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Topping D90SE Measurements (DAC)

VintageFlanker

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Topping D90SE Measurements (DAC)

PXL_20220326_194351960.NIGHT_2.jpg

Hi folks,

I just got my hands on the mighty Topping D90SE and wanted to share my objective analysis. Some might wonder what would be the point to post this, when we already have a complete test at ASR, with our host's skills and his APx555... Well, at least three reasons, I would say:

1) I need an undisputed reference to set the benchmark for my further gears analyses.
2) That way, I am curious to find if I may reach the limits measurable by my ADC (no doubt I should).
3) In any case, repeatability is always a good thing ! This should remove some doubts about Amir receiving a cherry-picked product from the manufacturer... In case you're wondering, this unit is brand new from Amazon FR in March 2022, so nine months after Amir tested it. By today, MSRP is 899€.

Disclaimer: Measurements you are about to see are not intended to be as precise or extensive than what you get from a 30k€ AP. There is obviously both hardware and software limitations here, so not quite apples to apples comparison with Amir's testing. For example, I estimated SINAD (AKA THD+N) to be usually 5 to 6dB worse with my measurements rig, when compared to ASR reviews of the exact same products. Still, this data is enough to have a pretty good idea if the gear is bad or not, stellar, broken, or sub-par...

- ADC : E1DA Cosmos (Grade B), set to 4.5Vrms input for measuring XLR, or 2.7Vrms for RCA. Minimum phase filter.
- Software : RMAA 6.4.5 PRO and Multitone Loopback Analyzer 1.0.13.
- Method : 8 runs for each test, then I chose the closest to the average. All tests are running 24bits / 44.1Khz.
- Topping D90SE : Fixed XLR outputs (4.2Vrms) and USB input for most tests, unless specified otherwise.​

RMAA Summary

Test
Results
RMAA rating
Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB
+0.04, -0.02​
Excellent
Noise level, dB (A)
-125.0​
Excellent
Dynamic range, dB (A)
124.5​
Excellent
THD, %
0.00005​
Excellent
THD + Noise, dB (A)
-115.7​
Excellent
IMD + Noise, %
0.00031​
Excellent
Stereo crosstalk, dB
-125.9​
Excellent
IMD at 10 kHz, %
0.00023​
Excellent

Wow. Both THD and THD+N are the best I've measured so far and would translate, per my own estimations, to at least 120dB SINAD in a proper measurements rig. Needless to say, RMAA's rating is somehow outdated to evaluate this stunning level of performance. We reach -125dB Noise, which is the limit of my Cosmos ADC (Grade B)... at least in Stereo Mode. It is now pretty clear that I have to set my Cosmos in Mono Mode to find out the real D90SE abilities. To push the Cosmos to its absolute limits, I also measured the "5V mode" (really 5.2Vrms):​
Test
Topping D90SE XLR
Topping D90SE XLR (Mono)
Topping D90SE XLR 5V (Mono)
Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB
+0.02, -0.02​
+0.02, -0.02
+0.02, -0.02
Noise level, dB (A)
-125.0​
-127.4
-127.7
Dynamic range, dB (A)
124.5​
126.6
126.7
THD, %
0.00005​
0.00004
0.00003
THD + Noise, dB (A)
-115.7​
-117.7
-119.3
IMD + Noise, %
0.00031​
0.00028
0.00027
IMD at 10 kHz, %
0.00023​
0.00019
0.00016
Stereo crosstalk, dB
-125.9​
/​
/​

I have no words. With setting to 5V, THD is simply out of this world at only... 0.00003% (-130dB!), but the biggest surprise was to realize that, yes, I can measure up to 119dB SINAD at home... About 127dB for both SNR and DR are still the limitations here, being the absolute limits of my Cosmos. Before setting back to Stereo/4V, for a more apples to apples comparison with others DACs, let's have a look at this masterpiece:​

THD + Noise (at -3 dB FS)

THD+N XLR 5V.png


...Now, let's run the usual bunch of tests :​

Frequency response

fr.png
Left​
Right​
From 20 Hz to 20 kHz, dB
-0.03, +0.03​
-0.04, +0.01​
From 40 Hz to 15 kHz, dB
-0.02, +0.02​
-0.03, +0.01​


Noise level

noise.png

Left​
Right​
RMS power, dB
-122.9​
-123.8​
RMS power (A-weighted), dB
-124.5​
-125.5​
Peak level, dB FS
-87.1​
-87.1​
DC offset, %
-0.0​
-0.0​

THD + Noise (at -3 dB FS)

thd.png
Left​
Right​
THD, %
0.00005​
0.00005​
THD + Noise, %
0.00019​
0.00017​
THD + Noise (A-weighted), %
0.00017​
0.00016​

Dynamic range

dynamics.png
Left​
Right​
Dynamic range, dB
+123.1​
+124.0​
Dynamic range (A-weighted), dB
+124.1​
+124.9​
DC offset, %
-0.00​
+0.00​

Intermodulation distortion (swept tones)

imdswept.png
Left​
Right​
IMD + Noise at 5000 Hz,
0.00024​
0.00022​
IMD + Noise at 10000 Hz,
0.00024​
0.00020​
IMD + Noise at 15000 Hz,
0.00025​
0.00021​

Intermodulation distortion

imd.png
Left​
Right​
IMD + Noise, %
0.00032​
0.00030​
IMD + Noise (A-weighted), %
0.00021​
0.00018​

Stereo crosstalk

cross.png
Left​
Right​
Crosstalk at 100 Hz, dB
-127​
-126​
Crosstalk at 1000 Hz, dB
-126​
-124​
Crosstalk at 10000 Hz, dB
-124​
-116​


What about RCA outputs? I expect a logical drop in performance (whatever E1DA says, Cosmos ADC is not optimal for single ended measurements), the question is : by how much? Let's find out:

THD + Noise (at -3 dB FS)
THD+N XLR VS RCA.png


XLR VS RCA
Test
Topping D90SE XLR
Topping D90SE RCA
Topping D90SE RCA 5V
Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB
+0.02, -0.02​
+0.02, -0.02​
+0.02, -0.02​
Noise level, dB (A)
-125.0​
-121.6​
-122.0​
Dynamic range, dB (A)
124.5​
121.6​
121.6​
THD, %
0.00005​
0.00007​
0.00007​
THD + Noise, dB (A)
-115.7​
-112.5​
-113.2​
IMD + Noise, %
0.00031​
0.00039​
0.00038​
Stereo crosstalk, dB
-125.9​
-116.5​
-116.5​

Apart from crosstalk being logically inferior, I am pleased to see that THD is still exceptionally low at 0.0007%. Using 5V Mode (2.6Vrms), THD+N is still 6dB better than my Matrix Mini-i Pro 3's balanced outputs, which is quite an accomplishment! For my future measurements of unbalanced DACs, I am finally glad to know the reference being that high !​


USB VS S/PDIF
Test
Topping D90SE USB
Topping D90SE S/PDIF
Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB
+0.02, -0.02​
-0.00, -0.03​
Noise level, dB (A)
-125.0​
-124.4​
Dynamic range, dB (A)
124.5​
123.9​
THD, %
0.00005​
0.00005​
THD + Noise, dB (A)
-115.7​
-115.8​
IMD + Noise, %
0.00031​
0.00031​
Stereo crosstalk, dB
-125.9​
-124.7​

Performance seems to drop by a little using S/PDIF. Ignoring run-to-run variations and averages, I would call both results to be similar. In any case, nothing to worry about.


Multitone Analyzer (100 tones, 5 averages)

RCA
Multitone RCA.png


XLR
Multitone XLR.png


XLR 5V
Multitone XLR 5V.png

Multitone test of unbalanced outputs, while not perfect, is still a hair better than (again) my Matrix balanced. XLR performance is by far the best I saw in this test. I set back the D90SE to 5V for the last run and got this stellar picture you see above.


One last thing...

When running my first measurements, I noticed quite a few variations in overall frequency response. I then realized that I accidentally changed the filter with the remote. The D90SE has 7 filters called "Modes" from 1 to 7 (default is Mode 3).
D90SE Filters.png

None of them measured the same as far as FR is concerned (44.1Khz). Mode 1, in particular, is acting weird, really... My recommendation is for Mode 5 (Fast roll off linear), being the flattest :

FR Zoomed.png


... Well, that's all, folks !

Flanker rating : State Of The Art.
 
Last edited:

RickSanchez

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Great review! Any chance you could change the scale on your last graph (the 7 filters)? It'd be interesting to zoom in to more easily see how different the filters are. If not no worries, just thought I'd ask.
 
Last edited:
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VintageFlanker

VintageFlanker

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Great review! Any chance you could change the scale on your last graph (the 7 filters)? It'd be interesting to zoom in to more easily see how different the filters area. If not no worries, just thought I'd ask.
I can hardly get better than this (and yep, colors changed:p):

FR Zoomed 2.png
 

MarcosCh

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Thanks a lot!
Very glad to see members publishing their measurements, it can definitely help expand the reach of the forum. Thanks indirectly to the Cosmos ADC to make this possible. I bet you won't be the only one posting this sort of results :)
A couple of comments. For people using these dacs as preamps, like me, it is always nice to see the Dynamic range vs vol graph. Is it possible to get it with your setup?
Also on dynamic range. I see amir numbers reach a bit higher than yours. Is it due to you reaching to the limit of your adc/whatever?
Thanks again and keep it hoing!
 
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VintageFlanker

VintageFlanker

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Also on dynamic range. I see amir numbers reach a bit higher than yours. Is it due to you reaching to the limit of your adc/whatever?
It absolutely is. To quote E1DA:
[email protected]: 127+/-1db(A) grade-B, STEREO mode has 3db worse SNR/DR.
For people using these dacs as preamps, like me, it is always nice to see the Dynamic range vs vol graph. Is it possible to get it with your setup?
Not quite. I could not run these tests directly with such basic software and ADC. I could manually measure performance at different volume points, but I would have to adjust (fixed) input sensitivity every time, with not enough precision (say 4.5, 3.5, 2.7, 1.7Vrms). I tried that in my CA CXN V2 review, but lacked time to do more extensive testing. Another software limitation is RMAA having trouble to deal with lower than -10dB signals, so relative to the 1.7Vrms input settings, I could have a hard time trying to measure 1Vrms levels or lower...

Still, it is pretty common that SNR/DR are usually both lowered by the same amount of dB than the digital attenuation itself (when the latter is used, for that matter).;)
 

Matias

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What truly impresses me is how much resolution a home user can get with an affordable ADC and software. Now there is even less excuse for manufacturers releasing gear with bad measurements. Can't use the "but an AP 555 costs 30k" card anymore! :p

Thanks a lot!
 
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VintageFlanker

VintageFlanker

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Can you run same 44.1k multitone test with your Cosmos running at 384kHz and show the full 192k bandwidth of multitone result? I am seeing something with my Cosmos and wanted to see if it is anti aliasing filter related or something else.
Not with the D90SE, since I sent it back already. I could give it a try with my Matrix, tho. Any particular issue you're looking for?

Why is the stereo crosstalk higher on the right channel at higher frequencies?
It is usual to have channel mismatch in such tests. Yet, up to 10dB+ difference (at 20Khz) is a bit much for the class, I would say. Why is that? I have no clue... For relative comparison, here is my Matrix:
cross.png


Cambridge CXN V2:
cross.png


Even some unbalanced DACs (Here, the Schiit Modi 3) may show fairly cohesive results between L and R:
Crosstalk.png
 

Arnas

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I noticed 1 main complaint about it on many subjective reviews.
Narrow soundstage... Amir said its crosstalk is enough, but why does competing sabre dacs like Gustard X26 Pro and Stuff from Matrix guys said to sound wider and measurements also show significantly better crosstalk...
Topping a90 same story, all complaints mainly about it sounding narrow.
Is small box is not enough to properly separate right and left channels from each other to allow better crosstalk?
Both Matrix and Gustard top tier models have bigger boxes.
 

Matias

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I noticed 1 main complaint about it on many subjective reviews.
Narrow soundstage... Amir said its crosstalk is enough, but why does competing sabre dacs like Gustard X26 Pro and Stuff from Matrix guys said to sound wider and measurements also show significantly better crosstalk...
Topping a90 same story, all complaints mainly about it sounding narrow.
Is small box is not enough to properly separate right and left channels from each other to allow better crosstalk?
Both Matrix and Gustard top tier models have bigger boxes.
Crosstalk is below -120dB. That is, it is very, very low level you would hear one channel playing on the other channel.

As loud as you would hear someone shouting from a 1,000 km / 650 miles away.
 

Arnas

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Crosstalk is below -120dB. That is, it is very, very low level you would hear one channel playing on the other channel.

As loud as you would hear someone shouting from a 1,000 km / 650 miles away.
Yes, but why it have worse crosstalk than other dacs?
How can dacs get so much praise for thd+noise while crosstalk is so much lower than Matrix x sabre pro for example?
Maybe 100db thd would be enough why we need 120?
 

Matias

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Yes, but why it have worse crosstalk than other dacs?
How can dacs get so much praise for thd+noise while crosstalk is so much lower than Matrix x sabre pro for example?
Maybe 100db thd would be enough why we need 120?
The same goes for crosstalk: if -120 dB is enough, why do we need -150 dB crosstalk? :)
 

MarcosCh

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Crosstalk is below -120dB. That is, it is very, very low level you would hear one channel playing on the other channel.

As loud as you would hear someone shouting from a 1,000 km / 650 miles away.
Well, if you change the scale to microns, -120db is like someone shouting just one meter away :D
 

Arnas

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The same goes for crosstalk: if -120 dB is enough, why do we need -150 dB crosstalk? :)
Im just saying that is the weakest link on Topping devices... Why cant everything be perfect?
I dont believe its enough with measurements... I think more is better, thats just me ofc.
 

Angsty

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Im just saying that is the weakest link on Topping devices... Why cant everything be perfect?
I dont believe its enough with measurements... I think more is better, thats just me ofc.
It doesn't need to be perfect at this price because the price of perfection is inaudible. Frankly, I'd bet that you could not tell a Gustard X26 Pro from "Stuff from Matrix" from a $140 Schiit Modi 3e in a blind, level matched test. "People are sayin'..." is not really a fact-based comparison.

I can't tell my Modi 3 from my Topping D70s when level-matched, BTW.
 
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