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SMSL VMV VA1 headphone amplifier

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by ginetto61, Jul 27, 2015.
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  1. ginetto61
    Hi !
    i wonder if anyone has experience of the SMSL VMV VA1 headphone amplifier 
    I have a cheaper model ... this one from the same brand
    It sounds quite ok for the price.
    Actually after swapping the stock power supply with just a little better one it sounds good indeed.
    But i wonder how better is the bigger brother.
    Thanks and regards,
    P.S. being sincerely impressed by the smaller model here above i could not wait and i bought one [​IMG]
    I like also the XLR ins because i have dacs with this kind of output that i would like to try out.
    i have got many positive comments about this Brand ... it seems that they have also a very nice sounding dac.
    They know what they are doing.
  2. GeoffW
    Let us know how it sounds! I've had my eye on this one for a while, being impressed with its specs and the va2.
  3. ginetto61
    Hi and yes of course.  It will take a while because i am going on holidays. Let's say the end of August.
    Me too i am impressed by the specs.  And also by the smaller brother i already have.
    One word on the smaller brother.
    I know that is not very scientific but i am sincerely impressed by the quality of the special effects when i watch movies.
    Sometimes it is even scaring.
    I was watching a movie and at a point a fire alarm rang.
    I took out the HPs convinced that it was ringing in my flat [​IMG]  even if my fire alarm sounds quite different.
    I know that the quality of recorded special effects can be extremely high these days.
    But this was very very realistic sound ... amazing.
    My point being that a set up that can render these effects so convincingly cannot be that bad (i was using the k501 by the way)
    And the construction looks serious too.
    I have some HPs to try with it ... k701, k501, dt990 250 ohm and akg 240 Monitor 600 ohm.
    They are different but all quite ok.
    There is another brand that is tempting with a huge catalogue of amps ... Douk Audio.
    But it is difficult to try one amp without buying it.
    I will let you know my opinion.
    Kind regards,
  4. shatrukov
    Talked in chat with the dealer. Asked: what type of PSU? Show photo inside. Useless. Says still a mystery.
  5. ginetto61
    Hi received and opened it.  I cannot post picture now but i will do when i get back from holidays.
    Completely based on op-amps [​IMG]  (i hoped for a discrete design)
    If i see right the inputs are buffered by op-amps and this could be nice.
    A decent toroidal (20-30VA) and lots of caps in the power supply.
    I see already a mod ... a very high quality external transformer.  
    I hate deeply toroidals for their inferior mains noise suppression. 
    An EI powerful toroidal with a 3 wires umbilical to the amp should do benefits.
    The unit is very silent ... clean .. with a little flat midrange (quite common with op-amps.)
    There is almost no uF close to the output op-amps ... i do no like this.  I like at least 1000uF of very good quality close to the opamp.
    I saw those in a preamp with opamps of which i like the sound.
    Extremely clean without being hard and fatiguing.  I think the big bypassing caps can be the reason.
    They lower even further the noise and add dynamics.
    I will post pics ASAP ... 
    Regards,  gino 
    shatrukov likes this.
  6. shatrukov
    Interesting to me this amp. Balance inputs. I have headphones GMP400. I like the character overall. I want to preserve the neutrality of vosproizvedeniya through an amp, but I care about dynamism. Maybe I'm wrong, but operatsionnyi, I think, will not be able to give dynamism. But discrete give more heat. But this amp has interested me. Waiting for photos...
  7. ginetto61
    Hi ! i bought it also for this feature.  I have 3 dacs with XLR outs that i want to test.  So the XLR inputs are very welcome. 
    And i bought it because i already had a cheaper model that i am finding clean sounding.  I have to try it with a better power supply by the way.
    you are right and when i saw only opamps i was a little disappointed
    The opamp are not identifiable ... the top is covered by a plastic mask with a logo.   i do not know which type of opamps are used.
    The uF in the power supply are a lot .. many caps paralleled ... decent quality i guess. 
    But there is very little uF close to the op-amps.  I prefer around 1000uF x 2 close to an opamp ... that usually increases dynamics.
    However the amp is quite clean and silent.  The figures of noise and distortion i saw on ebay are very good.
    It will take me a little while to post to pictures ... i am off on holidays.
    Next week i should be able to take them.
    Another interesting brand is Douk Audio
    Regards,  gino
    shatrukov likes this.
  8. tecnos6
    Hi !
    Do you know what the power output (mw/w), Im looking for an amp to power my Audeze LCD-X's but I dont have £600 to pay for there one!!
    Thanks in advance!
  9. reiserFS
    Any pictures yet? 
  10. ginetto61
    Hi [​IMG]
    shatrukov likes this.
  11. ginetto61
    Unfortunately there is absolutely no way to identify the op-amps actually used ... they have the brand logo on them 
    I guess it has buffered inputs ...
    the sound is very clean ... the noise very low even with volume at max
    but a little flat and hard in the midrange as usual with many solid state amps. 
    The tubes are noisy, rolled in the bass ... but the midrange has volume ... it is more alive
    Maybe a hybrid could be the way to follow ?
    Using the dt880 600 ohm i tend to prefer this one ... same brand ... nice unit ... 
    Regards,  gino 
  12. reiserFS
    Looks a bit...empty? 
  13. ginetto61
    well it's opamp based. After all just one dual opamp can drive an headphone
    Here there are 6 of them.
    I do not know if opamps can give a very high end sound by the way.
    The more expensive amps are usually discrete designs
    so i tend to think that is indeed the best solution when very top sound is the goal [​IMG]
    i would like to add one thought
    i think that more uF, like 470-1000, of very good quality and placed very close to the opamps can have a nice effect on sound
    like more "oomph"
    i see caps like shock absorbers in a vehicle ... when the road gets bumpy they absorb the irregularities of the ground [​IMG]
    the hard sound of most solid state could be maybe linked to too little uF available for the amp stages
    and of course ... the closest the uF to these stages the better
    they would cope much better with fast impulses in the music signal
    of course also the quality of caps used is fundamental [​IMG]
    gino [​IMG]
  14. tecnos6
    Thanks Gino, I bought one to try out and it runs my lcd-x's fine, albeit from the 'high' impedance socket as their very quiet using the 'low' impedance. I hope this will not damage my LCD-X's as technically the impedance's don't match as the 'high' socket is for headphones with impedance 50ohms  or higher and the LCDs are only 20ohms. They seem fine though. Thanks again!
  15. ginetto61
    Hi Colin ! you are welcome !
    I prefer the low Z socket for both low and high Z headphones.
    The bass is cleaner.
    The sound is very clean ... but i feel some flatness/hardness in the midrange [​IMG]
    I am quite sure it is for low uF close to the output stages.  I would like to increase the uF to at least 470-1000 uF per rail [​IMG]
    But i am worried to damage the amp ... [​IMG]
    i am still undecided about this mod ... i am sure it could be beneficial
    I did something similar on a preamp ... the sound became more powerful, relaxed and with more oomph ... like with tubes ...
    I would say use the low Z socket ... better to be safe than sorry.
    The construction is quite ok ... for the price.
    If i had the schematic maybe i would try the caps mod ... a bunch of these should do
    let me know your final opinion later
    Thanks a and regards,  gino [​IMG]
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