ST i9 observation so far

I have had my i9 for almost a month now. I upgraded from the i5 as I was unable to successfully try DSDx4 with it.

I spent the first week or so listening to DSDx2 upsampling on all music to get use to how it sounded. I then tried DSDx4 and my initial thought were that it seemed to compress the sounds image. It didn’t sound bad just very different. I went back to DSDx2.
After a couple of days I decided to stay with DSDx4 to see if what i though I was hearing was true or just different.
After a couple of weeks I now think that what I was thinking was a compressed image/soundstage is infract a refined sound. More spaciousness around notes a vocals. The width of the soundstage is the same but cleaner and quieter.
I tried switching back to lower DSD rates and levels of the original recording and found now everything is to large and not as realistic.
This is not something I would have ever suspected.
The only thing that I have not figured out is with upsampling to DSDx4 the volume is lower for most all music.
Not sure whether to try to figure out how to raise the volume signal to downstream equipment or not.

Next up will be to start with noodling through the embedded HQplayer filters.

I bought the STi9, too, and am a few days past the end of trial window. So I guess I’m committed. I do enjoy mucking around with different HQ Player filters and sampling rates … though am not convinced they deliver all that much difference to SQ (to my ears, on my gear, in my room).

Upsampling in HQP to DSD 128 with the EC modulators seems to result in a slightly better-defined soundstage. Maybe.

I have been reading the “What filters are you using on HQP” thread. I appreciate your input and questions. I will follow most of what has worked for you though, it is clearly a function of other associated equipment.
I am a non-computer person and hate changing settings for fear of no return.
In reality i’m a 66 year old non computer person that find it easier to bring a young niece or nephew over to tell me how to make things work. Even if they have never worked with a program.