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Feb 24, 2018
Got one in the most recent drop. Overall I'm pleased. I'm using it for a bedroom system. My main input is a Raspberry Pi with a HifiBerry Digi DAC that I use with Moode Audio. I also use it with my tablet to watch video. I have a Cambridge Soundworks Ensemble IV system from the '90s that works very well at low volumes. My primary headphones are Grado SR60s. Sound using FLAC files, both standard and high res through the optical input is great. It may be placebo effect but I think the sound quality from the analog input is not quite as good. I use the USB input to hook up my tablet. I tried the bluetooth just to see what aptx sounded like. It seemed fine in a brief trial but I'm not going to be using bluetooth very often. In general, sound through the speakers is as good as any amp I've used with them over the years. In 10 x 12 room there's enough headroom to make brief peaks too loud but undistorted when listening at a moderate volume to music with a wide dynamic range. The headphone output isn't as good as a dedicated headphone amp but is more that adequate. The only con is the user interface. The cheap digital clock lives on. One knob controls power, volume, input, output, and misc sound parameters. The combination of long and short presses necessary to access different modes is, uh, challenging. I haven't mastered it. The remote, although it has separate buttons for some things, is still quirky. Mine had a battery problem with intermittent contact. I fixed that by bending the springs a bit. At first I thought it was going through batteries in less than 24 hours. For the price this amp is great. You can certainly get better if you spend more money. I got my first hi fi components in the middle '60s. If I had been able to buy this back then I'd have been dumbfounded. Electronics has gotten better and cheaper, no matter what tube and vinyl people might say. My first amp had a great for the time 60 dB signal to noise ratio, 25 RMS watts monaural, 20-16KHz +/- 3 dB at a bit under 1% THD. In 1965 dollars the SMSL would cost around $20, what an OK table radio would have cost.
Feb 24, 2018
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