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On 12/02/2020 at 10:50 PM, was_a said:

Ultimately to assess a DAC we need good references for comparison, preferably in situ and from different price-points. Of course, many of us have long experience in assessing components and will have built up a broad range of memories to draw on as well. This goes hand in hand with assessing a DAC's specs and recognising the effects on sound quality.

 

And DACs need to be auditioned with a wide variety of musical genres, particularly acoustic music. I don't know how often I read reviews with reference albums that are all studio-produced / eq-d!

 

To review a DAC I need to listen to it and see if it makes me happy. Anything more is overthinking it.

 

If people here are happy with D10's, all power to them.

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Silly me! just noticed this thread headed Topping D90 with 14 pages of comments, so I thought excellent, this will be a good read with lots of comparisons of the new D90 to other DACS in various price

Two user reviews in a couple of weeks appear to have killed the thread, usually this is where things really ramp up.   proof that most people in the thread would rather speculate and try to

That's not true. That's also not true. Measurements give a good guide to what gear will sound bad. If a DAC measures well it will not have a unique "sound". It will simply provide acc

1 hour ago, was_a said:

Fair enough mate.

 

Don't get me wrong, I have reference tracks too, most analogue-y with very little studio asshattery, and when I'm doing development work to listen for differences I go to these track and with various pre/post processing. I get what I need, I invite others to listen. 

 

But when I bought my main DAC it was a visit to someone's place that was one of the people behind the product and he played some tracks. It was amazing. It sat me down proper.

 

I hope the D90 does similarly.

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1 minute ago, rmpfyf said:

 

I have reference tracks too, most analogue-y with very little studio asshattery

Asshattery...I love it! (Could this be the new term for peak limiting?).😉

 

Looking forward to more impressions of the D90.

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Have had surprising results when comparing DACs, I compared a holo 2 and my dac (a vitus dac module) and was thinking maybe the Holo was sounding slightly better. I then remembered that I use upsampling to dsd on my dac and decided to switch it off as the holo was not upsampling .  when I listen ed to solo violin the difference was quite big with the up sampled sounding not right. Once I turned it off there was  very very little difference, still in favour of the holo but not worth spending bucks on in my opinion. So the effect of the upsampling swamped the difference between DACs.  Would not be surprised if on someone else's setup the difference might be larger or even smaller. Some differences seem to translate and others don't.

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I've become accustomed to the sound of nos dacs and I truly wish I could turn the oversampling and filters off on the D90..

 

Thus far, it doesn't sound "bad".....but it sounds less like it's part of a replay device for music, and more like what it is... something that converts digital to analog. Which is the point. But I'm not sure I like it.

 

It sounds better than it did over the first few days....but it's either missing some weight and density, or every other DAC had added them in, and this one is just more truthful. Which may be the case.

 

Still listening and evaluating.

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On 12/02/2020 at 10:37 PM, lordcloud said:

I'm hoping burn in plays a role and the D90 just sounds better after a week or so. 

I have a Topping DX7s (I've actually had two) but did not find it changed sound at all with time. Upsampling on my computer to sample rates where it turns its filters off (anything over 300k) makes it sound much better. So when others speak of filters affecting the sound, I believe they're right. This is why there's more to good sound than just measured ultra low distortion and high dynamic range.

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42 minutes ago, lordcloud said:

Thus far, it doesn't sound "bad".....but it sounds less like it's part of a replay device for music, and more like what it is... something that converts digital to analog. Which is the point. But I'm not sure I like it.

I might have missed this - but does it have filters like the D50?

 

Its an interesting point you make, it might be an awesome device, but its synergy with your exact system might not gel, but the next person and it work perfect.

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39 minutes ago, JPete9 said:

I might have missed this - but does it have filters like the D50?

 

Its an interesting point you make, it might be an awesome device, but its synergy with your exact system might not gel, but the next person and it work perfect.

It has 6 filters. I've only listened to 1, as it's supposed to be the most correct.

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58 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

I have a Topping DX7s (I've actually had two) but did not find it changed sound at all with time. Upsampling on my computer to sample rates where it turns its filters off (anything over 300k) makes it sound much better. So when others speak of filters affecting the sound, I believe they're right. This is why there's more to good sound than just measured ultra low distortion and high dynamic range.

The D90's sound has changed, in my opinion. It used to paint very flat images. It doesn't do that anymore. 

 

I think one of the things it lacks, ironically, is dynamic range. I could be wrong though. Again, I'm still listening. 

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D90 arrived. Initial impressions.
* Filter 1 & 4 are good.

- Mainly using Filter 1.
* There is an improvement in the floor noise, very noticeable, surprisingly how noticeable especially with Youtube, Twitch e.t.c. (Vs SMSL SU-8 Its tiny but noticeable tiny.)

- Turns out this "floor noise" difference is actually the fact the D90 doesn't do all the same sounds the SMSL SU-8 does, To difficult to figure out where but If I had to guess its in 3 areas total: bass (it does sub bass & low mids WELL!!!), Upper Mids. There is a treble difference as well SU-8 is peaky harsh & D90 is Glare soft with treble.
* Turns out the glare was a damaged/unshiedled USB cable I was using.
* Bass has punch.

- Bass & sub bass really does have a punch. Sometimes its like tapping on a speaker sound.
* I suspect that the AKM filters vs ESS filters cause the extra speed/detail I'm hearing, this thing is fast yet detailed without lacking when doing some audio parts I thought i knew.
- Still think its a filter difference for the speed of sound difference.
* Its still AKM soft sounding to me but a step up from the past few AKM Dac's i've heard. (coming direct from SU-8 makes it noticeable)

- If the treble didn't have glare on it (* Turns out the glare was a damaged/unshiedled USB cable I was using.) it'd be up there in top Dacs i've heard to date due to the technical aspects & presentation of sound it does alone.
* My Hd800 at times have reminded me of the L700 with some dynamic mid parts of songs. (speed, punch, power)
- This is still true "reminds" but not used the L700 with the D90 yet....

Holding the Power button while turning on the unit showed me the "hidden menu" which i used to set the unit as a Pure Dac.
In normal options I set it to XLR input only. (to kill the RCA input).
 

Overall it sounds like a Dac.... I'd rate it above my SU-8 but not by much in general.
- I do stand by this, not worth spending the extra $440USD on it over the SU-8 unless you need BT, IIS (I²S) & pre amp. If they sold the D90 cheaper as a Dac only, Then it would be worth it In My Opinion.
Pairs well with the THX amp.
Going to wait, get used to it, then see if i notice anything still.
 

Edited by prymortal
details might help. Kept it simple.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Still happy with the D90 and was able to sell the Pavane in the meantime.

Agree with the above that Filter 1 and 4 are the most pleasant ones and to have a NOS filter would be great but then again in a blind test I wouldn’t really be able to tell the difference.

Using a SU1 Interface I went back and forth between D90 and Pavane and I just enjoyed the former more. With the setup I have( StaxSR009S/ KGST and HD800S/HDV820)the music is more engaging and most important for me, it has this stunning holographic presentation.

I couldn’t care less about measurements and again agree with something mentioned above: music through this dac puts a smile on my face and makes me kind of happy...and that’s all that matters to me.

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29 minutes ago, silversurfer said:

Still happy with the D90 and was able to sell the Pavane in the meantime.

Agree with the above that Filter 1 and 4 are the most pleasant ones and to have a NOS filter would be great but then again in a blind test I wouldn’t really be able to tell the difference.

Using a SU1 Interface I went back and forth between D90 and Pavane and I just enjoyed the former more. With the setup I have( StaxSR009S/ KGST and HD800S/HDV820)the music is more engaging and most important for me, it has this stunning holographic presentation.

I couldn’t care less about measurements and again agree with something mentioned above: music through this dac puts a smile on my face and makes me kind of happy...and that’s all that matters to me.

Interesting, as I have the DX7s and almost identical Stax headphone setup but with the Matrix Audio SPDIF converter. Have you tried without the SU-1? The clocks used in the D90 are insanely good and whilst the SU-1 *might* provide some extra isolation, theoretically it will not be doing anything useful for jitter reduction over and above the D90's internal clocks. It may well be that it sounds just as good with USB straight into the D90.

Edited by Ittaku
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Sure, I mainly listen straight into USB port on the D90; the SU1 was useful to feed both dacs with the same signal simultaneously.

The USB input is also better than the Metrum Pavane USB( or the HEX which I had previously).
Not dissing the Pavane but in all it’s NOS beauty it lacks a tad dynamics and can be too laidback.

 

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I fixed my Treble glare issue with a Audioquest Carbon USB cable. Probably any cable would of fixed it in all honesty because the USB cable I was using has a damages, stripped & ungrounded shield.

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15 minutes ago, silversurfer said:

Sure, I mainly listen straight into USB port on the D90; the SU1 was useful to feed both dacs with the same signal simultaneously.

So would you say the sound is basically identical with and without the SU1? I expect it would be.

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Yes, and I was also keen to try the I2S port but it was too etched, really carving down to the bone of the music...figuratively speaking.

Generally fewer cables is best and the D90 USB is really all you need....and a good USB cable, of course.

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After further listening........the D90 now just sounds wonderful. 

 

It's far more transparent than my previous DAC (modified MHDT Labs Balanced Pagoda), and the sound presentation switches according to what I'm listening to. It's very insightful, laying every little detail out there. If the soundstage is shallow, it's because it's in the recording. If it's deep...... recording.

 

I don't think this is the dac for someone who wants to hear their music with added anything, though I'm not sure that this DAC is the pinnacle of transparency either. Speculation on my part of course, but I wonder how much more information it could retrieve with an over engineered power supply. 

 

But regardless, I plan on keeping it as i think it would be incredibly difficult to best it for sheer transparency, at or around its price point. Transparency is definitely what this dac is about.

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I'm currently listening to CD through the i2s connection (1 meter Audioquest Ocean) and I love it. The first day though......it sounded like **** and i thought something was wrong.

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Two user reviews in a couple of weeks appear to have killed the thread, usually this is where things really ramp up.

 

proof that most people in the thread would rather speculate and try to out do each other using thier big audio brains than talk about the actual real world performance of product.

 

congrats to those who actually purchased the product and appear to be enjoying it. 👍🏽

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  • 1 month later...
On 01/03/2020 at 5:04 PM, Hi-Fi Whipped said:

Two user reviews in a couple of weeks appear to have killed the thread, usually this is where things really ramp up.

 

proof that most people in the thread would rather speculate and try to out do each other using thier big audio brains than talk about the actual real world performance of product.

 

congrats to those who actually purchased the product and appear to be enjoying it. 👍🏽

I have no idea what this means. Two positive user opinions? That's the 'proof' ???

And why did 8 people LIKE this!

I blame the lockdown.........

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by was_a
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7 minutes ago, was_a said:

I have no ideal what this means. Two positive user opinions? That's the 'proof' ???

And why did 8 people LIKE this!

I blame the lockdown.........

 

Please help remedy this with LIKES. I'm aiming for 16!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

His speculation around others speculation is very speculative :winky:

 

Edit: sorry to say most of those likes happened pre virus days.

Edited by muon*
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2 minutes ago, muriwai said:

Noob question 

what cord connector does i2s use?look like?

There is no real industry standard connector but the D90 uses a hdmi cable.

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7 minutes ago, kelossus said:

There is no real industry standard connector but the D90 uses a hdmi cable.

So the “socket “ on the Dac looks/is same as a hdmi socket?and then does the pre amp/integrated amp that the dac connects to have a socket that says i2s?

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1 minute ago, muriwai said:

So the “socket “ on the Dac looks/is same as a hdmi socket?and then does the pre amp/integrated amp that the dac connects to have a socket that says i2s?

I2S is a digital input. This would usually come from a CD transport or maybe even a streamer these days?

 

Digital Source >>>> I2S output>>>>>> DAC's I2S Input>>>>>> DACs analogue output>>>>>>Preamp/Integrated Input

Edited by kelossus
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  • 1 month later...

I haven't quite formulated my thoughts on the D90 yet. I'm very much liking what I'm hearing though.

My headphone setup is as follows at the moment:

PC via USB to D90, D90 via RCA to Gieseler HPA, HPA balanced out to LCD4.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

I like that you can bypass the DSD > PCM (for volume control, etc.) > back to DSD detour on the AK4499 chip, by setting the D90 into “DAC” mode, i.e. fixed volume. That way I can convert everything to DSD on the Mac, and send it straight to the sigma-delta D/A converter without any further processing.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi all, 

 

I have recently put my hard earned down on a  NAD C658 as a natural upgrade to my Node2i.  I have my Node2i connected directly to my power amp and love sound and the simplicity but there is a discernable noise floor introduced this way. The NAD provides balanced outs and a dedicated Pre (rather than just digital volume on the Node) so this should take care of the noise floor issue. I am also planning on moving to active speakers, as an ATC fanboy, balanced outs will be required when that happens.

 

So all well and good on the upgrade until I came across the Topping D90, the RME ADI 2 and Denafrips (Ares II or Pontus).

 

I am sure many have been through the same conundrum. I could keep the Node2i as a streamer and add the D90, RME or Ares. There have been a lot of discussion on how happy owners are with the performance of these DAC's but very little on the performance of them as a Pre. 

Keeping the Node gives me versatility but the NAD is such a great allrounder in the one box. Can anyone provide some input on what I would be losing on balance, (if anything) on staying with the NAD as a single box solution (Streamer/Dac/Pre) or going for a 2 box solution (Streamer + DAC/Pre)? 

 

There doesn't seem to be any comparisons I can find on the DAC performance between the C658 and say the RME??? Ultimately the price will be in the ballpark for either solution. Any / all thoughts welcome. 

 

Regards

Crannie

 

 

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, Grindog said:

Can anyone provide some input on what I would be losing on balance, (if anything) on staying with the NAD as a single box solution (Streamer/Dac/Pre) or going for a 2 box solution (Streamer + DAC/Pre)? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It may be me, but I just don’t like single box solutions - namely, I like to maybe try a new dac, a new amp etc and I can do that with a multiple unit solution.  To me, an all in one is very limited but multiple units (on the other hand) give me greater flexibility and an easier upgrade path. (Yes I know I can  “deactivate” or bypass some parts of an all in one solution, but that just seems wasteful to me eg, buy a NAD integrated amp, but you bypass the power amp and just use the pre-amp or vice versa).

 

one other point, if one element of an all in one solution breaks, then you are totally “offline” while that whole box is away getting fixed.  A multiple unit solution will allow you to “slot” in a spare or a loaner while that dodgy component is off getting fixed.

 

I like flexibility.

 

one downfall though, you use more powerpoints with a multiple box solution.

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Both the Ares II and the Pontus are a pure DAC, there is no preamp built in. 

 

You could perhaps connect either directly to a power amp that has selectable input sensitivity and an attenuator limiter, but that would be less than ideal.

 

Cheers

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  • 1 month later...

I'm a bit of a lurker here over the years, but just dropped into a D90/A90 combo from a Jotunheim Multibit driving Fluid Audio FPX7 Fader Pro's & Beyerdynamic T1 Gen 2's.

I'm finding that the soundstage is much more detailed with some terrific bass extension, but I've lost some warmth. Thats okay, whats not okay is the high amount of sibilance that I seem to be getting. Sheena Ringo's Instinct for example I'm almost wincing at some of the cymbal crashes. I figured I might be able to tame that with the filters, but honestly, I have nfi what I'm doing with those.

Edit: Did some playing and research with filters, Filter 4 seems to reduce but not completely remove it.

Edited by C@mM!
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