SMSL AD18 Review and Sound Demo with Micca MB42X Speakers

Products Links

SMSL AD18 Speaker/Headphone Amp
Micca MB42X Bookshelf Speakers
Monoprice M1060 Headphones (*ON SALE*)
Sewell Silverback 12 Banana Plug Speaker Cables
Cable Matters Gold Plated Toslink Digital Optical Audio Cable 6 Feet
Recoton Fiber Optic Toslink to 3.5mm Mini Adapter
HEMNES Desk with 2 drawers (black-brown)

Specifications

SMSL AD18 Hi-Fi 2.1 Stereo Class D Amplifier with Subwoofer Output
Supports Bluetooth 4.2 and AptX
Type: Full digital decoding amplifier
Input port: USB/AUX/3.5mm Coaxial and Optical 1/Bluetooth/Optical 2
Output Port: Amplifier output port/3.5mm Headphone port/Subwoofer
Voltage: 24V
Output power:80W x 2
SNR(Signal to Noise): 90dB
Power consumption: 50W
EQ adjustment: 7
Headphone output(32ohm): 53mW@THD=0.04%
USB sampling rate: 24bit 96kHz
Optical sampling rate:44.1kHz-192kHz
Coaxial sampling rate:44.1kHz-192kHz
Treble adjustment range: ±8db,Bass adjustment range:±8db
Net Weight: 572g

Build Quality

Very good
Almost all metal construction
Very compact
Solid built connectors
Small LCD Screen (some light edge bleeding on my particular unit)
Font size on screen is relatively small (could be bigger)
Remote is adequate (sometimes signals don’t register when you are too far away)

Pros

Low cost
Can be used both as a speaker amp and a headphone amp
Very small and compact (can fit anywhere)
Supports Bluetooth 4.2 and AptX
Has a subwoofer output
Has lots of input connection options such as AUX, USB, COAX, and Optical
Can use either speaker wire or banana plugs to connect speakers
Provides a lot of power to the speakers

Cons

Does not work very well as a headphone amp
Not much power delivered to the headphone out jack
Power brick is quite big
Only one button/dial for you to control all the functions of the amplifier
Sometimes the signals from the remote don’t register when you are too far away or at an angle

Sound Quality

Vocals are very clear
Great mid-bass however, if you want sub-bass you will need to add a subwoofer
Mids and highs are very enjoyable

Conclusion

The SMSL AD18 is a great low-cost budget option for a DAC/Ampflier providing you with lots of input options and also supports Bluetooth 4.2 and AptX.  The SMSL AD18 paired with the Micca MB42X Bookshelf is a great budget combination that can give you the perfect sound that can fill up any room.  For those that want sub-bass, a subwoofer is recommended.  The SMSL AD18 as a speaker amplifier is great and well above expectations, however the headphone amplifier on this unit is a bit underwhelming and only good for the occasional headphone listening stations, as there are much better options for headphone amps.  The small size of the SMSL AD18 allows you to put it pretty much anywhere whether it be on your TV console or on your computer desk.  Definitely would recommend the SMSL AD18 along with the Micca MB42X speakers for those that are looking to replace their existing soundbars with something better.

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