Topping DACs?

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by etane, May 6, 2020.

  1. Josh83

    Josh83 Friend

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    I definitely agree with this take. Yes, the RME sounds better than the Modi 3, mainly in terms of a blacker background, but it’s a small improvement relative to price. The RME’s headamp is awful and unless you need the EQ, preamp, etc. features of the RME, the Modi is the best cheap AKM choice. The Topping stuff doesn’t even rate.

    The Crane Song Solaris is the best AKM DAC I’ve heard, but that’s partly because it doesn’t really sound like a “velvet” DAC.
     
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  2. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    The new RME converters are a failed attempt for them to compete with the likes of Lynx Hilo and Lavry Black. The embrace of them on the internet just proves that

    1)these people are too inattentive to tell the difference

    Or

    2) they’re deaf

    or

    3) they’re trying to be the audio world version of an instagram influencer by trying to shill new mass produced shit that everyone in the know knows is worse than the workhorse mass produced gear. It’s like soap from Etsy made from organic cold press almond oil, elderberries, and cat poop neither cleaning as well nor smelling as pleasant as Ivory soap made from dead cows.

    4) their systems suck including the room. Even many professional studios totally suck and the big, expensive speakers sound like poop in the small control room used off hours as a bdsm rape closet. The person stuck in there just has a gimp mask instead of a pony tail. the horizontal NS10s really aren’t that bad at low volumes with some added desk reflections to fill them in. There is so much bad stuff out that I find less usable than a JBL 305, which can reveal converter differences, it just gets outpaced relatively quickly like the NS10’s crappy drivers due to how crappy the plate amps are.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2020
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  3. EagleWings

    EagleWings Friend

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    Here is an excerpt from the the D90 review on Headfonia:

    "The D90 has a more analytical sound in comparison to the Qutest. Also, the Chord’s digital filter settings are less subtle than the ones of the D90. With the Qutest you can alter the sound in a more noticeable manner. The D90 sounds dryer and more digital compared to Chord’s also neutral but more natural tuning. The Qutest gives higher levels of richness to flavor its sound. The D90 gives a sharper cut to its instruments, while the Chord does smooth over edges just a bit to make them softer."

    Now the Chord Qutest is already an analytical and digital sounding DAC. So make of that what you will.
     
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  4. Baten

    Baten Friend

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    The D90 is a supremely linear DAC that provides a reference guided signature, that is only flawed by its cold vocals, and missing emotions

    Lol.. Good DAC, only misses emotion. Recommended! Then again, based on the few articles I read there headfonia can't write reviews to save their life. I'll wait and see if one of you guys get hold of a Topping D90.
     
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  5. Pogo

    Pogo Friend

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    Agreed, reviews like this one leave me wondering about the money trail.

    But at least he did tag the Topping house sound:

    Cold vocals and missing emotions
     
  6. sfoclt

    sfoclt Friend

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    Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?
     
  7. Raimei Templar

    Raimei Templar Almost "Made"

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    That review is an example of why I always tell people to just find and replace the word neutral with the phrase "sound that I like" as its just such a meaningless term the way most people use it. If the D90 is sounding colder and the Qutest is richer,warmer then one of them is not "neutral". If the reviewer gives a reference and then refers to that as neutral its helpful but otherwise it just doesnt mean anything. This one is neutral but this one is NEUTRALER!

    I wish more reviewers were not afraid of just saying something is warm, dark, bright or cold sounding. Everything has got to be "well obviously its neutral BUT....."
     
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  8. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    I still kinda like that review (didn't read the full text though). At least the reviewer did hear and try to deliver subject impressions (relative to his reference point qutest) with his own words, unlike Mr A-blahblah-r.

    Also, for those who can read between lines (aka SBAF 101 certificate), there are good amount of information hinting red flags while the reviewer could sidestep legal/business conflicts.

    EDIT: I always regard "neutral" as "semi-meh" (neither super annoying nor impressive) -- even in the sbaf. That's always a safer way to adjust our own expectation levels.
     
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  9. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    It was useful and actually reflects a bit with how to I felt the D70 sounded.
     
  10. RedFuneral

    RedFuneral Almost "Made"

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    It should be noted that SMSL/Topping don't just have issues regarding sound quality. I'm someone who at times likes bright, dry, transient focused sound; reviews that warned about this only encouraged me to buy a SMSL M300 MKII. The sound is only half the picture

    The problem with(some? all?) of these DACs is in functionality. The USB input is crap leaking in computer noise.. on a $250 DAC! The plug is non-standard so you're stuck with a spindly Apple charger knockoff looking thing, optical*. The DAC will occasionally be in full on distortion mode when switched on where it blasts static until its reset. There are numerous undocumented settings in the menu(Which 'sound color' do you want: 1, 2, or 3? Do you want PRE MODE enabled? How about High Sound?)
    Nothing about this DAC has been intuitive and the quirks keep piling up. And who knows what to expect from any other model, this company has a line-up of DACs but don't seem to share any parts between them.


    *Found an optical cable in the box so I was wrong about not being able to test it, still you're limited to their included short flimsy cable because of a weird connector
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2020
  11. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    What you describe is the very essence of "Chi-Fi". I am not against products designed in China or made in China, but it's these annoying quirks, lack of documentation, and ease-of-use issues - that is that last 20% of machine-human interface elements that haven't been quite worked out. Well, that and the cookie-cutter design.

    LOL, I just found out about the PRE-MODE via the "hold down setup while plugging into power cord" to get the secret menu items.
     
  12. klyrish

    klyrish Almost "Made"

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    Yeah, that's a pain in the ass for sure.

    I got a Furman PST-8 yesterday and have been listening all morning. There was a subtle but noticeable improvement, mostly in the blackground. It's much, much blacker now and I thought it was pretty black before. Treble seems slightly elevated and with more attack/bite than on the unclean power.

    I continue to hear new things as I revisit my catalog for the billionth time. I'm wasting my time in this thread but oh well. You guys can keep positing on how it sounds/performans/whatever based on x, y, and z, and I'll continue enjoying the shit out of actually listening to it. :)
     
  13. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Don't worry, we all know you will be moving on to something better and have realized the errors of your ways, i.e. NOS is very niche and expensive, Topping gear isn't all that good sounding for the price, etc.
     
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  14. Senorx12562

    Senorx12562 Case of the mondays

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    Gungnir MB>NOS>Topping seems an unusual path to enlightenment.
     
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  15. YMO

    YMO it's not drinking alone if you're on Zoom

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    I wonder what does Topping means in Chinese? I guess a random Engrish name?
     
  16. Grattle

    Grattle Friend

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    My problem with ASR is that they claim to be objectivist and scientific, but are mostly concerned with the inaudible. It seems to me that an objectivist would only be concerned with the audible. They are instead hung up on stuff that measures “bigly”.

    I don’t care about how my DAC measures. I care about how it sounds.

    If you want a “Super Duper” DAC that measures very very “Bigly”, topping is your DAC.
     
  17. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I believe that Amir believes that SINAD needs to be 120db for gear to be transparent. You have to remember that he invents random stuff. No one seems to remember "Amir-bits" until @ultrabike brought up SINAD, referencing Analog Devices papers.

    Let's not even mention Amir screwing up his 1kHz linearity measurements for DACs by not applying a narrow bandpass filter. Jude with AP's help had to spank Amir for that one. To this day, Amir hasn't made the corrections or retractions of his Amir-bit measurements. Personally, I kind of feel that if we fuck up measurements, and somebody makes us aware of it, we have a responsibility to correct things.

    I'm surprised people don't call him out for stuff like this.
     
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  18. klyrish

    klyrish Almost "Made"

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    Yup. You're right. This sounds actually terrible and I've been lying this whole time for *checks notes* absolutely no benefit to me for financial gain or any other reason. Definitely no need to hear something that produces audio signals to determine how it sounds before passing judgment and making a firm decision on it. Man, I wish I'd checked here before hearing with my own ears. Could've saved me so much unexpected enjoyment over the last few weeks.

    I'll just cut my ears off now and the thread can be locked because the brand name says all you need to know. And I rescind my previous soft offer of making this available in the loaner program since it's already been established I spent $700 on pure, unrefined garbage, so what's the point?
     
  19. crenca

    crenca Friend

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    I was going to say "Settle down Beavis!", but I think "Settle down Vincent!" is more appropriate :confused::p

     
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  20. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I never said it sounded terrible. I simply said you will move on. You’re just at the beginning of your journey. I’ve been around a while and have seen it all.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2020
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