Topping D10 Balanced

Archerious

Previously known as vampire5003
Topping D10 Balanced - A great value with some compromises
Pros: Incredibly detailed, $139, balanced, comes with adapters and everything needed, excellent drivers, metal build, great screen, DSD support, makes little heat, should have a long lifespan
Cons: Very bright sounding, harsh, even in a blind test it stands out badly. Cannot be run off certain USB sources as it requires power + data from the same cable. Doesn't have great synergy with many headphones or speakers. No remote included. No preamp functions.
Most of Topping's DACs tend to sound very neutral and sometimes ever so slightly warm (D70S), but not this DAC.

This DAC could cost more than $139, it could easily be $249 and would probably still sell massively.

D10 Balanced made my Arya sound even brighter than usual to the point of harsh fatigue, did multiple back and forth comparisons between it and my others DACs (Gumby, Yiggy GS) and come to this conclusion every time. Even SMSL's Sanskrit 10th MK2 is less harsh than this DAC. This is something that we must address, as I'd hate to see someone with a pair of bright sounding cans buying the D10 Balanced, it will likely just fatigue them.

That being said, when paired with HD650 or anything dark, it actually sounds incredible.

Synergy is going to be very important with this DAC, so much so that I'd hesitate to recommend it lightly.

Since this DAC has no preamp unlike the SMSL Sanskrit 10th MK2 or other ChiFi DACs, you'll likely not use this DAC with speakers. For testing though I tried out Wharfedale's EVO 4.2 on them, it was not good. The Evo 4.2 which normally has a laid back warm sound (think HD 599 SE or HD650 to a lesser extent), sounded bright and harsh with the D10 Balanced. I was shocked, and went back and forth between it and my other DACs. Was noticeable which was which every single time even for someone like me that normally cannot hear major differences between DACs.

No remote included while SMSL's Sanskrit 10th MK2 includes a remote.

Zero issues with drivers Topping provides for Windows. The best I've encountered from really any brand. Has excellent instructions for getting DSD working on foobar with their DAC. Really appreciate them going that extra mile.

The D10 Balanced comes with adapters for the balanced outputs, 2x 6.35mm balanced TRS to XLR.

One downside is certain sources cannot work with the DAC easily, the Apple Lightning to Camera adapter which many of us use with our iPhones/iPads to output won't work with D10 Balanced. Had to use a powered USB Hub in the middle to allow me to use the iPad with this DAC. Really wish this extra step wasn't needed.

Really nice to see this DAC run cool and not get warm, my SMSL DAC, Gumby, and Yiggy GS all get noticeably hotter. As a Texan it's nice to see one less item heating up the room.

Summary: This D10 Balanced is not something I'd buy again. It's too bright and comes off as harsh. Synergy will be important with this DAC, it is not a good all rounder that just falls into the background like Topping's D90. Would you buy this DAC at it's $139 pricetag?

Thanks for reading,
Tom.
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