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Topping DX3 Pro+ Review (DAC & Headphone Amp)

JRS

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Man, yea I guess so. As a noob, I fell for the charts and numbers hoopla.
Smarter and far cheaper than getting sucked into all the subjective hoopla, where there is rarely a consensus, and one often pays big $$ for hyped, under-engineered products with nice face plate.
 

JRS

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How can we get to setup mode and exit DFU mode using only knobs? When the device is plugged in, holding the knob will enter DFU mode, but it will stuck there too unless I unplug the power cable.
In case this hasn't been answered, that is the only known way. Powered off and back on.
 

nothingman

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Not to drag this out, but @dreamscene didn’t really uncover anything remotely relevant here. He personally doesn’t like the Hifiman Edition XS, a full size, open back, planar headphone, and prefers the Apple Airpods Pro, a noise canceling, bluetooth-only IEM. That’s not a lot to go on, and doesn’t say anything about the relevance or promise of measurements. It definitely doesn’t say anything about the DX3 Pro+ considering we know it’s basically a perfectly transparent, quiet, high-dynamic range DAC and headphone amp, and we have no idea what @dreamscene was feeding it with.

Feeling like you got sold a bill of goods on a specific headphone is one thing, but the DX3 Pro+ is holding up its end of the bargain and you can’t fault it in terms of sound signature preference, especially given the completely apples-and-oranges (pun!) headphone comparison being made.
 

dreamscene

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Not to drag this out, but @dreamscene didn’t really uncover anything remotely relevant here. He personally doesn’t like the Hifiman Edition XS, a full size, open back, planar headphone, and prefers the Apple Airpods Pro, a noise canceling, bluetooth-only IEM. That’s not a lot to go on, and doesn’t say anything about the relevance or promise of measurements. It definitely doesn’t say anything about the DX3 Pro+ considering we know it’s basically a perfectly transparent, quiet, high-dynamic range DAC and headphone amp, and we have no idea what @dreamscene was feeding it with.

Feeling like you got sold a bill of goods on a specific headphone is one thing, but the DX3 Pro+ is holding up its end of the bargain and you can’t fault it in terms of sound signature preference, especially given the completely apples-and-oranges (pun!) headphone comparison being made.
Wasn't implying the DX3Pro+ had issues or the HiFiMan Edition XS, was just a feedback from a newbie that just came into the scene, read a few reviews, became obsesed with charts and pretty photo's.....bought 2 of the latest well reviewed products and didn't find the 'audio upgrade' worth it over a 'cheap' $200 Apple Airpod Pro and a bog standard 2 year old iPhone 11. I just found the Airpod's to sound better, and a lot more comfortable to wear. I was expecting something along the lines of shifting time and space and audio heaven after reading the reviews, watching the Youtube videos and staring at paper measurements vs the Airpod's, that's all.......I was sorely disappointed. Just an individual's opinion.

Edit: A friend of mind mentioned that I have to leave the Dac and HiFiMan Edition XS switched on playing music for 1 week to break it in, I was like, WTF. So currently I have the setup playing some random 'headphone break in music' clip from Youtube lol in a loop. Some weird unbearable hiss, pops and woosh sounds on repeat. He promise's me the DX3Pro+ and this headphone will sound better than the Airpod's eventually as I get 'used' to better quality music, so I will update after a few days.
 
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nothingman

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Right on. Felt like you were saying a good bit more than that in the first post, but what you’re saying now is perfectly reasonable. Getting into this stuff does involve a lot of personal preference (IEM vs. full size, sound signature, etc.), and having your bearings takes some trial and error for everyone (hopefully always with a generous return policy!). Measurements only mean so much when there’s a fundamental mismatch between user and product.
 

Killingbeans

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Edit: A friend of mind mentioned that I have to leave the Dac and HiFiMan Edition XS switched on playing music for 1 week to break it in, I was like, WTF. So currently I have the setup playing some random 'headphone break in music' clip from Youtube lol in a loop. Some weird unbearable hiss, pops and woosh sounds on repeat.

Your initial 'WTF' thought was spot on. Don't believe that BS. The only thing it does is priming your expectation bias to fire.

He promise's me the DX3Pro+ and this headphone will sound better than the Airpod's eventually as I get 'used' to better quality music, so I will update after a few days.

He's probably right. Burn-in works wonders, but it's most likely a purely mental thing. It's just your brain letting go of first impressions and giving way to a new mix of biases. Forget about silly break-in signals. Just listen to music like you normally would and allow yourself to enjoy it. At some point you possibly switch from "This is not what I'm used to, and it feels wrong!" to "I'm now used to this, and it feels great".
 

Budgeter

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Your initial 'WTF' thought was spot on. Don't believe that BS. The only thing it does is priming your expectation bias to fire.



He's probably right. Burn-in works wonders, but it's most likely a purely mental thing. It's just your brain letting go of first impressions and giving way to a new mix of biases. Forget about silly break-in signals. Just listen to music like you normally would and allow yourself to enjoy it. At some point you possibly switch from "This is not what I'm used to, and it feels wrong!" to "I'm now used to this, and it feels great".
This.

When I first got into hi-fi, I was like: "There is no darnn bass, treble is harsh ......". After a while of getting used to this new kind of sound "approach", comparing to my old audio gear (which was some random phones, and laptops, etc), night and day. It's just that I learned to detect some pattern of sound (noise, distortion, sibilance, etc.) that separates them.

In recent years, the implementation on devices has been much better, so the gap has been reduced.

That said though, nowadays, I don't really pay attention to these kind of details. For PC, I got DX3 pro+ due to its all-in-one package. Measurement does not matter for me after a certain threshold. For going out, random wireless earbuds serve me perfectly.
 

dreamscene

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This.

When I first got into hi-fi, I was like: "There is no darnn bass, treble is harsh ......". After a while of getting used to this new kind of sound "approach", comparing to my old audio gear (which was some random phones, and laptops, etc), night and day. It's just that I learned to detect some pattern of sound (noise, distortion, sibilance, etc.) that separates them.

In recent years, the implementation on devices has been much better, so the gap has been reduced.

That said though, nowadays, I don't really pay attention to these kind of details. For PC, I got DX3 pro+ due to its all-in-one package. Measurement does not matter for me after a certain threshold. For going out, random wireless earbuds serve me perfectly.
Yea, bass is crap. It's clear sounding but I can't explain it, it's like you can't listen to it for too long like you can with bog standard Apple Wireless Airpod's.
 

raistlin65

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Wasn't implying the DX3Pro+ had issues or the HiFiMan Edition XS, was just a feedback from a newbie that just came into the scene, read a few reviews, became obsesed with charts and pretty photo's.....bought 2 of the latest well reviewed products and didn't find the 'audio upgrade' worth it over a 'cheap' $200 Apple Airpod Pro and a bog standard 2 year old iPhone 11. I just found the Airpod's to sound better, and a lot more comfortable to wear. I was expecting something along the lines of shifting time and space and audio heaven after reading the reviews, watching the Youtube videos and staring at paper measurements vs the Airpod's, that's all.......I was sorely disappointed. Just an individual's opinion.

Edit: A friend of mind mentioned that I have to leave the Dac and HiFiMan Edition XS switched on playing music for 1 week to break it in, I was like, WTF. So currently I have the setup playing some random 'headphone break in music' clip from Youtube lol in a loop. Some weird unbearable hiss, pops and woosh sounds on repeat. He promise's me the DX3Pro+ and this headphone will sound better than the Airpod's eventually as I get 'used' to better quality music, so I will update after a few days.

Headphones have different sounds signatures, and sound signature preference is individualistic. Plus, improvements in sound quality are also subjective where some people find big improvements where others find very little.

Finally, expecting cost benefits to be the same based on what others found is impossible. Because people have different disposable income and opportunity costs.

So expecting to be wowed by an expensive pair of headphones just because somebody else loved it, is often a recipe for being disappointed.

That being said, the DX3 Pro+ is easily arguable to be noise and distortion-free within the range of human hearing. So it provides the highest fidelity sound reproduction ears can perceive. So it is an excellent choice to pair with almost any headphone for high fidelity audio.
 

Jackpine

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Yea, bass is crap. It's clear sounding but I can't explain it, it's like you can't listen to it for too long like you can with bog standard Apple Wireless Airpod's.
Are you using YouTube as a source? The sound quality on there is ok but better equipment might reveal it's deficiencies more. I think DX3 Pro+ should be held on to, can't imagine you finding fault with its sound. Try to test out some other full sized cans, preferably without purchasing them. I would imagine the airpods are pretty good. They're not something I would even consider just because I don't like putting things in my ears. Now that your expectations have been quashed you have a better chance at finding something you truly like.
 

dreamscene

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Are you using YouTube as a source? The sound quality on there is ok but better equipment might reveal it's deficiencies more. I think DX3 Pro+ should be held on to, can't imagine you finding fault with its sound. Try to test out some other full sized cans, preferably without purchasing them. I would imagine the airpods are pretty good. They're not something I would even consider just because I don't like putting things in my ears. Now that your expectations have been quashed you have a better chance at finding something you truly like.
Yea, I have Amazon Prime so Amazon Music and Youtube Music mostly. Like most people or even seasoned Audiophiles ;), I can't really tell the difference between 128KBs-320KBs MP3, even when compared to Flac lossless music so I don't download Flac. I think I just fell for the newbie itch to get into something I know very little about and expected audio nirvana when in truth, a cheap $50 Sony headphone with no dac and amp straight from the motherboard output would have sufficed vs the $700 I dumped on the HiFiMan Edition XS and Topping DX3Pro+ as my first music audio gear. I know people say Apple products are rubbish but to me the $200 Airpod Pro's have proven how good they are and no need for dac amp crap, wireless too for same quality of music. I am sure in 6 months when I am 'used' to the new setup and then go back to my Airpod's I will be like, oh nawww, the Airpod's suck, but atm the $200 wireless Airpod Pro's are a clear winner in music quality over a $700 dac amp and Headphone setup.
 
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Jackpine

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Yea, I have Amazon Prime so Amazon Music and Youtube Music mostly. Like most people or even seasoned Audiophiles ;), I can't really tell the difference between 128KBs-320KBs MP3, even when compared to Flac lossless music so I don't download Flac. I think I just fell for the newbie itch to get into something I know very little about and expected audio nirvana when in truth, a cheap $50 Sony headphone with no dac and amp straight from the motherboard output would have sufficed vs the $700 I dumped on the HiFiMan Edition XS and Topping DX3Pro+ as my first music audio gear. I know people say Apple products are rubbish but to me the $200 Airpod Pro's have proven how good they are and no need for dac amp crap, wireless too for same quality of music. I am sure in 6 months when I am 'used' to the new setup and then go back to my Airpod's I will be like, oh nawww, the Airpod's suck, but atm the $200 wireless Airpod Pro's are a clear winner in music quality over a $700 dac amp and Headphone setup.
Well they say the best thing to happen when trying gambling is to lose your first time out. This can be an addictive and expensive hobby. I hope you don't totally give up though. You won't find too many snobs here who will look down on Apple. It can be hard to tell the difference between 320kbs MP3 and CD or better quality. 128kps MP3 you should definitely hear a loss in quality though. I'd encourage you not to give up. Take your time, keep learning, keep listening.
 

Limopard

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This little thing is ace for the money! If it had a 6,3 mm (1/4 inch for those in the US) TRS socket it would be perfect.
 

gael

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This little thing is ace for the money! If it had a 6,3 mm (1/4 inch for those in the US) TRS socket it would be perfect.
I'm actually praising them for going against the grain. There is a wide variety of amps with 6.3, yet in the golden age of IEMs, why not go for convenient/compact design that serves the IEM crowd so well (and low/mid tier headphones).
 

gael

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PSA: If you experience sound distortions (crackling, drop outs) while high CPU load, ditch the driver.
 

Limopard

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I'm actually praising them for going against the grain. There is a wide variety of amps with 6.3, yet in the golden age of IEMs, why not go for convenient/compact design that serves the IEM crowd so well (and low/mid tier headphones).
It doesn't really bother me. I use an extension cable to my favourite listening place and simply bought a new one with an angled 1/8 plug. Shouldn't put too much strain on the socket. Maybe I add a strain release somewhere.
 

nothingman

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Yeah, exactly. I use the Sennheiser adapter and it’s just fine. Sometimes you’ll find yourself with a 1/4” device and 1/8” headphones, and other times you’ll have the opposite. No reason to worry about it. Just have the two adapters and move on.
 

dreamscene

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Well they say the best thing to happen when trying gambling is to lose your first time out. This can be an addictive and expensive hobby. I hope you don't totally give up though. You won't find too many snobs here who will look down on Apple. It can be hard to tell the difference between 320kbs MP3 and CD or better quality. 128kps MP3 you should definitely hear a loss in quality though. I'd encourage you not to give up. Take your time, keep learning, keep listening.
Yea I realised this now that expensive headphones and DAC Amps are a waste of money for most. If you have a good motherboard worth $150 or more, they come with very good built in sound card's epecially in the past 5 years, a $50-$100 set of headphones is all most need. I noticed that I don't sit and listen to FLAC music and go through my 'collection' as an isolated pass time. It's mostly Amazon music or Spotify streaming in the background when I am at my desk working or surfing the 'net'. In that use case this $200 DX3Pro+ DAC Amp and the $500 HiFiMan Edition XS headphones were a big waste of money costing $700. I have gone back to my wireless Apple Airpod Pro's that I use mostly and also my 10 year old Sennheiser HD598 and both do not need a DAC Amp. I have gotten offers close to my purchase price for the Hifiman Edition XS headphones so that is not a total loss, the Topping DX3Pro+ I will keep to have as a bluetooth receiver in the living room connected to speakers.

I just was caught up in the 'hi-fi' world for 3 weeks and couldn't stop looking at numbers and charts and reviews when it reality none of this makes a difference to most people. Even my friends can't tell the difference between sound quality from the 10 year old Sennheiser HD598 running straight through my motherboard vs the $700 DAC AMP and HiFiMan Edition XS high end headphones. Hell, most picked the Sennheiser HD598 and surprisingly the wireless Apple Airpods as having better quality music. This is a very subjective industry and newbies, don't get sucked in with the prices and numbers, paying more does not equate to better sound quality.
 
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