SMSL Q5 Pro DAC/Ampsearch

SMSL Q5 Pro DAC/Amp

SMSL Q5 Pro DAC/Amp

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How does this compare to the Schiit Fulla 2?
Isthere a 1/4" jack as an output option?
Sturdymushroom
Don't see one, which is the only thing holding me back from buying.
not very impressed by the SNR specs.
So my unit just arrived, however it came packed with a European (2 circular prongs) style power adapter... The picture shows a North American one, and that's was I was expecting being in North America. Did anyone else have this issue? I didn't see anything to let me choose adapter by region either.
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ChrisisAdidas
I had hoped they would fix this for the next drop... this also happened to me... I've contacted Massdrop... hopefully they fix the issue...
ChrisisAdidas
Also the picture is US plug so should have been a US model...
If I use this on my PC with Spotify and my NuFkrce EDC3, will I see a large improvement?
Has anyone figured out how to fix the remote? Mine doesn't work until i grasp it in my hand for a minute or 2 to warm it up with body heat, then the stupid thing works. As soon as I put it down and it cools, it doesn't work anymore.
Does the Q5 Pro have automatic on/off? I'm thinking of either the smsl Q5 or the topping MX3, at the moment the MX3 has the advantage of automatic on/off.
Bungle81
No. But it can be turned on and off with the remote and the unit itself.
Mine arrived missing a speaker post. *sigh* Another drop with bad QA :(
https://imgur.com/a/UmZrPY4
andrewthetechie
That's a bummer. Can you request one from SMSL?
(FIXED!) Line in input (3.5 mm/minijack) has constant quiet static noise. Not a big deal, but it is a slight nuisance, especially for quieter music that has moments of silence. I also hear a slight tick in my speakers when changing inputs. I left this comment to help anyone who may experience this.
**Update** I fixed it by plugging my Echo Dot into a different usb power plug. My Anker 4 USB plug was causing static. Fixed now! Just using an old cellphone USB plug. I still hear a slight tick when changing inputs.
This little amp really does sound good, paired with my Q Aqoustics 3020 bookshelf speakers. Didn't realize you can adjust bass and treble, to include about 7 equalizer presets. I don't really like any of the presets and have boosted the bass by about 5 clicks and the treble by 2. All can be done with the remote or by pressing buttons on the amp itself.
Nice binding post speaker terminals, they allow you to plug your banana plugs all the way in. It gives you a satisfying piece of mind.
The remote could be better, a lot better, but that's my only problem. No spark experienced when plugging it in, if you plug the power cable into the amp first and then into the powerstrip/wall. Which I would suppose is the way you are supposed to do it.
Sounds good! Remote leaves much to be desired, not reliable at less than 10 ft.
LoneAudiophile
Remote is not consistently reliable for me either. Remote needs to be aimed near perfectly to work.
I forgot to order this. Mind opening the drop again : p
I'm planning to use this in my bedroom with Q Acoustics 3020 bookshelf speakers. Figure this will be better for the space at a much lower price than a PS Audio Sprout. I eventually want a Sprout too though. Not sure about trying to use a subwoofer with this.
Wow, just saw this for $139.99 on Amazon. Glad I found Mass Drop!
This amp is incredible, received it a few days ago from the last drop, I had been using this with my desktop speakers (zensor 1's) but for fun I have just tried it with my ls50's and it sounds better than my main amp (pm6005)!
This looks like a DAC/Amp in search of a headphone jack! Seriously, just add the jack, increase the price by $100 and call it a poor-mans Jotunthiem--or however you spell that damn name!
RayF
SMSL did add a headphone jack, Bluetooth, and some other tweaks for $30. They called it the AD18:
https://www.massdrop.com/buy/smsl-ad18-bluetooth-stereo-and-usb-power-amplifier
But these units were made for passive speakers. The Joutenhiem is a DAC/amp with RCA/XLR inputs for feeding powered speakers.
mattris
I know, I really was tempted to buy that cute little AD18 (with the BT), but you're right, if you've got powered monitors (I have the MD JBL3XXs), the Joutenhiem (and the XLR cables) is the way to go. I ordered it from Schiit three weeks ago and it's still on back order (guess I wasn't the only one interested).
Considering getting this amp, but I want to be very sure of one thing before I get in on this drop: the Q5 Pro has a subwoofer line-out, right? The pictures seem to show that, and some of the comments mention it, but I want to make absolutely sure that the item being sold on in the drop ending in three days (Jan. 30th or 31st) is the one that has a subwoofer out, since the description completely ignores this. Thank you!
sopwerdna
It has a sub out but it doesn't do any bass management. So the speakers get the full range even if the sub is in use.
This is my favorite amp of this class of amp.
I’ve had a number of Indeed, Topping, and other small class D amps, and this one sounds the most musical to me. Sometimes head and shoulders above the others.
There‘s an organic, supple quality in the sound that is much more emotionally communicative than the others I’ve tried. The others sound stiff, or more dead and mechanical by comparison.
So I highly recommend this amp if you are setting up a small desktop system and shooting for moderate (sane) volume levels.
This also seems to be a great price at $85. When I bought mine, it was around $105.
Currently, I have it driving a pair of CEntrance Master Class speakers, running an analog output from a Amazon Echo Dot. Very musically satisfying, and I couldn’t be happier from a small system.
Highly recommended. If I didn’t already have two of these amps, I’d be jumping on this price.
Someone who owns this already - Do you hear a speaker pop when you turn the amp on or off? Is there an audible hiss when no music is playing?
cloverunderling
No speaker pop, however I keep the power switch on at all times and just flip off the power brick the amp is plugged into.
No hiss at most volumes, only when set to high volumes. This may be attributed to my speakers not the amp. My speakers are Micca MB42x + Dayton Sub 800.
I'm a dumb-dumb, are you able to plug via USB an iPhone to play music, or is it only for hooking up a computer for USB DAC?
barrist
Computer only
Does anyone know what file formats the system can read from the USB port? Does anyone know which power amp ic is being used. It is most probably a TI PWM but I don't know?
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Can I use usb port to connect Android device?
ortalions
I haven't tried, and I don't have the appropriate cable to try, sorry.
How would this work as a headphone amp?
3xrock
It's for speakers not for headphones.
Will this work well with a pair of JBL Control One speakers?
will this also come with a Euro Powerplug/brick?
Got this amp on Massdrop with the Micca MB42X speakers on Amazon. Total setup cost less then $200. I am extremely pleased with the sound. Great alternative to a sound bar, particularly if you're interested in music as well (not just for movies). I use it mainly for Spotify premium off a FireTV and think it's the ideal amp on a tight budget. Also now that I'm married and share a living room with a Y chromosome I'll likely never be allowed another large manly stereo in the living room, this amp is tiny so i managed to sneak it in (but still barely allowed to turn volume up). Small size with big performance.
Remote is buggy, keeps locking, many people complain here and on Amazon about this issue. Turns out pressing the "A" button unlocks the remote and fixes the issue. And yeah, there is the well documented spark when you plug the amp in at first... have not read about any related casualties so don't worry.
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I did not get a spark when plugging into the amp first and then plugging it into my powerstrip.
urmama
add an echo and you have my kitchen set up - great way to go hands free while cooking, etc and still get decent tunes.
I have this device hooked up to a pair of POLK T15s. Sounds amazing.. I'm using it with Optical in from my TV. Only complaint, the remote has to be direct line of sight, and it seems the remote died on me in less than a month of use. Not the battery either.. ):
Blackflag486
Remote is likely not dead. Many have written about the same problem. Hold the A button for a couple of seconds, it will unlock the remote. Weird, i know, but it seems to work for most people who complain about a dead remote.
urmama
After replacing the batteries a few times it finally started working again. Be careful when you plug in the power, it might spark! Haha
Will this help my setup any? Currently running a pair of active speakers, jbl lsr305
rdz4
No, not unless you're setting up an entirely new system.
The Q5 is a DAC/Integrated amp combo without the line-level analog outputs you'd need for it to be of any use with the LSR305. The LS305s are powered monitors which already have their own built-in amps.
With the LSR 305s you really just need a DAC and, unless you want to have to adjust the volume on the back of each speaker individually every time you want to change it, some sort of volume control (preferably a passive preamp, like the JDS Labs OL Switcher or Schiit Sys).
pinkfloyd4ever
Thanks for the helpful info!
My Review: I just got mine in today from the last drop. I picked this up to power a pair of KEF HTS3001BLs that I had from in 5.1 system I picked up a long time ago. These were always good speakers and I have been very happy with them. Previously my PC speakers were a pair of the Bose Companion speakers. I have always felt they sounded shallow and almost tin canish compared to a proper pair of bookshelf speakers. The KEFs are about the same size and have a nice egg shaped look that is quite unique.
I spent about 2 hours comparing the KEF speakers running this SMSL Q5 Pro with no sub to start so it would be apples to apples. The difference is insane. So much so that I cannot even begin to explain it. The KEF/SMSL combo is in a whole different league over the Bose speakers. Its like going from a pair of airplane headphones to Sennheiser 650s.
To be a little more specific - Here are some songs and things I noticed.
Disturbed - Sound of Silence Bose - I can hear the vocal sounds coming directional from the speakers. Seems to be a bit more right side focused. Quality is quite good, but it really doesn't elevate when the song does. No sense of presence that draws you in. This leaves a shallow feeling to a song that is anything but shallow. KEF/SMSL - Vocals are about the same in the low parts of the song, but when it ramps up it really comes to life. I cannot sense any direction at all and it really feels like everything is coming from a wall in front of me instead of at my left or right. The hair on my arms stood up when the highs really kicked in. That is something that normally only happens with my GoldenEar Triton Ones on my main system. Very very impressive for such a cheap simple setup.
OutKast - The Way You Move Bose - This literally sucks and is the reason I wanted an upgrade. Heavy rock or rap in any form kills the Bose. They sound so bad that I cannot even stand to hear it. KEF/SMSL - Nearly perfect. I tested with and without a sub. I miss the crossover and wish the SMSL had it. Doing it on my sub is annoying. Honestly though the sub is nice, but not 100% needed. The speakers alone did very good justice to the song.
Cherry Poppin' Daddies - Zoot Suit Roit Bose - I thought this sounded pretty solid on the Bose. Its not my normal music, but I wanted to try a few oddballs. The stage on this kind of music was great and I only slightly noticed a right side heavy vocal. KEF/SMSL - The separation of instruments was immediately better. The deep bass drums sounds were not amazing, but this is a simple setup, and I did not have the sub attached for this so its expected. What I didn't expect is volume. WOW can this thing get super loud. Like way beyond the Bose, but also beyond a comfort level. It literally sounded spot on all the way to volumes that I could not stand. Again I was blown away by this.
JPOP/KPOP - Various Songs Bose - The vocals are very shrill on the Bose. They are decent with male artist, but female artist go above what the Bose can reproduce clearly and it starts to break apart. To me I cannot make it through a single song without turning them off. KEF/SMSL - Handled it all perfectly. These songs are super vocal heavy with lots of electric sounds. This is an area where these speakers again trumped most systems I have heard. I would argue that this may be the best setup I have heard for JPOP period. Even over my 5k Triton Ones. My Triton's make it so clear and loud that it is a little too much for my ears to handle. When I turn them down enough to not suffer from the vocals then the electric sounds are losing something. This setup was a sweet middle ground.
Overall Rating 5/5 I don't have tons of extra equipment around to test against, but I can say this, "SMSL with my KEF bookshelves is hands down a night and day upgrade over Bose Companion speakers." That alone is reason enough to buy them for a lot of people. Any semi serious music or movie buff has a few speaker lying around the house. This SMSL worked for me instantly with no issue at all. No setup required beyond plugging in the cables. Then BAM I am listening to music at a level ten steps above my old PC setup. Everything sound stage, clarity, listening volumes, etc... was elevated to a point that I cannot see a need to go any higher on a PC. I am probably going to pick up another Q5 Pro and replace my sons sound bar with this and the other 2 KEF speakers I have from my set. This truly is the best pairing I have ever seen anywhere near this price level and I am shocked. It almost ("almost") makes me regret spending over 10 grand on my main setup, and here I was just looking for a simple upgrade. I cannot recommend these enough at its price point. MMV depending on your speakers, but pairing with KEF 3001 series is a no brainer.
Midorichi
I forgot to mention. Everything is driving off my PC hooked up via the provided USB-A to USB Mini plug. I was using Tidal for all of my reference music except for the JPOP/KPOP which I had local lossless copies of on my SSD. I used 12 gauge speaker wire (overkill) and banana plugs on the SMSL side. I have a standard sub cable running to my KEF sub from the same set, but that was only hooked up to test with one song. Not sure if I will keep the sub hooked up or not. I didn't feel a big need for it, but if I get the crossover just right maybe I will change my mind.
Midorichi
Thanks for the info! I read someone's comment that you can't set your speakers frequency response through the Q5 (or subwoofer crossover). Your stereo speakers try to play the low frequencies along with the sub, overlapping.
I'm planning on ordering this amp in the UK, will I be OK to use a us to UK plug adapter or do I need a transformer, if I do, would a 100 w one suffice?
This looks nice. How does this compare to the schiit fulla 2? Or even the schiit stack
RareAirs
The FULLA and the Shiit stack are both for headphones. These are for Passive Speakers with a port to connect a Sub-Woofer.
mlgpro1234
Oops sorry
Could these drive the wharfedale diamond 220 speakers? I don't need them to get really loud, as long as the quality is good, but struggling to find a good enough amp to do them justice
1k.m.p1
These would probably do fine at getting them moderately loud, although the wharfedales aren't the most sensitive. If you don't need the DAC section of this amp then the topping pa3 (which is also currently on massdrop) has more or less twice the output power, costs about the same, and looks better IMO.
I’m guessing that this unit wants to drive passive speakers? The problem o would have is the connectors. They kind of look like banana plugs. But that’s strictly for passive, right? And wow! No RCA jacks.
Stephen879
Yes, they are for passive speakers only. The speaker outs can unscrew to allow for speaker wire directly however banana plugs work great.