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Topping needs an urgent clean up and restructuration of their product line

Merkurio

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With the recent announce of the DX5, which I like pretty much design-wise (except for the comic sans-esque typography of model names), I think many of us have raised our eyebrows about the launching of products with a similar feature set in such a short period of time, name the DX3 Pro+, EX5, MX5 and now the DX5...

Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge Topping fan and their engineering skills are beyond any question, but it would be a shame if such potential were diminished by a poor business strategy. In that sense, I think that knowing how to position your products is key to gaining the trust of your potential buyers and keeping loyal ones as well.

It doesn't make any sense to launch almost the same product with minor changes within the same year at similar price tags, instead, they clearly need to divide their releases into family products and be consistent with their exterior design and feature set.

For example, my take on their DAC/AMP family (the most attractive one here) should consist on:

-DX3 as the entry level option (not pro, not plus, just DX3) with the same design language as the DX5.
-DX5 as the mid level one, just as it is right now.
-DX7 as the high level combo, again, same language design as the others (for consistency's sake), better suited for demanding headphones with true balanced design, more front I/O outputs and/or with a power amplifier, like the MX5.
-Optional DX9 as the price-no-object concept, with the better hardware available and experimental features from Topping that will eventually come to future versions of the above products.

I think "S", "Pro", "Plus", "Mega", "Ultra" leads to confusion and it's better to stick with model years (DX7 2022, DX5 2024) or just DX3 Mark X, DX5 Mark Y, etc.

Then they should continue the same scheme with other product lines, for example:

-A3, A5, A7 or A9 for their standalone headphone amps
-D3, D5, D7... for their DACs
-P3, P5, P7 for power amps (or S3, S5, S7 for "Speakers", I don't know).
-NX line for portable solutions (NX3, NX5, etc).

Again, all of this are just plain and simple ideas for a great scale brand growing, but you get the point.

Topping has increasingly shown maturity as a brand (first with astonishing performance, now with increasingly compelling designs and features) and I think this is a crucial point to establish themselves as one of the audio best brands not only in China and ASR, but in the whole audio world.
 
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acbarn

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With the recent announce of the DX5, which I like pretty much design-wise (except for the comic sans-esque typography of model names), I think many of us have raised our eyebrows about the launching of products with a similar feature set in such a short period of time, name the DX3 Pro+, EX5, MX5 and now the DX5...

Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge Topping fan and their engineering skills are beyond any question, but it would be a shame if such potential were diminished by a poor business strategy. In that sense, I think that knowing how to position your products is key to gaining the trust of your potential buyers and keeping loyal ones as well.

It doesn't make any sense to launch almost the same product with minor changes within the same year and similar price tags, instead, they clearly need to divide their releases into family products and be consistent with their exterior design and feature set.

For example, my take on their DAC/AMP family (the most attractive one here) should consist on:

-DX3 as the entry level option (not pro, not plus, just DX3) with the same design language as the DX5.
-DX5 as the mid level one, just as it is right now.
-DX7 as the high level combo, again, same language design as the others (for consistency's sake), better suited for demanding headphones with true balanced design, more front I/O outputs and/or with a power amplifier, like the MX5.
-Optional DX9 as the price-no-object concept, with the better hardware available and experimental features from Topping that will eventually come to future versions of the above products.

I think "S", "Pro", "Plus", "Mega", "Ultra" leads to confusion and it's better to stick with model years (DX7 2022, DX5 2024) or just DX3 Mark X, DX5 Mark Y, etc.

Then they should continue the same scheme with other product lines, for example:

-A3, A5, A7 or A9 for their standalone headphone amps
-D3, D5, D7... for their DACs
-P3, P5, P7 for power amps (or S3, S5, S7 for "Speakers", I don't know).
-NX line for portable solutions (NX3, NX5, etc).

Again, all of this are just plain and simple ideas for a great scale brand growing, but you get the point.

Topping has increasingly shown maturity as a brand (first with astonishing performance, now with increasingly compelling designs and features) and I think this is a crucial point to establish themselves as one of the audio best brands not only in China and ASR, but in the whole audio world.
I agree. I find their nomenclature and inconsistent branding confusing.
 

restorer-john

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Topping has increasingly shown maturity as a brand (first with astonishing performance, now with increasingly compelling designs and features) and I think this is a crucial point to establish themselves as one of the audio best brands not only in China and ASR, but in the whole audio world.

Oh come on. You cannot be serious.
 

Xulonn

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I’m sure Topping are scouring Internet forums for business advice and will be in touch soon.
Some Americans and Europeans become frustrated when Asian/Chinese cultural differences don't match Western consumer expectations.

As an example that is very familiar to me, the Chinese could easily hire bilingual translators ia the internet for a few dollars to edit English vacuum tube amplifier descriptions and advert copy. It would be very cheap to eliminate silly and error-ridden translations like "gall bladder", "bile", "welding" and "scaffolding" - but they don't bother.

And that didn't stop me from ordering my bile gallbladder EL34 amplifier with its handmade scaffolding. In fact, since I gave up my own gallbladder over 20 years ago, it was nice to get a new one for free with my new vacuum tube amplifier! :facepalm: o_O

Edit: Google gallbladder amplifier and you will get hits like this following each other:
バーミンガム・エクスプレスのHU ZHANG Sensor kit Gallbladder Amplifier Module Kit DIY LM1875 Vacuum Tube Gallstone Amplifier Kit 並行輸入 ...

Cyclic AMP inhibits Cl-/HCO3- exchange at the apical ...


by L Reuss · 1987 · Cited by 47 — Cyclic AMP inhibits Cl-/HCO3- exchange at the apical membrane of Necturus gallbladder epithelium. L Reuss. L Reuss.
 
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OP
Merkurio

Merkurio

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I’m sure Topping are scouring Internet forums for business advice and will be in touch soon.

Let me introduce you the concept of customer feedback, you know, the one who manufacturers use to gather suggestions and improve as a whole. :rolleyes:

At the end of the day they take it or leave it, but they're aware of the opinions in the internet forums, don't have the slightest doubt.

Oh come on. You cannot be serious.

Elaborate this.
 
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Katji

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As an example that is very familiar to me, the Chinese could easily hire bilingual translators ia the internet for a few dollars to edit English vacuum tube amplifier descriptions and advert copy. It would be very cheap to eliminate silly and error-ridden translations like "gall bladder", "bile", "welding" and "scaffolding" - but they don't bother.
Yes, i sometimes wonder.
I got "fever" yesterday, from an SMSL amplifier page.
Yes, Google Translate does it better.
 

ta240

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It doesn't make any sense to launch almost the same product with minor changes within the same year at similar price tags, instead, they clearly need to divide their releases into family products and be consistent with their exterior design and feature set.
I wonder how many people with the old one, buy the new one when the youtuber raves about it.
 

Katji

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I wonder how many people with the old one, buy the new one when the youtuber raves about it.
Retail planning BI does that sort of analysis, but big corporate companies, not small companies like Topping.
 

_theLaughingman

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I think Topping has become short-sighted to gain profits, instead of establishing their product into a niche brand. Pushing so many products out in a short amount of time with similar functionality is showing lack of creative thinking and inability to push the envelope on functionality. Let's be honest, SINAD wars aren't what most of us look for in a new product, more, so it's the functionality and holes it can fill in the current setup we have. Topping could do more to build their brand with diversified products with simpler nomenclature.
 

Walter

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Yes, the Topping lineup can be a bit confusing when taken as a whole, but I think the individual components made sense for the most part when they were introduced. It is not something that bothers me in the least.

I think that by far the best thing they could do is work on their testing process and quality control. It seems to still be subpar based on the reports I've read, especially for recently introduced products. That might be acceptable for budget products, and they are certainly no worse than brands like SMSL or Aiyima, and probably a bit better. However, for products in the $200 and up range, I think they need to improve.
 

MarcosCh

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I don't know guys, I know nothing about marketing but I don't think these guys are dumb. Maybe they have a business model that just doesn't fit with what folks here wish. If you pay attention their prices have increased in parallel to their decreasing sinad, maybe that's their objective, to build a brand name and charge more for it, and that would be fair.
I guess the only thing we can do is that they hear crystal clear what the community here thinks, and if they prefer to follow their way and people here prefer to buy a minidsp flex or whatever comes next, let it be.
And maybe one day they come back with an okto dac with multiple channels and dsp and Dirac and everything, and maybe someone else takes the chance and does it first. There might be strong reasons topping does not want to do that right now, and we just don't know them.
 

phoenixdogfan

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So many products that are better than everyone else's at segments leading lowest prices. So confusing. :facepalm: Clearly they need to clean that up. :p
 

Prana Ferox

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I think "S", "Pro", "Plus", "Mega", "Ultra" leads to confusion and it's better to stick with model years (DX7 2022, DX5 2024) or just DX3 Mark X, DX5 Mark Y, etc.

The '+' stuff is optimized for (Google, Amazon etc) search engines, which I'm sure drive the majority of their sales. Model years get all glopped together. You can have a searchable full model / SKU number but then your product has two names, and even then Amazon frequently mixes them together.
 

cheapmessiah

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This is a common Shenzhen market strategy, prototyping and developing products is much more easier and faster in places like Shenzhen than it is in Europe or America, so flooding the market with a variety of similar or closely related products to see what sticks and what price brackets are more profitable is much easier than doing thorough market analysis to develop a product that fits in a niche that might not even exist.
 

JayGilb

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I wonder how many people with the old one, buy the new one when the youtuber raves about it.
Bingo. Most of their products are less than $300 and people are willing to buy the next generation of devices and either sell their older units
or re-purpose them in another room.
I'm guessing their strategy works quite well for them and with minor changes between generations of products keeps R&D costs down.
 

Wunderphones

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I guess you could look at it as a negative, but all the redundancy in the lineup makes it really easy to pick a price range, find a device with the appropriate I/O options, and be done with your search. There's nobody else making cleaner-sounding gear, so you don't really need to know model numbers, just the brand name and whether it's got jacks for your cables.
 
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