TLDR: It’s a toss-up. They sound identical. Some small build quality and functionality differences. Both are exceptional… honestly I’m having a very hard time deciding which to choose/keep…
Read through the thread for my thoughts as I did some comparisons.
Ive got both of these hooked up. Volume equalized by ear. 887 is getting the balanced and the smsl is getting the rca from the topping d70. I have the d70 outputting both xlr and rca so I just have to unplug from one and plug into the other. Testing with the Focal Flex.


Curious to see what you think the differences are (if any lol)

I’ll be honest… I absolutely doubt I could pass a blind test on this… they sound absolutely identical… so far…

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I also have them both on high-gain and I’ll note that I have to push the dial a bit higher on the 887 to match the volume on the smsl sp200

Do you have any more power hungry headphones to test with? Because I would assume that would be where they really differ

Sure, I’ll try the neumanns and LCD2Cs right now. I don’t have anything crazy power hungry though.


Less headroom with the Neumanns (Single-ended) on the 887, which I expected. But once volume was adjusted, same deal… having a hard time discerning any differences. 887 twice as fast kicking back in after plugging in the 1/4 plug and triggering a short. Like 2 seconds vs 5 seconds.

Difference in volume knob to match volume with both on high gain single ended. Note thr D70 feeding them both is set to -12


Do you have balanced for the lcd?

Yeah, I have LCD Balanced cables.

Heres volume matched with lcd2c using balanced cable.

I’m trying T2s now for good measure… :stuck_out_tongue:
Maybe If I spent hours going through my library and headphones… but general impressions is that they are absolutely identical sounding. SMSL seems to have more headroom overall (which I did not expect). Balanced input seems to be unnecessary as I am having a hard time hearing a difference between the SP200 with single-ended input vs 887 getting balanced input.
They both sound extremely clean. If you put a gun to my head right now and made me pick only one, I’d probably go with the SP200, just for the flat-out stronger single-ended performance that is identical to it’s balanced output, but there are aspects of the build quality of the 887 I do like. Gain knob seems to have similar solid clunk as you switch gain setting Zeos described with the 789… etc.
887 also has RCA passthrough, if that matters for you.
887 also has longer warranty…

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As of right now, the sp200 is noticeably toasty as Zeos mentioned in his review… (didn’t get this yesterday) I wonder if it’s a difference in using single-ended input versus balanced? shrug
887 is room temperature.

Do you notice any channel imbalance with the sp200?

I’ll try lowering the volume to minimum and slowly raising it and see how it sounds on both… give me a few minutes.

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I can’t really find any real channel imbalance, but 887 has a smoother, better volume control (slightly!).


There might be a difference in the “linearity” in the volume knobs, if that makes any sense. Like the SP200 might be hitting higher volumes earlier, then sort start to plateau past 12 o clock to max.

For example with the sp200 on low gain at 12 o clock sounds louder than the 887 on medium gain 12 o clock. But If I start to max out the 887, it gets too loud it starts to hurt, but the sp200 can go all the way to max, sound VERY loud, but not “Hurting” levels of volume.
either way, both have more than enough GOBS of power to destroy your hearing, if you pleased.

Yeah, okay, I can absolutely confirm that max balanced output of the 887 is higher than the sp200. I set the output voltage of the D70 much lower and put both amps to their maximum output levels (High gain with volume knobs to max) and get a small noticeable boost in volume on the 887. If I set both volume knobs to 12 o clock, then the sp200 sounds louder. So it’s a linearity difference.

Of course, though the sp200 has higher max output single-ended by a pretty noticeable margin doing the same test.

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What if you switched the inputs of both?
XLR -> 888
RCA -> 887
Does that make a different to the max volume?

When I run balanced to the 888 there is a slightest difference. Not much, but is there at when I tried it at a lower volume.

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Yeah, you’re right. When I swapped the inputs, the sp200 has louder overall max volume on balanced output.
Also tried listening to both through XLR balanced input, switching back and forth and they sound really close at max volume, it would be hard to say which is louder. So I guess that was the main difference.
Update: Think the 887 still sounds a bit louder going back and forth balanced inputs and output on both… but it’s close.