• 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). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Topping D90SE Review (Balanced DAC)

Mp0wer

New Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2021
Messages
4
Likes
4
I just bought the Topping D90se and was curious if anyone figured out what is causing the audio drop outs with optical and LG C9 OLED, If I feed the optical audio through my OPPO 205 to the D90se it works great.
 

srkbear

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 16, 2021
Messages
482
Likes
659
Location
Dallas, TX
I just bought the Topping D90se and was curious if anyone figured out what is causing the audio drop outs with optical and LG C9 OLED, If I feed the optical audio through my OPPO 205 to the D90se it works great.
I just went on a rant about this about two posts up. Apparently Topping used a cs8416 digital receiver that is “not compatible” with quite a few sacd/Blu-ray players, televisions, HDMI audio extractors and other devices that are capable of (that is, designed to) transmit digital output via S/PDIF connections like the optical and coax inputs on the D90se. Page back to around mid-July on this thread to read more details about it—but don’t expect to find a solution.

Apparently there has been no fix since that conversation five months ago, since Topping hasn’t released any firmware updates on the D90se since it launched. And from what I can suss out from the designer (who posted many responses during the discussion) there may be no fix possible with this major issue due to the limitations of the hardware they chose for the build.
 

linger63

Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2021
Messages
86
Likes
54
Location
Australia
I just went on a rant about this about two posts up. Apparently Topping used a cs8416 digital receiver that is “not compatible” with quite a few sacd/Blu-ray players, televisions, HDMI audio extractors and other devices that are capable of (that is, designed to) transmit digital output via S/PDIF connections like the optical and coax inputs on the D90se. Page back to around mid-July on this thread to read more details about it—but don’t expect to find a solution.

Apparently there has been no fix since that conversation five months ago, since Topping hasn’t released any firmware updates on the D90se since it launched. And from what I can suss out from the designer (who posted many responses during the discussion) there may be no fix possible with this major issue due to the limitations of the hardware they chose for the build.
I guess something had to suffer due to the (unnecessary) focus on those "all important" SINAD numbers..........:facepalm:
 

Veri

Master Contributor
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
8,482
Likes
10,434
I guess something had to suffer due to the (unnecessary) focus on those "all important" SINAD numbers..........:facepalm:
I just went on a rant about this about two posts up. Apparently Topping used a cs8416 digital receiver that is “not compatible” with quite a few sacd/Blu-ray players, televisions, HDMI audio extractors and other devices that are capable of (that is, designed to) transmit digital output via S/PDIF connections like the optical and coax inputs on the D90se. Page back to around mid-July on this thread to read more details about it—but don’t expect to find a solution.

Apparently there has been no fix since that conversation five months ago, since Topping hasn’t released any firmware updates on the D90se since it launched.

Well that's a bit tone deaf. The issue being that the "better" digital receivers are 100% unavailable due to the AKM factory fire. All too easy to read reviews 'but my 4-5 year old Oppo has no such issues' there WAS no factory fire nor corona situation on supply chain back then.

How exactly do you presume you make a digital receiver to perform better with a simple firmware update?
 

srkbear

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 16, 2021
Messages
482
Likes
659
Location
Dallas, TX
Well that's a bit tone deaf. The issue being that the "better" digital receivers are 100% unavailable due to the AKM factory fire. All too easy to read reviews 'but my 4-5 year old Oppo has no such issues' there WAS no factory fire nor corona situation on supply chain back then.

How exactly do you presume you make a digital receiver to perform better with a simple firmware update?
You can’t. But the problem still exists and it’s affecting a significant number of people. And the DAC chip has nothing to do with the digital receiver they chose—plenty of ES9038pro DACs handle these receiver handshakes just fine. I know because I own one and have tested it compared to the Topping.
 

mdsimon2

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 20, 2020
Messages
1,271
Likes
1,516
Location
Detroit, MI
Well that's a bit tone deaf. The issue being that the "better" digital receivers are 100% unavailable due to the AKM factory fire. All too easy to read reviews 'but my 4-5 year old Oppo has no such issues' there WAS no factory fire nor corona situation on supply chain back then.

How exactly do you presume you make a digital receiver to perform better with a simple firmware update?

I've personally found the explanations from Topping very lacking. Seems like SPDIF receivers other than the AK4118 have been used over the last 20 years without issue. Feels like an underlying design issue that Topping does not quite understand.

EDIT: I've seen it hypothesized that drop outs are related to too low of DPLL bandwidth in an attempt to achieve better jitter rejection but this does not quite make sense as it seems like it would be an easy firmware update to allow for user selectable DPLL bandwidth to solve this.

Michael
 
Last edited:

Veri

Master Contributor
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
8,482
Likes
10,434
You can’t. But the problem still exists and it’s affecting a significant number of people. And the DAC chip has nothing to do with the digital receiver they chose—plenty of ES9038pro DACs handle these receiver handshakes just fine. I know because I own one and have tested it compared to the Topping.
Yeah that's true. The jitter rejection with superb results Topping have made, seems to only work with the 'better' s/pdif outputs. It would be an improvement if it had some kind of locking strength setting, but I suppose they don't want to compromise on that (?)

EDIT: I've seen it hypothesized that drop outs are related to too low of DPLL bandwidth in an attempt to achieve better jitter rejection but this does not quite make sense as it seems like it would be an easy firmware update to allow for user selectable DPLL bandwidth to solve this.
I do believe it is something like that though. But maybe we are presuming too much. @JohnYang1997 is not as active on this forum anymore to respond to these kind of small questions, unfortunately. I suppose he's working on other stuff rather than reading forums :D
 

mdsimon2

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 20, 2020
Messages
1,271
Likes
1,516
Location
Detroit, MI
Yeah that's true. The jitter rejection with superb results Topping have made, seems to only work with the 'better' s/pdif outputs. It would be an improvement if it had some kind of locking strength setting, but I suppose they don't want to compromise on that (?)


I do believe it is something like that though. But maybe we are presuming too much. @JohnYang1997 is not as active on this forum anymore to respond to these kind of small questions, unfortunately. I suppose he's working on other stuff rather than reading forums :D

John has actually specifically commented in this thread saying it was not related to DPLL bandwidth here:


Needless to say his response(s) do not give much confidence they understand how to solve the issue.

Michael
 

srkbear

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 16, 2021
Messages
482
Likes
659
Location
Dallas, TX
John has actually specifically commented in this thread saying it was not related to DPLL bandwidth here:


Needless to say his response(s) do not give much confidence they understand how to solve the issue.

Michael
I don’t think they can resolve the issue due to their choice of receiver components and the way the S/PDIF transports were designed. Which basically renders the optical and coax inputs to be severely limited in what they can handshake with—including a significant number of TVs, blu-ray and SACD players, and perhaps most importantly, HDMI audio extractors which a lot of audiophile folks use to play their SACD discs (or even Redbook CDs!) through the DAC.

In my view this is a significant limitation for this otherwise stellar DAC, and I found John’s responses to be unnecessarily defensive, deceptive, deflective and on occasion downright condescending and hostile. It’s like his feelings got hurt because affected buyers actually paused for a moment from giving high-fives to his SINAD numbers…
 

srkbear

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 16, 2021
Messages
482
Likes
659
Location
Dallas, TX
Yeah that's true. The jitter rejection with superb results Topping have made, seems to only work with the 'better' s/pdif outputs. It would be an improvement if it had some kind of locking strength setting, but I suppose they don't want to compromise on that (?)


I do believe it is something like that though. But maybe we are presuming too much. @JohnYang1997 is not as active on this forum anymore to respond to these kind of small questions, unfortunately. I suppose he's working on other stuff rather than reading forums :D
I’m not sure I agree that the discovery that the S/PDIF inputs on the DAC are severely compromised in their function qualifies as “small questions”—there are a significant number of folks who count on their DACs to handshake with their TVs, Blu-ray and SACD players and HDMI extractors. There are many, many threads about this utilization all over this board and many others…
 

vitty0425

Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2021
Messages
16
Likes
11
I don’t think they can resolve the issue due to their choice of receiver components and the way the S/PDIF transports were designed. Which basically renders the optical and coax inputs to be severely limited in what they can handshake with—including a significant number of TVs, blu-ray and SACD players, and perhaps most importantly, HDMI audio extractors which a lot of audiophile folks use to play their SACD discs (or even Redbook CDs!) through the DAC.

In my view this is a significant limitation for this otherwise stellar DAC, and I found John’s responses to be unnecessarily defensive, deceptive, deflective and on occasion downright condescending and hostile. It’s like his feelings got hurt because affected buyers actually paused for a moment from giving high-fives to his SINAD numbers…
I bought the new SMSL DO200 DAC to try out. One of the new features it has is DPLL settings. I've seen online reviews where they specifically said this has allowed them to use the DO200 with older CD players & TVs whereas their D90SE would cut out every 3-5 seconds. I have not personally tried it on my Samsung TVs yet as this DAC will only be used in a desktop environment via USB. It wouldn't surprise me to see new Topping DACs implement these similar features in their future products :)
 

Attachments

  • Screen Shot 2021-12-09 at 9.57.40 AM.png
    Screen Shot 2021-12-09 at 9.57.40 AM.png
    218.5 KB · Views: 52

srkbear

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 16, 2021
Messages
482
Likes
659
Location
Dallas, TX
I found a functional workaround for the S/PDIF dropouts in a Kanex Pro HAECOAX HDMI De-Embedder (link below) that is able to provide coaxial and optical connections to the Topping D90se from the Audio HDMI port on my OPPO UDP-203, BDP-103 and a great Sony UDP-x1000ES Blu-Ray/SACD player I have. All three are successfully handshaking with the Topping with my SACD discs at a max sample rate of PCM 176.4 kHz with no audio dropouts at all.

The extractor set me back $85 on Amazon and so far it is working—it’s not decoding DSD or PCM 192 kHz but it’s sounding very good at 176.4. I also found on eBay a HDMI to i2S extractor for $69 that does send DoP DSD signals to the DAC and it’s on the way; we’ll see how that works. And finally I bought an iFi-Audio coaxial/optical iPurifier 2 that performs their proprietary ANC benefits and also reclocks the source signal to reduce jitter, which has been well-received and reviewed and I’ll report back with how it performs once I receive it as well (I’m well-aware that it has been accused of being snake oil elsewhere on this site, but these are desperate circumstances).

Here’s the link to the Kanex Pro device. NOTE: Kanex makes another unit that costs $99 on Amazon that is called HAECOAX3; it actually only has an optical interface and it does NOT work with the D90se; it has the same constant 3-5 second audio dropouts. So if you are looking for this option make sure you go for the less-expensive HAECOAX non-4K version for this purpose. And when hooking it up make sure you select “multichannel output” even if you’re only expecting 2 channel output from the DAC—don’t ask me why, but it just works this way.

Kanex Pro HDMI Audio De-Embedder with 3D Support, 2-Channel, HDCP Compliant, Full HD 1080p (HAECOAX) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B009KAU0W...abc_FKKK2B57CZ6NT7ZZ23H7?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

And here’s the link to the HDMI to i2S audio extractor I have yet to test out—it’s on its way. Purportedly it will de-embed audio from the HDMI signal and connect to the Topping via its i2S port—and the description alleges that it will transport DSD over DOP via this connection. If this works, it would be a panacea obviously. I saw a review of it on a separate audiophile forum that raved about its performance.

There were several other sellers offering it, but unlike this one that only sells audio equipment, the others had listings for ***** pumps and inflatable dolls, so I trusted my better judgment and went for the seller that charged an extra 40 bucks. All told I bought it for $106.99. Once I get it I’ll post my findings here.

 
Last edited:

Veri

Master Contributor
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
8,482
Likes
10,434
And here’s the link to the HDMI to i2S audio extractor I have yet to test out—it’s on its way. Purportedly it will de-embed audio from the HDMI signal and connect to the Topping via its i2S port—and the description alleges that it will transport DSD over DOP via this connection. If this works, it would be a panacea obviously. I saw a review of it on a separate audiophile forum that raved about its performance.
Do you have an idea about its i2S configuration? If not it will be a big draw of luck if it will be compatible with the D90SE pin-out.
 

srkbear

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 16, 2021
Messages
482
Likes
659
Location
Dallas, TX
Do you have an idea about its i2S configuration? If not it will be a big draw of luck if it will be compatible with the D90SE pin-out.
According to some research I did on this device before I bought it, I’ve found several sources that had success with it, and it’s compatible with the iFi iPower X 5V adapter I already own. If it allows me to access DSD over DOP and works with the Topping, that would be an answer to my prayers well above my expectations! As I’ve already mentioned the Kanex Pro unit I have now is getting me 176.4 kHz extracted from HDMI and it truly sounds spectacular with the Topping and only cost me $89.

Here’s one experience with the HDMI to i2S de-embedded from the PS Audio forums, using the same Blu Ray/SACD player I’m using…

 
Last edited:

Veri

Master Contributor
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
8,482
Likes
10,434
Here’s one experience with the HDMI to i2S de-embedded from the PS Audio forums, using the same Blu Ray/SACD player I’m using…

I believe the fourth I2S mode is the one PS Audio uses, so "DSDR" mode.
k6zbwcO.png
 

G.R.Waters

Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2021
Messages
24
Likes
13
Location
Latvia
Anyone notice a crackling noise from a tweeter when the D90SE switches the bit rate or frequency between songs, also noticeable when switching inputs? This can be more or less noticeable depending on the system, for example I can barely hear it in my Benchmark system but pretty noticeable when connected directly to a Purifi amp. I just received my DAC and it’s my first Topping product so I’m not sure if it‘s normal, but I think it bothers me enough to return it.
You are not alone... and I may add a 3rd member with the same issue, found in another topic: see https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...adphone-amp-review.13379/page-90#post-1006506. Sorry for coming late, but I just bought it. Please also check my second post for details: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...adphone-amp-review.13379/page-90#post-1006891
Note that the chain is: W10 PC/Roon/USB/Topping D90se working as preamp/RCA or XLR/Advance Acoustic X160 amp. Amper42 defined it as a "pop noise" or "crackling noise", me as "glitch", but we are all definitely speaking of the same issue... and the noise is quite audible in my system even a moderate volume, with vintage electrostatic Martin Logan SL3. Fortunately is my second system and I use to listen mostly albums without jumping from one to another. I anyway discovered it as Roon is set to play a recommended track when the album finish... the Topping works indeed as kind of alarm for the album end.
Did you return or keep it, hopefully solving the issue?
 

G.R.Waters

Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2021
Messages
24
Likes
13
Location
Latvia
I can get coupons. You need some?

Such poping noise should at 100% depend of your player app.
In my case it does not depend on the player app only: I have the same issue at bit-rate change, but only when D90se is connected to W10 PC working as Roon core via USB, while there is no noise if D90se is fed the same Roon music (Qobuz or FLAC library doesn't matter) via a Bluesound Node2i . Another member is using Audirvana (see https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...adphone-amp-review.13379/page-89#post-1005700).
 

Eddy H.

Active Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2021
Messages
114
Likes
61
In my case it does not depend on the player app only: I have the same issue at bit-rate change, but only when D90se is connected to W10 PC working as Roon core via USB, while there is no noise if D90se is fed the same Roon music (Qobuz or FLAC library doesn't matter) via a Bluesound Node2i . Another member is using Audirvana (see https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...adphone-amp-review.13379/page-89#post-1005700).
Mine was doing the same thing. It's because you're using it as a preamp. If you set it to dac mode and use a separate preamp it doesn't do that. I'm using a pre90 with no problems anymore. Kind of a sucky deal tho.
 
Top Bottom