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Topping RD3 TP Balanced DAC Review

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 5 2.2%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 14 6.1%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 89 39.0%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 120 52.6%

  • Total voters
    228

restorer-john

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100% here. It's clear that this is meant for personal use. But again, what kind of niche market in personal use are they aiming for with these TP brand? Identity crisis.

TP = Topping Professional but it's not professional except on the interface where it says Topping Professional...
 

CleanSound

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TP = Topping Professional but it's not professional except on the interface where it says Topping Professional...
Agree. Their RA3 is 50wpc into 8 ohms, before the knee, sorry that is not enough power for any professional setting, such as an auditorium. And I am doubtful that this would attract small businesses, unless the business owner is an audiophile.

And while we don't know the reliability of this TP line, that is super important for professional grade as it needs to take a beating. If you look at all the complaints on their LA90, I don't have too much confidence of their reliability for professional settings.

Finally, no one gives 2 pennies for SINAD in the professional setting. (Assuming reasonable SINAD, like crown amps).

The engineering is great for this TP line, so is the price, but the intended market is a bust from what I see.
 
Last edited:

ocinn

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rich enough where I don't need this insane cost : performance ratio
Yeah, but the thing that is leaving me scratching my head, is that the cost-to-performance ratio is downright horrible lol. I guess Topping just didn't even glance at their competition before marketing this line as high value, because it's literally anything but that.

This thing is $229 and can't even beat the $79 SU1. It gets absolutely destroyed by the $100 cheaper SMSL M300se, which is tiny, has 4v XLR, is USB powered, has a nice screen, and a great headphone amp.

The amp is a *bit* less absurd, but the PA5 II exists now at the same price point, and beyond that, I'd gladly take the worse (SINAD) performing Fosi V3 (or even better DIY the -104DB, 230w 3e module) that at least has a 21st-century acceptable power level. The headroom advantages would dwarf the SINAD hit, etc...
 

jmillar

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This may be a good product for sure, but it doesn't know what it is. It's not professional (according to Topping), but it's just as ugly as real pro gear. It is cheap, and that's good, as it performs better than cheap pro gear, but 'high end' it is most definitely not.
If we are discussing the form factor (that many people like) it means that performance is a done deal. :)
 

Rahan

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It's gonna be my next buy. It's perfect to feed a crown amplifier with decent level. (XLR ouputs)
It's a pro level sounding product (transparent) in a pro format. It would make sense to have more inputs as many said.
For me it's juste perfect the way (and the price) it is.
 

TonyJZX

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welll its quite clear that Topping really dont give a shit how these things sell in the west

the only metric that matters is how it sells on the mainland

i also think people arent cross shopping $70 dacs with this

Amir does seem to be impressed with the 'intangibles' we cant see... ie. the build, display, menus and that 'pride of ownership' thing

and people here love to dismiss that (ie. get an SU-1 instead)
 

restorer-john

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welll its quite clear that Topping really dont give a shit how these things sell in the west

the only metric that matters is how it sells on the mainland

Keep an eye on the Topping store 'sold' numbers on Aliexpress...

Not exactly setting the world on fire sales wise.
tp sales.JPG
 

CleanSound

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welll its quite clear that Topping really dont give a shit how these things sell in the west
I think they care, just that they don't understand the market in the west, probably cultural barrier. . .or just too stubborn to want to understand.

Keep an eye on the Topping store 'sold' numbers on Aliexpress...

Not exactly setting the world on fire sales wise.
View attachment 306405
Well. . . surprise surprise, who would of guess.

Topping if you are reading this: your TP line doesn't fit our market demand/needs/use cases.
 

Bleib

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Well, it's a mistake to only sell through aliexpress... quite baffling really
 

TonyJZX

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i wonder what metric Jack Ma is using anyway...

they are saying they sold 41 units of m300 and only one unit of the new DL200

now the SU-1 is not sold thru the smsl official store but its sold by everyone else and that's going absolute gangbusters with one store selling 500+ and another 200+

so SMSL are making huge dollars on something they didnt want to sell in the first place

perhaps Topping will shelve this and these will become collectors items, like Oppo Sonicas
 

CleanSound

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Well, it's a mistake to only sell through aliexpress... quite baffling really
They want to sell direct to maintain a certain level of margin. And it's probably too costly to create their own e-commerce platform/capabilities. Amazon probably charges too much fee.
 

Veri

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Keep an eye on the Topping store 'sold' numbers on Aliexpress...

Not exactly setting the world on fire sales wise.
View attachment 306405
Well to be fair these products are only recently launched and not exactly marketed well so far.
In the Chinese market/taobao they will have sold numbers higher than that. But I do wonder, how much they'll be selling these :)
 

MCH

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Amazon probably charges too much fee.
If they claim that (and I guess they did not), I am not buying this excuse.

Selling direct only is their decision and is perfectly fine.
Selling direct only through their AliExpress shop obliging you to import at your risk and effectively giving up your customer rights, hmmmm, no, I wasn't born yesterday.
 

MacCali

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The folks you quoted as being authoritative are simply giving personal opinions, not actual data from published science. No disrespect to either of them, but we are so quick to take as gospel, opinions from personnel with big audio media footprints, as fact or science. Again, no disrespect to either of these two folks as I have benefited from their work product, like so many have.

Think of this. The largest distortion generators in our home theater are the HT room and your loudspeakers by factors of 5x or more. For example, take a top-notch subwoofer outside and measure its distortion levels within decent dB levels (say under 100dB) between 20Hz - 200Hz. SOTA subwoofers will have THD levels under 1% .... outside at a 2 meters distance. Now, take the same subwoofer and place it in the best or optimal location in your room, the same 2m distance and again measure the same distortion at similar dB levels. The in-room distortion will be 5% to 15% (especially at resonance). What changed? The room of course... yet we don't much fret about our distortion-generating rooms. Why? :oops:

Similar case with standard loudspeakers. They measure better outside, where reflections don't exist, than they would inside the room, with distortion levels of 10% at higher dB levels...yet we fret much about an audio device having a SINAD of less than -100dB or whatever these non-experts claim is inaudible. A -100dB SINAD signal going through a 5% -10% SINAD (-26dB to -20dB !) speaker/woofer will produce a combined signal with SINAD levels between -26dB to -20 dB!!! No wonder, audio reviewers have always said that the best change you can make to your audio theater is by changing your loudspeakers...assuming getting a new bigger room, hence a bigger house is not an option.

Humans are used to listening to 'distorted sounds' and they sound really good. Go to a top-notch concert hall and listen to your favorite musical piece. At the orchestra level, the distortion is 0%, since that's the reference point. By the time sound reaches your ears, after bouncing off multiple side walls, floors, and ceilings. the distortion levels will be much much higher than at the orchestral level... and yet we listen and enjoy the music without any concern about distortion levels:).

Human ears are very tolerant of distortion and are not precision audio test gear like the commonly used AP systems. That's why it's hard to tell the difference between a well-recorded but compressed 320 kbps - 512 kbps audio stream from an uncompressed one...even when using top-notch audio gear. Many 'golden ears' have tried so, with results equal to guessing.

By all means, I'd buy a device with top specs, not because I know it will sound better, but because it was well-engineered and will probably last me a long long while.
I’ve made a few of the points you bring up multiple times. But again these things have nothing to do with big audio. I’m certain you realize it’s only been a number of years where true objective performance has become prominent. Especially with the emergence of ChiFi and their method of advertising.

Even if you consider audio from 2013 or later a lot of these things did not matter, but simply were just to better understand our hearing ability. This is outside the home audio realm and done for research.

I’m not certain when measurements became a thing, but we can even see vintage audio with specs in hand books. It may have just been a marketing thing or required by law like power specs of amplifiers. But we can clearly see there’s ways around this and no one has to be technically honest.

As I’ve stated numerous times, probably going on 20+ times and coming from a person who fully understands and is committed to objectivity. I tell people that for amplification alone, based on experience, a unit that has -40 db sinad and also distortion in the teens even below 5 watts. To sum it up an objectivists nightmare, doesn’t sound as bad as you think. I personally would of thought it would not be something one could not listen to.

Absolutely was not the case, and my reference system was nearly flawless. I also still own and listen to that amp. Just to make it clear I have perspective.
 

CleanSound

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If they claim that (and I guess they did not), I am not buying this excuse.

Selling direct only is their decision and is perfectly fine.
Selling direct only through their AliExpress shop obliging you to import at your risk and effectively giving up your customer rights, hmmmm, no, I wasn't born yesterday.
I agree, I would have a hard time buying from AliExpress for all the reasons you mentioned if I was a first time buyer. But, I have made numerous purchases from AliExpress and they all worked out fine, except the long shipping time during the supply chain crunch.

Besides, it not like you are buying a $800 D90SE, so the monetary risk is not as bad.

Either way, i won't be betting my money on this TP line. I be surprised if they can last for more than 2 years, UNLESS, their domestic market sales is great, which can easily be the case as I believe this was designed for their domestic market, just like their entire line of products so far.
 

CleanSound

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If we are discussing the form factor (that many people like) it means that performance is a done deal. :)
jmillar, I think from 5-7 years ago to the end of eternity (unless we humans evolved to have hearing abilities of bats), there is no more audible improvements left with DACs, preamps, and one could argue amps as well.

At a "measly" 100 SINAD, I reckon it's already beyond audible range.

So now, we have the luxury to talk about aesthetics and form factors.

Great time to be in HiFi.
 

Sokel

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Lets not forget that we're talking about beer money cost here (considering the performance while it lasts),probably every decision made on form,etc has been made with that in mind.Let's also not forget that size is thing when it comes to postage cost.
Everyone likes beautiful devices (Eversolo is an example,it's no luck that is so much talked about,performance aside)

The strange thing is the decision to be sold only from places where costumer service,warranty,ease of return,etc is not exactly trivial.
If someone has to pay a third of the cost to be repaired just for postage for example it's a no-go.
That is a major drawback.
 
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