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SMSL SU-9n Review (Balanced Stereo DAC)

Veri

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Can anyone explain to me how to ensure that I have 32bit and 768KHz?
You can only push 704/768kHz over WASAPI or ASIO directly if you want to do that, Windows has no support for such high rates in settings/sound panel (OSX does support it out of the box). No sane person even needs such high rates though, the DAC already oversamples 44/48kHz content to much higher kHz internally, so why would you want Windows to do that for you?
I mean I get it, current devices slap a big sticker on that these high rates are supported which is 100% marketing, there is no need for them. It doesn't make anything sound better, try it out and see..
 

Westsounds

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@SMSL-Mandy
Has SMSL Plans to publish Firmware open source? If not maybe think about it. there is hardly any interesting IP in the firmware but a fully customization software/ firmware as well as community driven Linux / raspberry pi support with integration of volume control from the Operating system would be nice.
Costume Screens and maybe cover art.
Control of the OS via the rotary encoder.

Lots of potential could be unlocked.
Yes I agree, why not.

If this is technically as good as any other DAC and measures extremely well, in theory, it can sound like any other DAC. This could be to add distortion where other DACs would, a pleasing to the ear distortion obviously that many enjoy and call it whatever with their subjective terms.

Not only that perhaps customizable eq settings for those who can not just change their amplification or speakers to suit its tonality. So that would take care of the 'synergy' thing as well.

It kind of does this already with sound colours, although to my ears they are hardly indistinguishable from each other and barely at best change anything. Although I do kind of get the tube one, it does to me give an effect of if it was going through a tube. Quite clever I thought without any physical tubes being there.
 

red_kk

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I purchased this DAC today for $339 as the black friday deals have started. What is the most inexpensive but good quality streamer that is recommended to pair this with? I only use Spotify and like to control music from my iPhone. I don't use Roon.

Some options im looking at are Bluesound Node 2i, Allo DigiOne signature

My current setup is Kef R11, Parasound A31, Apple TV, Denon X4700H
 
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Westsounds

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I purchased this DAC today for $339 as the black friday deals have started. What is the most inexpensive but good quality streamer that is recommended to pair this with? I just use Spotify as it has good collection of both regional Indian music and western. I don't use Roon.

Some options im looking at are Bluesound Node 2i, Allo DigiOne signature

My current setup is Kef R11, Parasound A31, Apple TV, Denon X4700H
Your smartphone if you have one. It'll stream anything to this without adding another box, the bluetooth Hi-Res is as good as anything and solid on mine. Your smartphone can get radio stations, Spotify, Tidal, whatever better than most streamers can via their appropriate apps, and play in the background with the screen off.

And I know many claim 'burn in' is not even a real thing but to my ears this DAC is sounding better now than my initial impressions. To me it initially sounded a little shall we say rougher around the edges. I really think it's coming into its own now after a few days of playing. Perhaps bedding in / warming up electronics really is something.

If I had to suggest a subjective term for it, which I know is a bit taboo around here, I'd actually say it doesn't have much of a character of its own at all, it's the recording I'm listening to over everything else. I am really impressed with the low/high levels of detail I'm picking up with it as well, with my own ears :)
 

red_kk

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@Westsounds That's great to hear. smartphone (iPhone) is infact my preferred way to control music. All my old ripped music is in 128kbps MP3 format so I don't really play from hard drive any more.
 

Westsounds

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@Westsounds That's great to hear. smartphone (iPhone) is infact my preferred way to control music. All my old ripped music is in 128kbps MP3 format so I don't really play from hard drive any more.
I've been using it for a few days via my phone, and to date, its the best Bluetooth audio device I've had, and I've had a few :) This seems a very solid stable connection. On your phone, well there was on mine anyway an option in the Bluetooth setting to have the most stable connection or highest quality. I've tried both and both have been stable but the Hi-Res does seem to have perhaps a SQ advantage as well, well it seems to with my phone anyway. And the little high-res is displayed on the unit screen as well when that option is selected on your phone.

Unless you actually want to spend out on a streaming device imo a smartphone trumps them all because graphically they have usually gorgeous screens, and double as a luxurious remote control for searching/controlling all your media as well.

I'm impressed with the unit so far after my lukewarm initial impressions. The TV, smartphone, and Alexa device connect to it seamlessly. And of course with Alexa devices, you even have options of hand-free operation and voice command.
 

jimboaz

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I didn't think it was a particularly strong suggestion (rather than a statement). It appears to be extremely hard to make a well measuring amp with a remote, display and features for this sort of money. We've a few threads on here for products like the DA9 and SA300 with hundreds of responses but little measurement. I own the SA300 and think it sounds pretty good, but I'm unconvinced it will measure well.

That's why people are getting excited about the amp Topping are teasing
I own the SA300 and a bunch of other Topping & SMSL amps. I recently bought the SMSL AO200 for more power but I too really like the sound of the new German 12070 chip. I'm hanging on to the SA300 I like it so much compared to anything else - except the AO200.
 

Selarom

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Can anyone explain to me how to ensure that I have 32bit and 768KHz?
This is only for windows audio. It will upsample everything to that bit depth and sample frequency. If that is what you want, that is the place to change that setting. You should be able to confirm from the DAC display that the computer outputting accordingly.

However, if your intention is to run your music through your player on PC and have it be played bit-perfect (assuming you have music at 32bit/768khz) you need to do that on your music player. In which case I would recommend something like Foobar2000 as a free player or paid players like JRiver Media Player. Set them up to use the ASIO driver installed for the DAC so the audio ouput is sent bit-perfect to the DAC and the DAC will play whatever you have at the native format, or upsampled/downsampled to whatever you like.
 

Selarom

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You can only push 704/768kHz over WASAPI or ASIO directly if you want to do that, Windows has no support for such high rates in settings/sound panel (OSX does support it out of the box). No sane person even needs such high rates though, the DAC already oversamples 44/48kHz content to much higher kHz internally, so why would you want Windows to do that for you?
I mean I get it, current devices slap a big sticker on that these high rates are supported which is 100% marketing, there is no need for them. It doesn't make anything sound better, try it out and see..
I missed your reply. good answer. @nubs - what @Veri said :)
 

ppunter2015

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Hi all,
I own a smsl sp200 amp. Is this a good match for the su-9n or do you recommend an upgrade?
 

Selarom

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Hi all,
I own a smsl sp200 amp. Is this a good match for the su-9n or do you recommend an upgrade?
I think it should be fine. I have a THX-789 and started wondering about getting the matching SH-9 amp, even if it’s not really an upgrade at all.
 

nubs

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Anyone else having issues installing the drivers for this in Windows 10?
 

Lpd2

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Just ordered this so I'm interested if you've resolved your driver installation issues. Can you into more detail?
 

nubs

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Just ordered this so I'm interested if you've resolved your driver installation issues. Can you into more detail?
I installed the drivers available from SMSL's web site and restarted my computer but the DAC stopped outputting sound. So then I uninstalled the driver and plugged it back in. It started working but when I go to look at my devices I see the following warning symbol.

1638231462005.png


Potentially related, my computer has been randomly locking up over the past few weeks. I don't know if it is related to this DAC. My hope is that its not related.
 

red_kk

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I got the SMSL SU-9n DAC and set it up today. Compared to Denon AVR X4700H it is a clear improvement in sound. My wife also felt the same way. We both tested many bits from tracks both of us are very familiar with. My Kef R11s are finally getting good input they deserve and are really opening up. My next investment would be on a standalone streamer like Pi+Allo Digione.
Currently I'm playing Apple Lossless via Airplay through Apple TV Gen 3 and optical out going to the SMSL DAC.
 

ABSNimes

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@nubs SMSL SU-9n driver is fine and safe, works like a charm from first install.

I'll suggest to :
1° - Power Off and Disconnect the DAC
2° - Uninstall the device driver
3° - Troubleshoot your Windows OS : enter "cmd" (command mode) and type "sfc /scannow", then Enter.
This is the "auto repair" W10 integrated function
4° - Check your Windows Update state and proceed if required
5° - Shutdown and power on the PC
6° - Install the driver and then connect the DAC
7° - Let us know all is fine :)
 

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Freeway

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I got the SMSL SU-9n DAC and set it up today. Compared to Denon AVR X4700H it is a clear improvement in sound. My wife also felt the same way. We both tested many bits from tracks both of us are very familiar with. My Kef R11s are finally getting good input they deserve and are really opening up. My next investment would be on a standalone streamer like Pi+Allo Digione.
Currently I'm playing Apple Lossless via Airplay through Apple TV Gen 3 and optical out going to the SMSL DAC.
@nubs SMSL SU-9n driver is fine and safe, works like a charm from first install.

I'll suggest to :
1° - Power Off and Disconnect the DAC
2° - Uninstall the device driver
3° - Troubleshoot your Windows OS : enter "cmd" (command mode) and type "sfc /scannow", then Enter.
This is the "auto repair" W10 integrated function
4° - Check your Windows Update state and proceed if required
5° - Shutdown and power on the PC
6° - Install the driver and then connect the DAC
7° - Let us know all is fine :)

Good to hear. Will be arriving 12/10 via DHL from Shenzhen. Ordered thru Apos 11/27 @ $339.00, no tax/shipping fee. Two year transferable warranty.
To be paired with Kali LP8 v2.
 

dennyboy

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Dec 1, 2021
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Hello Gurus and Seniors,

It has been a bit overwhelming for me staking to get one best solution of SMSL boxes for my existing floor-standers.
Could you please help and advise what i should pick up for the stack?
TIA

Here is my objectives;
1. I need a streamer/player to play back my DSD library in my NAS over the home network. I would choose the remote control over the laptop/PC playbacks.
2. I need a DAC to convert the #1
3. I need an AMP

Speakers specs:
Nominal Power: 150WRMS
Max power: 300 Watt
Impedance: 8 ohm
Sensitivity: 91 dB/2.83V/m
Frequency Resp. 35Hz-22kHz
 

daclogic

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May 28, 2020
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Users and reviewer/s have stated that XLR and RCA outputs run at the same time. Can either of them be turned off? From my reading of the manual, I see no such option. Can any user confirm? It's a deal-breaker for me.
 
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