SMSL SU-9, RopieeeXL and Roon - a wise combination?

I’m considering buying the new SMSL SU-9 Dac - connecting it to an Pi4 (RopieeeXL) by USB.

My setup is:

  • Rock on NUC8i7 (ethernet to Pi4/RopieeeXL)
  • Hegel H160
  • B&W 804D2

I’m a little confused about the (not) Roon Ready and Roon Tested thing, so I’m wondering about things like:

  • Will Roon see this setup as Roon/Ready/Tested? (I don’t want to use Airplay)
  • How will I control volume - preferably from within Roon?
  • Will I have full opportunity to use Roon’s DSD like roomcorroction and upsampling?
  • Full support for MQA streaming?

I short: I’m trying to grasp what I will miss using the SMSL SU-9/RopieeeXL setup compared to a Roon Ready streamer/DAC?

Hi, Hans. I set up a Raspberry 4B running Ropiee XL connected by USB to a SMSL SU-9 3 weeks ago and it runs like a charm.

To avoid confusion:

  • the ethernet streaming connection is to the Raspberry 4 and then a USB connection to the SMSL as it is a pure DAC and not a streamer and Roon Ready or tested does not apply to the SMSL which means you cannot control its volume from the Roon App. Ropiee XL integrates Roon Bridge direclty
  • the SMSL connected to the Raspberry and running Ropiee XL can receive native DSD from Roon (when connected via a realtek wireless ac wifi dongle I can receive up to DSD 256 through wifi with no problem; I haven’t tried Airplay although I assume bandwith will not be an issue if your router is powerful enough) and it decodes MQA up to 352/384 Mhz (8x) (Roon detected the end point SMSL’s capabilities directly but you can always check the set up and tweak accordingly)
  • for MQA to work, the out has to be analogue unless you have a Meridian system. I am not familiar with Hegel products but considering the outputs of the SMSL, if it appears in that chain it will be through an analogue connection

To give you an idea how complicated this was to setup, it was the first time I bought and dealt with a Raspberry Pin and set one up. Ropiee has a clear starters guide and that can be done via a web browser on a normal PC once the Pi is connected. Ordering the components (a Pi, power supply and a case plus an SD card is all quite straight-forward even if it can seem intimidating to a non-tech person like me).

Overall sound quality is most impressive even when matched with high end output components. The SMSL’s overall menu and pre-amp functions are easy and clear to use and so far I have had no problems.

Hope this helps. If you have any further questions, happy to help if I can.


Thank you. Good to know that this combination works and that you are happy with the sound quality!

My input to the Raspberry will be ethernet and my output to the Hegel will be be XLR balanced, so I guess no problem with MQA and high res.

It seems to me then, that the advantage for me going for a Roon Ready streamer/DAC would be the possibility to directly control the volume from the Roon app? But I assume I’ll be given the chance to use DSD Volume from the Roon app in the SU-9/RopieeeXL setup?

If I choose a Roon Ready device (eg the Lumin D2 og T2), what benefits will it have, compered to SU-9/RopieeeXL (besides being able to control the volume)?

By the way: I listen to a combination of local FLAC files (some high res) and Tidal HiFi.

Ive had mine 2 weeks now its incredibly good DAC , fed by a Pi4 and Ropieee then it feeds my Schiit headamp. Great combo and works like a charm. Don’t worry about Roon tested it only means that and often doesn’t give volume control even if it is Roon tested. You can use the bundled remote if need be. If you use Tidal and any DSP ensure the mqa settings are set to renderer so it will apply dsp without breaking MQA.

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I have a Lumin U1 mini streamer too in my main hifi (the Raspberry Pi and SMSL is for my headphone setup); it has no dac as opposed to the T2/D2. The main advantage is that Lumin offers you a turnkey solution that works great too. Whether the sound will be better, you would need to audition to know but frankly I would say your amp and speakers will be much more important but both will be very good and whether bias or genuine sonic improvement will determine the difference is an audiophile minefield best avoided. Both are based on ESS dacs and the SMSL gives you the latest and greatest chipset. The Lumin may be limited to DSD 256 but that won’t matter from your suggested listening. I would say both will make you happy; the technology has improved a lot in the last few years so much so that cheaper standardised setups have narrowed the field a lot and even gone ahead on certain measurements. Lumin will. be easier to use and with outstanding customer support but you will pay quite a bit more for it upfront! Up to you how much your £/$/euros matter and where you want to spend them (convenience vs music or other equipment spending or cash in your pocket!

A Lumin dealer should allow you to try the equipment at home. You can get the SMSL on a 30 day trial from certain vendors (might be difficult practically if you buy it from a non EU vendor). A Pi is a euro 100 investment that you can recycle in a secondary set up so not much risk.

PS please don’t take my post ahead as suggesting you should change any element in your chain; it’s what makes you happy and about music first)

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Exactly. This is why I don’t ask about sound quality. I only try to understand what benefits I will have if I choose an Roon Ready over a non Roon Ready product.

I’m having trouble getting Ropieee to work with my SU-9. When I select it for the zone and push play, it does nothing for 3 or 4 seconds, then the zone disappears and my remote says to Select Audio Zone, with no more Ropieee on the list. I can still access the web admin controls, but the availability to choose the Ropieee doesn’t come back unless I reboot.