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i want to use this with a TV, and then to an amp to tower speakers mostly for music, but idk if there will be a benefit or not.
Depends on your audio source, as well as what amp/receiver you're using. If it's not as much of a hi-fi audio source and something like music videos, I'm guessing it doesn't really matter.
What's your setup?
Using it with a SMSL AD18 hook 2 Eosone RSF1000 towers. And a Samsung TV, with a Nvidia shield to stream tidal.
I'm going to go ahead and say you'd hear a difference.
The SMSL AD18 uses a combination of TI/Cirrus Logic Chips, these are chips made for audio receivers/DVD players and the whole system has far more components to worry about. One TI chip converts the signal to PWM, the other takes in PWM to the amplifier stage. It looks like one of the Cirrus Chips takes the Aux input and coverts it to digital before it is sent through the DSP chain. While how much of a difference you'd hear is up for final judgement - amplifer and speaker distortions will color sound and outweigh most DAC distortions - it is a different signal processing chain in this unit. They rounded up various chips to perform separate functions of a dedicated DAC chip. Some of these chips are multipurpose chips configured to what is useful for the SMSL AD18.
The Topping D10 (ESS9018K2M) and Topping D30 (Cirrus Logic CS4398) both have dedicated DAC chips cable of DSD processing. The Topping D10 is also capable of higher sampling rate processing to 384khz. Both DSD and 384khz playback are not necessary for Tidal.
I don't mean to hijack, but this popped into my MD home. Seems like you might be a good person to ask before the AD18 drop ends:
I'm looking for a decent bluetooth-capable PC receiver capable of driving those MD HD6xx about 30% of the time, and the Pioneer SP-BS22 Andrew Jones Speakers about 70% of the time. Will probably transition from Spotify to Tidal at some point.
Do you happen to know if the AD18 is better than the Topping MX3, or of another option out there that I haven't seen yet? Thank you!!!
The Topping MX3 has better features, and possibly the better DAC. The headphone amplifier on the MX3 can put out twice the power as the AD18. The MX3 would do better with your headphones, the AD18 could start clipping at the upper limits of volume you can tolerate with the HD6XX.
The SMSL AD18 puts out 80W at the 6ohms the Pioneer SP-BS22 are at. You're going to be closer to the 40W on the Topping MX3.
If you're using speakers 70% of the time, then the extra power of the SMSL AD18 would make it your best option in this price range. I think to do better you'd have to go to separate headphone and speaker amps, and have the DAC integrated into one of them. Some of the combo units that do everything you want start going north of $500.
Thanks a lot for the good info. I’m definitely going to jump on the AD18 in that case.
I suppose it is unreasonable to expect the best of both at the $100~ price point.
Hah, not sure how I missed that. The closest comparison google found in my quick seatch was some reddit thread that wasnt useful.