S.M.S.L SU-9 DAC has dropped at SHENZHENAUDIO store timely, with ES9038PRO chip and MQA supported
Feb 11, 2022 at 1:19 AM Post #151 of 161

dougms3

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I often think about going R2R but may need to wait till I afford at least the Pontus II and untill there is a proper preamp that measures like the Topping Pre90 and has compatibility with higher output impedence DACs. Currently Pre90 only allows for DACs with output impedence of no more than 2200kohms. The Ares or Pontus has much higher output impedence and isn't compatible with the Pre90. That means one needs a clean preamp to go with the Denafrips DACs and another preamp plus the Ares II would eat up the budget...yeah, that Rihanna song!

From what I read, there is little benefit of improving on Delta Sigma DACs...RME ADI2 does come to mind, though!

Any suggested preamp to go with the Ares/Pontus?
When I only had the su-9, I wondered how could it get much better than this?

It was crystal clear resolving and detailed but as I found out with the Ares II, the intangibles are difficult to imagine. As Morpheus might say, "no one can be told what the r2r is, you must hear it for yourself".

imo measurements are overrated, I have the audio-gd master 19, had it before I got the Ares II and it luckily for me they are a good match. I forgot the impedances of the dac and amp but it sounded good and I wasn't going to change the amp (I really like the audio-gd m19). It has preouts which I use to connect the loxjie p20 which I think sounds really good. But I'm using it for headphones and not speakers.

I don't know much about preamps but I would imagine you can't go wrong with a nice tube preamp, but thats probably going to eat your entire budget :)

If I could go back, I'd save up for the Pontus or something similar thats more affordable, the Ares II is awesome but it doesn't have an i2s connection which I didn't care about before but really want now along with a DDC.
 
Feb 11, 2022 at 2:02 AM Post #152 of 161

shoaibexpert

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When I only had the su-9, I wondered how could it get much better than this?

It was crystal clear resolving and detailed but as I found out with the Ares II, the intangibles are difficult to imagine. As Morpheus might say, "no one can be told what the r2r is, you must hear it for yourself".

imo measurements are overrated, I have the audio-gd master 19, had it before I got the Ares II and it luckily for me they are a good match. I forgot the impedances of the dac and amp but it sounded good and I wasn't going to change the amp (I really like the audio-gd m19). It has preouts which I use to connect the loxjie p20 which I think sounds really good. But I'm using it for headphones and not speakers.

I don't know much about preamps but I would imagine you can't go wrong with a nice tube preamp, but thats probably going to eat your entire budget :)

If I could go back, I'd save up for the Pontus or something similar thats more affordable, the Ares II is awesome but it doesn't have an i2s connection which I didn't care about before but really want now along with a DDC.
DDCs are my latest crush too 😅

I did notice a huge improvement by switching from PC to a dedicated streamer (Zen Stream) as well streaming via Roon. I do want to try to change to a DDC+better DAC (Not possible per ASR)+same or similar Preamp someday. Very happy with my C298 power amp as well as the KEF R7s.

On another note, I do also have a headphones Rig with THX 789+another SU-9+another Zen Stream+Hifiman Arya V2 / Focal Elegia - that's where I do not want to change anything.

Have a great journey!
 
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Feb 11, 2022 at 7:03 AM Post #154 of 161

ezduzit2500

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DDCs are my latest crush too 😅

I did notice a huge improvement by switching from PC to a dedicated streamer (Zen Stream) as well streaming via Roon. I do want to try to change to a DDC+better DAC (Not possible per ASR)+same or similar Preamp someday. Very happy with my C298 power amp as well as the KEF R7s.

On another note, I do also have a headphones Rig with THX 789+another SU-9+another Zen Stream+Hifiman Arya V2 / Focal Elegia - that's where I do not want to change anything.

Have a great journey!
I wouldn't put too much stock in ASR's "reviews". The site is good for an introduction to budget gear, but fails quite miserably by sticking to their "measurements above all", "all amps/DACs sound the same", and "Harman Target as the best FR" ideas/mantras. Of course if one wants to stay in the entry level and be done - the hd6xx/650, an Atom/Schiit stack, and a bit of EQ - one can get a whole system for less than $400...but don't ever compare it to higher performing gear or one may really hear it's limitations.
 
Feb 11, 2022 at 7:10 AM Post #155 of 161

Baten

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Hi Guys, I have had the SU-9 for a year now in DAC only mode with Topping Pre90 as the preamp to my NAD C298 Poweramp. Also had it reflashed for correcting the 3rd harmonic issue and it does sound great.

Having some more budget available now, I am wondering if more $$$ will buy me better sound, subjectively speaking. Has anyone heard/compared SU-9 with say topping D70S or SMSL D1SE or Gustard X16/18/26 pro, Chord Qutest etc. and did you find noticeable improvement in sound? I am not talking about different presentation but an actual improvement in sound quality, timbre, instrument separation etc.? I use speakers and so any differences would become more apparent than using Headphones

Thanks
The D70s is one ultra smooth DAC if that's what you look for. Not ultra high resolving but ultra smooth.
The Gustard X16 is one of the best sounding sabre DACs imo but I have never heard SU-9, might be close.

I'm looking at the SU-9 and the D1SE or even the LOXJIE D50 or the DO200 which would be the best warmish sound.
Get a Topping D70s, used or new if you find it.
 
Feb 11, 2022 at 7:16 AM Post #156 of 161

Viper Necklampy

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The D70s is one ultra smooth DAC if that's what you look for. Not ultra high resolving but ultra smooth.
The Gustard X16 is one of the best sounding sabre DACs imo but I have never heard SU-9, might be close.


Get a Topping D70s, used or new if you find it.
I have X16 and it's nice sounding, but there is missing some slam/body and Su-9 have it for sure. Nothing like dual Sabre Pro chips like x26 for sure..
 
Feb 11, 2022 at 7:20 AM Post #157 of 161

ezduzit2500

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Hi Guys, I have had the SU-9 for a year now in DAC only mode with Topping Pre90 as the preamp to my NAD C298 Poweramp. Also had it reflashed for correcting the 3rd harmonic issue and it does sound great.

Having some more budget available now, I am wondering if more $$$ will buy me better sound, subjectively speaking. Has anyone heard/compared SU-9 with say topping D70S or SMSL D1SE or Gustard X16/18/26 pro, Chord Qutest etc. and did you find noticeable improvement in sound? I am not talking about different presentation but an actual improvement in sound quality, timbre, instrument separation etc.? I use speakers and so any differences would become more apparent than using Headphones

Thanks
How did you go about getting it flashed to take care of the issue? Just curious, I don't think I can really hear it. Was there any type of improvements?
 
Feb 11, 2022 at 7:22 AM Post #158 of 161

ezduzit2500

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I have X16 and it's nice sounding, but there is missing some slam/body and Su-9 have it for sure. Nothing like dual Sabre Pro chips like x26 for sure..
As far as body/slam, that may depend on the rest of the chain after the DAC and also the HPs...
 
Feb 11, 2022 at 1:54 PM Post #159 of 161

shoaibexpert

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don't ever compare it to higher performing gear or one may really hear it's limitations.
Thanks. That was my question ie if someone has compared sub $1K SMSL and Topping DACs both within those product ranges as well as sub $2K DACs subjectively and which areas have they found night and day difference in. So far I've got that R2R are different and in some cases, better but not as resolving.
Get a Topping D70s, used or new if you find it.
Thanks
I have X16 and it's nice sounding, but there is missing some slam/body and Su-9 have it for sure
See that's the challenge, the chip used in X16 is inferior but the rest of the implemey is superb. It's very hard to know without listening yourself if these sound different at all.
 
Feb 11, 2022 at 1:57 PM Post #160 of 161

shoaibexpert

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How did you go about getting it flashed to take care of the issue? Just curious, I don't think I can really hear it. Was there any type of improvements?
I bought both my SU-9 units from HiFiGo and they helped me send these units to US for reinstallation of the software for correcting the SW bug causing high 3rd harmonic distortion. Before that, my DACs did sound bloated in the Bass region and they kinda opened up after coming back. Again, I listen on a fairly resolving speaker system, most won't notixe any issues on headphones Rig.

PS. For those who haven't tried yet, do try the Rich1 sound color...increases the depth and makes the music more emotional. I like it and am pretty sure others will too.
 
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Feb 15, 2022 at 8:45 PM Post #161 of 161

ezduzit2500

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I bought both my SU-9 units from HiFiGo and they helped me send these units to US for reinstallation of the software for correcting the SW bug causing high 3rd harmonic distortion. Before that, my DACs did sound bloated in the Bass region and they kinda opened up after coming back. Again, I listen on a fairly resolving speaker system, most won't notixe any issues on headphones Rig.

PS. For those who haven't tried yet, do try the Rich1 sound color...increases the depth and makes the music more emotional. I like it and am pretty sure others will too.
I'm mainly a HPs listener since I still live in an apartment and have to limit the volume. With the Arya Stealths and a Gustard H20 Class A amp, I don't perceive any 3rd harmonic distortion issues at all but I wonder if there'd be any type of improvement with the Su-9 if I chose to pursue the re-flash. Regardless, I still get better sound than most with my setup - relatively speaking.
 

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