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Topping D70s MQA Review (DAC)

nimar

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I must say that I am a bit angry. Because there are 2 contradictory opinions (on this forum too I guess) about using hats for Raspberry. Some say that hats have no sense, just use USB out of R-Pi board (just use a good PS for the board), some say that with hat (like Allo USBridge) there is better sound quality. John Darko says that USB in Raspberry is shit (ab. 5:10 in link below)
Pi-Squeeze! A DIRT-CHEAP music STREAMING system (+ ROON alternative) - YouTube

Where is the truth?
Angry about it? Seems a bit intense.

The Pi3 was considered "bad" because its network card shares the usb bus with the USB ports, so in theory more data is moved around on the same bus to get data in over the network and out via usb. Theory is that this could lead to data congestion and being dropped, though this would lead to sound stopping rather than any degradation. Does this actually happen in the real world? Never experienced it, even with 24/192 tracks with a pi3 over wifi/wired.

Some also think the pi USB is noisy but as have been shown here and elsewhere $10-$50 DAC's manage to suppress noise over USB so who cares?

Because of this everyone decided that hat's were the answer because they don't use the USB bus. But as shown above this probably makes no real difference. Not to mention that they can also suffer from noise from the Pi, some have dedicated power supplies to reduce this. Does this make a difference? Possibly, but the real problem is that DAC's used in HAT's generally aren' as good as those available in USB DACs. A USB DAC doesn't have the same space/power constraints as a hat and as a result has better measured results.

Does Darko know what he's talking about, or back up his allegations with any data? Not really.
 

mrbungle

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Not that I can add much to what @nimar was saying, but I’m using a Pi4B on a Dx7 Pro via Roon and USB, can’t remember hearing any pops or clicks. Works great.
 

DHT 845

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Thanks for yours opinions... So I don't undestand the popularity of the hats. Especially this Allo USBrigde, that has also USB but "better".
Nobody tested it, compared A/B in measurements (USB direct vs USB from hat)?

Why to complicate things, add another power supply bigger box etc? The simplicity of Pi4B alone is very templing but there are so many other opinions. I assume that D70s has great USB input quality but probably many modern DACs today have the same. But on the other hand every, I repeat every Allo device tested on this forum is recommended. So Allo USBridge would be an exception? Sth. redundant and unnecessary?

If there is somewhere such a comparison, please give a link.
 

Veri

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Thanks for yours opinions... So I don't undestand the popularity of the hats. Especially this Allo USBrigde, that has also USB but "better".
Nobody tested it, compared A/B in measurements (USB direct vs USB from hat)?
Perhaps the Allo made sense in RPi3 days, RPi4 is perfectly suitable for straight USB usage. I wouldn't overthink/overcomplicate it...
 
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DHT 845

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Perhaps the Allo made sense in RPi3 days, Rpi4 is perfectly suitable for straight USB usage. I wouldn't overthink/overcomplicate it...
Maybe you are right! Looks like RPI4 has more IC chips near USB / Ethernet.
 

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WickedWilly

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Hi there, has anyone had issues with this dac and MQA streams? I am using Roon for playback with an ethernet wired Pi4 running the latest version of Ropieee XL. USB in to the dac.

Setup is : Pi4 4gb with RopieeeXL (Latest release version) wired ethernet in -> Topping D70s MQA Dac via USB -> XLR to power amp -> Speakers.
The issue I’m having is that the dac does not seem to lock onto the MQA stream properly, resulting in the following:
  • Pressing play can result in the playback slider advancing, but no sound
  • advancing or rewinding the playback slider stops sound, while slider continues to advance from placed position
  • Left or Right channels will sometimes not work (playback from one channel only)
  • Pausing and restarting will result in no sound, while playback slider advances
  • track advance or rewind will often result in no sound but playback slider advancing.
I have tried a few albums (96k MQA, 88 and 44k MQA) and have had the above issues. I have set the resynch delay to 50ms from 0 and the above issues are still occurring. There are no issues streaming CD quality FLAC. Using the Pi + Ropieee in Airplay mode results in no issues in playback with either MQA or CD FLAC files - hence my suspicion its a dac / signal issue. Is the resynch delay too low? Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance. G
I updated to firmware 5.0 and it cured the problem.
 

zanzibar

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Thank you for your tolerance. The one who is behaving like a troll is you with your intolerance and disrespectful attitude.

For unbelievers, please read this excerpt from Sandu's D90 MQA review (soundnews.net):
Topping is using a very advanced Altera Max II FPGA that together with two Accusilicon AS318 femtosecond clocks will extract the best performance out of the AK4499. It is important to know that the Altera FPGA is infused with Topping own code so obviously the same hardware with different software code can sound very different, hence the substantial difference in sound quality between various DACs with the same components.

So my guess is that D70s FPGA code is not the same as D90's. That would be one possible explanation for this 'mystery'.

FYI, I appreciated you sharing your thoughts. For me, I think your distinctions came down to you tube amp type.

It's completely unnecessary to go after people for taking the time to share their thoughts. Thank you for sharing yours. I appreciate it.
 

vadwiser

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I'm glad to report that I've upgraded from my old trusty D50s to this superb beast of D70s. I might sound stupid, please bear with me, besides feeding MQA content from Tidal using USB Audio Player Pro and USB connection, is there any similar possibility using optical/coaxial? My Samsung TV running Tizen has the Tidal app available.... Any thoughts? Thx in advance
 

Veri

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besides feeding MQA content from Tidal using USB Audio Player Pro and USB connection, is there any similar possibility using optical/coaxial?
Nope, USB only. Only latest-generation on-chip decoding DACs like ESS9068AS can decode MQA from any source.
 

0ldSchool

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Angry about it? Seems a bit intense.

The Pi3 was considered "bad" because its network card shares the usb bus with the USB ports, so in theory more data is moved around on the same bus to get data in over the network and out via usb. Theory is that this could lead to data congestion and being dropped, though this would lead to sound stopping rather than any degradation. Does this actually happen in the real world? Never experienced it, even with 24/192 tracks with a pi3 over wifi/wired.

Some also think the pi USB is noisy but as have been shown here and elsewhere $10-$50 DAC's manage to suppress noise over USB so who cares?

Because of this everyone decided that hat's were the answer because they don't use the USB bus. But as shown above this probably makes no real difference. Not to mention that they can also suffer from noise from the Pi, some have dedicated power supplies to reduce this. Does this make a difference? Possibly, but the real problem is that DAC's used in HAT's generally aren' as good as those available in USB DACs. A USB DAC doesn't have the same space/power constraints as a hat and as a result has better measured results.

Does Darko know what he's talking about, or back up his allegations with any data? Not really.
Darko also mentioned that the noise was mitigated in the Pi4, not necessarily in the article cited, but somewhere in the 6 (or so) articles in which he talks about streaming on the cheap with the Pi. I agree that it is extremely difficult to get to the truth - so much so I have waited 2 years to pull the trigger on a DAC and some way to stream TIDAL to that DAC via Ethernet. The Moon 390 fills the bill - but goodness the price!
 

BDWoody

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Darko also mentioned that the noise was mitigated in the Pi4, not necessarily in the article cited, but somewhere in the 6 (or so) articles in which he talks about streaming on the cheap with the Pi. I agree that it is extremely difficult to get to the truth - so much so I have waited 2 years to pull the trigger on a DAC and some way to stream TIDAL to that DAC via Ethernet. The Moon 390 fills the bill - but goodness the price!

You could just get a ChromecastAudio puck in the mean time...? @$50 I think lately. Often overlooked, still hard to beat.
 

DHT 845

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The Moon 390 fills the bill - but goodness the price!
I still have moon 180 mind streamer with sbooster LPS, sounds fantastic via AES/EBU but do not support DSD. I'm curious how it compares to Pi 4 via USB. Latest moon mind supports qobuz, mine not.
 

0ldSchool

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You could just get a ChromecastAudio puck in the mean time...? @$50 I think lately. Often overlooked, still hard to beat.

Great suggestion! Agreed.*

Own 3 of them plus a "spare." On my main system, with the CCA, I use iFi iPower Supply [https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B01GNNX...abc_XC7FVEKABBTHF9TGJY9K?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1]; UGreen Ethernet Adapter for CCA [https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B01N1X2...abc_ARK8MEXJHJT2E5P2N9WM?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1]; and the iFi SPIDF Purifier [https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B01KKFT...abc_828FNVY4S5VN2PFE0BSJ?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1]

BEFORE adding these "clean" items I had used the CCA puck for at least 100 hours. Without telling my wife that I had made any changes, I once again played some of the more delicate (detailed/nuanced) HiFi songs from TIDAL, and my wife said, "WHAT did you change?" The Ethernet, linear power supply, and bit perfect anti-jitter, reclocking, galvanic isolator had performed audible miracles!

The TIDAL HiFi has been spectacular versus Apple Music and Amazon Music. Doing a single unfold of MQA via iOS and Airplay2 is that much better again. Thus my quest for MQA (with full hardware unfold) via DAC and Ethernet.

BY THE WAY - letter to John Darko with two of these suggestions (sans SPDIF Purifier) is here: https://darko.audio/2018/07/letters-to-the-editor-3-ways-to-juice-your-chromecast-audio/

*Addendum: So you don't waste time if you'd rather spend your $$ elsewhere, current prices are: CCA $50 EBay; RJ45 Adapter $13; Linear PS $50; SPDIF Purifier $150.
 
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0ldSchool

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I still have moon 180 mind streamer with sbooster LPS, sounds fantastic via AES/EBU but do not support DSD. I'm curious how it compares to Pi 4 via USB. Latest moon mind supports qobuz, mine not.
I have spent tens of hours with my son-in-law's Moon 390. It is pretty spectacular, and the Moon MIND Controller works fairly well with TIDAL. IF I could get half the fidelity the 390 delivers, I would be happy. I had a Dragonfly Cobalt for a couple of months. Sent it back because my "clean" CCA puck was, on most cuts, about the same sound as the Cobalt. I think a major low fidelity factor was the 15' RCA cables from the Cobalt to my amp.
 

DHT 845

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Get all this off topic talk somewhere else guys, if you must continue it. I'm not seeing the relevance to D70s.
It's about the best digital source for D70s :)
 
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0ldSchool

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Get all this off topic talk somewhere else guys, if you must continue it. I'm not seeing the relevance to D70s.
True! My apologies. Thank you for you gentle guidance! As a new member, I am following #MQA posts and have beaucoup experience with CCA. I will be more cognizant in the future of not responding to off-topic posts.
 

Veri

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True! My apologies. Thank you for you gentle guidance!
I meant it as a gentle reminder, not trying to be rude here but I'd rather we don't have pages and pages about all that. Thanks for understanding. Like I said though, feel free to create new thread(s).
 

gonzoznog

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Hello folks. I just ordered one of these DACs and am curious about all the features. I see it says it has "Pure DAC." On some of Toppings other DACs, this lack of volume control would be activated and the bypass would allow Native DSD to pass through withough internal PCM conversion. I previously went through this same conundrum with the original D70. After email customer support, they said that the volume bypass on it did have internal PCM conversion, only to have them follow up a few days later saying that the "Pure DAC" mode with volume bypass did indeed hand off pure, native DSD. Does anyone know if that's true about this DAC? Can't seem to find any schematics unlike other models. I have a Geshelli JNOG [AKM4493] that I am currently using for DSD and think it sounds really good. Just wondering if buying this would make the JNOG redundant in my set-up. Either way, I am excited! Thanks as always, y'all.
 
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