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

    Right. A Casio quartz tells time better than a Rolex automatic, but people buy them for completely different reasons.
    Excellent! The case did not look like the Monarchy units, and IIRC it had the upsampling capability before Monarchy introduced it in their house-branded version. The one I purchased came with one of those clear blue/purple hospital grade power cords with the molded “beehive” plugs (that you still see in hospitals today).
     
  2. UCrazyKid

    UCrazyKid Grand Puba of Funk

    Location:
    Illinois
    I found it. The GW Labs DSP. Once GW Labs stopping selling it, Monarchy continued under their own name as “Monarchy DIP Combo”
    SoundStage! Equipment Review - GW Labs DSP Digital-to-Digital Converter (4/2002)

    Monarchy Audio
     
    Billy Budapest likes this.
  3. So some here admits that upsampling works. I've explained several times what I do with my CD rips. First I rip the CD to FLAC with the non-compression option on (plain PCM data in a FLAC container,no compression is used) with dBPoweramp with its Accurate Rip on. When I get an Accurate rip I upsample it with Weiss Saracon to 176.4/24, an even multiple of the original sample rate. When Weiss Saracon converts 16 bit data to 24 bit it doesn't use padding with zeroes, it reshapes 16 bit waves to 24 bit ones,this doesn't add additional dinamic range that doesn't exists on the original material but by upsampling original sampling frequency x4 and generating new 24 bit data from 16 bit without ressorting to zero padding changes the way how the D/A converter behaves to this kind of data.
    I then transfer the Weiss Saracon upsampled material to an SSD that in my book is far more reliable than a disc drive. In addition to that, error correction has already been performed by the ripping software.
    Even with an inexpensive D/A converter as the Topping D50 the results are noticiable,more "listenable", less CD-like and a more smooth sound that is more pleasing to my ears.
    Instead of performing this process with a piece of hardware I do this with a combination of outstanding software (Weiss Saracon,that is quite expensive) and SSD's that I find superb for audio playing.
    Everytime I've explained this here I've been told the kind of things of that I'm doing unnecessary processing that will make red book sound worse or that I'm nuts.
     
    unclefred likes this.
  4. UCrazyKid

    UCrazyKid Grand Puba of Funk

    Location:
    Illinois
    For owners of the Topping D90 MQA:

    Topping has released (7-1-2020) a new firmware for the D90 MQA (only, not std. D90) v_1.24
    This firmware release brings 32-bit support to the D90 MQA in its USB input (it previously maxed out at 24-bits). The std. D90 already had this. The problem had something to do with the MQA libraries only supporting 24-bit.

    Another bonus, Topping has added Mac support for the driver upgrades. It was a simple d/l of 4.1MB, running an .app, selecting a .bin and then updating. Took all of 2 minutes. One issue, the installer did not run in Mac Catalina OSX. I had to install from another Mac running the earlier OS.

    After installing I confirmed 32-bit support in both the Mac Midi settings and from the BitPerfect app (shows DAC max as 32/768).
    I am very pleased to see Topping continuing support of their products and releasing firmware updates as needed. The new f/w can be found here:
    D90 MQA version V1.24 firmware update-TOPPING
     
    timind, Kiko1974, M.R.Collins and 2 others like this.
  5. Billy Budapest

    Billy Budapest Forum "Member" Thread Starter

    UCrazyKid likes this.
  6. What did you play at 32/768? I suppose it was material software upsampled by your computer but at what resolutions was the original material and how does it sound at 32/768? Did you notice any improvement by the upsampling?
     
  7. UCrazyKid

    UCrazyKid Grand Puba of Funk

    Location:
    Illinois
    The 32 bit/768 was generated by JRiver Media Center's upsampling. I'm sure that anything entering the DAC chip (which is a 32-bit device) is gadded to 32 bits with zero's so the chip can operate at its highest efficiency. Additionally, operating at 32 bits allows a digital volume control to operate with very little sound degradation as it subtracts bits that are empty.
    There was no perceivable difference in sound when playing an upsampled track at 32/768. I believe everything that comes out of the DAC and feeds the analog stage is upsampled to 768khz. Remember that even "double" 5.6Mhz DSD rate has an equivalent PCM rate of 176.4kHz and 20-bit resolution.
     
    Kiko1974 likes this.
  8. It may be because the D90 does internal upsampling to 768 upconverting to 32 bit, but I find that my CD's upsampled to 176.4/24 with Weiss Saracon (that costs around 3 times the prices of the D90, and it's a piece of software) improvestheir sound played on a Topping D50. When upsampling/upconverting 44.1/16 to 176.4/24,Saracon does adds 8 zeroes to every sample to make it 24 bit, it literally reshapes the 16 bit waveform to 24 bit. Of course as the original source is 16 bit, Saracon doesn't "invent" a higher dinamic range as it's not there in the first place, but it gets the upsampled files to sound less CD-like and smoother.
    I know that many will think that upsampling is a waste of time and/or SSD space, that will make CD sound worse as it adds additional processing (as if D/A IC's from the mid 1980's on wouldn't do any internal processing) or it's just plain placebo effect.
    I have never seen or used JRiver Media Center, I guess it's a piece of software,just a guess, maybe it's a piece of hardware, but I DO KNOW that Weiss Saracon upsampling for me makes red book sound better IMHO.
    Just my 0.02$.
     
  9. Andy Kramner

    Andy Kramner New Member

    Location:
    EU
    Hi everyone.

    I have a Topping NX4DSD (XMOS-XU208 and ES9038Q2M ) and am wondering, would upgrading to D90 be a noticeable sound quality improvement?

    Also, has anyone durectly compared the D90 to D70?
     
  10. Mike-48

    Mike-48 A shadow of my former self

    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Not 3x in the US for the PCM version, but quite expensive for an amateur unable to call it a business expense, nor sure if it would be worthwhile. The PCM version of Saracon is US$890 from a US dealer; the D90, $699. Adding DSD capability to Saracon is an additional $1020; to the D90, an additional $100. I know all that because I'm interested -- in an intellectual way -- in both products. Each manufacturer has a fine reputation in its field (home hifi for Topping; mastering and recording for Weiss).

    JRiver is an audio player software with many other features, including resampling. It costs about $60 for an initial license and $20 annually for continuous updates. It can resample either with JRiver algorithms or SOX; users seems to prefer SOX. It would be fascinating to compare some of its work to that of Saracon. I don't doubt your view that Saracon is excellent, and my guess is that SOX doesn't equal it. How did you come to own a copy of Saracon? It's an unusual purchase for a hifi enthusiast.
     
  11. Black Elk

    Black Elk Music Lover

    Location:
    Bay Area, U.S.A.
    Archimago's Musings: ANALYSIS: DSD-to-PCM Conversion 2015 - Windows & Mac OS X
     
    Mike-48 likes this.
  12. Mike-48

    Mike-48 A shadow of my former self

    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    timind likes this.
  13. par4

    par4 Member

    Location:
    Dekalb, illinois
    Amen brother!
     
    Mike-48 likes this.
  14. Black Elk

    Black Elk Music Lover

    Location:
    Bay Area, U.S.A.
    [​IMG]




    :whistle:





    :winkgrin:
     
    Gibsonian, timind and Mike-48 like this.
  15. Billy Budapest

    Billy Budapest Forum "Member" Thread Starter

    I remember what I traded it in for: a Musical Fidelity x-DACv3. A great sounding unit!
     
    timind likes this.
  16. A friend of mine owns a recording studio and sometimes buys bundles of equipment that come with Weiss Saracon. As I sometimes do some stuff for him, or he asks me for advice as he thinks I have good ears, about a mix down or a mastering,he gave me one of his Saracon licenses to me for free. And it's the full DSD version.
     
    timind, Ham Sandwich and bajaed like this.
  17. petertakov

    petertakov Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    You are processing audio in order to make its sound "better" to you in your particular system and room. This is in no way different than using an equaliser, for example. The problem you might run into if you are not keeping the unprocessed data is that the processed files may not sound "better" if you change something in your listening chain. Of course, you may never know because you won't have the originals to compare :))
     
  18. Who told you I don't keep the originals? I do transfer both the original 44.1/16 CD rips and also the upsamples to the SSD I use for CD rips music listening,I also have a second SSD only with Hi Res files.
    You, as usual assuming things you know nothing about.
     
  19. Helom

    Helom I'll take the monkey coffins

    Location:
    U.S.
    Anyone else find the D90 sounds better/smoother through the RCA outputs than the XLR?
     
  20. adomanim

    adomanim Member

    Location:
    annaba
    I'd be interested in any impressions people have as well. Was very much thinking of going with a more expensive integrated DAC to get pre-amp abilities along with quality decoding. The D90 plus a Saga S would clock in below the cost of many of the options I was looking at (Benchmark/Mytek).






    snaptube vidmate word to pdf
     
  21. Wenthrope

    Wenthrope Well-Known Member

    Just read through all 24 pages of this thread - and I’m intrigued. Curious if anyone is running their D90 directly into their power amp (essentially using the D90 as a digital preamp)? I’m all digital (mostly CDs and files on a NAS) so as long as the volume control on the D90 does not adversely impact the sound, I figure that may be a workable solution. I just upgraded from an Outlaw RR2150 to Parasound A21+, thus the Outlaw is my preamp until I decide what to get. I’ve been looking at the Cambridge Audio CXN v2 and 851N as possible one-box streamer / DAC / preamp. If I get some good feedback on the D90 as a digital preamp, then I’ll continue to use my old Oppo BDP-103 as CD player and streamer. Thanks all!
     
  22. gguy

    gguy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wildomar, CA
    I haven't tried it myself, but from the reviews I have read it is not up to par for your application. I would focus on getting rid of the RR2150 as a preamp, the preamp section is the real weak spot in that unit.
     
  23. UCrazyKid

    UCrazyKid Grand Puba of Funk

    Location:
    Illinois
    On another well respected forum for testing equipment (not sure if I can share links for other sites here) that can be easily found via Google, they report that performance as a digital volume controlled preamp is not quite as good as use as a DAC only for the Topping D90. It is recommended to use it in conjunction with a preamp. There are lots of great vintage preamps out there on the pre-owned market that can be picked up on the cheap. This will give you switching and analog volume control. OR simply pick up a passive volume control to place between the DAC and the amplifier. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GRLV7XG/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
     
  24. Wenthrope

    Wenthrope Well-Known Member

    Appreciate the insight guys! Thank you!
     
  25. Daniel Vicente

    Daniel Vicente New Member

    Location:
    France
    Beautiful DAC with great sound. I would leave it on all the time.and it is sublime sounding.
     

Share This Page