My current matèriel consists of a Roksan K2 amplifier powering a pair of JMR Bliss; I also have Kef iQ30 speakers "attic" I took out for the occasion; I use a source Oppo 105 platinum modified its analog outputs (associated to a multichannel preamp Atoll PR5.1), and I did my tests as pure stereo and 2.1 (shouldered a while SVS subwoofer PB13 equalized by antimode) primarily on music but also on Blu-Ray qqs extracts.
So for these 3 T-amp, and in comparison to my Roksan K2:
(Tests written in the order of arrival of orders and thus listening, SA-50 in 3rd position;))
SMSL SA-98E (~ 80)
What is obvious at first, it is the compactness: imagine a slightly thick paperback book (500 pages kind) and what SA-98E is slightly smaller. This liliputienne size is however offset the fact that power is outsourced, and found almost larger than the amp, and a lackluster plastic when the amp itself is all metal, construction robust, and if a "raw" design turns a simple and effective aesthetic.
Level connections, you will be satisfied with a single RCA stereo input.
Note also the remote control impossible by remote control.
At his, the first plays impress: its very punchy, precise and detailed, frank notes of the attacks, a sense of furious rhythm and a sense of power that all the forces more respect when you consider the size and price of the device.
Unfortunately things go wrong with a more prolonged listening, revealing flaws in my opinion embarrassing, namely above all a marked imbalance different registers:
- The highs are very detailed, first bringing a great sense of detail and clarity to the sound, but at the risk of becoming prominent, if not downright pushy and aggressive in certain circumstances
- The bass is beautifully presented and provide in terms of noise and franchise, only their upper part shows grossly "punchy" from the rest, for rendering certe flattering, but actually quite "boom-boom", some effects rhythmic seeing strengthened, but other detriments or made of some acompagnements (bass, basses ...)
- The medium in the middle of it ends up relegated to the background, which is frankly damaging to the voice, which seem drawn to the high register, and more comprehensive way on the sensation of physical presence of instruments.
The overall record that emerges from all this is so very "typed" with caricatures stamps (very marked in acute and deleted in the medium) and a rhythm emphasized, in a style that could gently caricatured as " PA fairground "with so it made certe punchy and detailed, but" boomy "and incisive highs, missing next to it density and natural. The thing, however, can be quite pleasant as associations, tastes and uses that will be made: surely can wake the speakers on tempéremment timid, also show very comfortable for home sound system saw its made very typical " sono ", or amplification can be used for a home-cinema system saw its attention to detail and some punch.
Warning to pregnant anyway that will be connected to it, which must learn to temper easily crispants acute and delivers this little amp.
This is its main limit probbalement because whatever interesting aspect is price and convenience we can find her special personality, so listen to musqiue becomes suffering with ear, value / prices will always remain unfavorable.
Topping TP-60 (~ 200)
Well here we are clearly on another level gauge size and weight, although still compact compared eg to my Roksan K2 which should well be 4 times more imposing. To give an idea of the TP-60, imagine a shoebox in 2 times less high, and although it is slightly less Topping dimension. And for once the power supply is included in the box. Level building is slightly better off than SMSL and connectivity level since this time has two stereo inputs instead of one. However still no remote.
Its level compared to SMSL sutout 98E rendering is different, but in my opinion still generally better, because more balanced (even when put in relation to the price 2.5 times higher). Indeed, everything here seems to play records at the same address:
- Acute that is there but without unnecessary insistence
- A medium that found the presence, even if in absolute missing some wealth in patches, with some made "smoothed"
- Bass also there at the certain presence, with a firmness and depth perfectly fine and appreciable on biblios with which the various I tested, without extravagance, to restore more nuance in this register that SMSL 98E; although some may regret the side "glitz" of the latter.
Restitution is quite lively and catchy, though less powerful than proposed by the SMSL-98E, but at the same time so less aggressive and less caricatured.
Rendering is generally very clean, not excessively detailed, but with a little "smooth" stamps so with a defect resulting lack of natural and "quiver" in restitution.
In 3 words, a living amplifier, soft and balanced. Not outstanding in absolute terms, but for its price certainly very interesting.
SMSL SA-50: (~ 65)
Here we return to a Lilliputian size, with a footprint similar to that of the case of SA-98E (a bit less wide but somewhat above), and an external power supply it much more reasonable size, and even frankly for once small.
In terms of build quality, which is similar to the SA-98, as well as for the proposed single RCA stereo input.
In terms of sound, it is a very good surprise as seems to take all the advantages of 98E without its major flaws. Indeed we find a sound punchy and detailed, but the insistence of the treble, without the indentation of the medium, without the side "boomy" bass.
In the end, it's a bit like a PT-60 and more vibrant, more alive, and more incisive as that for some (and in the associations) will probably be incidentally somewhat aggressive in comparison.
But no less natural, because unlike mediums including gaining density by better timbres returned (eventually linked to an overall rate of return superior).
Compared to the SA-98E, so you lose your next sound typed and overly extroverted, that will always prefer some especially when it comes to animate evenings.
Anyway I think that SA-50 is clearly the best quality / price ratio of the 3-T amp, and in fact the best all short (but as I tried to describe it, everyone keeps a tempéremment of its own and therefore may agree variably to different people in office tastes, expectations and requirements of each, and associations too).
Roksan K2: (~ 1200)
Well, this does make sense to include in this comparison that in 1000 more expensive device? Maybe when we still frequently read these T-amp compete with amps "tradional" in this price range.
And I would have liked that to be the case (I could see myself doing sacred economies, cold cash, but also in terms of space and electricity bill, by repeating the amplification of my base audio system Topping or of SMSL).
But it is clear that the Roksan keeps a step ahead in terms of richness of sound, natural shade, dynamic and authority. The presence physqiue can take interpreters or instruments is superior, even if the thing is mostly maqruée on pieces with an acoustic instrumenation, or with singers (Artists) timbre or complex voice intonations. It is true that on pieces Electronic rather, the differences are more moderate.
In the home theater allows Roksan again restitution both more physical and more subtle, and natural and generally greatly increased sensations.
From then one question remains unanswered: is it worth such a price difference? (5x more than TP-60 and nearly 20x more than SA-50, the benefits are still very respectable!)
Good question;). Everyone will see in terms of its resources, priorities, and requirements.
And I do not know what these T-amp give face other amp in this price range of ~ 1000, all being clearly not of the Trampe Roksan K2.
PS: do not hesitate to ask for details, although all I can say remains a subjective opinion;).