Si O' the Times

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Jun 26, 2015
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I appear to got a little bit lost in the plethora of DAC reviews and discussion on audiosciencereview.Com!

I'm looking to upgrade my ageing Dacmagic 100, with something up to £500.

Those guys seem to like the SMSL SU-9, SMSL M500 and Topping D30 Pro, but there's always the obvious choice of the new Cambridge Audio Dacmagic 200M.
I quite like the idea of having a headphone amp built in, like in the M500 and Dacmagic.

Though I don't currently use MQA ( I use spotify via USB from my mac), I like my purchases to be as 'future-proof' as possible, so I'd prefer to have it.
I'll also switch to using my CD6SE2 as a transport only and connect to the new DAC via Toslink.

Does anyone out there have any real-world experience of these models and the customer service of the companies involved?

Also, if there are any alternatives that I've missed, please let me know!

Thank you.
 
I appear to got a little bit lost in the plethora of DAC reviews and discussion on audiosciencereview.Com!

I'm looking to upgrade my ageing Dacmagic 100, with something up to £500.

Those guys seem to like the SMSL SU-9, SMSL M500 and Topping D30 Pro, but there's always the obvious choice of the new Cambridge Audio Dacmagic 200M.
I quite like the idea of having a headphone amp built in, like in the M500 and Dacmagic.

Though I don't currently use MQA ( I use spotify via USB from my mac), I like my purchases to be as 'future-proof' as possible, so I'd prefer to have it.
I'll also switch to using my CD6SE2 as a transport only and connect to the new DAC via Toslink.

Does anyone out there have any real-world experience of these models and the customer service of the companies involved?

Also, if there are any alternatives that I've missed, please let me know!

Thank you.
All I can recommend is buying one that doesn't have to be returned to China for repairs...... Dacmagic 200M it is then.... :)
 
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I just bought an SU9. It won't be here until tomorrow so I can't really give you an opinion yet. I've had an SMSL SP200 amp for a little over a year now with no problems and I've had a Topping D30 for about 4 years also with no problems. I wouldn't hesitate to buy either brand.
 
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muljao

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In real sound quality terms you probably won't get any worthwhile improvement. If you need a headphone socket that's a reason enough to change I guess.

MQA is debatable, I don't hear any notable difference, you don't really need it with spotify.

Would you be as well off buying a little headphone amplifier?
 
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My SU-9 will be for headphones only. It will go single ended to my Aune X7S and for now, balanced to my SP-200. I'll likely replace the SP-200 at some point only because it needs a lower gain setting. Maybe with a Topping A90. I looked at a bunch of DACs and the SU-9 seemed like it gives me the most bang for my buck. I was looking for something reasonably high end and an upgrade to what I have now but not something so high end it would be wasted on my mostly upper mid-fi headphones.

And by keeping the price down I was able to squeeze in a pair of HifiMan Anandas. A nice slightly early birthday present to myself this year. :)
 

ThisIsJimmy

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Owning the Topping D90 and Topping A90, I can say that their products are solid. The only thing at this point as a UK resident that would put me off buying from China would be lack of a trade deal. When i got these in May last year I had no issues and got them shipped incredibly quickly from Shenzenaudio (I recieved them from Shenzen in China inside 3 days from order placement which was absolutely nuts).

When the fuse blew on my amp I was initially worried with the whole sending it back and replacing it if necessary. Fortunately that wasn't needed, and Topping were pretty quick to respond when i reached out to them directly.

You'll likely get more performance as seperates, but as long as you don't need alot of output power the MX500 would serve you well very well.

Whilst I'd normally be champioining superior products from other countries, I would caution that approach though with the current predicament we are in (from a trading standpoint). As UK manufacturers are not like the US and China who are becoming very forthcoming with publishing results it's difficult to know in somecases where to head. I'm reading very mixed reviews though on the DAC Magic 200M, so more research might be needed here. If you do like the Chinese options by all means go for them but be prepared to pay over the odds for them at this time.

As for MQA if we are all forced to adopt the latest incarnation of DRM then it might really be the end of days :LOL:. You can get true Hi-Res music in lossless formats.
 
I just bought an SU9. It won't be here until tomorrow so I can't really give you an opinion yet. I've had an SMSL SP200 amp for a little over a year now with no problems and I've had a Topping D30 for about 4 years also with no problems. I wouldn't hesitate to buy either brand.
Actually finding a dealer in the UK is difficult, may be different in the states.
You will notice from the post above that buying direct is required, and this has inherent risk attached.
 

Si O' the Times

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Jun 26, 2015
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Thanks for your advice fellas.

I must admit, I hadn't really considered the whole trade deal/Brexit aftercare palaver, but I suppose it's a very real concern these days. (I live in Norfolk, UK by the way)

I'm currently using the(pretty decent) inbuilt headphone amp in my 8vs, with a pair of Grado SR125's, so I don't 'neeeeed' a headphone amp / dac - I just thought it might be a better option going forward.

Perhaps I've been lulled by the big numbers in reviews, but I guessed as it's by far the cheapest item in my system, that the little Dacmagic could be easily improved upon. I've seen a couple of negative reviews of the new model too, which is why I started to look at alternatives.

Maybe I need to re-assess - but that M500 looks so cool in red...o_O
 

ThisIsJimmy

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SMSL and Shenzhen both have Amazon storefronts here in the US as well. Ebay too I think.

Edit: Actually ebay may be international. Amazon keeps the stuff in their warehouses and it ships Prime.
 

Si O' the Times

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Jun 26, 2015
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Thanks guys, I'll let you know which one I go for (if any!), but having the backup of buying from Amazon UK would be good.
The Cambridge appears to be out of stock everywhere now.
Rumours on audiosciencereview of a recall because of 'issues' - could equally be COVID-related supply problems.
 

James83

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Apr 2, 2015
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Owning the Topping D90 and Topping A90, I can say that their products are solid. The only thing at this point as a UK resident that would put me off buying from China would be lack of a trade deal. When i got these in May last year I had no issues and got them shipped incredibly quickly from Shenzenaudio (I recieved them from Shenzen in China inside 3 days from order placement which was absolutely nuts).

When the fuse blew on my amp I was initially worried with the whole sending it back and replacing it if necessary. Fortunately that wasn't needed, and Topping were pretty quick to respond when i reached out to them directly.

You'll likely get more performance as seperates, but as long as you don't need alot of output power the MX500 would serve you well very well.

Whilst I'd normally be champioining superior products from other countries, I would caution that approach though with the current predicament we are in (from a trading standpoint). As UK manufacturers are not like the US and China who are becoming very forthcoming with publishing results it's difficult to know in somecases where to head. I'm reading very mixed reviews though on the DAC Magic 200M, so more research might be needed here. If you do like the Chinese options by all means go for them but be prepared to pay over the odds for them at this time.

As for MQA if we are all forced to adopt the latest incarnation of DRM then it might really be the end of days :LOL:. You can get true Hi-Res music in lossless formats.
I'm lost.
If you were so happy importing from china last year, what has suddenly changed now?
You mention trade deals. But we have never had a trade deal with china (And long may it stay that way).
 

Si O' the Times

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Jun 26, 2015
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I don't want this to turn political :eek:, but in my workplace we have had issues getting items back into the UK since January.
I work at a shop in Norfolk that sells high-end binoculars and telescopes to birdwatchers. We regularly send customer's faulty items back to Germany and Austria for warranty repair - previously without issue or expense.

Since January a few items have been randomly hit with an £80 UK customs fee when upon return, which we then have to pass on to the customer.
So I suppose this could also happen with HiFi components, if they don't have a UK-based repair facility.
 

DougK

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I don't want this to turn political :eek:, but in my workplace we have had issues getting items back into the UK since January.
I work at a shop in Norfolk that sells high-end binoculars and telescopes to birdwatchers. We regularly send customer's faulty items back to Germany and Austria for warranty repair - previously without issue or expense.

Since January a few items have been randomly hit with an £80 UK customs fee when upon return, which we then have to pass on to the customer.
So I suppose this could also happen with HiFi components, if they don't have a UK-based repair facility.
Then your company has completed the export/import paperwork incorrectly. If done correctly items shipped and returned for faults/warranty repairs should not attract any tax/duties from HMRC. This has become far more convoluted and exacting process than it was when we were part of the EU... it is now a minefield.
 

Si O' the Times

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Jun 26, 2015
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Then your company has completed the export/import paperwork incorrectly. If done correctly items shipped and returned for faults/warranty repairs should not attract any tax/duties from HMRC. This has become far more convoluted and exacting process than it was when we were part of the EU... it is now a minefield.
I suppose it's a steep learning curve for all involved. Just what we need eh - more paperwork! :rolleyes:
 

ThisIsJimmy

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Nov 11, 2020
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I would imagine these would be shipped from China as well so but perhaps you don't pay import duty?
Amazon have a shop windows for some international suppliers supplying items for them inside the UK. Amazon state clearly which items are shipped themselves within the UK and those which are just a shop front for international sellers.
 
Amazon have a shop windows for some international suppliers supplying items for them inside the UK. Amazon state clearly which items are shipped themselves within the UK and those which are just a shop front for international sellers.
So is the price you pay Amazon the total price you will pay for an item from these international sellers?
 

Si O' the Times

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Jun 26, 2015
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Yes, the M500 and SU-9 are available with next-day Prime delivery, so they must be coming from within the UK.
Sadly, I can't find any details of what to do if it goes wrong.
It might be the least exciting option, but it looks like the CA will probably win.
£399 is a lot to spend on something with a nebulous warranty...
 
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ThisIsJimmy

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Nov 11, 2020
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I'm lost.
If you were so happy importing from china last year, what has suddenly changed now?
You mention trade deals. But we have never had a trade deal with china (And long may it stay that way).
You clearly haven't visited the HMRCs website since Brexit then. When we were part of the EU, calculating international shipping, and custom duties was extremely easy and their website was very well laid out. As Si and Doug have said above this is now nothing short of a mess and a minefield. Having tried going through their website to try and work this out, you have pages or jargon that constantly refer to each other without providing any real clarity. The closest i got to understanding the charges was by visiting the WTOs website, but that still doesn't provide clarity on the additional UK tarrifs that get put on top. Until departments get their act together and bring clarity fo the red tape their is an inherrant risk involved. I will no doubt buy items again from China in the future, just not right now.
 

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