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Topping D90 vs SMSL SU-9 vs SMSL M500v2 vs Schiit Modius

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#1
Dear all,
I'm going to buy a DAC.

After many searchesI came to this short list:
  • Topping D90
  • SMSL SU-9
  • SMSL M500v2
  • Shiit Modius.
I have a couple of questions:
I really cannot understand the differences between the two SMSL and the Topping, apart from the obvious ones: processors (I think I will not hear the differences, at least in my set-up) and the M500 having the headphones amplifier.
Am I missing something?
The D90 is much more expensive than the other ones, so I cannot justify this difference with technical features.
Are they all REALLY balanced?

Which one do you suggest to me between the D90, SU-9, M500v2 and Modius?

Thanks for your help!
 

M00ndancer

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#2
Am I missing something?
No, I don't think so.
In this case it's all about features and look in my opinion.
What features do you want?

I really like the M500v2 in black.
 

Matias

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#3
As a pure DAC the Modius is hard to beat with XLR outputs and such a low price.
 

SJ777

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#4
Do you want/need MQA? If not then the Modius is a good choice. If you want MQA then the M550v2 offers this with a pretty decent HPA as well. All good DACs, all with different features and aesthetics.
 

JohnYang1997

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#5
If you are comparing these, I don't think D90 will be the optimal option.
If you just want a dac, balanced dac, Su-9 is pretty good. Modius is cheaper and does the job, not a bad option either.
 
OP
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Thread Starter #6
If you are comparing these, I don't think D90 will be the optimal option.
If you just want a dac, balanced dac, Su-9 is pretty good. Modius is cheaper and does the job, not a bad option either.
Thanks!
And what about the Gustard DAC-X16 (compared with the SU-9) ?
 

SloPoke

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#11
Thanks, I cannot understand whether SU9 can work in preamplifier mode.
Please, can you help me?
I've read that Topping D90 can work as preamplifier.

Bye!
Yes, SMSL SU-9 dac has a preamplifier mode. With this mode on, volume is variable and can be controlled via the knob or the remote. With Pre Mode off, volume is fixed...SMSL SU-9 Manual
 
OP
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Thread Starter #12
... thanks, so I'm even more confused!
Which are the differences between SMSL SU-9 and Topping D90?
 
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#13
... thanks, so I'm even more confused!
Which are the differences between SMSL SU-9 and Topping D90?
If I'm not wrong:
SU-9 - > Sabre ES9038 Pro
D90 - > AKM AK4499
 
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#15
Thank you very much!
So not any audible differences?
I'm in the minority, but I think that the audible differences depends on your equipment and yourself.
A musician or sound technician will be more accurate in earing the differences than others
 
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#16
Here's something to consider. I own SMSL, Schiit and Topping DACs. Schiit is in the USA and their support is top notch. I had an issue with one of their pieces after the warranty expired, sent it back to them and they checked it out and returned it for FREE. SMSL does not provide ANY warranty for their equipment. I purchased a M500v1 that had the XMOS bug that wouldnt take any firmware update and would not play higher bit rate PCM. I contacted SMSL and they basically refused to do anything. They stated that even if I sent the unit back to the factory in China they would not repair it. I contacted several other places - there is no factory warranty - their 1 year warranty is bogus. After that, I decided that anything over $100 I would not buy SMSL because if it broke after the 30 day return period of Amazon or other store, one would have to throw it away. Consider SMSL disposable equipment. And since I cannot easily dispose of $400, SMSL is off my purchase list.
 
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