530mW @32Ohm
So yes, you'll have more juice.
thanks for the reply really appreciated! I just find the Project super weedy, even with 35ohm headphones its just about scarps through and have to turn volume close to max!

If money was less of a issue I'd get the Topping DX7 Pro
 

Oklei

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I just find the Project super weedy, even with 35ohm headphones
[email protected] is really weak. If you find a good bf offer for the m500 I wouldn't think twice and buy it. I highly doubt you would be able to listen to it at max volume with your phones. I use 250Ohm beyerdynamics and cannot go past 60% max volume without destroying my hearing. So you'll have plenty of headroom.
 
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