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wich stack ? topping (D30pro+A30pro) , smsl (sh-9 + su-9) or ?

teoboss

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Topping D30pro (about US$ 400) + A30pro $350 = TOTAL $ 750
smsl SU-9 ($ 460) + smsl SH-9 ($ 290) = TOTAL $ 750
gustard X16 ($ 500) + gustard H16 ($ 400) = TOTAL $ 900 (a little bit over my budget that is around us$ 800)
(other ideas / items are welcomed)

or may be a mix of these (like as smsl SH-9 + gustard X16 or D30 pro + SH 9 , just to write 2 examples)

as a generic advice, is it better to invest in a better dac , in a better amp (better as quality and price), or in a balanced combination of the 2 ?

At today I have a sennheiser hd 6xx , but in the future I would like to step it up (may be the same price of the stack dac+ampli)
I prefer a neutral sound , not "warm" neither "sparkling"
thank you very much
 

VintageFlanker

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I prefer a neutral sound , not "warm" neither "sparkling"
thank you very much
This is out of consideration around here. All combinaisons should be 100% neutral.
as a generic advice, is it better to invest in a better dac , in a better amp (better as quality and price), or in a balanced combination of the 2 ?
Same here: There is no audibly "better DAC" in 2021. Both D30 Pro and SU-9 will perform the same.

The A30 Pro is a more powerful amp than the SH-9. Still, the SH-9 provides enough power to drive virtually any headphones, already.

Final word: go by other needs (features like BT or the mighty MQA), design and so on.
 
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teoboss

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This is out of consideration around here. All combinaisons should be 100% neutral.

Final word: go by other needs (features like BT or the mighty MQA), design and so on.


ok, I think that the design is the least important (as I wrote considered even a product mix)
for now BT is not a need
and about MQA , if there is ok, but if there is not (topping) I think it is not a big problem, it is only on tidal, and there are rumors about new tidal hi res without mqa (but just rumors around the web)

so, for now I will wait the review of the A30pro on soundnews and the I will decide
 
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teoboss

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Congrats. Can I just ask 1 thing, what made you go for the x30Pro pair instead of say the Schiit stack or the A50s/D50s pair?

Are they worth the extra money?

the dimensions fit perfect for my desktop (schiit are bigger) , D30pro/A30pro have balanced input/output (A50s/D50s not) , test here are better, test on sound say that D30pro + A30pro pairs perfectly (one enhance the other)
 
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teoboss

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Congrats. Can I just ask 1 thing, what made you go for the x30Pro pair instead of say the Schiit stack or the A50s/D50s pair?

Are they worth the extra money?

ps : smsl sh9 + su9 are slightly better (on sound), but here (at least now) is not easy to find the sh9 ... :(
 

aandres_gm

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read the review here : https://soundnews.net amplifier and source

ps : differences are really light, but it seems that smsl is a little bit better (but I think that for me it would be not possible to ear any difference ...)
Soundnews has very interesting and verbose reviews, but I would take them as seriously as a Harry Potter book. Both of these stacks will be basicallyttransparent, even with the 3rd harmonic issue on the SU-9 messing some stuff up. Due to the issue with the SU-9 and the lack of communication from SMSL regarding a fix for the affected devices, I would personally say go with the Topping stack. Although it is not free of faults (playing music at 384kHz may result in very audible artifacts), at least the company is communicative and claims to be working on a solution already.

@dan2021 I also went with the 30Pro stack instead of the cheaper Topping options. In my case, I needed two analoge inputs on the amp (DAC + Phono) and didn't really wanted to fiddle with adapters. This stack is pretty much the cheapest that fits that bill.
 
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teoboss

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My stack is the d30pro + smsl sh9. I believe in coexistence.

it is a very good combo
as I wrote above, in Italy, when I bought mine combo, the SMSL sh9 was (very) hard to find ... so I have not so much choice ;)
 
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teoboss

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Soundnews has very interesting and verbose reviews, but I would take them as seriously as a Harry Potter book. Both of these stacks will be basicallyttransparent, even with the 3rd harmonic issue on the SU-9 messing some stuff up. Due to the issue with the SU-9 and the lack of communication from SMSL regarding a fix for the affected devices, I would personally say go with the Topping stack. Although it is not free of faults (playing music at 384kHz may result in very audible artifacts), at least the company is communicative and claims to be working on a solution already.

@dan2021 I also went with the 30Pro stack instead of the cheaper Topping options. In my case, I needed two analoge inputs on the amp (DAC + Phono) and didn't really wanted to fiddle with adapters. This stack is pretty much the cheapest that fits that bill.

I confirm all the good I can about topping support
After one day I have a question, I write them an email, in the meanwhile I found the "answer" on the web (it was a driver / settings "problem") but the day after (due to the fuse) I found them reply, very good :)

The very best, as amp, would be one with balanced input AND balanced output, but in this case the cheaper one was the topping A90 , out of budget for me (and even out of dimensions for my desktop)
 
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teoboss

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Soundnews has very interesting and verbose reviews, but I would take them as seriously as a Harry Potter book. Both of these stacks will be basicallyttransparent, even with the 3rd harmonic issue on the SU-9 messing some stuff up. Due to the issue with the SU-9 and the lack of communication from SMSL regarding a fix for the affected devices, I would personally say go with the Topping stack. Although it is not free of faults (playing music at 384kHz may result in very audible artifacts), at least the company is communicative and claims to be working on a solution already.

@dan2021 I also went with the 30Pro stack instead of the cheaper Topping options. In my case, I needed two analoge inputs on the amp (DAC + Phono) and didn't really wanted to fiddle with adapters. This stack is pretty much the cheapest that fits that bill.

I am far away from big city, so it is not easy for me to listen amps and/or dacs (and now with the covid even worse)
So I have to trust on online review, better if with similar amps / dacs, and better if more reviewer agree on the same "ranking"
I do not know if the topping D30pro/A30pro is (today) the best combo, but I am sure it is one of the best available
I will be ok for the next years :)
 

nickjj19

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I am also considering between the Topping a30/d30 pro stack and the Smsl sh9+su9 stack as they are the only available stacks in my country (Schitt is over doubled the price of the US). In my country, the Topping stack is $770 while the Smsl is only $640. The topping does come with a 1-year warranty though while the SMSL does not. I would benefit(?) from the MQA feature on the su9 as I am using Tidal as my main source, but I kinda want the 4.4 connection on the a30 pro available as my cable is 4.4. Should I save money and go for the SMSL stack or spend a bit more for Topping stack?

Ps. SMSL SU9+topping a30 pro would be nice around $725, but I kinda want to keep a clean look on my desk. So, I want to go full stack for now.

Thank you
 

MOCKBA

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If your Schiit products (I hope you know what "Schiit" means) died during a year, you can replace them by a warranty without a problem. Chinese products have much worse reliability and actually poor designed. It keeps me away from topping and other vendors from that region.
 

AdamG247

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If your Schiit products (I hope you know what "Schiit" means) died during a year, you can replace them by a warranty without a problem. Chinese products have much worse reliability and actually poor designed. It keeps me away from topping and other vendors from that region.
Hi MOCKBA,

Can you substantiate your above claims about Chinese products having worse reliability and poor design? I think a generalized comment like this is uncalled for and unearned. Prove me wrong or edit your post please.
 

MOCKBA

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Hi MOCKBA,

Can you substantiate your above claims about Chinese products having worse reliability and poor design? I think a generalized comment like this is uncalled for and unearned. Prove me wrong or edit your post please.
My post isn't trolling, but based on my experience. I have two Chinese made units stopped working after 2 and 5 years. As a professional electronic engineer, I can assure, they had a good idea behind, but execution is awful. So, no more Chinese units for me.
 
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