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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: 29 12.8%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 190 83.7%

  • Total voters
    227

gonzoznog

Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2020
Messages
23
Likes
6
After doing more research, I am torn b/n this M500 MKII, a VMV D1SE or the DO200. I like nearly everything about this, but am hesitant bc of the "DAC concerns" people have expressed. Wondering how much extra performance I would get by going with one of the more expensive choices.
I do plan on using both PCM and DSD files. I was super close to buying the M500 but am really smitten with the D1SE tbh. Money absolutely is a concern though and they seem very similar, on paper at least.
 
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Vangelo

Member
Joined
May 23, 2021
Messages
12
Likes
11
I actually received and set up the M500-II today but have only streamed through it via my Fire tablet. So rar no problems. I've run through the menus changing filters/colors etc. but have not found any real benefit there. I also hooked it up to a set of Elac Navis which are newly arrived and it's a great combination. Comparing directly with Elac UB52's, the Navis sound "bigger, warmer, more complete". As well they should. I only mention it because I had some system matching worries. But no, they're fine. I am very pleased with the sound and, for the first time in a long time, I have imaging suffcient to having the speakers *disappear*. Oh yeah, I'm happy.
This is a magical combination, especially with M500mk2.
I was using M400 with Navis, and it was too laid back. The M500 brought everything to life. Just using XLR cables for hook-up, and high gain setting on Navis.
I also tried the Kali IN-5, which are kinda cheap clones of the Navis. Ugh.....I know they are 1/4 the price, but the reviews were impressive. The were Kalis were awful......bloated bass and veiled mids/highs. I suppose if you make your mix sound good on these, they will excel on the Navis. Sent them back. The Navis have me totally spoiled.....
I have the speakers facing fully forward, no toe-in. Give a huge wide soundstage with sharp imaging & space in between instruments which just pop! Bass slams with fast stops & starts, but is also textured & detailed. I dont care so much about extension as I use with OB clamshell subs. Here the HPF on the Navis is vital & works perfectly allowing seamless integration.
I also owned the passive Uni-Fi Reference before. A nice speaker, but too laid back, let down by its huge cross-over which just saps power & dynamics. Not a patch on the Navis.
 
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E-Lint

Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2022
Messages
43
Likes
14
I remain very pleased with the setup. I also found that the higher gain setting on the Navis was best. I tried increasing upper frequencies via the backside switches but didn't care for it, at least on the tracks I played. So, back to flat. The different PCM filters in the 500 haven't impressed me yet. Every time I go back to baselne, fast roll off I think, it just sounds right so I have left it alone. Pretty stoked that the two them seem to go together so well as is. Not a natural course of events usually.

Good for you too Gonzonog. Always nice when a *deal* happens!
 

E-Lint

Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2022
Messages
43
Likes
14
Just a short followup....the headphone output works very well and will provide more opportunities to work through the different filters/colors in the 500-2. I am always very sceptical of those sorts of things but I'll keep exploring. The realism (a word I try to use without other audiophile gobbletygook) through the phones is just really special (easily understandable considering most of my listening has been streaming bluetooth). One telling attribute - you notice the quality of recordings right away. Still waiting for various cables, pieces (blue ray specifically) before going full hardwire. A few more words about the Navis - continuing good impression. The bass is so strong for a small speaker but you need to hqve it up to a reasonable level to take advantage. A subwoofer may yet be called for to even out listening at lower SPL. But, until then, this works! Happy camper so far.
 
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James-F

Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2022
Messages
20
Likes
10
If you still can easily check can you do crosstalk?

A novice audiophile question, I don't see very frequent in the measurement reports that include the crosstalk measurement. Is it difficult to measure? Thanks


It's around -70db

Source:

Worse than EX5 which is around -87db according to L7AudioLab measurement.
It saddens me that I need to use Google and Youtube to find Crosstalk values. :confused:
 
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