audio-sound @ hatena

An audio review & news blog. The volume should not exceed 80 dB is recommended. I usually adhere to the safe-listening style by WHO. Please note that my aural impressions and interpretations of measurements are also made from a safe-listening style.

(News) S.M.S.L HO200, the latest headphone amplifier released, almost a perfect competitor to the Topping A90.

S.M.S.L HO200

S.M.S.L HO200


A few days ago, S.M.S.L released a new headphone amplifier, the S.M.S.L HO200. It appears to be the higher-end model of the recently released SH-8s. However, it does not appear to be a THX AAA amplifier like the SP200 and SH-9. It appears to be a competitor to Topping's popular A90.


Although it is slightly inferior in power to the A90 in terms of specs, it offers almost the same performance and can be had much cheaper, making it a perfect replacement for the A90 for many people. Probably for many people the A90 and HO200 are no different.


L7Audiolab has published measurements here, and it is almost entirely a top-end product.


Features of S.M.S.L HO200

  • Equipped with a precision liner feedback circuit
  • Realizes high output power
  • Three gain modes
  • High quality relays
  • Pop-Protection (no shock) sound design
  • Low noise power supply system
  • Compact & Powerful
  • All aluminum alloy chassis
  • Retro toggle switch design
  • Headphone output + preamp output
  • Fully balanced configuration, XLR input/output, balanced headphone output (4.4mm + 6.35mm)
  • Single-ended RCA pre-out + 6.35mm headphone output


S.M.S.L HO200


Ultra-low distortion precision linear feedback circuit for industry-leading performance

The S.M.S.L. HO200 features a fully balanced design with four ultra-low distortion precision linear feedback circuits (PLFC). With a distortion rate of only 0.00006% and an A-weighted distortion rate of 0.00005% (-126dB), the S.M.S.L HO200 delivers the industry's highest level of performance. enjoy high class performance with your favorite headphones.


S.M.S.L HO200


Clean, noise-free background with low-noise power supply system

The S.M.S.L HO200 employs an ultra-low noise power supply system. It achieves ultra-low output noise of only 1.0uV. The S/N ratio of the output is 140dB, and the background of the output signal is very clean.



Classic and retro design

The S.M.S.L HO200 features a CNC precision machined aluminum alloy shell. It features retro-style toggle switches for on/off, gain control, and output/input selection. A potentiometer-style volume wheel provides precise control of the output volume.


S.M.S.L HO200


Balanced + Unbalanced connection

The S.M.S.L HO200 supports both balanced and single-ended connections, with RCA+XLR inputs plus a pre-out option. For headphone output, it has 4-pin XLR and 4.4mm balanced output, and 6.35mm single-ended headphone output.


S.M.S.L HO200


Technical specification

  • THD+N(un-weighted): -123dB, 0.00006%(1kHz, 32ohm)
  • THD+N(un-weighted): -120dB, 0.00013%(20Hz-20kHz, 32ohm, 0dB)
  • S/N ratio: 140dB
  • Output noise: 1.0uV
  • Input impedance: 10kΩ
  • AMP output impedance: around 0Ω
  • Pre-out impedance (balanced): 44Ω
  • Pre-out impedance (unbalanced): 22Ω
  • Output Power: 6W @ 16Ω, 3W @ 32Ω
  • Gain (unbalanced): Low (-10dB), Mid (0dB), High (17dB)
  • Gain (balanced): Low (-4dB), Mid (6dB), High (23dB)
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-500kHz(-3dB)
  • Power consumption (EN60065): <30W
  • Power consumption in standby mode <0.1W



The S.M.S.L HO200 seems to be an almost top-end performance headphone amp available for under $500, and seems to be an almost perfect competitor to the Topping A90, and a possible cheaper alternative.


More details can be found here.


Purchase link