SMSL ivy - Test report a newbie-dummies Reference Audio Analyzer

SMSL ivy is available in reports and services. You are in a simple report.

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Information for entry level users

report for a newbie
(Headphone amplifier)

General recommendations

The automatic selection of the optimal AMP models

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Reports / SMSL / ivy / Amplifier path / report for a newbie

Test report SMSL ivy (report for a newbie)




Commentary to the report

Tested in Neutron player, Android 6, Xiaomi Redmi Note 4X



General characteristics of the amp part of SMSL ivy

Output Impedance
0.09 ohm

Characteristics for the high quality mode

About the high quality mode
We make borders for the maximum characteristics for current and voltage by sound signal reproduction quality levels. In general, when the volume level is increased, the sound quality of the amplifier degrade. Approximately as a car above a certain speed becomes less manageable. High-quality mode is a mode in which it is considered that the amplifier works as clear as possible without distortion and corresponds to the equivalent class A F.A.Q.. As a car at speed with excellent manageability.

Power characteristics of the SMSL ivy
Headphone impedance, ohm
Power, mW
Voltage, dBV
32
0.88
-3.50
300
5.65
2.29

Recommended impedance for headphones from the range 8 - 1008 ohm
For In-Ear Headphones
11 - 345 ohm
For Over-Ear Headphones
No recommendation, Amp is too quiet

Characteristics for the maximum mode


Power characteristics of the SMSL ivy
Headphone impedance, ohm
Power, mW
Voltage, dBV
32
52.67
2.27
300
5.65
2.29

Recommended impedance for headphones from the range 8 - 1008 ohm
For In-Ear Headphones
8 - 345 ohm
For Over-Ear Headphones
8 - 43 ohm

Analysis and recommendations for SMSL ivy based on the measured characteristics

Analysis and recommendations for SMSL ivy based on the measured characteristics
Headphones Areas of using headphones Voltage Not loaded Max F.A.Q. / in equal class A F.A.Q., dBV Current in equal class AF.A.Q., dB(mA) Noise Isolation Necessity Total
2.29 /2.29 14.40
Noise Isolation Necessity
Sensitivity: 126 dB/V SPL
Impedance : 16 ohm
The type of acoustic design: Closed
Examples ±6 dB
Home or studio, where sound from the headphones does not bother anyone 5
★★★★★
5
★★★★★
1
★☆☆☆☆
3.7
★★★☆☆
Office and home, where people should not hear the sound from the headphones 5
★★★★★
5
★★★★★
5
★★★★★
5.0
★★★★★
Street with active traffic 5
★★★★★
5
★★★★★
1
★☆☆☆☆
3.7
★★★☆☆
Metro (subway), public transport 5
★★★★★
5
★★★★★
5
★★★★★
5.0
★★★★★
In-Ear or Tablet
Sensitivity: 120 dB/V SPL
Impedance : 32 ohm
The type of acoustic design: Open
Examples ±6 dB
Home or studio, where sound from the headphones does not bother anyone 5
★★★★★
5
★★★★★
5
★★★★★
5.0
★★★★★
Office and home, where people should not hear the sound from the headphones 5
★★★★★
5
★★★★★
1
★☆☆☆☆
3.7
★★★☆☆
Street with active traffic 5
★★★★★
5
★★★★★
5
★★★★★
5.0
★★★★★
Metro (subway), public transport 5
★★★★★
4
★★★★☆
1
★☆☆☆☆
3.0
★★★☆☆
Over-ear Low impedance
Sensitivity: 115 dB/V SPL
Impedance : 32 ohm
The type of acoustic design: Closed
Examples ±6 dB
Home or studio, where sound from the headphones does not bother anyone 5
★★★★★
5
★★★★★
1
★☆☆☆☆
3.7
★★★☆☆
Office and home, where people should not hear the sound from the headphones 5
★★★★★
5
★★★★★
5
★★★★★
5.0
★★★★★
Street with active traffic 5
★★★★★
5
★★★★★
1
★☆☆☆☆
3.7
★★★☆☆
Metro (subway), public transport 5
★★★★★
4
★★★★☆
5
★★★★★
4.3
★★★★☆
Over-ear Low impedance
Sensitivity: 115 dB/V SPL
Impedance : 32 ohm
The type of acoustic design: Open
Examples ±6 dB
Home or studio, where sound from the headphones does not bother anyone 5
★★★★★
5
★★★★★
5
★★★★★
5.0
★★★★★
Street with active traffic 5
★★★★★
4
★★★★☆
5
★★★★★
4.3
★★★★☆
Metro (subway), public transport 4
★★★★☆
3
★★★☆☆
1
★☆☆☆☆
2.3
★★☆☆☆
Over-ear Hi impedance
Sensitivity: 105 dB/V SPL
Impedance : 300 ohm
The type of acoustic design: Open
Examples ±6 dB
Home or studio, where sound from the headphones does not bother anyone 4
★★★★☆
5
★★★★★
5
★★★★★
4.3
★★★★☆
Street with active traffic 3
★★★☆☆
5
★★★★★
5
★★★★★
3.7
★★★☆☆
Over-ear Low Sensitivity
Sensitivity: 95 dB/V SPL
Impedance : 60 ohm
The type of acoustic design: Open
Examples ±6 dB
Home or studio, where sound from the headphones does not bother anyone 2
★★☆☆☆
2
★★☆☆☆
5
★★★★★
3.0
★★★☆☆


Description of the characteristics and recommendations for SMSL ivy on the table of recommendations


In the table, the characteristics are interpreted and then the ratings are given on a five-point scale. You can see below the more comprehensive analysis of the characteristics by the algorithms used in the table.


The table provides two main estimates for the amplifier: an estimate by current and an estimate by voltage. The characteristics of the headphones and the environment affect the final desired voltage level from the amplifier output, which must provide a sufficiently level of loudness from the headphones.


Main characteristics of the SMSL ivy

The main "universal" characteristics of the amplifier are maximum current, maximum voltage and output impedance.

Значения тока и напряжения может быть разделено по порогам качества.

В общем случае, при увеличении громкости, качество звучания усилителя ухудшается. Примерно как автомобиль с определенной скороcти становится менее управляемым. В этом отчете мы рассматриваем два порога.
  • Режим эквивалентного класса А эквивалентного класса А F.A.Q. - высокое качества (как великолепная управляемость автомобиля на небольшой скорости).
  • Максимальный режим F.A.Q. - предельные характеристики, выше которых усилитель или хрипит или невозможно для него выставить уровень громкости выше (когда автомобиль теряет управляемость выше определенной скорости или не может развить скорость выше).
Voltage
Уровень сигнала на выходе усилителя регулируется через напряжение. Именно этим параметром управляет регулятор громкости.

Current
В зависимости от сопротивления подключенных наушников и выставленного напряжения усилитель отдает ток. Уровнь тока пропорционален напряжению, а коэффициентом отношения тока и напряжения является сопротивление наушников как 1/R. Чем выше сопротивление у наушников, тем меньше требуется отдача тока от усилителя.

Output Impedance
  • The output impedance of the amplifier is 0.09 ohm.
Выходное сопротивление усилителя влияет на амплитуду напряжения с выхода усилителя при подключенных наушниках. Чем выше выходное сопротивления усилителя и ниже сопротивление наушников, тем амплитуда сигнала напряжения на выходе ниже.



Analyse of the output impedance of the SMSL ivy


When load is on (headphones were connected) the output voltage level decreases depending on the output impedance of the amplifier. The SMSL ivy has an output impedance of 0.09 ohms.

This is a low-impedance, close to zero. With this impedance, the voltage drop at a low impedance load is small.

For а low-impedance load this is well because of good gain margin. But on low volume level background noise can be heard.


If the voltage is 2.29 at the 600 ohm load, then under load of 16 ohm voltage will decreases by 0.01 dB to 2.28 dBV.



Analysis of voltage and current of the SMSL ivy with graph


One of the main tasks of the detection of compatibility of headphones with a specific amplifier, is to find out whether the amplifier can give the optimum voltage level. That section describes with details how to construct a graph of maximum voltage from the music power from the initial parameters of the amplifier.

Based on the values of the maximum voltage F.A.Q. levels and impedance of the amplifier, the maximum voltage levels for the headphone impedances of interest are determined. On the graph in the example, these are the impedance: 16, 32, 70, 150, 300 and 600 ohms. Grey columns show maximum voltage levels.

Voltage values are expressed not in volts, but in decibels to 1 volt - dBV. This allows you to compare the volume immediately in dB, which many are used in the equalizer and while adjust the volume.

We are interested not only in how loud the amplifier can work, but also to determine the range on what volume level we can get good quality. So we make estimation according to the voltage and current data of the in equivalent class A F.A.Q..

The lilac color area shows the voltage range for the equivalent class A under load without current limitation. This region is constructed in the same way as for the maximum voltage, depending on the magnitude of the load. However, each load value requires a certain current level at the output voltage at the amplifier output. Yellow area indicates the voltage range for the equivalent class A under load with only a current limitation with a margin of 12 dB (correction for a musical signal). From two areas, a green area is obtained - a range that enters both the lilac and yellow zones simultaneously. This is the desired range, which is optimal for the amplifier.

The lower bound for the yellow, lilac and green ranges in the form of the minimum voltage value is determined by the maximum level minus 36 dB. It is often believed that the louder the amplifier is the better, but it is not. If the amplifier is excessively loud, then when you lower the volume level, you often have to deal with different problems: audible background noise or channel imbalance.

  • Digital volume control - when the volume is lowered by program way or through the controller in the DAC, the useful signal decreases in amplitude, but the background noise remains at the same level. After lowering the volume to a comfortable level, you can hear definitely clear the noise in high-sensitivity headphones (or in middle- sensitivity headphones if the amplifier is initially very loud / powerful).
    In smart phones, tablets and laptops in the low volume area there can be a noticeable contribution of distortions from the software algorithms of SSRC, which are even more destructive than background noise. Moreover, where volume control is performed through the OS (Windows, Linux), the volume control range may not exceed 48 dB and the user will have a choice between the loud sound and its total absence.
  • Analogue volume control - most analogue controls have an unbalance in the low volume level, when one channel sounds quieter than the other. To obtain a better volume control, use variable resistors from ALPS. In this case, imbalance is observed at much lower volume levels. To obtain maximum quality, discrete regulators (stepped volume control) are used. Но, обычно шаг регулировки в области низких громкости - большой.
It is best to use an amplifier with such a margin in volume that for the headphones used, the range of volume down regulation does not exceed 36 dB.

Thus, the lower level is limited by the recommended volume control range, and the upper level is calculated based on the current and voltage limits in the highest quality mode for this device, which we define as equivalent to class A.


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For headphones, based on their sensitivity, ambient conditions and the required volume level, the required voltage is calculated. If the required voltage value is under the green area, then the headphones will be too sensitive for SMSL ivy and to set the optimum volume level it will be necessary to lower the level by more than 36 dB from the maximum.

If the required voltage value is above the green area, then you have headphones with not enough sensitivity-level and / or amp with insufficient voltage level in the equivalent class A F.A.Q..

If the value is above the green area, but does not exceed the gray area, then the headphones will give the necessary volume level, but the sound will be less qualitative, because the amplifier will work already in less qualitative equivalent modes AB F.A.Q., B F.A.Q. and maximum level F.A.Q..

If the value exceeds the maximum level, then the necessary volume level can not be reach, or will be clearly heard the "wheezing sound" from clipping.

The simplified formula of the desired voltage for headphones is as follows:
V = SPL - Sensitivity + Peak factor - Output voltage + Correction for external circumstances
where:
  • SPL - the desired sound pressure in dB SPL at the headphone output.
  • Sensitivity - the sensitivity of the headphones to the voltage.
  • Correction for a music signal of 20 dB to account for the unevenness of the volume on the sound track.
  • Output Voltage - the level of the output voltage of the amplifier in dBV when loaded of the headphone impedance.
  • The correction for external circumstances is the noise of the environment and the presence of noise insulation in the headphones.
Thus, we calculate the star rating for the table. You can study formulas more detailed.

The analysis for specific headphones can be viewed separately by selecting the appropriate headphone models on professional graphics.


Analysis of use SMSL ivy with headphones of different acoustic design


This rate primarily depends on the acoustic design of the headphones and the field of application of the headphones. Additionally, depending on the acoustic design, a correction is made to calculate the optimum volume level at which headphones are supposed to be used. In closed-type headphones due to noise isolation from outside sounds, the volume level can be slightly reduced, in calculations it is equal to -6 dB.


The table shows the options with closed and open headphones and ratings from 1 or 5.

Recommendation by compatibility of headphones with SMSL ivy based on measured characteristics

SMSL ivy with low-impedance high-sensitivity headphones (126 dB/V SPL 16 ohm ) Есть небольшой запас по громкости в 6.48 дБ при диапазоне регулировки в 36 дБ от максимума.. Есть небольшой запас по регулировке громкости в тихую область на 17.76 дБ..

SMSL ivy with low-impedance middle-sensitivity headphones (115 dB/V SPL 32 ohm ) Есть незначительный запас по громкости в 1.50 дБ при диапазоне регулировки в 36 дБ от максимума.. Есть большой запас по регулировке громкости в тихую область на 28.73 дБ..

SMSL ivy with low-impedance low-sensitivity headphones (95 dB/V SPL 32 ohm ) Нет запаса по громкости как в качественном режиме эквивалентного класса А в виде -18.50 дБ, так и в менее качественных режимах в виде -12.73 дБ. Усилитель недостаточен для работы с такими наушниками, он будет тихим.. Есть запас по регулировке громкости в тихую область более 36 дБ..

SMSL ivy with middle-impedance low-sensitivity headphones (95 dB/V SPL 60 ohm ) Нет запаса по громкости как в качественном режиме эквивалентного класса А в виде -13.04 дБ, так и в менее качественных режимах в виде -12.72 дБ. Усилитель недостаточен для работы с такими наушниками, он будет тихим.. Есть запас по регулировке громкости в тихую область более 36 дБ..

SMSL ivy with hi-impedance low-sensitivity headphones (105 dB/V SPL 300 ohm ) Нет запаса по громкости как в качественном режиме эквивалентного класса А в виде -2.71 дБ, так и в менее качественных режимах в виде -2.71 дБ. Усилитель недостаточен для работы с такими наушниками, он будет тихим.. Есть запас по регулировке громкости в тихую область более 36 дБ..



On-line comparison and selection services for SMSL ivy

The automatic selection of the optimal AMP models from SMSL ivy .
from the measured power parameters of the amplifying part and the measured parameters of the headphones for different purpose of use.


Close

Measurements of SMSL ivy were carried out by Roman Kuznetsov on the hardware-software complex RAA.

The SMSL ivy test was conducted as a black box test, without regard to cost and prestige. This is the basic principle for making measurements, measurement reports and developing tests in RAA.

I believe that it is important to do not make an absolute assessment of the device, but an aggregate assessment when working together with a headphones and taking into account external factors. This allows you to effectively reveal the potential of the entire set of devices or to make a more optimal choice of components.




Kuznetsov Roman
Founder of RAA



Known by the nickname romanrex
Аuthor of articles iXBT.com




SMSL ivy is available in reports and services. You are in a simple report.

Service and suite of tests

Information for entry level users

report for a newbie
(Headphone amplifier)

General recommendations

The automatic selection of the optimal AMP models

Information for all

Comparison of on-line graphs




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