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SMSL M500 MKIII DAC & Amp Review

Rate this DAC & HP Amp

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 6 2.3%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 5 1.9%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 48 18.4%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 202 77.4%

  • Total voters
    261

mdsimon2

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bkdc

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Wow superb. As long as build-quality is up to snuff, hard to beat!! And SMSL finally got the volume display right.
 

srkbear

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I think Spotify never really intended to, though. So artists who uploaded content at that time, it was transcoded to these given lossy formats. I wonder if they still have all originals to make Spotify Premium happen. There must be some reason it's taken this long for them to give the option, I mean it's kinda ridiculous.
I’m inclined to think that they never really thought they needed to until very recently. The brand established itself so securely as an affordable streaming alternative and a social media sharing service, with such popularity amongst folks who really weren’t all that preoccupied with sound quality, that I suspect they had a captive audience of sorts.

Even though a few apps have emerged allowing folks to transfer their playlists to other platforms, those Spotify users I’ve encountered just don’t want to mess with it. For its long-standing consumers, I think the sound quality was likely good enough, particularly for the price.

When you consider that YouTube is still one of the most widely used platforms for audio streaming and sharing, and its sound quality ranges from OK to abysmal, I’ve come to accept that the world I inhabit of lossless, high quality audio is a bit rarified, or at least it has been until recently. And I think that they had to find an angle other than just lossless to stay competitive—we’ll see what this EQ thing is about.
 

C. Cook

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Last I heard, SMSL is still way behind in terms of shipping orders and handling warranty replacements.
 

Xyrium

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Crazy good stuff, love the form factor. I've dealt with less clearance on XLRs than that before.

I almost want to pick this up, well, just because....sheesh.

Edit: Now that I think about it, we're seeing this type of performance or close to it, quite frequently in the lower price (<$1000) bracket. I think manufacturers need to begin to distinguish themselves with features. Throw in a sub output, and adjustable crossover between the sub and mains output and it would crush every desktop setup, outside of the MiniDSP stuff.
 

BDWoody

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Forget MidFi , Middle management now that's a living hell.

On that note How's it going ha ha

Isn't that the truth!

Things are good! Keeping those topping checks coming in regularly like you started makes it all worthwhile. :cool:
 

jacobacci

Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
79
Likes
71
Location
Switzerland
I have had my SMLS m500 Mk3 for a few days now. Quite an achievement for 500 USD. I have bought the unit mainly for headphone duties.
I have noticed that my unit seems to sound significantly better connected via my Neukomm CDA126S preamp than connected directly to the Neukomm PA18 Monoblocs. Now before anyone cries foul - it's the volume control in the SMLS, the PA18's volume is controlled in the monobloc (via a bus cable connection from the preamp). So the SMLS is running in full volume mode, not in preamp mode. The connection in both cases is via XLR.
I suspect the OPA1612s are challenged driving long cables. The op amps have a low output impedance, but whether that impedance stays low when significant current is drawn, I simply don't know. Just a suspicion. Happy to learn.
 

srkbear

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Good heavens, is THAT how much it costs now?? I guess if they're still selling in volume, good for Chord (or rather good job Stereophile!)
That’s how much this eight year old digital technology costs, despite nearly a decade of advances (from brands like SMSL, not Chord), and I say that’s good for no one ever!
 

mediocrebutarrogant

Active Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2022
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41
It all started with someone suggesting MQA should be banned etc. While Amir himself used MQA research to prove a point:
Post in thread 'God of SINAD vs. reality we get from most available music files'
https://audiosciencereview.com/foru...most-available-music-files.36296/post-1273379
So at least something MQA has contributed ,we can all agree?And does not deserve a ghastly smirk every time someone mentions MQA?
 

Spocko

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Crazy good stuff, love the form factor. I've dealt with less clearance on XLRs than that before.

I almost want to pick this up, well, just because....sheesh.

Edit: Now that I think about it, we're seeing this type of performance or close to it, quite frequently in the lower price (<$1000) bracket. I think manufacturers need to begin to distinguish themselves with features. Throw in a sub output, and adjustable crossover between the sub and mains output and it would crush every desktop setup, outside of the MiniDSP stuff.
Dirac Live optional upgrade would be great too - pay for it when you want it but the capability is there
 

jacobacci

Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
79
Likes
71
Location
Switzerland
I have had my SMLS m500 Mk3 for a few days now. Quite an achievement for 500 USD. I have bought the unit mainly for headphone duties.
I have noticed that my unit seems to sound significantly better connected via my Neukomm CDA126S preamp than connected directly to the Neukomm PA18 Monoblocs. Now before anyone cries foul - it's the volume control in the SMLS, the PA18's volume is controlled in the monobloc (via a bus cable connection from the preamp). So the SMLS is running in full volume mode, not in preamp mode. The connection in both cases is via XLR.
I suspect the OPA1612s are challenged driving long cables. The op amps have a low output impedance, but whether that impedance stays low when significant current is drawn, I simply don't know. Just a suspicion. Happy to learn.
I was wondering whether anyone has any thoughts on my previous post
Thanks a lot
 

kchap

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uppsju

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Apr 5, 2019
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Perhaps a somewhat off topic question, but how does the remote control feel in use? Although I still love the Topping dac/amps I've owned, I find that if you sit more than 10 feet away the remote requires an extremely steady hand to operate.
 
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