“The Best Class-D Amp”: Cheap Audio Man on the SMSL SA-400

Note: This article is based upon the article "Best Class D Speaker Amp - But Is it Worth It? SMSL SA400 Speaker Amp Review” made by Cheap Audio Man on his YouTube channel. It’s printed here in partnership with Cheap Audio Man. The review was originally posted on December 17th, 2021. Edits have been made for clarity and length. 


Hey! I’m Randy, and you’re watching the Cheap Audio Man. Here at the Cheap Audio Man, we talk about high value hi-fi home theater and headphone products. Today we’re talking about the SMSL SA400. It’s a speaker amplifier. Sounds real nice. But is it worth it? I don’t know! Sit down, grab a cup of coffee, and let’s go on a journey together.


How’s it sound? Incredible. Really incredible. It pulls away from the SMSL DA9 as far as separation, reverb, and air. It’s not as harsh. And the DA9 already was moving in the right direction as far as not being harsh, but with the SA-400, there is a definite improvement in air space, size, reverb, and cleanliness. It doesn’t smear as much, which means basically one instrument kind of covering up another one. The layering and three-dimensionality, or holographic nature, are on par with some very, very good class-A/B amps. The EQs are a little bit less heavy-handed than they were on the DA9. And this handles bass effortlessly. That’s one thing that I see with higher power amplifiers. Usually they’re controlling the bass a little bit easier, and this thing does it effortlessly.

From a sound perspective, this thing’s really hard to pick apart. It’s the best class-D I’ve heard out of any of the amps that I’ve heard, even from the major companies. The feature set’s very impressive. There is nothing to pick apart on this amplifier. It does run a bit hot. That’s fine. There’s nothing to pick apart except for the price, $650. It’s expensive for a class-D amplifier from SMSL. I do think it sounds like $650. I personally think this thing sounds incredible, but there’s stiff competition. You have a ton of folks out there that have a little bit more of an established history, but I think the SMSL SA-400 walks all over them. Some of those other amps have more features. This doesn’t have Bluetooth or Airplay. It’s just an amplifier, and while it is a good one I still think there is going to be a paradigm of thinking around this amp. Still, I think it’s worth it.


I would have no issue having this be my main amplifier. Really. And the footprint works really well with the Denafrips Ares II. It fits right on top and almost looks like they’re matched up. It’s a great product. I’m a little worried about the price point though. If this were $500 or $450, it would be unbeatable. At $650, people are probably going to be looking at other things. At the end of the day, with streamers and everything like that, people could be pushed away from this thing.