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Topping DX3 Pro+ Review (DAC & Headphone Amp)

ZenTraveler

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I am not ruling out it could be bias on my behalf and I am questioning myself of course.
Get both unit volume level matched, another person help to unplug and re-plug between the 2 unit while you blind listen.
Use dice for odd or even number to create random choice to plug in. Record down how many times you get it correctly vs wrong.
This'll confirm whether the difference can be heard.
 

radix

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Get both unit volume level matched

What is the right way to level match headphones? I would guess if you use 1 headphone over two amps, you could voltage match it on say a 1khz tone? If trying to compare two different headphones with different impedances, what would you match? current?

Thanks
 

sjeesjie

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I’d say return it if you’re not happy with it and be done. I love my DX3 Pro to bits, nothing wrong with it.
 

xnor

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BUT When I compare headphone 6,3mm headphone jack of SP200 with XLR connected M500 to headphone jack of DX3, they sound pretty much the same. Difference is negligible.
The M500's headphone jack has a ~2 ohm output impedance, that is the main difference.
Into 16 ohms this makes a dB of difference in levels alone.
If your in-ears have multiple drivers with crossovers and a wonky impedance then this creates additional FR deviations that can be much higher in magnitude than just a dB.

Could it be that the headphone out of the M500 is doing some sort of EQing so that it sounds "better" than that of DX3 in comparison.
Is that a question? (Note how a question ends with a question mark.)
Anyway, no, but see the previous point. Such FR deviations could be mistaken as an EQ baked into the amp but it really is just the interaction between source and load impedance.
Also, I'm not sure how constant the output impedance of the M500 is. Some amps show rising output impedance towards 20 kHz which results in some treble roll-off in the headphones.

Could it be that the RCA cable does not transfer the signal as good as the XLR or the RCA out of the DX3 lacks behind the XLR out so that when I compare them on the SMSL SP200 the M500 wins.
No, but the signal levels will be wildly different. That's why others mentioned how important it is to properly match levels.

For each of your comparisons: what were the gain and volume settings for each device?
 

tlr125

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in this video for example the voice of the dude is scratchy on the dx3. it is not on the smsl/fiio.
try Daart Canary II, sounds more musical than Dx3pro+, maybe you will like it more than m500 =)
 

xnor

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try Daart Canary II, sounds more musical than Dx3pro+, maybe you will like it more than m500 =)
It also looks like it was designed by a drunk person. Same 2 ohm output impedance as the M500 btw.
This and the manufacturer's inability to provide fundamental specifications like gain or input sensitivity would immediately disqualify this product for me. Also, what is a "probably-damped volume knob"? :facepalm:

And please define what precisely you mean by "sounds more musical" as this another one of those vapid phrases that audiophiles throw around because they have a hard time describing differences that are the result of biases.
 

tlr125

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Same 2 ohm output impedance as the M500 btw.
comparing to tpa6120a2 which is naturally about >10ohm (with some tricks reduced to less than 1ohm) - see datasheet, IMO the CanaryII (with their power circuit) is much more better than ANY tpa6120a2 solution i've ever heard (even it's far from ideal, for example Zen DAC is a way better for IEM's comparing to Canary)

as the M500 btw.
and that's clearly different devices anyway (i mean canary II and m500), so it's worth a shot to try CanaryII too

And please define what precisely you mean by "sounds more musical"
more expressive sound on high freq, more bass, wider scene, "more musical" - i mean it's like more interesting and comfortable sounding
dx3pro+ sounds "cold". I didn't said that it's better in terms of sound quality btw, i'm human, not an oscillograph :p
but still, talking about "biases" and "disqualify" , tpa6120a2 is always failure for me, and i'm refering to datasheet, it's still 10ohm for that chip, all devices with that TPA doesn't work good with IEM's (in my opinion) ;)
tpa6120a2 can work only with at least 10ohm, it will affect IEM's anyway, no matter what tricks used topping for the jack :oops: old DX3pro V1 had better behaviour with IEM's btw
 
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xnor

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comparing to tpa6120a2 which is naturally about >10ohm (with some tricks reduced to less than 1ohm) - see datasheet, IMO the CanaryII (with their power circuit) is much more better than ANY tpa6120a2 solution i've ever heard (even it's far from ideal, for example Zen DAC is a way better for IEM's comparing to Canary)
No. TPA6120A2 open loop output resistance is typically 13 ohm. So naturally the output impedance is close to zero.
A 10-100 ohm series resistor is suggested to help with low impedance loads and provide some isolation from capacitive loads. If you don't want that then you don't need tricks but proper engineering.

Are you by any chance working for the Daart Audio marketing department?
And why talk about the TPA6120A2 in the first place in a DX3 Pro+ review topic?

and that's clearly different devices anyway (i mean canary II and m500), so it's worth a shot to try CanaryII too
Nah, for the reasons mentioned before.

more expressive sound on high freq, more bass, wider scene, "more musical"
So it is an FX device with a bass boost and it messes with phase between channels to widen the soundstage. More reasons to avoid the CanaryII.
"More expressive" and "more musical" are again meaningless, especially when trying to define "more musical". Those are properties of artists and musicians, not amps.
 

Killingbeans

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comparing to tpa6120a2 which is naturally about >10ohm (with some tricks reduced to less than 1ohm) - see datasheet, IMO the CanaryII (with their power circuit) is much more better than ANY tpa6120a2 solution i've ever heard (even it's far from ideal, for example Zen DAC is a way better for IEM's comparing to Canary)
but still, talking about "biases" and "disqualify" , tpa6120a2 is always failure for me, and i'm refering to datasheet, it's still 10ohm for that chip, all devices with that TPA doesn't work good with IEM's (in my opinion) ;)

The DX3 Pro+ spec says <0.1 Ohms. Forget about the chip datasheet.

more expressive sound on high freq, more bass, wider scene, "more musical" - i mean it's like more interesting and comfortable sounding
dx3pro+ sounds "cold". I didn't said that it's better in terms of sound quality btw, i'm human, not an oscillograph

Just an assumptions: It sounds very much like perceptual bias. My bet would be that the shiny decorative "gold" bit around the input indication LEDs gets your imagination going.
 

Killingbeans

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@xnor makes a really good point that had slipped my mind. The "EQ" that @jani80k is asking about might just be something as dumb as a higher output impedance interacting with his headphones of choise?

EDIT: Might be a grasp at straws though. I think I remember @solderdude showing how those interactions are minuscule at best.
 
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tlr125

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Are you by any chance working for the Daart Audio marketing department?
lmao, nope, i've just suggested jani80k to try another amp if he\she don't like DX3pro, is that a problem?

The DX3 Pro+ spec says <0.1 Ohms. Forget about the chip datasheet.
i can write on the box whatever i want, measurements here says one thing, but look at the old Dx3pro test - that's another result for IEM and it's BETTER, don't you see the difference? TPA issue is exist. It's a cheap and effective way to boost power, i know, but the downside of such method are not a something secret, other devices with same TPA are suffer from same "difficulties"

So naturally the output impedance is close to zero.
naturally it was right after the DX3pro V2 came out, from OPA2140 to TPA6120, impedance grows to 10ohm, because of TPA which had such parameter in datasheet

And why talk about the TPA6120A2 in the first place in a DX3 Pro+ review topic?
because DX3pro+ have TPA6120A2 for headphone AMP

So it is an FX device with a bass boost and it messes with phase between channels to widen the soundstage. More reasons to avoid the CanaryII.
"More expressive" and "more musical" are again meaningless, especially when trying to define "more musical". Those are properties of artists and musicians, not amps.
lmao, frequency response is almost the same, and there is no bass boost on CanaryII, but there is "thin and cold" sound on DX3pro+ even comparing to top-tier devices which are better in measurements

Just an assumptions: It sounds very much like perceptual bias. My bet would be that the shiny decorative "gold" bit around the input indication LEDs gets your imagination going.
DX3pro+ is more shiny with it's LED screen, remote controller, bluetooth and so on, i don't like CanaryII feature set and design, it's awful in my opinion

ps. Dx3pro (old version V1) sounds better than DX3pro+, sound is more massive (thick), i can recommend it too, but it's hard to get old model which is out of stock =(
 
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jani80k

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I have done some more testing. I can only confirm my initial findings.
DX3 is very clear with very detailed treble, tight bass but it sounds a bit narrow and there is an artificial element to its sound.
Just by listening to it you can tell it is technically good and precise. I am sure it measures insane.
SP200 is the best sounding thing I have (it improves DX3 and M500, but I prefer it with M500). M500 heaphone out also beats DX3 headphone out IMO.
From a musicality perspective even E10k beats DX3 but it clearly has less details making up for it with ultra-smooth sound.
DX3 clearly beats my Realtek onboard sound, my Monitor's Nvidia Sound headphone out and my cellphone's headphone out (I also compared it to those).
So the DX3 is not super bad or anything. I am sure it is a great starting point into audio and the sound is really quite good. Featurewise it also has a lot going for it but for pure listening pleasure it would not be my first choice according to my preferences and the way I like to listen to music.
I am sure there are other people who have a completely different opition and those people are right, too.
 

xnor

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lmao, nope, i've just suggested jani80k to try another amp if he\she don't like DX3pro, is that a problem?
What you're doing is not suggesting but sounds like you're trying to sell that thing.

i can write on the box whatever i want, measurements here says one thing, but look at the old Dx3pro test - that's another result for IEM and it's BETTER, don't you see the difference? TPA issue is exist. It's a cheap and effective way to boost power, i know, but the downside of such method are not a something secret, other devices with same TPA are suffer from same "difficulties"

naturally it was right after the DX3pro V2 came out, from OPA2140 to TPA6120, impedance grows to 10ohm, because of TPA which had such parameter in datasheet
You're still talking nonsense. I've explained the 10 ohm thing to you, which is a suggested series resistance in a simple application circuit and now the output impedance of the TPA6120A2.
And the DX3 Pro+ measurements clearly show 9 Vrms into 600 ohms and approaching 8.5 Vrms into 32 ohms clipping. Purely on mathematical grounds alone it is impossible for the DX3 Pro+ to have a 10 ohm output impedance.

lmao, frequency response is almost the same, and there is no bass boost on CanaryII, but there is "thin and cold" sound on DX3pro+ even comparing to top-tier devices which are better in measurements
So is this "almost the same" still big enough that you can hear more bass or not? If so then it does have a bass boost.
If not then you're contradicting yourself here - and that's the problem with audiophile drivel... you're not describing actual performance of the devices but your own (naturally biased) feelings that evidently don't correlate with the actual performance.

DX3pro+ is more shiny with it's LED screen,
That's what makes it so "thin and cold" I guess. Silver and shiny is cold, gold is more "musical, smooth and warm". Common audiophile "knowledge", right? :facepalm:
 

radix

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Killingbeans

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i can write on the box whatever i want, measurements here says one thing, but look at the old Dx3pro test - that's another result for IEM and it's BETTER, don't you see the difference? TPA issue is exist. It's a cheap and effective way to boost power, i know, but the downside of such method are not a something secret, other devices with same TPA are suffer from same "difficulties"

I dont get it. As far as I know Topping has never been dishonest about the output impedance of their products?

naturally it was right after the DX3pro V2 came out, from OPA2140 to TPA6120, impedance grows to 10ohm, because of TPA which had such parameter in datasheet

The 10 Ohms of the V2 is literally just a resistor on the PCB. It has nothing to do with the amp chip.

@xnor has already pointed it out to you. The 13 Ohms in the datasheet is open loop. Once you actually implement the chip as an amplifier, the supporting components gives you the actual output impedance. It's basic electronics.
 
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Killingbeans

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jani80k

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I got both devices (M500 XLR and DX3 RCA) to sound exactly the same connected to SP200.

M500:
- Line out
- Volume 40 (full volume)
- Tidal: System Controlled (Software MQA Decoder)
- Volume Slider in Windows 100%

DX3:
- DAC on / Headphone off
- Default (low) gain
- Volume 0.0 dB (full volume)
- Tidal: System Controlled
- Volume Slider in Windows 100%

Now there is no more difference in treble and they both sound equally good.
Tinny sound is gone with DX3 - both sound indistinguishable.
I'm sorry if my posts have may have caused confusion / upstirr.
 
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