SMSL AD18 upgrade

Looking for suggestions for an upgrade to my SMSL AD18 amp. The current amp is driving a pair of Triangle Borea BR02s. I ideally need digital connections as I use Chromecast Audio connected via a Toslink cable and also use Bluetooth. New amp would ideally have Bluetooth 5. Budget of around 300-400 euro, that delivers to Europe.


What about a denon pma600ne? Really solid all in one that should be aval in europe

Denon looks a good amp but only Bluetooth 4.2?

You really don’t need bluetooth 5.0 for audio purposes, they should be identical in terms of bluetooth audio (I don’t think 5 added anything that pertained to audio)

Here is a link to a decent simplified article


Thanks for the clarification on BT. Are there any Class D amps that would be good too or do they top out around the 150/200 price point?

I think if you wanted to go the class d route, something like a topping pa3+ a topping dx3 pro would have what you are looking for. My personal preferences lean towards the denon here but the topping is also a very versatile setup. The nad d3020v2 is also a solid pick

Would love to get my hands on one to upgrade my very simple living room setup from the ad18

Would you recommend the d3020v2 over the d3045? DAC quality? Relative quality of headphone vs speaker out compared to something like Sprout 100? Form factor is nice, and the phono stage is a plus, as I’m looking to upgrade from the MX3 myself (as your input has been so helpful with in a couple other threads). I thought i remembered there being some disfavor for the newer NAD stuff, so wasn’t sure how it might carry over to these models.

So both of those are solid, but they don’t beat the sprout100 for me. I think the sprout100 has a more refined sound in both the headphone and speaker outs, a better dac, and is easier to use. I definitely wouldn’t recommend the d3045 as imo its way too expensive for what it is, but for what you can find the d3020v2 for used it might be worthwhile if you want to stick in that budget. I haven’t tried the phono stuff on there so I can’t comment on that

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Would a $499 price tag on the 3045 as opposed to $749 change your perspective at all? The sprout just seems to be a bit tough to find at much of a discount, even used.

Hmmm, that would be a bit better, that might make some sense to get. It’s going to sound cleaner than the sprout but not as natural imo. If you like the features and the form factor, it wouldn’t be a bad choice

Have also seen a few OG Peachtree Novas pop up recently in the $500 range…you’ve recommended the 300 before, but is the tube hybrid original good relative to the others mentioned here? Compared to the Liquid Plat? Benefit, perhaps, being the included DAC on the Nova.

I haven’t heard the og novas so I can’t comment there.

That’s a headphone amp, so I don’t really know how I would compare that one lol

Haha…sorry, mostly comparing headphone out quality of the Nova with the hybrid amp. I know it’s not exactly apples to apples with one being a dedicated and balanced amp.

Ah gotcha, well I haven’t heard the og nova but if I was forced to pick I would really put my trust in the cavalli design

The Denon doesn’t have USB inputs. Shouldn’t that give one pause? Are there any issues with converting USB to optical, besides the nuisance of having to buy yet another adaptor? Same issue with the d3020v2. Apparently the v1 had USB but they swapped it for a phono thingy. I lack the space for a phono, so that’s just not a temptation for me.

I mean if you don’t have optical or coax then I guess so, but you can get a USB to spdif box for not much and there typically isn’t really an issue with it

Another box. Sigh. The Sprout100 is looking better and better. And so, too, does the AD18, TBH. I also have a Topping MX3 in another room. I have never A/B’d them to compare, but I should probably swap them just for the experience. Given that the Topping is said to have a better headphone amp, that’s probably what should be on my desk vice driving my TV speakers, which is what it’s currently doing.

The sprout100 is really solid overall, it’s a pretty sweet all in one

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If it were only cheaper… I know, I know, stepping up from the AD18 is going to cost.

There’s a TEAC that looks like a good option, the AI-301DA-X or something like that. But none of the reviews I’ve read has convinced me it would be worth moving up from the AD18. Z even said it’s not, though it was a passing reference.