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Topping G5 Review (Portable DAC & HP Amp)

Rate this DAC & HP Amp

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 9 3.1%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 18 6.3%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 59 20.6%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 201 70.0%

  • Total voters
    287

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Topping G5 portable, battery operated DAC, headphone amplifier with bluetooth. It was sent to me by the company and costs US $299.
Topping G5 Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Amp review battery.jpg

The G5 comes in a super stout metal enclosure. It is on the heavy side for a portable product (2 to 4 times heavier than a typical mobile phone). There are dual headphone output jacks but they both have same power. There is aux in if you want to just use its headphone amp. I tested it as a combination DAC+Amp.

The G5 is very easy to use courtesy of simple to set sliding switches:
Topping G5 Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Amp review Bluetooth battery.jpg


Topping G5 Measurements
I treated the unit as a DAC by setting the gain to medium and maximum volume. This is our usual dashboard:
Topping G5 Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Amp Measurements.png


This is excellent performance for a desktop DAC. For a portable one, it is state of the art.
Best portable dac headphone amp review.png

Best portable dac headphone amp review zoom.png


And that is at 2.1 volt output. Performance will likely improve at higher output level.

Noise performance is up there as well:
Topping G5 Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Amp DNR Measurements.png

Best portable dac headphone amp low noise review.png


This makes the G5 very suitable to drive very sensitive IEMs.

IMD distortion is excellent:
Topping G5 Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Amp IMD Measurements.png

Linearity is nailed:

Topping G5 Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Amp Linearity Measurements.png


Multitone is superb:
Topping G5 Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Amp Multitone Measurements.png


Jitter is near perfect:
Topping G5 Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Amp Jitter Measurements.png


The default filter is set to one that starts to attenuate early:
Topping G5 Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Amp Filter Measurements.png


It has great suppression but you do lose a bit of audio spectrum:
Topping G5 Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Amp Frequency Response Measurements.png


I have email into Topping to see if this is intentional or specific to my sample. Fortunately there is little audible impact as most of us don't hear that high up. Getting older has some benefits! :D

The strong filter makes great showing in THD+N vs frequency:
Topping G5 Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Amp THD vs Frequency Measurements.png


This kind of performance would make a lot of desktop DACs blush with embarrassment.

Switching to headphone amp performance (which using DAC as input), we get plenty of power for a portable product:
Topping G5 Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Amp Power 300 Measurements.png

Topping G5 Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Amp Power 32 ohm Measurements.png


Notice how it easily beats its desktop older brother, the DX3 Pro in every category: noise, distortion and output power.

Output impedance is essentially zero:
Topping G5 Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Amp Power vs impedance  Measurements.png


There is some variability in channels as volume is adjusted. But it remains below my 0.5 dB threshold until max attenuation:
Topping G5 Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Amp Power 32 ohm channel balance Measurements.png


Topping G5 Listening Tests
I started with my hard to drive, low impedance Dan Clark Stealth headphone. I was pleased that I could get pretty high volumes out of it using high gain. For loud listening, I had to go to 3:00 pm on the volume control. There was a bit more volume to be had if you turned it to max. There, I only heard distortion when the sub-bass notes arrived. Otherwise, the sound was super clean, detailed and enjoyable.

I then switched to high impedance Sennheiser HD650. The G5 drove these with ease, allowing every bit of their performance to shine through. Dynamic range was fantastic with bass notes almost causing resonances in my ear lobes at highest volume. Low level detail was superb as was overall fidelity.

With either headphone, I just wanted to sit back and just listen to my music!

Conclusions
We expect perfection from Topping and company delivers even in this constrained category of battery operated product. No excuses are made for that with a DAC that provides state of the art desktop performance. The headphone amplifier is quite powerful although desktop products do edge it out. This only impacts the least sensitive headphones though. For vast majority of headphones out there, the G5 drives them as hard as you need with any distortion being the headphone, not the amp.

The only "hitch" is the slower roll off in the DAC filter. I almost knocked the overall rating lower but once I listened to the G5, I could not go there. Performance is too good to give it any score other than top of the line. You get to disagree otherwise by voting in the poll.

The other bit is the size and weight of the unit. This is no small device to tie up to your cell phone even though Topping provides the usual rubber band and cabling to do so.

I am happy to put the Topping G5 on my recommended list.
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As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 
Last edited:

jerm_ph

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This is no small device to tie up to your cell phone even though Topping provides the usual rubber band and cabling to do so.

Users of iphones with magsafe may use this magsafe compatible sticker


If your phone dont have magsafe, you may also use SnapLink + SnapHold

 

Sokel

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-12db at 20Khz is too much I think,the time I'm watching ASR reviews I don't remember anything having so much.
It doesn't matter if we hear it (we must,the roll-off starts at 7Khz if I read it right),it's the principle,we get used to perfect 20Hz-20Khz flatness and I think this tricks the results a little.
 
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Aperiodic

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-12db at 20Khz is too much I think,the time I'm watching ASR reviews I don't remember anything having so much.
It doesn't matter if we hear it (we must,the roll-off starts at 7Khz if I read it right),it's the principle,we get used to perfect 20Hz-20Khz flatness and I think this tricks the results a little.
I gotta say, I kind of have a little trouble getting past that as well. Despite the sacred, mostly theoretical 20K shibboleth, most music and recordings have little to no content that high, and most of us couldn't hear it even if it was there. But 7 kHz?
 

LearningToSmile

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-12db at 20Khz is too much I think,the time I'm watching ASR reviews I don't remember anything having so much.
It doesn't matter if we hear it (we must,the roll-off starts at 7Khz if I read it right),it's the principle,we get used to perfect 20Hz-20Khz flatness and I think this tricks the results a little.
At 18Khz it's -0.6dB, and so it's pretty gradual. Doubt it would be noticeable.
 

restorer-john

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-12db at 20Khz is too much I think,the time I'm watching ASR reviews I don't remember anything having so much.

A rolloff like that is not remotely high fidelity. -14dB at 20kHz is a bad joke. The pioneers of digital would be rolling in their graves.

But, kill that much HF and your THD will look fabulous....

@amirm How can you give a product with such a brutally bad (and clearly faulty) HF response such high marks? It makes no sense. And that is at 44.1kHz. This is what they claim:

1660642137303.png


What's going on? It's either faulty, your tests are botched, or they are lying with their claims.
 
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ENG

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@amirm So it has a battery inside or does it pull power from the phone? If so, how much current does it consume?
YES
 
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