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A new Dac to improve sound quality from Khadas Tone Board 1

HappyMax

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First of all I would like to thank amirm and all the participants of this forum for all the information you offer and which over time I have been able to read with great pleasure.
I would need your help in purchasing a new dac for my audio system.
I currently use an RPBI 4 with Khadas Tone Board 1 which connects to a Naim XS 2 amplifier and Dali Oberon 5 speaker.
I did a test with a Loxjie D30 and was surprised at the quality of this little unit: my impressions was that the sound produced with the Loxie is decidedly warmer, fuller, less metallic, cleaner and more detailed than the Khadas with bass present; we distinctly noticed details that were not there before and in complex songs, the instruments are very well separated; furthermore with the Khadas approaching the ear to a speaker I heard a rustle (inaudible from a distance and therefore irrelevant), I tried to do the same with the Loxjie but the rustling was gone; perhaps because the Khadas was powered by the Raspberry while Loxjie has its own built-in power supply.

For the moment I preferred not to buy the Loxjie because I would like to buy a Dac that at acceptable costs (within 600 euros) and offers a significant improvement in the sound quality of my system that I can use for a few years.
I don't need MQA or balanced XLR outputs as the dac will be connected with RCA outputs.
I have identified some products that I list and I wanted to know which of these, according to you, could give a significant increase in the sound quality produced by my system.

SMSL SU-8S
SMSL SU-9
Topping D50s
Topping D30pro
Gustard X16
Topping D70s

I realize that the choice is very subjective.
Considering the costs we could argue that the D70s costs almost four times compared to the Loxjie D30 but I'm not sure it can guarantee the same leap in quality but this is a very philosophical and not technical reasoning.

Thanks so much for all your advice.
 
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threni

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My Pi 4 is connected to a Topping E30. I'm not sure more expensive DACs are going to sound any better.
 
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HappyMax

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I've read several reviews and the Loxjie D30 seems to be more musical than the Toppind D50s too.
So to improve the quality of the Loxjie which, as I said, is superior to Khadas, I thought I would start at least with the Topping D30Pro or SMSL-SU9.

This is review form a user that bougth a D30pro
"Great DAC/Pre for a audiophile system. A slightly more open and detailed sound from my previous DAC/Pre.
This feeds a $7K amp with $14K speakers and its right at home. I used to have a very expensive DAC/Pre and I find this even better better. Great easy to read display and remote. Exactly what I wanted."


I had also evaluated Gustard X16 but I have read in this forum various problems from people who have bought it.

Topping D70s would be top for me and in this review it is referred to as sounding almost similar to the Denafrips Ares II.
https://soundnews.net/sources/dacs/topping-d70s-mqa-dac-review-raising-the-bar/

But the doubt remains: what details and quality could I appreciate by purchasing the D70S compared to the D30 Pro or SMSL-SU9 in my system?
 

threni

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You won't "appreciate" any more quality over the E30 no matter what you pay or how much "more musical" some other subjectivist site describes some alternative as. You'll simply be throwing away money. The E30 converts from digital to analog essentially perfectly, and it comes with a remote. Spend your money where you can hear the difference: headphones and speakers.

The guy on that link doesn't know what he's talking about, btw:
......
  • With E30 line they are showing that music can flow like a river with its sweet tonality, that is putting a bigger accent on air and scale, but less so on the technical aspects.
......
Maybe read sites like that for the poetry, but ASR for facts about audio equipment.
 

aandres_gm

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As a D30 Pro owner, I don't think there's any sound benefit to going any higher than a Topping E30. I personally got mine only because I needed XLR and it seemed like a good buy (plus, it matched the A30 Pro I wanted to purchase).

Also, I would personally skip soundnews, as their reviews are overly verbose and not really objective.
 
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HappyMax

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Thanks everyone for your advice.

Maybe I should reconsider the Loxjie D30 which has an integrated power supply, no background noise ad same chip Ak4493 (as I experienced in my previous test).
 

raistlin65

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For the moment I preferred not to buy the Loxjie because I would like to buy a Dac that at acceptable costs (within 600 euros) and offers a significant improvement in the sound quality of my system that I can use for a few years.
I don't need MQA or balanced XLR outputs as the dac will be connected with RCA outputs.
I have identified some products that I list and I wanted to know which of these, according to you, could give a significant increase in the sound quality produced by my system.

SMSL SU-8S
SMSL SU-9
Topping D50s
Topping D30pro
Gustard X16
Topping D70s

I realize that the choice is very subjective.
Considering the costs we could argue that the D70s costs almost four times compared to the Loxjie D30 but I'm not sure it can guarantee the same leap in quality but this is a very philosophical and not technical reasoning.

Thanks so much for all your advice.

The Khadas Tone Board is a well-measuring DAC. Very accurate

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...ents-of-wesiontek-khadas-tone-board-dac.4823/

It is easily arguable to be noise and distortion-free within the range of human hearing. So any other highly accurate DAC and it are likely to sound the same.

In fact, the Loxjie D30 also measures extremely accurate and should normally sound the same as the Khadas.
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...d30-dac-and-headphone-amplifier-review.16679/

When you compared the D30 and Khadas, did you properly volume level the two? If not, that could account for why they sound different.
 
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HappyMax

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The Khadas Tone Board is a well-measuring DAC. Very accurate

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...ents-of-wesiontek-khadas-tone-board-dac.4823/

It is easily arguable to be noise and distortion-free within the range of human hearing. So any other highly accurate DAC and it are likely to sound the same.

In fact, the Loxjie D30 also measures extremely accurate and should normally sound the same as the Khadas.
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...d30-dac-and-headphone-amplifier-review.16679/

When you compared the D30 and Khadas, did you properly volume level the two? If not, that could account for why they sound different.

I can confirm that the Loxjie in my system has improved the sound quality with more detail, more defined instruments, wider soundstage and warmer sound.
To get another opinion I involved my wife who had the same impression as me listening to the same songs at the same volume.
 

FrantzM

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I can confirm that the Loxjie in my system has improved the sound quality with more detail, more defined instruments, wider soundstage and warmer sound.
To get another opinion I involved my wife who had the same impression as me listening to the same songs at the same volume.
I suppose, she heard the differences from the other room?
 
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HappyMax

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I suppose, she heard the differences from the other room?

I assure you that we did an accurate audio test with the speakers at the same distance, listening each song first with Khadas and immediately after with the Loxjie.
 

threni

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I assure you that we did an accurate audio test with the speakers at the same distance, listening each song first with Khadas and immediately after with the Loxjie.
Sadly, that is not an accurate audio test. I think this is how the other sites do it, however.
 

Lupin

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I assure you that we did an accurate audio test with the speakers at the same distance, listening each song first with Khadas and immediately after with the Loxjie.
A sighted test is never accurate as in that case you hear with your eyes and not with your ears.
 

aandres_gm

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It may be that the differences you heard are real, but not related to the DAC itself. As solderdude mentioned, it may be related to a different volume level.
 
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HappyMax

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Sorry for accurate I mean that my ears and my wife's actually perceived an improvement in audio quality in a noise-free environment by hearing the audio sitting in the same spot.

Obviously it is a test that does not use amirm 's measuring instruments but only four ears.

I use moOde audio player and I get the same feeling when a new version is released with an improvement in audio quality.
 

threni

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Sorry for accurate I mean that my ears and my wife's actually perceived an improvement in audio quality in a noise-free environment by hearing the audio sitting in the same spot.

Obviously it is a test that does not use amirm 's measuring instruments but only four ears.

I use moOde audio player and I get the same feeling when a new version is released with an improvement in audio quality.

Well there you go! MoOde is essentially a front end for mpd so unless you were using it to somehow manipulate the audio instead of sticking it into the DAC untouched there was likely no difference in audio quality in any update. It's really worth investigating how double blind tests are done and why they are essential if you want to get the right answer from any investigation otherwise you're not going to get the most from ASR.
 

solderdude

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Yes, perfectly explained because the D30 is simply 1.2dB louder.
This always gives the impression of increased SQ.

Could also be you have a substantially different filter engaged.

In any case, as long as you are happy with the purchase it's all good.
 
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HappyMax

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@threni I do not want to doubt your knowledge in any way and I thank you very much for the answers and the help but I assure you that the difference is perceived; I am tempted to buy the d70s and then return it if I have not noticed any differences by purchasing the Loxjie I had tried. In MoOde I don't change anything so the flac files are only played.

@solderdude No now I have the Khadas but I regret the Loxjie; believe me they are not impressions; perhaps having a class A amplifier the details are perceived better.
 

solderdude

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Nope... 1.2dB level difference just that what you and everyone else will hear.
That kind of level difference will always be in favor of the 'louder' one without perceiving it as louder.
That's how the hearing works. No one exempt.
regardless on which amp or headphone... it's a level thing. That's why it is 2.3V out instead of the 'standard' 2V so it will always win on comparison.
 
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