Hello.Your conclusion is that in the corrected SU-9, the emphasis on the bass was lost, which was present there thanks to the "3 harmonics".After correcting the accent on the bass now there is no?Time to give back and save people a bunch of money. I recently got curious to so called upgrade my SMSL SU-9 DAC to another perhaps more natural sounding (as described by subjectivists) DAC that as per some members here blew the SU-9 out of the water.
I am talking about the D70S by Topping. I did compare both the units feeding the Topping Pre90 balanced. Both DACs were used in DAC mode (not Pre-amp mode).
While it was a lot more expensive than the SU-9 and for the same measured performance...some people here said it sounded much better and so I researched and researched...many marketing sites saying the SU-9 doesn't fare well in instrument localization, depth, resolution etc. when compared to the D70s. I finally got my hands on a D70S with a return policy and here are my subjective observations after A/Bing them both (not a blind test, but with very familiar music):
The D70S has a different presentation than SU-9 in that the D70S seems to emphasize the bass notes more (it's not a FR tilt as I know). It has a more fuller sound / vocals (mids) and has noticeably tamed treble. In comparison, the SU-9 has a more even or balanced bass presentation (after 3rd harmonic fix) and much smoother and distinct vocal presentation. What I mean by that is that vocals stay dead center floating in air between my KEF R7s, not so much with the D70S which despite having more fuller sounding vocals lacked a bit of that localization ease...which was a theme accross all instruments as well by the way, which were much more easily sketched in space by the SU-9 as the case was with vocals. Here is what I most missed in the D70S...airy highs. In Melody Gardot's If you love me (great song btw)...there is quite a bit of air in the highs as are several spacial cues. They were slightly easily noticed via SU-9 VS D70S. Another observation was around the sound stage...now I know DACs don't affect sound stage but I believe the SU-9's airy presentation, lack of extra bass emphasis and more neutral tonality did give the impression of a more holographic presentation...like it has a bigger/wider sound stage as compared to the D70S. To be fair to D70S, it did seem to bring out some of the layerings out a bit easier in busy passages...but maybe be by say 5% more ease....again it's the presentation that maybe at play here.
Different is not always better is what I've learned in this hobby after shelling $$$!
Suffice to say I ain't selling my SU-9 for cheap and shelling out more on the D70S...I presume this same logic can be applied to all SOTA DACs in this price range. They WILL sound nearly the same with different presentation. If I wanted the D70S presentation...I'd add a +1 db shelf at say 100Hz and I would be there, but as I said I liked the SU-9 presentation more.
Hope this helps prospective buyers make an informed purchase decision.
Here is my question the DAC designers/experts at ASR...I compared the boards of the Topping D70S to the SU-9. Obviously there is a lot more going on in the D70S with those Nichicon caps, those accusilicon clocks, that linear PSU, while SU-9 is plain vanilla in comparison with none of those nice things in the chain. Considering the ASR view of DACs sounding the same in case they measure good/implemented well...what is the reason manufacturers invest money in those components. I am asking coz I don't understand what audible difference those components make and does skipping those results in an inferior sounding product.
I believe that in the case of above two DACs, since they are so we'll implemented....the differences I noted in presentation is more to do with the Chips used...AK being more grunty while ESS being more airy and neutral.
By the way, for dedicated headphone users...get the most affordable SOTA DAC you can and be happy...these subtle differences I explained are generally only perceivable when in full blown speaker setup, not so much with headphones.
As always, no shooting the messenger.
Equipment used (very revealing as you can imagine): Tidal HiFi, KEF R7s, SVS SB-3000 subwoofer, IFI Zen Stream to SU-9/D70S via USB to Topping Pre90 to NAD C298 - all balanced, all Mogami cables.
Note: I did face problems with D70S locking to MQA streams and I had to tap the middle of the songs for sound to appear when playing...don't know why but this may be an IFI-Topping compatibility issue...rest of the times it worked fine as well.
Subjectively...with a grain of salt, Yes!Hello.Your conclusion is that in the corrected SU-9, the emphasis on the bass was lost, which was present there thanks to the "3 harmonics".After correcting the accent on the bass now there is no?
True and proof wasn't the objective here. Its a subjective account on a decent system, of my personal experience...in a world where people are bombarded with new similarly measuring (beyond hearing clean) DACs with same or similar implementations in new chassis, every couple of months supported by marketing BS calling them night and day different.I'm seeing zero proof here of "the difference" between the ESS and the AKM chips.
Also it's funny you guys describe AKM as "grunty" and ESS as "neutral", while some years back subjectively people said ESS was "harsh/glarey" and AKM was "velvety/soft". Almost like these descriptions aren't worth much.. give it another year and people will be claiming yet something else. Again.
Return it to Amazon and buy a Dac without issues.Heard back from them, want me to send it back to China now, not Amazon. Big stuff around this, provided a quote for shipping (which is meant to be refundable) but it's not cheap and will take 2 months (I reckon) before I'd see the replacement.
Yes, done... better going through Amazon as you say considering the amount of issues already. It didn't even work with the SMSL drivers in windows, (crackling sound in all modes. iFi gets it in waspi /Qobuz but ASIO fine. It's a good thing I did test it. considering sending to China for repair but already wasted enough time on it. Cambridge Audio and iFi work straight away and no weird problems.Return it to Amazon and buy a Dac without issues.
Which version of the driver works? I downloaded the one from their site and no good (https://www.smsl-audio.com/portal/product/downlist/id/11.html).Smsl su9 with updated firmware is a great DAC. but there are too many outdated and faulty drives out there. I don't understand why Shenzhen Audio doesn't withdraw them from the market.
I think from your report there is a problem with the processing power of the CPU. Your NUC is a 2015 model with Celeron. I think the load is too heavy for MQA processing using TIDAL. Also, if you are using virus software, the burden will be heavier.Hi Experts,
This is my first post here, got the SMSL SU-9 a few days back,
However, I've noticed one problem, while playing TIDAL MQA (96 OR 192kHZ) I'm facing intermittent sound issues.
The sound would cut in and out, On the Dac, the MQA display goes off while this happens.
I don't have this issue while playing MQA @ 48 Khz, non-MQA, or DSD files from Foobar.
My Setup is as follows.
Intel® NUC Kit NUC5CPYH - USB - SMSL SU-9 - RCA - YAMAHA RN 803.
Appreciate any help.
Thanks in Advance.
I feel that the OPT/COAX connection troubles reported to ASR are concentrated on LG and SAMSUNG TVs for some reason. Maybe there is a part of the S/PDIF manufacturing standards of both companies that does not match the connection with general audio equipment?Anyone test this DAC with LG OLED TVs? I had a D90SE and had to return it as it wouldn't work properly on optical or coax with my TV, many others with LG TVs reported the same.
Curious if the SU-9 is prone to the same issue or not.