SMSL SU-8 Vs. SMSL SU-9 Comparison Chart

Here it is everyone...the Battle of the SMSL DACs! With the upcoming launch of the SMSL SU-9 MQA DAC, we wanted to provide you with our popular comparison charts giving you the side-by-side specs, so you can easily see what's new and improved in the latest release from SMSL in our SMSL SU-8 Vs. SMSL SU-9 Comparison Chart! Enjoy!








$249.99 (USD)

$459.99 (USD)


7.3 x 1.6 x 4.9 (in)

18.5 x 4 x 12.5 (cm)

7.38 x 6 x 1.57 (in)

18.75 x 15.4 x 4 (cm)


2.2 (lbs)

1 (kg)

1.74 (lbs)

.79 (kg)

D/A Chip

ESS ES9038Q2M 



  • USB
  • Optical
  • Coaxial
  • USB
  • Optical
  • Coaxial
  • Bluetooth


  • XLR
  • RCA
  • XLR
  • RCA


  • None
  • LDAC
  • APTX / HD
  • SBC
  • AAC

USB Interface

  • XMOS XU200
  • XMOS XU208
  • MQA

Sampling Rates

USB:  PCM up to 32bit/768kHz and DSD up to DSD51 

Coaxial, Optical: PCM up to 24bit,176.4kHz

USB: PCM up to 16bit, 44.1kHz - 32bit, 768kHz/ DSD512  2.8224 ~ 22.5792MHz     DSD64 (DoP)

Coaxial, Optical:   PCM up to 16bit, 44.1kHz, 24bit ~ 192kHz

Dynamic Range

  • 120 dB
  • 130 dB (XLR)
  • 123 dB (RCA)

Influencer Sound Opinion

“Prince – Purple Rain: When the songs starts, The piano and the drum kit comes thru clearly. There was no details lost. Even prince voice was clear and very well heard. All of the instruments was heard. The drum’s had the right sound to it, nothing was added to it beat as they was accurate…Sound image is great, I can locate the backup singers, instruments and prince his self.

Abakus – On Film: The bass does hit hard, but with the right amount oomph behind it. It doesn’t sound muddy at all. The bass doesn’t sound like a bomb is going off or dirty. Its very clean.

Quick update, I got the cables finally, I tried the JBL LSR 305’s directly with the SU-8 and the first thing I notice was that I notice was the details was a tiny bit less then the R70X but in a good way as it wasn’t as detailed as the R70X. It was tiny bit smoother. ...On the other hand, the bass came off as being flat sounding, as it didn’t stand out. It was there as I heard it, it just wasn’t in the forefront of the sound. It had a some power behind it, it wasn’t at impactful.”


Wow! Another DAC nearly maxing out the distortion+noise meter in my analyzer! The SINAD of 120 dB puts the SU-9 way up there in rankings.

Note that the SU-9 is capable of output above 4 volts which is nice. To show the performance at other output levels, I ran a sweep…. Since the SINAD measurement is noise limited (distortion alone is at 130 dB SINAD), having the output higher helps improve it as you see it in the above graph.

IMD distortion versus level shows excellent performance. Our old friend the "ESS IMD Hump" is still there but 90% suppressed. Linearity which is a measure of accuracy is perfect. 

There is a digital PLL that helps reduce jitter but since there is none with USB input, it makes no difference. It however helps with Toslink jitter. Finally, multitone test showed how low the distortion is in SU-9 DAC.

—Amir, Audio Science Review

Influencer Conclusion

I enjoyed the SMSL SU-8 a lot, I listen to a lot of songs since I receive it last week, everything sounds wonderful. It worked very well with the SU-8, In purple rain the snares was a bit too detailed, but I notice it was just purple rain as in the other songs the snares wasn’t too detailed and was purple. Still I didn’t hear any brightness in any of my songs.

One minor issue that I have with the SU-8, is the fact that it doesn't have four even placed feet on it, but three, but that can be easily fixed with a 4th rubber foot.

Aside from the bass being a little lacking, I did love way the JBL LSR 305 sounded with my SU-8 in my music as well as games. I not saying that it has no bass, it does have it, but not enough of it. Luckily I do have a Sub-woofer laying around that I can use to remedy this.


The SU-9 has a simpler but in my opinion more elegant look than previous SMSL DACs…. The display is now larger and courtesy of its fine resolution, nice to look at. The rotary control lets you navigate the menus by pressing and rotating.

Looks like we started a trend to achieve perfection in desktop DACs and the SMSL SU-9 is yet another example of that. We have another great "instrument grade" DAC on our hands providing absolute transparency to the source beyond any threshold of human hearing. If you are hearing issues I suggest you either have your hearing examined, or learn to do a proper controlled test. Either way, what you hear is what is on your recording. Guaranteed!

It is my pleasure to highly recommend the SMSL SU-9. Great job.

—Amir, Audio Science Review

Apos Audio Customer Reviews

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