Topping D90 - Best measuring DAC, $699

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Billy Budapest, Jan 7, 2020.

  1. Billy Budapest

    Billy Budapest Forum "Member" Thread Starter

    The Topping D90, easily available on Amazon and through other internet retailers, has been measured by several prominent bloggers and it has either essentially tied or come out on top as the best measuring DAC, well, ever. It is priced at $599. I wonder if Stereophile will stoop so low as to measure and review it?

    Has anyone here purchased it, or even heard it yet?
     
    Shawn likes this.
  2. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    If you do make a purchase I can recommend Apos Audio. They will match prices with anyone and offer a free extended warranty. Excellent service and packing as well. I got a different Topping model from them.

    The D90 is still very new, not too many people probably have one yet. I doubt Stereophile would measure anything without advertising dollars being paid up first. That's usually how it goes with a big mags. I know of one company that waited 4 years for a gear review (they don't pay for ads), and no measurements were done. The manufacturer did their own measurements on an AP analyzer though.
     
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  3. Billy Budapest

    Billy Budapest Forum "Member" Thread Starter

    After 30 years of subscribing to Stereophile and The Absolute Sound, I opted to discontinue my subscriptions last year. I now find blogs and vlogs much more useful.

    Also, I meant to write $699 as the above price. I am sure it will drop in price as the AKM chip price goes down.
     
    klockwerk, tmtomh, John and 1 other person like this.
  4. Billy Budapest

    Billy Budapest Forum "Member" Thread Starter

  5. Not Insane

    Not Insane You talkin' to me?!

    Location:
    Kentucky
    I'm pulling the trigger on a Schiit modi 3 when I get home tonight. I did way too much research. It was a tough one between that one and the topping 30.
     
    johnny q, Nearys Epiphany and JoshM like this.
  6. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    This is from the vendor's listing on eBay- not impartial. The seller isn't going to post anything putting it in a bad light.

    Also, assuming this is accurate, the best measurements don't guarantee the best sound quality.
     
    Tim S, klockwerk, JoshM and 2 others like this.
  7. Not Insane

    Not Insane You talkin' to me?!

    Location:
    Kentucky
    Ditto. I've not had a magazine subscription this century. I used to subscribe to bicycling, audio and bass playing mags, not to mention Popular science.
     
    nitsuj and klockwerk like this.
  8. Billy Budapest

    Billy Budapest Forum "Member" Thread Starter

    Noise floor at -160 dB? That’s crazy. That’s why I’m a bit flummoxed why the major magazines aren’t paying attention to this product.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Billy Budapest

    Billy Budapest Forum "Member" Thread Starter

    It’s not from eBay but it is from the manufacturer.

    Very true that manufacturers’ measurements aren’t unbiased, but check independent analyses on the Audio Science Review forum. Two of the reviewers (Amirm and a forum member) confirm these measurements.
     
    SBurke likes this.
  10. Billy Budapest

    Billy Budapest Forum "Member" Thread Starter

    Of course. The best measurements are beyond the pale of audibility. Still, it’s pretty shocking that the best digital performance costs $699.
     
  11. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    I'm more interested in how something sounds as opposed to how it measures.

    The Denafrips DACs really have my interest. The distributor is sold out across the board- every model.
     
    Uglyversal, Tim S, dennem and 3 others like this.
  12. Billy Budapest

    Billy Budapest Forum "Member" Thread Starter

    DR and SNR measurements speak for themselves.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    tmtomh, russk and patient_ot like this.
  13. Billy Budapest

    Billy Budapest Forum "Member" Thread Starter

    I agree. I am of the opinion that everything audible can be measured, but not everything that can be measured is audible.

    I also believe that some people like the sound of distortion. I like tubes and I like vinyl, so I am one of those people.

    However, if you are a believer in the “straight wire with gain” philosophy, and value fidelity to the source material, then this is the DAC for you.

    It’s all a matter of personal preference.
     
    sotosound, Glfrancis2, SBurke and 6 others like this.
  14. samurai

    samurai "See the glory, of the royal scam."

    Location:
    MINNESOTA
    Curious, does the best measuring translate to the best sounding?
    Seems to be a persistent question in audio.
     
    Glfrancis2, FLEMKE and bever70 like this.
  15. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    Back 40 years ago when I built my first system, I selected the best measuring component in each category. It sounded pretty bad.
     
  16. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    DACs have quietly become a commodity, mature life cycle product over the last few years. Some folks haven't caught on to this and still think you need to pay thousands of dollars for decent performance. The truth is any decent DAC with a SINAD ~100dB is probably going to satisfy many people.

    Lots of boutique products on the market, many of which measure worse than a 30 year old CD player. Not something I would spend a cent on.
     
  17. samurai

    samurai "See the glory, of the royal scam."

    Location:
    MINNESOTA
    If one could go strictly by measurements audio would be so much easier.
     
    Glfrancis2 and HiFi Guy like this.
  18. Billy Budapest

    Billy Budapest Forum "Member" Thread Starter

    It depends on what you personally believe (or hear) to be best.

    Are measurements at this level audible? No—threshold of perception of dynamic range for human hearing is somewhere around 120 dB, but hearing damage begins at the 90 dB level:

    Journey into the world of Hearing - specialists

    [​IMG]
    Still, if your quest is absolute fidelity to the source, then measurements are important.

    Most of the equipment I own measures at a very mediocre level. I like the way it sounds nonetheless—and probably because of the distortion and coloration it adds. Tubes don’t do anything magical or immeasurable, and solid state circuits (and digital circuits) can be built to emulate the same effect tubes have on sound, and produce the same sonic results.

    I can still be in awe at the level of technical perfection that is available at lower and lower price points.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2020
    SBurke, russk, jay.dee and 1 other person like this.
  19. Billy Budapest

    Billy Budapest Forum "Member" Thread Starter

    I believe it.
     
  20. Billy Budapest

    Billy Budapest Forum "Member" Thread Starter

    Some people can and some people are very happy that way.
     
    tmtomh likes this.
  21. ssmith3046

    ssmith3046 Forum Resident

    Very, very happy with the Modi 3. Not sure how the measurements are on it but it sounds great to my ears doing the aural measurement. :)
     
  22. Jimi Floyd

    Jimi Floyd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pisa, Italy
    D90. I like its name. More often than not overpriced and bugged items have exotic names. Producers who cannot rely on solid engineering often resort to fairy tales fascination.
     
    ssmith3046, Tim S, SBurke and 2 others like this.
  23. mtrot

    mtrot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tyler, TX
    I'd be very interested in the D90, except that I need home theater bypass in my system. Unfortunately, I got my current DAC before I knew anything about SINAD measurements, and it measured about the worst of all DACs that audio video science has reviewed.:(

    I'm currently thinking of getting the Benchmark DAC3, which measures in the top tier, and has home theater bypass. I'm open to any other suggestions!
     
  24. Billy Budapest

    Billy Budapest Forum "Member" Thread Starter

    SINAD is a useful measurement for ranking purposes as it agglomerates SNR and THD into a meaningful measurement, taking into account how “quiet” and how “accurate” a component can be in a very general fashion.

    That being said, at the upper tiers on SINAD rankings, there aren’t going to be audible differences in components simply because of their SINAD measurements.

    I am sure the DAC3 will be a good choice for you, given what you have posted above.
     
  25. mtrot

    mtrot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tyler, TX
    Thanks. Get this -- my DAC's SINAD score is 58 over at audio video science forum! The Benchmark score is 112. Do you think that would be an audible difference at moderate listening levels?
     
    timind likes this.

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