13 Aug 2015

Review: Audac SMQ500

Quad channel power amp


AUDAC makes a range of power amplifiers under the Wave Dynamics name, including both the SMA dual channel models and SMQ quad channel units. Each of these ranges is available in three different power output levels – 350, 500 or 750W into 4 ohms. The basic feature set is common across all models, so really the differences to understand are just channel count and output power. AUDAC names the amps in relation to their drive capacity per channel into a 4 ohm load.

For the purposes of this review we got hold of an SMQ500 unit, capable of 500W per channel into 4 ohms, or 300W per channel into an 8 ohm load. Looking at the amp as it comes out of the box the immediate conclusion you’d draw is that it’s designed for installation, and I think that would be fair. While you can input signal via XLR and output to speakers on NL4 connectors, you can also achieve both these tasks using the included euroblock (or ‘phoenix’) plugs.


This is a boon for installers, since these connectors can be easily field terminated with only a screwdriver and a pair of cutters. Further to the toolage and time savings, the euroblocks also save the cost of connectors. Also on the back panel is a cooling fan and an IEC power connector. Presumably the fan only runs when the internal temperature requires it to do so – we were testing in the middle of the coldest day Sydney has seen in 5 years so our fan didn’t show any signs of starting up.


The front panel is home to a 2.5” LCD screen which shows the individual channel levels and allows menu navigation via the adjacent rotary encoder. A USB port adjacent to the screen allows amplifier configurations to be saved and uploaded to multiple amplifiers, greatly speeding up the process of setting up multiple amps. The USB key can also be used as a physical key to unlock the amplifier. Two levels of user access can be made accessible either via four digit pin code, or by physical key.

Once locked, none of the amplifier parameters may be adjusted from the front panel. This is a good thing for installations, since there’s more than enough processing inside to confuse novice users. The SMQ range supports selectable input routing, three types of low/high pass filters, 7 band EQ, delay, bass boost, antiphase (we couldn’t find this documented, but think it’s phase reverse), as well as output limiting. All these features are available on a per channel basis, so you could run feasibly most speaker systems from SMQ amps with no additional external DSP.


In a nice example of forward thinking, AUDAC has included an expansion slot in the SMQ for future connectivity, and has just announced a Dante card to fit this. For integration with 3rd party control systems, an RS-232 port on the back panel allows external control over functions such as input routing and channel levels. Being a class D device, the final benefit is perhaps that of weight – the SMQ500 we reviewed weighs just 8.35kg. Each channel pair can also be independently bridged to run 100W into 8 ohms, making the SMQ500 an obvious choice to run stereo speaker systems with a mono high power subwoofer.

  • Brand:  AUDAC
  • Model:  SMQ500
  • RRP: AUD$2022.00 inc GST
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