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Reading the posts, or the lack of, from this drop really surprises me. I guess not many people drive speakers. That's what this amp is for, way more than a head phone amp. I purchased one a drop or two ago and I must say I'm very impressed. I'm using my first one to drive a pair of Beovox CX 50's and a Martin Logan Sub. It rocks! This little amp provides skin peeling volume at well below 50% volume with the 80 watt rated Beovox. And let me add the power is VERY CLEAN and tonally flat in the good way. So good in fact that I went to my basement and pulled out a pair of vintage KLH Model 6 speakers and started replacing the surrounds so I could pair them with another SMSL SA-160 for downstairs.
As to the SMSL build quality, let me say, that if this drop goes through it will be my 4th SMSL product, 2 DACs and 2amps. Needless to say, I've had no quality problems. I was completely skeptical about the sound and build quality of a Chinese made D class amp. Especially in the long term durability category. Then I realized that was exactly what was powering my computers media speakers that have either idled or ran 24 hours a day for years. So I took the plunge and man, I'm glad I did.
The whole experience made me wonder about my resistance to newer Chinese made equipment. A few years ago my friends warned me off Fiio DAPS, which I now use daily and LOVE. Which made me think back to my first sound systems (yup I'm an old fart). My first systems were hand me downs from my older brothers, late 1950's and early to mid 60's American and European equipment. Names like Dynaco, Fischer, Luxman, Scott and Dual. When I bought my first new amp in the early 70's it was a Marantz 1070. Man did I catch flack for buying Japanese. But within a couple of years everyone was using Japanese equipment. And the prices went up and up. The same process happened with cameras, then cars. I suspect the resistance to good Chinese sound equipment is very much like the resistance I heard about Japanese equipment way back when. And the world keeps turning.
My personal point is this, I want another SA-160. So if you're on the fence I would suggest jump. But if not enough people are interested theres always Amazon for me.
Nice to know how they hold up. I'm looking to amp my dual 40 W speakers (4 Ohm). Somehow I can't seem to find an amp like this one. I'm probably going to join the drop. What I find interesting is that the last time this dropped it had more than a hundred backers. This time, barely 10.
Hey xineis, you asked the million dollar (now worth $12, 482.00 USD) question. When I read a lot of the questions and statements posted from the drop I bought mine on, it was clear a lot of people had no idea what this amp is for. Yeah it has a mid grade op amp to drive head phones but thats almost an after thought. You should want this amp to drive speakers, period. So, i'm surprised (but not sure why) to conclude some people bought thinking it's a head phone amp. I wish Mass Drop posted return stats. That would answer a question or two. There was a rumor of a hum issue possibly due to faulty power supply. But of the 6 or 8 people I know who own and use this amp, not one has that problem. A sample of 'a hand full of people' has no statistical validity, so that doesn't really help. There's the double whammy of being class D architecture and being guilty of being made in China while carrying a Chinese label, as opposed to everything else we buy that's made in China but carrying a label that we've heard of before. Or possibly as I wondered, maybe they saturated the small market available to them in one or two drops. Maybe very few (relatively) people actually drive passive (unpowered) speakers in a non 5.1 format anymore. And probably, the few who do, are older, like myself and believe the only valid architecture is class A. Quality class D is a newer approach.(at least to me) Then there's the lack of cache. It's inexpensive, ' I buy only the best", sort of thing. Or possibly I got the only 3 (hopefully 4 soon) working pieces Shenzhen shuangmusanlin Electronics Co, LTD ever made. I like that explanation. YEAH! Go ME! LOL You really did cut through the bull and asked the perfect question. Also if you plan to drive 40 watt 4ohm speakers with this amp, turn the volume dial slowly. It'll over power them at about 25% volume. The Beovoxes I'm using with are rated at 80 watts into a 6 ohm load. They start to overpower at about 40-50% volume. That being said, it's WAY better to over power than to under power. The amp doesn't have to work hard, runs cooler, lasts longer and best of all no chance of being clipped, the easiest way to blow speakers and amps. Good luck
I think 40 W is nominal power, with a max of 70 W. Need to check that, though. Anyways, as I see it, a lower power output means less noise coming out of the amp. So as I'll be using about 1/4 power, I shouldn't have any problem.
Totally agree with your comments about the resistance of good Chinese sound equipment by some people . In some case even the major components inside the device are the same, some people still think those made in UK and US are much better beacuse they are twice as expensive (or more).
I bought this amp despite some negative reviews in this forum because I bought a SMSL M8 DAC a few months ago and love the sound and the built quality for the price so I took a chance this time. I connected the SA-160 to my desktop system yesterday and immediately impressed by the quality of the sound. The sound stage is big and wild with great details. The other components in my system are Martin Logan LX-16 (92db/5ohm/200w max), Earthquake Sub-80 (150w RMS) and SMSL M8.
BTW my first amp was a Marantz 1070 also.