SMSL SH-9 THX AAA-888 Balanced Headphone Amplifier Review

Immediately following Durwood’s and my rave reviews of the SMSL SU-9 preamp/DAC, Apos Audio sent me the SMSL SH-9 unsolicited (cynically, I wonder if I would have gotten it if I had panned the SU-9). In any event, the $299 is an aesthetic twin of the SU-9, with the same compact metal casing, cool blue digital display and three wobbly rubber feet (which irk reviewers more than anything else about these products). As with the SMSL SH-9, a single front knob controls volume, gain, brightness levels and input selection; as with the SH-9 the knob is very intuitive and I had no need for the included remote (which seems like a gratuitous inclusion since by definition you sit right next to the amp while listening to headphones).

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