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Topping D90SE Review (Balanced DAC)

MBWORLDZ

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Aug 14, 2020
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I have a Lumin D2 streamer, I am not happy with the Wolfson WM8741 DAC chips inside the unit. Wonder if this ES9038PRO will bring way more clarity and details to the sound. I like the specs that this one can decode MQA for Coaxial, Optical and AES. That is great ! (Even though MQA is not all that, its not important anyways, but since the unit is built in the feature).
 

DHT 845

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I fully appreciate these great specs, though I returned my D90se and am keeping my old D90 which was hands-down preferred in my rig. Topping appears to have weaked all aspects of of the new SE, though they did so having been forced to use the inferior (IMO) ESS9038 Pro chip (no choice as the AK4499EQ is no longer available). It was either that, or stop selling D90s' altogether - so IMO this was a make-do scenario.
I was afraid of such scenario, but have you tried latest d70s on double AK4497?
 

Eddy H.

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@JohnYang1997 Should the volume level go down 2 or 3 dB when using the RCA and XLR at the same time? When I'm listening through the rcas the volume will be at a certain level but when I switch to both rca and XLR it gets quieter.
 

Eddy H.

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I just found out that you shouldn't use xlr to rca adapters on the dac! I couldn't figure out why my volume was changing when I switched from rca to xlr+rca. Now I know!
 
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Veri

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I just found out that you shouldn't use xlr to rca adapters on the dac! I couldn't figure out why my volume was changing when I switched from rca to xlr+rca. Know I know!
Can you explain a bit? XLR>RCA will lose volume always..
 

51514brad

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Are these dropouts occurring when using with output from a TV? There have been a few reports I've read here of similar problems.
I just bought an E50 specifically to connect my TV to my amp via the TV's optical output and the dropouts are several times a minute. When I switch to my (much more expensive) Moon 280D DAC there are no dropouts whatsoever.

I see there is an available firmware update (although no instructions) and I wonder if this may help. Alternatively, might a 5V power supply (rather than the USB cable) solve this problem?
 

51514brad

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Is it only MS Windows users who are experiencing these audio interruption problems? I've yet to reproduce anything like this from my Linux-based Roon endpoints. I've not tested the Topping with Windows (or macOS, for that matter), but I believe that @amirm uses a Windows PC for all of his measurements. Surprised that he did not encounter this issue.
I can tell you that the dropouts on my E50 are horrendous running my TV's optical output through it. This happens to be the primary purpose for which I purchased the E50
 

skyfly

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Is Topping's CLDP jitter reduction circuit the cause of sound dropouts with TV?

D50s does not advertise CLDP. I did not see a D50s post complaining about sound dropouts when connected by optical cable with TV.
 

bogi

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NPWS

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Hi @JohnYang1997 ,

I have D90SE pairing with Singxer SA-1, I've tried several times to listen between Line out Type : RCA out only, XLR only and RCA+XLR using USB from my PC using foobar, turnout that RCA only have bigger power, more clear and everything than XLR only or RCA+XLR, using XLR it should have more power yes?
XLR only was the same with RCA+XLR, to my ear.
RCA only was bigger power than all of them : XLR only or RCA+XLR.
I know RCA only = 2.5V
XLR Only = 5V
RCA on RCA+XLR = 2V
XLR on RCA+XLR = 4V
yeah I've read that's spec on topping web. from what I heard on my d90se, RCA only have more power than XLR only, for example I drive my hifiman he400i using RCA only I set the volume on my SA-1 between 10 / 11 o'clock, but when I switch to XLR only I have to adjust the volume to 1 / 2 o'clock to get the same amount of volume match as RCA out. I'm afraid that my unit was defective. is my D90SE defective?
Thanks
 

dsnyder0cnn

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Hi @JohnYang1997 ,

I have D90SE pairing with Singxer SA-1, I've tried several times to listen between Line out Type : RCA out only, XLR only and RCA+XLR using USB from my PC using foobar, turnout that RCA only have bigger power, more clear and everything than XLR only or RCA+XLR, using XLR it should have more power yes?
XLR only was the same with RCA+XLR, to my ear.
RCA only was bigger power than all of them : XLR only or RCA+XLR.
I know RCA only = 2.5V
XLR Only = 5V
RCA on RCA+XLR = 2V
XLR on RCA+XLR = 4V
yeah I've read that's spec on topping web. from what I heard on my d90se, RCA only have more power than XLR only, for example I drive my hifiman he400i using RCA only I set the volume on my SA-1 between 10 / 11 o'clock, but when I switch to XLR only I have to adjust the volume to 1 / 2 o'clock to get the same amount of volume match as RCA out. I'm afraid that my unit was defective. is my D90SE defective?
Thanks

I have the Topping Pre90/Ext90 analog preamp. It has the same behavior.

I'm using the balanced inputs, and when I select the RCA or XLR + RCA modes, output is 6 dB hotter than XLR-only mode. I was expecting the Pre90 to do a better job of matching levels between modes. Failing that, I had imagined that gain in XLR-only mode would be greater, not less than modes that activate the RCA output.

I guess what it's doing internally is routing the full balanced voltage swing from the balanced input to a single-ended signal path when the mode enables the RCA output. After the signal passes through the volume control, the signal is routed to RCA outputs as-is but for the XLR outputs, the voltage is doubled, resulting in 6 dB higher gain. For XLR in, XLR out, there are no conversions to/from a single-ended signal path.

In short, I don't think there's anything wrong with your D90SE. Although the volume knob on your amp is higher when you're using XLR-only, this mode is giving you better signal-to-noise ratio out of the DAC. Don't get too hung up about volume knob position. Actually, depending on how the SA-1 implements volume, the results may be better at 1/2 o'clock than 10/11. :)
 

srkbear

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I have the Topping Pre90/Ext90 analog preamp. It has the same behavior.

I'm using the balanced inputs, and when I select the RCA or XLR + RCA modes, output is 6 dB hotter than XLR-only mode. I was expecting the Pre90 to do a better job of matching levels between modes. Failing that, I had imagined that gain in XLR-only mode would be greater, not less than modes that activate the RCA output.

I guess what it's doing internally is routing the full balanced voltage swing from the balanced input to a single-ended signal path when the mode enables the RCA output. After the signal passes through the volume control, the signal is routed to RCA outputs as-is but for the XLR outputs, the voltage is doubled, resulting in 6 dB higher gain. For XLR in, XLR out, there are no conversions to/from a single-ended signal path.

In short, I don't think there's anything wrong with your D90SE. Although the volume knob on your amp is higher when you're using XLR-only, this mode is giving you better signal-to-noise ratio out of the DAC. Don't get too hung up about volume knob position. Actually, depending on how the SA-1 implements volume, the results may be better at 1/2 o'clock than 10/11. :)
This is interesting and I’m trying to make sure I have things right. I read the following from the post before yours:

I know RCA only = 2.5V
XLR Only = 5V
RCA on RCA+XLR = 2V
XLR on RCA+XLR = 4V

But am I hearing both of you say that when the DAC is in XLR-only mode it’s necessary to push up the amp volume higher than when the DAC is in mixed mode? This seems counterintuitive to the above specs that suggest XLR-only outputs the highest voltage. I would think that the amp could be run at lower volumes at 5 bolts compared to 4–can you please help me with what I’m getting wrong here?
 

skyfly

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I am somewhat a measurement guy. I would play a 50 Hz sinusoidal tone and measure voltage with a multi-meter. I would even buy a multi-meter for just that measurement. At about 50Hz, the inaccuracy in voltage reading is not very big even on an inexpensive multi-meter from RadioShack.

P.S.: In hi-fi DAC or CDP world, the audio output voltage spec at 0dB FS is a rough spec. There is not need for a manufacturer be true to the catalog spec within +/- 0.1 V.
 
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Eddy H.

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Any ides what changed with the new driver? - Anybody know? (Other than Windows 11 compatibility)
After updating the Topping driver my laptop will only output 44.1 to the dac no matter what settings I use. Any one else having this problem?
 
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