• 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!

SMSL SU-9n Review (Balanced Stereo DAC)

bogi

Active Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2020
Messages
137
Likes
77
Location
Slovakia
I’m looking for a DAC. I have read close to 50 pages of DAC responses today in several threads. Negative responses were leveled against anyone voicing a subjective opinion. Warm and cool terms did not have to be included in the comments. If a person said they could hear the difference between DACs, they were immediately attacked. Why is a simple opinion a threat to many on this website, including the moderator?
This forum has one great advantage: The "all DACs sound the same" community is collected here. Simply use some other forum to discuss perceived sound quality.
 

daclogic

Member
Joined
May 28, 2020
Messages
24
Likes
3
I'm using a SU-9n for about 45 days, previsously SU-9, and you can't mute XLR or RCA outputs.
SU-9n has a new remote "RC-8C". You can mute both outputs (XLR/RCA).
There is no output selector you can configure using "Menu" options.

I don't know if this kind of feature could be added to current FW.
First requirement is to know if the device is equiped with hardware that can achieve this goal.

Once more, schematics and functions diagrams of the unit could help.
Thanks for clarifying this.
 

Rover

Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2020
Messages
60
Likes
37
Please note that the output voltage at the regulated output SU9n is higher than the standard and therefore pumps a power amplifier or a full amplifier better.XLR>4.8 V,PCA>2.3V.
+1.png
Whereas the output is fixed SU9n outputs XLR>4.2V,PCA>2.0V.
 

Wuzel

Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2021
Messages
35
Likes
19
i tried so hard but couldn't hear a difference between my focusrite 2i2 2nd gen (on unbalanced and with a dual transformer/isolator in between!) and this.
maybe ever so slightly more "air" ("ethereal" or "wider stereo"), but i think i'm just imagining it (maybe because im using speakers?)
and i think the volume is more consistent, as if my focusrite is not getting enough power in some passages.
only paid 305€ but that's just too much money for optical and xmos asio. (xmos is pretty decent right?)
ordered su-6 for 185€ now, hope it's just as good

Yes, with most speakers u have no chance to hear out the very tiny differences, if there were some.
The Resolution and linearity, especially in not optimized environment are too low.

Second funny thing is, that the Headamp must be clean as a operating room and for me personally i need to trim with EQ the Cans (1990'er or Sundara).
Between some DACs i can barely hear out some differences between resolution and/or some coloring in the higher Band (i hear max 15kHz).
Most points go to Separation of things in the Sound. That's the domain i can earn some hit points when ESS Chips came into the game.
 

Snoopy

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Jul 19, 2021
Messages
519
Likes
267
This forum has one great advantage: The "all DACs sound the same" community is collected here. Simply use some other forum to discuss perceived sound quality.


You should take a look at the R2R DAC reviews in this forum. Reads no different from head fi or Reddit.

Same about the tube magic, class A etc.

Very frustrating to be honest.

Same for DAC chips.. AKM Vs ESS.

Feels like once a piece of equipment is owned by many people it becomes less interesting and suddenly is not good enough anymore?

Personally I wish topping , SMSL etc would slow down with releasing a new device every other month.


Feels a bit like they are throw together whatever parts are currently available and sell it as a new device.
Not much different from Xiaomi smartphones.
 

jphng123

New Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2020
Messages
4
Likes
1
I installed the XMOS driver and got "USB no signal" issue with SU-9n? Or did I miss some steps in set-up?

Bluetooth is working though

Thanks
 

Rover

Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2020
Messages
60
Likes
37
I use SMSL SU9n with Raspberry Pi 4 +Linux.I didn't install drivers for SU9n on USB at all.Everything plays fine on the native DSD 512 and PCM764.
:)
 

ABSNimes

Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2021
Messages
26
Likes
17
Location
EU
I installed the XMOS driver and got "USB no signal" issue with SU-9n? Or did I miss some steps in set-up?
Bluetooth is working though
Thanks
Rewind to post #197, have a look and report what you've done :
Works perfectly fine at first install, from begining.
 

jphng123

New Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2020
Messages
4
Likes
1
Rewind to post #197, have a look and report what you've done :
Works perfectly fine at first install, from begining.
Hi...thanks.
Manage to get the problem sorted out

Cheers
 

rjsalvi

New Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2020
Messages
3
Likes
1
Perhaps a topic for a new thread ...but DAC analog stage topologies deserve discussion. DAC chips have specs exceeding the thresholds of human hearing, but the analog stage is what brings it to life. Board design, shielding, component choice, all make an audible difference that imho, outweigh the chip used. fwiw...
 
  • Like
Reactions: EHC

Veri

Master Contributor
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
8,486
Likes
10,443
Perhaps a topic for a new thread ...but DAC analog stage topologies deserve discussion. DAC chips have specs exceeding the thresholds of human hearing, but the analog stage is what brings it to life.
Come on. Citation needed. Does an analogue output stage somehow transcend all that is known about digital to analogue conversion? Does it need some fat tubes shoved in there to bring it to life, perhaps?

My simple, sterile, solid state full of feedback, human hearing transcending output stage sounds plenty alive. Maybe it's me who is dead inside? :D
 
Last edited:

Wuzel

Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2021
Messages
35
Likes
19
Come on. Citation needed. Does an analogue output stage somehow transcend all that is known about digital to analogue conversion? Does it need some fat tubes shoved in there to bring it to life, perhaps?

My simple, sterile, solid state full of feedback, human hearing transcending output stage sounds plenty alive. Maybe it's me who is dead inside? :D

U can easy fuck up the Output Stage/Buffer and it sound like a cat when u step on their tail ;)
Slew Rate is such a funny parameter...

Ok, the AKM 93/97 ar not sooo critical, cause of voltage driven output... but with the current driven ESS Chips its not sooo easy. Look at the first SU8 - the v diff on output oamps was to low, measurements are still ok, but sounds like.... (put some funny word here). The V2 puts more v diff on the Chips - and tattaaa sounds like a gem ;)

There many funny things in the time domain (not only spatial related) or music theory (major makes u happy, minor sad....)... there books of this topics out there. All related beyond the 'active' human hearing, we feel them more ... u hear what u brain think to hear ;)

And no, that has nothing to do with tubes, orion rays, crappy vinyl sound. There things between the technically stuff and esoteric.
Both extreme sides are wrong ;)
 

guenthi_r

Active Member
Joined
May 8, 2019
Messages
111
Likes
97
Location
Europe/Austria
Got my SMSL SU-9n today, works well!
Cannot hear any difference to my other SMSL SK10th Mk2, but thats expected.
Very good DAC, thanks @amirm !
 
Last edited:

Rover

Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2020
Messages
60
Likes
37
SU-9n is well compatible with LG TVs, unlike the Topping D90SE , in which sound loss appears and there are no settings to fix it.In SU-9n, go to the menu and increase the DPLL if necessary.
 

ABSNimes

Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2021
Messages
26
Likes
17
Location
EU
SU-9n is well compatible with LG TVs, unlike the Topping D90SE , in which sound loss appears and there are no settings to fix it.In SU-9n, go to the menu and increase the DPLL if necessary.
As mine, associated with Panasonic 50VT30 and TosLink.
Optical signal strenght is robust, as others inputs (USB/SPDIF/BT), no need to adjust DPLL.
DPLL value is set to 4 from beginning, no need to change since installed.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Nov 29, 2018
Messages
67
Likes
32
i've got a problem with dsd playback with this unit. There is only pink, high frequency noise when i play dsd files, no matter software i use, there is dsd info on screen and reinstalling xmos helps for a while. Is my unit deffective? @SMSL-Mandy
 

Snoopy

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Jul 19, 2021
Messages
519
Likes
267
i've got a problem with dsd playback with this unit. There is only pink, high frequency noise when i play dsd files, no matter software i use, there is dsd info on screen and reinstalling xmos helps for a while. Is my unit deffective? @SMSL-Mandy


Yet another chifi DAC that has problems with DSD? ☹️
 
Top Bottom