Cen.Grand All-in-One Impressions Thread (9i-90SA II Pro & 9i-92SA III)
Aug 13, 2023 at 6:12 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 3


Jun 1, 2023
Hello Everyone,

I wanted to start this thread based on the surprisingly few reviews in both English and Chinese about Cen.Grand's current all-in-one offerings. Currently, Cen.Grand is mostly known for their higher-end products, such as the DSDACs and Silver Fox line of amplifiers. While the price of the Lark may not be entry level (though it is their entry level line), at $999.95 from Power Holdings, the sonic performance it offers should be quite compelling at its price point, especially if you have had previous experience with the Silver Foxes or the DSDACs. Hopefully this thread will be able to help you by giving you impressions of more options for all-in-ones at the $1k mark that you can factor into your next purchase.

Note: I am not affiliated with Cen.Grand, just wanted to showcase my satisfaction (finally, the journey is over) after listening to their Lark Pro, after going through a few all-in-ones: Fiio K7 -> Hifiman EF600 -> Hifiman Serenade -> Lark Pro.
Aug 13, 2023 at 6:13 PM Post #2 of 3
Here are my brief impressions after close to two weeks of usage (review coming, hopefully):

- While the DAC used is the ESS ES9038Pro, the sound is very, very smooth (probably the LME49720 op-amps at work)
- The Lark sounds more analogue than digital, so, more like the Ares II (from what I see on headfi) and the Hifiman Serenade (also R2R) than something like a Monolith THX or Topping A90.
- Not as powerful sounding as the EF600, but instead incredibly smooth, very controlled and pretty musical, again falling more towards the musical side but still maintaining the cleanliness and detail of the ES9038Pro.
- Has 4 modes to choose from, with the Active-Ground mode giving it a warmer and softer sound (tubey) with more overtones, which, when combined with the overall smooth yet detailed character of the unit, is what I was looking for but did not find in the Serenade or the EF600. Those two sound big and musical, but it was very loose sounding, while the Lark sounds, maybe 10-20% less big (most likely same size, just not loose sounding) and slightly less musical, but will always be in control of the sound.
- Detail retrieval is excellent, however, the neutral presentation of the higher frequencies may cause very minor detail loss, though I have only encountered it in one track, otherwise, I don't feel like I am missing anything.
- Warmer in character, with a very slight emphasis on midbass, subbass is more present in the Active-Ground mode than in the other modes.
- Probably pairs better with brighter headphones, though the slightly warm tuned headphones (JM XTC Open) I am using also match pretty well. Again, might result in some minor detail loss, purely because the way the unit presents detail is more subtle.
- Excellent sense of space, the soundstage on my headphones can be described as medium-large, the Lark maybe extends the width by 10-20%, not much, may be placebo, but some sounds do feel farther away than on the Serenade. Height feels the same. Some sounds that are placed further in the stage may contribute to more depth, at least when compared to the Serenade.
- Zero noise when on low impedance mode using 64 ohm 113.5db cans. On high impedance mode, there is a slight hiss.
TLDR: A very controlled, more analogue sounding dac/amp, but still retains the "stereotypical" ESS transparency, cleanliness and most of the detail retrieval. Will sound lighter and more delicate and super clean, may sound boring and slightly-moderately lacking dynamics, depends on what you like.
More information: https://en.cen-grand.com/product/148.html
Last edited:
Aug 13, 2023 at 6:32 PM Post #3 of 3

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