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Looking for DAC/ AMP as replacement for Topping DX3Pro

Joined
May 24, 2019
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#1
Dear all,

iam new to this Forum and as my first task i feel obliged to ask a question that was definitively asked a million times before. However, my initial situation is a little bit diffrent than normally.

Recently i had the ultimate luck to get my hands on a basically new Beyerdynamic T1 2nd. Generation for about EUR 350. I tested it with my pc soundcard (Asus Phoebus) and was pretty satisfied with the sound, especially for the price. Shorty after that, after having read a million threads about DACs and AMPs, i decided to upgrade to an external solution and choose the Topping DX3Pro. When it arrived, i was blown away how much better the headphones sounded with the new gear. However, shortly after that i discovered this board and read about all the issues the Topping DX3Pro has, which will now ultimatively lead to the fact that i will send the unit back and therefore need some alternative, as i cannot go back to my soundcard now.

After again looking around i am pretty much decided on the JDS Labs Atom AMP, however i cannot really decide on the DAC to buy with it. Therefore, i would kindly ask you to support me in this regard. So far, i have pretty muched narrowed it down to either the Topping D30, D50 or the Tone board (however i would still need to understand which version i need to buy here).

Could you give me advice in this regard? Are there some obvious choices that i am missing? My budget for the DAC would be about +/- EUR 200. I would prefer that my system delivers the music to my ears as the artist intended, i.e. a flat frequency response. Furthermore, i like a wide soundstage as well as "full" sound. i would connect the DAC with USB to my PC for the moment (i have net yet fully understand what the "best" way to plug DACs in is however).

I appreciate your help and thank you in advance :),

Roman
 
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Joined
May 24, 2019
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#3
Stick with the Topping DX3Pro and save your money.
Trust me, i would love to. However, the missing protection circuit as well as the reported quality issues and spontaneous breakdowns bother me more than they probably should. Also the build quality of my unit is pretty "average" (and thats me being nice ^^), which actually does not bother me that much as i dont care much about looks with my desktop set-up.

I am just not feeling that save with the unit and spending the extra money does not bother me that much if i get the same or slightly better performance for it.
 
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Joined
Feb 16, 2019
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#6
You have way more + reviews than - reviews for the DX3pro,been running this thing none stop since march 2nd 2019 not a nary problem,save your money and get your dream setup.
 
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#8
So basically i should just keep my current set-up...

Another issue that i see with the dx3pro is that if i would like to upgrade my set-up in the future, i would have to buy both, a DAC and an AMP.
I have read that some people here have paired the atom with the D50 and they love it. I will think about it. I still have 20 days to send the dx3pro back.
 
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Feb 16, 2019
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#9
I would keep the current setup,and save for what i ultimately want always something new and better,but it's your choice in the end. The atom is good was on my list also the D50,right now Im'ma play with my topping toys till christmas,good luck with whatever you decide.
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
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#12
Khadas Tone Board + JDS Atom is a great combination. I went for that and am very happy with it. There were several reasons:

1. I wanted a separate DAC/AMP combo.
2. There is a local Khadas distributor in my country. You may be able to find one near you too.
3. JDS are offering great service and seem to have a very low ratio of failed units. They too have a distributor in Europe, so I didn't have to clear it from the customs. The price to get it from within the EU was the same as for having it shipped from the US and cleared (VAT is 20% where I live, shipping was stated at about $30-40 on JDS' site and the VAT is calculated on top of price+shipping, not only the price).
4. The quality of both products seems better in terms of faulty vs working units. Now, I have no precise data on this, I am only making a conclusion from what I see on the forums and what's written in discussions on Drop (formerly Massdrop). As far as I can tell, the guys at Topping are offering great service too, but back then, I was not able to find a representative for them in Europe. If something fails (and this seems to happen sometimes), I will have to send the item back to them for service and then wait for them to send it back to me. In my case, this will lead to way too much trouble with the customs.

Here are some notes on the items themselves:

The Tone Board comes, well, as a board. One needs to also get a case. As of today, this is no longer a problem, as several such cases are available. There is a 3D printable case by Frost, which fits the generic edition and one I created, which fits both. If you don't have a 3D printer, you can get a third party service to do it for you. Preferably with ABS instead of PLT, to be on the safe side. There is an aluminum case sold by audiophonics. Also, there is an option to do one yourself, as a DIY project, as described by TimW.

If you are choosing between the generic and VIMs edition, you should know that they are almost identical. If you get the VIMs edition, it comes pre-soldered. That's why it is a bit taller than the generic edition, but if you one day decide to stack it on top of their other products, it will be easier to do so.

As others have written, in other threads on the forum, you don't need to install drivers, if using Windows 10. Just plug it in and use Windows' own driver and WASAPI. In my setup I use Foobar, configured for WASAPI push. It works without errors at 32-bit. WASAPI event does not always work correctly for me. However, both are perfectly fine and in practice will work identically for the end user. Just pick the one, which works for you in Foobar's settings and enjoy your music.

About sound quality: as already discussed here, the Tone board is a very good product. I came to it from Fiio E17 and after it, E17k. The improvement in sound quality was immediately audible. When using it with my powered monitors (JBL LSR305), I can connect the Tone Board directly to them. This makes a really nice combination and you don't need anything between them; just push the input sensitivity to +4db. However, this combo lacks hardware volume control.

With the Atom, I got several other options. First, it has a pre-out, to which I connect the powered monitors. Thus, one gets hardware volume control for them. Second, now I can use my headphones. As I currently have a set of Alessandros (made by Grado), I actuall use the Atom to turn the volume down, not increase it. With another set of headphones (say HD6xx), you will, probably be going the other way around :)
 
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bravomail

Active Member
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Oct 19, 2018
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#13
Should u send Topping DX3Prod back and get your money , then spend it on something better? I've seen DX3Pro for the price around 180-250 dol. So for that money, if u need more reliable product, get Schiit Modi3/Magni3 stack, or JDS Atom for an amp, or some other DAC like Topping D30, but not Khadas Tone Board (KTB). KTB has no case. No optical SPDIF. No power supply if it comes to using coaxial SPDIF. The case being the biggest issue. For the same money you can get quality DAC with case and power supply, and more inputs. Plus - KTB exhibits infamous ESS hump. They have all the cards stacked against them.
 
Joined
Feb 16, 2019
Messages
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#14
Should u send Topping DX3Prod back and get your money , then spend it on something better? I've seen DX3Pro for the price around 180-250 dol. So for that money, if u need more reliable product, get Schiit Modi3/Magni3 stack, or JDS Atom for an amp, or some other DAC like Topping D30, but not Khadas Tone Board (KTB). KTB has no case. No optical SPDIF. No power supply if it comes to using coaxial SPDIF. The case being the biggest issue. For the same money you can get quality DAC with case and power supply, and more inputs. Plus - KTB exhibits infamous ESS hump. They have all the cards stacked against them.
WHAT CHOO TALKING BOUT WILLIS, the tone board don't need a power supply,Uh it's a DIY project,personally i wouldn't buy anything from Schitt,but that's just my preferance,the kid is new to this, the dx3pro is all he need,when he matures,he'll have a schitt load of money to spend on that massdrop thx amp and that d50 dac or whatever he chooses.
 

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