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1,538 of 1,583 people found the following review helpful
Concealable Audio Weapon, November 4, 2013
By Anthony J. –
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: SMSL SA50 50Wx2 TDA7492 Class D Amplifier + Power Adapter (Black) (Electronics)
The SA50 should have the notoriety that’s bestowed on the Lepai. It’s four times the power and higher quality. I’m an audio engineer who has had time off from mixing and mastering in studios on two continents and so playing with cheap digital amps is my entertainment. I know, “Get a life”.
This amp is about the size of paperback and extremely light, really, an honest 30 watts per that you can fit in your pocket for $70. Just take a glance at the pictures above for reference with the power supply and you’ll see the connectors also. I’m powering Polk T15 speakers ($100 at BB) and using MP3 which is wonderfully horrible. Here’s a Connector for that. Please don’t ask me why a guy with over a mil in audio gear is doing this or I’ll divorce you too. I need to quit stressing over mixes if this is what the public listens to (just kidding). All I expect is accurate reproduction and I don’t understand all these descriptive words used in reviews. Audio is science, not art and reproduction starts at the microphone not your stereo. I assume the people using them don’t realize that in the studio we can tweak the mix to make the recording and then their system sound however we choose, so accuracy is the best middle ground for different systems. Mine seems pretty accurate, although the Topping TP22 is the most accurate of the three I have, but it’s larger, heavier and has less power. The Lepai isn’t bad sounding but it’s low power that looks like it belongs in your engine compartment and feels like it might fall apart in your hands. I’ve got a Muse 2021 on the way to play with next. Okay, so it’s a middle aged amp crisis and I’m ignoring my classy expensive amps for something new and cheap and tawdry.
It’s my understanding that this amp chip (it’s not a Tripath, it’s a STM if anybody gives a ..care) was made for computer monitors and TV’s and with the right schematic and quality parts works well across the audio spectrum providing 40 wpc into 6 ohms @1% THD. Which is why I guessed about 30 wpc and is huge compared to my guess of 8 for the Lepai or 12-15 for the Topping (all of these are educated guesses based on the incomplete data available, see images). With enough input signal this amp will deliver clean sound until most bookshelf speakers beg for mercy. Understand that to be twice as loud when changing amps it takes ten times the watts, all else being identical, so 30 wpc is not 3 times louder than 10 but quite noticeable. I really can’t tell how flat the frequency response is using these speakers, but nothing seems amiss.
The build is good and with only a power button and volume knob there isn’t much to go wrong on it. I always tin the ends of my speaker wire to connect, but these are 5-way posts, although they may only take the single banana plugs from the looks of them. It uses a 108 watt laptop style power brick to provide current and it’s rated at a max of 90% efficiency. So I applaud the designers for bringing cheap, small, high quality stereo audio to the public. The whole setup was under $200 or about the same as a boom box 30 years ago. I wonder what audio rags would have said about it in 1983, maybe we would have another invented word to describe audio today. How about, “this amp exhibits fabulous hyperboreadynamism when pushing the speakers to their limit”. Cool power.
2. I’ve added the mighty Monoprice 8 inch sub ($59 with western US overnight delivery and $5 coupon) to this system and it balances well now requiring zero eq but not at full output. I’m using 2 RCA Y adapters out of a DVD player and cables to the amp and to the sub and by adjusting the amp volume it will increase or decrease mids and treble. I prefer this to bass and treble settings. I could of connected the speaker outputs to the sub, but then both the sub and the Polks would be controlled equally by the SMSL volume knob. This sub uses a 2nd order crossover, so set at about 50Hz, volume at about 100Hz will be 12dB less and -24dB at about 200Hz, so I’m adjusting tone below your typical bass control. Works well enough but the 60 watt sub can’t quite keep up, it might need a bit more preamp or it might be just the cheapest usable sub I could find, matters not, with the improvements of CD over MP3 and no graphic eq artifacts it’s great (at least now I can tell if the kick drum has a wood or felt beater). Well this has been fun, thumbs up to the cheapest system that will impress most people using the SA50 to push the mains! I hear BB discounts the…
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Excellent for the price and a genuine bargain, July 15, 2016
By Desert Rat (Tucson, AZ USA) –
I’ve been working in pro audio over 40 years and I am typically a DIY scratch amplifier builder. But I could not buy just the parts for any less money than this amp cost assembled. Both amp and power supply run cool, even under load. Power supply is 24VDC regulated and is SMSL branded, a sign that they exercise some QC over that component. Build quality is quite good. Bought this to power a home built stereo keyboard amp. Had a 100w/ch professional class D amp kicking around to compare it with and it held its own just fine. Not overly nasty when driven into clipping. Not a tweeter killer. Typical clean class D sonic signature, good detail, not quite as musical as a Tripath class T chip amp but also less veiled sounding. To my ears, a Tripath has a smooth tube signature but lacks the detail of quality tube equipment. This is a BTL output design, so loudspeakers with an impedance dip below 4 ohms might be a problem.
270 of 280 people found the following review helpful
SMSL SA50 vs. Topping TP22 vs. Amphony 200, September 17, 2014
By Nelly Luke –
As of 3 weeks ago I am the proud owner of the SMSL SA50 mini amp. I have now had enough time to play with the amp and can share my experience. In this review I am going to compare this amplifier with two of the best-performing mini amplifiers in this price segment: the Topping TP22 as well as the Amphony 200 mini amp.
The first impression of this amp from China is excellent. It is solidly built into an aluminium enclosure. It has a large volume dial in front as well as a power switch. The power switch does not diconnect the external power supply from the mains but it still saves power when the amplifier is not in use.
On the rear there are two RCA inputs and two pairs of banana speaker outputs which are neatly arranged. The name of this amplifier on Amazon is actually quite misleading. This is not a Class-T amplifier. The SMSL uses the TDA7492 chipset from ST Micro which is a plain Class-D BTL stereo amplifier. It is in no way similar to a Class-T amplifier unlike the Topping TK22 which uses a Tripath chipset.
The SMSL SA50 delivers up to 22 Watts into two 4 Ohm stereo speakers at low distortion. It will drive 8 Ohm speakers up to 19 Watts at low distortion. More than that and the amplifier starts clipping which means that distortion shoots up. At 50 Watts the amp produces 10% distortion. Note that the distortion increases with frequency which is a characteristic of most Class-D amplifiers. At 5 kHz this amp produces 4 times higher distortion than at 1 kHz.
While Class-D amplifiers are very popular because they offer far higher audio efficiency than their Class-A counterparts, they do have drawbacks. One drawback is the high amount of switching noise. This switching noise is generated by the internal FET stage and the external switched-mode power supply. To combat this problem, most Class-D amplifiers have a filter stage designed to remove those unwanted signal components. This amplifier has a nicely designed filter stage. However, the inherent problem of this filter is that the frequency response of the amplifier greatly depends on the connected load.
When connecting speakers with very low impedance, audio at frequencies above 10 Khz is suppressed (not enough treble). When connecting speakers with a very high impedance, on the other hand, the highs are exaggerated and overly aggressive.
Overall, however, the output filter does a pretty good job removing the noise. This amp achieves a dynamic range of around 100 dB which should be enough if you don’t have very sensitive speakers. With sensitive speakers, however, there is an ever present noise that doesn’t go away. This can be somewhat annoying during silent passages. So I would not recommend this amplifier to be used in a home theater with high-dynamic source material.
In contrast, the Topping TP22 mini amplifier which I purchased last year is based on the TK2050 chipset which was made by the now-bancrupt tech company Tripath. As such the Topping is a true Class-T amplifier. Class-T amplifiers are known throughout the audio community for their good sound quality and the Topping TP22 is no exception. Similarly to the SMSL, the Topping is housed in a solid aluminium enclosure and has an easily accessible volume knob in front as well as an on-off switch. In addition, there is an input-select switch which is unique among the 3 amps which I am reviewing. The Topping amplifier is the only model that has two audio inputs.
The TP22 pushes 30 Watts into two 4-Ohm speakers (25 Watts into two 8-Ohm speakers). At low distortion, the Topping delivers up to 19 Watts into 4 Ohm speakers (16 Watts into 8 Ohm speakers). Similarly to the SMSL amp, the amplifier’s harmonic distortion increases with frequency. Additionally, the frequency response depends on the speaker load. In my listening test, I personally prefer the sound quality of the Topping TP22 as it seems more balanced than the SMSL though I am sure that some people will prefer the SMSL over the Topping especially since it can deliver more power.
One setback with the Topping TP22 is the limited dynamic range which is less than 100 dB. So similarly to the SMSL, there is a constant background hiss. If you are connecting fairly low-sensitivity speakers to either the SMSL or the Topping then this hissing is most likely not a big issue. But then keep in mind that neither of these amplifiers will be able to drive low-sensitive speakers to high volume given their limitations in output power. So you want to balance background hiss with volume when selecting your speakers.
Lastly, the Amphony 200 mini amp is also a good option in this price segment. What is most striking about this amp is its small size. It is literally no bigger than a deck of cards. Both the SMSL SA50 and the Topping SA22 are a lot bigger in size though still compact. The small size makes the Amphony a good choice when you need to slide an amp…
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