So - having listened to the Dac-9 for about 2 weeks now I can share some impressions.
The Dac-9 sounded good from the start after about 30 mins of warm up. Initial impressions were that it sounded well "rounded" with a very nice and sweet midrange and top end (bearing in mind that my hearing doesn't extend much past 13 kHz
). Bass in my system is strong but balanced and very much the opposite of "one note", being textured, tight and revealing. In fact, the last three descriptive words can be used for the whole frequency range.
After a couple of days the sound really acquired an added dimension as it became even more smooth and effortless and it started showing a really special ability for resolving the sound stage. Instrument placement and solidity is exceptionally rock solid and three dimensional with very clear depth and layering. Placement of instruments left to right and front to back is easily discernable and truly the best I've heard in my system.
When I tried it initially as a preamp directly into a T-Rex power amp and an Adcom it didn't really work that well... buuut.. after the two week burn in period I tried again and it is now a totally different animal and sounds very, very good in that role!
Overall the sound is now very well balanced with that rounded tinge of warmth and sweetness and great ability to reveal the tonality and texture of the instruments. Dynamics are also well presented conveying jump, punch and drama where needed, and subtlety and finesse when asked to.
Still some more listening and experimenting to do with cables and an Audiophilleo usb to spdif converter etc. Will update my impressions.
For me it is already an easy recommendation to try and/ or buy! If I had the cash I would buy a 2nd one for my office straightaway..