• 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). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

SMSL SU-9n Review (Balanced Stereo DAC)

GWolfman

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 3, 2020
Messages
383
Likes
446
Yay, a non-MQA version & savings to go with it.

Any devices out there support BT UAT?
 

pseudoid

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 23, 2021
Messages
493
Likes
250
Location
SoCal
My pleasure. MQA is a proprietary audio format which Tidal streams high resolution content in. Bartok is a model number of dCS (high-end) DAC. ...
My comment "But who is MQA and what is a bartok?" was meant to be a tongue-n-cheek [cheek-n-tongue?] jab at MQA haters and Bartok lovers alike. :facepalm:
 

Rottmannash

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 11, 2020
Messages
1,490
Likes
1,140
Location
Nashville
I got the same spammy email, guessing from the time I bought the Topping EX5 from them. Do they think we buy DACs using Subscribe & Save(TM), minus the save? I really have no idea how they are able to justify releasing new products every couple of months when their old one is perfectly fine. Excellent performance, but who's chucking their 118 SINAD DAC to get a 122 SINAD one?
Me?
 

Rottmannash

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 11, 2020
Messages
1,490
Likes
1,140
Location
Nashville
It wonder how many DACs some people own. On most of the informercials, the comments are full of ones from people that already have multiple similar DACs; but now feel the need to own the latest one.

The quest to achieving the sound that gets hyped is never ending.
I'll go 1st-I have 3, all Topping...and thinking hard about buying this one too.
 

DACs_Lover

Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2021
Messages
64
Likes
146
as one of the cheap topping smsl and gustards dac break the sinad barrier, many boutiuqe dac lovers feel more and more agitated and try to prove more and more vigorously that measurements dont matter or there is a limit of audibility of good measurements. the same thing happened in one of the dcs bartok thread in this forum elsewhere. almost all the posters were trying to justify the 110db sinad of $17500 DCS bartok. now a days even a well implemented ultra cheap dongle dac can beat these boutique dacs in terms of measurements. it is so surprising how such boutique dac manufacturers are able to brainwash so many people that they dont want to listen anything against these boutique dacs at all. may be its the money power through which the manufacturer propagate many subjective lies on all type media platforms
Can I have a link please? It is worth reading I guess.
 

mslim

Active Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2020
Messages
139
Likes
104
"n" = "No" MQA?

I often wonder about the growth and economy of scale also as SMSL product line-ups overstep each other more so than Toppings.

Is the remote controller capacitive touch type? Not sure if it actually looks like that or they just superimposed a diagram over a photo on their marketing material.
 

mslim

Active Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2020
Messages
139
Likes
104
SMSL model with those OLED screens.....is there an option to turn them off until "touched" or volume changed etc? Those reviewer never made this clear......
 

Toku

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 4, 2018
Messages
1,306
Likes
1,163
Location
Japan
The static measurements by amirm are great. However, it has not been confirmed that all the functions actually work properly this time as well.
I would like to order immediately, but the newly released DACs often have operational problems that cannot be seen from the measurement data. Because of that, I have had many technical interactions with the technicians of the manufacturer every time. This DA-9u feels the same as the previous products and I don't have the courage to order it.

Regarding MQA, if it can be played smoothly without any problem like PCM and DSD, I can tolerate the installation of MQA, but I bought E50 the other day and tried MQA playback for the first time in a long time, but the playback operation is still not smooth. So I think it's good that MQA wasn't adopted in SU-9n this time.
 

Spkrdctr

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
545
Likes
566
for this price I wonder if it would be possible to make this/any DAC a Mono DAC and bridge the output for even better performance?!
Should be a easy firmware thing to set the DAC up to just output left or right data but on both outputs.

But maybe @amirm can do test if combining to outputs actually incenses performance?
Just play a Mono signal and bridge the outputs together with a Y cable.
Why? Just Why? You can go sit in the back of the class for messing with the sanity of the engineers!
 

Spkrdctr

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
545
Likes
566
My comment "But who is MQA and what is a bartok?" was meant to be a tongue-n-cheek [cheek-n-tongue?] jab at MQA haters and Bartok lovers alike. :facepalm:
Is seeing MQA tests showing it is pure snake oil and destroys any sound quality make someone a hater? I would just call it a scam. Yet one more scam in the very, very long line of audio scams.
 

kchap

Active Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2021
Messages
197
Likes
219
With a whole slew "relatively" cheap DACs and amps with incredible noise floors and dynamic range becoming available, are the days of expensive potentiometers and relay controlled resistor ladders are numbered.? Just do it all volume control and balance adjustments in the digital domain.

Edit: One day I hope to write a message that does not need editing.
 
Last edited:

Mulder

Active Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2020
Messages
232
Likes
289
Location
Gothenburg, Sweden
The static measurements by amirm are great. However, it has not been confirmed that all the functions actually work properly this time as well.
I would like to order immediately, but the newly released DACs often have operational problems that cannot be seen from the measurement data. Because of that, I have had many technical interactions with the technicians of the manufacturer every time. This DA-9u feels the same as the previous products and I don't have the courage to order it.

Regarding MQA, if it can be played smoothly without any problem like PCM and DSD, I can tolerate the installation of MQA, but I bought E50 the other day and tried MQA playback for the first time in a long time, but the playback operation is still not smooth. So I think it's good that MQA wasn't adopted in SU-9n this time.
Agree. Based on own experience and what others have written about, some of these top-performing DACs seem to be plagued with reliability problems. I also get the impression that manufacturers are quickly abandoning previous models and stop producing new firmware updates, even though there are bugs that bother users.
 

Toku

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 4, 2018
Messages
1,306
Likes
1,163
Location
Japan
Comparing the measurement results of SU-9n and SU-9, it seems that there is no big change in the circuit because they are almost the same.
Does that mean that the high output impedance (122Ω / RCA, 370Ω / XLR) of the SU-9 is inherited by the SU-9n as it is? I'm a little worried.
 

pseudoid

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 23, 2021
Messages
493
Likes
250
Location
SoCal
amirm's such a damn good person, he'll seriously respond to any joke post under the assumption that the poster doesn't speak fluent English.
I'll try not to do it again... I don't want to cut into his production quota.
He is beyond just a 'good' person...
 

Lambda

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Mar 22, 2020
Messages
841
Likes
656
Why? Just Why? You can go sit in the back of the class for messing with the sanity of the engineers!
Paralleling DACs/ADCs is common practice in engineers.
Educate yourself before using polemic like this.

some of the best performing DACs here use Parraled DACs to to achieve this performance ESS is even mentioning it in the datasheet.

1634310012840.png


1634310086504.png

The DAC Device around the DAC chip is basilisk just an I/V converter so paralleling the output is basically the same as paralelling output of U2 (as they recommend in the datasheet).
It’s a brute force method of gaining about 3dB SNR but it only works for truly uncorrelated noise.

Also why not have a DAC per (activ) speaker to reduce Analog cable length.
Or if one has Monoblock Amplifier why not have Monoblock DACs
 
Top Bottom