| Speaker amplifier | Bluetooth |
🎧 We are reviewing the SMSL AO100, the newest speaker amplifier from SMSL.
The SMSL AO100 gets released as the last component on the XO100 series to complete a HiFi audio system on a budget.
The SMSL AO100 is a class D power amplifier for passive speakers and a subwoofer pre out to enable the possibility of a 2.1 audio system.
The SMSL AO100 is the little brother of the SMSL AO200, with a less-fancy screen and some spec reductions such as power output and the absence of XLR and USB inputs.
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SMSL AO100 Review
Tests & Scores
The SMSL AO100 include advanced features such as:
• Bluetooth 5.0
• Bass and treble control
Accessories & Packaging
The unit comes inside the same kind of box as seen on the DO100 and HO100.
The device inside is protected by a good amount of soft foam and placed in a cutout foam base – users should not worry about the safe arrival through shipping and handling of your purchased unit.
The DAC comes bundled with:
• 1x power cable
• 1x Bluetooth antenna
• 1x IR remote
The SMSL AO100 looks nearly identical to the SMSL DO100, at plain sight many users might mistake one for the other one.
Nonetheless, SMSL did a smart design choice to avoid confusing owners of both the AO100 and the DO100; the SMSL AO100 has white-colored fonts on the front panel instead of the silver-mirror alike style of the DO100.
At the same time, the SMSL AO100 inherits the exact tiny footprint of the 2 other siblings and finish.
Despite the compact size, the unit has a built-in AC adapter without any bulky external PSU – impressive design.
The front of the panel carries a nice metallic knob and a left region dedicated to the screen.
The exact dimensions of the SMSL AO100 are: 150x128x39mm that combine with a nice weight to it that exudes a greeting feel of quality and premium build – to be more precise, the weight is 560g (1.23lbs)
Operation & Control
The Amp can be fully controlled by utilizing either the IR remote (bundled for free) or through the rotating knob that acts also as a multifunction button.
Identically to the SMSL DO100 DAC, the knob of SMSL AO100 offers infinite rotation clock and counterclockwise with a tactile feel on each step – yet the tactility does not emit any clicky sound.
When pressed and hold, the knob will allow users to access and navigate all the menus and settings like surround modes, EQ, bass control, treble control and audio input.
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Construction & Build
Despite the friendly price, the SMSL AO100 is an amp with a very rugged, all-metal build that extends from the main housing up to every detail and even the knob.
Moreover, the brand has added gold-plated audio connectors to this tiny amp.
The bottom of the unit is equipped with 4 rubberized feet that do a superb job keeping the device in place and avoiding any slippery problems.
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Thanks to standard RCA connectors and even wireless Bluetooth connectivity, the SMSL AO100 can offer a much wider compatibility than most other speaker amps at a similar price.
The SMSL AO100 has not only inherited the same housing, size and style of the SMSL DO100; it has also the same screen seen on the DAC sibling.
The screen is placed on the left section of the front panel with a 3 digit display that allows to see and have a visual feedback of all the settings and functions of the device.
These 3 digits might limit the amount of information seen and can make users search for the manual to understand some of the settings and menus.
Likewise the AO100, utilizes the same white-colored lighting seen on the DO100 and HO100, which proved to be an elegant and easy to see color.
On the other hand, the screen of the SMSL AO100 is miles brighter than the one of the DO100.
The SMSL DO100 has 2 input connections and 3 output connections.
• RCA input
• Wireless Bluetooth input
While outputs are:
• Stereo Banana plugs
• 2xRCA Subwoofer
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Surely, the SMSL AO100 is a perfect match and impeccable audio system rack when combined with the SMSL DO100 for DAC capabilities, SMSL HO100 for headphones and now the SMSL AO100 for a 2.1 speakers system.
Inside, the AO100 carries a premium Infineon MA12070 power amplifier chip with remarkable power efficiency helping the SMSL AO100 providing 70W x2 with a power consumption of only 36W and less than 0.5W in standby.
Our team proceeded to test and measure the SMSL AO100 on both gain settings, resulting in a totally flat frequency response that did not alter nor boosted the sound signature and response of the DAC/source.
In addition to this, the unit showed a clean signal output while no hiss nor audible noise was ever present.
Equipped with an electronic volume control, the AO100 also proved to be free of scratching and any annoying noises seen on analog potentiometers.
Moreover, the amp had no signs of channel imbalance and provided as much power as wanted to power our Klipsch speakers system as to fire up a party.
Being a power amplifier, the SMSL AO100 is less responsible of the quality of the audio and more dedicated to the amplification of the signal coming from the source/DAC to be output to speakers.
Nonetheless, the brand has added sound modifying options to adapt to the sound style of each listener, like:
• Bass control 14 steps of control from -7 to +7
• Treble control 14 steps of control from -7 to +7
• 6 built-in EQs than can be changed on the fly (direct, tone, bass, super bass, rock , soft, clear) – the effects of every EQ preset provided a noticeable sound tuning difference
• 3 surround modes
Each step of bass and treble control corresponds to a 2dB step (approx.), totaling in a range of -14dB to +14dB
Sound Technical Specifications
Output Level: 70W x2 (4ohm)
Frequency response: 20Hz-40kHz
Channel separation: 109dB
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SMSL AO100 Scores
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SMSL AO100 Frequency Response Curve and measurements
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SMSL AO100 Technical Specifications
|Max output||70W x2|
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