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Topping D50 III Balanced DAC with EQ Review

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 4 1.3%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 8 2.5%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 44 14.0%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 258 82.2%

  • Total voters
    314

Yorkshire Mouth

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At $1299.99 for the K19 we're in rather a different price range, but it does look like a sweet device (it even includes an HDMI input, which would be ideal for listening to SACDs on a Blu-ray player). I'll put in my vote to see a test report from amirm -- whenever possible!

Absolutely, astonishingly, no subwoofer out and bass management.
 

PenguinMusic

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Hi,

I am now awaiting for Topping to release the five legged sheep :)
That would be a device that would combine :
- easy and reliable Ethernet Streaming from UPnP/DLNA device compatible with 3d party-apps ;
- a really superb DAC with PEQ (like this one) ;
- a powerful and good headphone amp...

I would jump in immediatly should they release such marvel !!!

Regards.
 

jkorten

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I bought the predecessor to this model from China and it promptly failed after 3 months. The cost to send it back for service was almost equal to the cost of the DAC. So I strongly encourage everyone to purchase this from a within country dealer who provides warranty service.
 

Sokel

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That correlated noise with the low frequency EQ engaged looks like a potential issue with filter quantization, either in coefficients or internal state. It is low level with the 1kHz tone, but you might want to measure with tones that are closer to that filter if you see it in the future.

At this low level, probably not a huge issue, but that noise, if the hypothesis of cause is correct, be careful about using very low frequency filters. This problem get worse as you move lower in frequency. For example, probably don’t want to put a 20Hz high pass filter on there.
Your (very well informed) insight agrees with just about any informed insight about it.
Looks like we need a thread about it as it is a lot more complicated as we thought it would be,specially filtering low like in room correction for example.

Thanks for that!
 

Timcognito

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For the money seems pretty good needs 2.1 channel PEQ on all inputs, then I would buy. It's great for HPs as is though.
 

Labjr

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For the money seems pretty good needs 2.1 channel PEQ on all inputs, then I would buy. It's great for HPs as is though.
It's only the beginning. I'd like to see much more from them too. Maybe a stereo 4-way crossover in one box.
 

KiyPhi

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In what ways are the filters from RME superior and why these are out of reach of companies like Topping that have proven they understand a thing or two about engineering and manufacturing? Sincerely would like to learn, to understand.

Peace.
I'm going to answer this is an way that probably wasn't intended by you or the person saying RME has better filters. For me, RME offers more DSP capabilities that can be applied to two separate headphones at the same time with independent volume control. In return, it has fewer PEQ filters. For me, the small amount of better distortion from the RME doesn't really justify the price for someone who isn't going to be using the RME for what it can do that this can't. In my opinion, this is an excellent value.

I won't be buying one because I already have an RME, but if I didn't, this would be a strong contender for my money. The value this offers is large. I may not be able to listen with two separate headphones without repeating the source through two USB ports, but for normal listening, most people don't have that big of a reason to pay so much extra.

I guess if they have the extra money and just want the cleanest filters, RME is the way to go, but I'm glad a device that offers PEQ with audible transparency exists for the more budget oriented person.
 

Kevinfc

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At $1299.99 for the K19 we're in rather a different price range, but it does look like a sweet device (it even includes an HDMI input, which would be ideal for listening to SACDs on a Blu-ray player). I'll put in my vote to see a test report from amirm -- whenever possible!
Agree, very nice DAC. By price levels of just a decade ago a great value. Less so today though.
 

Henreid

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Agree, very nice DAC. By price levels of just a decade ago a great value. Less so today though.
I concur - though I will suggest that if the FIIO K19 performs flawlessly its price can be considered "within reason" (since we have seen other four-figure audio components showing inexcusably mediocre results when tested, for example: Marantz Cinema 70s AVR).
 

AdamG

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Please try to stay on topic. If you want to discuss different DACs open a separate thread and you can talk about as many different DACs that you want. This is an Official Product Review Thread.

Please and thank you for your cooperation.
 

totti1965

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Topping D50 III balanced stereo DAC with support for parametric equalization. It was sent to me by the company and costs US $229.
View attachment 364353
Sorry for the quality of the picture/display. It is quite dim compared to my photography light and when I tried to brighten it, it brought out the chromatic aberrations in my lens. While tiny, it is very sharp and clear white color. Back panel shows the innovation of using 1/4 jacks to bring balanced output in such a small enclosure:
View attachment 364355
The remote is bluetooth so you don't have issues with how you point it. If you are using it as a USB DAC, you can plug that cable to the one labeled USB-C and be good to go. That is how I tested it using the hub in my monitor as I do with all DAC tests. There is auxiliary power input as well if you are not using USB but the S/PDIF options. I *think* you can also use that for higher quality power if your USB is not such.

What distinguishes the D50 III is what is inside: support for up to 10 filters of different types. The app, called Topping Tune, even has nice features like overlaying a target curve. Focus is on headphone use though as there is no way to assign separate EQ to each channel as you would need for Room EQ. You could use it to correct speaker flaws but would be harder to do so for room effects. I hope the company adds per channel capability.

If you are not familiar with my DAC measurements, I recommend this video tutorial on how I test audio DACs:


Topping D50III DAC Measurements
As usual we start with our usual dashboard. Max output defaulted to 5 volts so I used -1.5 dB of attenuation to get it down to nominal 4 volts:

View attachment 364356

We expect state of the art performance from Topping and that is precisely what we get here, easily landing the D50 III in our silly top 20 DACs as far as noise and distortion:
View attachment 364357

Distortion is vanishingly low at -140 dB so we are dominated by noise, which seems to be mostly from my analyzer. Fellow member @Rja4000 measured it with an RME audio interface and managed a SINAD of 124.6. Difference is academic as we are well past point of transparency either way.

RCA performance is a bit worse as usual:
View attachment 364360
But still verifiably transparent.

Here is the performance at lower output levels:
View attachment 364362

Dynamic range even measured with my analyzer is superb:
View attachment 364361

Multitone performance is stunningly good with extremely low and frequency independent distortion:
View attachment 364363

Jitter is super despite "dirty" computer power:
View attachment 364364

Linearity is naturally perfect:
View attachment 364365

IMD distortion is extremely low with tiniest, immaterial hit of "ESS IMD Hump" in one channel:
View attachment 364366

For compatibility with stereophile measurements, here is 50 Hz spectra until 600 ohm load:
View attachment 364367
Great example of how excellent engineering covers all bases seeing how I recently started to run this test with little opportunity for companies to optimize for it.

Wideband THD+N again lets Topping flex its muscles when it comes to superb engineering:
View attachment 364368

We have the usual filter settings (I have optimized this measurement a bit to make it more clear):
View attachment 364369

Mode 3 has the best attenuation without any ringing in out of band noise. Here is the impact on frequency response:
View attachment 364370

Topping D50 III Equalization Measurements
It is difficult to test impact of EQ on our measurements as the mere fact of changing the frequency response impacts the parameters used in the test. As an extreme example, if I put a notch filter at 1 kHz, SINAD test would just show garbage as the main tone is now filtered. To get around this, I programmed two filters in Topping Tune but left them at 0 dB. Here is the outcome:
View attachment 364371

As you see, it made no difference. I then set them to -5 dB with another 5 dB of pre-amp negative gain:
View attachment 364372

The high frequency filter makes no difference but the low frequency one showed variable noise around the 100 Hz frequency of the first
BTW, I *think* you can't play and change the EQ settings. I had to stop the analyzer from feeding the DAC before changing the settings. This may be wise as changing filters dynamically can cause glitches.

It also took me a bit to realize that making changes in Topping Tune are immediately communicated to D50 III. I kept looking for a "send" or "update" button and by accident discovered that changes are automatic.

Overall, I was very impressed with fit and finish of the Topping Tune seeing how this is their first attempt at software development. On great addition there would be to be able to update the firmware in the DAC.

Conclusions
Folks, this is a momentous event. The era of state of the art DACs with equalization is upon us! And at incredibly reasonable price. All of your complaining about lack of value add EQ was heard and we are finally there. For those of you not able to perform equalization in the source, you can do that now with nary a cost increase while enjoying the best DAC technology has to offer us. I can imagine the huge R&D costs for Topping to tool up to do all this software development. As the first company whose products impressed me, it is great to see them continue to innovate in not only pure fidelity but also functionality. Today is a happy day for me! :)

It is my pleasure to recommend Topping D50 III balanced stereo DAC.
-----------

It would be so nice and extremely interesting to see the „penalty“ you have to pay for using filter mode 5, or Filter 7 or 8 in this wideband THD + N measurement with 90 kHz Bandwith! Perhaps I am lying to myself, but in my ears the
1713574745001.png
filters with less pre ringing sound subjectively better.
 

iv0

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The manual lists power consumption at <2.5W.

2.5W is the maximum specification for usb 2.0, so technically as long as you plug the dac into a usb 3.0 port and use a usb A to C cable (4.5W max), you don't need a wall wart. If you plug it into a usb-c port on your computer you also don't need a wall wart, because the usb-c standards require ports to be able to supply 15W.


This is in the manual, because some phone manufactures don't abide by the standards when it comes to power delivery!

View attachment 364401
So can the topping p50 be used?
 

georgehifi

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you don't need a wall wart. If you plug it into a usb-c port on your computer

Really!! what if your system is not run with a computer!!!

Cheers George
 

georgehifi

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Then use a wall wart.
:facepalm: Back to my original question, which is the least smps noisy wall wart that has USB-C?? Or is there a linear one??

Cheers George
 

staticV3

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:facepalm: Back to my original question, which is the least smps noisy wall wart that has USB-C?? Or is there a linear one??

Cheers George
Just use a good quality phone charger (e.g. Apple). It can be USB-C or USB-A.

The 5V input of the D50 III is heavily filtered, so a linear supply serves no purpose. It just wastes energy.
 

Atanasi

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If you plug it into a usb-c port on your computer you also don't need a wall wart, because the usb-c standards require ports to be able to supply 15W.
USB-C standards don't require supplying 15 W. Some host ports supply USB 2 baseline, some 7.5 W, some 15 W. Hosts may even change their power rating at any time, like if the power supply of the host is changed or new devices require sharing power.
 
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