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.

S.M.S.L Welcomes New M500 MK III Desktop All-in-One DAC AMP: M500 MK III vs M500 MK II vs M500




S.M.S.L is a premium Hifi audio gear brand from China. They have a huge catalog of premium desktop audio gears including audio decoders, headphone amplifiers, all-in-one decoders and amplifiers, etc. S.M.S.L M500 is a highly celebrated all-in-one Desktop DAC/AMP that came out a few years back. S.M.S.L has regularly updated the M500 series releasing the updated M500 MKII variant last year. Today, S.M.S.L has released another upgrade to the classic M500 bringing more advanced chipsets and features to the series, meet the all-new S.M.S.L M500 MK III.


S.M.S.L M500 MK III is released officially for 529.99$, a little over the previous-generation M500 MK II. You can check out more information about the M500 MK III over here.


S.M.S.L M500 MK III adopts the flagship ES9038 Pro high-performance 32-Bit decoding chip from ESS Sabre Technologies. While the previous generations of M500 also used the same DAC chipset, they used only a 2-channel implementation of the chipset. But the new M500 MK III features the ES9038 Pro with its complete 8-channel implementation. This enables the M500 MK III to present better dynamics, clarity, and resolution while decoding the high-resolution audio signals. S.M.S.L has featured their in-house developed CK-03 jitter clock module on the M500 MK III. This is a redesigned clock module that assures ultra-low jitter by the device. The previous generation MK II featured its predecessor CK-02 jitter clock module.


S.M.S.L has also brought an upgrade to the USB processor chipset. For any desktop-grade audio source, the USB input needs to be clean and precise. M500 MK III brings the performance of the latest XU316 high-performance 3rd generation USB processor from XMOS. It offers better performance compared to the previous gen's XU216. M500 MK III supports high-resolution PCM(32-Bit/768kHz) and native DSD512 signals over the USB connection.


S.M.S.L M500 MK III-2


S.M.S.L M500 MK III features a redesigned PLFC headphone amplifier circuit that helps the device produce powerful output while maintaining low distortion ratings. M500 MK III has got nine OPA1612A chips that allow the device to obtain up to 2Wx2 output power with -123dB total harmonic distortion ratings. The overall output gets a better dynamic range and SNR ratings as well(133dB). M500 MK II used to have 3 OPA1612A OPAMPs chips.


S.M.S.L has featured newly-designed SDAA Audio architecture on the M500 MK III. There was no previously implemented Audio architecture in any of the previous models. This also brings a newly designed SDAA UI on the bright colorful display at the front.


S.M.S.L M500 MK III is a brilliant desktop all-in-one DAC and Headphone AMP that checks all the boxes for a perfect all-in-one device, it has HD Bluetooth support, houses a flagship DAC chipset, and gives powerful headphone out, a simple yet powerful device!! S.M.S.L M500 MK III is fully certified for MQA and MQA-CD certifications. M500 MK III brings top-level performance to your desktop chain!! Feel free to check out more information on the M500 MK III over here.


S.M.S.L M500 MK III vs M500 MK II

  • Brand New SDAA Architecture.
  • XMOS 3rd Generation XU316 Processor, MK II featured 2nd Generation XU216.
  • ES9038 Pro uses all 8-channels, in MK II it was implemented with 2-channels only.
  • Newly designed OPAMP architecture featuring nine OPA1612A chips. MK II was designed with three OPA1612A chips.
  • New CK-03 Jitter clock module.
  • Clearer performance with better THD+N values.
  • Clean and dynamic output with better dynamic range.
  • New innovative UI.