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Topping D30 DAC Measurement and Review

Discussion in 'Digital Audio Converters (DACs)' started by amirm, Oct 22, 2017.

  1. amirm

    amirm Founder/Admin CFO (Chief Fun Officer) Staff Member

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    Time for another bargain DAC, the Topping D30 DSD/PCM DAC. It retails for a mere $120 on Amazon including shipping: https://www.amazon.com/TOPPING-Decoder-Coaxial-Optical-CS4398/dp/B01L1SDKUQ

    upload_2017-10-22_14-26-24.png

    I will do a hardware tear down later but for now, the enclosure seems nice quality and a step above typical DIY shops. The unit is externally powered and surprisingly with a Topping branded switchmode power supply. Typically people buy these in open market instead of having one made for them with custom label. It has higher than normal output of 15 volt which helps it with higher output drive as you see later.

    Capabilities are excellent with PCM up to 192 Khz and DSD up to DSD128. Furthermore, the unit comes with not only USB input but also coax and optical S/PDIF inputs. Nice!

    Measurements
    As always I started with J-Test to measure noise floor and jitter. For reference, I also test the Behringer UMC204HD, our king of low cost DACs:

    J-test.png

    Noise floor is identical to Behringer but with the added advantage of having higher output over Behringer. There are two jitter/noise components visible:

    1. At the mains supply way to the left of the graph. Replacing its power supply with my linear lab supply as usual eliminated that. The levels are so low that it is not remotely audible concern.

    2. Tight sidebands around our main tone as indicated by the red arrow. These did not go away with lab supply. Seeing how the sidebands hug our main tone so closely they are hugely subject to masking and at any rate, given the higher output level, their amplitude is lower than it seems. So again, not an audible issue at all.

    Net, net, a bit more visually distracting but very good results and no concerns.

    Next I tested 1 Khz harmonic distortion at 44.1 Khz:

    1 Khz.png

    Here the Behringer shows off again with its superbly lower harmonic distortion which no other DAC has managed to match regardless of price. Differential between the tone and third harmonic on the Behringer is an excellent 128 db. Same differential on the Topping D30 drops to 104 dB.

    Again, this is not an audible concern but would have been good to see some DAC try to unseat the Behringer in this regard!

    The Topping has one major advantage here though and it is its much higher output level. Being externally powered, the Topping D30 has about 5 dB more output which solves the main problem with the Behringer which is its anemic output. More on this in the subjective section.

    In summary, measurements show no audible concern and almost as clean as I like to see.

    Listening Tests
    I did some quick informal sighted listening tests comparing the Topping D30 to Behringer UMC204 HD. I connected each one sequentially to my Stax headphone. My Stax headphones despite having dedicated amplifiers have anemic output. With the Behringer, I could get them to OK level but any higher and distortion climbs rapidly in the Stax headphone.

    Listening with the Topping D30 however, was a joy as it had enough drive to give me satisfying listening level. The louder levels allowed bass performance to be better and hear more detail than the Behringer. I could still use a tad more output, yes going deaf in my older age :), but it is certainly enough as is.

    The other nice thing is native playback of DSD as that is the first clip in my audiophile playlist and it is nice to see it play as is rather than converted to PCM though Roon.

    The sound is so satisfying that I am still going through my playlist as I type this!

    Summary
    The Topping D30 provides a feature-rich consumer DAC with lots of digital inputs and compatibility with DSD. Its engineering performance is near ideal with no notable audible issues. The build quality on the outside is very nice and step above bargain basement devices. Audibly it unseats the Behringer easily due to higher output level.

    Recommended!
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2017
  2. soundArgument

    soundArgument Member

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    Amir, many thanks and kudos to you for testing. I wonder if these results will dampen excitement about the Behringer UMC-204HD around here.
     
  3. amirm

    amirm Founder/Admin CFO (Chief Fun Officer) Staff Member

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    Probably so. :)
     
  4. tr1ple6

    tr1ple6 Member

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    Great review Amir. Perhaps you should use Amazon affiliate links. They could help pay for more products to review
     
  5. watchnerd

    watchnerd Major Contributor Beer Hero

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    Great stats.

    Shame about the X-rated name, though.
     
  6. A.wayne

    A.wayne Active Member

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    Will it sound better than my TT .... ? :)

    Any comparisons to an upscale Dac besides the reference studio standard Behringer ...


    Regards
     
  7. amirm

    amirm Founder/Admin CFO (Chief Fun Officer) Staff Member

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    I will do a listening test against the exasound and report back.
     
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  8. watchnerd

    watchnerd Major Contributor Beer Hero

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    Double-blind?
     
  9. mindbomb

    mindbomb Member

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  10. amirm

    amirm Founder/Admin CFO (Chief Fun Officer) Staff Member

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  11. mindbomb

    mindbomb Member

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    the oscillators are different for the xmos chip is the thing that worries me.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017
  12. Wombat

    Wombat Member

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    Looks like the parts supplier couldn't keep up with the demand following amirm's review. :rolleyes:
     
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