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DX3 Pro issues

yue

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#1
I having been using DX3 Pro for about half a week, and I encountered various issues:

1. Relay click noise when playing DSD over PCM, on the latest firmware. Some operating systems, such as Mac OS X, do not support native DSD. So DoP is the only option to play DSD on those systems. The clicking issue happens whenever you pause, seek, stop/start when using DoP, regardless of your player and operating system. It still happens when you use the same DSD sample rate. The click can drive you mad.

I don't think a mechanical relay is ever needed in DX3 Pro. There are better options, such as a Solid State Relay, which does not produce noise at all. There's also digital volume control, so the implementation can make use of it and produce a mute effect when sample rate changes. A mechanical relay is a really weird design choice.

Sometimes weird clicks happen:


2. It stops working frequently. I encountered two times of random stop today. The music is still playing in computer as it is still shown as a valid device in operating system, but the DX3 produces no music at all. Rebooting does not work. detaching from the power for some time could solve the issue so far. But this is very annoying!

Here's the video demonstration. First half of the video, the music player is playing, but headphone out produces no sound at all, even at max volume. Rebooting the device does not work. Second half of the video, a complete power off and power back on turn the DAC back to normal.


3. There's no way you can use SBC such as a Raspberry Pi playing hi-res with it. SBC's USB current is usually noisier than a computer. The noisy current will easily leak into DX3's analog portion, and create pop sound that you can actually hear whenever something is going on (such as disk reading). This problem is more pervasive when playing hi-res music. You can try a DSD512 music yourself and check (I know DSD512 is unrealistic for listening but since Topping support that it's worthwhile to check). If you want to use SBC as your streaming server, do not even consider DX3 Pro. Edit: This is a Linux kernel issue and not related to Topping. Basically USB Audio 2.0 is broken on all variants of Linux. But what I said is still true --- If you plan to use DX3 Pro with a Linux single board computer such as Raspberry Pi, don't!

Update - Jan 27: New issue --- I left the DX3 in standby mode for a night. This afternoon when I turn it on it can't produce sound for any DSD files (tried various files from http://2l.no/hires/). PCM files plays fine. DSD will be shown as PCM on DX3 screen and no sound come out while playing. This happens when I send either DoP or Native DSD data. (Normal DACs will produce loud noise when consuming dsd data as PCM data, but seems the issue DX3 was suffering was not related to this, as it was just dead silent while computer sending DSD data). Rebooting did not work. Unplugging/Replugging USB did not work. Unplugging/Replugging power supply finally made it working.
 
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Darwin

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#2
I have seen a lot of complaints about reliability and having to send it back to China to be fixed.
 
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yue

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Thread Starter #3
I have seen a lot of complaints about reliability and having to send it back to China to be fixed.
it's not only about reliability --- the clicking issue and the noise issue are design problems --- mechanical relays to hide frequency change pop noise should not be in a audiophile device in the first place, and there're massive amount of usb noise leak into the analog audio pipeline.
 

soundwave76

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#10
That is going to be my plan as well. Just waiting to see if JDS launches a DAC to match the size/value of the Atom or Khadas gets a legit case together for the board.
I thought about this as well but it can be a loooong wait. Since the atom is so cheap, one can always sell it and get that new one when/if it arrives.
 
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yue

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Thread Starter #11
Maybe you should not use DSD?
issue 2 (random stop) also happens on PCM mode.

If I should not use dsd, why should I buy dx3pro? Something like sdac is already good enough for PCM
 

MusicNBeer

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#15
I have a new unit arriving tomorrow. I'm thinking I should just return it based on all these problems I'm seeing. Thanks for the heads up.
 

DonH56

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#16
I having been using DX3 Pro for about half a week, and I encountered various issues:

<elided -- Problem list>

I don't think amirm's reviews tell the whole story of a product. I concede measurements are important. But as far as I remember DX3 Pro was the most recommended product ever, and this leads to a lot of people purchasing it after reading the review. Now with so many problems and so many people experiencing them, I don't think amirm here does a good job and meet our expectation --- at least he should put a warning on top of the review article now.
First, thank you very much for reporting your problems with the unit! It is this sort of long-term "hands-on" data that can make or break a product.

I do want to comment on the review process. Any review like this, of any product, is just a quick snapshot in time of the performance of one unit. In the test world we call that a statistically insignificant sample size. You cannot judge reliability based upon a few hours of test time (unless it fails during testing, of course). Furthermore, a review focused on measurements, which is all Amir purports to do, is not going to catch problems with usability or semi-random things like chirps or clicks with certain sources or under certain conditions (again unless the reviewer happens to hit upon such a combination during the review). It is not a "review" in the sense of hours and hours of testing, listening, and using the unit -- it is a set of measurements that will catch some blatant problems but not long-term things as you have found. If you think of a review in a magazine, it is more like the "measurements" section that is just part of a complete hands-on review.

You are absolutely right that measurements do not tell the whole story about the user-friendliness and reliability of a product, and that is not the intent of Amir's review. The same is true of say JA's measurements in Stereophile, and of any of the testing and measurements done at other consumer magazines. The off-roading magazine I read tests a group of trucks over a few days, then the winner is kept for a year as a long-term test. There is no way for Amir to do that testing so many different products.

So, Amir is providing a really valuable service by providing measurements rarely if ever seen elsewhere, but that is just part of the user experience. It takes users and time to tell if the user interface is good and if the product is reliable and well-supported over time. I use Amir's, or any measurement-based reviews, as a starting point to narrow the field to the best engineered products. Then go off and look for user feedback and long-term reviews to see how the product performs over time and how easy it is to use. And, yes, how it sounds, preferably with my equipment. An amplifier that works well driving well-behaved speakers might not like the load my speakers present to it. A CD or BD player that performs great on the test bench and with a few music samples may fail miserably with my old, worn, scratched CDs, or the company may fail to update the BD player's firmware to play the latest greatest movie release.

I think Amir does great job, and he bends over backwards to run additional test as he can when people request them, but no it is not the whole story and it is good you have brought this up for those who think a single test suite on a single sample tells the whole story. Having a great set of measurements is a start but does not mean you do not have to do additional research about the features, user-friendliness, and reliability of the product. That is not, can not be, part of a relatively quick set of tests.

IME/IMO/you know the rest - Don
 
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yue

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Thread Starter #17
Any chance that you have a ground loop?
I plug them in the same outlet, use a good usb cable (with ferrite beads), and use a good power supply (apple iPad charger so sufficient power) for the pi. If there is a ground loop i would incline to believe it’s a design flaw.
 
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yue

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Thread Starter #18
I think Amir does great job,
I don’t think so. It’s fine that he didn’t run into these issues initially when he wrote the review. But now, With so many people complaining about the product in the thread, he should at least put a big warning on the first page.
 

pwjazz

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#19
Amir is providing a really valuable service by providing measurements rarely if ever seen elsewhere
Agreed! That said, perhaps it would be safer to withhold recommendations and subjective observations like "It is hard to fall in love with budget desktop audio products but there are exceptions and this is one of them", because those amount to a tacit endorsement of the product rather than just a sober accounting of here's how it performed on my tests and compares with the performance of other units.
 
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#20
I don’t think so. It’s fine that he didn’t run into these issues initially when he wrote the review. But now, With so many people complaining about the product in the thread, he should at least put a big warning on the first page.
Umm... I don't see "so many people" complaining in the thread?...:oops: Maybe you got a faulty one...

That being said, it sucks that you have to send it back to China, I guess that's the danger of buying foreign products... I bought a Grado headphone before from USA amazon, and left driver just fell out of the casing...:facepalm::facepalm::facepalm:
 
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