• 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)

archerious

Active Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2020
Messages
126
Likes
57
I also received mine in the mail this Monday, and so far it is mostly fine.

But, like others have said, I am having issues with dropouts when using it with my LG OLED tv via optical. I was expecting this since people mentioned it, but I wasn't prepared for how frequent they are, typically like once a minute or so it drops out for a split second.

What I wasn't expecting was similar dropouts when using I2S out of my pi2aes board. They are much less frequent, but still present, like maybe once an hour or so.

The only dropout free input is the USB from the same raspberry pi 4 I have the pi2aes plugged into.

Having issues with optical dropouts with my D90SE as well. It happens on Coax and Optical, but not with USB.

Oddly enough my SMSL Sanskrit 10th Mk2 on optical has no dropouts.
 

Veri

Master Contributor
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
8,470
Likes
10,389
Having issues with optical dropouts with my D90SE as well. It happens on Coax and Optical, but not with USB.
Oddly enough my SMSL Sanskrit 10th Mk2 on optical has no dropouts.

It appears like Topping's latest devices have insane low jitter, but also high requirements for input signal quality to get it this low...
index.php
 

archerious

Active Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2020
Messages
126
Likes
57
It appears like Topping's latest devices have insane low jitter, but also high requirements for input signal quality to get it this low...
index.php
That’s rough. It doesn’t like my PC or LG TV’s optical output. Even Schiit’s “buy better gear light” never had an issue with the TV or PC. :/
 
Last edited:

nelamvr6

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 18, 2020
Messages
77
Likes
108
It appears like Topping's latest devices have insane low jitter, but also high requirements for input signal quality to get it this low...
index.php

I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean by that.
 

archerious

Active Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2020
Messages
126
Likes
57
Maybe try a new optical cable. My Vizio TV has never had a problem.
I tried that and even a coax to optical adapter. Same issue. Others on here had the same problem. It seems the D90SE optical port won’t work with certain devices.
 

HiFidFan

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 22, 2021
Messages
730
Likes
879
Location
U.S.A
I tried that and even a coax to optical adapter. Same issue. Others on here had the same problem. It seems the D90SE optical port won’t work with certain devices.

I wonder why. It strikes me that it would either work or not.
 

nelamvr6

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 18, 2020
Messages
77
Likes
108
If you do a search through this thread for "audio clock trim" or just "trim" there have been others who have discussed this problem.
 

Victor BR

Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2021
Messages
33
Likes
6
Entering Topping users with combo S.m.S.L. SD9 + D90SE against my PS Audio Bridge II + PS Audio Directstream DAC. I will keep you posted!
Will be tested in my beloved Gryphon Mirage Pre Amp + BAT VK-75SE power amp + Von Schweirkert VK-44AK speakers.
Transparent Reference Speaker cables + Supra Sword ISL XLR, USB and HDMI cables.
I think I have a set to extract every bit of sound from Topping combo.
Let`s see. Combo arriving this side of the globe in a couple of weeks.

SHEER AUDIOPHILIA NERVOSA
 
Last edited:

Matias

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 1, 2019
Messages
3,169
Likes
5,713
Location
São Paulo, Brazil
I have had the D90Se in my system for a few weeks now. It replaced a A&K Kann Cube in DAC mode connected via XLR into my Freya+.

Using the Topping with set up as below, the highs at times sound very digital almost like you can hear pixels( sorry that's about the best I can describe it). Now I find my Kann super revealing and neutral both with headphones and using the XLR out, but I don't get this sound out of the top end. Anyone else noting this?

BTW not getting this from CD player when connected director Freya but when I use the topping has the decoder for the CD player via coax I am getting their high-end Distortion again

D90se set up
In:
- USB from W10 laptop and Android
- D90se recognized by all sources 44.1
- Flac library
Settings:
- XLR only
- 4v
- BT off
- DAC MODE
- tried all 7 filters
Out:
-XLR
- Freya+ (tried all three stages)
- dual Vidars mono
- monitor silver 100 speakers
Try to use 4V output from the DAC, see is this improves.
 

Rat Salad

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 23, 2021
Messages
7
Likes
6
Try to use 4V output from the DAC, see is this improves.
Thanks for the suggestion but I have tried the 4 volt and the 5 volt. I've actually narrowed down the "digitally" sound to when musicians use distortion. Fair amount of that in the music I like in things such as Neil Young and Black Sabbath both use some distortion pedal in both guitar and bass
 

Snoopy

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Jul 19, 2021
Messages
513
Likes
255
Thanks for the suggestion but I have tried the 4 volt and the 5 volt. I've actually narrowed down the "digitally" sound to when musicians use distortion. Fair amount of that in the music I like in things such as Neil Young and Black Sabbath both use some distortion pedal in both guitar and bass


Did you try David Bowie and pink Floyd?
 

Pdxwayne

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 15, 2020
Messages
3,249
Likes
1,161
Thanks for the suggestion but I have tried the 4 volt and the 5 volt. I've actually narrowed down the "digitally" sound to when musicians use distortion. Fair amount of that in the music I like in things such as Neil Young and Black Sabbath both use some distortion pedal in both guitar and bass
I see first measurements picture by Amir indicates ~4.2vrms output. That is about 0.2v more than expected. I wonder if that is too much for your preamp. Maybe try switch out from DAC Mode and adjust the volume of your DAC down a bit and listen again?
 

Rat Salad

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 23, 2021
Messages
7
Likes
6
I see first measurements picture by Amir indicates ~4.2vrms output. That is about 0.2v more than expected. I wonder if that is too much for your preamp. Maybe try switch out from DAC Mode and adjust the volume of your DAC down a bit and listen again?

Yes it's definitely a possibility that this DAC just doesn't fit in to my system. Sometimes great pieces just don't fit together with other great pieces.. if I was under some pressure to keep the topping I would probably do what you suggest. but I really like pushing things through the tubes stage in the Freya so even if that resolved the issue I would still not keep the topping.

And by the way I did try the topping with all three stages of the Freya - pass through, buffer and Tube with the same results of that digital sound.
 

nelamvr6

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 18, 2020
Messages
77
Likes
108
Yes it's definitely a possibility that this DAC just doesn't fit in to my system. Sometimes great pieces just don't fit together with other great pieces.. if I was under some pressure to keep the topping I would probably do what you suggest. but I really like pushing things through the tubes stage in the Freya so even if that resolved the issue I would still not keep the topping.

And by the way I did try the topping with all three stages of the Freya - pass through, buffer and Tube with the same results of that digital sound.

At this moment, my D90SE is connected directly via balanced XLR interconnects to my PrimaLuna tube power amp, and I don't get even a trace of what you're describing. All I get is amazingly beautiful sound. Not sure what could be causing your problem, but some sort of incompatibility with tubes doesn't seem likely to me.
 

Pdxwayne

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 15, 2020
Messages
3,249
Likes
1,161
Yes it's definitely a possibility that this DAC just doesn't fit in to my system. Sometimes great pieces just don't fit together with other great pieces.. if I was under some pressure to keep the topping I would probably do what you suggest. but I really like pushing things through the tubes stage in the Freya so even if that resolved the issue I would still not keep the topping.

And by the way I did try the topping with all three stages of the Freya - pass through, buffer and Tube with the same results of that digital sound.
My suggestion was to turn down the volume of the DAC (thus reduce output to below 4V) using the DAC's volume control. Maybe do -10. You then keep the volume of the DAC constant and use your Freya to adjust volume when listening to music.

Nothing else need to change. You are still keeping the same chain and you are still using the same Freya preamp.
 

Rat Salad

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 23, 2021
Messages
7
Likes
6
[QUOTE="Pdxwayne, post: 905835, member:

Nothing else need to change. You are still keeping the same chain and you are still using the same Freya preamp.[/QUOTE]

Ahh.. I got ya, honestly it's worth a try but General consensus is a single volume control per path is best..

At this point I've already started my return with headphones.com and ordered a new DAC.. I've been answering questions and getting the feedback because it could be informational for other people.
 

Pdxwayne

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 15, 2020
Messages
3,249
Likes
1,161
Ahh.. I got ya, honestly it's worth a try but General consensus is a single volume control per path is best..

At this point I've already started my return with headphones.com and ordered a new DAC.. I've been answering questions and getting the feedback because it could be informational for other people.

Indeed, based on recent experience, I also would like to use primarily a good preamp for volume control.

Anyway, Johnyoung of Topping mentioned that the DAC preamp quality is excellent. Thus I think set it at preamp mode should not degrade your overall sound quality.

I am just curious if you lower the DAC output to below 4v would help or not. This would be great information for other people if you could try it out (before you return the DAC) and report back.
 

Rat Salad

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 23, 2021
Messages
7
Likes
6
Indeed, based on recent experience, I also would like to use primarily a good preamp for volume control.

Anyway, Johnyoung of Topping mentioned that the DAC preamp quality is excellent. Thus I think set it at preamp mode should not degrade your overall sound quality.

I am just curious if you lower the DAC output to below 4v would help or not. This would be great information for other people if you could try it out (before you return the DAC) and report back.

I gave it a try and there's no discernible difference to my ears if I set the topping 4v and to preamp and lower the volume on the topping.
 
Top Bottom