• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Need advice on what amp to pair with Topping D10s

Joined
Aug 2, 2020
Messages
9
Likes
0
Location
Spain
#1
Hello, audio noob here, so please forgive my ignorance.

My old sound card died, so I purchased a Topping D10s to replace it. I took a look at the review here - at the end of it the reviewer says "If your amplifier requires 1 volt to reach its maximum power, your DAC SINAD is between 107 to 110 dB depending on channel. This means if you have an amplifier with SINAD of 100 dB, the DAC contributions will be insignificant (you want upstream devices to be 10 dB better)." I'm not sure what that means - the way it is written doesn't make a lot of sense to me (it's most likely my fault entirely). If someone could clarify I would appreciate it.

I am currently using a Lepy LP-V3S amplifier, which I think is the same (or at least very similar) as the LP-2020A model. Should I upgrade my amplifier? I have a Yamaha RX-397 that needs to be repaired, should I just repair that one and use it or buy something better? If so, what would be a good option?
 
Last edited:

Jimbob54

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 25, 2019
Messages
2,214
Likes
1,587
#2
The Topping will almost certainly have better performance than your soundcard and I would hazard a guess its got better SINAD than your current amp by a fair margin. Better is good.

In very simplistic terms, if you were happy with the amp fed from the soundcard, feeding it from the Topping will only be measurable better. Maybe not audibly better.

Stick with the amp if you are happy with it.

What you dont want is to feed a 100 dB SINAD amp with an 85dB SINAD DAC- that drags the overall performance of the system down. Make sense?
 

zermak

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2019
Messages
319
Likes
204
Location
Italy
#3
You will not notice any improvement getting the D10s or even any other better DAC because the limiting factor here is the amplifier that you are using. I am pretty sure to tell you that it has probably a SINAD of less than 70dB (probably around 60dB) considering its price and the other product measured here from the same company. Usually the onboard DACs are around 80dB SINAD :)
 
OP
D
Joined
Aug 2, 2020
Messages
9
Likes
0
Location
Spain
Thread Starter #4
The Topping will almost certainly have better performance than your soundcard and I would hazard a guess its got better SINAD than your current amp by a fair margin. Better is good.

In very simplistic terms, if you were happy with the amp fed from the soundcard, feeding it from the Topping will only be measurable better. Maybe not audibly better.

Stick with the amp if you are happy with it.

What you dont want is to feed a 100 dB SINAD amp with an 85dB SINAD DAC- that drags the overall performance of the system down. Make sense?
You will not notice any improvement getting the D10s or even any other better DAC because the limiting factor here is the amplifier that you are using. I am pretty sure to tell you that it has probably a SINAD of less than 70dB (probably around 60dB) considering its price and the other product measured here from the same company. Usually the onboard DACs are around 80dB SINAD :)
Thank you both for the replies. One of you seems to be telling me to stick with the Lepy, and the other suggests an upgrade. I guess what I don't really understand is why the reviewer says that DAC contributions will be insignificant with a 100 dB SINAD amp. Wouldn't that be ideal considering that 110 dB - 10 dB = 100 dB? Again, sorry if this is a gross misunderstanding on my part.
 

zermak

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2019
Messages
319
Likes
204
Location
Italy
#5
The point here is that your amplifier is low quality and its THD+N (noise and harmonic distrotions) performance are bad and I assume it has a SINAD around 60dB (=THD+N of 0,1%) so changing the DAC will not improve anything (because if you feed the amplifier with a clean signal the amplifier itself will modify and amplify it in a bad way adding noise and harmonics).
Ti have an upgrade in your setup the gear to change is the amplifier with something more trasparent.
 
OP
D
Joined
Aug 2, 2020
Messages
9
Likes
0
Location
Spain
Thread Starter #6
The point here is that your amplifier is low quality and its THD+N (noise and harmonic distrotions) performance are bad and I assume it has a SINAD around 60dB (=THD+N of 0,1%) so changing the DAC will not improve anything (because if you feed the amplifier with a clean signal the amplifier itself will modify and amplify it in a bad way adding noise and harmonics).
Ti have an upgrade in your setup the gear to change is the amplifier with something more trasparent.
Yes, sir, I agree with you. My intention is to upgrade both. What do you mean by more transparent? Could you recommend a simple amplifier for me? (I only need a single analog stereo input + output)
 

Jimbob54

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 25, 2019
Messages
2,214
Likes
1,587
#7
Thank you both for the replies. One of you seems to be telling me to stick with the Lepy, and the other suggests an upgrade. I guess what I don't really understand is why the reviewer says that DAC contributions will be insignificant with a 100 dB SINAD amp. Wouldn't that be ideal considering that 110 dB - 10 dB = 100 dB? Again, sorry if this is a gross misunderstanding on my part.
Any noise and distortion from the DAC (already pretty damn low at 110dB SINAD) will be masked by the noise in the 100 dB SINAD amp. Every component has a certain base noise level plus a degree (in this DAC v small) distortion on playback, The amp has more base noise and more distortion on playback- so dont worry about the DAC noise/ distortion.

If the amp had amazingly low noise and distortion (lets say 120 dB SINAD) and the DAC had only 100dB, the brilliance of the amp would be "limited" by the 20 dB additional noise and distortion in the DAC. Of course, at those kind of numbers , we are talking pretty much inaudible N&D so "swamped" is misleading in real world. But if we were talking 80dB SINAD amp and 70 dB SINAD DAC- we are in audible numbers- the DAC is choking the amp.

Very long story short, if your amp is crap and your DAC is good, youre still only hearing how crap your amp is. If your DAC is crap and your amp is amazing, you're missing out.

There are better amps out there than yours, of course. The question is - do you care? Playback with the D10 plugged in will be no worse than playback from your soundcard.
 

Jimbob54

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 25, 2019
Messages
2,214
Likes
1,587
#8
Yes, sir, I agree with you. My intention is to upgrade both. What do you mean by more transparent? Could you recommend a simple amplifier for me? (I only need a single analog stereo input + output)
Transparent= does not add or subtract from the source file. The DAC simply converts , the amp simply amplifies. In reality all components add or subtract something from the original signal. Hifi is about minimising that change.
 

Rja4000

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
May 31, 2019
Messages
887
Likes
739
Location
Liège, Belgium
#9
What Amir meant is that if your amp can drive to full power with as little as 1V (or up to 2V), you should not bother about any negative impact from the DAC, because, in that range of DAC output, the D10s performance is equal or better to the very best amps out there. Including crazy expensive ones.

Check the amp sensitivity and max input level.
If the first is below 2V and the second above 1V, you're good to go.
 
Last edited:
OP
D
Joined
Aug 2, 2020
Messages
9
Likes
0
Location
Spain
Thread Starter #10
Any noise and distortion from the DAC (already pretty damn low at 110dB SINAD) will be masked by the noise in the 100 dB SINAD amp. Every component has a certain base noise level plus a degree (in this DAC v small) distortion on playback, The amp has more base noise and more distortion on playback- so dont worry about the DAC noise/ distortion.

If the amp had amazingly low noise and distortion (lets say 120 dB SINAD) and the DAC had only 100dB, the brilliance of the amp would be "limited" by the 20 dB additional noise and distortion in the DAC. Of course, at those kind of numbers , we are talking pretty much inaudible N&D so "swamped" is misleading in real world. But if we were talking 80dB SINAD amp and 70 dB SINAD DAC- we are in audible numbers- the DAC is choking the amp.

Very long story short, if your amp is crap and your DAC is good, youre still only hearing how crap your amp is. If your DAC is crap and your amp is amazing, you're missing out.

There are better amps out there than yours, of course. The question is - do you care? Playback with the D10 plugged in will be no worse than playback from your soundcard.
Thank you, I believe I understood your explanation. Yes, I do care about the amp I'm using. I was using the Yamaha RX-397 that I mentioned before, but after that stopped working I bought that cheap Lepy one. However, it wasn't a long term thing, I would much rather have performing equipment than not, even though I don't have thousands to spend.

Transparent= does not add or subtract from the source file. The DAC simply converts , the amp simply amplifies. In reality all components add or subtract something from the original signal. Hifi is about minimising that change.
Ah, I see. That makes sense.
 

Jimbob54

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 25, 2019
Messages
2,214
Likes
1,587
#11
Thank you, I believe I understood your explanation. Yes, I do care about the amp I'm using. I was using the Yamaha RX-397 that I mentioned before, but after that stopped working I bought that cheap Lepy one. However, it wasn't a long term thing, I would much rather have performing equipment than not, even though I don't have thousands to spend.



Ah, I see. That makes sense.
The main take away is , buy a new amp that meets your functional requirements and the power requirements of your speakers. The D10 will not hold you back sonically.

If you are going to change speakers, decide on them first, then buy an amp that suits them. Dont worry about the DAC
 
OP
D
Joined
Aug 2, 2020
Messages
9
Likes
0
Location
Spain
Thread Starter #12
The main take away is , buy a new amp that meets your functional requirements and the power requirements of your speakers. The D10 will not hold you back sonically.

If you are going to change speakers, decide on them first, then buy an amp that suits them. Dont worry about the DAC
Ok, I think I will repair the Yamaha RX-397 and stick with that, then. Unless someone suggests otherwise. My speakers are Polk RTiA3's.
 

zermak

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2019
Messages
319
Likes
204
Location
Italy
#13
Yes, sir, I agree with you. My intention is to upgrade both. What do you mean by more transparent? Could you recommend a simple amplifier for me? (I only need a single analog stereo input + output)
As long as you know that the worst component (mainly in the distortion side) in the audio chain are the loudspeakers/transducers I woud raccomand to spend your money (or most of the budge) on them unless you already own a decent pair.

About the amplifier to get it depends on your need (inputs, power and so on) and mainly your budget.

For example in the bargain/ecomonic side you could be fine with any of the ICE Power amps (even the 50ASX2SE based ones have very good performance, if the power is enough for your needs) and probably even some amps/board based on the TPA32XX IC.
 
OP
D
Joined
Aug 2, 2020
Messages
9
Likes
0
Location
Spain
Thread Starter #14
As long as you know that the worst component (mainly in the distortion side) in the audio chain are the loudspeakers/transducers I woud raccomand to spend your money (or most of the budge) on them unless you already own a decent pair.

About the amplifier to get it depends on your need (inputs, power and so on) and mainly your budget.

For example in the bargain/ecomonic side you could be fine with any of the ICE Power amps (even the 50ASX2SE based ones have very good performance, if the power is enough for your needs) and probably even some amps/board based on the TPA32XX IC.
I believe that my Polk RTiA3's are pretty decent, or at least I don't have any complaints. Do you have any thoughts regarding the Yamaha RX-397?
 

VMAT4

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2018
Messages
339
Likes
237
Location
South Central Pennsylvania
#15
Accessories4Less sells the Yamaha WXA50 refurbished for $400, when they have them in stock. Maybe this is your ticket?
 
OP
D
Joined
Aug 2, 2020
Messages
9
Likes
0
Location
Spain
Thread Starter #16
Accessories4Less sells the Yamaha WXA50 refurbished for $400, when they have them in stock. Maybe this is your ticket?
I don't live in the US, I live in Spain. Forgot to add that info to my profile, sorry! - it's added now.
 

Doodski

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 9, 2019
Messages
2,469
Likes
1,621
Location
Edmonton , Canada
#18

VMAT4

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2018
Messages
339
Likes
237
Location
South Central Pennsylvania
#19
Here's an inexpensive amp, the S.M.S.L SA300. Should have SINAD of about 82 dB, not too awful for the price. Puts out 80 wpc at 4 ohms.
Some members have purchased this amp. But it has yet to reviewed here.
 
OP
D
Joined
Aug 2, 2020
Messages
9
Likes
0
Location
Spain
Thread Starter #20
Here's an inexpensive amp, the S.M.S.L SA300. Should have SINAD of about 82 dB, not too awful for the price. Puts out 80 wpc at 4 ohms.
Some members have purchased this amp. But it has yet to reviewed here.
It looks interesting. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.
 
Top Bottom