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Topping D90SE Review (Balanced DAC)

illi86

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Hello ASR Forum, it is my first post here so I appologise in advance If the question is in wrong section.

I have recently purchased Topping d90se dac based on this review and I am really enjoying it. What a great performance from this dac. I am using it as a standalone dac (pre amp function is off) with xlr out to my pre/amplifier. Mainly i purchased d90se because of MQA Support, as tidal stream is now sounding nearly as vinyl with this dac. And I have very good and expensive turntable setup, where I compared same albums and I am very satisfied with results and can finally use streaming service in very good audible quality for playlist/discover listening sessions.

I noticed with this dac that it outputs also all low frequency content. The problem I have is that my speakers can play frequencys only till 38Hz (kef r11). And I get very ugly sounding bass if song content like in modern or poorly mastered songs done with electronic subsonic bass. I get huge resonances at 37Hz.

I have routed rca output to yamaha AVR and no Problem with bass, but the sound quality is not the same when pre amplified with AVR.

Is there any menu option in d90se i can use to get rid of bass content below 40hz without AVR and directly connect to amplifier? Or what else I could do with minimal change in sound quality to get rid of sub 40Hz bass.

Thanks in advance and best regards.
 

rlwings

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Hello ASR Forum, it is my first post here so I appologise in advance If the question is in wrong section.

I have recently purchased Topping d90se dac based on this review and I am really enjoying it. What a great performance from this dac. I am using it as a standalone dac (pre amp function is off) with xlr out to my pre/amplifier. Mainly i purchased d90se because of MQA Support, as tidal stream is now sounding nearly as vinyl with this dac. And I have very good and expensive turntable setup, where I compared same albums and I am very satisfied with results and can finally use streaming service in very good audible quality for playlist/discover listening sessions.

I noticed with this dac that it outputs also all low frequency content. The problem I have is that my speakers can play frequencys only till 38Hz (kef r11). And I get very ugly sounding bass if song content like in modern or poorly mastered songs done with electronic subsonic bass. I get huge resonances at 37Hz.

I have routed rca output to yamaha AVR and no Problem with bass, but the sound quality is not the same when pre amplified with AVR.

Is there any menu option in d90se i can use to get rid of bass content below 40hz without AVR and directly connect to amplifier? Or what else I could do with minimal change in sound quality to get rid of sub 40Hz bass.

Thanks in advance and best regards.
The D90SE\LE doesn't have that bass feature but possibly you are over-driving your preamp. Try going from 5V to 4V in the DAC's settings. Also try restarting everything. Your bass issue happens to me once and a while and I find that a PC\DAC restart resets the Windows drivers and solves the problem.... All amps\preamps go below 37Hz and speakers that can't play that low just don't... I don't think frequency is your problem.
 
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This website grew up around a community that was drawn to reviews based on science. There are a LOT of forums that are more attuned to subjective observations.

You are welcome to your delusions. But I hope you don't take it too personally when I say that you are deluded, you are experiencing a placebo effect.

You may be enjoying your DAC more because of this delusion, that's not uncommon. But it is a delusion, nonetheless.
I know, but still loving it.
It would be interesting to see if there is any measurable difference with the new firmware, especially high DSD rates at 128 and 256. Archimago suggested in his review and detailed measurements of the D90SE (using the E1DA Cosmos ADC) that there was room for improvement in the DSD performance, and he mused (my term) whether there were tweeks possible via firmware to improve it.
The delusion is strong, I think cold reality can take a back seat for a couple of days.
 

illi86

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The D90SE\LE doesn't have that bass feature but possibly you are over-driving your preamp. Try going from 5V to 4V in the DAC's settings. Also try restarting everything. Your bass issue happens to me once and a while and I find that a PC\DAC restart resets the Windows drivers and solves the problem.... All amps\preamps go below 37Hz and speakers that can't play that low just don't... I don't think frequency is your problem.
thanks for the reply. that was my understanding of the system as well, that frequencies that can not be reproduced filtered out in the speaker hardware. i tried your suggestions and tried out 5V/4V, xlr/rca, also using pre of d90se and restarting all systems but it did not help. till now only AVR being able to filter out sub 40hz content reliably affects the bass reproduction. i dont understand why someone/producer/tone engineer would come to an idea to put such low frequencies that no real musical instrument can produce in the song, but it is separate discussion and not content of my problem.

any other suggestions what i can do to get rid of bass?
 

Chagall

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thanks for the reply. that was my understanding of the system as well, that frequencies that can not be reproduced filtered out in the speaker hardware. i tried your suggestions and tried out 5V/4V, xlr/rca, also using pre of d90se and restarting all systems but it did not help. till now only AVR being able to filter out sub 40hz content reliably affects the bass reproduction. i dont understand why someone/producer/tone engineer would come to an idea to put such low frequencies that no real musical instrument can produce in the song, but it is separate discussion and not content of my problem.

any other suggestions what i can do to get rid of bass?

I think it is frequency/room modes related.

Not much you can do if you want to keep MQA..Things like Minidsp won't let you pass MQA, and would be another preamp/dac in your case.
Although DSP, crossovers, subwoofer and room correction software benefits far outweigh MQA IMO, but it is what it is.

You could try Roon player and apply a steep high pass at 40 Hz, while letting you keep MQA.
This will only work for digital sources (Tidal and your local library).

Or find out what resonates in your room and do some room treatments.
 

illi86

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yes going with MQA has definitely reduced number of options i could use. for now i found following solution acceptable, till something come up.
settings for d90se: 5V, xlr+rca, dac mode, xlr to my pre/amp, rca to yamaha avr (60hz crossover) -> amp.
for songs in good quality production i can hear without any processing directly from dac.
other songs that are out there in tidal, unfortunately around 90% need some kind of bass treatment. for my taste, it is absolutely worth it to find those 10% of songs that are really well recorded/produced. i will use this setup also to check the production/recording prior to purchase of vinyl, what a nice finding haha.
Thanks for helping out and the great review!
 

glc650

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d90se: 5V, xlr+rca, dac mode, xlr to my pre/amp, rca to yamaha avr (60hz crossover) -> amp.
If you are using DSP (room correction, EQ, bass management, etc.) on the Yamaha AVR it doesn't make much sense running an external DAC through it.
 

Matias

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@illi86 maybe blocking the ports and adding a sealed subwoofer with EQ like SVS SB2000 Pro, so that the speakers play not as deep but the sub complements them, and you can EQ the room modes with the sub app.
 
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mrjayviper

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is there a specific requirement before I can use MQA? (example: MQA is only available if the source is connected via optical)

Thanks!
 

AML

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is there a specific requirement before I can use MQA? (example: MQA is only available if the source is connected via optical)

Thanks!
It depends on your source. Are you using USB from a PC? Then files would need to be MQA. Streaming via blutooth? Should work automatically. Personally I got some MQA files and play them via foobar on my PC. DAC sees them and changes accordingly. Ill be honest though, MQA is dying out, and you will end up struggling to find MQA content.
 

glc650

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Just noticed the trend to remove MQA functionality from DACs, like the new topping D90LE
The D90LE is essentially a D90SE without MQA and it's not like the LE is replacing it (the SE is still being sold). It's really no different than the original D90 which came in two versions (MQA and non-MQA) so I really don't understand your reasoning.
 

davebtw

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I have been fighting with my D90SE for a few weeks. I have only one source that causes audio dropouts every 5-10 seconds. This is a streaming source and therefore has some clock jitter because of its syncronization mechanism with multiple home zones across a network. I have three other top-of-the line DACs and an Audio Precision APX555 and they all can track this source SPDIF Coax but not the D90Se.

I finally took it apart and extensively measured the signals on the input and the SPDIF receiver and found that is was not losing PLL lock as I had imagined when the dropouts occurred. This led me to believe that it was something downstream of the receiver (Incidentally the receiver chip is an On Semiconductor LC89091JA).

I wondered if there was a firmware update that might help. I searched and found version v1.87. I was several versions behind, but had never hooked up the USB, testing MQA decoding of the digital inputs mostly. So I didn't know what firmware version it had.

Well my digital dropout problem disappeared after I re-flashed to v1.87. At least they are greatly reduced. I was also able to reduce the jitter in the streaming device a bit, and now no dropouts. I also tested with a Benchmark DAC1, Benchmark, DAC3, Topping DX7s, and two different generations of Audio Precision analyzers.

Before the update the D90SE passed the Standard Jitter Tolerance Test that the AP can run. But it was still dropping out on the streaming digital output.

I am most anxious to ask if anyone else has seen an improvement in the SPDIF and OPT inputs like I have with v1.87.

Thanks,
 
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Sheriff1972

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I have been fighting with my D90SE for a few weeks. I have only one source that causes audio dropouts every 5-10 seconds. This is a streaming source and therefore has some clock jitter because of its syncronization mechanism with multiple home zones across a network. I have three other top-of-the line DACs and an Audio Precision APX555 and they all can track this source SPDIF Coax but not the D90Se.

I finally took it apart and extensively measured the signals on the input and the SPDIF receiver and found that is was not losing PLL lock as I had imagined when the dropouts occurred. This led me to believe that it was something downstream of the receiver (Incidentally the receiver chip is an On Semiconductor LC89091JA).

I wondered if there was a firmware update that might help. I searched and found version v1.87. I was several versions behind, but had never hooked up the USB, testing MQA decoding of the digital inputs mostly. So I didn't know what firmware version it had.

Well my digital dropout problem disappeared after I re-flashed to v1.87. At least they are greatly reduced. I was also able to reduce the jitter in the streaming device a bit, and now no dropouts. I also tested with a Benchmark DAC1, Benchmark, DAC3, Topping DX7s, and two different generations of Audio Precision analyzers.

Before the update the D90SE passed the Standard Jitter Tolerance Test that the AP can run. But it was still dropping out on the streaming digital output.

I am most anxious to ask if anyone else has seen an improvement in the SPDIF and OPT inputs like I have with v1.87.

Thanks,
I did the update, and will check now. You have me curious....
 

archerious

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It would be great if the Topping engineers in the new D90SE firmware included the setting of the DPLL jitter band in their DACs, similar to what other Chinese and not only ESS-based DAC manufacturers have done SMSL, Gustard,Audiolab, Arcam, Cambridge Audio and JDS Labs.....Representatives of Topping read and answer?:)
I can also vouch that my LG OLED TV has drops with Gustard X18 which doesn't seem to have the ability to change DPLL setting like SMSL Su9n or X16 oddly enough.

I returned D90SE in the past for the exact issue.

What's weird is my friends regular D90 never had this issue on his LG TV (we have the same model TV).
 

amper42

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I can also vouch that my LG OLED TV has drops with Gustard X18 which doesn't seem to have the ability to change DPLL setting like SMSL Su9n or X16 oddly enough.

I returned D90SE in the past for the exact issue.

What's weird is my friends regular D90 never had this issue on his LG TV (we have the same model TV).

It might be only certain products have issues with the D90SE Toslink input? I am using the WiiM mini with the optical connector on the D90SE and not experiencing any issues at all. Not a single dropout from day one. It would be helpful if there was a reference list of devices that work and those with reported issues.
 
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