Topping and SMSL with ASR Punking Us on DACs?

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by purr1n, Oct 23, 2022.

  1. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    May 28, 2017
    Likes Received:
    6,278
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Vancouver BC
    Especially when the "better engineered" products have qc issues right from the factory, or break or catch fire a few months down the line.
     
    • Like Like x 7
    • Epic Epic x 1
    • List
  2. bboris77

    bboris77 Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2015
    Likes Received:
    745
    Trophy Points:
    93
    That is right...to be fair, many of the ASR members have also pointed out this inconsistency - if you are going to be judging products on how well engineered they are, you should not only do it on one single metric - SINAD. It is fairly obvious that for some of the products, reliability may have been sacrificed to attain the highest SINAD. At best, reliability may have not been the highest on the list of the priorities for the design team.
     
  3. Johnston98

    Johnston98 Facebook Friend

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2019
    Likes Received:
    105
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Location:
    Michigan
    The underlying belief is high SINAD reproduction of the 1 kHz tone at 0 dbfs combined with the multi tone test, crossstalk, frequency response, and imd means the DAC/amp is audibly transparent. Period.

    To them, DACs and Amps have no “sound” therefore your (very interesting and good point) would be derided as failure to recognize the longstanding science of audio reproduction. I’ve seen it many times.
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Agreed, ditto, +1 Agreed, ditto, +1 x 1
    • List
  4. JeremiahS

    JeremiahS Facebook Friend

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Likes Received:
    167
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Jakarta, Singapore
    I think it also has something to do with how serious these ChiFi brands do their business outside China.

    For example Schiit is popular in this forum which is mostly USA-centric but in country where I live their prices are about 30 - 40% more expensive and local after sales service is pretty much not existent. If things went wrong you have to send it to US for repair and it's an extremely time consuming and expensive process. Brands like Topping, SMSL, Cayin, FiiO etc. have set up local partners for after sales repair and they provide know how and spare parts to repair their products.

    Factoring cost and after sales service now you can see why these ChiFi are attractive outside the US and it's not like they're trash or something, some of them sound really good for the price. Most of their DAPs for example are really excellent.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agreed, ditto, +1 Agreed, ditto, +1 x 2
    • List
  5. bboris77

    bboris77 Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2015
    Likes Received:
    745
    Trophy Points:
    93
    I honestly do not mind Topping as a company as long as they don't keep inflating their prices. I have owned a few of their DACs - 2 D30s, D50, D50s and D70. One of the D30s failed within a few hours. All the other products were absolutely ok in terms of QC. I got the D70 because it was one of the few DACs at the time that had switchable filters. Anyway, once I realized that I could not reliably tell which DAC I was listening to, I sold all of my DACs (Schiit, Topping) and got a Motu M2 which I now use for recording music, as a DAC and as a headphone amplifier for everything except planar headphones. For those I kept my JDS Labs EL AMP II and Schiit Magni 3+.
     
  6. Qildail

    Qildail Friend

    Friend Contributor
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2021
    Likes Received:
    1,487
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Iowa
    Not to steer off too far from the intended target here, but I wanted to put a highlight on this. Some of my favorite moments in this hobby are evenings when my wife, or one of the kids and/or their companions, will ask for me to play some particular piece of music on the main desk. That inevitably leads to hours of switching in/out gear (Our Lady of Freya, we thank you for your gifts...), listening to how "this thing" interacts with "these other things", and "oh, why don't we listen to this", and generally... having fun.

    At the risk of going full pragmatist, the best gear is that you enjoy listening to the most. If we're not bringing people to all this by allowing them the space to enjoy music in their own way(s), we aren't doing ourselves or our hobby any favors.

    /slides soapbox back across the floor/
     
    • Like Like x 13
    • Epic Epic x 1
    • List
  7. SSL

    SSL Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,231
    Trophy Points:
    93
    This to me is the greatest fallacy of ASR. You cannot look only at the output of a system and declare "good engineering", without actually examining the engineering itself. It's like concluding a bridge is well-engineered because it's standing.
     
    • Like Like x 5
    • Agreed, ditto, +1 Agreed, ditto, +1 x 1
    • List
  8. wbass

    wbass Almost "Made"

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2019
    Likes Received:
    683
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Yeah, I found, in this recent move from Chicago to London--not exactly a desert of hi-fi stuff--that Schitt stuff starts to get kinda pricey to import, and iFi and various Chi-Fi options are easier budget options to come by.
     
  9. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2016
    Likes Received:
    10,565
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    And when it falls you just say "well I'll drive 50 miles out of my way to take the next bridge, which is equally well engineered!"
     
  10. Yethal

    Yethal Facebook Friend

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2018
    Likes Received:
    190
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Poland
    Okay that explains it but then again, ultimate purpose of all consumer audio gear is to be used as a source of joy and/or pleasure therefore it's that joy/pleasure that should be measured and/or quantified. If the better measurements do not correlate with user's enjoyment then the device is a failure considering the reason it was built in the first place was to provide said enjoyment.
    Shit now I tempted to set up an account there and ask them whether they actually enjoy listening to music.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Epic Epic x 1
    • List
  11. Johnston98

    Johnston98 Facebook Friend

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2019
    Likes Received:
    105
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Location:
    Michigan

    So, there are actually some knowledgeable people there. Industry “leaders” such as Bruno Putzeys, Ralph Karsten (atmasphere), John Atkinson, and Sean Olive (like him or hate him) posted/post there to try to promote some reasonable and constructive discussion. It’s the Amir sycophants that create the background noise.

    You can go there and say you prefer amps made of lightbulbs and cardboard over any topping product. They’ll be fine with it. If you say that your amp is superior, they’ll go full sound science beserker on you.

    I’d be curious the result if you posted a poll of what audio hardware makes you happy.
     
  12. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    82,449
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Padre Island CC TX
    has nothing to do with this the topic of this thread. This thread is not a buy Schiit thread. There is plenty of high-value gear available in the EU / Asia, including from Topping, SMSL, Fiio, etc.
    Although to be honest, I'd much rather go iFi or off the beaten path like Lite.

    For the record, I prefer the sound of the Topping L30 over the Schiit Magnius when it comes to high SINAD TPA6120 implementations. However, I worry about ampli-fires and exploding headphones with the L30.
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Agreed, ditto, +1 Agreed, ditto, +1 x 2
    • List
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2022
  13. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

    Friend BWC MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    16,780
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    On planet
    It is NOT science when one's metrics for excellence are so independent of sound quality and the goalposts change to the whim of that which attracts greatest attention.
     
    • Like Like x 12
    • Epic Epic x 8
    • Agreed, ditto, +1 Agreed, ditto, +1 x 2
    • List
  14. Ksaurav402

    Ksaurav402 Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    May 7, 2019
    Likes Received:
    1,475
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    NY
    When we have products like Ifi Go Bar gold, Diablo, Zen etc available I really don’t see the need to get SMSL and Topping products. Ifi products are readily available across globe and provide better musical experience.
    Most of the SMSL and Topping DAC sound same to me. Thin, bright and flat.
    If any budding audiophile comes to me I nudge them to Ifi or Shanling DAP to start if Schiit products are not available.
     
    • Agreed, ditto, +1 Agreed, ditto, +1 x 3
    • Like Like x 2
    • List
  15. dericchan1

    dericchan1 Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2021
    Likes Received:
    65
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Canada
    exploding headphones are not as bad as blowing up your ear drums!!! I always keep my self-discipline in tact and say no to all topping and smsl
     
  16. Grattle

    Grattle Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2017
    Likes Received:
    489
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    USA
    Those ASR dudes probably need to smoke a doobie and enjoy something that sings to their souls. Isn’t that what its all about?
     
    • Agreed, ditto, +1 Agreed, ditto, +1 x 1
    • List
  17. Anonelbe

    Anonelbe Rando

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2018
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Seattle
    Eh, but what's the point of spending $800 on a Topping D90SE when the $9 Apple dongle is audibly transparent?

    How could anyone that considers themselves an enthusiast believe that? Why bother to even participate on an audio forum if you think your $9 cable "solves" DACs and amps?

    The narratives that get perpetuated on ASR are simultaneously frightening and laughable. Their typical mantras contradict each other - we don't need anything better than the Apple dongle, but hey, this Topping DAC is state of the art so it's worth $800.

    As has been mentioned, ASR is nothing but a revenue source for Amir. He can take his "Chief Fun Officer" tag and shove it up his ass.

    What I don't understand, is why there are some competent regulars there that just play along and don't call Amir out, like solderdude. I'm not sure what's going on there but his complicity with the idiocy doesn't make sense to me.
     
    • Agreed, ditto, +1 Agreed, ditto, +1 x 4
    • Respectively Disagree Respectively Disagree x 1
    • List
  18. GuySmiley'sMonkey

    GuySmiley'sMonkey Almost "Made"

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2022
    Likes Received:
    484
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Northern NSW, Australia
    If you're at a party and come in kicking over furniture and yelling at the host, you're soon going to be shown the door. Doesn't matter whether it's ASR, SBAF or Paperclip Fanciers Anonymous. Being passive is different to being complicit or submissive.

    More music, less hate
    More creation, less reaction
    Signify

     
    • Agreed, ditto, +1 Agreed, ditto, +1 x 1
    • List
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2022
  19. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    11,641
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    India
    That's bias, not subjectiv"ism"

    Truly, such people don't even get as far as subjective. They've made up their minds before they even turn the thing on.
     
    • Agreed, ditto, +1 Agreed, ditto, +1 x 2
    • Like Like x 1
    • List
  20. Johnston98

    Johnston98 Facebook Friend

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2019
    Likes Received:
    105
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Location:
    Michigan
    if you filter out Amir and the background noise sheeple, you’ll find some interesting nugget threads/responses by people such as solderdude. More members are measuring devices with decidedly less bias/venom as Amir.

    Apparently Atmasphere designed a class D amp and there’s quite the discussion. One of the owners is active and participating. He’s handling the “but I can get class D amp for $20 off Amazon that measures same” crowd.

    I sense the smart members would rather put up with “my Qudelix 5k stomps your $20k setup” stupidity rather than “I just put in an audiophile fuse and my mind is blown” crowd.

    I’m just fascinated/ by how different things measure. My ears are my guideline, but my academic side is curious as to why I gravitate to my preferences. I much prefer @atomicbob and @purr1n appeoach.
     

Share This Page