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Review and Measurements of the Topping D70 DAC

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the new Topping D70 balanced audio DAC. The company was kind enough to send me a sample for review. The D70 costs US $499 although their products frequently go on sale.

The D70 has a similar look and feel to other Topping products which is to say feels quite solid:

Topping D70 Balanced DAC Audio Review.jpg

The display is now white OLED which gives the unit more of a professional look. Alas, even in its highest setting, it was not bright enough for my taste.

The back panel is what you expect with the addition of IIS port:
Topping D70 Balanced DAC Back Panel Audio Review.jpg
The D70 like the rest of the Topping products comes with full set of safety and emissions regulatory certificates which is important for a mains operated product. These certifications are expensive and add to the development time and hence the reason they are skipped in some other competing products.

The D70 comes with a new revision of their standard remote control and remedies some issues customers have had. Namely, it comes with a pair of separate AAA batteries instead of coin cells which had come missing in some of their other products. Along these lines, there is now a red LED that lights up when you push a button so you can easily tell if you have an issue with the remote or the main unit if you can't control it. They both worked well in my testing.

The D70 continues the trend of recent products from Topping to move away from ESS DAC chips to AKM. So while the D70 may look similar to Topping DX7s (sans headphone amplifier), it has a completely different architecture internally. So let's get into measurements and see how it does.

DAC Audio Measurements
As usual we start with our Dashboard. The input for all tests is USB. The first measurement is using the XLR balanced output:

Topping D70 Balanced DAC Audio Measurements.png


The output voltage for both channels is identical which shows precision of implementation. As is right on the money frequency of 1 kHz tone.

The distortion+noise is very good but dashes my hope of it winning the crown of the best measured DAC:
Topping D70 Balanced DAC SINAD Audio Measurements.png


RCA output is just a hair worse:
Topping D70 Balanced DAC RCA Audio Measurements.png


The D70 shows what it is made out of in stellar dynamic range performance:
Topping D70 Balanced DAC Dynamic Range Audio Measurements.png


Wow, this is exceptionally clean and better than DACs with higher SINAD ratings. This is one quiet DAC!

This superiority shows up in intermodulation distortion test which at low levels is dominated by noise:
Topping D70 Balanced DAC Intermodulation Distortion Audio Measurements.png


We see that the D70 beats our best measuring DAC so far, the Okto DAC8 in this respect (sloping down part of the graph).

We can see why SINAD suffers a bit because once the levels get close to maximum, more distortion sets in than best of the best DACs. If you operate the DAC using its volume control you would avoid this and get all the benefits of the D70.

Of note, the D70 easily beats Topping's own DX3 Pro in noise performance and matches it in distortion. Very few DACs can accomplish this and hence the reason I have been using the DX3 Pro as a reference in this test.

The SMSL SU-8 is a direct budget competitor to Topping D70 so let's see how they compare on the same test:
Topping D70 Balanced DAC IMD vs SMSL SU-8 Audio Measurements.png


The performance gap widens given the "ESS Hump" which causes distortion to rise in mid levels in SU-8.

It seems that ESS based DACs have more controlled distortion at the limit than these AKM products but otherwise, the AKM DACs pull ahead -- at least in this implementation.

Linearity is aced with ruler-perfect accuracy all the way up to -120 dB (20 bits of resolution):
Topping D70 Balanced DAC Linearity Distortion Audio Measurements.png


This is as good as it gets and is better than Topping DX3 Pro.

Multitone looks excellent:
Topping D70 Balanced DAC Multitone Audio Measurements.png


We have 120 dB separate between intermodulation distortion products and our peak signal which well exceeds our hearing dynamic range.

Wide-band THD+N shows somewhat degraded performance due to existence of a near 45 khz signal dependent spike (not shown):

Topping D70 Balanced DAC THD Distortion vs frequency Audio Measurements.png


There are six filter settings:

Topping D70 Balanced DAC Filter Audio Measurements.png


Default is mode 3 which is fine as it has the flattest in-band response and sharpest attenuation of out of band (distortion) products. Worst one in this regard is Filter mode 5 ("super slow roll off") in navy blue.

Conclusions
The Topping D70 came dangerously close to unseating every other DAC. Its full output distortion is a few dB worse than the best so it didn't get there. But in all other respects, the D70 produces exceptional measured performance. Its crown jewel is exceptionally quiet noise floor that creates one of the best dynamic ranges I have measured. Use of AKM chip takes advantage of that to produces exceptionally clean performance where your volume control normally would be.

Unless my memory is hazy, the D70 produces the best measured performance of any Topping DAC. So if you are a fan the brand and want the best DAC in their product line, the D70 is it.

Note that the D70 is a new product so I can't vouch for its reliability in the field as yet. My sample worked beautifully so no concerns from this one unit.

I am happy to recommend the Topping D70 for its solid engineering and great performance.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

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#2
Thanks for the review.
I'm wondering what are the 120Hz and 240Hz spikes.
Are they related to mains hum?
 

amirm

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#3
They are power supply noise. They are exaggerated in the graphs due to very low noise floor. Their peak level is -120 dB so very low and tens of dBs lower than our threshold of hearing.

When you rectify AC to convert to DC, the frequency doubles and hence the reason you see 120 Hz and not 60 Hz. Mains leakage is actually non-existent.
 

bunkbail

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#4
Thanks for the review. Do you have the jitter test result for this one?
 

PuX

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#7
Is it me, or is the OLED screen on the first picture installed a bit crooked? It would annoy me if that is the case.
seems like the photo is maybe 1 degree off.

what bothers me about Chinese products is how they never have any kind of consistency. just the front panel has text in 4 or 5 different fonts. and the alignment of the input labels on the back is even worse.
 

Roen

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#8
SMSL D1 or this.....

Any graphs that overlay D1 vs DAC8 vs D70?
 
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#11
Is the higher intermodulation distortion on the SU8 a deal breaker? Would there be a significant difference to the ears? Wondering if the D70 worths around double the price of SU8
 

amirm

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#14
It is hard to say. Note that usability of the two products is different. The SU-8 has a tiny display which makes it hard to see from far.

I wish the D70 was $200 cheaper to make the decision easier....
 

Blumlein 88

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#15
I'm not complaining (well not too much), but this result indicates why ranking by SINAD is overly simplistic. I understand why you do it. But I'd say overall looking at all the results this is the best measuring DAC you've tested. The low noise, and the low IMD results are extraordinarily good on this DAC which is also how it gets that stellar dynamic range result. Yet this will end up not even in the top ten on the master SINAD chart.
 
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#16
Note that usability of the two products is different. The SU-8 has a tiny display which makes it hard to see from far.
I don't care too much about those quality of life difference so I'll go for the SU8. I use it for a desktop setup and I just need a DAC with performance decent enough. Seems a bit hard to justify the doubled price for the D70
 
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#17
I'm not complaining (well not too much), but this result indicates why ranking by SINAD is overly simplistic. I understand why you do it. But I'd say overall looking at all the results this is the best measuring DAC you've tested. The low noise, and the low IMD results are extraordinarily good on this DAC which is also how it gets that stellar dynamic range result. Yet this will end up not even in the top ten on the master SINAD chart.
That's one of my doubt. Can we actually judge a DAC's sound quality by simply looking at the SINAD value? Not familiar with the technical stuff. Anyone care to elaborate?
 

Blumlein 88

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#18
That's one of my doubt. Can we actually judge a DAC's sound quality by simply looking at the SINAD value? Not familiar with the technical stuff. Anyone care to elaborate?
Probably best not to turn this into a discussion on sinad. Maybe another thread or group conversation makes more sense.
 

Rem

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#19
It seems pretty good. The price is a bit more than I would spend though... Still very nice of Topping to send one in. Great review amir. :)
 

gvl

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#20
D70 will steal a lot of sales from the DX7s, one has to wonder what were they thinking. Or the DX7s is being discontinued?
 
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