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SMSL SH-8 Headphone amp

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#1
I've seen discussions on the DAC SU-8, but there hasn't been to too much talk about the companion amplifier. The SH-8. Are there any opinions/reviews on the amps sound and power through the single-ended and balanced output? Is it worthy competition against the The Atom, or THX 789?

Thanks.
 
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#2
I would also love to see measurements on this. I just bought a pair of LCD-X and would love to run them balanced. The SU-8 and SH-8 could be a great combo.
 
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#3
May I suggest you have a look at the tube amplifiers from www.garage1217.com ? I am driving my Shure SRH1540 through an SMSL SU-8 and a Project Sunrise 3.1 with a RCA Cleartop 12AU7 tube and I am thrilled by the sound it produces.

Previously I had SMSL SU-8 with JDSLAB Atom and while it is a wonderful amp on its own, for me the Sunrise 3.1 sounds more musical, warmer and delivers a bass with more slam. I feel that the Sunrise lacks just a bit on the top end but I am sure that would change with a different tube.
 
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#4
May I suggest you have a look at the tube amplifiers from xxxxx ? I am driving my Shure SRH1540 through an SMSL SU-8 and a Project Sunrise 3.1 with a RCA Cleartop 12AU7 tube and I am thrilled by the sound it produces.

Previously I had SMSL SU-8 with JDSLAB Atom and while it is a wonderful amp on its own, for me the Sunrise 3.1 sounds more musical, warmer and delivers a bass with more slam. I feel that the Sunrise lacks just a bit on the top end but I am sure that would change with a different tube.

I'm not sure if you misunderstood my question or just wanted to promote your website. I would like to know your opinion om the SMSL SH-8 ;)
 
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#5
I believe you misunderstood me as well. I have no links with that website ... I am actually from Romania .. and bought their product a few weeks ago from US.

I was trying to give you an honest opinion on the amps I used so far and make you aware of other choices. I have initially also considered the SH-8 as is aesthetically a good match to the SU-8 DAC, however I dismissed it after reading a few opinions from other users.

I believe the atom amp has been tested thoroughly and is considered one of the best hp solid state amp in the market so far, and although I haven't tested SMSL SH-8, based on comments from other users, I doubt SMSL SH-8 will be better than atom.

That being said, although Atom delivered a very high performance, I felt it was a bit sterile which the Project Sunrise tube amp was not.
The fact that I can tune it's sound by swapping tubes is another win for the Sunrise.

Anyway, good luck with your choice.
 
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Joined
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#6
Hi TJ, I have the stack and am very happy considering the cost. I have HD660s headphones however which are very dynamic and efficient. I looked at purchasing the THX789 but for the price of that amp I could have this stack, and this is my first serious purchase for headfi gear so it made this a no brainer. This combo is very detailed and very good for the money. I listen to Tidal and can hear things in the background of recordings that I've never noticed before.

However it depends on how demanding your headphones are. I tried a friends pair of Hifiman 1000 V1's and the amp did not have enough power at all. SMSL are releasing a new headphone amp very soon at the Asian CES show that may pair with this unit well.

What headphones will you be using? I think that is the real factor here.
 
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#7
Hi TJ, I have the stack and am very happy considering the cost. I have HD660s headphones however which are very dynamic and efficient. I looked at purchasing the THX789 but for the price of that amp I could have this stack, and this is my first serious purchase for headfi gear so it made this a no brainer. This combo is very detailed and very good for the money. I listen to Tidal and can hear things in the background of recordings that I've never noticed before.

However it depends on how demanding your headphones are. I tried a friends pair of Hifiman 1000 V1's and the amp did not have enough power at all. SMSL are releasing a new headphone amp very soon at the Asian CES show that may pair with this unit well.

What headphones will you be using? I think that is the real factor here.
I go back and forth between the Beyerdynamic T1 2nd and Sony MDR Z7 MKII depending on what Im listening to. I have the option of going balanced on both.
 
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#8
You'll need to check the specs on the AMP but IMO it will be able to drive your Sony MDR Z7 MKII but not your Beyerdynamic T1 2nd due to the high impedance, BUT do not take my word for it. Check for your self.
 

heck

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#9
I have been using it for 3 months now and have been very happy with the fact that I only use one remote for both the SU-8 and SH-8.
 

RickSanchez

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#10
I've seen discussions on the DAC SU-8, but there hasn't been to too much talk about the companion amplifier. The SH-8. Are there any opinions/reviews on the amps sound and power through the single-ended and balanced output? Is it worthy competition against the The Atom, or THX 789?

Thanks.
Not sure if you're still considering the SH-8, but it's back up on Drop:
https://drop.com/buy/smsl-su-8-dac

You can buy the SH-8 amp separately for $160, or buy it with the SU-8 for $350.

Without knowing the measurements of the SH-8 it would be hard for me to pull the trigger. Currently I'm leaning towards either:
1) Sabaj D5 dac/amp
2) SMSL SU-8 DAC (or something similar) + Monoprice THX AAA 887 amp combo.
 
Joined
Oct 2, 2019
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#11
Not sure if you're still considering the SH-8, but it's back up on Drop:
https://drop.com/buy/smsl-su-8-dac

You can buy the SH-8 amp separately for $160, or buy it with the SU-8 for $350.

Without knowing the measurements of the SH-8 it would be hard for me to pull the trigger. Currently I'm leaning towards either:
1) Sabaj D5 dac/amp
2) SMSL SU-8 DAC (or something similar) + Monoprice THX AAA 887 amp combo.
SH-8 $130 now on DROP, the best price I ever seen
 
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#13
and for those who look for a budget balanced out amp, loxjie P20 is an excellent one, you can get for $78 now on aliexpress. Truly amazing for its price.
Although I think for anyone here looking at balanced headphone amps, it's important to note:
  1. The P20 is a tube amp, not solid state.
  2. The measurements from SBAF include output impedance of ~47 Ω . (Based on the picture I assume that was for the balanced XLR out.) That's a deal breaker for folks with low impedance headphones.
 
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#14
Although I think for anyone here looking at balanced headphone amps, it's important to note:
  1. The P20 is a tube amp, not solid state.
  2. The measurements from SBAF include output impedance of ~47 Ω . (Based on the picture I assume that was for the balanced XLR out.) That's a deal breaker for folks with low impedance headphones.
It is a hybrid amp, output impedance not a problem for OP's T1 and popular Seinhauser cans
 
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#15
Fair points. I'm just pointing out the output impedance because that really narrows the window on what kind of headphones would work well with the Loxjie P20. The OP himself mentioned he might get the Sony MDR Z7 MKII which are 56 Ω; not a good match at all. If you're driving 300-600 Ω cans then yes, the P20 probably works fine.
 

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