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Review and Measurements of Topping NX4 DSD Dac and Portable Headphone Amplifier

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Want to buy this for my shure srh1540. Should I be worried about the channel imbalance at lower power settings.

Srh1540 has a bassy u shaped sound signature and hence facilitates lower volume listening. After applying replay gain to all my songs, My typical listening volume is around 70% in medium gain on cayin N3 (sometimes I go to high gain as well) but I feel that cayin starts to lose a little bit of control in medium and high gain modes as compared to the low gain modes where it sounds excellent. The cayin will still be used as the source (as a transport) with nx4 being the dac amp.

My music collection is pretty diverse having songs with extreme dynamic range like Miranda sex garden, Bjork etc to one's with poor dynamic range. The replay gain measurements show the numbers falling between -19db to +18db for the most dynamic and least dynamic songs.


Any other alternatives I should be looking at? Waiting for apogee groove measurements as well. If it is good, then I'll probably build a raspberry Pi system around it.
 

triple_a

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Got the Topping NX4 DSD recently as I needed a portable dac+amp for laptop and phone use. I'm using it with the HD800S with no issues. The lower gain setting is loud enough when the potentiometer sits around 12 o'clock, which is not halfway as it starts quite high. It does have a huge channel imbalance issue at the very lowest volume range but thankfully never a problem with the 800S.

I have an Aune X1 MK2 on my desktop setup and this could and probably is placebo but I'll go ahead and say that the Topping sounds better! I was blown away when I listened to it the first time! I also love the bass boost switch as contrary to expectation it does not blast the upper bass frequencies but instead provides a pleasing smooth boost curve on the lower end. The 800S greatly benefits from that as it is a bit light on bass for my tastes! I prefer the hardware solution as then I don't need to use any software EQs. (on my desktop been using Sonarworks Reference 4 but it also changes the sound of the phones a bit which I don't fully prefer) (sidenote: on the HD650 the Sonarworks did not alter the sound as much...)
 

triple_a

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That Monolith amp looks really good!

Just playing some tunes now with NX4 DSD + HD800S. I remembered a bit wrong, 12 o'clock is already hella loud, it's like blasting your favorite tune once a week type of loud. Better listening volume is 10 or 11 o'clock.

Below 9 o'clock there is no volume at all and the system turn on/off point is maybe at 7. At 9 the sound is 99.9% coming only from right channel but just a nudge is enough to bring the stereo image to life.
 

damart81

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I listen at around 10 o'clock on the Solaris with these (seems just right, as with your previous point at 9 o'clock), 12 is too loud for me. Definitely get a channel imbalance at low volumes but that wouldn't matter nonetheless.

Yeah, quite surprised with the Monolith amp looks wise, but it's inside what counts. ;)
 
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your first post didn't mention you have other renderer devices.
I guess that you've read it too fast... An extract from my 1st post...
I checked with the RB layer of Hybrid SACD (from a CD player) and it was like with FLAC conversion from the SACD. Moreover the "culprit" is definitely this Topping because if I play a DSD file directly (and natively) from the DAP, I have the same L/R order as with FLAC..

And when I wrote
Sorry for being long (I wanted to avoid replies like the issue was with the DSD, or your can etc.)
as we're saying here: "ça sert à quoi que je me décarcasse" !

Larate
 

Darwin

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I just got one of these today from a forum member for $100 plus shipping :) Sounds really great.
Zeos just came out with his review today too.
I'm using it with a recent model 15 inch MacBook Pro and definitely richer, fuller sound with HD6XX headphones than the laptop headphone jack. I have the same laptop at work and think this will be my office dac/amp.
 
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You're just trying using an DAP and it seems normal. But there's no evidence that your player in your computer is configured correctly.
Stop looking for muddy reasons. Can you point when I mentioned that I was using a player in a computer? I wrote about using a CD player, a DAP (actually two from different brands). These are standalone devices. The NX4 was plugged to either an Android tablet or a DAP, no computer. I already wrote that, just (re?)read it. And I checked that the flag flip-lr-for-dsd-only was cleared in the autoexec.bat of all the devices before powering them on (c'est de l'ironie moqueuse).

Pfff can't you just recognize that you were wrong and that's all. There's no shame to make mistakes, only not to recognize them.
 
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someone have the numbers regarding the power output at 150ohm, 250ohm,300ohm'sss ? as well had the chance to compare the amp in this against the fiio a5 ?
114mW for 300ohm as indicated in the "user guide" (http://en.tpdz.net/wdzn_detail/newsId=67.html). The NX4 has less power than the Fio A5 at 300ohm (according to the specs I've found). But the NX4 has enough power to drive my HD600 and DT880/600 even at low gain (volume control between noon and 3h). Well according to my taste!
 
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114mW for 300ohm as indicated in the "user guide" (http://en.tpdz.net/wdzn_detail/newsId=67.html). The NX4 has less power than the Fio A5 at 300ohm (according to the specs I've found). But the NX4 has enough power to drive my HD600 and DT880/600 even at low gain (volume control between noon and 3h). Well according to my taste!
i have to use it a DT1990 PRO and my feeling is that should power them properly they very hard to drive around 40mw should be fine but the more power the better, anyway thanks for the info !
 
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Got the Topping NX4 DSD recently as I needed a portable dac+amp for laptop and phone use. I'm using it with the HD800S with no issues. The lower gain setting is loud enough when the potentiometer sits around 12 o'clock, which is not halfway as it starts quite high. It does have a huge channel imbalance issue at the very lowest volume range but thankfully never a problem with the 800S.

I have an Aune X1 MK2 on my desktop setup and this could and probably is placebo but I'll go ahead and say that the Topping sounds better! I was blown away when I listened to it the first time! I also love the bass boost switch as contrary to expectation it does not blast the upper bass frequencies but instead provides a pleasing smooth boost curve on the lower end. The 800S greatly benefits from that as it is a bit light on bass for my tastes! I prefer the hardware solution as then I don't need to use any software EQs. (on my desktop been using Sonarworks Reference 4 but it also changes the sound of the phones a bit which I don't fully prefer) (sidenote: on the HD650 the Sonarworks did not alter the sound as much...)
Were you using the hd800 in high gain mode or low gain mode?
 
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Anyone who has both topping nx4 and gr07/HD598. At their respective volumes/power levels, is there any noticeable channel imbalance?

I'm looking to buy the nx4 for my shure srh1540 which is slightly harder to drive than gr07, and about equal to hd598 in terms of driveability. Worried if the power required for my headphones will be on the side of the measurements where there is noticeable channel imbalance. Pretty sure I'll be running in low gain mode since all the headphones mentioned are fairly easy to drive.

Currently I have cayin N3 which sounds very good. But I see a noticeable quality jump when using in low gain mode as compared to mid and high gain. Sub bass is better, vocal clarity is better (I don't even have to concentrate on lyrics, they just flow cleanly in low gain mode). Unfortunately, low gain is just about the tipping point to get some listenable volume out of srh1540 and mid gain is where the listening volume is ideal. I'd say the volume jump from low to mid gain and mid to high gain is only about 25% each but the quality starts to deteriorate somewhat noticeably, though still leagues better than any phone/laptop I've used in all gain modes.

I have all three headphones mentioned but due to a ear problem I had to give up gr07 and hd598 sounds much poorer than srh1540 and gr07 anyway. Srh1540 is not common so I gave a reference to two common headphones to compare.

Thanks and regards,
Manuel Jenkin.
 

amirm

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someone have the numbers regarding the power output at 150ohm, 250ohm,300ohm'sss ? as well had the chance to compare the amp in this against the fiio a5 ?
300 Ohm is already computed on my review graph:



For 150 ohm, eyeballing it, it produces about 3.1 volt so power would be 3.1*3.1/150 = 0.064 watt or 64 milliwatt.

For 250, it is still close to 20 milliwatt on the graph for 300.
 
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For 150 ohm, eyeballing it, it produces about 3.1 volt so power would be 3.1*3.1/150 = 0.064 watt or 64 milliwatt.

For 250, it is still close to 20 milliwatt on the graph for 300.
How did you "eyeball" those ? Is there a criteria behind ?

PS: thank you for your answer on the other thread, now i feel smarter :D
PPS: Could you test the dx3 pro with a 600ohm load btw?
 
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@amirm two questions

1. Were the measurements done in battery powered mode or from a laptop/desktop usb power source. Does the unit perform as good in battery powered mode (ie are the performance data measured similar in battery powered mode). Intending to use with my headphones when walking around the house or in the park and using my Cayin N3 dap as transport.

2. Wondering if my shure srh1540 would fall into the channel imbalance section of the nx4. I use replay gain on my tracks and my tracks range from -18db to +19db on that measurement scale.. so pretty much all digital data coming out will be attenuated by 18db before reaching the dac section of nx4 I guess.

One additional question. When is the apogee groove measurements coming up, you have an ETA for it?
 
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The more I listen to the nx4 the more I like it. I have had many portable amps in the pasts this one is by far one of my favorites.
 
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