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SMSL SH-9 Balanced Headphone Amplifier

SMSL SH-9 Balanced Headphone Amplifier

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Product Description
Building on the success of the widely used SH-8, SMSL is back with an all-new headphone amp that ups the ante in almost every category. It’s called the SH-9, and it’s more powerful and more discreet than its predecessor, without adding extra size Read More
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5.0
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GCE1701D
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Jul 23, 2021
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Better than even expected
I got the SMSL SH-9 as an upgrade to the Schiit Magni 3 I had for years. I expected the SH-9 to be more powerful and presumed there's be some slight sound changes since I saw from reviews it was basically uncolored for the most part. overall I've been damn impressed. I've used it with my Sennheiser 6XX's and having the extra power and pretty much wide open frequency response has caused the usually slightly low perceptible bass at times of the 6XX's to be richer and low bass you can actually feel the air moving from the headphone drivers vibrating at those low notes which increased some of the perceived bass. It also seemed to make the mids even smoother (somehow) and I'm sure some of it was that the Magni 3 had its own coloring affecting that. One of the most shocking things I had no idea of that the ultra low noise floor revealed is that I apparently had barely perceptible EMI feedback from the audio output I'd used the Magni 3 with for years that I could never tell was there before. I changed to another output location for the SH-9 and not only was the distortion gone, but it was even richer. It's unintended diagnostic capabilities were entirely unexpected but greatly appreciated. If I had any kind of 'complaint' it would only be that the volume gain is so granular and nuanced that at times I almost turn it up too high because I can't tell right away if it's even getting much louder it's such a gradual and smooth volume curve. But so far it's been absolutely a fantastic and worthwhile upgrade I'd make again in a heartbeat. After initially worrying it would be too 'cold' or analytical and be detrimental to the 6XX pairing I haven't really found anything but improvement.
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Would recommend to a friend.
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