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Topping DM7 8-Channel DAC Review

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 6 2.1%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 15 5.3%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther

    Votes: 46 16.1%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 218 76.5%

  • Total voters
    285

Nighthog

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DAC is more Audio crowd oriented naming scheme, in the PC space this is just a "soundcard" in it's simplest terms for people. Many there don't know what a "DAC" is even by itself if they aren't interested in details. There this is just a "soundcard" as it interfaces with a PC.

Sound cards are more encompassing naming scheme and they don't require input or other features to be called that. Just sound output is required.
There are USB sound cards that are external much the same as this thing is, but cheaper and lower performance.
Though some crowd would prefer to call it a DAC as many around this site.
Just different naming scheme for different markets.

By calling this a DAC you exclude a large market of people who have no idea what a DAC is but know how a "soundcard" works and is used.

It should be marketed as both. As it functions are the same from wherever the audience comes from.
PC crowd will look at it as a soundcard. If it's not named as such they might think it's not "functional" as such and exclude from even considering it as such.

But in practical terms there is no diffrence in actual use for either the Audio crowd using it as a DAC or the PC crowd preferring to use it as a soundcard for their PC.
 

mkt

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I use a Mac laptop. What is a soundcard?
 

staticV3

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@mkt open to interpretation. Here's mine: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...g-dm7-8-channel-dac-review.35661/post-1402622

Just like the meaning of earbuds has shifted from
these: original-earpods-2.jpg to these:de-galaxy-buds2-pro-r510-sm-r510nlvadbt-533211701.png

a soundcard used to be this:
pdt-mhl-audigy-rx.png
but nowadays can also mean this:
LD0005693537_1.jpg UGREENUSBExternalSoundCard_ExternalSoundCardwithJack3.5mmHeadphoneandMicrophoneJackforLaptopPC...jpg
 
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Kal Rubinson

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By calling this a DAC you exclude a large market of people who have no idea what a DAC is but know how a "soundcard" works and is used.
And that is exactly my point in response to the many here who criticize the Topping DM7 for not having the features that they expect in a sound card. This product is not targeted at them for that reason. To be sure, sound cards may have DACs in them but a DAC, itself, is different and more restrictive definition of the product.
 

Whoareyou

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So, here's how I define the difference.

I'd first start with the definition of DAC, which is digital to analog converter.

What creates that digital audio signal? The chip/logic present on a sound card is responsible for creating the digital output that is sent to the DAC.

How does the sound card get data out of the computer in analog form?

It sends it to the DAC.

A soundcard may include a DAC, but it is not a DAC.
A DAC is exactly what it says it is;A digital to analog converter.
 

Trell

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@mkt open to interpretation. Here's mine: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...g-dm7-8-channel-dac-review.35661/post-1402622

Just like the meaning of earbuds has shifted from
these: View attachment 248159 to these:View attachment 248160

a soundcard used to be this:
View attachment 248161
but nowadays can also mean this:
View attachment 248164 View attachment 248165
Add to this that the vast majority of PC users will not install a sound card/DAC in it in the first place as they quite simply will use the onboard the motherboard functionality.

As you write, definitions changes over time.

Personally, to people not used with audio or computers internals, I’ll just say sound card to them and leave out any mention of audio interface. :)
 
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staticV3

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@Whoareyou the sound card is an outdated concept that died when motherboard manufacturers started baking somewhat decent audio right into the board:
Screenshot_20221206-155908_Chrome.png Screenshot_20221206-160740_Chrome.png

You'll have a very hard time convincing others to call these sound cards:
apos-audio-topping-dac-digital-to-analog-converter-topping-dm7-8-channel-dac-37348245471468_800x.jpgD3004_grande.jpgschiit-modi-plus-zilver-correct.jpg
Not least because they're pure output devices, whereas sound cards did and still do provide both in and outputs.
 

Nighthog

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@Whoareyou the sound card is an outdated concept that died when motherboard manufacturers started baking somewhat decent audio right into the board:
View attachment 248175 View attachment 248176

You'll have a very hard time convincing others to call these sound cards:
View attachment 248178View attachment 248179View attachment 248180
Not least because they're pure output devices, whereas sound cards did and still do provide both in and outputs.
But DAC's are usually better than soundcards ever were.
Souncards, they often had buggy or non functioning drivers as Windows got new releases which impacted the audience to avoid them as much as possible as their gear suddenly stopped working as the software was not updated to work on the new systems. Or buggy software was never fixed to actually make the cards functional without glaring faults. Features removed and other issues was normal.

Though if they marketed these DAC's to the same crowd it would open up a larger audience of users to come back to better Audio gear on the PC markets. These USB attached devices usually don't have the same issues as the old add-in-card variants had of old.
And they are overall of much better quality all around than the cards were if you ever bought a after market one.

Because of old issues most just gave up and preferred to stick to their onboard audio solutions and forgot something better was ever around.
If they marketed these directly as soundcard replacements instead of onboard audio or add-in-cards with much better performance & less issues, you could widen the usershare of people having the gear in the first place.

I never even considered a DAC until I broke my onboard Audio on my motherboard, I needed a new solution. None of the internal variants were "good" or without issues. Also add in the feature most modern motherboards have no room to add in a card in your system as they have done away with extra PCI/PCIE connections to slot in your add-in-card.
Just by chance I found myself looking at these DAC's. Was all around a better solution than any soundcard could ever be. The other choice was to go the HDMI AVR route.

Only issue was these were all only 2-channel output.
Finally a multi-channel option came around with the Okto dac8 & then now with this Topping DM7.

The DM7 would have been a perfect solution ages ago! Only thing is the balanced outputs are kinda limiting in what gear you can hook up to it. Though preferred in the price range this product is at though.

I was looking for a multi-channel soundcard for ages but they always were of old designs or not sold any more. Drivers being a main issue as well.
This DM7 is in my list of things to get if I get around to getting a set of balanced powered speakers to pair this device with.
My old unbalanced 5.1 system will have to retire if I get the DM7 for something better.

The PC crowd wants multi-channel audio solutions if only the products ever existed & worked as advertised!

It's finally here!
Driverless(windows) multi-channel solution with top-line performance!


If you have the cash for this entry level this device is sold at people will consider it if they only knew it exists & actually will work as a soundcard replacement device.

I will seriouisly consider getting one when the time is right to get the new speaker system to pair it with.
 

Whoareyou

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@Whoareyou the sound card is an outdated concept that died when motherboard manufacturers started baking somewhat decent audio right into the board:
View attachment 248175 View attachment 248176

You'll have a very hard time convincing others to call these sound cards:
View attachment 248178View attachment 248179View attachment 248180
Not least because they're pure output devices, whereas sound cards did and still do provide both in and outputs.

I'm trying to convince people of something?

Just pointing out that DAC is an acronym for a specialized device, and DACs are incorporated into the design of some soundcards.

And that's why some soundcard manufacturers make a point of what DAC chip they've incorporated into their design.
 

Trell

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I'm trying to convince people of something?

Just pointing out that DAC is an acronym for a specialized device, and DACs are incorporated into the design of some soundcards.

And that's why some soundcard manufacturers make a point of what DAC chip they've incorporated into their design.
I’d say that most people would not call a soundcard without DAC functionality a soundcard in the first place.

Say, like this one. RME does call it an audio interface, though. No analogue input in sight either, especially a mic preamp. The RME ADI-2 Pro, with no mic preamp but analogue in, is a converter in their lineup.

 
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Whoareyou

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I’d say that most people would not call a soundcard without DAC functionality a soundcard in the first place.

And as I said "A soundcard may include a DAC, but it is not a DAC."

Again, I'm not trying to convince anyone to call these things anything, but for my own personal purchases, I like to know what kind of DAC is used by the manufacturer and what the specs are for that portion of the functionality.
 

Trell

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And as I said "A soundcard may include a DAC, but it is not a DAC."

Again, I'm not trying to convince anyone to call these things anything, but for my own personal purchases, I like to know what kind of DAC is used by the manufacturer and what the specs are for that portion of the functionality.

For most ordinary consumers, I guess, that would be a confusing definition of a soundcard. In time that will change to as a card once upon a time actually was a card. So for most the card was replaced with equivalent functionality on the motherboard many years ago, and very few users actually buy such cards anymore.
 
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