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45 minutes ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

I can't find the single-ended output voltage for the Topping but if you are comparing both using XLR, the Topping outputs 4v and the Pagoda is 6v (If I read their specs correctly).

Unless you are carefully volume matching, this may account for the difference you hear

If the Topping D90 works like the other Toppings, then the single ended output voltage should be about 2V.

 

EDIT: I checked the user manual I got off the Topping website. It's 2Vrms at 0dbFS.

Edited by Suopermanni

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9 minutes ago, Suopermanni said:

If the Topping D90 works like the other Toppings, then the single ended output voltage should be about 2V.

And the Pagoda is 3v single-ended

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That would only make one quieter, it would not account for less or more tonal density.

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All sorts of difference might be attributed to things when their volumes aren't matched.

Of course, it may well be that one actually does have greater tonal density but IMHO it's best to eliminate the possibility that the difference is caused by something else 

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5 hours ago, rob said:

"much less tonally dense" what does this mean? Are you saying your MHDT Labs Balanced Pagoda sounds less clean, warmer or veiled?

It sounds a bit thin in comparison to the Pagoda, which isn't a warm DAC at all. 

 

The Pagoda isn't warm or veiled, but it has more information in the midband. The D90 may be a bit cleaner though. 

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2 hours ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

All sorts of difference might be attributed to things when their volumes aren't matched.

Of course, it may well be that one actually does have greater tonal density but IMHO it's best to eliminate the possibility that the difference is caused by something else 

Agreed

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3 hours ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

I can't find the single-ended output voltage for the Topping but if you are comparing both using XLR, the Topping outputs 4v and the Pagoda is 6v (If I read their specs correctly).

Unless you are carefully volume matching, this may account for the difference you hear

It's not the volume levels. I didn't match the volumes exactly, but it's definitely not there volume levels. The two DACs sound different.

 

I was incredibly excited to get the D90, as my goal is to move away from tubes and towards a more accurate, revealing sound. I don't think the Pagoda is incredibly inaccurate, however the sound will inevitably change as the tubes age, and I don't use readily available tubes in the first place.

 

I want to love the D90, and I expected to. But based on the first few days I'm not so sure. 

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24 minutes ago, lordcloud said:

It's not the volume levels. I didn't match the volumes exactly, but it's definitely not there volume levels. The two DACs sound different.

If you didn’t match volume levels then that is the most likely reason that they sound different. 

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1 hour ago, lordcloud said:

It's not the volume levels. I didn't match the volumes exactly, but it's definitely not there volume levels. The two DACs sound different.

 

I was incredibly excited to get the D90, as my goal is to move away from tubes and towards a more accurate, revealing sound. I don't think the Pagoda is incredibly inaccurate, however the sound will inevitably change as the tubes age, and I don't use readily available tubes in the first place.

 

I want to love the D90, and I expected to. But based on the first few days I'm not so sure. 

Interesting observations, echoing my own with Topping's D30, D50 and D70.

 

P.S. Keep trusting your ears. There are a minority of people who believe "all DACs sound the same" and try to undermine opinions on sound characteristics.  However this minority tend to make the majority of posts, it seems! 

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7 minutes ago, was_a said:

Keep trusting your ears

completely agree :)

 

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1 hour ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

If you didn’t match volume levels then that is the most likely reason that they sound different. 

Lol. Ok

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5 hours ago, lordcloud said:

Lol. Ok

In all fairness Sir Sanders was trying to be helpful and wasn't being rude.

 

He and the other people mentioning that leveling matching is important are correct. It will account for some of the difference.

 

The other difference your hearing will likely come from the tube output on the Pagoda. That 2nd order harmonic is very sweet and the reason why I still use a tube preamp. I'm guessing the highs are better and the bass is fatter. Maybe even a sweeter midrange. 

 

To a lesser extent the PCM1704 dac chip might change the sound. This will be less evident then the voltage output and tube stage though.

 

If you have access to a tube preamp, maybe try that with the Topping D90 and see how you go. Either that or move it on.

You may just need a tube based DAC. In saying that, the Pagoda is very good already.

 

 

Edited by Mungbean66

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1 hour ago, Mungbean66 said:

In all fairness Sir Sanders was trying to be helpful and wasn't being rude.

 

He and the other people mentioning that leveling matching is important are correct. It will account for some of the difference.

 

The other difference your hearing will likely come from the tube output on the Pagoda. That 2nd order harmonic is very sweet and the reason why I still use a tube preamp. I'm guessing the highs are better and the bass is fatter. Maybe even a sweeter midrange. 

 

To a lesser extent the PCM1704 dac chip might change the sound. This will be less evident then the voltage output and tube stage though.

 

If you have access to a tube preamp, maybe try that with the Topping D90 and see how you go. Either that or move it on.

You may just need a tube based DAC. In saying that, the Pagoda is very good already.

 

 

I don't disagree. I understand how volume changes can affect listening preference. However I highly doubt that's what I'm hearing.

 

The goal is to move more towards neutrality and more information.... however it seems as though the D90, while possibly more neutral, has less information.

 

The Pagoda isn't a tubey sounding DAC. I recently compared it to a SW1X, and the consensus was that the Pagoda sounded much more "digital" and not like a toucan tube DAC at all. Which I agree with. I don't have warm or euphonic tubes in it either (Reflektor '75 6N23P SWGP Silver Shields). The D90 just sounds thinner and flatter. Now again, this may change. I'm out of town and the DAC is in use some I'm away. I'm hoping I'm happier with it when I return.

 

 

 

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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 ranges.

 

fourteen pages later mainly of almost pointless back and forth debates on measurements and what they mean and I’m really none the wiser about how the D90 compares to other DACS.  One or two members offered their early opinions on the D90 after purchasing them but mainly got ignored in preference to continuing the measurement debate.

 

Thankfully Lordcloud is not giving up and is trying to bring some real life experience to this thread.

 

Does anyone know of a discussion on another forum where members are actually comparing the D90 to other DACS in their systems? Call me old fashioned if you like but I would prefer to hear about what difference the D90 makes to sq in someone’s actual system rather than what a graph of its measurements looks like and what someone’s interpretation of that graph who has never heard a D90 in action means  to sq.

 

regards,

Terry

Edited by TerryO

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27 minutes ago, lordcloud said:

The goal is to move more towards neutrality and more information.... however it seems as though the D90, while possibly more neutral, has less information.

If I can offer my own personal perspective, but feel free to take it or leave it. The way music is recorded does not have the ability to recreate the instruments live in your room. The reason the famous marquis are respected is they add just the right amount of harmonic colour to the palette to make recordings sound like real instruments. Perfect neutrality is ultimately boring. I got off that train a long time ago and embraced finding the balance between extremely low distortion and linearity but just the right kind of distortion.

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22 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

If I can offer my own personal perspective, but feel free to take it or leave it. The way music is recorded does not have the ability to recreate the instruments live in your room. The reason the famous marquis are respected is they add just the right amount of harmonic colour to the palette to make recordings sound like real instruments. Perfect neutrality is ultimately boring. I got off that train a long time ago and embraced finding the balance between extremely low distortion and linearity but just the right kind of distortion.

Well said. But where exactly in the sound reproduction chain should the desired sound modification occur?

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For any individual this will be different, based on what the mod is and how it blends with the rest of the system, and the desired outcome of that individual.

It may have the greatest influence at the beginning of the chain, so may variables from one system to the next IMO.

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1 hour ago, PositivelyMusicallyGeared said:

Well said. But where exactly in the sound reproduction chain should the desired sound modification occur?

That's an excellent question, and my observation is that each component can do different things to the sound. It's not like you can have the one "realism colour" filter and make everything else perfectly neutral.

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At the end of the day the result is the whole made of the parts, system tuning can be done right down to the parts and design of each component, but most people only tune on a larger scale by swapping amps, speakers, sources, cables ect'......more difficult to get that sweet spot this way IMO.

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I completely disagree with the last few posts...i.e. that in order to sound good or more like a real instrument a DAC has 'modify' or 'colour' the sound in some way.

 

A good DAC has high resolution, a fairly neutral frequency response and nice timbre/tonality.

 

Honestly, what are you chaps on about! 

 

Are you still convinced that an under-developed DAC with puny power supply and ho-hum output stage has a 'neutral' sound? Are you trying to convince others of this, like they do on ASR?

 

 

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2 minutes ago, was_a said:

Are you still convinced that an under-developed DAC with puny power supply and ho-hum output stage has a 'neutral' sound? Are you trying to convince others of this, like they do on ASR?

No, where did I say that?

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1 hour ago, Ittaku said:

If I can offer my own personal perspective, but feel free to take it or leave it. The way music is recorded does not have the ability to recreate the instruments live in your room. The reason the famous marquis are respected is they add just the right amount of harmonic colour to the palette to make recordings sound like real instruments. Perfect neutrality is ultimately boring. I got off that train a long time ago and embraced finding the balance between extremely low distortion and linearity but just the right kind of distortion.

I'm not sure I agree with this, nor do I believe it to be fact. But thank you for your perspective.

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7 minutes ago, was_a said:

Are you still convinced that an under-developed DAC with puny power supply and ho-hum output stage has a 'neutral' sound? Are you trying to convince others of this, like they do on ASR?

Have you listened to the D90?

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6 minutes ago, was_a said:

I completely disagree with the last few posts...i.e. that in order to sound good or more like a real instrument a DAC has 'modify' or 'colour' the sound in some way.

 

A good DAC has high resolution, a fairly neutral frequency response and nice timbre/tonality.

 

Honestly, what are you chaps on about! 

 

Are you still convinced that an under-developed DAC with puny power supply and ho-hum output stage has a 'neutral' sound? Are you trying to convince others of this, like they do on ASR?

 

 

Everything has a sound signature and contributes to the end result, IMO of course :)

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53 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

No, where did I say that?

Sorry, I was speaking more broadly to others' comments. On TerryO's observations on the back-and-forth ramblings of this thread: Yes, it is a pity, and I know how frustrating it is to read through pages of stuff to find sound quality comparisons on a particular product. 

 

I guess I feel compelled to counter the 'Measurements Rule' brigade when they come out in force, because I feel they are so misleading. I mean, espousing a Topping D10 uber alles is ridiculous. 

 

I have not heard the D90 but have heard most of Topping's other offerings. I have also compared .... a hundred DACs and CD/SACD spinners over the years. All I can say is that no product with so-so specs like the Topping range has ever surprised me in a good way!

 

 

 

 

Edited by was_a

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