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Topping D30 still the best ~$100 DAC?

Aibo

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#22
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..
Just curious, what have you been comparing it with? Here goes my list:

Topping NX4
Topping D30
Topping D10
AudioQuest Dragonfly V1.0
HRT microStreamer
SMSL Sanskrith 10th
SMSL Idea
SMSL X4
Sabaj Da2
Sabaj Da3

For me, NX4 and D30 rule supreme. In second group I really liked (in this order): HRT microStreamer, D10 and Da3... and than there are the rest of the bunch with SMSL X4 at the end.

And lots of people asked me why I kept my old HRT while trying many modern DACs. But it simply sounded better than all of them until I tried D30 and kept it. And now I also listened to the NX4 which sounds great and very very similar to D30 even though they have different chips (CS4398 and Sabre ES9038Q2M). People give too much attention to the chips being used, it's just one piece of the puzzle after all.
 

bennetng

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#23
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.
Yeah, some Prism Sound interfaces use CS4398 as well and they are expensive. Also interesting to see D30's measured SINAD (-107dB) is same as the number specified in the datasheet.

However, don't even think about getting a 2nd hand EMU card. No more driver update and it seems that Creative abandoned the EMU brand completely.
 

sonci

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#25
Just curious, what have you been comparing it with? Here goes my list:

Topping NX4
Topping D30
Topping D10
AudioQuest Dragonfly V1.0
HRT microStreamer
SMSL Sanskrith 10th
SMSL Idea
SMSL X4
Sabaj Da2
Sabaj Da3

For me, NX4 and D30 rule supreme. In second group I really liked (in this order): HRT microStreamer, D10 and Da3... and than there are the rest of the bunch with SMSL X4 at the end.

And lots of people asked me why I kept my old HRT while trying many modern DACs. But it simply sounded better than all of them until I tried D30 and kept it. And now I also listened to the NX4 which sounds great and very very similar to D30 even though they have different chips (CS4398 and Sabre ES9038Q2M). People give too much attention to the chips being used, it's just one piece of the puzzle after all.
I mostly use cd players, some Sony Es series, Denon and Marantz, and a Dac1 Benchmark,
Topping D30, is not a patch for any of them, actually when compared sometimes it sounded like broken.
I can't speak about the dacs in your list, but it seems they are chinese hifi, same as Topping.
When I saw the topping measurements, I thought that you can get high end sound for few bucks, but you cannot, despite what it seems from the measurements, there's a huge difference between the D30 and my cd players
 

Aibo

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#26
Well, that sheds some light at your disappointment and I get where you're coming from. I've listened some much better DACs too, and most recently it was Marantz HD-DAC1 and it sounded very full and musical, the way no DAC from my list can ever hope to match... But price difference is so huge I just find it inconsiderate to compare them directly. On that note I did witnessed D30 beating 2-2.5 times more expensive devices and in my book that's already a win.
 

sonci

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#28
Well, that sheds some light at your disappointment and I get where you're coming from. I've listened some much better DACs too, and most recently it was Marantz HD-DAC1 and it sounded very full and musical, the way no DAC from my list can ever hope to match... But price difference is so huge I just find it inconsiderate to compare them directly. On that note I did witnessed D30 beating 2-2.5 times more expensive devices and in my book that's already a win.
That's what I find strange, because according to measurement there should be little or no differences between dacs, but when you listen the difference it's all there, and lets forget about the blind bullshit tests, those who know how a cd sounds, can hear the difference easily..
 

derp1n

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#30
That's what I find strange, because according to measurement there should be little or no differences between dacs, but when you listen the difference it's all there, and lets forget about the blind bullshit tests, those who know how a cd sounds, can hear the difference easily..
So true bro. CDs sound absolutely broken with the D30. I chuck them on top and there's no sound at all!
 

Aibo

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#31
That's what I find strange, because according to measurement there should be little or no differences between dacs
Measurements are not a sign of total equality, they're just a good engineering base to the product. Not because of magic or anything, but simply because of the limited data we can extract from these measurements. Just a banal example - if we have two girls and they both measure: Height 165 cm, weight 55 kg, hips 90 cm, waist 60 cm, bust 90 cm... what can you get from that? Even if you get much more detailed and include distance between the eyes, shoulders, arms, legs.... There's a lot of good and valuable info there for sure, but at what point do we say - OK, these two girls measures the same so they must be equally pretty.

Measurements are great and useful tool but shouldn't be mistaken for definite description because they're not. And nope I'm not a superman with super hearing, I'm actually an engineer too, majored in precise measurements (not related to Audio though but lab equipment) and that's why I know how difficult is to choose a meaningful set of measurements, conduct them in a correct way and in a meaningful environment... and last but not least understand them properly and give a meaning to them.
 

Krunok

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#32
Measurements are not a sign of total equality, they're just a good engineering base to the product. Not because of magic or anything, but simply because of the limited data we can extract from these measurements. Just a banal example - if we have two girls and they both measure: Height 165 cm, weight 55 kg, hips 90 cm, waist 60 cm, bust 90 cm... what can you get from that? Even if you get much more detailed and include distance between the eyes, shoulders, arms, legs.... There's a lot of good and valuable info there for sure, but at what point do we say - OK, these two girls measures the same so they must be equally pretty.

Measurements are great and useful tool but shouldn't be mistaken for definite description because they're not. And nope I'm not a superman with super hearing, I'm actually an engineer too, majored in precise measurements (not related to Audio though but lab equipment) and that's why I know how difficult is to choose a meaningful set of measurements, conduct them in a correct way and in a meaningful environment... and last but not least understand them properly and give a meaning to them.
And how did you, as an engineer, ensure that the difference you're allegedly hearing between "very full and musical" Marantz HD-DAC1 and say Topping D10 aren't product of your imagination?
 

Aibo

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#34
And how did you, as an engineer, ensure that the difference you're allegedly hearing between "very full and musical" Marantz HD-DAC1 and say Topping D10 aren't product of your imagination?
Well, if I had a chance I would give my best to do as much quantifiable tests as I can and try to understand them. But the fact is that I can't always understand everything I encounter and sometimes it's very difficult to come up with a good testing methods that will prove or explain some effects. So I guess if I don't know how to test it or explain it, I'm trying to learn more about it and find someone who can. That's why I'm here anyway.

I know this is a sensitive topic and there's a lot of bogus impressions going around. I rally don't want to start another long discussion or change your mind. I would just like if we could stay open to the idea that every test is limited to a certain degree and there may be something we missed or didn't know how to measure, or we didn't really realized how to "provoke" device to show us that particular side (but in reality it may happen more often than not).

Anyway, I always strive to connect the dots and explain to myself why is something the way it is... but I don't always succeed.
 

Krunok

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#35
Well, if I had a chance I would give my best to do as much quantifiable tests as I can and try to understand them. But the fact is that I can't always understand everything I encounter and sometimes it's very difficult to come up with a good testing methods that will prove or explain some effects. So I guess if I don't know how to test it or explain it, I'm trying to learn more about it and find someone who can. That's why I'm here anyway.

I know this is a sensitive topic and there's a lot of bogus impressions going around. I rally don't want to start another long discussion or change your mind. I would just like if we could stay open to the idea that every test is limited to a certain degree and there may be something we missed or didn't know how to measure, or we didn't really realized how to "provoke" device to show us that particular side (but in reality it may happen more often than not).

Anyway, I always strive to connect the dots and explain to myself why is something the way it is... but I don't always succeed.
This is a scientifically oriented forum based on tech and measurements where most of the folks will trust subjective listening impressions only if they are result of a properly conducted double blind test. As differences between Marantz HD-DAC1 and Topping D10 are so small it is reasonable to assume they cannot be heard, unless proven otherwise. But I don't recall anybody managed to do that with DACs..
 

RayDunzl

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#36
Measurements are not a sign of total equality, they're just a good engineering base to the product.
What can a DAC output that is unmeasureable yet still audible?
 

graz_lag

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#39
I've listened some much better DACs too, and most recently it was Marantz HD-DAC1 and it sounded very full and musical, the way no DAC from my list can ever hope to match ...
Would you mind updating your list ? Otherwise I am in trouble to follow you, sorry :

Yesterday at 9:21 PM

"Just curious, what have you been comparing it with? Here goes my list:

Topping NX4
Topping D30
Topping D10
AudioQuest Dragonfly V1.0
HRT microStreamer
SMSL Sanskrith 10th
SMSL Idea
SMSL X4
Sabaj Da2
Sabaj Da3

For me, NX4 and D30 rule supreme. In second group I really liked (in this order): HRT microStreamer, D10 and Da3... and than there are the rest of the bunch with SMSL X4 at the end.

And lots of people asked me why I kept my old HRT while trying many modern DACs. But it simply sounded better than all of them until I tried D30 and kept it. And now I also listened to the NX4 which sounds great and very very similar to D30 even though they have different chips (CS4398 and Sabre ES9038Q2M). People give too much attention to the chips being used, it's just one piece of the puzzle after all."
 

Aibo

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#40
Would you mind updating your list ? Otherwise I am in trouble to follow you, sorry
The list is what I personally had (still have many of them) and listened at length at my own home and with equipment I'm well familiar with. With most of these I did AB testing, tortured my girlfriend to do ABX etc. The latest addition to that list is FX Audio DAC-X6 that came this morning, and I'll be listening that one more closely and against other DACs in coming days.

If you're referring to some more expensive DACs I've mentioned, that was in other people homes and systems. For example, heard the Marantz when I was bringing D30 to a friend so he can try it out. I haven't count any experiences like that in this list with my own devices.
 

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