SMSL AO200 MKII – Review

SMSL AO200 MKII

SMSL AO200 MKII

 | 2.1 Speaker amplifier | Bluetooth | 160W x2 |



SMSL AO200 MKII, the fresh new amp from SMSL.

The SMSL AO200 MKII is a stereo power amplifier and the evolution of the AO200 series being the version 2 of the very popular AO200 model.

As a brief explanation of SMSL products, the AO series are power amps while the HO series are headphone amplifiers and the DO models are DAC.

The 2 of the new upgrades offered by the SMSL AO200 MKII vs AO200 (version 1) include:

• Nearly double the power output – 160W vs 90W
• New amp chip MA5332

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SMSL AO200 MKII Review

Tests & Scores


AF

Advanced Features

The SMSL AO200 MKII include advanced features such as:





• USB input
• Balanced input
• Bluetooth 5.0
• Infrared remote control


AC

Accessories & Packaging

The SMSL AO200 MKII comes inside the typical packaging from SMSL, which is a white box with the design of the unit on the top and a good amount of padding inside to protect the unit.

The unit comes bundled with: 1x AC cable, 1x IR remote control, 1x USB-A to USB-A cable and 1x Bluetooth antenna.

gramophone-256603.75/5


D

Design

The SMSL AO200 MKII has an elegant and premium design that follows a coherent aesthetic with nearly all other products from the SMSL – if you want to build a HiFi system with all SMSL products, your setup will look classy and harmonic.

The amp has a full CNC machined aluminum alloy body with a quality anodizing finish and smooth chamfered edges.

As you can see from the photos, the SMSL AO200 MKII is equipped with a large display on the right section of the front panel.

The color of the body has a dark black with a metalized and pearled finish that can be seen on many metal that go through an anodizing processing.

This amplifier has an internal PSU design and a dedicated power on/off button.

With the newest internal components, the SMSL AO200 MKII is able to offer a remarkably low power consumption in standby – specifically, 0.5W.

As expected by the added features and power, the SMSL AO200 MKII is almost twice as big as the little AO100 brother. Specifically, the unit weights 1.6kg and measures 210x41x96mm.

gramophone-25660 5/5


OC

Operation & Control

The SMSL AO200 MKII is an extremely easy to use device with 2 ways to fully control the unit, either through the bundled IR remote or with the big knob on the front panel.

This is knob is also a multifunction button that allows you to access the settings menu of the amp and all available customization options – the IR remote has the same access to all functions without any limitations.

In comparison to other amps, the menus and operation of the AO200 MKII is intuitive and straightforward with all options and display info clearly identified.

The knob has an infinite clock and counterclockwise rotational movement which is completely silent but offers a tactile feedback on each step rotation (each one corresponds to 1 step in a volume scale that goes from 0 to 100)

gramophone-256605/5


CB

Construction & Build

This amp has an excellent all-metal construction that makes it extremely rugged and adds a premium feel to it – in addition to the gold-plated I/O connectors.

The only weaker detail of the AO200 MK2 might be the slightly wobbly knob which is not excessively wobbly but it does shake more than the little AO100, HO100 and DO100 series that we have reviewed.

The bottom plate of the case is equipped with thick, generous silicone feet that offer a superb grip to any surface while also raising the amp allowing a better air flow and cooling optimization.

gramophone-256605/5


SC

Screen

The right section of the amp is equipped with a 1.9″ multi-color display (approx.) that adds to the ease of use and beauty of the unit.

The brand does not specify neither the resolution nor the colors extension of the screen but everything looks clear with good definition and with deep saturated colors.

On top of that, the screen seems to be a better LCD/IPS or similar type and not a TFT one as the display does not suffer from noticeable loss of visibility at angled-viewing.

The information displayed for input modes is accompanied by a large icon on the left section of the screen while the right section informs the volume setting with a big 3-digit number with a white over black design that makes it readable at any distance.

Menus and settings have a significantly smaller fonts utilization that makes a good use of the screen space but is not optimized for options with few visual elements – for example, dB control for bass and treble needs only 5 characters but the fonts are as small as in-menu navigation, which is a bit small with too much of empty space that could be used to enlarge the font of the few characters needed.

Both brightness and timeout for the screen can be set through the menu.

gramophone-256604.25/5


C

Connectivity

The amp is well-equipped with a variety of input/output connectors that include balanced input, RCA input, USB input, Bluetooth input and banana plugs for stereo output of passive speaker plus subwoofer-out connector (active)

The SMSL AO200 MKII is a power amp without an internal DAC but with the added Bluetooth wireless connection you gain the possibility to be used “standalone” without an external DAC besides a simple smartphone or tablet. The wireless connection presented an immediate pairing and then reconnection with any device, without needing any strange nor complicated button pressing to set the mode/pairing.

As some users might see the USB connector and think that the AO200 MKII can be connected to a PC for DAC use, the brand has done the smart decision to make the connector an USB-A type and not USB-C and avoid any mistake.

To be clear, the USB connection can be used to match it with a PC (or any external DAC) but the AO200 MKII will not act as a DAC, it will still provide and work as an amp for the DAC source and signal being feed to it – which is basically the same that you are obtaining from the Bluetooth connection but with a wired USB mode for USB devices.

gramophone-256604.5/5


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S

Sound
gramophone-25660
5/5

The SMSL AO200 MKII is a class-D amp packed with quality inner components that include:



• 2x Infineon MA5332 digital amp chip – Germany
• NJRC NJW1194 potentiometer chip – Japan
• OPA1678 op amp chip
• Bluetooth 5.0 chip

As a starting note for this section, all tests and measurements were done through both input balance and Bluetooth connections.

Accessing the built-in EQ showed the ability to apply some EQ presets that can adapt to different listening styles. From the EQ presets of the SMSL AO200 MKII you should not expect radical retuning but a well-tailored retuning that shows clear difference yet without introducing any weird overcooked equalization – SMSL has also added their own custom EQ named SDB that we found to add a fun a more lively seasoning to any track.

In addition to this, the amp offers both bass and treble control with 1dB steps from -10dB to +10dB, which we proceeded to measure and showed an accurate 1dB up/down change per step.

Throughout our tests and measurements, the amp showed excellent control of channel imbalance, a superb low noise floor, no audible hiss nor disturbing electronic interference presence.

On top of that, the amp was faithfully and purely acting as quality amp conserving the flavour and sound profile of each DAC being used with it.

Also, the Japanese potentiometer offered a precise control of volume at a truly representative “1-level at a time” steps.

Power-wise, this amp packs a serious punch despite the low 40W consumption (average vol) and mid-sized footprint. The AO200 MKII can output as much as 160W x2 (4 ohm) and translated to real life use in more than plenty energy to drive a 2.1 system with 3-way floorstanding speakers from Klipsch plus an active subwoofer. The amount of power headroom and output was able to fill a very large room with more than necessary dB and conserving a distortion-free sound.

According to the measurements, the subwoofer output is set to a 200Hz cut-off to preserve your sub in an optimized range for better quality, which in out tests presented a well-tuned cut-off that kept the sub from invading the rest of the sound spectrum.

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Scores Scores

SMSL AO200 MKII Scores

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Specifications

SMSL AO200 MKII Technical Specifications

Inputs ……………………………………………………………………………………………..XLR , RCA , BT , USB
THD+N ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..0.004%
SNR ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..106dB
Channel separation ……………………………………………………………………………………………..85dB
Input Sensitivity / Input Impedance………………………………………………………290mV / 47kΩ
Output Power ……………………………………………………………………160Wx2(4Ω) / 85Wx2(8Ω)
Power Consumption …………………………………………………………………40W(Normal Volume)
Standby power …………………………………………………………………………………………………….0.5W
Size ………………………………………………………………………………………..210X41X196mm(WxHxD)
Weight …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 1.6kg

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SMSL AO200 MKII

9.4

SCORE

9.4/10