The SMSL M500 is a DAC combo with balanced and unbalanced outputs that also has an amplified headphone output. Behind its small dimensions are hidden high-end audio components that allow it to deliver excellent performance while enjoying many features.
The M500 uses a high-performance DAC ESS ES9038Pro ESS chip. This is the most efficient conversion chip currently available at ESS, with an SNR of 140DB and a THD+N of -122dB. It allows the M500 to achieve an extremely low distortion level of 0.00015%.
With this converter, the M500 supports high sampling rates to allow you to enjoy the most accurate playback possible. It will therefore be possible to read PCM files up to 32bit 768kHz and Native DSD files up to DSD512.
MQA for Master Quality Authenticated is an award-winning British technology for restoring the sound of the original recording. The MQA Master file is authenticated by the artists, producers or rights holders. These files are small enough to be streamed or downloaded.The M500 includes an MQA decoder to play these files in order to provide the best possible audio quality.
USB XMOS XU216 Interface
The USB input of the M500 is associated with an XMOS XU216 32bit XMOS interface, with custom driver. This ensures rich and transparent playback while supporting high sampling rates.
The M500's amplifier stage contains many discrete components that provide it with high power and current as well as a very good damping factor. This allows it to be associated with many helmet models, up to 300Ω. There is also an LDO ES9311 controller with a noise level of only 1µVrms.
Independent preamplifier and headphone volume
The volume of the preamplifier and headphone amplifier circuits are totally independent and do not interfere with each other. It is therefore possible to choose a different volume level for the headphone output and preamplifier outputs.
Screen & Housing
The SMSL M500 is equipped with a beautiful bright display on the front panel, allowing it to display all the information about the current playback. This includes the volume level, active input, flow and file type, as well as the sampling rate of the read file. This screen is protected by a tempered glass pane.
The components are hidden under a beautiful and robust CNC machined anodized Aluminium housing.
The unit also comes with an IR remote control for easy remote control.
|Product type||DAC and headphone amplifier|
2x Optical Toslink
|Outputs||1x Jack 6.35mm|
1x Single-ended RCA
1x Balanced XLR
|Dynamic range||XLR : 125dB|
RCA : 120dB
|USB Compatibility||Windows 7 / 8 / 8.1 / 10|
Mac OSX 10.6 or later
|Bit depth||USB : 1bit, 16~32bit|
Optical / Coaxial : 1bit, 16~32bit
|Sampling rate||USB : PCM 44.1 ~ 768kHz / DSD 2.8224 ~ 22.5792MHz|
Optical, Coaxial : PCM 44.1 ~ 192kHz / DSD64 (DoP)
|Headphone output power||570mW @ 32Ω|
290mW @ 64Ω
125mW @ 150Ω
65mW @ 300Ω
Introduction to SMSL Audio
SMSL Audio is a company specializing in audio DACs, headphone amplifiers, power amplifiers, digital interfaces and high fidelity players, with its own research, production and marketing team.
The brand has its own R&D center that designs high quality HiFi products that meet all needs. The reliability of their devices has allowed the brand to gain popularity and recognition in the audiophile world.
A bit of history...
SMSL Audio established in Shenzen, China in 2009. In 2014 SMSL started to use ESS DAC chips to design and manufacture Hi-Fi Audio DACs. In 2015 SMSL created the widely acclaimed "Panda Set". In 2016 we launched a new series of power amplifiers with Danish ICE-Power technology. And in 2017 the company expanded its sales channels outside China. In 2018 the flagship SMSL DAC D1 is launched. In 2019 we launched the first MQA DAC, model M500. In 2020, on the SMSL's 10th Anniversary, we started the production of our first two-way passive hi-fi speaker. To be continued...