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Review and Measurements of Topping DX3Pro DAC and Headphone Amp

SoBu

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d50+atom is not an alternative for dx3. No one here would care about dx3, and this thread would not be 204 pages long, if not for feature set of dx3 which is not present in d50+atom combo. And if you want reliability just get some jds labs dac instead, like ol dac. You won't be able to tell the difference between the two anyway.
D50s+Atom is a higher priced and new alternative, which is why people have been here. The thread length does not validate your argument. That is a logical fallacy.
You talk about the features of the DX3 that the d50 [sic] + atom don't have, but no mention of any, and there isn't any feature the DX3 has that the D50s doesn't have IIRC. And you say you should just get the jds labs dac like ol dac, but it doesn't even have bluetooth or a screen.

D50s costs USD 30 more than the DX3 but doesn’t have a headphone amp stage which means you need to spend USD 99 more for an Atom, at which you’re now looking at an overall USD 129 cost increase over the DX3. this is not an insignificant difference in price. plus the DX3 actually still performs quite well. for people looking for a budget desktop product and need both a DAC and an amp, the DX3 is still hard to beat. 0.001% THD+N and 125 mW into a 300 ohm load is actually really good.
Of course the D50s + Atom costs more, i mentioned that. Yes it's a lot more, but I explained my personal justification for paying more. In a perfect world i'd buy the DX3 for it's value, but given the unknowns of the current DX3 that's available, it's not worth it to me.
Without an independent review and measurements which is what people are here for, we don't know if the currently available DX3 and DX3 LDAC perform the same as the the one that was reviewed. Perhaps someone could at least compare the PCBs of the one Amir reviewed, the newest 1904, and the 1905 LDAC. Then we'd have some idea, but still not sufficient evidence for me unless there is no change

It looks like something went awry on the new version. Headphone output is down, and impedance is way up. I'm happy that I have the original version.
Yes, but yours is still a newer PCB than the one Amir reviewed, and I don't think anyone compared the two.
The new impedance on the LDAC version is a deal breaker for me if I had to replace one.
 
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Yuno

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You talk about the features of the DX3 that the d50 [sic] + atom don't have, but no mention of any, and there isn't any feature the DX3 has that the D50s doesn't have IIRC. And you say you should just get the jds labs dac like ol dac, but it doesn't even have bluetooth or a screen.
The ability to switch outputs without unplugging headphones.
 

SoBu

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Just unplug when you don't use them, and plug them back when you do. Doesn't seem like much of an issue if you have to move your headphones on and off anyways. It's either that or you push a button, really not the different if you have your amp in a decent location. The downside of the button press is it's slightly slower if you change headphones frequently.
In any case, it's not "huge" for anyone with the Amp in reach.

Edit: I could argue this is a feature of the Atom that the DX3 doesn't have.
 
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LuckyLuke575

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Thank you, Hawkeye!

In v2, there is indeed a new option in the setup menus to control the behavior of the remote control's "Line Out" (DAC) button. Paraphrased it says:

"Option 7: Lineout Mode Setting
d-0 : Pre-amplifier Mode (default) [Line output is attenuated according to the current volume setting]
d-1 : DAC Mode [Line output is not attentuated]"

Attached are three pictures showing the new "v2" manual pages (in English). Highlighted in yellow are the things that changed from the v1 manual. (I can compare the manuals because I still have one of the dead v1 units.)

Also highlighted in red is a line that applied to v1, but should have been removed from the v2 manual. Paraphrasing again:

"Repeatedly pressing the DAC button [on the remote control] toggles between DAC mode and Pre-amplifier mode."

This behavior no longer applies to v2. In v2 the function of the DAC button is controlled by Option 7 in the setup menu. Repeatedly pressing the DAC button has no effect.

So, the solution to my nuisance problem of needing to crank the volume knob from -30 to 0 and back again is to just set Option 7 to "d-1".

It works! In headphone mode the volume is controlled by the DX3 Pro, and in DAC mode the speaker volume is controlled by my external amplifier.

Perfect! Well, not quite. It would still be better to remember two separate volume settings. In DAC mode, my amp is now running at just 5% of maximum power. But this is definitely an improvement. :)



As I experimented with DAC mode (Option 7, setting "d-1"), I discovered that it changes the display on the front panel to show the sampling rate instead of the volume (see picture below). Just like I asked for last month. Haha! Turns out this was a feature of v1 all along. I just never got to see it because both of my v1 units died within hours.

Anyhow, Mr. Wong, you can cancel this request. The feature is already there. :)

Note: The v2 manual explains this in the "Details of output mode" table on page 5 titled (see picture 3 below). You just gotta read the fine print...
Very cool to see the default options setting by holding down the mutli button on the device. Unfortunately the v1 doesn't have the pre-amp / DAC setting. So I'm still at risk of blowing my speakers :(
 

LuckyLuke575

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Yes, that's a sensible approach. I was however, thinking that its better to have my integrated amp set to a lower volume, so that its not having to work too hard and heat up etc.

I'm quite deliberate when I use the big amp, and I have the music turned off when I'm making the switch, so hopefully that gives me enough of a margin of safety. Better yet would be a firmware update to push the setting to the device, plus LDAC enablement (probably pushing my luck there haha).
 

THW

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It looks like something went awry on the new version. Headphone output is down, and impedance is way up. I'm happy that I have the original version.
headphone output being down is probably mostly due to higher output impedance and also when using it with lower impedance headphones.

just looking at the spec sheet it seems power output at 300 ohms still remains about the same.
 

Yuno

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Just unplug when you don't use them, and plug them back when you do. Doesn't seem like much of an issue if you have to move your headphones on and off anyways. It's either that or you push a button, really not the different if you have your amp in a decent location. The downside of the button press is it's slightly slower if you change headphones frequently.
In any case, it's not "huge" for anyone with the Amp in reach.

Edit: I could argue this is a feature of the Atom that the DX3 doesn't have.
It actually is a lot different not having to unplug and plug your headphones multiple times per day, you probably don't use speakers and don't understand the use case. Solution used in atom is nothing new, it was pretty standard in cheaper amps such as O2. Solution used in dx3 pro was mostly exclusive for significantly more expensive unit. That's really where the magic of this device comes from, you get feature set of devices that were few times the price, as low as $180. With good measurements, and as it turned out, dubious reliability.
As a side note, notice that jds labs flagship product (the element), priced at $300, has button to switch outputs. And even then loses to dx3 pro in terms of functionality. They could have easily implemented the same for atom, most likely they didn't to not depreciate their own flagship.
 
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You talk about the features of the DX3 that the d50 [sic] + atom don't have, but no mention of any, and there isn't any feature the DX3 has that the D50s doesn't have IIRC.
Auto turn-on & turn-off, volume knob, all in one design, also display nicer to my eyes
 
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It actually is a lot different not having to unplug and plug your headphones multiple times per day, you probably don't use speakers and don't understand the use case. Solution used in atom is nothing new, it was pretty standard in cheaper amps such as O2. Solution used in dx3 pro was mostly exclusive for significantly more expensive unit. That's really where the magic of this device comes from, you get feature set of devices that were few times the price, as low as $180. With good measurements, and as it turned out, dubious reliability.
As a side note, notice that jds labs flagship product (the element), priced at $300, has button to switch outputs. And even then loses to dx3 pro in terms of functionality. They could have easily implemented the same for atom, most likely they didn't to not depreciate their own flagship.
I use speakers more than my headphones for convenience and comfort for the content I consume, so you're assumption is completely incorrect.

You can argue all day about how big a deal the button the switch inputs is, but i'm not seeing sufficient evidence to back that up. I performed a quick with the keyword "unplug" on 2 forums that have threads on the Atom (ASR, Head-Fi). In 89 pages of posts combined, there is only one person who mentioned they would like a toggle. So for Atom users at least, they don't seem to care or wish for a toggle. So i'll infer that only a small number people buying a DAC/Amp in this price range actually care. Perhaps for some it really is a big deal, but that seems to be the minority.
See: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...s-atom-headphone-amp.5262/page-55#post-177993
Edit: Did a site wide ASR search with "Atom" and "plug". Found 2 other posts that seem to show the insignificance of having a switch. No relevant results on the Head-Fi thread.
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...s-atom-headphone-amp.5262/page-49#post-168218
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...s-atom-headphone-amp.5262/page-28#post-142678

As I said before about the measurements of the DX3 Pro, the latest PCBs and the LDAC version have not been tested on ASR. So any claims that it is still the recommended price to performance product is unsubstantiated. In 1-2 months when the pre-LDAC version is no longer widely available, people will have to look for alternatives or buy the LDAC version hoping it performs the same. Assuming they can live with the higher output impedance which is probably a deal breaker for many.

Auto turn-on & turn-off, all in one design
It's not really fair to just point out what the features the DX3 Pro has without looking at what the alternative D50s+Atom has that the DX3 doesn't (eg. more powerful Amp)
 
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Yuno

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So for Atom users at least, they don't seem to care or wish for a toggle. So i'll infer that only a small number people buying a DAC/Amp in this price range actually care. Perhaps for some it really is a big deal, but that seems to be the minority.
Majority of people who buy headphone amps don't use speakers. It's pretty common for people to be strictly into headphone hobby while not even owning speakers at all. Some people even falsely believe speakers to be inferior to headphones.
You should forward your observations to all producers of high end DAC/AMPs, as it turns out they are all wasting their time (and money) implementing useless features while all they needed to do is simple relay that activates on jack unplug.
 

Yuno

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For the price headphones always beat speakers hands down.
It depends on what you are looking for. You can spend thousands and you will get worse soundstage than from entry level monitors. You can get decent headphones cheaper than decent speakers, that's for sure.
 
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Majority of people who buy headphone amps don't use speakers. It's pretty common for people to be strictly into headphone hobby while not even owning speakers at all. Some people even falsely believe speakers to be inferior to headphones
Where is your evidence that the majority of headphone amp buyers don't use speakers?

You should forward your observations to all producers of high end DAC/AMPs, as it turns out they are all wasting their time (and money) implementing useless features while all they needed to do is simple relay that activates on jack unplug.
Great logic given that you and others actually want this feature. Therefore it is a selling point for some. I'll quote myself: "Perhaps for some it really is a big deal, but that seems to be the minority."

This entire argument stemmed from you making baseless claims, and here you are doing that again. No point in replying further when I've already made my point about the DX3 Pro as a whole.

https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/strawman
Earlier: https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/bandwagon
 

Yuno

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This entire argument stemmed from you making baseless claims, and here you are doing that again. No point in replying further when I've already made my point about the DX3 Pro as a whole.
Your point about dx3 pro as a whole is pretty much worthless considering you never even owned the device.
 
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My remote doesn't work, I've only been able to figure out how to change sources and dac mode with the dial. Can someone help how to change filters and gain?
 

LuckyLuke575

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My remote doesn't work, I've only been able to figure out how to change sources and dac mode with the dial. Can someone help how to change filters and gain?
Press the LINE OUT button for DAC; once for pre-amp mode with volume control, second time for line passthrough (fixed max volume), press button with headphones to go back.

To cycle through sources with the remote, just press the left and right arrow buttons on the remote.
 
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