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SMSL SA-160

SMSL SA-160

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It could well be a bad solder joint in the connection to the jack or a short somewhere close. I leave the plastic on the wire tie, so, it shouldn't be discharging any caps. It may well be worthwhile to have someone look at that adcom and replace the jack.
If your SMSL SA-160 amp sounds like it is "clipping" when you turn it past halfway you should swap the power cord, not the "brick", but the common computer cord that goes from the wall to the brick. This instantly fixed the clipping problem and actually made the amp significantly louder. I cut into the one that came with the amp and found that each wire has about ten strands of copper wire....at best. Obviously the brick and thus the amp are power starved.
If your SA160 is "dead", but, works on headphones I will gladly give you $30 for it.....or.....you can take a "tie" like the one found on a loaf of bread and root around in the headphone jack. For some reason, plugging and unplugging headphones confuses the system and doinking around in the jack like a teenager on prom night with something non conductive that won't get hung up makes it all right again.
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Here's the "real fix". The problem is that the solder has deteriorated on the jack. Take it apart, and take a look at the circuit board on the other side of the jack. There's several pins that both conduct current AND attach it to the board. Take a soldering iron and heat up each pin and give it a little drop of quality solder. Problem. Solved.
kghaddon
Yeah, that's a fairly common problem with electronics. A nice easy fix!
Hey Ktam, there are possibly some good political and or environmental reasons not to support some companies. No matter where they're located in the world. There's also some companies who don't give a second thought to quality control. No matter where they're located in the world. As for the quality issue, after purchasing 2 DACs and 2 amps I have no problems with SMSL build. All my products work perfectly. I haven't opened them up to see weather the boards were dipped or hand soldered or how clean they are. I haven't needed to, they all worked perfectly out of the box. The SA-160 isn't perfect. It could used more bass. A balance control and bass/treble pots would be nice. But for what it is and what it costs it's awfully good. In my lifetime I've spent much more and got much less in return. I try to support smart people doing smart things, no matter where they are. I even like it more when those people get the opportunity to design and build their own products and brands. That is the best motivation to provide quality and value. No one would question the build of SMSL if it were marketed under one of the Harmon Kardon Group labels or Sony and cost more. At least not until it broke under warranty and customer service was impossible to get a hold of. (LOL)
gm0n13
I wish it had a LFE output so it will make life simpler if we want to connect a sub.
Well, looks like my SA-160 has even more surprises in store.
1. Power Jack sparkles every time I connect the power plug. (Amp in Standby mode, power adapter connected in to the surge protector).
2. With no speakers attached when feeding audio through RCA inputs, you can actually hear music playing when you put your ear to the amp. (Very faint but obvious).
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When the amp is making the crackle arcing sound does it effect the sound from the speakers?
Hi Futility, I am not accusing that you are against Chinese made products. If you are then you wouldn't have purchase SA-160 . I do not have any doubt of your comments about the product either. Regarding the funny things that happened to your SA-160, it could be you got a defected product or something else that other people in this forum try to help you solve the problems. Regarding the sound quality, it is 100% subjective. For example, I let my friend test drive my new vette a few months ago, after the test drive, his comments was the car is awesome, too bad the sound system is by Bose. I let my nephew and his girl friend test drive my vette last month. Her comment was the sound system is awesome too, no wonder, it is by Bose. LOL My post was in response to gm0n13's because we both do not have any problem with the products from S.M.S.L. (so far) and coincidentally the first amp that we purchased was a marantz 1070. When we are young, we like to talk about fxxk story but when we are old we like to talk about history. I am an old fart just like gm0n13. Cheer
Disappointed with SA-160. I use it with SMSL M8 DAC and X-LS Encore speakers as desktop monitors. Unit exhibits high-frequency noise when nothing is being fed or playing back quiet tracks. You can somewhat mask it but it's still there.
I was looking forward to upgrade my old TA2024 based T-amp and this is clearly a downgrade. Not as detailed, muddy. Not totally horrible but mediocre in comparison. Much louder (more output power) but lacking clarity. Not sure if this is just my unit that is defective or it's the whole model line that is subpar.
PS Tested with Foobar, WASAPI (event). 192/24 bit audio tracks that included Pink Floyd, Eagles, Metallica, Scorpions...
Futility
It could be so many things... dirty power, unshielded wires acting like antennas, poorly assembled interconnects, and of course maybe a bad amp. If you can narrow it down to the amp then you should be able to have MD or SMSL send you a new one. If you are not interested in sending it back you can open it up and see if you just have some messy solder debris other other garbage touching things they shouldn't. I have received electronics from China that rattled like it had broken in shipping, just to open it up and see it was some solder clipping or other trash from the work area rattling in the case. Once I had a lump of flux on the board that just needed to be cleaned off and my gear worked fine after that. I think you are safe to go inside the amp since it is advertised as having a replaceable op-amp, but don't quote me. My SA-160 worked fine out of the box so I didn't crack it open. ** I would like to make it clear that NONE of the items I had to fix are from SMSL. ** I still buy products from China, it can't be avoided and most times are without incident.
All of the orders have been shipped and are now on the way to you! Once tracking is available, you will receive a confirmation email with tracking information. Please allow 24-48 hours for this information to update in the courier’s system.
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Bulk order shipped! The vendor informed us that the group's order was picked up and is on its way to our warehouse in New Jersey. Based on the tracking provided, the order is scheduled to arrive on 6/2.
Expect another update from us on 6/6 or sooner if something comes up.
If you have any questions, please visit our Help Center (https://massdrop.com/helpcenter).
Need to proof read better before I submit. What I meant to say is: the speaker amp and the head phone amp Are totally separate amps. Also If you are wrapping the speaker Wire around the stud post.... DERP
Awaiting confirmation! We are still in contact with the vendor and just awaiting updated shipment estimates from them. We have a call scheduled first thing tomorrow morning and should get a bit more visibility in regards to when we can expect these in our warehouse.
Expect another update from us on 5/30 or sooner if something comes up.
If you have any questions, please visit our Help Center (https://massdrop.com/helpcenter).
ArthurM
I received an email on 5/19 saying this drop shipped and was also charged for it. It then arrived today 5/25. It is a really weird fluke that I received it 10 days before the expected shipping date? And also before what even your update is saying? Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining by any means just a little confused. Sounds great btw, surprisingly really loud with just a pair of sony bookshelf speakers or my AKG K7XX headphones.
Thanks again for joining this drop! We have submitted the group's order with the vendor for the SMSL SA-160 and they are working hard to prepare it for shipment.
As soon as the group's order is ready at the vendor's location, they will send the bulk shipment to our warehouse in New Jersey where our warehouse team will break it up into individual orders and ship them. The current estimated ship date from our warehouse is 6/3.
We will keep the group updated throughout the fulfillment process. You can expect an update from us by the end of the day Pacific Time on 5/23.
If you have any questions, please visit our Help Center (http://massdrop.com/helpcenter).
WAS a nice amp. Speaker circuitry crapped out after a month but the headphone jack still worked. Junk!!
Androidknee
Mine too and I just fixed it. I took a "bag tie", a plastic wrapped piece of wire, and fished around in the headphone jack hole. The system shuts off the speakers when headphones are inserted and that can sometimes get "stuck". I would have a more technical explanation, but, I managed to fix it in all of 10 seconds.
Will the power cable included be country specific?
Only 3 purchases?
ktam
But 6 more commitments. One more and the lowest price will unlock.
xineis
Will commit
Reading the posts, or the lack of, from this drop really surprises me. I guess not many people drive speakers. That's what this amp is for, way more than a head phone amp. I purchased one a drop or two ago and I must say I'm very impressed. I'm using my first one to drive a pair of Beovox CX 50's and a Martin Logan Sub. It rocks! This little amp provides skin peeling volume at well below 50% volume with the 80 watt rated Beovox. And let me add the power is VERY CLEAN and tonally flat in the good way. So good in fact that I went to my basement and pulled out a pair of vintage KLH Model 6 speakers and started replacing the surrounds so I could pair them with another SMSL SA-160 for downstairs. As to the SMSL build quality, let me say, that if this drop goes through it will be my 4th SMSL product, 2 DACs and 2amps. Needless to say, I've had no quality problems. I was completely skeptical about the sound and build quality of a Chinese made D class amp. Especially in the long term durability category. Then I realized that was exactly what was powering my computers media speakers that have either idled or ran 24 hours a day for years. So I took the plunge and man, I'm glad I did. The whole experience made me wonder about my resistance to newer Chinese made equipment. A few years ago my friends warned me off Fiio DAPS, which I now use daily and LOVE. Which made me think back to my first sound systems (yup I'm an old fart). My first systems were hand me downs from my older brothers, late 1950's and early to mid 60's American and European equipment. Names like Dynaco, Fischer, Luxman, Scott and Dual. When I bought my first new amp in the early 70's it was a Marantz 1070. Man did I catch flack for buying Japanese. But within a couple of years everyone was using Japanese equipment. And the prices went up and up. The same process happened with cameras, then cars. I suspect the resistance to good Chinese sound equipment is very much like the resistance I heard about Japanese equipment way back when. And the world keeps turning. My personal point is this, I want another SA-160. So if you're on the fence I would suggest jump. But if not enough people are interested theres always Amazon for me.
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I think 40 W is nominal power, with a max of 70 W. Need to check that, though. Anyways, as I see it, a lower power output means less noise coming out of the amp. So as I'll be using about 1/4 power, I shouldn't have any problem.
gm0n13
Totally agree with your comments about the resistance of good Chinese sound equipment by some people . In some case even the major components inside the device are the same, some people still think those made in UK and US are much better beacuse they are twice as expensive (or more). I bought this amp despite some negative reviews in this forum because I bought a SMSL M8 DAC a few months ago and love the sound and the built quality for the price so I took a chance this time. I connected the SA-160 to my desktop system yesterday and immediately impressed by the quality of the sound. The sound stage is big and wild with great details. The other components in my system are Martin Logan LX-16 (92db/5ohm/200w max), Earthquake Sub-80 (150w RMS) and SMSL M8. BTW my first amp was a Marantz 1070 also.
Bulk shipment received! Our warehouse team confirmed that the group's order arrived earlier and now they're working hard to break everything down into the individual packages for shipment to each of you. We will monitor their progress closely and update the group once all packages are sent out.
Expect another update from us on 5/11 or sooner if something comes up.
If you have any questions, please visit our Help Center (https://massdrop.com/helpcenter).
I must have bad chip-amp karma. Bought a Lepai 2020+ off of A***** a while back and after a couple weeks the left channel went out. So I bought this one on the last drop, didn't set it up for a couple of weeks, but when I did I found that it just cuts out at random intervals. Double-checked all connections, headphone out works fine, volume level low to moderate, It just plain stops randomly. Same set up I use with my vintage receiver which is only 20w per channel BTW. All I did was connect this amp to the source and speakers. Just wanted something smaller. Build quality seems decent, and when it IS playing it sounds fine. If they agree to replace it I now have to pay for return shipping and gamble again. Lesson learned: Set it up and try it right away.
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Hello, I have some advice for you. If you can not return your unit for a new working one, try replacing the power brick and cord. Sound cutting out is normally the amp not having enough power to push out the volume (watts) you are requesting through the knob. So if your brick is working at a diminished capacity it could be too weak to power passive speakers at 20W each but could be limping along with enough to run your 2W headphone jack. As a side note running too much power to a speaker will cause audible distortion as the driver fails to produce the proper sounds at higher than rated wattages. This SMSL SA-160 will NOT "clip" to prevent speaker damage so beware.
Striker579
Hey, just a little info that may be helpful. Clipping in audio amplification is not some kind of speaker protection. It's a wave form distortion caused by over driving an amplifier. That is, requesting an amp to put out more power than it is capable of producing. The amp can't keep up and distorts. It's the most common cause of blowing speaker drivers. Dirty power is a speaker killer. Here's a wiki article that will explain better. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clipping_(audio) The reason (most likely) that the headphone amp is working and the speaker output is not is that they're completely different amps. The speakers use a class d chip amp circuitry and the headphones operate off a separate op amp. After using this amp for hours daily my best guess for why the speaker amp circuitry would blow is most likely one of two things: 1. The amp was defective from the jump, or, 2. The speaker wires had too long of tails and came into contact with each other and shorted the amp. The back of this amp is very crowded. If you didn't use banana plugs to plug into the center of the speaker jacks you have to be extra careful. When stripping the speaker wire and using the screw down function of the jack, the stripped wire CAN NOT hang out (any at all) from beneath the screw down, on the cut end or the insulated speaker side. If it does and the tail of the L speaker wire comes into contact with the R speaker wire or both are in contact with the amp body (case) you'll short out the amp. Also if you wrapped the speaker around the metal stud post instead of passing it through the hole in the center of the stud post you're more likely to have stray wires from the strand sticking out and making a short. Good luck.
There's been a delay on our vendor's shipment from their supplier, and they won't have their hands on the amps until tomorrow. They will do their best to prepare our order for shipment and have it out by week's end. This change in schedule has been relayed to our warehouse team, and they will be standing by to ensure that your individual orders are turned around as quickly as possible. Right now, fulfillment is trending towards the middle of next week.
Expect an update from us by the end of the day Pacific Time on 5/4 or sooner if something comes up.
ArthurM
Hello, any updates?
Our vendor has informed us that inventory will become available to them within the next few days. They will be working hard to prepare this order for shipment and aim to send it from their location by the end of the week. We are currently trending for everything to be shipped out of our warehouse before the estimated ship date of 4/29.
Expect an update from us by the end of the day Pacific Time on 4/27 or sooner if something comes up.
**EDIT: Pushing Date Out
ArthurM
Hello! What is the update? When will we receive our units? It has been over two weeks.
Thanks again for joining this drop! We have submitted the group's order with the vendor for the SMSL SA-160 and they are working hard to prepare it for shipment.
As soon as the group's order is ready at the vendor's location, they will send the bulk shipment to our warehouse in New Jersey where our warehouse team will break it up into individual orders and ship them. The current estimated ship date from our warehouse is 4/29.
We will keep the group updated throughout the fulfillment process. You can expect an update from us by the end of the day Pacific Time on 4/19.
If you have any questions, please visit our Help Center (https://massdrop.com/helpcenter).
I bought this in the last drop. I had a strange issue when playing over speakers it would fade volume down to zero repeatedly. The same behavior when you plug in headphones. The only way for me to get it to stop was keep plugging and unplugging headphones until it stopped. Once it stop it would be fine for a hour or until you unplug it. I sent my unit back to MD for a replacement. Now I'm just waiting for the replacement unit. I've owned three SMSL products and the only one that did not give me trouble was the M8.
nalston
SMSL's primary virtue is their price, not their build quality.
I have an SA-160 that I got about 2 weeks ago for $100 shipped (great timing, I know). It's working fine for me and it has a nice dark stage when it's idle. The power ratings are very optimistic - 10% THD into 4 ohms, so reduce it by about 80% for good clear sound into 8 ohm speakers. But for the price you can't really complain.
The other amp in this price range that's decent is the Orb Audio Mini-T V3.
my power supply did not work from the box and caused a house wide blackout(switches jumped) does anyone know where can i buy a new one?
160 W per speaker or 80 W?
Woa, love this little amp. Hooked up to a pair of B&O Beovox cx50's (just rebuilt) and a FiioX5. Sounds amazing! So much clean power. Best of all no hiss. Totally black when input paused at all volumes. Now we'll see how long it lasts. If my visual impression of build is any indication of durability/quality (of electronics), It ought to hold up well.
All of the orders have been shipped and are now on the way to you! Once tracking is available, you will receive a confirmation email with tracking information. Please allow 24-48 hours for this information to update in the courier’s system.
If you have any questions, please visit our Help Center (massdrop.com/helpcenter).
We're also on Instagram! We'd love to see the photos of drops you've received and you can do that by following @Massdrop and tagging your pictures #massdrop. https://instagram.com/massdrop
Our vendor has informed us that inventory will become available to them within the next few days. They will be working hard to prepare this order for shipment and aim to send it from their location by the end of the week. We are currently trending for everything to be shipped out of our warehouse before the estimated ship date of 3/24.
Expect an update from us by the end of the day Pacific Time on 3/22 or sooner if something comes up.
Thanks again for joining this drop! We have submitted the group's order with the vendor for the SMSL SA-160 and they are working hard to prepare it for shipment.
As soon as the group's order is ready at the vendor's location, they will send the bulk shipment to our warehouse in New Jersey where our warehouse team will break it up into individual orders and ship them. The current estimated ship date from our warehouse is 3/24.
We will keep the group updated throughout the fulfillment process. You can expect an update from us by the end of the day Pacific Time on 3/15.
If you have any questions, please visit our Help Center (massdrop.com/helpcenter).
This is my first drop! I see that one of its features is a replaceable op-amp... anyone ever replaced that to "upgrade"? Sounds like you're a big fan as-is, Sagacious, so perhaps one wouldn't want to replace it just for the fun of it. But I'm curious of any benefits of doing so, if any.
FWIW, I'll be using this puppy with my Schiit Modi 2 and a pair of JBL Loft 30s, after my previous Lepai crashed and burned. Looking forward to something with more quality.
Does the SA-160 come with a built-in phono preamp?
uclafan77
No. You will need to have a phono preamp.
omg this thing is amazing, very very low noise floor