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Review and Measurements of Topping DX3Pro DAC and Headphone Amp

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I recently bought a DX3 Pro and could the following be a coincidence:

I have a mini-itx (skylake i7-6700) pc desktop which has been running arch linux for about two years. Now I connected the DX3 a couple weeks ago and no issues, everything played fine. Then last week, while the DX3 was connected but powered off, my desktop suddenly shutdown and interestingly the DX3 powered on and was flashing (no signal locked as pc shutdown). I was worried something fried. Pressing the power button on the pc did not boot up.

I had to unplug all USB devices from the board, unplug the power cable, reset the CMOS and a short while later it thankfully booted and everything seemed okay.

The following week, I again had everything connected (DX3 Pro was connected but powered off) and again the PC suddenly shutdown. This time the DX3 did not power on. But it took some time before I could get the PC to boot doing the same procedure again.

So far, I've left the DX3 pro disconnected since the last time and no sudden PC shutdown. I'm wondering if the DX3 Pro is the culprit. I checked the motherboard for leaky or bulging capacitors but could not visually detect any. Could the USB ports on the board be the problem? I really don't know at this point.

At the moment I'm not sure. I will likely give it some time, then reconnect the DX3 and see if a shutdown occurs again. Though at this point I'm likely going to return it to the Amazon seller.
 

amirm

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That kind of symptom typically points to a failing PC power supply Topping is pulling a bit more power and may tip it over sooner. Otherwise very hard to imagine them being connected this way.
 
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Thanks Amir, that was something I was wondering and have bought a new power supply also which arrived yesterday. Hoping that takes care of the problem then.
 

Maat

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Just an update for my previous post ( https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...dx3pro-dac-and-headphone-amp.4967/post-173391), as promised:
Ordered DX3 Pro from Amazon.de From tracking info found out it was shipped from China, but when ordering via mobile Amazon app it wasn't apparrent that it would ship from China, but it said German VAT already applied and included in price.
Due to shipping from China there was possibility of significant additional cost to me, VAT, customs/import/handling fees. Croatian customs office indeed applied all of these fees to the parcel prior to delivery.
I've sent a message to seller Shenzen Audio via Amazon.de about it, and they issued a refund for all these additional costs. We exchanged few messages, they were very polite and forthcoming all the time, and replied quickly to every message in a most satisfactory way. So thumbs up for Shenzen Audio seller from me and huge recommendation. I don't think I have ever had potential nightmare online shopping turn out into the most pleasing shopping experience that smooth.

I haven't had much time to test DX3 Pro, but in these few hours I really really love it. I came from onboard audio, and later Creative SB X-FI HD external, also tried NuForce uDAC3 for a few days (wasn't satisfied). DX3 Pro is worlds away. The sound is much cleaner, much more powerful. I can hear more details, for the first time it's not muddled and I am beginning to understand now what all the talk about soundstage and separation is. Now I need to save some money for more decent headphones :D
My serial starts with 1904, and remote that came with it uses 2 AAA baterries.
 
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hi, you gave me good news.
I also order the DX3 Pro on May 14, 2019 from the seller Shenzen Audio . The shipment left China.
A few days ago the parcel is no longer traced. I'm afraid he's stuck in customs. If there were any customs fees to pay, could I ask the seller to reimburse the customs fees? You can confirm?
 

Wolven

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I got my replacement DX3pro a couple of days ago. The serial number of my new DX3pro starts with 1902, old remote, plastic screen, old power supply. So, probably either older stock or a repaired unit. Either way, I have used for few hours and so far so good, have not plugged headphones in yet. I'm running it in 24 bit mode instead of 32 bit, just to see how it sounds as some people reported to get better sound that way. Topping Representative Hailin, was very helpful in the process.
 
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Maat

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hi, you gave me good news.
I also order the DX3 Pro on May 14, 2019 from the seller Shenzen Audio . The shipment left China.
A few days ago the parcel is no longer traced. I'm afraid he's stuck in customs. If there were any customs fees to pay, could I ask the seller to reimburse the customs fees? You can confirm?
From which marketplace did you order? And where are you located, is it EU, USA or some other country?
I'm asking because it depends much on that information what fees (if any) may be charged for it.
Not meaning to disappoint you, but I don't think you can ask for reimbursment for customs fee, as a general rule. My case was specific, it is explained in earlier post to some extent. I made a mistake in ordering, via mobile phone, I thought it would be shipped from EU country to EU country, and on amazon mobile app some information was lacking and I made wrong assumption. I contacted seller as soon as it was shipped and I learned of my mistake via tracking information, I asked them if the shipment could be stopped or redirected to German depot and thent sent again from within EU. Explained to them all about vague/somewhat misleading information presented via mobile marketplace app. They couldn't do that but made a promise to reimburse me for extra costs. It was token of good will from them, it was very generous and I commend them on that. I recommend Shenzen Audio as they have proven to provide outstanding support and service.
Please elaborate what you mean by 'the parcel is no longer traced'. It is normal for it to not have tracking update for a long time, when in transit. When it enters customs its status is usually quickly updated, but may be stuck in customs for a number of days or weeks. It helps if invoice and customs declaration are inserted into package. If not, you may be asked by customs officials to provide proof of purchase/value to them, so their fees can be calculated.

I'm finding myself listening to music for hours at a time now on DX3 Pro, what a fantastic device it is. It allows me to enjoy whole new world of audio sensory pleasure, I'm stealing time from sleeping hours and thoroughly enjoying it.
I know many here prefer measurements to subjective experience, and I have no measurements to give. No instruments or knowledge for it. But I have one instrument, my body. And I cant say it counts as measurement ...but omg the goosebumps...
Remote isn't essential but is welcome and nice addition to it, although plastic it is of decent build and very comfortable and easy to use.
 
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Hello. I am an Italian.
I ordered on amazon.com (marketplace) because I hadn't seen that amazon.it also sold the Dx3 Pro. Unfortunately it was a big mistake.
When I place an order on amazon.com generally at the time of payment, I am required to pay customs duties in advance. But this time I ordered the Dx3 Pro from the Shenzen Audio seller without anticipating the payment of customs duties.
I asked, in chat, the amazon.com operator the reason for the failure to pay the customs duties in advance and he told me to be calm because if the customs duties were not requested at the time of payment they are no longer due. The operator of amazon.com told me that if there are customs duties to pay I will be reimbursed.
I think my situation is the same as yours.
I have been able to verify however that sometimes the amazon.com operators give wrong information. The amazon.it operators are more reliable :cool:.It will also be the fact that we speak the same language .. :p:D
Also a few days ago I saw the Dx3 Pro is sold on amazon.it and sent by amazon.it.
Are you German? Did you order the Dx3 Pro on May 4th? I placed the order on amazon.com on May 14th and the package will have to be delivered by June 14th.
I would like to refuse the package. The Chinese seller seems available. We hope that everything ends well.
 

Maat

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I'm not German, but Croatian :D
Yes, it is almost always the same with amazon.com, because it's outside of EU, you can always expect there will be customs and import fees to pay over certain item value. And I think there will always be VAT, regardless of item value. I also think that amazon support may sometimes give wrong info, particularly when they talk of external sellers.
So when you order from amazon.com (usa department) you can be certain there will always be additional charges if importing to EU.

But like you, I thought these fees are always calculated and charged in advance, via Amazon. It seems it doesn't have to be that way. From the whole experience I think it is always calculated and charged in advance by Amazon itself if it is fullfilled by Amazon or bought directly from Amazon. But if it is bought only through Amazon marketplace, but from external seller, then it doesn't have to be calculated and charged in advance. I suspect this theory applies to your case too, but cannot be sure.
That's why I ordered from Amazon department within EU, to be certain that it'll ship from EU country to EU country and that no import fees and additional VAT would be charged. But I did it on mobile phone amazon app and it really doesn't give you all the information, If I ordered it via desktop I'd notice my mistake before concluding the purchase. I ordered DX3 Pro on May 2nd, it arrived 2 days ago, but would have arrived few days sooner if the invoice were in the package, which it hadn't been.
Also take care that you always get items sold / fullfilled by Amazon itself, from any of EU Amazon stores. That way you will know that you won't get charged anything else.
To summarize your case is somewhat similar, with the main difference being it was ordered from USA Amazon department, and from that I think that import/customs fees and VAT were to be expected from the start. But anyways, the seller Shenzen Audio is very polite and understanding, so you may try politely explaining everything and asking them for help.
Be careful if refusing package, first ask on Amazon and seller too if you have grounds for it, and whether you can get full refund or costs of shipping and handling will be deducted from it.
I wish you good luck with it
 
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Veri

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Lessons learnt: amazon marketplace offers will shown up under vendor options, and is not the same as amazon.com (or .de/.it etc) direct (which is the sole vendor that will with accuracy tell you the up-front customs cost) :)
 
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It's time to give you a feedback about my DX3 Pro failure.
I had a problem with right channel (headphone output) reported and described some time ago, as you can see below:
Hello all,

Today is sad Saturday. Right channel in headphone out of my DX3 Pro is dead. Here's the story...
I've been using DX3 Pro mainly as a preamp for my amplifier (usign RCA output). Headphone output was used rarely. Today I wanted to test headphone output (to check if there is the difference between the RCA) and during these tests suddenly a pop sound in right channel appeared. RCA output was (and still) working well but a pop is hearable when source or sample rate is changed (every time a relay pops, a loud pop is coming from right channel).
I left device without power for a while, restored to defaults and even re-flashed - nothing helped. Then I connected headphones to check if the same click sound is hearable in right channel. It turned out that the right channel for the headphones output is dead. In addition, every time I plug headphones to the jack - DX3 Pro is restarting. Production date of mine is 1808.

I'm really dissapointed. I bought mine in Aoshida-HIFI Audio Store on Aliexpress. Has anyone got a refund (a new unit) from Topping or Aliexpress seller? I'm not sure to whom I should contact first.
And the video...
Here the video showing my problem:


Aliexpress seller wants to send the device back but shipping costs could be quite high. I'm also waiting for Topping's feedback if there is any other solution possible.
Finally I've got a 1902 version some time ago with some changes like different power supply, new remote (RC-15A), plastic caps on RCA connectors, front LCD protector made from glass and AD8620 instead OPA2140.
Yes, total four nos. plastic caps, two for coaxial and two for RCA . Power supply unit I think it's standard with adaptor for two-pin British type.

I bought another Linear Power Supply 15V DC 1A, too bad the connector to DX3 Pro slightly bigger and need to find an adapter/reducer LOL
I also had device that stuck in standby mode and I sent it to Topping in March. At May 8 they responded with: "We found that a strong short circuit also caused OPA2140 damage, so we change to AD8620 and increased output impedance to 4.7ohm with this period of time. This adjust just finish and we will send out this week."

@amirm and forum members, what is your opinion on this changes? How will it change sound quality?
Both units I have are starting 1902593XXX
It is interesting because my version is 1902 with new remote and power supply. I thought that starting from some point all further versions of DX3 Pro will look like that.
And It seems that AD8620 is not put into all production devices. I've got the following response from Topping:
Dear sir,

As previous mail reply, all the on sale items are OPA2140 version, it is stable and suitable for this unit.
But for your repair unit, it is used AD8620, and improve the output impedance at 4.7ohm to avoid damage of the unit in case of strong short circuit.

Best Regards,
[email protected]
So, front screen covered by glass seems to be more solid (previously I could bend it under finger's pressure). Remote seems to be better as well (see photos). I have also aluminum remote dedicated to DX7s and self-learning remote bought on aliexpress for everyday usage (blue buttons). I use DX3 Pro as a preamp so I wouldn't like someone from my family (even me) to accidentally switch it to DAC mode and blow my apartment :)

Regarding AD8620 - I don't have any good headphones and I can't confirm quality differences. I put some cheap in-ear headphones and dac was playing for tens of hours to make load test. Everything is working well so far.
I also don't have a long 2mm hex wrench to confirm if AD8620 was install in manufacturing process or manually but at least I can confirm that indeed it sits inside :) (I could pull board a little and take a photo).

To summarize I would like to say that Topping Service is really good. I bought my unit on aliexpress but decided to replace it directly via Topping. They sent new unit via DHL so I got it after about 5 days. The only disadvantage is that I had to clarify for customs it was a warranty replacement, not new purchase. Finally they released it from duties. They're providing really good service.
 

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It's time to give you a feedback about my DX3 Pro failure.
I had a problem with right channel (headphone output) reported and described some time ago, as you can see below:


And the video...


Finally I've got a 1902 version some time ago with some changes like different power supply, new remote (RC-15A), plastic caps on RCA connectors, front LCD protector made from glass and AD8620 instead OPA2140.




It is interesting because my version is 1902 with new remote and power supply. I thought that starting from some point all further versions of DX3 Pro will look like that.
And It seems that AD8620 is not put into all production devices. I've got the following response from Topping:


So, front screen covered by glass seems to be more solid (previously I could bend it under finger's pressure). Remote seems to be better as well (see photos). I have also aluminum remote dedicated to DX7s and self-learning remote bought on aliexpress for everyday usage (blue buttons). I use DX3 Pro as a preamp so I wouldn't like someone from my family (even me) to accidentally switch it to DAC mode and blow my apartment :)

Regarding AD8620 - I don't have any good headphones and I can't confirm quality differences. I put some cheap in-ear headphones and dac was playing for tens of hours to make load test. Everything is working well so far.
I also don't have a long 2mm hex wrench to confirm if AD8620 was install in manufacturing process or manually but at least I can confirm that indeed it sits inside :) (I could pull board a little and take a photo).

To summarize I would like to say that Topping Service is really good. I bought my unit on aliexpress but decided to replace it directly via Topping. They sent new unit via DHL so I got it after about 5 days. The only disadvantage is that I had to clarify for customs it was a warranty replacement, not new purchase. Finally they released it from duties. They're providing really good service.
Now I know why you asked me the plastic caps question. I received the similar unit with the remote control (middle of three), didn't notice they have changed to LCD screen to glass... Will further check it later.

I only tested once on the headphone jack and it works well, cautiously set to lower -30dB before I insert my headphone. Normally I use DX3 Pro as pre-amp/DAC with 0dB , so far it works well with my home audio system.
 

Calexico

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Does anyone knows why ak4495 that is older and had less good specs is at higher price than ak4493 ic?
Someone on the forum told it was 5bit delta digma do you think that makes it better in someway?
 

Wolven

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I love the way Dx3pro sounds, but like to know more about it.

What is the difference between running Dx3pro in DAC mode vs preamp mode?

I know I can adjust volume with remote, and I guess preamp mode puts more strain on Dx3pro, not sure how much.
My self-powered speakers have class-D amps build in, and don't seam to care which way the signal is delivered but I didn't spend much time comparing. Also, I tried connecting speakers to headphone jack as suggested by other members for best sound but I don't like extra cables hanging at the front of the unit.
 

Veri

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Does anyone knows why ak4495 that is older and had less good specs is at higher price than ak4493 ic?
Someone on the forum told it was 5bit delta digma do you think that makes it better in someway?
The AK4497 is architecturally quite similar but overall improved on all fronts to the AK4495 so there is little point to getting it nowadays. The AK4495SEQ was dubbed the special 'sound quality'-tuned chip by AKM which catered to the people that like such bizarre statements I guess. Maybe that explains the higher price, also maybe lower availability since its older.

I have an Aune S16 which I got second hand. It uses an AK4495 that they implemented with the help of AKM and actually surpasses the chip's datasheet specs, they could push this chip as far as AK4497 specs way back then but since the 4497/4499 chips are out now the 4495 is really quite pointless :)

AK4493 as with the DX3 comes really quite close to the D70, close enough that for all but the most demanding customers I feel it is more than fine :) AKM really outdone themselves with this 4490 upgrade. It's freakishly good!
 

upsfon

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Hey, all

I listen my DX3 Pro with Fostex T60RP headphones.
In low gain mode the sound seems not enough loud for me - I am normally close to 0dB level. That's high gain which helps.
Fostex T60RP are 50 Ohm impedance and 92 dB/mWatt sensitivity...
DX3 Pro is connected via USB to PC
PC is on Linux Mint
ALSA driver is used
Audacious player and Cantata with MPD
Mixer disabled so volume is always at 100%
... not enough power and loudness. I am 48 yo but not deaf yet :)

Seems I need to look around for more sensitive headphones?
Thanks.
 
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Hey, all

I listen my DX3 Pro with Fostex T60RP headphones.
In low gain mode the sound seems not enough loud for me - I am normally close to 0dB level. That's high gain which helps.
Fostex T60RP are 50 Ohm impedance and 92 dB/mWatt sensitivity...
DX3 Pro is connected via USB to PC
PC is on Linux Mint
ALSA driver is used
Audacious player and Cantata with MPD
Mixer disabled so volume is always at 100%
... not enough power and loudness. I am 48 yo but not deaf yet :)

Seems I need to look around for more sensitive headphones?
Thanks.
I guess it depends on what you're listening to.

With Senn 660S and old masterings like Pink Floyd's Dark side of moon and Janis Joplin's I got dem ol' kosmic again mama!, both first press CD, I can crank the volume up to -5dB to listen at loud levels.

With modern music like Radiohead's OK Computer or Daft Punk's Random Access Memories at -12dB, for me it's pretty loud, on threshold of discomfort.

I'm 37 and did an audiometry test recently and got excellent results, I'm far from deafness :)
 
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Can you please tell me if the topping dx3 pro would be better than the topping d70 if you use it only as a DAC in combination with the jds atom amp? Or is it a waste of money?
 
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