SMSL M500 very low volume and can’t change Fixed Volume setting


I have just bought a new DAC. The SMSL M500.

Plugged it into my Ropieee endpoint and it configured itself all correctly in Roon.

However the volume is very, very low - barely audible.

I had a search on the forums and found this:

“The only annoyance I found was the M500 defaulting to like 20/100 alsa volume level at power on. Setting fixed volume and enabling force of max volume on playback in Roon solved that.”

I tried to change the Fixed Volume setting and set the volume to 100% however Ropieee just hangs/crashes on the “Your device is being configured…” message

Here’s the feedback ID: d1886cc5595fdbe6



So… do you have some kind of USB stick inserted?

No, but there are 2 DACs connected - a NuPrime uDSD and the SMSL M500 - which are both plugged into the Raspberry Pi via what looks like a small USB hub soldered on to the PI.

The changes to the volume setting eventually saved when I unplugged the M500 during the device being configured stage.

It didn’t make much difference though.

I also updated the firmware on the M500 too and when plugging back in to Ropieee/Roon was identified as a ‘different’ device.

I think it improved a little but still seems to low volume when compared to other sources. I have to turn the volume to max (40) on the DAC where as others have said the ideal volume level (to get the v2 output) should be around (25 to 30). That seems to be on Windows/ Mac maybe. I have seen other mentioning volume issues with Linux.

Well, for testing purposes I would suggest you simplify the setup and only use one DAC connected.

It was using an all in one NuPrime device (Raspberry Pi/power filter/uDSD DAC in a single device/case) hence the reason why there was 2 DACs connected. I had intended to use a separate Pi for the SMSL M500 but the power filter on the NuPrime (powers the Pi and a separate USB board for the DAC so not powered by the Pi) made a difference to the sound so I disconnected the uDSD for now and have now only the M500 connected.

Things are much better now. I set the volume to fixed/100 fine and I think the firmware update has made a difference. The level that matches my other components is max volume but I have set it to 35/40 to avoid any clipping as recommended elsewhere and I am happy with this.

I have to say I am very impressed with the SMSL M500. Sounds fantastic with all formats (DSD, MQA, Hires)!



I set up a SMSL M500 today and encountered the low volume issue. Setting Roon to fixed volume and Ropieee to 100 didn’t seem to make any difference, so I tried setting Roon to DSP Volume and that seems to have done the trick.

Is that different to others’ experience - have I read the above properly?

I’ve had good luck with my M500 by setting Fixed Volume under device setup (in Roon), as well as Force Max Volume At Playback Start under Advanced settings in device setup.

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Yeah that’s what I gather most people are seeing, but on mine “max volume” seems really quiet. I’m not too bothered because I have it working in a way that I like, but my curious nature makes me wonder why I’m different, lol.

Did you update your M500 firmware? (assuming there was one available)

I know I did that a few months back. There were definitely USB controller updates in that firmware (1.08). The interesting thing is that SMSL no longer has the firmware for the M500 posted on their website. You’d think they’d want to have something with the following changelog available:

1.06 first release

1.07 fixed the android phones sound small problem! with canceling the volume adjust the function of USB.

1.08 fixed the 32bit can not be played.
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Hmm. System info says:

SW: 1.5 HW: 1.2

I’ll hook it up to a PC and see what I can find tomorrow. Cheers.

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I know I’m late to the party, but I just got an M500 a couple of days ago. I was experiencing exactly the same as you, and even looked at the Roon Server logs, and could see a conversation going on between the M500 and Roon Server that kept setting the M500 volume to 14 whenever it turned on.

My odd workaround that seems to have fixed things is that I set the M500 to DSP volume, set the volume up to 100, played a track, then set the M500 to Fixed Volume again. It’s worked for a few days perfectly fine now.

Yeah same here. I have the same configuration and no issue at all: Ropieee/Pi4 > USB > M500 > XLR > Preamp. My understanding is that M500 doesn’t really have a “fixed volume” mode internally. So, you have to manually set the volume to 40 (max). Then in Roon, configure the device in as “Fixed Volume.”

So… can folks who own the SMSL M500 characterize the sound? (Ideally it’s use as a DAC, not the headphone amp since I have that covered separately)

Maybe… Compare it to other DACs I might have heard? It’s on sale for $339 at AMAZON US right now, and I’m very interested in trying out MQA.