This is the official thread for the SMSL SU-9

This thread is for discussion and reviews.

  • USB, toslink, coax, BT 5.0 in, XLR & RCA out
  • ES9038 Pro, 32/768 & DSD 512, MQA, BT up to LDAC
  • Filters and sound coloration settings, remote

:red_circle: Apos Link


Z Reviews


I wonder if they’ll follow up with “SH-9” and “DA-9”. I’m specially curious for the speaker amp, they could implement some very interesting things.

They probably will? I have a smsl da8s and i love how much clean power you get with that amp, though I hate its highly suspect “knob”. Though the sh8 was lacking in power for how much it costs. I’d like to seem them give the sh9 more power.


I just ordered one. Wonder how it compares with the Sonicoz SGD1? Should be here by next Thursday.

Just arrived. So far it’s pretty dope. Using it for DSD. One thing though: MQA through Tidal doesn’t seem to be working. The display still says “44.1” so I am guessing it is not doing the full 2nd and 3rd unfold?

Are you using the Tidal Desktop App (or Roon or Audirvana) to get the 1st unfold? Also do you have the su-9 set in exclusive mode in Tidal?

Also it wouldn’t shock me if MQA was only available via SMSL driver. Are you using the Windows driver for the SU-9 or did you install one from SMSL or XMOS?

Using the Desktop Tidal app, exclusive mode and the XMOS driver. I can get the DAC to say “MQA” but it still says 44.1 under it

Ok, apologies if this is a stupid/insulting question, but…

Not all MQA files are 88.2 or 96+ KHz. Some “Masters”, uh, masters, are only 44.1KHz. They’re 24 bit but only 44.1KHz. Are you sure you’re playing files with greater than 44.1Khz masters? It’s been awhile since I’ve used Tidal but I know they had the 96KHz versions of Led Zeppelin’s catalog if you want to be sure you’re playing a 96KHz file.


I think you’re right about this. When I play 44.1 files through UAPP on my LG V30, it says 176.4 because of the unfold. I assume that the SU-9 only displays the source sample rate. In the case of Led Zeppelin, it correctly states that they are 96kHz Masters. Regardless, the DAC sees that the files are MQA [and these have either the green or blue dot next to it], so I think it is working as intended. Thanks for the input!

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Cool cool. Glad we figured it out. I’m really curious about this unit. I’ve been an SU-8 user for over 2 years and it’s been great. I hope this is a worthy (sorta) successor. Hmm, maybe only 18ish months but in 2020 every month feels like it’s own season…


I was considering grabbing a used SU-8 for my office, but the SU-9 has me tempted. Should I hold off and save a little longer for an SU-9? Has anyone shifted from the SU-8 to SU-9 already?

I upgraded from an SU-8 version 2 to an SU-9. The difference in noise floor was noticeable in my setup (Monolith THX 887, ZMF Aeolus, SMSL DA-8S, Jamo s803), though the SU-8 was still very good.

The onboard MQA decoding is also nice since I stream Tidal most of the time.

If you can wait a bit longer to save up and just buy the SU-9, I think it’s worth it. If you already have an SU-8 version 2 and are considering the upgrade, it really depends on the rest of your setup.

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Thanks for the info!
I would be streaming Tidal the majority of the time, with some YouTube, Spotify and actual work videos worked in. I currently have a Benchmark DAC3 on loan (was originally testing it for my 2 channel system). The DAC3 it will be heading back to it’s owner in a couple of weeks which is why I’m on the hunt for my own DAC for this room now.

My system will be DAC (USB via laptop), balanced connection via Zu Mission cables into Arcam rHead with Hifiman 4XX. Pretty simple set up for work really. Might look at other headphones in the future, might not. TBD.

Getting a used SU-8 has an obvious price advantage, but the MQA is a pretty big feature of the SU-9. I also like that multiple reviewers have referred to it as warm, as I’m generally drawn to a darker/warmer sound.

I do know is after brining the headphone amp in here with an external DAC, I can’t go back to running straight off the laptop. So I’ll likely pull the trigger semi quickly so I don’t have a gap without a DAC in here.