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Topping D30 still the best ~$100 DAC?

Joined
Nov 9, 2018
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#1
all -

looking for a POD (plain old dac) around $100 and after spending a few days on this site (which i love for more scientific measurements and less comments like "I heard detail in the music I never heard before") seem to narrow it down to the Topping D30 and the new Schiit Modi 3.

I need spidf, optical and USB (will be switchign between hifi gear and computer). I'd love to have something with balanced outputs but dont see anything worthwhile <$500.

the DAC will go into a Allen & Heath 14 channel mixer which then goes into a pair of Focal CMS65's (which sound awesome, not sure why folks don't use pro-audio powered speakers more).

The reason i'm asking is the D30 seems to have been around for 2-3 years, and improvements in DACs seem to happen every year. I've gone thru the Schiit saga (which is actually what led me to this site, i always had a high opinion of them) but the Modi 3 seems pretty good.

While I"m at it here are a few other things I like about ASR:
- reviews of gear regardless of name brand or country of origin or if you buy them at a fancy audio store or on massdrop
- more measurements less personal bias
- reviewing of pro gear (RME) as well as stuff only found on ebay

I'm mainly a musician but have spent a good amount of time behind a recording console both recording and mixing, and I know how subjective listening is - ear fatigue, current mood, even emotions of people you are listening to the music with can change how you feel about a piece of gear, and I'm not even talking about speaker placement, standing waves, where you are in the room, ie non-subjective things.

This is for my home studio setup, so budget is of concern (we have Metric Halo convertors in the studio)

thx all!

-carl
 

Grave

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#2
The $100 Khadas DAC has better performance so I ordered one of those and I making a case for it. This does not have optical though. The Topping D30 is excellent. If you want a balanced DAC/amp then why not the Topping DX7s?
 
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#4
To my ears and in my system (typical home stereo with integrated amp + speakers) D30 sounds superb, better then many other DACs I tried. So I wouldn't worry about it being a little bit older on the market, I believe that for the price it's still undefeated.
 
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#5
Same here, I'm also a happy D30's owner, It would be interesting if amir could update the measurements thread someday, the new SINAD value is noticeably better than before.

Anyway there's tough competition in this segment, but I wouldn't compare it directly with the khadas board, since it doesn't come with a chassis and power supply and also doesn't have toslink input, adding those would certainly increase the price quite a bit.
 

Ron Texas

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#6
Same here, I'm also a happy D30's owner, It would be interesting if amir could update the measurements thread someday, the new SINAD value is noticeably better than before.
Could you elaborate on the new SINAD value and where to find it?
 
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#9
thx all, pretty convinced the D30 now (but the D50 just landed back on massdrop as well)

is there a best place to buy it? ebay? are there such things as fake toping d30's out there (wouldn't surprise me).
 

Roen

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#11
to answer my own question its back on massdrop for $104, which is pretty good price i think...
I'd go with the Khadas Tone Board + Case if you don't mind open air frame, but that's personal preference. Also, single cable for data + power instead of USB cable + data and 15V power supply for the D30 is slightly more attractive.
 
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#12
I've had my D30 for two weeks now, currently driving Elac Debut 6.2's. I even had it drive the power-hungry Elac Uni-fi UB5's the other day for a while. Very pleased.
 

Roen

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#15
In every metric? D30 doesn't have the IMD hump.

Besides which, the differences aren't audible. At all.
Most metrics.

I mean, it's all close at the top, but which one would you say is better overall, measurement-wise?
 

sonci

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#17
Can anyone at least say what other dac has been compared to the D30.
I think the D30 was good for the price, but it was far from smth you can live a long time with, or I really had a defective unit..
 

Roen

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#18
Can anyone at least say what other dac has been compared to the D30.
I think the D30 was good for the price, but it was far from smth you can live a long time with, or I really had a defective unit..
Many reviews in this section will allow you to make a value judgement.

Tone Board is the obvious one.
 

Ron Texas

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#19
The CS4398 in D30 is the DAC chip used in EMU 1212m soundcard (2004, $199), which means it is super "old" already. It is a classic.

I am very curious about their newer chip.
https://www.cirrus.com/products/cs43198/
The CS4398 is still used by Marantz in an $800 dac, Focusrite in their popular Scarlet line and several other pro audio manufacturers. I believe the EMU card is still available.
 

Veri

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#20
I never even realised Topping had a product with a CS chip.

The CS4398 in D30 is the DAC chip used in EMU 1212m soundcard (2004, $199), which means it is super "old" already. It is a classic.

I am very curious about their newer chip.
https://www.cirrus.com/products/cs43198/
It's curious few audio gear designers jump on high-end cirrus logic chips. I guess they don't attract the "audio crowd" as much as the Sabre or AKM ones do.
 

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