After using some time my SMSL SA300 it is time for change. Not because I’m not satisfied what this little SMSL is offering, but I was quite curious how other cheap class D stereo integrated amplifiers works in practice and what is the progress on the market since 2020. I listen to music every day but I am not an audiophile – the music plays often in the background, Internet radio and Tidal Hifi are my main source of the audio. I am using my setup with ELAC Debut B5.2 and Tannoy SFX active subwoofer for watching movies. Basing on my experience during last year I’ve made a short list of 'nice to have’ features of a new amp:
- more power to be better suited to my ELAC Debut B5.2 speakers
- out for active subwoofer
- more inputs (optical, HDMI)
- no more than 300USD
- ability to return after testing
First try was a mistake, there was a quite good offer on Amazon for SMSL AO200MKII. After reading first review I quickly bought the unit, but… Remember check the review in min. 2 other sources. The unit is powerful, when played my favorite CDs the sound was better, more power and details than on SA300. When I connected the Bluetooth and tried my Tidal playlist, the low quality of music surprised me. The reason is support of Bluetooth codecs only SBC is supported by AO200MKII. Fast return and again…
A couple of days later I read a news about new SMSL AO300. Looks really promising! More power, out for the sub, HDMI Arc, optical input, coaxial input, all Bluetooth codecs including LDAC, 270 USD. The delivery was quick and I was able to test newest all in one solution from SMSL. After taking off the package the built quality is on top level – the unit looks great. Everything was great until I … used the remote. The remote has very narrow angles of work. I was unable to operate from 5m at 30 degrees of the amp, but it is not the end of the inconveniences. My subwoofer did not work with the amp, the sound was muffled, I needed to go max on the subwoofer controls to hear something. The last thing is the HDMI Arc which is good in the theory, but in practice some of the apps on my Android TV like Hbo Max and Disney do not cooperate. After choosing the movie with the multichannel audio there is a cracky sound from the speakers and I didn’t work out what is wrong. After all I returned also this unit, it was so close but the remote and sub are very important for me.
Last week of the November I read on the Loxjie website an announcement about a new amplifier for 2024 – Loxjie A40. I wrote a message to the shop I returned the previous units and they told me that there is a chance to get one before Christmas. As they told, the Loxjie A40 was added on Amazon after couple of days and about 4-5 days was with me. Very smooth delivery and support, thanks.
I need to say, at last I found the successor of the SA300. The Loxjie A40 also looks great and is really all in one solution in small package.
- subwoofer out (working!)
- sufficient power (165W for 4Ohm)
- all modern Bluetooth codecs
- USB-C connection works with all devices I tested (Android, iPhone, MacOS, Windows)
- Phono input for turntables
- outputs for headphones (I don’t have any headphones for testing right now)
After a week of testing including my old Fonica GS 473 turntable I am satisfied with new Loxjie A40, the sound is crispy, powerful. There is more bass heard on my Elacs. The subwoofer works almost as good as a SMSL SA300. I had to turn the knobs a little more on the sub. HDMI Arc has still a problem with some apps but on YT works great (Hbo MAX, Disney still not supported), the optical port works ok with my CD player and with TV as well. The coaxial input was not tested by me. The remote is as good as in SMSL SA300. If you also looking for cheap integrated amp for your stereo (+sub), the Loxjie looks like a good alternative. For detailed specification visit the Loxjie webpage (HTTPS is broken, I know).
Related discussion on ASR: