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SMSL M500 MKII Review (DAC & HP Amp)

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 4 1.8%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 4 1.8%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 28 12.7%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 185 83.7%

  • Total voters
    221

Dmitriy

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Oct 12, 2021
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How does it work? :)
this device works very simply, the outputs of different dacs /amplifiers are connected to two inputs, which play the same song at the same time, and your headphones are connected to the output of this device, using the button you instantly switch between the two sources and can try to hear the differences in sound if they are (sorry if it's not clear, I use an automatic translator)
 

Lupin

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Feb 11, 2021
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Very usefull for testing dacs.
Thanks
Completely useless to get any real data.
You still know what is playing when so you don't take the human emotions like sighted bias and seeking purchase confirmation out of the equation.
Pushing that button you're still are going to hear what you want to hear or what you think you should hear.

To have any real value it need to be a controlled test with volume matching and performed double blind.
 

Dmitriy

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Ignoring the statement "that all dacs sound different is audiophile nonsense", you would have to get the two DAC's play the same content simultaneously from the same source. Success with that.
this device simultaneously broadcasts two signals, with a minimum level of knowledge, you can connect it to a PC, and connect two different dacs, I recommend trying it, just before doing a comparative test, make sure that the volume is the same for the two devices
SPDIF-RCA-Asus.jpg
 

BDWoody

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I do believe in measurements

Next step is understanding more about bias, and not believing in uncontrolled listening tests, even when they are just for yourself. ;)

 

Blew

Active Member
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Jul 24, 2020
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Is it possible to update the firmware on the this version via the USB interface using software? I don't want to have a repeat of the infamous 3rd harmonic issue of the original M500 which required sending it back to the manufacturer/distributor to fix. No I don't want to use a JTAG interface and a soldering iron either!
 

Lupin

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Is it possible to update the firmware on the this version via the USB interface using software? I don't want to have a repeat of the infamous 3rd harmonic issue of the original M500 which required sending it back to the manufacturer/distributor to fix. No I don't want to use a JTAG interface and a soldering iron either!
MKII doesn't have this issue, Amir measured/tested it as you can read in the review.

Unless SMSL made hardware changes (which I doubt) you can't update the firmware through USB as the XMOS controller does not have direct access to the actual DAC part of the M500
 

Blew

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MKII doesn't have this issue, Amir measured/tested it as you can read in the review.
He only started testing for it because it was discovered in the first version many months after he first tested it. We don't know what other issues may be present in this version until they're discovered later.
Unless SMSL made hardware changes (which I doubt) you can't update the firmware through USB as the XMOS controller does not have direct access to the actual DAC part of the M500
That's a shame, and appears to be the main advantage that the Topping EX5 has over this.
 

Toku

Major Contributor
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Apr 4, 2018
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Sorry, this is a question that is not directly related to the SMSL M500.

It's strange that I can return a product just because it doesn't suit my taste when there is nothing wrong with the product.
Do these rules apply to everything, such as in the North American market?
If so, you will be able to try all the products for free. What happens to the returned product after that? Will it be shipped to other orderers again?
I live in Japan, but it's really strange that I can return it for no reason.
 

audiofun

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Jul 4, 2021
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> Do these rules apply to everything, such as in the North American market?

True.

> If so, you will be able to try all the products for free. What happens to the returned product after that?

Will be inspected and cleaned by the warehouse.

For amazon, you'll be responsible for return shipping if you don't like it. This is fair.

> Will it be shipped to other orderers again?

True.

Sometimes you will get used product. Especially if it's shipped from the same country.
If the unit ships from China, it's almost always brand new.

> I live in Japan, but it's really strange that I can return it for no reason.

It's not strange. Most countries do the same, including China.
 

Toku

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> Do these rules apply to everything, such as in the North American market?

True.

> If so, you will be able to try all the products for free. What happens to the returned product after that?

Will be inspected and cleaned by the warehouse.

For amazon, you'll be responsible for return shipping if you don't like it. This is fair.

> Will it be shipped to other orderers again?

True.

Sometimes you will get used product. Especially if it's shipped from the same country.
If the unit ships from China, it's almost always brand new.

> I live in Japan, but it's really strange that I can return it for no reason.

It's not strange. Most countries do the same, including China.
Thank you for your comment on my question. Such a system is a business form that is difficult for me as a Japanese person to understand.
 

audiofun

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Thank you for your comment on my question. Such a system is a business form that is difficult for me as a Japanese person to understand.

It's just about cost. Here's the dark side of the story.

For many sellers, because product exported to US under $800 is tariff free, shipping items one by one to US customers from China is cheaper than shipping in batches to warehouse first.
The latter either means huge upfront tariffs if send directly to local warehouses, or higher rent cost of a Mexico warehouse.
Even if you are dealing with an "American" dealer such as Apos, you are still getting products shipped from China. Some forum members reported getting packages from shenzhenaudio when buying from Apos. That's the main reason.

In Japan this works similarly, except that you usually find packages declare a much lower value, as Japan's tax free bar is much lower --- 10000JPY, which is close to 100 USD. I believe you certainly see packages shipped from China to you that declared only $10, much lower than you actually pay. That's actually smuggling, by definition.

Now say you don't like the product, there are actually two ways. One way is to ask you ship back to China, and they will ask you to declare it lower. Because for China, the tax-free limit is around 50. Declaring original value and the tariff can kill all its profit. So the other, more common way is, to ask you to ship it to a local (Japan) warehouse. By doing so, they still win big, by using you as a carrier to smuggle the product into Japan. So, if you don't like it, they still love you. No worries.

This is how reality works. As a customer, if you get product from China, that's probably new. If you get from local warehouse, it has much higher possibility that it's a returned one.
 

Toku

Major Contributor
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It's just about cost. Here's the dark side of the story.

For many sellers, because product exported to US under $800 is tariff free, shipping items one by one to US customers from China is cheaper than shipping in batches to warehouse first.
The latter either means huge upfront tariffs if send directly to local warehouses, or higher rent cost of a Mexico warehouse.
Even if you are dealing with an "American" dealer such as Apos, you are still getting products shipped from China. Some forum members reported getting packages from shenzhenaudio when buying from Apos. That's the main reason.

In Japan this works similarly, except that you usually find packages declare a much lower value, as Japan's tax free bar is much lower --- 10000JPY, which is close to 100 USD. I believe you certainly see packages shipped from China to you that declared only $10, much lower than you actually pay. That's actually smuggling, by definition.

Now say you don't like the product, there are actually two ways. One way is to ask you ship back to China, and they will ask you to declare it lower. Because for China, the tax-free limit is around 50. Declaring original value and the tariff can kill all its profit. So the other, more common way is, to ask you to ship it to a local (Japan) warehouse. By doing so, they still win big, by using you as a carrier to smuggle the product into Japan. So, if you don't like it, they still love you. No worries.

This is how reality works. As a customer, if you get product from China, that's probably new. If you get from local warehouse, it has much higher possibility that it's a returned one.
I was able to understand the mysterious procedure that I had when I sent it back to China due to a product problem. Thank you for the really polite commentary.
 

radix

Senior Member
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Aug 1, 2021
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How would the M500 do with 16 ohm headphones like the Noire?

Also, it looks like you can select a menu item for HPA or preamp out? And does the volume control affect preamp out?
 
Last edited:

Toku

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How would the M500 do with 16 ohm headphones like the Noire?

Also, it looks like you can select a menu item for HPA or preamp out? And does the volume control affect preamp out?
Using 16Ω headphones with the M500 MKII is fine.
Volume control can be controlled independently for line output and headphone output.
 

saich

Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2020
Messages
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10
I've always been wondering what the CK-02 clock processing unit means in the latest SMSL products (su9n and m500 mkii). As they are there to replace the oscillators, so they are not based on any regular oscillators? Would that be ASRC DPLL or anything.
 

ChadRy

New Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2022
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0
Yes, if you have purchased highly recommended DACs from me in the last couple of years, there is no reason to upgrade to this unit. These reviews are aimed at people making new purchases giving them the data to find the best performing ones within their budget. It is not a call to upgrade. This is why I don't upgrade my own everyday system either.
Good day, thanks for the awesome review. newbie question can you use the RCA output as a subwoofer out? currently looking for a DAC that has a subout. My setup is Tannoy gold 5, possibly this DAC and svs sb1000 pro.Thanks in advance
 
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