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Topping DX5 Review (DAC & HP Amp)

Rate this product:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 15 4.6%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 7 2.1%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 75 23.0%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 229 70.2%

  • Total voters
    326

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Topping DX5 balanced stereo DAC and (unbalanced) headphone amplifier. It was sent to me by the company and costs US $449.
Topping DX5 Review Stereo THD vs frequency DAC USB Headphone Amplifier Balanced.jpg

As you see the industrial design is all new. I like the large display and the feel of the volume control which is much improved. Note that the XLR headphone out is the same as 1/4 HP out and is there for convenience. Back panel shows the usual connections:
Topping DX5 Review Stereo Back Panel DAC USB Headphone Amplifier Balanced.jpg


But also sports my favorite feature: built-in power supply. Let's start measurements with the DAC section.

Topping DX5 DAC Measurements
Let's start with XLR Output:
Topping DX5 Measurements Stereo DAC USB Headphone Amplifier Balanced.png

We expect superb performance and company delivers as expected, landing in our top 5 DACs ever tested:
Best stereo DAC headphone amplifier review.png


RCA Output gives up just a tiny bit:
Topping DX5 Measurements Stereo DAC RCA USB Headphone Amplifier Balanced.png


Noise performance is excellent:

Topping DX5 Measurements Dynamic Range Stereo DAC USB Headphone Amplifier Balanced.png


Linearity is nailed:
Topping DX5 Measurements Stereo Linearity  DAC USB Headphone Amplifier Balanced.png


General noise and distortion in IMD test is superb but we have our old "friend" the ESS IMD Hump back:
Topping DX5 Measurements Stereo DAC IMD USB Headphone Amplifier Balanced.png


Performance is so good though that even with that hump it still performs.

Jitter over USB is excellent:
Topping DX5 Measurements Stereo DAC Jitter USB Headphone Amplifier Balanced.png


But there are odd spikes/jitter when using Toslink:
Topping DX5 Measurements Stereo DAC Jitter Toslink Headphone Amplifier Balanced.png


Fortunately at less than -120 dB, they are completely inaudible.

Multitone is superb:
Topping DX5 Measurements Stereo Multitone DAC USB Headphone Amplifier Balanced.png


Three reconstruction filters are provided:
Topping DX5 Measurements Filter Stereo DAC USB Headphone Amplifier Balanced.png


THD+N versus frequency is extremely good:
Topping DX5 Measurements Stereo THD vs frequency DAC USB Headphone Amplifier Balanced.png


Topping DX5 Headphone Amp Measurements
Let's measure how quiet the unit is:
Topping DX5 Measurements Stereo 50mv Headphone Amplifier Balanced.png


This is very good but shy of state of the art:

most quiet headphone amp review.png


Performance into both 300 ohm and 32 ohm loads is excellent with very low noise and distortion plus plenty of power:

Topping DX5 Measurements Stereo Power 300 Headphone Amplifier Balanced.png


Topping DX5 Measurements Stereo Power 33 Headphone Amplifier Balanced.png


Testing at various impedances we get:
Topping DX5 Measurements Stereo Power vs impedance Headphone Amplifier Balanced.png


Ignore the little glitches (measurement error). At 300 and 600 ohm there is no clipping so if you are hearing distortion it is your headphone! Below that naturally is current limiting. Unit is stable and capable of driving even 12 ohm load. Output impedance is essentially zero.

Topping DX5 Headphone Listening Tests
I started testing with my Sennheiser HD650 headphone. Performance was superb with incredible dynamics, detail and ability to rattle my skull if I let it! I then plugged in my everyday Dan Clark Stealth headphone which is both low impedance and difficult to drive. DX5 had no trouble driving it with no sign of distortion. I did not have as much headroom as with the HD650 but plenty of volume for safe listening.

Conclusions
We expect perfection from Topping and we almost get that in DX5. ESS IMD Hump and Toslink jitter are the only two areas of note but neither is an obstacle to superb performance. Delivering forth highest SINAD ever measured (out of nearly 400 DACs) is a major accomplishment.

I am going to recommend the Topping DX5.

Edit: video review posted:

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As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

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HorizonsEdge

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Typo in first line; says DX6 instead of 5.
 

Theodore8

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Thank you @amirm for your contribution to pushing the industry to steadily advance the state-of-the-art! It is thanks to your reviews and audiosciencereview.com that we live in the golden age of Hi FI.
 

GeekyBastard

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I wonder what caused that ESS IMD hump again, I thought Topping already solved the problem in their previous works.

Edit: Apparently there's a bug inside the firmware causing the hump, and Topping is working on a new firmware to fix it.

Edit 2: New firmware out! And the hump's gone!:D

Screenshot_20220327_101814_org.mozilla.firefox_beta-01.jpeg


"The new firmware provides three options corresponding to different IMD performance:"
 
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don'ttrustauthority

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If you need a balanced small one box solution for powered speakers, this is great. I think I'd stick with Magnius/Modius for headphones so my DCA Aeon's get their full power. I find the Aeon's need as much power as the Stealth seems to.
 

respice finem

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For both parameters and price, they "own the golf course", once again.

For a second, I thought an app is required for remote control, but no, there is one included:
 

ZolaIII

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Seams they rushed it a bit (regarding both ESS hump and jitter over Toslink) as we know they know to handle both but it's not a deal breaker (both are under threshold of DAC/hearing). How is IR remote directivity and angle range? As much as I can see they didn't enable BT transmitter capabilities.
Nice to know there is a Shenzen Audio in EU (DE).
WolfX-700 also did measurements (as usual it did a tad better there related to a bit different measurement methodology).
 

GeekyBastard

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-ESS9068 chip
-noise is so low (it could be otherwise hidden/buried and just not show)
无标题.png

“There's already a solution, waiting for Topping's updated firmware.”

Apparently there's a bug inside the firmware causing the hump, and Topping is working on a new firmware to fix it.

Edit: New firmware out! And the hump's gone!:D
Screenshot_20220327_101814_org.mozilla.firefox_beta-01.jpeg

"The new firmware provides three options corresponding to different IMD performance:"
 
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