The SMSL T2 is an interesting little headphone amp because it offers good tube audio quality for a relatively low price without skimping on build quality in the slightest.
SMSL is a well known company among budget oriented audio fanatics and they continue to pump out impressive products, this one is no different.
Upon opening it I noticed it was in a much nicer box with much more protection than my SA50 was. It even comes with the tubes pre-installed. Just plug it in and go! I feel like you could throw the box across the room and it would be fine... which is good since shipping carriers tend to do that anyways -_-
The build quality is amazing. I expected it to sound good, but I didn't expect it to be built so well. To me, it radiates the kind of quality that would come from the likes of Sennheiser or some other audio company of equal reputability. It's solid metal. In fact it sort-of rings like a bell when you flip the switch (which is also metal... I think.)
Okay, so here is the important part.
TL,DR - It sounds great. No noise, and it sounds a little less harsh than solid state.
Now for the long version:
Upon flipping the power switch you're greeted with a flashing light. It will flash until the tubes are warm. Once the tubes are warm the light will go solid and the amp will un-mute itself. It's a feature to prevent popping, etc from the tubes while warming up. I like that.
I can only describe the sound as "pleasant."
When I first plugged it in I had prepared my ears for some really warm, distorted sound since this was my first tube-headphone amp. But much to my surprise it sounds much closer to solid state than I expected. I mean that in a good way though. The sound is ever so slightly less harsh in the high end. It's much nicer to listen to music (or anything) like this for me. It eliminated that listening fatigue that you get with cheaper DAC/amps where the high frequencies eventually just make you want to stop listening, or maybe even give you a full fledged headache. The bass is slightly brought up as well, to a pleasant level.
There is hardly any noise to be heard. It's extremely clean for a thing that cost $60, much less a Tube amp. It has plenty of power too, of course.
You can also replace the included tubes with others, if they are compatible.
So do I reccomend this? Yes.
SMSL is a company with a good reputation (as far as cheap Chinese audio companies go), and if you're in the market for this kind of thing, It seems like a solid buy.
And furthermore, if you don't trust my opinion, there are lots of reviews to go around
Feel free to chime in! Im sure I missed things.
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