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S.M.S.L. SD-9 Set-Up and Basic Review

Igor055

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Oct 24, 2021
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Hello friends! Has anyone updated the system from version 1.0 to 1.1 on SD-9. I found an update, but I hesitate to install, so as not to come to negative consequences.
 

M_Jr

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Oct 18, 2021
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Hello friends! Has anyone updated the system from version 1.0 to 1.1 on SD-9. I found an update, but I hesitate to install, so as not to come to negative consequences.
This in not new, it's the same installed on yours SD9 (1.01 Version)
 

espectro

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Hello! I just got my SD9 today and plugged it into my D70s via i2s, but it only works when I'm playing Hi-Res files. When I play 44.1khz flac files, there's no sound. USB works fine though. Is this a known issue with SD9? (mine came with the fw version 1.01)
 
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mrlongar

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is it possible to stream --other music streaming service like apple music, amazon music , spotify , deezer aside from qobuz, tidal using mconnect on SMSL sd-9?
 

srkbear

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I find the Zen Stream with the latest firmware upgrades to be perfect. Works great with Roon, sounds terrific, has USB output with built in active noise cancellation, handles all file types including native DSD and MQA Passthrough to my Topping D90se. I have an SMSL DP5 on the way just for FOMO purposes and for the screen, but if there’s no sound improvement I’ll keep the ZS.

A couple of tips:

—With the ZS, swing for a 15V iPower X power supply. Has greater amperage and more clean power, and improved stability with Wi-Fi.

—If you enter the ZS GUI by typing iFi.local/dev, you can switch to developer mode and access beta firmware versions. To get back to the regular GUI just go back to iFi.local. Doesn’t change anything in terms of functionality. But the developer page gives you a lot of info, including real-time processing of songs in progress.

Update: the SMSL DP5 experience was dismal, and robbed me of two hours of my life trying to navigate it’s Byzantine GUI. It was awash in bugs and ergonomic catastrophes. The Zen Stream leaves it in the dust in every category, save the lack of a hardware GUI. Since I already get that with Roon, I have no idea why I went down this rabbit hole in the first place. With the most recent firmware upgrades to the Zen Stream, I can’t find any faults with it at all—and I certainly can’t imagine what benefits I would gain by shelling out four figures for one of those ostentatious NAIM or Cocktail Audio jobs.
 
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rumblee1

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As a noob, if I posted to the wrong place, let me know and I will delete and repost.

All I wanted from the SD-9 was to be able to stream bit-perfect music from TIDAL (over Ethernet) with control similar to what I have enjoyed via TIDAL Connect, BUT NOT using WiFi or Airplay2!

I ordered this unit from APOS Audio because I could not find it on Amazon at the time I knew the units had begun shipping from China. It turns out that S.M.S.L. equipment is usually listed with the periods on Amazon (NOT as "SMSL").

Ordered June 21, 2021. Delivered July 6, 2021. Fifteen days with APOS customer suppprt giving me three updates on expected delivery. DHL International gave detailed updates as soon as the unit was in their hands in Shenzhen China. Normally, I suspect the unit would have been delivered in 7-9 days, but it went on back order just as I ordered it. APOS has been a wonderful vendor. I would order from them again.

Since I was so concerned that everything come via Ethernet to be sent to my Gustard X-16 I turned off Bluetooth before I began the setup.

I won't make a long story longer by detailing my mistakes during setup. Instead I will list step by step how I would set up the SD-9 IF I had a do over.

[Nota bene: after two days spent with the unit, I am beginning to search for how to play songs from my phone via the unit to my DAC. At 258kbps (Apple Music File) versus generally 1700kbps HiFi or MQA, I doubt I will be playing anything from Apple Music. But I want to know all the interoperability of this unit - in the meantime, this initial review is for my TIDAL music, via Internet direct, over I2S to Gustard X16 DAC, via XLR into Yamaha RX-A 3080 integrated amplifier.]

BEFORE the S.M.S.L. SD-9 comes in you will need:
  • 2 AAA batteries for remote
  • Ethernet patch cable, Cat. 5e or better speed
  • The cabling to run from the SD-9 to your DAC (I ordered a 1 foot 8K HDMI cable for the I2S interface)
  • Access to 120 or 240 Volt AC
  • The full paid "mconnect Player" App by ConversDigital Co. Ltd., installed on your Android or iPhone. DO NOT install the "Lite" version. You don't want vestiges of the free program to interfere with the paid app which is what you will use for full functionality.
STEPS to take getting ready:
  • Update your phone to the latest operating system.
  • Cold boot your phone and then install "mconnect Player."
  • Flip SD-9 switch to select 120 or 240 Volts
  • Hook up cabling to the SD-9: I2S (or USB), Ethernet, and AC power.
  • Put batteries into the remote
  • FIRST (before pressing any other buttons) PRESS THE "B" button on the remote control.
  • Press the remote ON button to turn the SD-9 on.
  • Press the remote DOWN button and go to Settings (You MAY have to EXIT DLNA mode first to get to the GEAR icon.) The DOWN arrow functions as the "BACK" button, or LEFT pointing "RETURN" button on US remote controls. When you are finally in the "MENU" function on the screen, use the right or left cursor remote buttons to page through Settings (NET, NOW PLAYING, MY MUSIC, EXPLORER, PLAY SETTINGS, SYSTEM SETTINGS) and choose "System Settings." Press the center cursor control button and then the down cursor control button 12 times. You should now be at "RESTORE FACTORY SETTINGS," so press center button to SELECT it. Confirm your choice, and it will perform a factory reset, which clears any settings set up for unit testing before it left the factory!
  • Power cycle the SD-9.
  • Go back into SYSTEM "SETTINGS" and begin to go down the choices. You are looking for 1) Change I2S/SPDIF to whatever output you will use, back out and 2) turn "Fix Sample Rate OFF, 3) DSD Output Mode "Native," 4) USB mode "DAC," 5) EQ "close."
  • Turn the SD-9 off and use the I2S or USB cable to connect to your DAC
  • TO AVOID SPEAKER POP, turn amp off or volume all the way down. NOTE - MUTE on my Yamaha amp did not stop speaker pop while turning the SD-9 on or off while XLR input was selected on the amp.
  • Turn the SD-9 back on. IF you are using WiFi, check and setup the "NET" Settings on the SD-9 to insure you are connected to your network.
  • With the SD-9 on, take your phone and load the "mconnect Player."
  • Bottom far right of the app, press "Play through" and select the SD-9.
  • Go to "Browser" and put in your credentials for TIDAL, Qobuz, etc. Or select your NAS, SD Card, etc.
  • Adjust your "Settings" on your streaming service(s) for "Master" or "HiFi."
  • Select and play music, slowly turn up your amp volume, look at your DAC display and confirm that MQA, the green dot, and the bit rate show you are playing high res music.
  • Congratulate yourself!
PROS: outstanding soundstage, depth, dynamic range, price for a clean clear sounding streamer. NO USB Cable running across the floor to my DAC (FINALLY!!). Compared to the Pro-Ject Stream Box S2 Ultra at US $849, this S.M.S.L. SD-9 streamer running mconnect and not needing Roon or Volumio is a bargain.

CONS: Speaker POP; 4 out of now about 150 songs exhibited a half-second digital noise burst as a song began to play; crude interface with mconnect. The mconnect queue is terrible - hard to set it up and make songs "stick." When they do "stick" in the queue, they don't play in the expected order. TIDAL now supports Folders in the Playlists - mconnect doesn't see folders. Mconnect has crashed at least four times on my iPhone 11 running iOS 14.6. Crashing apps on this phone NEVER happen. I leave my equipment ON. The SD-9 screen will probably burn-in as there is no screen auto-off feature, and even the dimmest setting (#1) is still VERY BRIGHT. I sometimes still get digital noise between cuts of music and mconnect can't yet do gapless playback. The R/L Channels are reversed when using the I2S interface to my DAC. This is corrected by using the I2S "inverse" switch in the SD-9 settings. This error is reported by other users. Some might consider US $400 too expensive for a bleeding edge box which is essentially just a streamer, USB drive, and NAS manager. The RPi I was considering building would have been $200-250 (with touchscreen interface), no remote, and no mconnect! Just a few years ago NAS setups were $800-1600+. This SD-9 offered reasonable value for me.
need help i have me smsl SD 9 hooked up to my smsl SU 9 via USB to USB-B connection. i would like to connect my tuner to my SD 9 but not sure how. i tried an RCA to usb cable , but that did nnot work. any suggestions would be hrlpful. thanks
 

M_Jr

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Oct 18, 2021
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@SMSL-Mandy - Where is yours support team? I have asked for support by email and on facebook, SMSL have the worst support ever!!

I'll never buy anything from SMSL again.
Good hardware, but the software is very buggy!!!
 
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NiagaraPete

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Thanks for your guide. I use mconnect as well. I stream Apple Music and from my NAS over the network to a RPI with Higiberry digi pro. I’ve not had any crashes or other issues,
 

Gene LeClair

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Jan 18, 2022
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If the remote control is also working with the SH-9 headphone amplifier using the same channel B, then how is one supposed to use these two devices in the same stack? Wouldn't it become messed up?
 

bodiebill

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Feb 11, 2022
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I would like to use the SD-9 exclusively as an SD card player, using its usb output into my Audio-GD DI-20HE.
The only thing holding me back is the switching power supply. Did anyone open up the SD-9? Would converting it to linear power be feasible?
 

raif71

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I know the filesystem specs say this player support fat/fat32/ntfs but does it also support ext2/ext3/ext4 filesystem as well but not stated. Anybody with this player can try to see if the Linux ext format is supported, thanks.
 

Radhadesh

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May 7, 2022
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Having gone through the video, I am disinterested to purchase as there seems to be known to have certain issues with the streaming. Does the Lindemann streamer have a better user app experience since you will be sitting on the couch 8 feet away?

 

Reynaldo

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Mar 17, 2021
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Will it be a new FW or the same one that is in the device?
Just came out on the SMSL website

FW SD-9.jpg

 

navin

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Oct 28, 2020
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Hello! I just got my SD9 today and plugged it into my D70s via i2s, but it only works when I'm playing Hi-Res files. When I play 44.1khz flac files, there's no sound. USB works fine though. Is this a known issue with SD9? (mine came with the fw version 1.01)
Hi,

Did this get fixed yet?
 
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