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Topping D90SE Review (Balanced DAC)

G-rig

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Thanks for that, correct I was just referring to the above so wasn't really pointing the finger at the D90SE per se. Good to know, no doubt the AK4493 is a great chip. My mate's got the RME AD-2 DAC and it's an awesome piece of kit. In reality I'm probably never going to use direct in with massive DSD rates, and not even sure if you'd hear a difference (blind folded of course). Forgot to mention I want something with MQA decoding for use with Tidal and own FLAC collection. The SMSL D1SE is looking good, and those Topping units are a good standard that's really all you need (D90, D70SE).

Cheers
 

Matias

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G-rig

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Yeah I know a lot of audiophiles hate it, especially one's who's devices aren't supported. I agree it seems like a moneymaker and bit sure it's good to tamper with recordings but to me it does sound a bit better than CD. If it wasn't for Tidal it wouldn't really be a thing but using that given it can be had a lot cheaper than other streamers. Also testing a trial of Qobuz, and while it sounds fantastic the library is a lot smaller and may take years to become mainstream. If you don't have an MQA decoder I assume tidal falls back to 44.1khz, which is still fine on good equipment (and my FLAC collection is CD quality).

I'm just saying if I'm spending many hundreds on a DAC I'm not going to by one that doesn't do MQA decoding, whether it is around for a while or not.

It's a bit like LDAC, not essential but thought it sounded pretty good, shame the smsl D1se doesn't have it, hmm. Don't think it matters but good for convenience and visitors etc.
 

Rottmannash

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I assume tidal falls back to 44.1khz....

Not sure that's true. I believe it's been proven the file is degraded vs a .flac file played through a non-MQA DAC but I could be totally mistaken.
 

G-rig

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Yes, I haven't connected directly to a non-mqa DAC yet (and my chromecast audio does up to 96kHz but doesn't support MQA)
My point was I'm not sure that the DAC would display more than 44.1kHz in a non-MQA device would it? MQA being Tidal's hi-res format I've found is typically 88,000 kHz or so.
 

Nettuno

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Yeah I know a lot of audiophiles hate it, especially one's who's devices aren't supported. I agree it seems like a moneymaker and bit sure it's good to tamper with recordings but to me it does sound a bit better than CD. If it wasn't for Tidal it wouldn't really be a thing but using that given it can be had a lot cheaper than other streamers. Also testing a trial of Qobuz, and while it sounds fantastic the library is a lot smaller and may take years to become mainstream. If you don't have an MQA decoder I assume tidal falls back to 44.1khz, which is still fine on good equipment (and my FLAC collection is CD quality).

I'm just saying if I'm spending many hundreds on a DAC I'm not going to by one that doesn't do MQA decoding, whether it is around for a while or not.

It's a bit like LDAC, not essential but thought it sounded pretty good, shame the smsl D1se doesn't have it, hmm. Don't think it matters but good for convenience and visitors etc.
Are you aware that Tidal compresses FLAC, WAV, AIFF and CD, LP sources with obvious data loss and serves them on a silver platter called MQA?
It is not a question of hating MQA files, but disappointment to see people fooled by so much publicity!
 

G-rig

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Agree it's not ideal, still nice playing my own flac collection knowing I've ripped and tagged it meticulously. I know a lot of rme owners hate it.
Anyway Qobuz is promising got the trial , can't even connect to volumio so not a good start. Tidal is cheap as if you live in the right country. Not going to buy a non MQA DAC anyway.
 

rlwings

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Hey guys. I made an interesting discovery about the D90SE getting so hot... When I first set it up it got really hot... But after I changed filters from the default "3" to "7" the heat decreased by a very significant amount... Try it for an hour or so. Maybe I'm crazy, I don't know.... Note: I'm running USB to RCA in preamp mode at the 5V setting and 176.4khz\32bit.

Would different filters produce different temps?? Maybe that's why Amir noticed that filter 7 was the best. (Maybe the extra heat generated from the other filters is indicative of problematic filter implementation causing electrical issues which negatively impacted the measurements).
 
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G-rig

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If you were buying a new one would you buy it again or a newer model? Annoying when the logo is plastered over everything but good another codec is supported.

Anyway, depends what streaming softwear you use - if it's not Tidal then it doesn't matter :).
 

rlwings

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I'm sooo happy to have the D90 with no letters behind, seems that it will be a rare collector item and worth its gold ...
LOl, I think it might be the other way around. The MQA version will become the collector's item. :}
 

G-rig

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Bit like DVDs you Think?

I'm testing out Qobuz as well, there is some nice stuff on there for sure at 192kHz. I prefer the the general UI and much bigger library on Tidal (and as long as it's still 3$ in Argentina I'll be using it). I noticed Qobuz just increased their prices too. Still can't get it connected using volumio. Also, try asking Google to play something on Qobuz.. I'm not even sure how to say it. Edit: It turns out there is no output devices for Qubuz in Volumio because it doesn't exist - bit useless to use it then, probably works fine for Roon users.

The test Will be if brands like RME add support in their new line ups, some manufacturers have no intent of doing so which is fair, but I'm not going to buy one that doesn't support it , for now. SMSL D1se is looking good, great sound regardless apparently.
 
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G-rig

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Are you aware that Tidal compresses FLAC, WAV, AIFF and CD, LP sources with obvious data loss and serves them on a silver platter called MQA?
It is not a question of hating MQA files, but disappointment to see people fooled by so much publicity!
This user puts it in perspective:
Look, regardless of what you feel about MQA's business model, AN MQA FILE CONTAINS MORE SONIC INFORMATION THAN A CD EQUIVALENT. It's lossless up to and slightly beyond CD-quality. Only the high res component is lossy, which is harmless. There is very, very little energy in that range, most of it being high frequency noise and meaningless. In other words, in the very least it is superior to CD-quality. Whether or not it's superior to standard high res PCM will come down to whether or not you believe MQA's claims about better time domain performance.

 

Rottmannash

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This user puts it in perspective:
Look, regardless of what you feel about MQA's business model, AN MQA FILE CONTAINS MORE SONIC INFORMATION THAN A CD EQUIVALENT. It's lossless up to and slightly beyond CD-quality. Only the high res component is lossy, which is harmless. There is very, very little energy in that range, most of it being high frequency noise and meaningless. In other words, in the very least it is superior to CD-quality. Whether or not it's superior to standard high res PCM will come down to whether or not you believe MQA's claims about better time domain performance.

Um, pretty sure that's not true.
 

G-rig

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It's hard to know either way unless there is some proper documentation on how it actually works, and tests etc.
Anyway, to me it sounds at least as good but sonically better than CD, but who knows.
 

JJB70

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MQA might have made sense in bandwidth limited streaming systems and the era of expensive memory, now at best it is an answer looking for a question and at worst an outright scam. Personally I think the sooner it exits the stage the better.
 

G-rig

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yeah time will tell, just like other formats.. it seems more mainstream now than OGG and Media Monkey etc (albeit it it's not a codec).

Either way, if you were buying a new DAC would you spend $$'s on a DAC that doesn't support it (ie D90 v D70SE v D90SE)?
I'm still keen to upgrade my desktop/headphone setup at some point and would still get a RME ADI2 DACFS, but for now upgrading my DAC Magic+CCA to a RPi4 based streamer (Volumio/Tidal) and new DAC.

What would be more helpful is if all the extra tidbits are a waste of money - law of diminishing returns is fairly agreessive with the addition of:

- DIgital to Digital Converters: eg. Audioquest Dragonfly Red
- Pi2AES hat (keen on A2S to SMSL VMV D1se (or similar)
- an iFi power x to power the RPI4 board, and a meanwell 24vdc supply for the PI2aes.

Cheers
 

kchap

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This user puts it in perspective:
Look, regardless of what you feel about MQA's business model, AN MQA FILE CONTAINS MORE SONIC INFORMATION THAN A CD EQUIVALENT. It's lossless up to and slightly beyond CD-quality. Only the high res component is lossy, which is harmless. There is very, very little energy in that range, most of it being high frequency noise and meaningless. In other words, in the very least it is superior to CD-quality. Whether or not it's superior to standard high res PCM will come down to whether or not you believe MQA's claims about better time domain performance.

My understanding is that MQA is lossy. I takes the 2 LSBs from the 16/44.1 signal to encode the MQA data. If you are processing an MQA signal with a non-MQA device the signal is reduced to 14 bits.
 

G-rig

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Ok. Choice of streaming service aside, any advice on the previous questions for the setup?
All that crap probably isn't necessary but interested to know. I assume people are going for the very best possible setup (whether you can hear it or not) but still like these bang for buck projects. CHeers,
 

kchap

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Ok. Choice of streaming service aside, any advice on the previous questions for the setup?
All that crap probably isn't necessary but interested to know. I assume people are going for the very best possible setup (whether you can hear it or not) but still like these bang for buck projects. CHeers,
I use the the RPI4 with USB DACs. The Pi2AES is a good unit but it still needs to feed an external DAC. I use a Khadas Toneboard and a Topping D10B. The RME is also very good, has USB input and external power; less load on the RPI.

The RPI4 has limited power to share about and Pi2AES needs a higher voltage than the standard 5.1 V unit but using 'low noise' linear PSUs do not seem to offer any advantage. The main question is, have you got enough power?
 
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