Topping D90 or SMSL m400?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by pdxway, Oct 13, 2020.

  1. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    I see that Shenzhen audio is having 15% off sales going on until tomorrow.

    I plan to use pair the DAC with my node2i via coaxial. DAC directly hook to my Parasound A21 (via xlr). Speakers will be Paradigm Persona B. I also plan to add a sub to the setup via RCA. Room is small. Listening distance will be about 7 ft away.

    Why adding external DAC? I think using better DAC might improve the high notes.

    Which would you suggest? Thanks!
     
  2. Mike-48

    Mike-48 A shadow of my former self

    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    EDIT: My bad! The D90 figure below is not right . . . my search took me to the A90 page, which I didn't notice. If you can find info on the D90 output impedance, it might help you make a decision.

    The m400 reportedly has a high output impedance, about 1000 ohms. In contrast (according to Apos Audio), D90 output impedance is under 50 ohms. Output impedance shouldn't be an issue if you're driving a preamp, as you are now, but it could be an issue if you ever fed the output straight into a power amp.

    I haven't heard either, but I would like to.
     
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  3. Mike-48

    Mike-48 A shadow of my former self

    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    OK, I'm suffering from stay-at-home boredom and searched ASR, where I found an answer from the mfgr: the D90's output impedance is 100 ohms single-ended, 200 ohms balanced. If it were me, I'd pick the D90.
     
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  4. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    I see. Thanks!
     
  5. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vallejo, CA
    Topping and SMSL are different divisions of the same parent company, and I think the largest differences are going to be cosmetic. I’d pay less and get the SU-9 myself.
     
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  6. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    Yeah, I am wondering about SU-9 also.....
    Different chip, but measured great.....
     
  7. ChuckyBuck

    ChuckyBuck Forum Resident

    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    I just ordered a D90. $105 off sealed the deal for me. My hunch is that the D90 has a better power supply than the SU-9. It won’t be here for a while but my D50s will see me through the difficult waiting period.
     
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  8. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    I do wonder about the weight differences....d90 is 5.26 lbs. SU-9 is 0.58 lb....Is it just the difference of the case? Or better power supply too?
     
  9. winged creature

    winged creature Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
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  10. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    Thanks! I watched both his videos earlier today.... Still can't really decide....
     
  11. timind

    timind phorum rezident

    Location:
    Westfield, IN USA
    I owned the D70 and SU-8 and compared them for a while before deciding to keep the SU-8 and sell the Topping. The comment above about the Topping being analytical and the SMSL smooth is how I heard it. I also enjoy being able to contour the sound with the sound "color" settings.

    I'm waiting for a good deal on the SU-9 as it seems to be an improved SU-8. Pretty sure the weight you quoted for the SU-9 is wrong as the smaller SU-8 weighs 2.2lbs.
     
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  12. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    My mistake, per S.M.S.L SU 9 MQA Full Decoder ES9038PRO DAC XMOS DSD512 PCM768kHz/32Bit Bluetooth 5.0 UAT APTX-HD USB Balanced Decoder , SU 9 is 0.79 kg, which is about 1.74 lb.
     
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  13. Standingstones

    Standingstones Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Central PA
    Is the SU-9 able to stream using Bluetooth?
     
  14. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oregon, USA
  15. winged creature

    winged creature Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
     
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  16. timind

    timind phorum rezident

    Location:
    Westfield, IN USA
    During the time I owned both of these units I loaned them both to an audio friend. While I was using the Topping, I loaned the SMSL to my friend. He wasn't all that impressed with it. After a few weeks he brought it back and I loaned him the Topping so I could evaluate the SMSL. He loved the Topping so much, he ordered himself one. And at the same time, I decided I much preferred the SU-8. Go figure.
     
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  17. winged creature

    winged creature Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    I screwed up the whole quoting system so I will repost:

    Since Paradigms are traditionally forward (I haven't heard your particular speakers) I would probably lean towards the SMSL. I myself am considering those two DACs, and I'm leaning towards the SMSL.
     
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  18. ChuckyBuck

    ChuckyBuck Forum Resident

    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    Does anyone think paying a premium for either the D-90 or M400 to get I2S compatibility makes sense?
     
  19. Helom

    Helom I'll take the monkey coffins

    Location:
    U.S.
    I’ve owned a fair share of analytical DACs and that’s not how I’d describe the D90. I suppose you could consider it analytical in that it puts out what you put in, unadulterated. If you have distortion elsewhere in the chain the D90 will not cancel it out or mask it with added harmonics.
     
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  20. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    Thanks all for commenting!

    I watched 2 smsl su 9 YouTube review videos today.

    The one from Z review said SU 9 is a side step from m400. He might keep SU 9 and sell the m400.

    The other one from TheHeadPhoneShow and he didn't say d90 is better. He just said both good...

    Since I am mainly going to use coaxial connection, I checked data for all 3 and found that SU 9 have the best coaxial jitter measurements. I got the SU9 coaxial measurements information from Apos SU9 page. The rest from ASR.

    Not only that, based on ASR measurements, SU9 has the best multi-tones measurements.

    With SU9 still costing about $250 less, accounting for the 15% discount price of both d90 and m400, it would seem the best choice for me should be SU9.....

    Any opinions on the contrary? Thanks!
     
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  21. blakep

    blakep Forum Resident

    Sorry, no advice for you, but I do appreciate the heads up on the sale. Ordered an E30. Dirt cheap with the sale, all things
    considered.
     
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  22. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    For now, I decided to skip smsl SU-9. Based on what I read in forums, first generation products from Topping and SMSL typically have issues that won't get fixed for a while, or won't get fixed at all.....So, I decided to try smsl M500 version 2 to take advantage of the 15% off sale during Amazon Prime day. Very close measurements as d90 or m400, but several hundreds cheaper. Will update if it makes any difference at all.
     
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  23. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    Sigh....Even version 2 of M500 is defective upon arrival. Screen basically totally black after turned on. Dimmer option did nothing to screen brightness.

    Disappointed with SMSL quality control. Just returned it in Whole Food market.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2020
  24. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vallejo, CA
    I kind of love living in a world where we return defective DACs to Whole Foods.

    I doubt you feel like taking another chance with SMSL, but I recently took a flier on the M200 and it's been legit so far FWIW. I think the screens are pretty unnecessary and just something to get wrong.
     
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  25. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    Yeah, in Amazon there is one reviewer said to return defective item until a good one is found. : )

    I will wait for more reviews for the SU9 before deciding to pull the trigger or not.

    : )
     

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