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SMSL SU-9 Balanced DAC Review

RogerSL

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If this came in at $300, it would be a killer deal; a balanced DAC with zero compromises. At $440 the value is meh.
With the SU-8 v2 available sometimes at $200 and the M500 sometimes at $350, I too had hoped for a $300-ish release price on the SU-9 that might dip down to $250-ish territory during the upcoming fall sales. I don’t ever use the headphone amp on my M500 and was hoping for a less-expensive option of basically the same DAC for another system in my house. Looks like best I can hope for with the SU-9 on sale might be around $400 which is more than I paid for the M500 a year ago. Oh well, at the rate new DACs are coming out, shouldn’t be too long before there are other options to consider.
 
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Well, at least they provide a solution. It's the downside of releasing some new products a year, that's how it goes in consumer industry. But they perfect their craft along the way and that is better for us. We get more for less. Chord have their Qutest and Dave for years but who can reach for that..
it does not feel nice to be an unaware beta tester
 
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I need dacs could be fed by coax/toslink.
so, smsl m500 vs smsl su-9 which one would be better choice?

I've heard from here ASR, from wolfx-700's measurements,
smsl m500 was revised or firmware updated for fixing thermal degradation and improve performance
 

ShiZo

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I need dacs could be fed by coax/toslink.
so, smsl m500 vs smsl su-9 which one would be better choice?

I've heard from here ASR,
smsl m500 was revised or firmware updated for fixing thermal degradation and improve performance.
su-9
 
OP
amirm

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Thread Starter #168
@amirm If you still have this hooked up anywhere any chance you could find out in the menu's if all outputs(XLR/RCA) are always on or if you can switch between them? Otherwise ill dive into the manual when this gets released.
I have not checked but I am confident both outputs are on all the time. A switch in the path will cost some performance and there is no precedent for such a switch.
 

PeteL

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With the SU-8 v2 available sometimes at $200 and the M500 sometimes at $350, I too had hoped for a $300-ish release price on the SU-9 that might dip down to $250-ish territory during the upcoming fall sales. I don’t ever use the headphone amp on my M500 and was hoping for a less-expensive option of basically the same DAC for another system in my house. Looks like best I can hope for with the SU-9 on sale might be around $400 which is more than I paid for the M500 a year ago. Oh well, at the rate new DACs are coming out, shouldn’t be too long before there are other options to consider.
Isn’t there already plenty of other sub 300$ options to consider? There is definitely no shortage of good performing ampless dac revied on ASR, what do you dislike of stuff like the e30, the schiit modius if you need, balanced, and many more choices.
 
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@amirm
Better make some marmalade out of the fruits, than dehydrating :oops:
Winter is coming!

I don't understand the output thingy:
Measurement for xlr says 370 ohms.
Smsl's paper says 207 ohms?

Be sure your amplifier has an input impedance above 3.7k Ohm (10 to 1 ratio
Where to look that up?
Measurements does not show the input impedance. I can only see the xlr-output impedance for example from the Topping A90 at 1.3 ohms.
Is this dac fine with a planar low heaphone impedance of 25 - 50 ohms, paired with the topping a90 or similiar amp?
And with fine I mean the high standard displayed here?

Thanks!
 

Sak

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A lower priced high SINAD DAC like the Topping E30 only outputs 2vrms through RCA. That is still perfectly acceptable for most 29dB gain amps under 200wpc, but not as emotionally satisfying as 5.3vrms from XLRs where you know you have the headroom and can hook up almost any amp in the world, no matter how powerful and take said amp to the limit.
For which modern amp will be not enough 2vrms ?
 

Celty

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Is it accurate to say that the SU-9 priced at $439.99 appears comparable to the performance of the Topping D90 priced at $799.99? If so, I don't understand the complaints based on the price of the SU-9. If there are some significant factors I am not considering, please clarify what that is.
 
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amirm

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Thread Starter #173
@amirm
Better make some marmalade out of the fruits, than dehydrating :oops:
We have made a ton of pear butter which I eat as breakfast in the morning. Will make some apple ones next although we still have some left from last two years of canning!
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #174
I don't understand the output thingy:
Measurement for xlr says 370 ohms.
Smsl's paper says 207 ohms?
I don't have an explanation for that but the difference is not major anyway.
 

JohnYang1997

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Is it accurate to say that the SU-9 priced at $439.99 appears comparable to the performance of the Topping D90 priced at $799.99? If so, I don't understand the complaints based on the price of the SU-9. If there are some significant factors I am not considering, please clarify what that is.
Because it's a new product that comes after M500 and M500V2(almost as good again), and without the headphone amplifier. In itself of course it's a good price for a well designed 9038pro device. And I don't see people actually "complaining" about it. It's still very good just less competitive than their older product.
 
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For which modern amp will be not enough 2vrms ?
Most are monoblocks and stereo amps, although I've seen some multi-channel amps for home theater above a 2.0V input sensitivity. A few just to list off the top of my head like the McIntosh amps are pretty much all over 2V for their XLRs and their top 2,000 watt amp needs 5V. Bryston has a few above 2V. Emotiva had a couple from their discontinued XPR line. Legacy and Trinnov have some multi-channel amps needing more than 2V to get to full power. The Trinnov has a pretty low gain of only 19dB or so. Generally speaking, they're almost all 300 watts and above. The higher the wattage, the more line level voltage it needs to get there, assuming the gain structure is normal of around 29dB or so.
 
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Svperstar

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I'm using the Topping D30 -> SMSL P200, I could pick up the SU-9 and run balanced cables but I highly doubt I could hear a difference. Sounds like a massive waste of $440.
 
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Is it accurate to say that the SU-9 priced at $439.99 appears comparable to the performance of the Topping D90 priced at $799.99? If so, I don't understand the complaints based on the price of the SU-9. If there are some significant factors I am not considering, please clarify what that is.
Because there are already multiple products with the same performance that have been out for almost a year now for the same price soncoz sgd1 smsl m500 v2. The d90 and m400 cost a lot more because they use the ak4499 instead of the es9038pro. Also the su8 was known for being a very cheap balanced dac so people assumed the successor would also be a more budget product.
 

TimF

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Personally, I have trouble seeing the value for $440.. Maybe two years ago..ok. But today I think a good case can be made 'DAC solved' for $200 and under..

Now if it had included an L30 equivalent HP amp, and a 10-band PEQ...maybe..

Even so, Qudelix 5k ($110) + L30 ($140) = $250 = lesser SINAD DAC (likely) but PEQ room, speaker, HP optimisation ability. Plus HP amp.
They should pay me to use it. How much $50, or $80, or perhaps a special offer of $99.50 shipped to my house. I'm holding out for that.
 
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