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Review and Measurements of Topping DX3Pro DAC and Headphone Amp

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Got my Argons in at last and am pleased to report that the DX3pro has more than enough juice to push them to hearing damaging levels, with a bit more headroom to spare. Currently getting my head brutally thumped by visceral sub-bass at -8db in High Gain.

Edit: An hour of nonstop enjoyment in, every reviewer who loves these were correct about the pure Fun of their punchy, non-sibilant assault. Also sufficing nicely on low gain too, depending on the mixing of the songs at hand. The most dynamic planar I've yet heard, they were right about that, too.

Edit #2: The NX4 also makes these things sing entirely within low gain, and the bass boost augmentation is dandy. Fantastic!
 
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NTomokawa

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Not yet but supposedly Topping engineers have been focusing on it for the past month, silently.
Hmm, releasing a public communiqué would have been nice.

I'm guessing Amir has yet to find anything with the two defective units he purchased?
 

commonman27

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I'm guessing Amir has yet to find anything with the two defective units he purchased?
Here is what Amir had found with the unit I sent over:

FYI I received the broken unit that won't come out of standby. There is a soft control from the microprocessor that turns on the power supply to the analog output. In the broken unit, the microprocessor does not assert this so the unit remains powered off (enable pin low on the switching supply). I replaced the front panel with a good one but it made no difference so the control signal to the processor seems fine.
It has since been returned to Amazon as it was inside the return period.
 

amirm

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FYI I happened to be able to make the second DX3 Pro go into standby when inserting the headphone jack into it. I turns back on and remains functional. I can't replicate the conditions though. Those of who have had standby issues, is it related to plugging in the headphone?
 
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I incidentally had my first spontaneous shutdown while I was actively listening to music a few weeks ago. I was in high gain (don't use it often so far) on my 2Cs, and I heard a click and silence as the display shut off. Turned it back on immediately with no lasting issue. Supremely baffling, there was no rhyme or reason to the timing of it.
 
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FYI I happened to be able to make the second DX3 Pro go into standby when inserting the headphone jack into it. I turns back on and remains functional. I can't replicate the conditions though. Those of who have had standby issues, is it related to plugging in the headphone?
Mine was from the first batch of Units shipped. I have not seen any standby issues so far. I HAVE NOT USED USB OR HEADPHONES OUT till date. Only use the Bluetooth streaming and Line out to Amp. Haven't faced any shutdown issue till date. Also i have been using the stock firmware and NOT updated the firmware as well.
Seems the standby issues are caused by Headphone usage and maybe in USB DAC mode [Not sure on this though]
 
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Mine was from the first batch of Units shipped. I have not seen any standby issues so far. I HAVE NOT USED USB OR HEADPHONES OUT till date. Only use the Bluetooth streaming and Line out to Amp. Haven't faced any shutdown issue till date. Also i have using the stock firmware and NOT updated the firmware as well.
Seems the standby issues are caused by Headphone usage and maybe in USB DAC mode [Not sure on this though]
I think it will be something connected with headphones out - headphones amplifier as most of the issues are connected with pop in one of the headphones channels and in most cases then permanent damage of headphones out.
 

Yuno

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I think it will be something connected with headphones out - headphones amplifier as most of the issues are connected with pop in one of the headphones channels and in most cases then permanent damage of headphones out.
Every single time my dx3 pro shut down (about 6 times by now), it was in variable line out mode.
 

Yuno

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Any time since you bought the DX3, did you connect the headphones or as a USB DAC mode ?
Yeah, I switch between headphones (hd600) and line out all the time. I have not had any issues with amp itself (pops, hisses, broken channels) but then again those seem to happen with low impedance headphones I think, which I don't use.
 

agjell

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First post! I received my DX3 Pro from Massdrop on Feb 5th. Firmware was updated to 1.04 before usage. Automatic power on/off was disabled. Included PSU was replaced with Meanwell as I wanted one with an EU plug. Unit have been used exclusively in "headphone amp output" with a pair of Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee (rated at 150 Ω). After a month of frequent usage I experienced a random shutdown last week during a PC gaming session. Unit went into standby, without hiss, clicks or any other sounds in the headphones. Powered it back on immediately and it worked fine, but figured it was worth reporting it here.
 

Veri

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First post! I received my DX3 Pro from Massdrop on Feb 5th. Firmware was updated to 1.04 before usage. Automatic power on/off was disabled. Included PSU was replaced with Meanwell as I wanted one with an EU plug. Unit have been used exclusively in "headphone amp output" with a pair of Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee (rated at 150 Ω). After a month of frequent usage I experienced a random shutdown last week during a PC gaming session. Unit went into standby, without hiss, clicks or any other sounds in the headphones. Powered it back on immediately and it worked fine, but figured it was worth reporting it here.
How is the 58X with the DX3 treating you? :)
 

agjell

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How is the 58X with the DX3 treating you? :)
All in all: Well.

Depending on the source, the DX3 Pro doesn't always have enough power to drive the 58X in low gain, but I've never run out of power in high gain. For gaming it's a brilliant combination, for music I'm having mixed feelings. I can really feel the bass in games, it's very enjoyable. With music I'm experiencing a bit of listening fatigue, but that may just be me.

I'm coming from a pair of Sennheiser HD 555/595 connected to an Onkyo TX-NR809 AVR (WASAPI exclusive over HDMI). Probably far from ideal with headphones, and far from transparent. But in many cases I still prefer the Onkyo and the 595, as I never experience listening fatigue with that combo, even though I turn the volume up quite high. Comparing whatever graphs I can find online of the frequency response of the 595 and the 580X, I'm assuming it's the bump at 5-6k that make the latter a bit more fatiguing. I have no empirical data to prove any differences, though. Wish I had measuring gear to test/verify.

I'm not sure my opinion is of much worth to anyone. I've never listened to a studio setup and probably never listened to a transparent setup either. And I've always preferred a muted treble. The comfort of my eardrums is very important to me. Had I only known their frequency response :D

Edit: Using EqualizerAPO with Peace GUI and the attached configuration made the music experience SO much more enjoyable. I've been listening to this setup for many hours now with no listening fatigue.
 

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All in all: Well.

Depending on the source, the DX3 Pro doesn't always have enough power to drive the 58X in low gain, but I've never run out of power in high gain. For gaming it's a brilliant combination, for music I'm having mixed feelings. I can really feel the bass in games, it's very enjoyable. With music I'm experiencing a bit of listening fatigue, but that may just be me.

I'm coming from a pair of Sennheiser HD 555/595 connected to an Onkyo TX-NR809 AVR (WASAPI exclusive over HDMI). Probably far from ideal with headphones, and far from transparent. But in many cases I still prefer the Onkyo and the 595, as I never experience listening fatigue with that combo, even though I turn the volume up quite high. Comparing whatever graphs I can find online of the frequency response of the 595 and the 580X, I'm assuming it's the bump at 5-6k that make the latter a bit more fatiguing. I have no empirical data to prove any differences, though. Wish I had measuring gear to test/verify.

I'm not sure my opinion is of much worth to anyone. I've never listened to a studio setup and probably never listened to a transparent setup either. And I've always preferred a muted upper mid/lower treble. The comfort of my eardrums is the very important to me. If I had only known their frequency response :D
i've got the same setup but i don't know how to tell if it lacks power in low gain mode... it is impossible, try some bass heavy music when headphones need it a lot... no distrotion nor anything else

btw i've got one and only power off from the day i've recieved the unit in the end of december ~~~
 

flipflop

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@agjell Welcome to the forum.
The frequency response of your headphones can be corrected with an equalizer. I recommend Equalizer APO + Peace GUI if you're using Windows.
 

agjell

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i've got the same setup but i don't know how to tell if it lacks power in low gain mode... it is impossible, try some bass heavy music when headphones need it a lot... no distrotion nor anything else
I just mean that some times I want to turn the volume past 0 db, and then I have to switch to high gain.

@agjell Welcome to the forum.
The frequency response of your headphones can be corrected with an equalizer. I recommend Equalizer APO + Peace GUI if you're using Windows.
Thank you! I was actually checking out that exact combination right after I posted. Will try it out this weekend :)
 
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I'm completely new to 1) hifi audio and 2) this forum. Regardless, thank you all for putting so much of your time in reviews, comparisons, help, etc. I've been looking for a DAC/Amp combo for under $200, which eventually led me here.

The DX3 Pro sounds like it's a great DAC with headphone amp. It has everything I could want. However, I'm hesitant because of all the problems people have been having. However, since following this thread I found this seller saying they have a March 06 improved version (link here). Not sure. I send them a message to see what they reply with.

Update V1: I just heard back from that store. I will paste below.
HI
It is now the latest version.
There will be a batch of the latest goods coming from the factory tomorrow.
But the manufacturer did not tell us what problems were fixed.

What do you all think?
 
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Yeah, I switch between headphones (hd600) and line out all the time. I have not had any issues with amp itself (pops, hisses, broken channels) but then again those seem to happen with low impedance headphones I think, which I don't use.
My few cents, seems all the standby issues are linked to the headphone amp circuitry. For some reason at times the Microproc doesnt like the impedance of the headphone amp [Though occurs occasionally], which in-turn fails to assert the Voltage on for the analog circuitary. Hope the Topping guys have a solution for this...!
 
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