• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

NODE 2i + SMSL SU-9 + MQA problem connecting

Patrice

New Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2020
Messages
4
Likes
1
Hi everybody,
I have a NODE 2i and a SMSL SU-9. The SU-9 only accept USB IN for the QMA, and there is not USB OUT on the NODE 2i, and I would like to use the QMA ....
Is there anybody have an answer to my problem, how to connect them?
Thanks
 

lateparty

Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2020
Messages
22
Likes
14
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Arrrghh, I just purchased one and it arrived today and I was pulling my hair out trying to find out why MQA wasn't passing through. Thinking of upgrading to M400 now because having multiple MQA input support is critical for my DAC, but looking at their website and the manual there's no way to determine this. Have reached out to customer support. I'll update here as well.
 

wasnotwasnotwas

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2020
Messages
329
Likes
364
Arrrghh, I just purchased one and it arrived today and I was pulling my hair out trying to find out why MQA wasn't passing through. Thinking of upgrading to M400 now because having multiple MQA input support is critical for my DAC, but looking at their website and the manual there's no way to determine this. Have reached out to customer support. I'll update here as well.

I have a feeling its only possible to pass the undecoded MQA stream from a licensed app (on a PC/ phone etc)to the first DAC in the chain. I dont think you can pass thru MQA undecoded. The issue with the Node to a second DAC is that the decoded MQA signal passes out but tops out at 24/96.

I might be wrong but I dont think the issue you will have is not with and streamer to any DAC but with MQA implementation itself- they dont want an undecoded MQA signal daisy chained. The Node 2 is an MQA decoder, so that is where the MQA feed will end.
 

lateparty

Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2020
Messages
22
Likes
14
Location
Melbourne, Australia
I have a feeling its only possible to pass the undecoded MQA stream from a licensed app (on a PC/ phone etc)to the first DAC in the chain. I dont think you can pass thru MQA undecoded. The issue with the Node to a second DAC is that the decoded MQA signal passes out but tops out at 24/96.

I might be wrong but I dont think the issue you will have is not with and streamer to any DAC but with MQA implementation itself- they dont want an undecoded MQA signal daisy chained. The Node 2 is an MQA decoder, so that is where the MQA feed will end.

Thanks for the heads up, however based on their support page (https://support1.bluesound.com/hc/e...My-External-DAC-Playing-MQA-?mobile_site=true), and independent verification by Darko Audio (https://darko.audio/2018/01/further-travels-with-the-bluesound-node-2/ albeit the 2 not the 2i) the feature is supported, limited to a 24/96 stream however there isn’t any device I’ll be connecting to my DAC via USB (not permanently anyway) and require both TOSLINK and Coax MQA support, even if the upstream device limits it in some fashion. AU$610 is just too much money to make such a compromise on an otherwise fantastic DAC.
 

wasnotwasnotwas

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2020
Messages
329
Likes
364
Thanks for the heads up, however based on their support page (https://support1.bluesound.com/hc/e...My-External-DAC-Playing-MQA-?mobile_site=true), and independent verification by Darko Audio (https://darko.audio/2018/01/further-travels-with-the-bluesound-node-2/ albeit the 2 not the 2i) the feature is supported, limited to a 24/96 stream however there isn’t any device I’ll be connecting to my DAC via USB (not permanently anyway) and require both TOSLINK and Coax MQA support, even if the upstream device limits it in some fashion. AU$610 is just too much money to make such a compromise on an otherwise fantastic DAC.

Good to know- I stand corrected. So with the Node in your situation isnt the issue- the receiving DAC inability to accept MQA through other than USB is.

Although I doubt you would notice a difference if you let the Node do the render and pass out decoded MQA as a 24/96 PCM stream.
 

lateparty

Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2020
Messages
22
Likes
14
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Good to know- I stand corrected. So with the Node in your situation isnt the issue- the receiving DAC inability to accept MQA through other than USB is.

Although I doubt you would notice a difference if you let the Node do the render and pass out decoded MQA as a 24/96 PCM stream.

In a blind test, no chance!! However (and this is not the reason I wouldn’t be able to notice mind you) all unfolding/rendering stops when using the digital out on the Node 2i, limiting it to 16/44, add to that the Node 2i’s DAC measures notoriously bad re: Amir’s reviews on this very site. I am happy to spend a little more and get all of the certified magic beans...uh bits, sent through to my DAC.

To me it does not seem unreasonable to pay for the privilege - even if that’s all it is - of getting end-to-end MQA just for the peace of mind.
 

contium

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2020
Messages
26
Likes
25
You need a DAC that takes MQA over optical or coaxial. From the MQA website, you have the Mytek Liberty; Technics SU-G30; MOON 390 by Simaudio; Meridian 818v3 Preamplifier, 218, 251 and Ultra DAC; and Brinkmann Nyquist. Also, it looks like the new iFi NEO IDSD will work too.

https://www.mqa.co.uk/mqa-cd
 

lateparty

Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2020
Messages
22
Likes
14
Location
Melbourne, Australia
You need a DAC that takes MQA over optical or coaxial. From the MQA website, you have the Mytek Liberty; Technics SU-G30; MOON 390 by Simaudio; Meridian 818v3 Preamplifier, 218, 251 and Ultra DAC; and Brinkmann Nyquist. Also, it looks like the new iFi NEO IDSD will work too.

https://www.mqa.co.uk/mqa-cd

Thank you very much!! I had a look at the Mytek Liberty because I had a little bit of a crush on the Brooklyn and its relatives until I came upon this site and refreshed myself on where it sits in the SINAD stack a day or so ago. That list and link is very handy. I used to look at the MQA supported page once a week for a while until I gave up because everything was just too $$$

Ultimately a couple of days ago when I went through Shenzhen Audio's catalogue and saw I couldn't really get anything that supported it for a half reasonable price (or at all), coupled with some compelling arguments by John Yang and others on this site, I came to the conclusion (convinced myself) that it's probably a good thing that I have a DAC that doesn't support it, rather than does and pulls out the 16/44 stream.

Considering the technical performance of the SMSL SU-9 we're going to get along just fine as is.
 

contium

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2020
Messages
26
Likes
25
Thank you very much!! I had a look at the Mytek Liberty because I had a little bit of a crush on the Brooklyn and its relatives until I came upon this site and refreshed myself on where it sits in the SINAD stack a day or so ago. That list and link is very handy. I used to look at the MQA supported page once a week for a while until I gave up because everything was just too $$$

Ultimately a couple of days ago when I went through Shenzhen Audio's catalogue and saw I couldn't really get anything that supported it for a half reasonable price (or at all), coupled with some compelling arguments by John Yang and others on this site, I came to the conclusion (convinced myself) that it's probably a good thing that I have a DAC that doesn't support it, rather than does and pulls out the 16/44 stream.

Considering the technical performance of the SMSL SU-9 we're going to get along just fine as is.

I guess it depends on how far you want to push the SINAD. IMO, the SINAD of the Liberty is beyond any audible gains. And while a lot of people claim that a $99 DAC has better SINAD, I think people are missing the feature set of the Liberty. And while $1000 is some decent money, it's dirt cheap compared to everything else in that list.

I'm hoping Audio Science Review gets the new ifi NEO iDSD to analyze. That could be a game changer if it tests good.
 

wasnotwasnotwas

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2020
Messages
329
Likes
364
I guess it depends on how far you want to push the SINAD. IMO, the SINAD of the Liberty is beyond any audible gains. And while a lot of people claim that a $99 DAC has better SINAD, I think people are missing the feature set of the Liberty. And while $1000 is some decent money, it's dirt cheap compared to everything else in that list.

I'm hoping Audio Science Review gets the new ifi NEO iDSD to analyze. That could be a game changer if it tests good.

I wouldn't get excited for the Neo from an ASR perspective, assuming it gets measured anytime soon.
 

lateparty

Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2020
Messages
22
Likes
14
Location
Melbourne, Australia
I guess it depends on how far you want to push the SINAD. IMO, the SINAD of the Liberty is beyond any audible gains. And while a lot of people claim that a $99 DAC has better SINAD, I think people are missing the feature set of the Liberty. And while $1000 is some decent money, it's dirt cheap compared to everything else in that list.

I'm hoping Audio Science Review gets the new ifi NEO iDSD to analyze. That could be a game changer if it tests good.

There’s definitely sense there, once the SINAD stops being audible arguing for more is pointless.

When I look at the Liberty, in my use case with respect to outputs, currently my SU-9 trumps it. I can do standard XLR out to my headphone amp, and standard RCA out straight to my stereo amplifier (it doesn’t support XLR) however with the Liberty I need to find or build a special cable or get an adapter for its secondary (I don’t care about the fact it is balanced) output option because of the space saving size socket Mytek chose, adding to its TCO.

If I compare dollar for dollar the features, the SU-9 comes out ahead with the Liberty ultimately costing me AU$1200 (https://addictedtoaudio.com.au/products/mytek-liberty-digital-to-analogue-converter) + whatever extra the cost is for the adapter/specialised cable vs the SU-9 which cost me AU$609 shipped, so let’s call it half. It just isn’t worth it to me for that one extra feature and one extra optical input and AES/EBU, at the loss of bluetooth, 768khz pcm and DSD512 (I don’t really care, I don’t listen to music where that matters - if it even exists)
 
Joined
Nov 23, 2020
Messages
54
Likes
40
Thank you very much!! I had a look at the Mytek Liberty because I had a little bit of a crush on the Brooklyn and its relatives until I came upon this site and refreshed myself on where it sits in the SINAD stack a day or so ago. That list and link is very handy. I used to look at the MQA supported page once a week for a while until I gave up because everything was just too $$$

Ultimately a couple of days ago when I went through Shenzhen Audio's catalogue and saw I couldn't really get anything that supported it for a half reasonable price (or at all), coupled with some compelling arguments by John Yang and others on this site, I came to the conclusion (convinced myself) that it's probably a good thing that I have a DAC that doesn't support it, rather than does and pulls out the 16/44 stream.

Considering the technical performance of the SMSL SU-9 we're going to get along just fine as is.

Looks like the new Gustard X16 also takes MQA in via various connectors including coax.

https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/dac-...bluetooth-50-32bit-768khz-dsd512-p-14893.html
 

lateparty

Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2020
Messages
22
Likes
14
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Looks like the new Gustard X16 also takes MQA in via various connectors including coax.

https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/dac-...bluetooth-50-32bit-768khz-dsd512-p-14893.html

Yeah, looks like if the original stream has been passed through correctly it will further render it. Worthwhile to point out to potential buyers, I think at this price point it is one of the few devices that has any capability for MQA.

I am going to continue to stick with my SMSL SU-9 for now, and when/if I decide to dip my toes into the DAC market again will see what is available and what features are relevant. Personally, I am in the process of finding the most cost effective way to replace all my MQA files, and also any Tidal playlist references to their non MQA "equivalent".
 

Aardappel

Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2020
Messages
62
Likes
56
Location
Melbourne
Hi @lateparty , where did you buy the SU-9 for AU$610? I can currently only find that price for a DAC straight out of China, which would incur tax/duty etc.
 

lateparty

Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2020
Messages
22
Likes
14
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Hi @lateparty , where did you buy the SU-9 for AU$610? I can currently only find that price for a DAC straight out of China, which would incur tax/duty etc.
It would be even cheaper now (600~) Shenzhen Audio. Direct purchase from them, super fast shipping and great customer service. I sound a little like I’m shilling but I had a positive experience even if it was only one (1).
No additional taxes or duties incurred over and above what was listed at the checkout page. I couldn’t tell you how they handle their annual GST bill for selling to Australians but that’s on them, not me.
 

Aardappel

Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2020
Messages
62
Likes
56
Location
Melbourne
It would be even cheaper now (600~) Shenzhen Audio. Direct purchase from them, super fast shipping and great customer service. I sound a little like I’m shilling but I had a positive experience even if it was only one (1).
No additional taxes or duties incurred over and above what was listed at the checkout page. I couldn’t tell you how they handle their annual GST bill for selling to Australians but that’s on them, not me.
Thanks for that, I always thought that GST/duty would need to be added to those listed prices!

Are you happy with the DAC otherwise, no strange popping/clicking noises or pauses or anything like that? Are you also using it as a preamp with volume control (to your liking?)?

Cheers
 

lateparty

Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2020
Messages
22
Likes
14
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Thanks for that, I always thought that GST/duty would need to be added to those listed prices!

Are you happy with the DAC otherwise, no strange popping/clicking noises or pauses or anything like that? Are you also using it as a preamp with volume control (to your liking?)?

Cheers
Nah nothing like that, performance is fine! Glad I kept it. I did use it with the preamp one evening because of a weird setup I had going on due to intoxication and convenience at the time (I lost my amplifier remote haha) and it performed perfectly well. Normally however I let it sit on full volume and use my amplifier’s (headphone and stereo respectively) volume control because that’s their job.
 

Aardappel

Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2020
Messages
62
Likes
56
Location
Melbourne
It would be even cheaper now (600~) Shenzhen Audio. Direct purchase from them, super fast shipping and great customer service. I sound a little like I’m shilling but I had a positive experience even if it was only one (1).
No additional taxes or duties incurred over and above what was listed at the checkout page. I couldn’t tell you how they handle their annual GST bill for selling to Australians but that’s on them, not me.
Thanks mate - how long did it take to ship and did it get shipped through DHL? Just looking at options as local stock seems to be nonexistent!
 
Top Bottom