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Review and Measurements of Topping D10 as USB to S/PDIF Converter

amirm

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#1
In my review of Topping D10 DAC, I was asked how well the D10 does as a USB to S/PDIF (and Toslink) converter since it has those outputs. I thought I make this review and measurement its own topic.

The Topping D10 is nice and tiny and no bigger than many USB to S/PDIF converters. What's more, it has a nice display which many lack, showing the sample rate:

Schiit Modi 2 Uber Topping D10  Measurement.jpg

At $75 including shipping (albeit on Massdrop), it is also price competitive with other such converters.

Let's get into measurements and see how it does. As usual, if you are not familiar with what these graphs are, refer to my tutorial on understanding audio measurements: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/understanding-audio-measurements.2351/

Measurements
For my first test, I used the RME ADI-2 DAC as the test bed. Performance there was identical whether I used RME ADI-2 DAC's own USB input, or going through Topping D10 to drive its S/PDIF. This is high praise as it shows that the USB implementation in Topping D10 is very good. Alternatively it could be that the S/PDIF input on the RME DAC is excellent when it comes to jitter and noise reduction.

So I went the other way and pulled out the Schiit Modi 2 Uber. From prior testing I know that its USB input leaves something to be desired. Let's see how it did with its own USB input versus Topping D10 driving its S/PDIF:

Schiit Modi 2 Uber DAC with Topping D10 Jitter Measurement.png


We see that the output is substantially cleaned up. Gone (mostly) are the jitter/distortion spikes below 8 kHz. The reduction in lowest frequencies is quite remarkable to the tune of 25 dB!!!

One key point though: I had to disconnect the USB cable going to Schiit Modi to get the above results. If I left that USB connection to my computer there on Schiit Modi 2 while making the above comparison I get this:

Schiit Modi 2 Uber DAC with Topping D10 Jitter with USB Measurement.png


As we see, there is no reduction of distortion or noise whatsoever. The mere connection of USB cable to Schiit Modi 2 Uber, even when using S/PDIF, causes its output to substantially degrade.

The broadening shoulders on our 12 kHz tone remains there in either case indicating a DAC clock source (inside Modi 2 Uber) that has random jitter.

Conclusions
The Topping D10 makes a nice little USB to S/PDIF and Toslink converter for legacy DACs. And for improving DACs with poor USB implementations. Then again in the latter case, you might as well use the DAC inside the Topping D10 as it is likely to perform even better!

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As always, questions, comments, corrections, jokes, etc. are all welcome!
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#2
Nice review, it's good to see how some of these devices can be used differently and still get good results. More versatility and extenability is always nice.
 
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#3
You keep teasing us with things that modify the Modi 2 Uber for testing other products, but we don't get a straight Modi 2 Uber review. Granted, based on the Modi 2 and the Uber's jitter charts, I'm not expecting that much.
 

amirm

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#4
You keep teasing us with things that modify the Modi 2 Uber for testing other products, but we don't get a straight Modi 2 Uber review.
I am caught between people asking for its review and others saying they hate seeing so much Schiit! :D

I am thinking of doing a three-way review of Modi 2, Modi 2 Uber and Modi 2 Multibit. Assuming there are no objections to that :), I will get it out in the next week or two.
 
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#5
I am caught between people asking for its review and others saying they hate seeing so much Schiit! :D

I am thinking of doing a three-way review of Modi 2, Modi 2 Uber and Modi 2 Multibit. Assuming there are no objections to that :), I will get it out in the next week or two.
That actually sounds like an interesting shoot out. Hard to say who comes out on top, but probably not the Multibit.
 
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#6
Amirm thank you for this review!

I assume both analog and digital outputs are concurrently active? I am looking to feed the stereo system from the D10's DAC, and an AVR via S/PDIF.
 

rebbiputzmaker

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#11
I am caught between people asking for its review and others saying they hate seeing so much Schiit! :D

I am thinking of doing a three-way review of Modi 2, Modi 2 Uber and Modi 2 Multibit. Assuming there are no objections to that :), I will get it out in the next week or two.
The tests would probably be just fodder for negative posts. YMMV

What would be interesting although I understand difficult/ impossible is to someday set up controlled listening tests with some of the better dacs according to your testing and some multi-bit dacs, or lessor testing dacs in general. This might provide an idea how the specs translate (or not translate) to what we hear.
 

amirm

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#12
What would be interesting although I understand difficult/ impossible is to someday set up controlled listening tests with some of the better dacs according to your testing and some multi-bit dacs, or lessor testing dacs in general. This might provide an idea how the specs translate (or not translate) to what we hear.
Maybe. People will dispute results of listening tests easily. Your ears aren't good enough. You cheated and turned up the volume. You didn't use real world situation. Your equipment is not good enough. What you used to level match messed up the sound. My ears say different, etc.

Besides, the objective data is needed regardless. The three-way comparison was specifically asked about elsewhere as consumers are routinely facing which one of the Schiit low cost DACs they should buy. Right now they assume if they pay more, they get more. Let's see if that is true.

Longer term I am working on better mechanisms for blind testing of headphone amplifiers. There are things I can do there that I can't do with DACs.
 

rebbiputzmaker

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#13
Longer term I am working on better mechanisms for blind testing of headphone amplifiers. There are things I can do there that I can't do with DACs.
That's cool. I guess DAC listening would be a group/panel project, like some speaker manufactures do. Yes it is not a one person project...

Unless you hire this guy! :)
 

SchwarzeWolke

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#14
Wow, Amir, you can read my mind! I was thinking about a setup with active speakers, which I wanted to fed via SPIDF. Was already thinking about a USB-SPIDF converter and than received my D10 recently (last friday). What a surprise, this neat little box has some SPIDF outputs! After that, I was wondering how good this "bypass" would be and "dang", next day you post your review!
 

Jimster480

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#16
I am caught between people asking for its review and others saying they hate seeing so much Schiit! :D

I am thinking of doing a three-way review of Modi 2, Modi 2 Uber and Modi 2 Multibit. Assuming there are no objections to that :), I will get it out in the next week or two.
That sounds great! Funny to see that you can fix the Modi2 Uber by feeding it with a Topping D10!
 
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#17
Great timing with these measurements, Amir. I was searching around for something like this yesterday. A quick question about this Topping D10.
If I was to use Audiolense and Jriver, would I be route different signals to the SPDIF and the RCA? Using the RCA outs for subs, and the SPDIF out to my Deqx?
 

Jimster480

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#18
Great timing with these measurements, Amir. I was searching around for something like this yesterday. A quick question about this Topping D10.
If I was to use Audiolense and Jriver, would I be route different signals to the SPDIF and the RCA? Using the RCA outs for subs, and the SPDIF out to my Deqx?
No, Topping doesn't have 2 different devices with their pass-throughs. So whatever goes to the DAC goes to the SPDIF output.

You would need something like the SMSL xUSB or any other equiv device (or another D10 since I think its cheaper now) to do both at the same time.
 
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#19
No, Topping doesn't have 2 different devices with their pass-throughs. So whatever goes to the DAC goes to the SPDIF output.

You would need something like the SMSL xUSB or any other equiv device (or another D10 since I think its cheaper now) to do both at the same time.
Thanks for the info. I will take a look at the SMSL xUSB.
 
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