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Topping D90SE Review (Balanced DAC)

JohnYang1997

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Congrats @JohnYang1997! any measurement about jitter performance through Toslink @amirm ?
b4c14948632a9814baa76d3c3947d19b.jpg
 

oursmagenta

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Topping D90SE flagship balanced USB DAC. It was sent to me by the company for testing and I believe costs US $899.

The D90SE comes in the same clothes as current class of Topping products which is just fine with me:

View attachment 135755

We have the usual inputs and outputs including Bluetooth:

View attachment 135756

The architecture here is based on ESS ES9038PRO DAC instead of AKM silicon. Hopefully this means better availability of parts and DACs.

Topping D90SE DAC Measurements
Out of box output voltage is our standard 4 volts but there is also a setting to adjust that to 5 volt (see test of that later). Let's start with USB input and balanced XLR output:

View attachment 135757

Oh wow! We have a record breaker here when it comes to SINAD:
View attachment 135759

View attachment 135760

The Audio Precision analyzer puts severe strain on getting such high numbers due to its own self-noise so I was surprised to see 123 dB limit broken. Distortion is down to an incredibly low -140 dB!

Switching to RCA output, we naturally lose some performance:

View attachment 135761

Noise level is kept to absolute minimum producing some of the best dynamic range numbers I have seen:

View attachment 135763

Temporarily switching to 5 volt output we get:

View attachment 135764

So not a major change but if you have an amp that can accept it, you can push your noise floor down a bit more. Remember, while distortions are hard to hear, hiss from speakers or headphones is not.

Intermodulation distortion (really the noise aspect) sets a new benchmark:

View attachment 135765

There was a time when DX3 Pro was the benchmark. See how much the D90SE beats it by. It is almost left in the dust!

Courtesy of resampling in ESS DAC, jitter is a forgotten word with either input:

View attachment 135766

Combined with the ultra noise floor, we can clearly resolve the low order bits of the 250Hz square wave at 24 bits! I had to remove the ASR logo to reveal them!

Linearity locked in and ran so perfectly, I had to scratch my eyes to believe it:

View attachment 135767

You have a choice of 7 filters and I was happy to see thee of them producing the correct filtering for 44.1 kHz sampling:

View attachment 135768

Attenuation was so good that I had to lower the bottom of the scale to show where they bottom out.

The only puzzler was THD+N versus frequency:

View attachment 135769

Seems like there is some kind of ESS signature going on with some filter setting. Getting the best performance required selecting filter #7 which has a bit of roll off in frequency response.

Multitone is nailed so hard that you could almost hear it nail screaming from being hit so hard:
View attachment 135770


Conclusions
It is 3:00am but I had to stay up and post this review. It is not every day that every barrier we have seen in DACs gets shattered to new levels. We are seeing extreme attention to every aspect of this design to squeeze this much performance out of this ESS DAC. Just when we though the race was over, here comes one more over achiever! Those of you who have made it a hobby to upgrade the latest and greatest, here is another one for you! :)

At the risk of stating the very obvious, it is my absolute pleasure to recommend the Topping D90SE.

Note: this is a new product. If you are not an early adopter type of person, you may want others to go before you. My testing is focused on performance only, not reliability or functionality.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Appreciate any donations using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/

OK now that the audio DAC is a solved problem w.r.t measurements (I guess it has been solved for a while w.r.t audibility), I'd say almost the same for the amplifiers.

Please dear R&D departments of all audio companies turn your resources to the weakest part of the audio chain (and stop trying to break all ready broken barriers). Speakers!
We need to see this affordable, technically outstanding performance (good and/or constant directivity, low distortion, high spl) for speakers (instead of these 10k$+ product mostly targeted to the almost niche audiophile and just wealthy but not so audiophile crowd).
 
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Wow, what a nice explanation review.
Good to see no mention of the ESS humb.
A shame this DAC is out of my league, otherwise I'd jump to get it.
 

Matias

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OK now that the audio DAC is a solved problem w.r.t measurements (I guess it has been solved for a while w.r.t audibility), I'd say almost the same for the amplifiers.

Please dear R&D departments of all audio companies turn your resources to the weakest part of the audio chain (and stop trying to break all ready broken barriers). Speakers!
We need to see this affordable, technically outstanding performance (good and/or constant directivity, low distortion, high spl) for speakers (instead of these 10k$+ product mostly targeted to the almost niche audiophile and just wealthy but not so audiophile crowd).
Purifi says hi! :)
 

PenguinMusic

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Hi,

The numbers are just awewome.
If we really need it to enjoy music is another question.

But in all cases, numbers don't lie and this is a record breaker.

And given the performance, price is justified it seems :)

Regards.
 

roog

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From the figures this is a Great looking DAC.
Do Topping make a streamer to go with this DAC/pre? That would make a nice stack of kit.
I'm not really into accessing my music through a laptop.
 

sleepyboy69

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So.. keeping in line with my previous posts... how would you connect this AES output to a speaker with AES3 inputs like the S3V?
 

gonzoucab

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Thanks Amir, and great work Topping!

This is really impressive performance, and of course it comes with a nice case, and selection of inputs and outputs.

Now that Topping has surpassed all other DACs tested at any price, is it time for a speaker amp that does the same?
im waiting for the amps...
 

Robin L

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Wonder if/when Stereophile is going to review and test this. Probably too cheap for their blood. Wouldn't want to interfere with their support of high-$$$$$-end gear now, would we?
 
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