I would personally use some warmer sounding speakers that could infuse a bit of joy and soul into my music. It depends a lot on the speakers, but I can identify a bigger soundstage with another integrated amplifier. SMSL DA-8S by comparison sounded more linear, more technical, clearly more detailed, it showed additional information in the treble. If I never knew the price of this unit, I would bet I am listening to an integrated amplifier in the $400 to $600 price range and that says a lot about its performance. I personally can’t see the volume level at 2.5m away, I can’t change any setting, I can only spot the selected input. Those two amps are small miracles – excellent DACs, powerful full sounding headphone amps, excellent warm, clean ranges, especially when run through a decent set of speakers. Cymbal crashes and double drums carried lots of energy and had a clear leading edge. Sound was more technical than musical, everything sounded defined, detailed, clear and precise. That said, I’m no expert. It is really easy connecting a smart device with the SMSL DA-8S, just select the BT input, search for “SMSL BT5.0A” with your smart device, connect to it and that’s it. At $169 this is the most affordable integrated amplifier that I know and that can stand shoulder to shoulder even besides costlier units. It obviously depends a lot on the speakers used, Diamond 11.2 are not that sensitive but they can show a dirtier input signal. If you use fancier power cables, you can use them with SH-8 and SU-8, but not with DA-8S. With this particular set of speakers, it was just a tiny bit on the hotter side, it attracted more attention in this area, giving an impression of detailed and transparent sound. You can learn more about these modules right here. Burson Bang is just a power amplifier, it doesn’t have a volume control, you will need to use a preamp with it, a DAC with volume control or any other source with volume control. Compared to the Rega, bass doesn’t separate as well and gets muddy. If you are a casual listener, it might not bother you that much as it did for me. No displays, not a single button, no volume control, just a single LED that will show its working status. DA-8S is making the music closer to the listener, depth is shrinking too that creates this cozy and up-front presentation. With DA-8S the stage is shrinking a bit to medium size, I don’t hear the music coming from behind the speakers anymore, creating a huge 3D image in front of me. My only gripe with the amp is the knob can skip a beat or skip the wrong way while turning it. The jump from older DA-8 to DA-8S seems like a massive one: you get double the power, an additional input was added and 100 bucks were slashed from its price. Press J to jump to the feed. DA-8S performs admirably in terms of noise, it is free of any gremlins, sounds clean and grain free all the time. Add a super stable BT version 5.0 and DA-8S should work nicely in a wide-open space, even with few concrete walls between it and the BT source. Bottom line is that DA-8S sounds more technical, more extended in the FR, more detailed, offers double the power and it is much cheaper. I wanted to squeeze the best out of it, so I decided to use the Matrix Audio Element X as the streamer and DAC for this test, I used QED Reference balanced XLR interconnects between the two, SMSL DA-8S worked as an integrated amplifier and it was driving a mid-range pair of speakers - the $600 Wharfedale Diamond 11.2. At just a fraction of the price, SMSL DA-8S offered a balanced sound across the board. I would like to have a black color option too; it would make it almost invisible in the living room. When I’ve tested the SMSL SP200 headphone amplifier I’ve felt how much this company is pushing the envelope into affordable Hi-Fi market. Budget audiophiles rejoice! Among the few downsides of this integrated amplifier is the soundstage size compared to other units. Guitarmass by Infected Mushroom is an amazing track in terms of speed, slam and bass control. As much as I liked the DA-8S in pure analog mode, it lacks quite some details while streaming, the transient response took a serious hit and the biggest hit was felt in the low end. The last use case I considered was actual home audio. It’s pretty clean and very minimalistic, which is nice given the space available. Keep in mind the Rega is a large, heavy class AB unit that really only has the watts per side in common with the little SA100. Faster electronica sounded as I remember it with just a small roll-off in the sub-bass that can’t be solved with a bookshelf speaker. Sure enough, midrange sounded drier, exactly how it was rendered on Azur 851A. It provided a very nice, clear and relatively distortion free experience up to the upper end of the volume range – the room isn’t exactly optimized for acoustics, but I found it particularly nice compared to the 36A with midrange vocals. When it comes to value, DA-8S is just unbeatable. On the back you have the 24 V DC input, a pair of speaker outputs, the Bluetooth antenna socket, an RCA and an XLR input. DA-8s will not offer the last bit in terms of resolution, but I still can hear some of those tiny details I am spotting with higher priced equipment. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast, More posts from the BudgetAudiophile community. There is still lots of treble extension, bass has a good control, transparency is nice too but the resolution takes a small hit. Sweet, i'm going to order one based on this review since I am in need of a desktop amp. Costlier integrated amps sounded bigger, carried more air, filled the room nicer, giving an impression that sounds are coming from behind the wall and not from the speakers themselves. Bass felt nimble, fast and really tight. I led off with my bass test track, Miles Davis’ sublime So What, and into my midrange favourite, Jennifer Warnes’ version of Joan of Arc. The volume pot uses the NJW1194 digital volume control chip for a perfect matching between both channels. I consider its midrange and soundstage the biggest cons of this unit, you really can’t have them all in a $169 package. Background noise stays under a good control, I presume that digital volume control chip played a big role in achieving a lower noise floor. The BT option provides a decent step up from the SA36/SA50 units, uses the BT 5.0 protocol as per the SMSL website, and has pretty decent range – about 25 feet in my own home. With a super sensitive bookshelf speaker where 40W of power would be enough, Burson Bang will sound livelier and just more interesting. I engaged Tidal Hi-Fi and streamed lossless CD quality tracks (16 bit / 44.1 kHz) for about 2 hours to get a stronger impression. I ran my phono preamp to the SA100 and while it works fine, it lacked the kind of clarity and soundstage I’m used to with my home setup. SP200 is still the most affordable THX AAA headphone amplifier on the market and it performs admirable even with heavy loads. Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for S.M.S.L SA300 HiFi Digital Amplifier, Infineon's New Technology Class D Power Amp Chip, Bluetooth 5.0 APTX, Multiple EQ Modes with Remote Control (Black) at Amazon.com. I often test clarity and tone reproduction with Dire Straits’ Down to the Waterline, so I moved on to that. It actually improved the drier midrange of Diamond 11.2 and even added a layer in the bass. Do note that I am feeding it a serious 4.5 V signal from the DAC so the background noise should be amplified. I even reviewed them alongside other 3 pairs of speakers in this interesting comparative review, so I know them pretty well while being driven by a Cambridge Audio Azur 851A and by a Hegel H160. This little amp is fantastic. The OLED screen is really small and you can change some of its setting only when sitting closely to it. It’s worth noting that I didn’t wire in my usual desktop Mission sub, so I was really just listening for improvements in the mid and upper range here. Bass and treble are about what you’d expect, with solid but modestly vague bass notes and warm but not incredibly clear treble. It sounds just by a hair clearer than $599 Burson Bang, but less detailed than $1500 Azur 851A and clearly less technical than $3500 Hegel H160. DA-8S is a fully balanced input to output integrated amplifier with the main circuitry based on the super-efficient Infineon Technologies Class-D amplifier modules.

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