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Topping D90 Balanced USB DAC Review

rebbiputzmaker

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I have not yet done any direct comparisons with listening tests, but I have been enjoying listening to the D-90. I would suggest that anyone doing listening tests of DACs do so with rigorous level matching, as I find the actual audible differences between good and great DACs can be very small. I do level matched comparisons by the following procedure:

First, choose one track for the comparison. This track should be well recorded, with at least some acoustic instruments, and some well recorded voice. Also, a track with good imaging helps as well. Make sure there are some acoustic high frequency instruments like cymbals and/or bells/chimes. And some deep low frequencies with details, like large drums, well recorded synth bass, and well recorded acoustic bass.
Play the track on DAC #1, and decide on a good reference level. Then play a pink noise track and measure the output of the DAC with an AC volt meter. Now play the pink noise on DAC #2 and adjust its level with the pink noise track to match that of DAC #1. (This method assumes using the volume controls in the DAC, if using a preamp, you will have to make a note of the correct volume setting which produces equal measured output from each DAC). Now make your comparisons, never touching the volume controls with the reference track. I prefer not to do "blind" testing, but I know folks on this forum would demand that you also test blind. If you would like to test blind, I would suggest first testing sighted, and learning as much as you can about the sonic differences first, and then go forward with blinded testing for confirmation (or not). I find testing blind introduces a stress factor which makes deep listening more challenging, but some appear to have overcome these difficulties-I prefer to train myself to be immune to biases rather than trying to overcome the induced stress of blinded testing, to each his own, but I suspect I will not post any results here of listening tests which are sighted, as the level of forum noise will rise with such testing, obscuring any real observations.

Anyone else have any tips on doing listening tests for DACs?
What you say makes a great deal of sense, I agree with your thought process and how you go about listening. I try similar usually with music I am familiar with. Certain recordings, microphones used etc. have sonic attributes with can be noticed during critical listening. An instrument I also find very useful for critical listening is the vibraphone. Very familiar with it spent a lot of time listening to live music And the vibes have a certain unique sonic signature which is not always easy to properly reproduce.
 

BDWoody

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Absolutely, why in the would we want to have reasonable intelligent discussion...
I don't think talking about training yourself to be immune from bias by ignoring the realities of audible comparison testing qualifies.

The starting premise is absurd. Commonly believed, but absurd.
 

arnask

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Hi all, i've spent many hours reading this threat about D90 and still cant decide which one i should buy: DX7 Pro or D90?
But the most biggest question for me is my usage. Its totally differs from i see you guys usage. I have a big PA system with digital mixer. Sometimes i use it just for conferences, but sometimes for live music (bands of 5 persons). And very often i need to play some music before and after the show. Mostly i use iphone and Audioengine B1 as BT receiver, and sometimes my MacBook directly connected to mixers mini jac->RCA stereo input. And here is the question: do i need a DAC between MacBook and mixer? Will i feel the difference in quality if i will be using one? And if so, then, will i feel difference between DX7 Pro and D90? What is your recommendations?
 

Tks

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Hi all, i've spent many hours reading this threat about D90 and still cant decide which one i should buy: DX7 Pro or D90?
But the most biggest question for me is my usage. Its totally differs from i see you guys usage. I have a big PA system with digital mixer. Sometimes i use it just for conferences, but sometimes for live music (bands of 5 persons). And very often i need to play some music before and after the show. Mostly i use iphone and Audioengine B1 as BT receiver, and sometimes my MacBook directly connected to mixers mini jac->RCA stereo input. And here is the question: do i need a DAC between MacBook and mixer? Will i feel the difference in quality if i will be using one? And if so, then, will i feel difference between DX7 Pro and D90? What is your recommendations?
Neither seeing as how you have a Macbook. Apple evidently still takes audio serious enough from what we've seen in their $9 phone doggles so rest assured that unless you have some issues with the Macbooks sound output specifically.. There is no reason outside of connectivity options to you what you're asking or aiming for.
 
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Spocko

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Hi all, i've spent many hours reading this threat about D90 and still cant decide which one i should buy: DX7 Pro or D90?
But the most biggest question for me is my usage. Its totally differs from i see you guys usage. I have a big PA system with digital mixer. Sometimes i use it just for conferences, but sometimes for live music (bands of 5 persons). And very often i need to play some music before and after the show. Mostly i use iphone and Audioengine B1 as BT receiver, and sometimes my MacBook directly connected to mixers mini jac->RCA stereo input. And here is the question: do i need a DAC between MacBook and mixer? Will i feel the difference in quality if i will be using one? And if so, then, will i feel difference between DX7 Pro and D90? What is your recommendations?
For me the difference is the volume knob - I hate those little buttons on the D90.
 

Spocko

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Can this dac be called high end ? I only read good opinions of it
I have a (probably) newbie question, is it posible that usb input performs very well but the others inputs and outputs (spdif, toslink) works really bad?
Sorry for my bad English, i hope u understood me
YES, this DAC both measures as high end and sounds "high end" if you want neutral transparent signal without the DAC adding its own coloration like some tube or R2R DACs. Now you may very well prefer the sound of those colorations, so it's really preference.
 
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Help needed...

Sometimes while playing the music gets distorted with a loud noise. It happens while the track is playing, not on the start. The music can still be heard in the background. After pausing the track and continue it ist normal again. Used a Mytek Brooklyn before without any problem. Using Roon and SotM SMS 200.

Any idea or similar observations?

thanks
 
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Help needed...

Sometimes while playing the music gets distorted with a loud noise. It happens while the track is playing, not on the start. The music can still be heard in the background. After pausing the track and continue it ist normal again. Used a Mytek Brooklyn before without any problem. Using Roon and SotM SMS 200.

Any idea or similar observations?

thanks
Does this happen only when you are playing DSD ?
Have you updated the USB driver ?
 
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Does this happen only when you are playing DSD ?
Have you updated the USB driver ?
No normal CD Quality files. How would i update the driver in the SotM Streamer SMS200? It is not a pc you can install something. The strange thing is, it happes WHILE a track is playing. So for example the track is playing 5 Minutes and then pink noise or something like that.

Update: I upsample in roon to max. pcm rate. Topping support told me that i should only use default sample rate. But doesn´t this look like a bug in the firmware then?
 
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No normal CD Quality files. How would i update the driver in the SotM Streamer SMS200? It is not a pc you can install something. The strange thing is, it happes WHILE a track is playing. So for example the track is playing 5 Minutes and then pink noise or something like that.

Update: I upsample in roon to max. pcm rate. Topping support told me that i should only use default sample rate. But doesn´t this look like a bug in the firmware then?
You could try 44.1 x 16 ----> 705.6khz PCM..

I use HQPlayer to upsample from 44.1khz to DSD512.. but I couldn't get 48k x 512 working for D90.
I settled to use 44.1k x 512 (22.5792Mhz) eventually.

Let me try 768khz pcm tonight.. and let you know if its stable.
 

joltman

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I've currently got a FiiO E17 in a FiiO E09K dock. It's powering my HD650 cans. So far, it's been great. Now that I'm working from home full time, I was thinking of upgrading my setup. Obviously, I'm looking at the D90 and thinking of pairing it with the Monoprice AAA THX 887 and making my own XLR cables and my own balanced headphone cable. Should be fun to do.

I've also been subbing to ROON and was playing some SACD rips that are FLAC 88.2KHz/24bit. The FiiO E17 doesn't understand that rate, and ROON upsamples/oversamples to 96KHz/24bit. Reading the Apos site, it says that the DAC supports up to 32bit/768KHz, but does that include 88.2KHz/24bit? I was considering also adding a Raspberry Pi 4 with the Roopiee XL software as a ROON endpoint. Could be fun! Thanks!
 
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My D90 just died. Just stopped playing music, and after switching it off doesn't even want to switch on again.

I was running it it on my desktop computer. It didn't even make it into my hi-man system. Oh well.
 

bboris77

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My D90 just died. Just stopped playing music, and after switching it off doesn't even want to switch on again.

I was running it it on my desktop computer. It didn't even make it into my hi-man system. Oh well.
That sucks. Could it be that the fuse blew for some reason? It should be possible to replace the fuse without opening the unit. I would reach out to Topping support to see what fuse fits in there before shipping it back for replacement/repair.
 
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No normal CD Quality files. How would i update the driver in the SotM Streamer SMS200? It is not a pc you can install something. The strange thing is, it happes WHILE a track is playing. So for example the track is playing 5 Minutes and then pink noise or something like that.

Update: I upsample in roon to max. pcm rate. Topping support told me that i should only use default sample rate. But doesn´t this look like a bug in the firmware then?
Have the same problem. It happens only with PCM 705/768 khz :-(
 
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That sucks. Could it be that the fuse blew for some reason? It should be possible to replace the fuse without opening the unit. I would reach out to Topping support to see what fuse fits in there before shipping it back for replacement/repair.
It is not the fuse. First is stopped playing music, but the display was still operational. Now it is totally bricked.
 

Veri

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It is not the fuse. First is stopped playing music, but the display was still operational. Now it is totally bricked.
That sucks. Can you work with the seller in terms of warranty? I would hope you'll get sent a new one.
 

Peib

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My D90 just died. Just stopped playing music, and after switching it off doesn't even want to switch on again.

I was running it it on my desktop computer. It didn't even make it into my hi-man system. Oh well.
Im sad to read that :(

Hope its just an isolated case
 
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