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11 hours ago, was_a said:

There's simply not enough room in a Topping case for anything other than budget requirements. You can't cheat physics, folks.

Why are you equating large physical volume, with high audio performance?

 

That is not at all necessarily true.

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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

9 minutes ago, was_a said:

Well, I don't know you either, but your argument is very one-dimensional and your language at times manipulative. Your last paragraph is a perfect example. You say that measurements on ASR give everyone a basis for choosing an 'accurate' DAC, then say that those who don't choose an 'accurate' DAC will end up with one with too much distortion. 

 

Hilarious! Sorry, but it is!

 

I've already talked about what constitutes good DAC design, earlier in this thread.

 

Perhaps you could go back and read?

 

 

You added the "too much".

I'm just trying to get you to see there should be science involved in DAC design, not religion or faith. Measurements are a critical part of designing a DAC.

Look, I'll just leave it now. I reckon you'll come around eventually.

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1 hour ago, was_a said:

Because the vast majority of reviews use measurements to 'check' on a product's credentials and for technical interest, but spend most of the effort on listening to the product and comparing it to other products in the same category or price-range. This gives the reader a good reference point. 

Does it?

 

 

You are making out that somethings are very clear cut.

 

ie.  that subjectivity is a "good reference point" .... and that "objectivity will always miss something which it cannot know".   They're both very deep and complex things, that are unwise to generalise away with a wave of your hand.

 

That isn't to say that subjectivity is useless.... or that a specific set of measurements (importantly "which measurement?") tells everything....  Just that you shouldn't be so dogmatic about it....  as I can assure you it doesn't lead to good results.   (I wish it did).

 

I think there's some irony hiding somewhere here.

 

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31 minutes ago, a.dent said:

You added the "too much".

I'm just trying to get you to see there should be science involved in DAC design, not religion or faith. Measurements are a critical part of designing a DAC.

Look, I'll just leave it now. I reckon you'll come around eventually.

 

Er, too much distortion is what you were saying. Try to understand your own post!

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9 minutes ago, was_a said:

It's like arguing with a religious cult!

Seems like an excessive implication.

 

6 minutes ago, was_a said:

Try to understand your own post!

Perhaps you misunderstood what he was trying to say?!

 

I guess not then  🙄

Edited by davewantsmoore
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On 31/12/2019 at 11:28 AM, deafenears said:

That's bare board evaluation board, no power supply and chassis. So if you ask me, Topping's pricing of the D90 seems to be quite low and a bargain.

Evaluation pcb are never cheap, far from it.

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7 hours ago, a.dent said:

@was_a, I don't know you and I don't know if you are really serious with your line of argument.

I'm thinking that surely some of your posts must be tongue in cheek!

A DAC is not a musical instrument. It is a piece of electronic equipment. It has a job to do converting a digital source into an analog signal. It would seem logical to me that doing this in the most accurate way possible would be the aim. The only way of checking the accuracy is with measurements that can be reproduced. The Topping D90 does this conversion very well and therefore measures well.

Saying ASR and it's measurements are leading people astray is just plain wrong. The measurements give everyone a basis for choosing a DAC. If they don't like "accurate" that's fine by me. They can choose a DAC that imparts a level of distortion to the signal and sounds different from accurate. There are certainly plenty of those in most price brackets.

Any way I'll stick with preferring accurate to distorted.

 

Careful. ASR offers some good m mesurements - Amir is the only person in the world with a precision analyser offering services for free (or ad revenue) - though it's possible for two DACs to measure similarly and sound different. His measurement set is not complete or absolute. They are what they are in context, that's all.

 

You'd think the way some here are carrying on about absolute accuracy that all have treated rooms, DSP correction etc. There is distortion in everything and unless correcting the lot then guess what.... You're listening to some distortion. If you like what you hear so be it.

 

Topping makes good DACs for the money. Not sure why this is getting slammed here. 10 years ago what we get in a D10 was unheard of. Just because they're among first out the gate with a 4499 doesn't mean it's crap.

 

So is there anyone here that wouldn't demo a D90 if offered?

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Goodaye all

 

l think a lot of people forget Topping offer good value for money.

 

Went from a El Dac to a Topping D50, sounded better to me.

The Toshio Dac in the garage was replaced with the El Dac, sounded better to me.

The D90 is on my birthday list in April, but if some one want to give me one earlier l will let you know if it sounds better to me.

 

l scratch my head at people who dont use optical into a DAC but thats my opinion.

 

regards Bruce

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3 hours ago, rmpfyf said:

 

Careful. ASR offers some good m mesurements - Amir is the only person in the world with a precision analyser offering services for free (or ad revenue) - though it's possible for two DACs to measure similarly and sound different. His measurement set is not complete or absolute. They are what they are in context, that's all.

Good points. That's why I said the ASR measurements are a good basis for choosing a DAC. Just somewhere to start by telling us all which ones measure badly. Ideally we should listen before buying but sometimes that's not possible.

3 hours ago, rmpfyf said:

 

You'd think the way some here are carrying on about absolute accuracy that all have treated rooms, DSP correction etc. There is distortion in everything and unless correcting the lot then guess what.... You're listening to some distortion. If you like what you hear so be it.

Exactly. There's already distortion in every system (even with DSP and room treatments) so why introduce further distortion when you can avoid doing so by choosing a well measuring DAC. 

3 hours ago, rmpfyf said:

 

Topping makes good DACs for the money. Not sure why this is getting slammed here. 10 years ago what we get in a D10 was unheard of. Just because they're among first out the gate with a 4499 doesn't mean it's crap.

 

So is there anyone here that wouldn't demo a D90 if offered?

 

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1 hour ago, a.dent said:

Exactly. There's already distortion in every system (even with DSP and room treatments) so why introduce further distortion when you can avoid doing so by choosing a well measuring DAC.

DAC distortions are ludicrously small compared to the rest of the system, and the most expensive DACs measured at ASR have some of the "worst" measurements. No one can definitively say important those distortions are in the final listening experience.

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4 hours ago, rmpfyf said:

 

Careful. ASR offers some good m mesurements - Amir is the only person in the world with a precision analyser offering services for free (or ad revenue) - though it's possible for two DACs to measure similarly and sound different. His measurement set is not complete or absolute. They are what they are in context, that's all.

 

You'd think the way some here are carrying on about absolute accuracy that all have treated rooms, DSP correction etc. There is distortion in everything and unless correcting the lot then guess what.... You're listening to some distortion. If you like what you hear so be it.

 

Topping makes good DACs for the money. Not sure why this is getting slammed here. 10 years ago what we get in a D10 was unheard of. Just because they're among first out the gate with a 4499 doesn't mean it's crap.

 

So is there anyone here that wouldn't demo a D90 if offered?

I agree, and I think topping is not getting slammed here, only the idea that the measurements are absolute in defining the sound of a given DAC, sure it will guarantee low distortion in line with the measurements done, but define the sound quality in absolute terms....nah. This is what is IMO being objected too here in this thread.

 

A lot of people here and on other forums sere Amir as somewhat biased also, and not as scientific ion his approach as he presents to be.

 

I don't doubt it is a great DAC for the money.

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8 minutes ago, Muon N' said:

and not as scientific ion his approach as he presents to be.

 

I've heard this also but never understood what it means. The measurements are the measurements, unless people are suggesting that he is fudging those?

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49 minutes ago, Muon N' said:

I agree, and I think topping is not getting slammed here, only the idea that the measurements are absolute in defining the sound of a given DAC, sure it will guarantee low distortion in line with the measurements done, but define the sound quality in absolute terms....nah. This is what is IMO being objected too here in this thread.

 

A lot of people here and on other forums sere Amir as somewhat biased also, and not as scientific ion his approach as he presents to be.

 

I don't doubt it is a great DAC for the money.

 

Amir isn't quite what he pretends to be, no, though his analyzer is worth over $30k and it's free to use on the forums... I don't think there's enough in the  measurements he presents to suggest that a DAC is 'so transparent as to not impart any characteristic' as is often suggested. Audio has grown a long way from listening rooms in the Mullard tube factory etc and sure, we can take great measurements nowdays with impunity given the right equipment. It's just additional data, not an absolute. 

 

As to whether no character or otherwise is a good/bad thing, that's a separate matter. 

 

Most reference DACs on the same chip are targeted A$5k or more; I'm interested to see what can come of a $1k (or less) implementation. The spec on the DAC IC is incredible, doesn't make for a complete DAC though. 

 

Given the implicit biases against Topping, pro-ASR, anti-ASR, etc.... this one would be an absolute shoe-in for an SNA blind test :D 

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I haven't noticed any implicit biases against Topping.

 

The rest I agree with :)

 

Edit: although a blind test would include results influenced by personal biases, very difficult to rule those out in every shape and form.

Edited by Muon N'
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18 minutes ago, rmpfyf said:

blind test

You invoked the magic words... Time for this thread to come under moderator watch, and eventually be shut down.

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1 hour ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

 

I've heard this also but never understood what it means. The measurements are the measurements, unless people are suggesting that he is fudging those?

Not guarding against the influence of personal biases is not a scientific approach, it creates errors as far as science is concerned.

The fact he seems to push these measurements as the complete defining aspect of how a DAC will sound in absolute terms can be seen as limited in a scientific approach, as it is using limited data.

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1 minute ago, Muon N' said:

Not guarding against the influence of personal biases is not a scientific approach, it creates errors as far as science is concerned.

The fact he seems to push these measurements as the complete defining aspect of how a DAC will sound in absolute terms can be seen as limited in a scientific approach, as it is using limited data.

Back to what I implied earlier - I would have to say when the measurements show something measures "bad", he describes the sound he heard when listening to it in terms defined by the measurements. It's hard to believe his subjective opinion of the sound isn't just reflecting the measurements. If he were objective, he would do a blind comparison with his prized DX3pro reference before doing any of the measurements. To be so wildly measurement focused, then rely on a sighted comparison to confirm the measurements audibly is nothing short of insane.

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1 minute ago, Ittaku said:

You invoked the magic words... Time for this thread to come under moderator watch, and eventually be shut down.

I repeated what had already been invoked previously by another, guilty by association? accessory after the fact? ;)

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Regarding the 'character' of a DAC: I find that every DAC, and hi-fi component for that matter, has a character, such are the infinite variables involved in electronic design. Topping DACs are often described as having a 'neutral' character.

 

In the case of the D50 I would say 'tonally thin' and 'lacking bass heft' when compared with Sabre DACs that have fully developed analogue output stages and decent power supplies perhaps the two most important attributes of a good DAC. This shortfall also applies to the D70, giving it a lumpy mid-bass and average dynamics. If the D50 and D70 were two or three hundred dollars cheaper then I wouldn't complain. 

 

In any thread like this there's a danger of people being labelled anti-Topping and anti-ASR, or vice versa. This is a rather simplistic tendency, and often propagated by people with very dogmatic ideas about hi-fi. It's pretty apparent who they are in this thread! 

 

I've followed Topping's products from their conception and admired their early budget efforts. In their current lineup, the D30 DAC is a decent enough device, helped by the fact that the Cirrus Logic CS4398 is relatively easy to implement. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by was_a
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4 hours ago, sloper said:

 

The D90 is on my birthday list in April, but if some one want to give me one earlier l will let you know if it sounds better to me.

 

l scratch my head at people who dont use optical into a DAC but thats my opinion.

I use optical from time to time, bugger if I can tell the difference between optics and s/pdif.    You probably know this but the D90 does support optical.  

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4 hours ago, a.dent said:

Good points. That's why I said the ASR measurements are a good basis for choosing a DAC. Just somewhere to start by telling us all which ones measure badly. Ideally we should listen before buying but sometimes that's not possible.

.

I take my hat of to Amir,   he doesn’t advertise and he’s very transparent....

He tells it like it is, there’s no BS...  the beauty about this gig is that he gets  people sending him gear.  Test them and then sends them back, the thing about a badly measured product is that there can be a number of things at play,  and it does get ask regularly on that site; if it measures badly is it faulty to begin with!    Unless a 2nd sample is sent we really don’t know until he takes the bonnet of and do a visual or start measuring points and begin fault finding,  he’s actually done this to a few products...  one dac was at least tested several times with a separate unit... the other thing that happens is that the manufacturer are welcome to chime in to discuss it.   I know that Topping had an issue with the DX3pro I think of memory the rep had it under control and got failed units sent back to him where they found that during the solder stage one of the drive chips wasn’t exactly soldered correctly....  

4 hours ago, a.dent said:

. There's already distortion in every system (even with DSP and room treatments) so why introduce further distortion when you can avoid doing so by choosing a well measuring DAC. 

 

At least get the electronics distortion free as much as possible so you have a reference....  electromechanics such as loudspeaker distortion and external physics are going to have way more distortion that influence the sound wave...  so use other means like a set of headphone.   

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3 hours ago, Ittaku said:

Back to what I implied earlier - I would have to say when the measurements show something measures "bad", he describes the sound he heard when listening to it in terms defined by the measurements. It's hard to believe his subjective opinion of the sound isn't just reflecting the measurements. If he were objective, he would do a blind comparison with his prized DX3pro reference before doing any of the measurements. To be so wildly measurement focused, then rely on a sighted comparison to confirm the measurements audibly is nothing short of insane.

I believe all his headphone amp listening tests are blind. 

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3 hours ago, Muon N' said:

Not guarding against the influence of personal biases is not a scientific approach, it creates errors as far as science is concerned.

I agree. But the measurements themselves are not biased. 
I wonder though why it’s so rare for reviewers to be called out for bias in subjective reviews? 
 

 

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At the end of the day Amir is not an audiophile and ASR as a website, does not take an audiophile approach. This may or may not be a good thing for us and is open discussion? However, I feel that something is lost on the ASR website for audiophiles who want to consider both how perfectly something measures and how it sounds.

 

Imo, the ASR site is oriented about 98% towards Amir’s measurements (be it limited or not as @rmpfyf suggests) and about 2% towards how something sounds. For me personally this can be as boring as batsh*t, once you get past the interesting measurements and the posts from the ASR membership who have purchased and make comment on the tested product, which can be helpful at times.

 

Its just a guess and please don’t take umbrage, but I think that Amir (and a lot of his membership) are not able to express clearly or with some imaginative prose ’how something sounds’. That is probably just in his psyche and brain chemistry and can be a good or bad thing depending on how you view it - objectively or subjectively. Also, he may not have had extensive experience with hearing a lot of hi-end audio equipment and just doesn’t go there or have any belief in these things from first-hand encounters, who knows? 

 

Personally, I think that a good audio review is a combination of about 70% discussion on the science and construction of the equipment and 30% on how the designer may have wrought a particular sound that keeps the listener engaged and interested in the music and warrants the extra price for the effort.

 

Btw, I currently have about six dacs in my collection with one of them costing about RRP $5K in it’s day and the little Topping D10 does acquit itself very well. Like I have said often on this forum, DA converters are not the weak point in our sound systems.

 

Cheers,

 

Steve.

 

 

.

Edited by Steve M
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7 minutes ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

I agree. But the measurements themselves are not biased. 
I wonder though why it’s so rare for reviewers to be called out for bias in subjective reviews? 
 

 

Depends on the test conditions, and how it is presented, It's like how the same statistics and graphs can be show with different results.

Anyway, measurements are only part of the equation when evaluating the sound of a piece of kit.

 

But here we are again going in circles on the same subject.

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3 hours ago, Addicted to music said:

I take my hat of to Amir,   he doesn’t advertise and he’s very transparent....

He tells it like it is, there’s no BS...  the beauty about this gig is that he gets  people sending him gear.  Test them and then sends them back, the thing about a badly measured product is that there can be a number of things at play,  and it does get ask regularly on that site; if it measures badly is it faulty to begin with!    Unless a 2nd sample is sent we really don’t know until he takes the bonnet of and do a visual or start measuring points and begin fault finding,  he’s actually done this to a few products...  one dac was at least tested several times with a separate unit... the other thing that happens is that the manufacturer are welcome to chime in to discuss it.   I know that Topping had an issue with the DX3pro I think of memory the rep had it under control and got failed units sent back to him where they found that during the solder stage one of the drive chips wasn’t exactly soldered correctly....  

 

For what he does it's good within context. 

 

It's free testing from a man with some kit. If he was to offer tests from more kit or add subjective relative listening... it'd prolly not be free. 

 

8 hours ago, a.dent said:

Exactly. There's already distortion in every system (even with DSP and room treatments) so why introduce further distortion when you can avoid doing so by choosing a well measuring DAC. 

 

Because we might like said distortion :)

 

It's statistically impossible to get perfect digital reproduction. Same goes acoustic reproduction. At the end of the day you pay for what you like until you find something you like more. But we're always in compromise, always. There's always buy-in to this (AKM DAC users - pick your filter!)

 

I've no problem with ASR save for when it's taken in an absolutist context... which is much the same for anything else. 

 

There are going to be DACs off the same chip at the $5k+ mark. It'll be interesting to hear what chimes with us more when listening. Certainly DAC ICs are getting to levels where certain measurements are basically instrumentation-grade. Fast times in digital land. 

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Back on topic:

 

amazon has it listed, a bit upper for me so I’m out, landed cost and I’m not sure whether GST is added for those who want it.  But it’s costing this:

 

https://www.amazon.com.au/TOPPING-D90-Bluetooth-Balanced-Decoder/dp/B082PVQDG1/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?keywords=topping+d90&qid=1577956823&sprefix=topping+d90&sr=8-1

 

 

 

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52 minutes ago, Addicted to music said:

Back on topic:

 

amazon has it listed, a bit upper for me so I’m out, landed cost and I’m not sure whether GST is added for those who want it.  But it’s costing this:

 

https://www.amazon.com.au/TOPPING-D90-Bluetooth-Balanced-Decoder/dp/B082PVQDG1/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?keywords=topping+d90&qid=1577956823&sprefix=topping+d90&sr=8-1

 

 

 

There is a cheaper entry at $965.00.

 
A different seller, though.
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Topping has now entered the same territory as other higher priced dacs with the $1,100 D90. In ASR group think, why would you buy the D90 at 10x the price, when the D10 already measures superbly and is therefore likely to sound the same (in their way of thinking)??

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18 minutes ago, Steve M said:

Topping has now entered the same territory as other higher priced dacs with the $1,100 D90. In ASR group think, why would you buy the D90 at 10x the price, when the D10 already measures superbly and is therefore likely to sound the same (in their way of thinking)??

Amir is just a massive meme. They don't know the first thing when it comes to audio.

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28 minutes ago, Steve M said:

Topping has now entered the same territory as other higher priced dacs with the $1,100 D90. In ASR group think, why would you buy the D90 at 10x the price, when the D10 already measures superbly and is therefore likely to sound the same (in their way of thinking)??

Feature set, mainly. Topping prices tend to scale with the features provided - perhaps because they know how their typical customers weigh their purchase decisions.

 

My D50s costs double what the D10 costs, but has Bluetooth, additional inputs, etc. If I wanted it to have an internal power supply and balanced outputs, I would need to pay double that for the D70s (and forgo the Bluetooth). For the whole shebang, there's the D90 (which, being the AKM chip, avoids the whole 'ESS hump' thing). 

 

That all seems reasonable to me, even assuming they all sound the same.

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AKM 4499 chip isn’t cheap,  Topping is now entering top of the line DAC chips so costs isn’t exactly going to come down.   It’s around $126AUS via Digikey:

 

https://www.digikey.com.au/product-detail/en/akm-semiconductor-inc/AK4499EQ/974-1192-ND/10284468

 

And as you know via a previous post the evaluation pcb is $600..  But all evaluation pcb are going to cost around north of $400.

 

The Topping D10 is around $130AUS.   And it uses the ESS9018k2M  chip that’s at a fraction of the cost....  

there is no data for ESS or access point of sales as it’s exclusive and ESS is terrible in providing data and accessibility to there products.....  there are ways around it, you need to know someone in the industry to access that info,  getting on the DIY helps.  At least AKM has a public version of the data sheet that has block diagram and pin layout that can be access which is a real bonus if you need to access some of the features, why bother when Topping has done this for you via controls and with a graphic interface that not only controls volume but also accessing filter settings...

 

This gives you the price perspective on both application and why the $699 US for the D90.  

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Addicted to music said:

The Topping D10 is around $130AUS.   And it uses the ESS9018k2M  chip ...

 

 

 

 

D10 is on sale at US$65.00 by Drop right now.

 

There seems to have been an ESS distortion hump issue with the implementations with these chips that is hard to rectify.

Edited by PositivelyMusicallyGeared
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2 hours ago, PositivelyMusicallyGeared said:

D10 is on sale at US$65.00 by Drop right now.

 

There seems to have been an ESS distortion hump issue with the implementations with these chips that is hard to rectify.

Serious Bargain! 

 

Dont quote me me and I stand corrected if I’m wrong but the ESS hump only exists in the 9038 serious not the old 9018

 

 

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28 minutes ago, Addicted to music said:

Dont quote me me and I stand corrected if I’m wrong but the ESS hump only exists in the 9038 serious not the old 9018

 

 

You are right, 9018 has a different issue:

 

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/ess-thd-‘hump’-investigation.5752/page-24

 

.

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I'm sorry, but I have to chime in again. This discussion about modern DAC chips is irrelevant. Experienced audiophiles know that analogue output stages and power supplies dictate sound quality. Inexperienced audiophiles focus on the chip and measurements thereof. On Audio Science Review it's the blind leading the blind. I'm hoping for a more balanced approach on Stereonet.

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