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Topping D90 great but question future

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Sorry could you elaborate a little bit on this: "DSD bypasses much of the new AKM chip in the Topping"?

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12 hours ago, all300b said:

I purchased a Topping D90 to compare with my now aged Eximus DP-1.  Had to use the discrete attenuator on the Eximus to level match between the two - I tried to obtain identical SPLs at the listening chair with white noise. Not sure if this is a scientifically correct approach, but the Eximus output is 3V single ended and the Topping 2V.  

 

A small surprise was that I liked the Topping better than my previously 5X more expensive DAC - it's easier to hear small details, high frequencies are more present, and the presentation has a greater sense of spaciousness.  This is going into a tubed integrated amp.  But a bigger surprise was how nice upsampling to DSD in Roon could be for many, though not all, PCM recordings.

 

As I understand it, DSD bypasses much of the new AKM chip in the Topping, which is a key selling point of this DAC.  This throws a wrench into a search for next DAC upgrades. For example, highly regarded DACs such as Holo and Denafrips look awesome, but if DSD software upsampling ends up the winner- and I have not even TRIED HQ player yet - then would be wasting money on a beautiful set of discrete resistor networks that would never be used.

 

Any thoughts on this?  Thanks!

 

Bryan

 

 

Is it really wasting your money if you like the way they handle DSD too? There are always features in things we don't need and would prefer to not pay for. Alas...


Forrest:

Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

DSD>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>"Naked" Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

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I think Topping and other brand brought the best of DAC world to cheap price <1k$ everyone can affords with a lot of functions. They just implement a perfect DAC design without bullshit.

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1 hour ago, chauphuong said:

Sorry could you elaborate a little bit on this: "DSD bypasses much of the new AKM chip in the Topping"?

AKM 44XX dac chips can be configured so that when DSD input is detected, the data is sent directly to the output modulators. This removes internal dac decimation/upsampling/filtering from the reproduction of dsd, a purer options especially if you do DSD in software (e.g. HQPlayer etc).

 

 

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2 hours ago, LowOrbit said:

AKM 44XX dac chips can be configured so that when DSD input is detected, the data is sent directly to the output modulators. This removes internal dac decimation/upsampling/filtering from the reproduction of dsd, a purer options especially if you do DSD in software (e.g. HQPlayer etc).

 

 

Disable pre-amp in Topping 90 and direct Dsd is available😍

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Wish I could understand what exactly the question is here.  Sounds like the OP is very impressed with the Topping D90 DAC but the final paragraph about DSD is hard to fathom.  Something about DSD software upsampling ending up "the winner"....a highly improbable outcome at the current state of adoption.  Some people like what upsampling does while many others have tried it and clearly do not.


Tidal / Qobuz--> Roon--> Fios Gigabit--> Netgear Prosafe GS105 --> AQ Vodka --> microRendu 1.4 / CI Audio LPS --> USPCB --> Schiit Eitr --> AQ Coffee --> Hegel HD25 --> AQ Water --> Belles Aria Integrated--> AQ Robin Hood--> Kudos Super 20's

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I think Barrows has posted here about the specifics of what is being bypassed when sending DSD to the D90.

 

The question IS about potentially paying for what you won't use. For the ladder DACs example - if you end up preferring PCM through those costly resistor networks then money well spent, but if instead you prefer "high end software" DSD upsampling then those $$$ networks lay dormant.  The same could be true for more expensive DACs in which part of the selling point and expense is the complex resampling algorithms and chips on the DAC side - one may decide they like software resampling better.  Point is just that the software side adds an interaction to choosing a DAC.

 

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In the Holo audio DACs there is a discrete converter for DSD, and a separate discrete converter for PCM, so regardless of what format you play, you are always not using one set of the discrete DACs.  Holo audio also sells two versions of their more simple DAC, the Cyan.  If you just want to play DSD, you can get the CYan DSD, and DSD is all it will do, so no worries about paying for circuitry you will not use.

 

As for the AKM chips, they have “direct DSD mode”, which bypasses all of the DSP, oversampling, and the delta sigma modulator, and just sends the incoming DSD stream directly to the conversion stage.  THis approach sounded fantastic to me with the D-90 and DSD 256.  Best performance with the AKM 4499 is with DSD 256 as far as I am concerned.


ROON: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModule-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY AC, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Orange Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.                                                        
                            

                                   
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Thanks for that description. I agree completely - upsampling everything to DSD 256 just sounds great on this DAC.  It is less "meaty" than my previous DAC, but am preferring the more spacious, detailed sound going into a tubed integrated amp.  Also think it sounds a tad rounder and less "excited" after plugging it into a power conditioner (my amp disagrees and stays plugged directly into the wall).

 

This is all using DSD 256 upsampling in Roon.  Do I even want to know what it sounds like using HQ player and those special filters?

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, barrows said:

As for the AKM chips, they have “direct DSD mode”, which bypasses all of the DSP, oversampling, and the delta sigma modulator, and just sends the incoming DSD stream directly to the conversion stage.  THis approach sounded fantastic to me with the D-90 and DSD 256.  Best performance with the AKM 4499 is with DSD 256 as far as I am concerned.

Hi Barrows,

I own also a Topping 90 feeded by the Allo Usbridge Signature with Uptone IsoRegen.

Using always Hqplayer ( poly-sinc-ext2 and ASDM 7 or ASDM5EC)  for upsampling DSD 256 of 512 depending which filter I use.  

Can you explain why at DSD 256 is better? Is that in terms of (ASR)  measurement  and/or by listening?

 

Very best regards, Andreas

 

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1 hour ago, ambre said:

Hi Barrows,

I own also a Topping 90 feeded by the Allo Usbridge Signature with Uptone IsoRegen.

Using always Hqplayer ( poly-sinc-ext2 and ASDM 7 or ASDM5EC)  for upsampling DSD 256 of 512 depending which filter I use.  

Can you explain why at DSD 256 is better? Is that in terms of (ASR)  measurement  and/or by listening?

 

Very best regards, Andreas

 

it measures better with 256 instead of 512

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19 minutes ago, w1000i said:

it measures better with 256 instead of 512

I have asked Barrows for an explanation especially i don’t hear any kind of difference and for some music Dsd 512 sounds better. At the end it handles Aboutaleb SQ.

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5 hours ago, ambre said:

Hi Barrows,

I own also a Topping 90 feeded by the Allo Usbridge Signature with Uptone IsoRegen.

Using always Hqplayer ( poly-sinc-ext2 and ASDM 7 or ASDM5EC)  for upsampling DSD 256 of 512 depending which filter I use.  

Can you explain why at DSD 256 is better? Is that in terms of (ASR)  measurement  and/or by listening?

 

Very best regards, Andreas

 

Hi Andreas.  I looked at the data sheet for the AKM 4499 chip used in  he D-90.  The data sheet has specifications for the chip's performance with different DSD rates, it can clearly be seen that at DSD 256 it performs very well, but that noise noise and distortion actually rise with DSD 512 input.  I have heard Andreas Koch (DSD expert and designer of Playback Designs DAC) discussing different DSD rates, and his point of view is that the "switches" used to convert DSD are not really fast enough to cope perfectly with sample rates as fast as DSD 512, so this may be why the AKM 4499 chip performs better with DSD 256 (the converter tech in the AKM 4499 is a switched resistor converter).

 

See section 8.1.2 of the attached data sheet for details. 

AK4499_Feb2019.pdf


ROON: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModule-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY AC, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Orange Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.                                                        
                            

                                   
                                                                            SONORE computer audio

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4 minutes ago, barrows said:

Hi Andreas.  I looked at the data sheet for the AKM 4499 chip used in  he D-90.  The data sheet has specifications for the chip's performance with different DSD rates, it can clearly be seen that at DSD 256 it performs very well, but that noise noise and distortion actually rise with DSD 512 input.  I have heard Andreas Koch (DSD expert and designer of Playback Designs DAC) discussing different DSD rates, and his point of view is that the "switches" used to convert DSD are not really fast enough to cope perfectly with sample rates as fast as DSD 512, so this may be why the AKM 4499 chip performs better with DSD 256 (the converter tech in the AKM 4499 is a switched resistor converter).

 

See section 8.1.2 of the attached data sheet for details. 

AK4499_Feb2019.pdf 1.7 MB · 2 downloads

Hi Barrows,

many thanks for this kind of explanation.

I don't have a technical background but understand what you are pointing.

 

I (my real life)  don't hear differences of SQ maybe because I am using another kind of filter  to lower CPU capacity. Especially when using the EC filtersmy Mac Mini I7 (6 Core)  sounds....  like an Apple hairdryer.

 

But the Topping 90 is a real bargain compared to my previous dacs and sound much more detailled resp. especially in combination with Uptone ISORegen, EtherRegen and the very nice Allo UsBridge Signature. 

 

Best regards, Andreas 

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12 hours ago, barrows said:

Hi Andreas.  I looked at the data sheet for the AKM 4499 chip used in  he D-90.  The data sheet has specifications for the chip's performance with different DSD rates, it can clearly be seen that at DSD 256 it performs very well, but that noise noise and distortion actually rise with DSD 512 input.  I have heard Andreas Koch (DSD expert and designer of Playback Designs DAC) discussing different DSD rates, and his point of view is that the "switches" used to convert DSD are not really fast enough to cope perfectly with sample rates as fast as DSD 512, so this may be why the AKM 4499 chip performs better with DSD 256 (the converter tech in the AKM 4499 is a switched resistor converter).

 

See section 8.1.2 of the attached data sheet for details. 

AK4499_Feb2019.pdf 1.7 MB · 3 downloads

 

Barrows,

 

Do you happen to know what's the spec of the fuse in the D90.  I think you've mentioned elsewhere that this DAC reponds well to upgrading with an audiophile grade fuse?


Tidal / Qobuz--> Roon--> Fios Gigabit--> Netgear Prosafe GS105 --> AQ Vodka --> microRendu 1.4 / CI Audio LPS --> USPCB --> Schiit Eitr --> AQ Coffee --> Hegel HD25 --> AQ Water --> Belles Aria Integrated--> AQ Robin Hood--> Kudos Super 20's

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2 hours ago, OldBigEars said:

 

Barrows,

 

Do you happen to know what's the spec of the fuse in the D90.  I think you've mentioned elsewhere that this DAC reponds well to upgrading with an audiophile grade fuse?

I am not sure I remember...  I think it was a 250 mA maybe?  Anyway, the fuse is marked.  Topping uses a dirt cheap glass body fuse, even a good quality Littlefuse ceramic body model would likely sound better.  

It is definitely a 5 x 20 mm size, slow blow.


ROON: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModule-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY AC, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Orange Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.                                                        
                            

                                   
                                                                            SONORE computer audio

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15 hours ago, barrows said:

I am not sure I remember...  I think it was a 250 mA maybe?  Anyway, the fuse is marked.  Topping uses a dirt cheap glass body fuse, even a good quality Littlefuse ceramic body model would likely sound better.  

It is definitely a 5 x 20 mm size, slow blow.

How do you evaluate the D90 compare to other DACs you tried ?

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19 minutes ago, w1000i said:

How do you evaluate the D90 compare to other DACs you tried ?

Please note this is specifically referring to the D-90 in "DAC mode" with DSD 256 input from a Signature Rendu SEoptical, with a Synergistic Orange fuse in the D-90.

 

It is a giant killer.  Not the best I've heard, but very, very good.  It probably needs to be paired with a good preamp to really shine, as the "DAC mode" defeats the volume control, and I do not think the output stage is quite beefy enough (current headroom) to drive amps directly, but at the price, heck, it is a no brainer.

 

There are better DACs, but the ones I know of all cost 10x as much or more...


ROON: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModule-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY AC, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Orange Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.                                                        
                            

                                   
                                                                            SONORE computer audio

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15 minutes ago, barrows said:

Please note this is specifically referring to the D-90 in "DAC mode" with DSD 256 input from a Signature Rendu SEoptical, with a Synergistic Orange fuse in the D-90.

 

It is a giant killer.  Not the best I've heard, but very, very good.  It probably needs to be paired with a good preamp to really shine, as the "DAC mode" defeats the volume control, and I do not think the output stage is quite beefy enough (current headroom) to drive amps directly, but at the price, heck, it is a no brainer.

 

There are better DACs, but the ones I know of all cost 10x as much or more...

Do you think it's better than Audio gd R7 (r2r) ?

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1 hour ago, w1000i said:

Do you think it's better than Audio gd R7 (r2r) ?

Never heard it...  


ROON: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModule-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY AC, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Orange Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.                                                        
                            

                                   
                                                                            SONORE computer audio

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1 hour ago, barrows said:

Please note this is specifically referring to the D-90 in "DAC mode" with DSD 256 input from a Signature Rendu SEoptical, with a Synergistic Orange fuse in the D-90.

 

It is a giant killer.  Not the best I've heard, but very, very good.  It probably needs to be paired with a good preamp to really shine, as the "DAC mode" defeats the volume control, and I do not think the output stage is quite beefy enough (current headroom) to drive amps directly, but at the price, heck, it is a no brainer.

 

There are better DACs, but the ones I know of all cost 10x as much or more...

 You mention the peramp in D90, and FYI Topping is about to lunch P90 as preamp and going to be the cleanest in the world alongside A90 a headphone amplifier. :)

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19 hours ago, barrows said:

I am not sure I remember...  I think it was a 250 mA maybe?  Anyway, the fuse is marked.  Topping uses a dirt cheap glass body fuse, even a good quality Littlefuse ceramic body model would likely sound better.  

It is definitely a 5 x 20 mm size, slow blow.

 

I just took a look at the fuse. You're right that it looks like a crappy quality thing.  Very hard to see the spec on it but I *think* it's 250 mA.  Which is a shame 'cause I've got a 3 month old SR Orange I could drop right in - but it's 1A.  I'm no electrician but I imagine that would be a bad idea?

 

Other than that I'm 4 days into testing the D90 vs my Hegel HD25.  Did you experience much break-in change?


Tidal / Qobuz--> Roon--> Fios Gigabit--> Netgear Prosafe GS105 --> AQ Vodka --> microRendu 1.4 / CI Audio LPS --> USPCB --> Schiit Eitr --> AQ Coffee --> Hegel HD25 --> AQ Water --> Belles Aria Integrated--> AQ Robin Hood--> Kudos Super 20's

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