– Harro Tillema, hifi.nl

(See The original Dutch language version: “REVIEW NUPRIME 9X SERIES: INTENS EN AUTHENTIEK GENIETEN“)

NuPrime Audio is a relatively young audio manufacturer that mainly focuses on the upper middle and top segments of the audio market. Although the company, founded in 2014, has only been around for less than a decade, it has been making a name for itself for years and produces one award-winning hi-fi component after another with, above all, very affordable price tags. Are NuPrime’s devices mainly good for the money, or can they also effortlessly compete with the tough competition? To find out, importer Dimex sent us a nice set: the Stream9 streaming bridge, the DAC-9X DAC with built-in preamplifier and the powerful STA9X stereo power amplifier.

NuPrime 9X 

This compact set from the 9X Series from NuPrime is characterized by its modest dimensions. The modest size certainly does not mean that no cuts have been made in construction quality or technology. The eye for detail of the design department and the precision with which the housings are manufactured borders on absolute perfection. With this, NuPrime confirms its place in the segment that the manufacturer focuses on.

The fronts of the received set, milled from solid aluminum, are matt beaded and black anodized. The design of the various components is designed with symmetry and makes a neat impression on us. The logo is milled into the front using CNC technology and adds cachet to the whole. The housings themselves are made of aluminum sheet material that has been placed with care and the fit is again sublime. This means that the internal electronics are optimally shielded against EMI and RFI. The feet have an excellent spring/dampening effect and keep the components well in place.

The fronts are sparingly printed, allowing the satin matted look of the sharply accentuated shape to retain the leading role. The quality of the switches, connectors and knobs is also of good quality. The manufacturer could easily have made savings here. Nevertheless, NuPrime has opted for CNC-turned aluminum buttons with the same high finish as the beautiful fronts. You won’t find party lights or frills. If an LED is already included, it is mounted in the housing in such a way that it is barely visible to the naked eye.

NuPrime DAC-9X

We couldn’t be happier with the design department’s choices in developing the DAC-9X. The DAC-9X is actually a full-fledged preamplifier with an extensive DAC and has both a single-ended RCA and a balanced XLR output that can be switched from fixed to variable volume with a switch on the front. The laser-precision drilled holes behind which the IR receiver and micro LEDs are housed provide a clear picture of the preamplifier settings and the sampling frequency of the DAC chip.

The analog section has a low-noise and low-distortion analog volume control with a ladder network of precision resistors for high channel equality. The input stage is equipped with fast J-FETs with an ultra-low noise floor and the internal construction is completely dual-mono for maximum channel separation. The DAC section is based on the ESS 9028Q2M chipset with a maximum high-res format of 32-bit 384kHz PCM and native DSD up to DSD256. The DAC even supports native MQA so that TIDAL subscribers with a hi-fi subscription can enjoy the Tidal master in maximum sound quality. Do you prefer to enjoy these Tidal Masters with good quality headphones? Then use the 6.35mm jack connection on the front panel and the DAC-9X behaves like a high-end headphone amplifier.

The preamp section has a single analog RCA line input for -say- an RIAA preamp. Digitally, the DAC-9X is equipped with an optical Toslink input, coaxial S/PDIF input, USB2.0 port, asynchronous USB audio port and two I2S ports. These last two ports in particular are unique. All digitally input signals are reclocked and resampled with negligible jitter to the intended high-resolution format. The gain of all inputs, analog and digital, can be adjusted individually so that you will not experience large volume differences when switching music sources. If you use power amplification, it can be switched on and off automatically with the trigger output.

NuPrime STA-9X

The NuPrime STA-9X is a powerful Class A/D stereo power amplifier with an output power of 2x 130Watt at 4 and 8 Ohms. Instead of opting for an existing Class D solution, the amplifier is equipped with Class A/D amplification technology developed by NuPrime itself. More information can be found on the NuPrime website. The amplifier, like the preamplifier DAC, has a dual-mono construction and, in addition to the single-ended RCA input, also has a balanced XLR input. There is a switch on the back of the amplifier to activate the desired input.In addition to being a stereo power amplifier, the STA-9X can also be used as a ‘monoblock’. To do this, all you have to do is turn the stereo/mono switch on the back and place the speaker wiring in the correct polarity over the positive speaker terminals as clearly indicated on the panel and send the incoming signal via the (formerly) right channel. After ‘bridging’ the amplifier you have 1x 330 Watt of 4 and 8 Ohm output power. To switch the power amplifier(s) on and off together with the preamplifier, the power amplifier is also equipped with trigger connections.

NuPrime Stream-9

The NuPrime Stream-9 network player is not equipped with an internal DAC chip and only has digital outputs. With the Stream-9 we are actually talking about a ‘streaming bridge’. This gives you, as a music lover, the freedom to combine the network player with any external DAC. As with the other hi-fi components from the 9X Series, the streamer has a simple design. The front is equipped with a spacious and clear information display that shows all information important to the user.

On the back, in addition to a trigger connection and connections for the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth antenna, we find a Toslink in, coaxial in and an RJ45 network connection. With the coaxial S/PDIF, optical Toslink, AES-EBU and i2s, there are sufficient outputs available. Although a USB output would have been nice too. An SRC push/turn knob is placed next to the display, allowing you to select the desired digital input (network, Bluetooth, optical and coaxial) with a quick press of the button. If you use a simple DAC that does not have any free extra S/PDIF or Toslink inputs, you can offer this via the Stream-9.

The SRC knob allows you to up- or down-sample the outgoing stream. By default, the streamer determines the output resolution itself based on the source material (SRC OFF), but you can also choose to upsample or downsample each offered resolution to your desired sampling rate and fix it there.

Every DAC has a so-called ‘sweet spot’ in which it performs best. This depends on the chipset used, but also on the implementation of the DAC chip in the external DAC. Sometimes it performs better with, say, a DSD stream, sometimes better when the DAC is presented with a 44.1kHz PCM signal. This is a unique feature and may be valuable for users with some (older) DACs.

NuPrime Omnia Receiver App

We experience the NuPrime Omnia Receiver app from NuPrime as a gem. This app has a beautiful user interface and is one of the most intuitive streaming apps available at the moment.

With this app you can set the streamer completely to your wishes and operate all functions effortlessly. When starting up, choose the desired streamer in the device menu and then the app immediately shows the track being played. The volume of the outgoing digital stream can be controlled via the app via the volume buttons on the phone.

In the browsing window selectable at the bottom of the screen we can include presets that will allow us to switch to the favorite Internet radio stations, streaming services and albums/directories on our music server in a single click. The commercial streaming services Amazon Music, Calm Radio, Deezer, Napster, Pandora, QQFM, QQMusic, Qobuz, Radio Paradise, SoundCloud, Spotify Connect, TIDAL Connect, TuneIn and iHeartRadio are also included in the app.

Because not every service will be offered in the Benelux or used by the music lover, the unused streaming services can be filtered from the list, making the app even clearer and easier to use. At the bottom of the list we can switch between the different sources, as we can also do this via the SRC button on the front.Browsing through our own music library is accessible and clear. We can also choose recently played tracks or include favorite tracks from our music server in playlists. We can have the player index our library after which we can sort and filter. Due to the size of our library, we mainly used the navigation option through the folder structure of the server. This means we miss some of the filter options of the app, but the speed with which we can browse through the folders in search of the right album is great.

Listening sessions

For our listening sessions we use our Usher Mini Dancer 2 speakers from the Beryllium Series. We alternately use Driade Flow RCA interlinks and Grimm TPR XLR cabling, both from the Netherlands. Speaker cabling also comes from Driade. We are particularly impressed by the transparency and definition with the Grimm TPR cabling while we can dream away in the music with the smoother music reproduction that we experience with the Driade interconnects. We decide to continue the listening sessions with the Driade Flow interconnects.

First we turn to the beautiful Questo Notte from the album ‘Le Onde’ by Ludovico Einaudi from 1996. The dynamic variations in this album are great. The pieces played in forte are characterized by notes that hammer themselves forcefully into the space and the passages played in piano fill the space with a wonderfully accessible, frivolous melody. The fundamental and overtones are well expressed in this dreamy piano playing. Thanks to the considerable power reserves available to the reinforcement, the attacks have a significant impact. The noise level of the amplifier combination is relatively low, which means that even the tenderly played notes have a long decay time. The size and weight of the concert grand piano in our space is respectable. The authenticity of the sound is largely preserved. Especially with the piano, this is a difficult task for the amplifier and speakers.

The song For You from Singer-songwriter Lucy Rose’s 2015 album ‘Work It Out’ flows into the room with spaciousness and dynamics. The electronic bass drum moves large pressure waves through the room. The muted attacks of chords on electric guitar, unlike the stirring bass drum, sound subtle and sensitive. Vocals are delivered razor sharply from the center of the room and fill the room with the artificial reverb and electronic cymbals.

Halfway through the song, the drum machine explodes with loud bangs and the accompanying synth bass growls at us from deep in the background, laying a nice foundation for the expansive sounding music presentation. This electronically produced indie pop album fills the space with dreamy pieces of music in which we experience beautiful layering and spatial detail from minute to minute.

Finally, we stream the wonderful track Drive Home from Steven Wilson’s 2013 album ‘The Raven That Refused To Sing’. Vocals and guitar are placed at the center of the experience while the bass adds weight. Due to the fast nature of the combination, shifting finger positions on the lower wire wound strings can even be heard during chord changes.

The muted snare drum sounds dry, neutral and above all authentic, while acoustic guitar and piano build a spatial scene. Synthesizer fills the room with sultry strings. Hi-hat is reproduced very subtly with an authentic brass sound, without drowning out the lively acoustic guitar playing. The five-string bass lays a deep and powerful bass foundation in the room with melodious bass lines. In the second part of this song, at a higher volume, we are captured by the wonderful dynamics in these progressively dreamy sounds of perhaps one of the most beautiful songs ever produced by Wilson.


The first introduction to the compact high-end components of NuPrime takes your author’s mind back to the early nineties. During this period we saw a similar trend where compact hi-fi sets with separate components were equipped with high-quality and fully developed audio technology. Some prominent brands even surpassed the quality level of full-size hi-fi sets that dominated the market at the time, and we inadvertently provide a conclusive answer to our initial question.

The DAC-9X, STA-9X and Stream-9 have functionality that positively distinguishes them from their peers. Complete or not, the ease of use of a streaming audio set depends on the speed and intuitive operation of the smartphone app. Here too, NuPrime has done its homework well. The NuPrime Omnia Receiver app is one of the most complete, accessible and clear manufacturer-owned streaming apps available at the moment.

Of course, we also experience disadvantages with this NuPrime set, but there are not many. The network player should have a USB output for combining with a USB DAC, although USB is of course developed for keyboards and mice, not for high-resolution data streams. We also cannot store our USB drive with obscure music files on the Stream-9. Furthermore, these are small points that we can live with.

Even from the first notes, the music from the NuPrime combination is pleasant to the ear. The music reproduction is dynamic, fast and transparent. The bass is characterized by a powerful, well-controlled bass and a solid punch. Thanks to the powerful and, above all, stable power supply section in the power amplifier, we do not upset the amplifier even at higher volumes and everything remains neat, accurate and controlled, no matter how deep the bass goes. In the midrange we experience a beautiful definition and in the high range the reproduction is adorned with subtle detail. The soundstage that this set creates in our space is open and wide. Music comes completely separate from the speakers, while the various elements are positioned razor-sharp in width and, depending on the cabling, also in depth. High-end properties par excellence.


NuPrime has struck gold with the premium and affordable 9X Series. The optics and construction of the compact DAC-9X, STA-9X and Stream-9 hi-fi components are formidable. Thanks to the many features, the equipment level and the available connections, this NuPrime series occupies a unique position.

When it comes to the music experience, it exceeds its peers by a wide margin. The sound quality is phenomenal. As the NuPrime itself indicates: “Beyond Ordinary” and this is not a lie.