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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
OP
amirm

amirm

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I am also very interested in how MQA processing influences the resulting sound. Any measurements on that?
I don't have proper test signals for MQA.
 

pseudoid

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It is probably a big wish but I'll ask:
Can this unit output BOTH the XLRs and the RCAs simultaneously?
...Possibly for use as a 2nd zone feed.
I am not even certain that EITHER (or BOTH) rear outs are available when headphone output is active.
 

777

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The output of es9038Pro is current or voltage ? I see only one op-amp.
 

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amirm

amirm

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Can this unit output BOTH the XLRs and the RCAs simultaneously?
Yes it always does that. It is standard feature of this class of products.
 

half_dog

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The output of es9038Pro is current or voltage ? I see only one op-amp.
Current output. There are 3 dual channel chips. 2 for current to voltage stage and the one in middle is to convert balanced to unbalanced - I guess...
 

777

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Current output. There are 3 dual channel chips. 2 for current to voltage stage and the one in middle is to convert balanced to unbalanced - I guess...
Ok but after I/V conversion there is not an active LPF and output buffer ? Just I/V converter and that is it ?
 

audiofun

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Ok but after I/V conversion there is not an active LPF and output buffer ? Just I/V converter and that is it ?

SMSL has been doing this for years, from the 1st gen m500 to their latest su-x series.
Their competitor, Topping used to have output buffers for Q2M implementations (D50, DX7s, etc) but has been moving away from it in recent years.
Online teardown photos show that D10Balanced/E50 all use passive LPF and no output buffer for balanced.
Based on online product photos, You can also see the HP Amp of SMSL M500 MK2 is exactly the same as Topping's DX3Pro+ .
So they learn (copy) from each other.
 
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diemotta

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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
 

half_dog

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Ok but after I/V conversion there is not an active LPF and output buffer ? Just I/V converter and that is it ?
Eer... Well, they seem to follow a similar schematic proposed by ESS...
 
Last edited:

mslim

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This is the SMSL equivalent of the Topping EX5 but is $100 more. What is the $100 getting?
 
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amirm

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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
No, it is not difficult but is usually extremely good so I don't bother in this class of device. I do measure it in amplifiers/pre-amps where the routing of analog in/out reduces crosstalk.
 

777

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SMSL has been doing this for years, from the 1st gen m500 to their latest su-x series.
Their competitor, Topping used to have output buffers for Q2M implementations (D50, DX7s, etc) but has been moving away from it in recent years.
Online teardown photos show that D10Balanced/E50 all use passive LPF and no output buffer for balanced.
Based on online product photos, You can also see the HP Amp of SMSL M500 MK2 is exactly the same as Topping's DX3Pro+ .
So they learn (copy) from each other.

Eat... Well, they seem to follow a similar schematic proposed by ESS...
Thank you guys, I understand now. Probably in this form of the output stage the measurements are the best with synthetic load (200kohm resistor load).
 

GiFi

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Good morning,
I have a question for Amir: Would it be possible to measure the output voltage of the DACs at the following volume steps?
1/4 of max volume
2/4 of max volume
3/4 of mac volume
4 Volt (as in the ASR tests)
4/4 (as in the ASR tests)
I ask for someone like me who uses the dac as a preamp.
I would be grateful to you.
thank you
 

galanakop

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Καλημερα και καλη χρονια. Είμαι ανάμεσα σε αυτά τα δύο SMSL M500 MKII έναντι του topping EX5
Θα συνδεθεί στον υπολογιστή μου με Windows και θα τρέχει τα ηχεία μου genelec 8330 καθώς και το 7050C Studio Subwoofer.
Για διόρθωση δωματίου χρησιμοποιώ genelec glm.
Τα ακουστικά μου είναι τα hd 650 καθώς και τα dt 770 pro Bayerdynamic
περισσότερα από τα δύο για να διαλέξετε.
Μέχρι τώρα τα έπαιζα όλα αυτά με την υπογραφή ifi, αλλά δεν με ικανοποιούσε ιδιαίτερα και είχα και πολλές διακοπές της μουσικής ροής από τα παράθυρα. Τελικά πούλησα το ifi και ψάχνω κάτι καλό να αγοράσω
 

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audiofun

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Goodmorning and happy New Year. I am between these two SMSL M500 MKII vs topping EX5
It will be connected to my windows pc and runs my genelec 8030 speakers as well as the 7050C Studio Subwoofer.
My headphones are the hd 650 as well as the dt 770 pro bayerdynamic
more of the two to choose from.
Until now I played all these with the ifi signature, but it did not satisfy me very much and I also had many interruptions of the music flow from the windows. Finally I sold the ifi and I am looking for something good to buy
If you really want high quality speaker playback you need to do room correction. In this case THD+N no longer matters much (especially when you use active speaker such as 8030, as the class d amp inside has magnitude higher THD+N). For software crossover (which is of higher quality compared to using 7050's analog one) and room correction, you need at least 3 channels output. So you need a DAC that has over 3 channels. For multi-channel DACs, Motu M4 is a cheap and cost effective option.

The HP amp of Motu M4 (a traditional OPA1688 based one) is not as good as M500 MK2 or Topping EX5 (both use TPA6120A2 which gives super high power output), but it should be more than good enough to drive your HD650 (which does not really require a high power output).
 

galanakop

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If you really want high quality speaker playback you need to do room correction. In this case THD+N no longer matters much (especially when you use active speaker such as 8030, as the class d amp inside has magnitude higher THD+N). For software crossover (which is of higher quality compared to using 7050's analog one) and room correction, you need at least 3 channels output. So you need a DAC that has over 3 channels. For multi-channel DACs, Motu M4 is a cheap and cost effective option.

The HP amp of Motu M4 (a traditional OPA1688 based one) is not as good as M500 MK2 or Topping EX5 (both use TPA6120A2 which gives super high power output), but it should be more than good enough to drive your HD650 (which does not really require a high power output).
For room correction I use genelec glm
 

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audiofun

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For room correction I use genelec glm
I don't think GLM works with your 8030 / 7050.
You need to have SAM compatible devices (such as 8330).
It's an expensive solution and there isn't a lot of flexibilities.

For your case (as you already have 8030 and 7050) software solution (such as camilladsp) is the only cost effective way to go.
 

777

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What is the output impedance of the balanced XLR ?
 

pseudoid

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I do measure it in amplifiers/pre-amps where the routing of analog in/out reduces crosstalk.
increases? or both?
Wouldn't dynamic range specs at different gain levels be more telling of a DAC' performance?
 
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