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Review and Measurements of New Topping D50s DAC

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the brand new, Topping D50s. Yes, this is a new revision of one of our favorite DACs, the D50. The new version brings Bluetooth, remote control and better performance (see measurements below). It was kindly sent to me by Topping. I don't see an announcement on it but Topping has shared with me that it will cost US $250. The unit I have is production version but lacks manual, stickers and such.

From the outside, the D50s looks pretty much the same as D50:

Topping D50s DAC Audio Review.jpg

You can see the antenna in the back for Bluetooth. The remote control is the same as recently Topping offerings. Indeed I used the one from Topping DX3 Pro to control it. It uses two AAA batteries so there should not be any issue with coin cells.

The back panel is what you expect:
Topping D50s DAC Rear Panel Audio Review.jpg


For my testing, I just used the round 5 volt cable to USB that Topping provided. I simply plugged that into one of my USB 2.0 on my desktop workstation.

I did not test the Bluetooth but seems like this is becoming a standard feature on DACs which is nice.

All the testing was with Windows 10 USB UAC2 class driver (i.e. I did NOT install anything).

DAC Audio Measurements
Let's fire up the dashboard to see what we have here:

Topping D50s DAC Audio Measurements.png


Nice! Highest level distortion in the "bad" channel (FFT top right) is at -120 dB which is a few dB better than the best our hearing can do. Clock accuracy is right on the money with that 1.00000 kHz reading.

THD+N and hence SINAD (signal over noise and distortion) have improved by a few dB over D50. Given the small difference in SINAD between our top DACs, this moves the D50s good few notches towards the top of the class:
Topping D50s DAC SINAD Audio Measurements.png


The D50s like D50 uses an ESS DAC where with some exceptions, we have been suffering from an "IMD ESS hum" where at mid-levels, intermodulation distortion suddenly rises. Guess what? Topping has fixed this!
Topping D50s DAC IMD Audio Measurements.png


Hurray! :) I know what they fixed but I am not at liberty to say what. I will say that they had to fix this themselves and did not get help from other sources.

While we are on this graph, a trend seems to be merging between DACs based on AKM and ESS chips. AKM DACs seem to be more quiet as you can see from performance of DX3 Pro in red. But at max level though, ESS DACs seem to have less distortion by a few dB. Interesting trade off.

Dynamic range reflects the above:

Topping D50s DAC Dynamic Range Audio Measurements.png


This is about 7 dB worse than Topping D70 with is based on AKM chip. Yet, the D50s beats the SINAD of the D70 by 3 or 4 dBs.

Frequency response depends on filter setting. Here it is using the default (mode 2) filter:
Topping D50s DAC Frequency Response Audio Measurements.png


Nothing really eventful. Here are the filter differences:

Topping D50s DAC Reconstruction Filter Modes Audio Measurements.png


You have the classic choices here of wider bandwidth but less attenuation of out of band aliasing and vice versa.

Jitter visually looks clutter because of low noise floor revealing smallest aberrations but not remotely an audible concern:
Topping D50s DAC Jitter Audio Measurements.png


Linearity is nailed as one would expect from a well engineered product:

Topping D50s DAC Linearity Audio Measurements.png


Testing with 32 tones rather than one or two, we see exceedingly low intermodulation distortion:
Topping D50s DAC Multitone Audio Measurements.png


As noted, the difference between our tone peaks and the distortion floor is better than 120 dB. This is transparency in play.

EDIT: Here is the THD+N versus frequency as requested later in the thread:



Conclusions
One of our favorite DACs has grown up and become even better. The D50s solidly eliminates the ESS IMD hump, adds the much needed remote control and Bluetooth without a premium in pricing. It makes great pairing with such headphone amplifiers at JDS Labs Atom being roughly equal in size and looks.

It is a pleasure to see Topping continue to deliver well-engineered audio products without exception. Using proper measurements allows them to verify and refine the design before we get our hands on.

Needless to say, I am happy to recommend the Topping D50s.

------
Questions, comments, critique, etc. are welcome.

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amirm

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#7
Do you know if what they did to fix the ESS hump in the D50s can be implemented on the D50 through FW updates?
I do know what they fixed. And no, it cannot be applied to D50.
 

JohnYang1997

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#8
Something between the words tells me it's about clock. And perhaps it's using the "low performance" mode or something to get rid of imd hump.
I'm curious that why the noise floor and ps noise is much higher than d50.
 
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#19
@amirm Can you add some graphs comparing D50s with Khadas Tone Board?
 
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