• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Topping D90 Balanced USB DAC Review

BDWoody

Chief Cat Herder
Moderator
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 9, 2019
Messages
4,481
Likes
11,975
Location
Mid-Atlantic, USA. (Maryland)
Now @BDWoody, since your recent promotion to the esteemed position of Moderator, I expected a least a mild chastisement for lowering the tone. There again, I seem to remember an equally wonton disregard for standards emanating from the words of @Thomas savage also.

My deal was, I am going to be the same as I always was... If the words aren't in red, it's just me. Once folks pass some point, having a touch of fun isn't the same as piling on someone new with sincere questions.

This is Audio Science Review, not Audio Story Review after all.
 

SJ777

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 29, 2020
Messages
902
Likes
1,402
Location
UK
My deal was, I am going to be the same as I always was... If the words aren't in red, it's just me. Once folks pass some point, having a touch of fun isn't the same as piling on someone new with sincere questions.

This is Audio Science Review, not Audio Story Review after all.
Completely agree. Secretly I knew that I hadn't over stepped the mark!

I'd love to return this thread to topic, but I don't have anything to add to the previous 135 pages on the D90. Unless somebody could explain how it sounds???:facepalm:
 

Veri

Master Contributor
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
8,061
Likes
9,822
Completely agree. Secretly I knew that I hadn't over stepped the mark!

I'd love to return this thread to topic, but I don't have anything to add to the previous 135 pages on the D90. Unless somebody could explain how it sounds???:facepalm:
It sounds like a D90, pretty sure~
 

win

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2020
Messages
418
Likes
394
Location
Irvine CA
You are so wrong it's pathetic. You just embarrassed yourself, and you arrogance makes it worse.

Done. Useless site. Bunch of know-nothings wacking off to graphs. Enjoy.

lol this guy

kinda dumb huh
 

Final

Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2018
Messages
42
Likes
50
Well, all DACs with filters, sound ever so slightly different.

I haven’t experimented myself, but from what I read some prefer one Topping D90 filter and some prefer another.

If the filters sound 100% identical, only one filter would be needed! I guess logically speaking one filter could offer different levels of transparency than the other.
 

Veri

Master Contributor
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
8,061
Likes
9,822
If the filters sound 100% identical, only one filter would be needed!
These filters are just about placebo, unless you select a "super slow" variant which rolls off the high-end by >3dB. Many devices do leave the selection to the manufacturer, as in one filter. The default one is minimum phase for minimum latency, whereas linear phase has "correct" flat phase but higher latency; to the end user in a consumer/hi-fi situation this really won't matter though, more meant for the "pro" user. But I guess audiophiles like to be able to tweak these things and obsess over it. Again, experiment all you want but selection of the oversampling filter won't radically change the sound in any way...
 
Last edited:

Robin L

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 2, 2019
Messages
3,320
Likes
4,427
Location
1 mile east of Sleater Kinney Rd
I've read female vocals are cold.

Audiophile is not 'graphs'; where is the timbre? Tone? Layering? Soundstage? Space between the notes? Extension? Show me one of your graphs and point to all these aspects.

The question stands: How. Does. It. Sound?
Like fresh mozzarella on lasagna.
 

Robin L

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 2, 2019
Messages
3,320
Likes
4,427
Location
1 mile east of Sleater Kinney Rd
Completely agree. Secretly I knew that I hadn't over stepped the mark!

I'd love to return this thread to topic, but I don't have anything to add to the previous 135 pages on the D90. Unless somebody could explain how it sounds???:facepalm:
It sounds like white on rice.
 

Harmonie

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
May 30, 2020
Messages
1,856
Likes
1,797
Location
France
It will sound like every other competent DAC.

The other things you describe are either part of the recording or part of the room/speakers. Not the DAC.

Spend money on stuff with moving parts to find dramatic differences. If you can hear it, you can measure it. Beyond some point, it becomes purely academic.

Transparent is transparent... Doesn't need to be more complicated. There is no hidden physics, and these are engineered boxes, not musical instruments, nor are they supposed to be fuzz boxes.. At least none of the good ones.

Very interesting, indeed room interactions, speakers, microphone, stylus aso are moving parts and make huge differences.

Reason I'm looking for well recorded music and let the system reveal it.
 

EdW

Active Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2020
Messages
184
Likes
198
Location
Cambridge, UK
Very interesting, indeed room interactions, speakers, microphone, stylus aso are moving parts and make huge differences.

Reason I'm looking for well recorded music and let the system reveal it.
You’ve hit the nail on the head here! I listen mainly to classical music and the difference between a good performance, well recorded and a mediocre performance of the same music is like the difference between night and day.
living in the UK I often buy from
https://www.prestomusic.com/classic...MI76zp6tL87AIVm-vtCh3c_AI4EAAYASAAEgJDUfD_BwE
who offer a selection of reviews of the music on offer as well as reasonable prices and samples to hear

It is also true that a transparent low distortion audio system can be rather revealing of the differences between good and rather average recordings. Perhaps a bit of 2nd harmonic distortion from a tube stage can ‘soften’ something which sounds a little rough?
 

MakeMineVinyl

Major Contributor
Manufacturer
Joined
Jun 5, 2020
Messages
2,234
Likes
3,327
Location
Santa Fe, NM
It is also true that a transparent low distortion audio system can be rather revealing of the differences between good and rather average recordings. Perhaps a bit of 2nd harmonic distortion from a tube stage can ‘soften’ something which sounds a little rough?
Yes, 2nd harmonic distortion can be euphonic, and can take the edge off some sterile sounding recordings of which there is no shortage. Generally, I prefer the European recording philosophy of companies like Nimbus which used Ambisonic microphone techniques rather than the typical American use of spaced omni microphones, a holdover from the early Bell Telephone experiments.
 

Final

Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2018
Messages
42
Likes
50
These filters are just about placebo, unless you select a "super slow" variant which rolls off the high-end by >3dB. Many devices do leave the selection to the manufacturer, as in one filter. The default one is minimum phase for minimum latency, whereas linear phase has "correct" flat phase but higher latency; to the end user in a consumer/hi-fi situation this really won't matter though, more meant for the "pro" user. But I guess audiophiles like to be able to tweak these things and obsess over it. Again, experiment all you want but selection of the oversampling filter won't radically change the sound in any way...

I have experimented a bit with different filters on other DAC’s than Topping though. The difference between minimum phase and linear phase filters seems clearly audible.

Much more difficult to distinguish one linear filter from another linear phase filter or one minimum phase filter from another minimum phase filter.

The overall difference between minimum and linear, although audible, not night and day. Just a small change in perceived sound IME.
 

Veri

Master Contributor
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
8,061
Likes
9,822
I have experimented a bit with different filters on other DAC’s than Topping though. The difference between minimum phase and linear phase filters seems clearly audible.

Much more difficult to distinguish one linear filter from another linear phase filter or one minimum phase filter from another minimum phase filter.

The overall difference between minimum and linear, although audible, not night and day. Just a small change in perceived sound IME.
I can discern NOS/Super Slow from correct ones. Besides that I couldn't tell the difference with a gun to my head, lol :D
 

Robin L

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 2, 2019
Messages
3,320
Likes
4,427
Location
1 mile east of Sleater Kinney Rd
Yes, 2nd harmonic distortion can be euphonic, and can take the edge off some sterile sounding recordings of which there is no shortage. Generally, I prefer the European recording philosophy of companies like Nimbus which used Ambisonic microphone techniques rather than the typical American use of spaced omni microphones, a holdover from the early Bell Telephone experiments.
My experience in recording classical music: most of the time, the issue is simply covering the instruments, so a combination of microphones of different types are usually used. I've use spaced omnis to a limited extant but also would mix in an ORTF pair to solidify the image. And if a section needs highlighting or greater clarity, spot microphones would be used. The minimalist technique you mention is rarely used. It works better for small ensembles than orchestras. All minimalist techniques do.

If a recording is dry and harsh, then maybe it's supposed to sound dry and harsh. As I've said elsewhere, we should expect a pop recording as usually produced to sound like a microphone feed rather than a "live" musical event. I "get" the sound of vintage tubes, but I'd rather have no filtering.
 

MakeMineVinyl

Major Contributor
Manufacturer
Joined
Jun 5, 2020
Messages
2,234
Likes
3,327
Location
Santa Fe, NM
The minimalist technique you mention is rarely used. It works better for small ensembles than orchestras. All minimalist techniques do.
One might consider the 3 spaced omni technique 'minimalist' (Mercury, RCA etc) too. In my experience, multi-miking destroys the impression of depth; it gets lateral imaging OK, but compresses front to back space - in the 1970s record companies went wild with multi-mic/multi-track with the result being some of the most lifeless sounding recordings made. Some of the best recordings I've heard (or made) have been done either with a single Blumlein pair, two or three spaced omnis, or an Ambisonic single point pickup. In a difficult acoustic space, obviously spot microphones are a necessity, but better locations make simpler setups more feasible. Today, more and more recordings of all types of ensembles are being done with minimal microphone techniques since naturalness of presentation is more valued now than in the past.

Since most people do not have control over the sound quality "harshness" or the lack of it on the recordings in their library of music, I would say that any means, including "adding distortion" to make non-optimal sounding recordings sound more pleasing would be valid. After all, we're supposed to enjoy listening to our music, not suffer through bad recordings - even if they were 'meant' to sound bad.
 
Last edited:

Robin L

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 2, 2019
Messages
3,320
Likes
4,427
Location
1 mile east of Sleater Kinney Rd
It must sound delicious then.
First off, we are hearing the interaction of the devices, all of them. So, the Drop6XX headphones sound slightly "soft" to me. Is that lack of treble or lack of distortion? Both? Neither? Far as I can tell, the Topping gear is as neutral as can be. And I use APO EQ to flatten out the eq bumps in the 'phones. Net result is still a tiny bit "soft" but overall, the best since my Stax earspeakers gave up the ghost. So yeah, pretty yummy.
 
Top Bottom