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What to upgrade? To DX9 maybe?

HD800Fan

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Jan 8, 2024
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Hi everybody,

So my current desktop setup is a Sennheiser HD800, NwAvGuy O2/ODAC and a pair of Yamaha HS8 on Primacoustic RX pads.

I might be a bit delusional but I believe the HD800 to be the best headphone in the world when EQ'ed, better than the HD800S which has that second harmonic distortion to increase the perception of more bass. I use SoundID Reference for EQ and their flat HD800 profile should be almost identical to the Harman target. I am perfectly happy with this, but if anyone has some headphone suggestions I'd be happy to hear (might have to change my username after).

I am happy with my Yamaha speakers, was thinking of getting some Genelec at some point but I haven't put much thought into it.

Then there's my O2/ODAC combo unit. I found the receipt for it yesterday and it has been my daily driver for 9 years now. It was my first piece of audiophile equipment (meaning not from a gaming brand) and I really liked the NwAvGuy story. He kinda kickstarted the whole audio objectivist movement and it was a few years later Topping released their A30/D30.
This is what I am most thinking of upgrading. I want to have something better measuring, something with a better knob because right now I just use the volume control in Windows, something where I can control my headphones and speaker separate because right now I have to turn my speakers off every time I want to use my headphones.
While I could probably get everything I need and optimal sound out of a Topping DX3 Pro I have been looking at the new Topping DX9 and I just find it so pretty.
Some people have been recommending the RME ADI-2 over the DX9 because of the parametric EQ and stuff? But, I already use SoundID for EQ on both my PC and my phone, and the DX9 has Bluetooth in case I want to use that. In general the DX9 has a lot more connectivity.

But here are my doubts about the DX9 which is probably why I am making this post:
- Topping never sent a DX9 to Amir for review? This is a bit weird since it's a flagship product but it might be because it's limited. Maybe because it doesn't blow everything out of the water in measurements. To my eye the DX9 pretty much looks like a D90 and A90 Discrete (but with separate single ended and balance circuits for some reason) in one unit, so the DX9 might not measure much better than that combo, maybe even slightly worse. There are measurements at the bottom of the Topping site and I believe Topping so far has been reliable in the measurements they publish but I don't know how to read or compare them. The A70 Pro and the D70 Pro is probably the best measuring combo Topping currently has and it has the same MSRP as the DX9 but the differences are probably sonically inextinguishable.
- Is there really a reliability problem with Topping? I live in the EU so two years of warranty is standard and I suppose if I use the DX9 daily for that amount of time that any potential issue it could have would arise before warranty runs out. So if it survives two years of daily use then I could hope that it would survive for at least a decade like my O2/ODAC?
- I learned there was a 15% discount on the DX9 during Black Week last year and I do regret not being able to purchase it for that price. I am gonna wait till I see a discount of at least that amount in the EU. I just don't know of how to become aware of a good discount? Do I just check every link in Google every once in a while or how do I do it? I'll wait till Black Week again this year if I have to, I assume all the units won't have sold out by then.
- As with the A70 discrete the DX9 employs some variable resistors. Is that really bad long term or for transport?

Sorry for my wall of text, hope some of you will read it. Thanks.
 
Hi, no replies? How strange. I can say that I have a DX9 for one month now and it's a lovely piece of gear, very nice to look at and listen to. I have Dan Clark Aeon2 closed and a set of highly modified Grado (they sounds as RS2 but weight 300gr! only!). I also had the chance to try a pair of Sennheiser 800S that belong to my neighbourhood and all of those cans sound great, each with its own personality. My friend said that he doesn't hear much difference between DX9 and the handmade tailored tube amp that he's currently using with his 800S (amp only and it is more expensive than DX9). Before that he had a Topping A90, in his opinion DX9 sounds much better but of course there is also the DAC part to consider.
I use the DX9 as pre for my PA5ii and it pushes the amp very well, I have plenty of power in my small listening room and very clear and detailed sound (KEF LS50 meta).
In my opinion the pricing of the DX9 is reasonable, in a world where people sells cable for thousands of bucks you get substantial quality and lot of flexibility.
 
Hi, no replies? How strange. I can say that I have a DX9 for one month now and it's a lovely piece of gear, very nice to look at and listen to. I have Dan Clark Aeon2 closed and a set of highly modified Grado (they sounds as RS2 but weight 300gr! only!). I also had the chance to try a pair of Sennheiser 800S that belong to my neighbourhood and all of those cans sound great, each with its own personality. My friend said that he doesn't hear much difference between DX9 and the handmade tailored tube amp that he's currently using with his 800S (amp only and it is more expensive than DX9). Before that he had a Topping A90, in his opinion DX9 sounds much better but of course there is also the DAC part to consider.
I use the DX9 as pre for my PA5ii and it pushes the amp very well, I have plenty of power in my small listening room and very clear and detailed sound (KEF LS50 meta).
In my opinion the pricing of the DX9 is reasonable, in a world where people sells cable for thousands of bucks you get substantial quality and lot of flexibility.
Hi Joe, thanks for the reply.
I actually already bought the DX9 now, very happy with it.

Even though it's not going to make one difference sonically I'm now looking for a balanced cable for my HD800. They cost an arm and a leg though so I am waiting for a good deal to pop up on the used market.

Is your DX9 black as well? Do you know how well the black connector of the HD800S matches the colour of a black DX9?
 
Hi Joe, thanks for the reply.
I actually already bought the DX9 now, very happy with it.

Even though it's not going to make one difference sonically I'm now looking for a balanced cable for my HD800. They cost an arm and a leg though so I am waiting for a good deal to pop up on the used market.

Is your DX9 black as well? Do you know how well the black connector of the HD800S matches the colour of a black DX9?
If you sign up for the Hart Cables mailing list, they send me an email just when they have a 15 percent off sale. I got the 800s cables there, and then stacked it with a cash back card that doubled the warranty and it was pretty reasonable.
 
Hi Joe, thanks for the reply.
I actually already bought the DX9 now, very happy with it.

Even though it's not going to make one difference sonically I'm now looking for a balanced cable for my HD800. They cost an arm and a leg though so I am waiting for a good deal to pop up on the used market.

Is your DX9 black as well? Do you know how well the black connector of the HD800S matches the colour of a black DX9?
Hi, I don't think the balanced cable will make any audible difference as is my understanding that the DX9 have the same output power in every plug. Mine is black but I don't remember about the shade of black, sorry. But I prefer black products because when you buy them from different producers they are quite similar while the silver ones are often of different shades.
 
If you sign up for the Hart Cables mailing list, they send me an email just when they have a 15 percent off sale. I got the 800s cables there, and then stacked it with a cash back card that doubled the warranty and it was pretty reasonable.
Thanks but I am in Europe though so I'll try to find something here. An OEM cable first.

Hi, I don't think the balanced cable will make any audible difference as is my understanding that the DX9 have the same output power in every plug. Mine is black but I don't remember about the shade of black, sorry. But I prefer black products because when you buy them from different producers they are quite similar while the silver ones are often of different shades.
For sure won't be able to hear a difference but the spec sheet says output power of the balanced is 3-4 times the single ended. Noise, THD, crosstalk also better on balanced for some reason.
 
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