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Topping D90SE Review (Balanced DAC)

archerious

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Aug 10, 2020
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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.
Agreed. Most of the posts I see from others with the same issue have LG and Sony TVs. What's shocking is even the expensive OLED models seem to have poor quality optical ports.
 

Marc v E

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Agreed. Most of the posts I see from others with the same issue have LG and Sony TVs. What's shocking is even the expensive OLED models seem to have poor quality optical ports.
Iirc BluOs software with the setting " Audio trim" on active, gives trouble too. You can look it up in this thread. That means that basically any NAD streamer, or for that matter BlueSound streamer can give dropouts if this setting is activated.

I agree it's kind of mind boggling that even high end devices have such low end aspirations. But that's how it is apparently.
 
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What does "better parts" provide?
Better engineering, probably.
Build quality, as long you don't define heavier as better build quality then yeah. E50 and EX5 are better built with more strict cosmetic quality control. You'll see way less cosmetic flaws than majority of competitors. Sometimes it's embarrassing to see those.
Hello John;
Regarding to build quality. One thing strange about MUTE IC. According to datasheet of IC distortion is quite high. With this amount of distortion how achieve such a low THD+N? It is a totally mystery to me? I am glad if you can lead us.
 

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crispynz1

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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,
The 1.87 update fixed all of my dropout issues - coax & opt.
 

flognuts

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Jul 22, 2022
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With this Dac is there any advantage or disadvantage in sound quality between using the RCA & XLR outputs at the same time? (the default)

Because I have this dac running to the A90 amp through XLR and through RCA to active speakers.

or

is it better to run XLR only and use the A90 preamp to run the active speakers.

thanks
 

Eddy H.

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With this Dac is there any advantage or disadvantage in sound quality between using the RCA & XLR outputs at the same time? (the default)

Because I have this dac running to the A90 amp through XLR and through RCA to active speakers.

or

is it better to run XLR only and use the A90 preamp to run the active speakers.

thanks
I haven't had any problems running both at the same time. I don't tell any difference.
 

Mikett

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Sep 16, 2021
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New firmware updated. Sounds better, snappier and improved micro details. I know the technical reasons why that is unlikely, and many may respond in that frame, but that is what I'm hearing. If I'm deluding myself then I am really enjoying the delusion. I have a resolving system with a D90SE, Pre90, Purifi monblocks (new March Audio P501's) and B&W 702's and a deep ROON library of high definition recordings, so expect to notice some changes in delivery.
I'm only 2 hours into the listening session. I'll give it a few days and see if the delusion wanes; it is certainly possible it will, however I'm enjoying the moment!
I also updated (1.87) for the ability to resolve the TOSLINK output from my TV.
I've listened daily for nearly a year to the D90SE with the Benchmark LA4 , AHB2 with some Polk LSIM 707 and in my room. I measured with REW and get a nice house curve with pretty smooth response without any DSP or EQ.
I agree with you, it now sounds like a new DAC now. My D90SE was using the 1.81 firmware prior to this. This is a nice surprise and it was not subtle. I was not in the school of turning on DSP enhancements via the setup so I am in the no changes to the signal school. This is interesting indeed. For the subjective asessment crowd, it's worth another listen.
 

theREALdotnet

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Mar 11, 2022
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With this Dac is there any advantage or disadvantage in sound quality between using the RCA & XLR outputs at the same time? (the default)

Because I have this dac running to the A90 amp through XLR and through RCA to active speakers.

They are separate output stages, it’ll be fine. I’m doing this with my D90, where the RCA outputs are feeding the sub.

The only thing to watch out for (on the D90 anyway, no idea about the D90SE) is that the RCA outputs are inverted compared to XLR (and compared to input).
 

Sheriff1972

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I also updated (1.87) for the ability to resolve the TOSLINK output from my TV.
I've listened daily for nearly a year to the D90SE with the Benchmark LA4 , AHB2 with some Polk LSIM 707 and in my room. I measured with REW and get a nice house curve with pretty smooth response without any DSP or EQ.
I agree with you, it now sounds like a new DAC now. My D90SE was using the 1.81 firmware prior to this. This is a nice surprise and it was not subtle. I was not in the school of turning on DSP enhancements via the setup so I am in the no changes to the signal school. This is interesting indeed. For the subjective asessment crowd, it's worth another listen.
I personally agree
 

Mikett

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I also did not see a changelog on their site and one reason I am hesitant to proceed. So far everything I want on the device works for me.
Check your PM
 

Sheriff1972

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I also did not see a changelog on their site and one reason I am hesitant to proceed. So far everything I want on the device works for me.
Check your PM
Thanks for the PM. Will keep you posted but will be a few days.

Cheers


Mike
 

Eddy H.

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So...What has changed after the update? I haven't seen 1.88 available anywhere. Does anyone have a link?
 

Toku

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So...What has changed after the update? I haven't seen 1.88 available anywhere. Does anyone have a link?
I think that Ver1.88 is probably not the official version but the undisclosed version that was provided experimentally.
Topping occasionally provides a undisclosed version to users with problems on a trial basis to observe changes in symptoms.
I have previously received an undisclosed version of the D30Pro.
 

Toku

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I also did not see a changelog on their site and one reason I am hesitant to proceed. So far everything I want on the device works for me.
Check your PM
If you received Ver1.88 from Topping, you can install it without any problem.
If something goes wrong, you can reinstall the original Ver1.87 immediately.
 

poopy

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Do you know if one of the recent firmwares fixed the problem seen with Filter #1 in the THD+N vs frequency graph?
 

Veri

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Do you know if one of the recent firmwares fixed the problem seen with Filter #1 in the THD+N vs frequency graph?
What do you mean? The 90kHz BW response of that filter is "as expected", these are the default ESS filters which are not touched upon with firmware.
 

poopy

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What do you mean? The 90kHz BW response of that filter is "as expected", these are the default ESS filters which are not touched upon with firmware.
Thanks Veri, so clearly there's something I don't understand from Wolf' measurements.

What are those 90kHz bandwidth curves?
Wolf showed a graphic with 2 curves for each filter (1 plain curve and 1 dashed curve). Focusing on dashed curves, filter 3,5,7 show the least distortion at high frequencies. But if you look at the plain curves labelled 90kHz BW for all filters distorsion level is even lower.
What are the meaning of those curves? Which ones to consider in practice, the plain or dashed ones?

Also you're saying that the increase in distortion for high frequencies when using filter 1 for instance is inherent to the implementation of the filter?
 
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