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Topping D90SE Review (Balanced DAC)

Lupin

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I would like to see how it measures up to coax.
Measurable differences sure, actual audible differences don't think so. If there are one or the other is broken.
 

NPWS

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Hi, any recommendation for tube amp to pairing with d90se?
for driving my lcd 2c and aeolus
thanks
 

Digi

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Hello, I currently have a Parasound P6 pre-amplifier with an internal ESS Sabre32 Reference DAC. I would like to buy a Topping D90SE DAC after reading the review done by Amir here, but would like to find out if the DAC in the Topping D90SE ESS ES9038PRO DAC is that much better than the internal DAC of the P6. What should I expect to hear differently?
My speakers are SF Sonetto V speakers.
TIA.
 
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Sheriff1972

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How is the experience with your new Topping D90SE? Did it meet your expectation?
still waiting for it to arrive. I had a Mini DSP SHD, before this but much preferred my old Marantz HD DAC1 sonically, so sold it. The Mini SHD just sounded flat by comparison. I have high hopes for the Topping
 

Guacamolly

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Hello, I currently have a Parasound P6 pre-amplifier with an internal ESS Sabre32 Reference DAC. I would like to buy a Topping D90SE DAC after reading the review done by Amir here, but would like to find out if the DAC in the Topping D90SE ESS ES9038PRO DAC is that much better than the internal DAC of the P6. What should I expect to hear differently?
My speakers are SF Sonetto V speakers.
TIA.
I can't speak about your parasound, but according to my experience with the D90SE the higher octave was very impressive without been biased by forums. I blind bought the D90SE and i am very satisfied.
 

Rottmannash

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The D90SE is not able to decode the optical from my LG C9. It's not terribly important to me as I use HDMI for that but just wanted others to know. Sounds like pink noise that's modulated-kinda strange sound for sure.
 

Digi

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I can't speak about your parasound, but according to my experience with the D90SE the higher octave was very impressive without been biased by forums. I blind bought the D90SE and i am very satisfied.
Thanks, Could you advise which is the best way to connect this DAC using a laptop computer with say Tidal as a streaming source?
 

srkbear

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Hi, any recommendation for tube amp to pairing with d90se?
for driving my lcd 2c and aeolus
thanks
I have the iFi Audio Pro iCAN Signature and the tube stage sounds jaw-dropping with this DAC. Hi price range admittedly, but I haven’t regretted it. IFi hand picks and matches GE tubes for this model and it comes with their iPower Elite super quiet power supply. And their form factors match up perfectly when stacked.
 

NPWS

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I have the iFi Audio Pro iCAN Signature and the tube stage sounds jaw-dropping with this DAC. Hi price range admittedly, but I haven’t regretted it. IFi hand picks and matches GE tubes for this model and it comes with their iPower Elite super quiet power supply. And their form factors match up perfectly when stacked.
way out of my budget for that amp
my budget around $600-$800 max.
 

srkbear

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way out of my budget for that amp
my budget around $600-$800 max.
Try the Monolith Liquid Platinum. It’s in your price range and gets very good press, and it has balanced outputs. I considered it before I decided to up my ante. It’s available on Amazon and you can always return it if you don’t like!

A tip either way, you’re almost always going to get better results getting replacement NOS matched tubes to replace the stock ones, and the LP is a bonus because you don’t have to open up the chassis and void your warranty to switch them out.

The best of the best tubes are vintage NOS American, British or German made, such as RCA, GE, Tung Sol, Genalex, Telefunken or if you really wanna go nuts, Mullard. Chinese are usually crappy and Russians are hit or miss. I bought my own military tube tester to match and test but you can buy matched sets from a lot of sites—you just have to be very wary of charlatans. Feel free to PM me if you’d like some guidance on reputable sources. Good luck!
 

NPWS

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Try the Monolith Liquid Platinum. It’s in your price range and gets very good press, and it has balanced outputs. I considered it before I decided to up my ante. It’s available on Amazon and you can always return it if you don’t like!

A tip either way, you’re almost always going to get better results getting replacement NOS matched tubes to replace the stock ones, and the LP is a bonus because you don’t have to open up the chassis and void your warranty to switch them out.

The best of the best tubes are vintage NOS American, British or German made, such as RCA, GE, Tung Sol, Genalex, Telefunken or if you really wanna go nuts, Mullard. Chinese are usually crappy and Russians are hit or miss. I bought my own military tube tester to match and test but you can buy matched sets from a lot of sites—you just have to be very wary of charlatans. Feel free to PM me if you’d like some guidance on reputable sources. Good luck!
thanks! I'll consider it.
 

srkbear

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There has been reported issue that some of our dacs(with cs8416 as digital receiver for AES, COAX, TOSLINK) when paired with some CD players. The mechanism is known now and D90se uses a different chip that is tested without issue. The cause was partially cs8416 can't lock on sources with large jitter. The same may happen to M50.2 here. It's possible the digital output of M50.2 is really poor so even lc89091 can't lock onto it.
I'll check on the implementation of M51 and see if there's something I can find. In the mean time, I can only recommend you to use other sources or other DAC.
I just stumbled upon this issue from a review of the D90se on Amazon. I have had this DAC for several weeks and adore it, but I’m seriously perturbed by this issue with the optical/coax port. Extremely is not too strong a word.

I just drove myself up the wall testing several pricey and well-regarded HDMI extractors to port digital audio from my SACD player to either of the S/PDIF inputs on the DAC. And I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why the sound was dropping out every 3-5 seconds. I tested both my OPPO BDP-103 and UDP-203 and two of my Sony SACD players. Fiddled endlessly with the settings. Tried every manner of TOSLINK and coaxial cables from cheap Amazon options to Audioquest versions that cost several hundred dollars, no change. And now I find out that it’s the DAC? This $900 flagship DAC?

There are dozens upon dozens of reviews from happy customers experiencing flawless performance from these extractors with sub-$100 DACs and PS3/4s on multiple sites. I’m still within the return window of my Topping and although I’m honestly devastated at the thought of parting with it, this unacceptable design flaw may be the dealbreaker that leads me to that choice—I’m not really interested in a future listening to my SACD collection through my TV and sound bar to be honest. I can’t even play Redbook CDs!

I had considered putting down $6,500 on a PS Audio Perfectwave SACD transport before I learned that the DAC was to blame—but now I’m worried that the D90se might not even work with THAT. And it would certainly be much cheaper to just find another DAC option.

If John Kang is still on here, you guys haven’t released a firmware upgrade to this unit since launch. I think this issue would present a nice challenge for you to fix in the first overdue round. This is the most measured plea I can muster to suggest you get to work on it—or else amend your marketing materials to put a big caveat on your only partially-functional Optical/Coax ports so other folks like me don’t make the same mistake. You’ve enjoyed an ample honeymoon of effusive laudations for trouncing your competitors in the SINAD contest—now please get the rest of the DAC to work as as advertised. Thank you.
 
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srkbear

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Countless devices also have this issue. X16, fiio k5 etc.
Sadly there's simply no way to making cs8416 work for these cd players. And that's exactly why we changed the receiver. Part of the issue here is we can't find the worst spdif sources to test. If I don't see reports of some more affordable SPDIF sources that have the issue we may purchase the NAD. We have purchased over 10 different cheap SPDIF converters or CD players that they all work flawlessly with CS8416. We only found one device that has the issue on CS8416 and it's working very stable with LC89091.
I would hardly call my OPPO UDP-203 a cheap CD player, and the HDMI de-embedder I’m using with it that is receiving these dropouts is made by Key Digital and cost $280. The issue did not happen with the Gustard x26pro I just unfortunately returned in favor of the D90se, or with my iFi Micro iDSD Signature (using a 3.5mm to S/PDIF coax adapter!).

I posted a response to this issue, which I discovered today after a considerable and expensive troubleshooting ordeal, at the end of this thread. I’d greatly appreciate your kind response, thank you.
 

srkbear

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Thank you, it may be a workaround for me but I see some coming problems below.
  • What if next official firmware were released but the reset sequence won't be changed.
  • Of course I trust you but an unofficial customized firmware may be not well tested and might cause other side effects.
Therefore I think, it is better if you will release an official firmware. It is ok for me if I know Topping will change the reset sequence next firmware soon.
What is all this talk going for 40 pages about firmware updates on this DAC? There’s never been a firmware update for this DAC and there was only a single firmware update for its MQA predecessor in July of 2020. Does Topping even do firmware updates? I’ve found a total of six across all products going back to February of 2018…
 
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