SMSL AD18 or TOPPING MX3 as an all in one solution?

While the MX3 probably sounds better for headphones and has more functionalities the AD18 has stronger speaker output [ 80W x 2 vs 38W x 2 (8 ohms) and 40W x 2 (4 ohms) ].

For someone who use headphone and speaker equally does the power of AD18 worth more than the quality of MX3? Or is there something else around this price range that performs better than these 2?

I’m currently using a HD58X and a pair of Micca RB42.

I recently purchased the AD18 and I love it. I only use it for speakers- powering a set of klipsch rp150m’s. Sound is great I use it at my desk using the usb connection to utilize the dac. I do not use it for headphones and I do not have any high quality headphones so I cannot speak to that.

1 Like

The MX3 has a more powerful (albeit still quite weak) headphone output than the AD18; that said, if you want to drive Micca RB42s, you’re going to need a lot of power for your speakers and the MX3 isn’t going to cut the mustard.

or run separate DAC/headphone amp then a speaker amp…

As much as I want a stack, I don’t really have the budget for that right now so I’m just looking for dac/ headphone+speaker amp combo at the moment.

a lil more $ - $180-$190…so $50 more…otherwise I’d go AD18 with RB42s

.I run a Topping MX3 but with MB42Xs…

Not sure about those but the RB42 sounds amazing. I’m going to keep using these for a long time.

Now maybe I’ll just order an AD18 from amazon and return one of them.

what are you using now.?

a MX3 and a Fiio k3, probally going to sell the k3 later

can you not add an amp to K3? or it doesn’t drive headphones enough?

It does but i dont want too much things on my desk nor more cables going behind it. That’s why Im looking for an all in one solution.

if you were to sell the K3 then run the MX3 till you got

the Fosi Dac ($69) and SMSL amp ($114)… then sell the MX3…

can still return it back to Amazon only got it for a week.

At this point I’m not even sure if i should continue using the MX3 or spend more money for a dac/headphone amp + power amp stack or dac + headphone amp + power amp stack. I love the MX3 for its functionalities and conveniences but I feel like the RB42s deserve better.

I just hooked up an MX3 to my RB42s, and also tried with HD600s. It’s too bright, treble is over emphasized.

Like you, I’m looking for all the functionality the MX3 has. Remembering volume levels across headphone and speakers, ability to switch to headphones without unplugging.

So I ended up with a Topping D10 ($60) to a JDS Labs Atom ($110) to a SMSL SA-98E ($110). Pretty much lost some input options due to the D10 (can upgrade later to a D30 when it’s on sale) and no volume remote for the SA-98E. But in return I have a great stack with amazing performance. The SA-98E is a little overkill for the RB42 tho, I never turned the nob pass 50% even.

So the switch from headphones to amp is by removing the headphone jack? Trying to avoid that if possible.

Yea you do have to be careful when unplugging the headphone jack from the Atom. But so far I haven’t make any mistake forgetting to turn off or lower the nob on my SA 98E so I’m keeping them.

I bought both the AD18 and MX3 to test on my RB42s.

Although I preferred almost everything about the MX3, particularly the design, UI and overall control, I had no need for the headphone input and I found the AD18 sounded/drove the speakers better.

I ended up keeping the AD18.