SMSL SP200 THX AAA 888 Balanced AMP!
Feb 16, 2021 at 7:27 PM Post #1,021 of 1,050

Denosha

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Any of you guys pair the SP200 with the Audeze LCD-2 Rev 2 ? (non fazor), how does they sound compared to the HA-160DS ?

My friend offered me his Burson HA-160DS for the same price as the SP200 so i'm really in a tight spot rn.

I have the SP200 (duh), LCD-2 Rev1 (possibly 1.5 as i've had the drivers replaced before) and the Burson Soloist. Assuming there is a "house sound" between the soloist and the HA-160DS, the Burson is warmer sounding with more low-end impact. I personally prefer the LCD-2 with the Burson than with the SP200.
 
Feb 17, 2021 at 2:16 AM Post #1,022 of 1,050

Telin

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Do you EQ at all. I can't seem to get any magic out of HD6xx no matter what i tried. (Mids are nice but ...
Is it a possibility that the HD6xx is simply not a good match for you personally?

One can measure all they want but in the end how one perceives/hears music is completely personal and unique. That is the main reason why I don't post much if at all in the many "what headphones do you recommend" threads.

My modded Fostex T50rp MKIII for example.
I modded these headphones in such a way that I really like the sound signature of them and I think they sound extremely good, if not the best, then any other headphones in that price range.

Yet when I loaned them to my colleague at work he disliked them a lot.
According to him the treble is too pronounced, the mids too sharp and the bass lacking. I couldn't disagree more..

Even if 5000 other people like the HD6xx doesn't automatically mean that you need to like them to, doesn't mean you need to think that they sound great to.

I can buy the Sennheiser HD800 which are like 6x (?) as expensive as the modded Fostex T50rp MKIII but that means in no way that I will automatically perceive them as being better sounding. You can throw all the audiophile lingo at it like "more resolving" and "more refined" but that does mean absolutely nothing if you don't like and enjoy the sound that comes out of them.

Going out on a forum and ask what headphones to buy is like asking someone else what food you like. They can describe what it taste like to them but in the end you need to taste yourself to see if you actually like it or not.

Just my €0.02
 
Feb 17, 2021 at 9:16 PM Post #1,023 of 1,050

mojevajaco

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Is it a possibility that the HD6xx is simply not a good match for you personally?

One can measure all they want but in the end how one perceives/hears music is completely personal and unique. That is the main reason why I don't post much if at all in the many "what headphones do you recommend" threads.

My modded Fostex T50rp MKIII for example.
I modded these headphones in such a way that I really like the sound signature of them and I think they sound extremely good, if not the best, then any other headphones in that price range.

Yet when I loaned them to my colleague at work he disliked them a lot.
According to him the treble is too pronounced, the mids too sharp and the bass lacking. I couldn't disagree more..

Even if 5000 other people like the HD6xx doesn't automatically mean that you need to like them to, doesn't mean you need to think that they sound great to.

I can buy the Sennheiser HD800 which are like 6x (?) as expensive as the modded Fostex T50rp MKIII but that means in no way that I will automatically perceive them as being better sounding. You can throw all the audiophile lingo at it like "more resolving" and "more refined" but that does mean absolutely nothing if you don't like and enjoy the sound that comes out of them.

Going out on a forum and ask what headphones to buy is like asking someone else what food you like. They can describe what it taste like to them but in the end you need to taste yourself to see if you actually like it or not.

Just my €0.02
Man you said it word for word how i feel about this whole recommendation business. .
Being over 45 I'm sure my ears are totally "tuned" differently then they were in my 20s. So i like brighter now then i might have had back then.
It's like suggesting pistachio ice cream to someone who doesn't stray from vanilla.
Until you try for yourself you 'll never really know.
 
Feb 21, 2021 at 3:29 PM Post #1,025 of 1,050

tfwnogf

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I have the SP200 (duh), LCD-2 Rev1 (possibly 1.5 as i've had the drivers replaced before) and the Burson Soloist. Assuming there is a "house sound" between the soloist and the HA-160DS, the Burson is warmer sounding with more low-end impact. I personally prefer the LCD-2 with the Burson than with the SP200.
Thanks mate, think ill go with the 160DS for now, for some reason the SP200 is around $400 in my place
 
Feb 21, 2021 at 4:25 PM Post #1,026 of 1,050

dougms3

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Has anyone tested the difference between the RCA and XLR connections?

I know this has been brought up in the past that this amp is not fully balanced and this is 100% true because the grounds come together but I'm definitely noticing a difference between the xlr and rca inputs. Its very easy to test this since its just the flip of the toggle switch.

While its not a fully balanced connection, there does seem to be a benefit to running the amp balanced. Its a fairly significant difference. Impact and punchiness are the biggest difference to my ears, maybe a little increase in soundstage, detail, clarity, resolution. While that is debatable, theres no arguing that the volume is about 20% louder with the XLR connection.

Both cables are world's best cables Canare star quad l-4e6s XLR and RCA.

I'm sure the manufacturer wouldn't waste time including the balanced connection if it didn't have any benefit. I've listened to the naysayers for too long.

Anyone else use the balanced connection notice this?
 
Feb 21, 2021 at 7:05 PM Post #1,027 of 1,050

gr8soundz

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Has anyone tested the difference between the RCA and XLR connections?

I know this has been brought up in the past that this amp is not fully balanced and this is 100% true because the grounds come together but I'm definitely noticing a difference between the xlr and rca inputs. Its very easy to test this since its just the flip of the toggle switch.

While its not a fully balanced connection, there does seem to be a benefit to running the amp balanced. Its a fairly significant difference. Impact and punchiness are the biggest difference to my ears, maybe a little increase in soundstage, detail, clarity, resolution. While that is debatable, theres no arguing that the volume is about 20% louder with the XLR connection.

Both cables are world's best cables Canare star quad l-4e6s XLR and RCA.

I'm sure the manufacturer wouldn't waste time including the balanced connection if it didn't have any benefit. I've listened to the naysayers for too long.

Anyone else use the balanced connection notice this?

Not sure if it helps but I experimented with the XLR inputs some time ago:
https://www.head-fi.org/threads/smsl-sp200-thx-aaa-888-balanced-amp.918070/post-15319584

I believe they're mostly for convenience although I wonder if they also help attenuate the stronger signals from most balanced outputs.

However, I still use SE in and out to avoid any single to balanced (or vice-versa) conversions inside the amp. I also use 6in and 12in World's Best Cables Canare interconnects.
 
Feb 21, 2021 at 7:30 PM Post #1,028 of 1,050

dougms3

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Not sure if it helps but I experimented with the XLR inputs some time ago:
https://www.head-fi.org/threads/smsl-sp200-thx-aaa-888-balanced-amp.918070/post-15319584

I believe they're mostly for convenience although I wonder if they also help attenuate the stronger signals from most balanced outputs.

However, I still use SE in and out to avoid any single to balanced (or vice-versa) conversions inside the amp. I also use 6in and 12in World's Best Cables Canare interconnects.

Nice write up.

I haven't noticed any degradation in sound quality with XLR, it only seems like improvements but it could be my ears are not capable of hearing it.

I find it very interesting that theres such a big difference with my gear. It was stated by many reviewers that theres no difference whatsoever between SE and balanced on this amp but if that were the case there shouldn't be an increase in volume. That is the big indicator that the amp is drawing more power. Obviously not to the extent of being fully balanced because of the wiring of the internals but its definitely not the same as SE.

This leads me to believe that the people who stated that theres no difference didn't bother to test it out and were just repeating what they heard or assumed theres no difference based on the ground wiring converging at the amp.

I'm a bit annoyed because I've had the amp for over a year and only discovering this now.
 
Feb 21, 2021 at 8:03 PM Post #1,029 of 1,050

Minkypou

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Do you EQ at all. I can't seem to get any magic out of HD6xx no matter what i tried. (Mids are nice but ...
i only felt that * magic * with a tube amp back when i had my hd6xx , they were sounding really special on my valhalla 2 and i might even buy a pair again now that i have a feliks echo and a better dac , i bet i could love them again like i already did but even more :)

could be a nice open alternative to take breaks from the closed sound of the atticus , even if atticus sometimes feels like an open headphone , it still sounds like a closed one , not a bad thing at all , but with hd6xx it was like a cloud , physically and soundwise . really easy to take and airy .
 
Feb 21, 2021 at 8:03 PM Post #1,030 of 1,050

gr8soundz

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Nice write up.

I haven't noticed any degradation in sound quality with XLR, it only seems like improvements but it could be my ears are not capable of hearing it.

I find it very interesting that theres such a big difference with my gear. It was stated by many reviewers that theres no difference whatsoever between SE and balanced on this amp but if that were the case there shouldn't be an increase in volume. That is the big indicator that the amp is drawing more power. Obviously not to the extent of being fully balanced because of the wiring of the internals but its definitely not the same as SE.

This leads me to believe that the people who stated that theres no difference didn't bother to test it out and were just repeating what they heard or assumed theres no difference based on the ground wiring converging at the amp.

I'm a bit annoyed because I've had the amp for over a year and only discovering this now.

One of best features of the SP200 (imo) is the SE and balanced jacks output the same amount of power.

Since joining Head-Fi, I spent a lot of time on balanced setups but the hassle (and cost) of additional headphone cables and adapters for the different types of connectors was always an issue. Then, with most amps, switching to my SE-only headphones reduced the power by half. No such issue with the SP200.

Plus, the XLR inputs are always available when I want to hook up a second DAC.
 
Feb 22, 2021 at 4:16 AM Post #1,031 of 1,050

Telin

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Has anyone tested the difference between the RCA and XLR connections?

I know this has been brought up in the past that this amp is not fully balanced and this is 100% true because the grounds come together but I'm definitely noticing a difference between the xlr and rca inputs. Its very easy to test this since its just the flip of the toggle switch.

While its not a fully balanced connection, there does seem to be a benefit to running the amp balanced. Its a fairly significant difference. Impact and punchiness are the biggest difference to my ears, maybe a little increase in soundstage, detail, clarity, resolution. While that is debatable, theres no arguing that the volume is about 20% louder with the XLR connection.

Both cables are world's best cables Canare star quad l-4e6s XLR and RCA.

I'm sure the manufacturer wouldn't waste time including the balanced connection if it didn't have any benefit. I've listened to the naysayers for too long.

Anyone else use the balanced connection notice this?
I have the M200 / SP200 stack and have connected the SP200 with XLR cables from the M200 DAC.
After reading this I connected the SP200 with the M200 using RCA cables.

At the moment I don't have any balanced headphones at home so the output on the SP200 is always the SE 1/4 socket.

Changing from XLR to RCA between the M200 and SP200 I noticed that the sound is a bit louder when connected with XLR. Other than that I have to say I don't notice any difference in actual SQ. I find it near impossible telling them apart once both XLR and RCA inputs are volume matched.

My conclusion is that the SP200 works and sounds just as good using either XLR or RCA once you take the slight volume difference over XLR out of the equation.
Maybe this changes once you use the XLR output of the SP200 I don't know as I said I don't have any balanced headphones available right now.
I can't find myself agreeing with the statement that the soundstage changes or other similar differences.
 
Feb 22, 2021 at 8:41 AM Post #1,032 of 1,050

dougms3

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I have the M200 / SP200 stack and have connected the SP200 with XLR cables from the M200 DAC.
After reading this I connected the SP200 with the M200 using RCA cables.

At the moment I don't have any balanced headphones at home so the output on the SP200 is always the SE 1/4 socket.

Changing from XLR to RCA between the M200 and SP200 I noticed that the sound is a bit louder when connected with XLR. Other than that I have to say I don't notice any difference in actual SQ. I find it near impossible telling them apart once both XLR and RCA inputs are volume matched.

My conclusion is that the SP200 works and sounds just as good using either XLR or RCA once you take the slight volume difference over XLR out of the equation.
Maybe this changes once you use the XLR output of the SP200 I don't know as I said I don't have any balanced headphones available right now.
I can't find myself agreeing with the statement that the soundstage changes or other similar differences.

The differences are subtle, the impact and punchiness of the bass is noticeable, the other details may be just me.

If you're using the Fostex T50RP, its hard to notice anything with that headphone because its not very sensitive to changes in detail and theres so much bass that its going to hard to tell. I have that headphone also.

May be try it out with something that has higher sensitivity.

Just the fact that the volume is louder should indicate that its not the same as SE. Does someone have an explanation as to why the volume is louder if both connections are delivering the same power?
 
Feb 22, 2021 at 7:02 PM Post #1,033 of 1,050

NWcherokee

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I have the M200 / SP200 stack and have connected the SP200 with XLR cables from the M200 DAC.
After reading this I connected the SP200 with the M200 using RCA cables.

At the moment I don't have any balanced headphones at home so the output on the SP200 is always the SE 1/4 socket.

Changing from XLR to RCA between the M200 and SP200 I noticed that the sound is a bit louder when connected with XLR. Other than that I have to say I don't notice any difference in actual SQ. I find it near impossible telling them apart once both XLR and RCA inputs are volume matched.

My conclusion is that the SP200 works and sounds just as good using either XLR or RCA once you take the slight volume difference over XLR out of the equation.
Maybe this changes once you use the XLR output of the SP200 I don't know as I said I don't have any balanced headphones available right now.
I can't find myself agreeing with the statement that the soundstage changes or other similar differences.
As a newbie here, I have what could be a dumb question but I 'll take the chance... Is the audible difference in fact attributed to the m200 outputting RMS of around 2 Vrms in RCA versus around 4 Vrms in XLR?
 
Feb 22, 2021 at 7:39 PM Post #1,034 of 1,050

dougms3

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As a newbie here, I have what could be a dumb question but I 'll take the chance... Is the audible difference in fact attributed to the m200 outputting RMS of around 2 Vrms in RCA versus around 4 Vrms in XLR?

The XLR output is not fully balanced. The XLR and RCA are close in performance, not double the output. If I had to guess, I would say about 20% more output power.

This is a quote from SMSL_Liu on ASR on page 13 of this thread. I believe SMSL_Liu is an engineer at SMSL or at the very least a CSR.

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...rements-of-smsl-sp200-thx-hp-amp.9242/page-13

"Dride1401 said: I am a total noob trying to work out what I'm looking at with this stuff. So is this balanced internal circuitry or not? I had a message from both SMSL and Shenzen Audio saying internals were balanced."

"SMSL_Liu said: Nope, I can tell you, there is just 2 AMP inside the SP200, so it is not a real balanced hp out, but It's indeed different from SE out ! in this balanced jack, the "-" signal of 2 headphone speakers is not connected together, it will return to the AMP of its own, so even it is not a real balanced(4 amps), but it is a real balanced design, the performance is not the same as SE out, especially crosstalk, is a lot better!"

Pics of the amp from SMSL-Mandy on ASR page 12 of former thread.

未标题-2.jpg
未标题-3.jpg


You should read that last page or two at least of this thread NWcherokee
 

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Feb 23, 2021 at 2:03 AM Post #1,035 of 1,050

Telin

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The XLR output is not fully balanced. The XLR and RCA are close in performance, not double the output. If I had to guess, I would say about 20% more output power.

This is a quote from SMSL_Liu on ASR on page 13 of this thread. I believe SMSL_Liu is an engineer at SMSL or at the very least a CSR.

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...rements-of-smsl-sp200-thx-hp-amp.9242/page-13

"Dride1401 said: I am a total noob trying to work out what I'm looking at with this stuff. So is this balanced internal circuitry or not? I had a message from both SMSL and Shenzen Audio saying internals were balanced."

"SMSL_Liu said: Nope, I can tell you, there is just 2 AMP inside the SP200, so it is not a real balanced hp out, but It's indeed different from SE out ! in this balanced jack, the "-" signal of 2 headphone speakers is not connected together, it will return to the AMP of its own, so even it is not a real balanced(4 amps), but it is a real balanced design, the performance is not the same as SE out, especially crosstalk, is a lot better!"

Pics of the amp from SMSL-Mandy on ASR page 12 of former thread.

未标题-2.jpg未标题-3.jpg

You should read that last page or two at least of this thread NWcherokee
This is about XLR vs. 1/4 SE headphone output.
I thought we were talking about XLR vs. RCA input where the output stays the same.
Those are two very different things.

Just the fact that the volume is louder should indicate that its not the same as SE.

It's not the same as XLR has higher input/output voltage than RCA.
Louder volume doesn't automatically mean better SQ. It's the same with switching from low gain to high gain, it gets louder but the sound doesn't get better (not on this amp at least 😉 )
 

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