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Review and Measurements of Topping DX3Pro DAC and Headphone Amp

Heals0911

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Nov 3, 2018
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I'm definitely intrigued if its high gain will be enough for the HE560. because at that point, why even consider a secondary amp :D
So, I know that volume is very subjective but using a well mastered track, at -15db on LOW gain, I'm listening at my everyday normal level. I cant get below -8db without starting to feel uncomfortable. I suspect most people will prefer high gain, but the good news is that the DX3 Pro drives them just fine for me, no need for any more power. :)
 
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
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Nope, I can assure you it happens on both OSX and linux, I have tested both. Probably refer back to previous posts around having apps holding the stream open.... for want of a better word.
Do you know how your Linux desktop audio is configured?

I used my DX3 Pro via USB to a Raspberry Pi, which is a dedicated MPD player. Audio config is minimal ALSA: in other words, which ever application is using the audio device gets exclusive control. This obviously makes sense for this particular environment, since the computer itself is dedicated exclusively to MPD. And with this config, I have only expected clicking, i.e. unit startup/shutdown, and changing music sample rates. Stop/start playing, pause, music seek, etc: no clicking.

I believe most Linux desktop distributions ship with PulseAudio. ALSA is still there, but it's the lowest layer (drivers, mixers, some other low-level stuff). PulseAudio is a daemon that is supposed to simplify the communication between applications and the actual audio hardware (i.e. ALSA). I personally don't like PulseAudio, and always make a point to go out of my way to disable it on any system where I want to be sure of "bit perfect" playback, as PulseAudio (at least by default) will potentially molest your audio stream in any way it sees fit.

So I suspect you get clicking under Linux for the same reasons you get clicking under Windows. That is, a bunch of different applications all trying to use the same audio device, and the "intermediary" (PulseAudio, Windows mixer, etc) doing it's part to make everyone "play nice".

Depending on how much time and effort you want to put into it, you might be able to change your Linux sound config in such a way to get the best of both worlds, i.e. no clicking but still the ability to share the audio device. It's been many years since I've done this, but I'm pretty sure ALSA has builtin functionality that allows applications to share the audio device. The problem is, ALSA config is (IMO) not intuitive and poorly documented. (And I think that was one of the big drivers for creating PulseAudio, but why didn't they just put their effort into making ALSA easier to use?)

There's also JACK (JACK Audio Connection Kit), a sound daemon that has similar functionality as PulseAudio. JACK is much older, and was originally designed for low-latency audio applications (i.e. studio work). I played with JACK a bit back in college (nearly 20 years ago), but haven't touched it since.

And I think OSS (open sound system) is still being maintained. That actually pre-dates ALSA!

There are almost certainly more options of which I'm not aware.

To be clear, this is largely conjecture, but based on the fact that Linux allows you to tweak everything to the nth degree, I'm willing to bet there's a viable workaround. The biggest caveat though, is that some applications are dropping support for everything except PulseAudio. IIRC, one of the big browsers (Chrome or Firefox) only supports PulseAudio. So maybe the first step is to just play with PulseAudio a bit and see if there's a quick/easy win.
 

jsmiller58

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Again, it depends on peoples use case. Let them decide if its a deal breaker for them or not.
I think you (and several others) should follow your own advice. You seem to be slapping down people who are not as rabidly upset as you are. You have made your point - quite forcefully, dramatically, and insistently. You don’t like your unit, it does not meet your expectations. Return it. Let others now make up their own minds. You have posted enough times here that people will take your input into consideration. Otherwise it seems that you only will be satisfied when everyone gets into lockstep behind you. Sorry, not going to happen. You are already hearing that some are ok with the unit for their use case. Be gracious and tell them that you are happy for them. We already know where you stand on this unit.
 
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Thing is I've not told anyone how they should feel about their unit, quite the opposite if you actually read what you quoted. I think the patreon fan bois need to get off their high horses and stop dragging up twisted quotes from days ago.
 

amirm

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Thing is I've not told anyone how they should feel about their unit, quite the opposite if you actually read what you quoted. I think the patreon fan bois need to get off their high horses and stop dragging crap up from days ago.
You are seeing complaints about your posts in this thread, and I am getting it in private just the same. Read your posts before submitting them. If they are editorial, complaining, etc., don't post them. It is just annoying to wade through them. Your issues are noted and all you are doing now is making enemies for yourself. I was just out walking in the field and even the deer complained about your posts! :D
 
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In response to people attacking me.

Why don't you ask them to leave it? I've been trying to have a perfectly reasonable discussion this evening then jsmiller comes at me for no reason with a random quote from days back.
 
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
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Do you know how your Linux desktop audio is configured?

I used my DX3 Pro via USB to a Raspberry Pi, which is a dedicated MPD player. Audio config is minimal ALSA: in other words, which ever application is using the audio device gets exclusive control. This obviously makes sense for this particular environment, since the computer itself is dedicated exclusively to MPD. And with this config, I have only expected clicking, i.e. unit startup/shutdown, and changing music sample rates. Stop/start playing, pause, music seek, etc: no clicking.

I believe most Linux desktop distributions ship with PulseAudio. ALSA is still there, but it's the lowest layer (drivers, mixers, some other low-level stuff). PulseAudio is a daemon that is supposed to simplify the communication between applications and the actual audio hardware (i.e. ALSA). I personally don't like PulseAudio, and always make a point to go out of my way to disable it on any system where I want to be sure of "bit perfect" playback, as PulseAudio (at least by default) will potentially molest your audio stream in any way it sees fit.

So I suspect you get clicking under Linux for the same reasons you get clicking under Windows. That is, a bunch of different applications all trying to use the same audio device, and the "intermediary" (PulseAudio, Windows mixer, etc) doing it's part to make everyone "play nice".

Depending on how much time and effort you want to put into it, you might be able to change your Linux sound config in such a way to get the best of both worlds, i.e. no clicking but still the ability to share the audio device. It's been many years since I've done this, but I'm pretty sure ALSA has builtin functionality that allows applications to share the audio device. The problem is, ALSA config is (IMO) not intuitive and poorly documented. (And I think that was one of the big drivers for creating PulseAudio, but why didn't they just put their effort into making ALSA easier to use?)

There's also JACK (JACK Audio Connection Kit), a sound daemon that has similar functionality as PulseAudio. JACK is much older, and was originally designed for low-latency audio applications (i.e. studio work). I played with JACK a bit back in college (nearly 20 years ago), but haven't touched it since.

And I think OSS (open sound system) is still being maintained. That actually pre-dates ALSA!

There are almost certainly more options of which I'm not aware.

To be clear, this is largely conjecture, but based on the fact that Linux allows you to tweak everything to the nth degree, I'm willing to bet there's a viable workaround. The biggest caveat though, is that some applications are dropping support for everything except PulseAudio. IIRC, one of the big browsers (Chrome or Firefox) only supports PulseAudio. So maybe the first step is to just play with PulseAudio a bit and see if there's a quick/easy win.
I don't have my laptop in front of me but it does have both ALSA and pulseaudio on it, not sure what is active for the dac as I've not had a chance in work to delve too much, but it will be the default for phonon gstreamer, I suspect pulseaudio. But I think its working correctly, I am getting exclusive control and the clicks that go with it, its only when all streams stop the device will click and click again when it renegotiates the same sample rate.

The behaviour is identical to on windows and OSX when there is absolutely 100% nothing producing an output it will click.
 

bennetng

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flipflop

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Your Score: Mild Indication of OCD
Your answers suggest a Mild indication that you have symptoms common among people with OCD. However, this quiz is no substitute for a proper diagnosis from a health care professional and we would encourage you to schedule an appointment with your doctor or other mental health professional now.

:confused:
 

derp1n

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May 28, 2018
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The low dispersion filter in AK4493 is not something new at all. One of my cheap old CS4382 soundcard uses that kind of filter.
Been meaning to check if it's similar to ESS's apodizing filter.
 

voon

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Dec 6, 2018
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I tried to measure my right and left channel voltage now with the suggestion to use my UE TF10 cables. I currently can only use a cheap chiense meter (which cant sit still .. wild jumping numbers until you actually measure something, then it stays stable .. a battery I tested etc, so the readings seem ok). I played music through the topping asio driver and had the dx3 at around -12 dB on the USB port.

On the left channel I was measureing voltages around 0.3V +- 0.2 while music was playing .. it did that for as long as I would measure.

On the right channel, whenever I would connect my probes, it jumps to 5 or 6V and then fell down to 0.

In the attached video I tried to show that. The first half is the right channel .. the numbers show Volts. You can see how it jumps to 5 or 6 when I touch the cable pins (the random numbers before are just my device...) and then it falls to 0 .. then again to 5 or 6 .. then 0 again. The second half of the video shows the left channel ... normally playing I assume.

Video:
 
Joined
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I tried to measure my right and left channel voltage now with the suggestion to use my UE TF10 cables. I currently can only use a cheap chiense meter (which cant sit still .. wild jumping numbers until you actually measure something, then it stays stable .. a battery I tested etc, so the readings seem ok). I played music through the topping asio driver and had the dx3 at around -12 dB on the USB port.

On the left channel I was measureing voltages around 0.3V +- 0.2 while music was playing .. it did that for as long as I would measure.

On the right channel, whenever I would connect my probes, it jumps to 5 or 6V and then fell down to 0.

In the attached video I tried to show that. The first half is the right channel .. the numbers show Volts. You can see how it jumps to 5 or 6 when I touch the cable pins (the random numbers before are just my device...) and then it falls to 0 .. then again to 5 or 6 .. then 0 again. The second half of the video shows the left channel ... normally playing I assume.

Video:
Quick reply, firstly when a meter is floating (not measuring) it's readings will usually jump around on a voltage setting, this is normal most of the time.
Secondly, you need to be measuring for DC voltage, not AC which an audio signal would be. It is a high amount of DC offset that can seriously damage speaker coils as you previously mentioned. I can't tell from your video on my small phone screen if you're measuring AC or DC.

Do not plug in any further headphones into this unit if you want them to survive!
 
Joined
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I tried to measure my right and left channel voltage now with the suggestion to use my UE TF10 cables. I currently can only use a cheap chiense meter (which cant sit still .. wild jumping numbers until you actually measure something, then it stays stable .. a battery I tested etc, so the readings seem ok). I played music through the topping asio driver and had the dx3 at around -12 dB on the USB port.

On the left channel I was measureing voltages around 0.3V +- 0.2 while music was playing .. it did that for as long as I would measure.

On the right channel, whenever I would connect my probes, it jumps to 5 or 6V and then fell down to 0.

In the attached video I tried to show that. The first half is the right channel .. the numbers show Volts. You can see how it jumps to 5 or 6 when I touch the cable pins (the random numbers before are just my device...) and then it falls to 0 .. then again to 5 or 6 .. then 0 again. The second half of the video shows the left channel ... normally playing I assume.

Video:
Just opened the video on my PC, you're measuring AC voltage, you need to change it to measuring for DC voltage and retest.
I believe pressing the yellow button whilst meter dial is on V (voltage) mode until the screen says DC should enable you to measure the DC offset from this unit.
"Buttons:
  • Range (Blue): Will disable auto range and change range, hold down to activate background light.
  • Sel/Hold (Yellow): Select the ranges printed with yellow, hold down to freeze the display reading"
 

RayDunzl

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voon

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Ok, sorry, I'm not a very electronicy person .. I bought this one day to have somethign around :)

Yes, the video was AC and you do set it manually with the SEL button. I now measured it on a DC setting.

The left channel shows 0V (or if I have it on mV, it jumps around 0.1 mV).

The right channel shows a constant 8.4V.
 

amirm

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Ok, sorry, I'm not a very electronicy person .. I bought this one day to have somethign around :)

Yes, the video was AC and you do set it manually with the SEL button. I now measured it on a DC setting.

The left channel shows 0V (or if I have it on mV, it jumps around 0.1 mV).

The right channel shows a constant 8.4V.
We should have given you better instructions. If that is the reading, the right channel is shorted out and the unit needs to be sent back for replacement. Do NOT plug anything else into it.
 
Joined
Nov 19, 2018
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In response to people attacking me.

Why don't you ask them to leave it? I've been trying to have a perfectly reasonable discussion this evening then jsmiller comes at me for no reason with a random quote from days back.
Context is relevant. You joined this forum Saturday, and this appears to be the only thread you are posting to. Your posts are are in response to a legitimate issue with a production unit, and that is a valid issue.

Having said that, and considering the number and tone of your posts (all in this one discussion), it would be easy to perceive your participation as single minded. People (including the manufacturer) have responded to, and acknowledged, your complaint.

At this stage, your best course of action may be to widen the scope of your activity within the forum and let this issue rest for a bit. Some "positive" contributions on other threads could aid your reputation, ameliorating some of the perception that you are a loud voice in a small room with a particular bone to pick.

If, after some time away from this issue, you see that it has receded to the background or been buried, a gentle reminder about your problem should be all that's needed to get people's attention back on this (you've beaten the drum loud enough).
 
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