Topping D30 DSD DAC XMOS/CS4398
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drteming

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I was browsing eBay last week and came upon this little DAC for $120.  I had never heard of it before, and a search here on Head-Fi turned up nothing.  Googling also did not turn up anything either, except for some retailers.  I found it on Amazon for $10 higher than eBay, but with the benefit of Prime shipping instead of a slow boat from China, and since I had about $50 worth of points, it was a no brainer.  I like Topping, as I have a TP30 Mk 2 at work, and a NX3 amping my Fiio X3 for my portable rig.  So $80 and 2 days later a package showed up on my doorsteps.  It contained a nondescript box with minimal graphics.
 

 
Inside the plain box:
 

 
Out of the box:
 

 
There is a switching 15V 1A power supply, nice thick USB cable, an USB drive (nice touch!) containing the driver, manual, and instructions, and the DAC itself.  The specs are cribbed from Topping's web site.
 
 
DAC:
Input rangeUSB: 16-24bit/44.1-192kHz, DSD64, DSD128
 Optical: 16-24bit/32-192kHz
 Coaxial: 16-24bit/32-192kHz
Noise (Sample rate 44.1kHz)USB: 3.9uVrms
 Optical: 5.2uVrms
 Coaxial: 5.1uVrms
Maximum output voltage swing2.1Vrms@1kHz
THD+N (@1kHz, Sample rate 96kHz)USB: 0.00062%
 Optical: 0.00063%
 Coaxial: 0.00065%
Noise (Sample rate 44.1kHz)USB: 115.7dB
 Optical: 113.2dB
  Coaxial: 113.4dB
Crosstalk (1kHz, Sample rate 44.1kHz)USB: -117.7dB
 Optical: -117.6dB
  Coaxial: -117.6dB
Frequency response10-20kHz±0.03dB
 
 
Here's the link to the manual I uploaded: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5IxYeSNT0kGVU9UTERqOWVoaEU/view?usp=sharing 
 
Front view:
 

 
The interface is pretty minimal.  A toggle switch for power.  A toggle switch for input--optical, coax, and USB.  2 indicator lights, one for power on, and the other lights up for invalid file formats.
 
Back view:
 

 
RCA outputs, coaxial, optical, and USB inputs.
 
Compared to SMSL M8:
 

 

 
Gotta void the warranty:
 

 
Closeups
 
The XMOS chip and oscillator crystals
 

 
Cirrus Logic CS4398
 

 
The output stage with the venerable OPA2134 opamp:
 

 
Output protection relay circuit, a very nice touch:
 

 
The internal components are very nicely done.  The resistors appear to be KOA Speer 1% film resistors.  The electrolytic caps are Elna's for the power section and Nichicon FW's for the opamp.  The film caps are WIMA's and TDK-EPCOS.  No complaints there.
 
So the $64 questions is:  How does it sound?  Well, it sounds like nothing.  Nothing at all.  It takes the 0's and 1's from the source and convert them to analog signals without adding anything.  It does not color the sound or add anything to the music.  What you get is a pure, clean output, and that is the best compliment.
 
What are my gears?  For cans, I used AKG K7xxx, Beyerdynamics DT990 600 Ohm, and Fostex TH500RP.  I really like the TH500RP's.  They got a bad rep for having rolled off trebles when they first came out, but I'm a bit treble sensitive and find them to be well balanced.  The DT900's are only for electronic music because they are fun, and the AKG's, well, they are excellent all-around cans with the bonus factor that my wife think they look stupid and refuse to use them, so I don't have to fight her for it.
 
As far as amps go, I used an O2 of my own build and this:
 

 
Also of my own build.  I won't say anything about it, but if you know what it is, you'll know where I'm coming from.
 
So how does it compare with the SMSL M8?
 
Well, the D30 doesn't have the OLED display showing the format, or the fancy filters (which I haven't really been able to reliably tell any difference), but the sound is comparable.  I find the M8 to be transparent, just like the D30.  If you already have a M8, there is no point in getting the D30.  But if you are looking for a DAC to start out that will handle DSD files, the Topping D30 is the deal of the century.
 
What are the downfalls?  Well, it doesn't support 32/382, DXD or DSD 256/512, but since I don't have any music in those formats, it's a moot point.
 
Interestingly, with my Windows 10 rig, I was able to plug it in, and because I had the driver for the M8 installed, the computer recognized immediately.  In fact, I didn't have to do anything to Foobar2000 since I already had it configured for the M8.  Makes sense since both DAC's use the XMOS interface.  The driver provided by Topping on the USB drive is the 2.26.0 version.  The latest driver for the SMSL M8 is the 3.20.0 version, which is what I have installed.
 
One final note.  Just to really, really void the warranty:
 

 
Oh, yeah, sucked off the 2134 and replaced it with a DIP-8 socket.  I broke one on the pins on the 2134 while desoldering it, but no big deal.  I have a couple of 2132's (which are higher grades of 2134's anyway) and popped one in.  Sounded exactly the same.  2227 opamp was about the same as the 2132.  I popped in a 2107 I had lying around, and MAYBE it sounded a bit fuller, but I can't reliably tell the difference, but since there is no distortion, I left the 2107 in because, well, it cost more
.
 
One final, final note, I ordered the parts to build a 15V linear power supply and will post the results.
 
(Briefly about me:  I'm in my mid 40's and consider myself a music enthusiast and a electronic hobbyist rather than an audiophile.  In fact, I'm anything but an audiophile.  My hearings are shot from years in a rock band, and I can't hear anything above 14 KHz.)  
 
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Is DSD native or dop?  And forgive my stupidity, but what exactly is XMOS?  I've heard the term floating around, but never found out what it means.
 
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drteming

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The Cirrus Logic CS4398 has native DSD decoding via dedicated input pins and not DSD over PCM.  XMOS is just the usb interface chip.
 
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alynx

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Wow, I was just browsing the interwebz and found the D30 on Toppings site. And wadda u know, theres already a review up on headfi. Very nice.Topping will also release a A30 dektop amp. Maybe the D30 + A30 combo can compete with the objective stack or schiit stack.
 
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Thanks for the tip.  Just ordered the last one on Amazon.  I have a Schiit Loki that was great but stopped working and I was looking for a DSD solution in that price range.
 
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drteming

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Got the linear power supply built.  15.01V of clean power.  Initially, I thought the bass was fatter, but then I realized that I had just switched in a pair of Amperex 6922's for the Voskhod 6N1P in my buffer.  Doing an objective test with the switching supply, I cannot really tell a difference.  Oh well, fun little project and looks cool next to the D30.
 
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I ordered my d30 based on this review. Thank you!






Got the linear power supply built.  15.01V of clean power.  Initially, I thought the bass was fatter, but then I realized that I had just switched in a pair of Amperex 6922's for the Voskhod 6N1P in my buffer.  Doing an objective test with the switching supply, I cannot really tell a difference.  Oh well, fun little project and looks cool next to the D30.
 
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alynx

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Will u get the soon to be released A30 amp aswell?
 
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drteming

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Will u get the soon to be released A30 amp aswell?

Nah, I'm pretty sure that the amps I have now are going to be better than whatever Topping puts out.
 
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My humble setup


I noticed there is a significant sound quality boost if we are using asio driver
 
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drteming

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My humble setup


I noticed there is a significant sound quality boost if we are using asio driver
 
Dig that X10-D.  The box I have in the above post with the VU meters contain a X10-D clone that I built.  
 
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jekjek

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Interesting tube buffer project with VU meter. You should try 6sn7 tube buffer, it sound different
Dig that X10-D.  The box I have in the above post with the VU meters contain a X10-D clone that I built.  
 
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drteming

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Interesting tube buffer project with VU meter. You should try 6sn7 tube buffer, it sound different
 
A 6sn7 buffer would be cool, but I don't feel like messing around with 230V.  I guess there's the Yaqin SD-CD3, but I'd rather build one.  I just finished this build a couple of months ago, so I'll play with it for a bit longer.  I've rolled various 6922 tubes through it.  The best ones so far are a pair of GE JAN's.  Just for yucks, I stuck in a pair of Soviet 6N6P (basically beefed up 6922's) and nothing blew.  Sounded a bit weak and thin, so they went back on my Little Dot.
 
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A 6sn7 buffer would be cool, but I don't feel like messing around with 230V.  I guess there's the Yaqin SD-CD3, but I'd rather build one.  I just finished this build a couple of months ago, so I'll play with it for a bit longer.  I've rolled various 6922 tubes through it.  The best ones so far are a pair of GE JAN's.  Just for yucks, I stuck in a pair of Soviet 6N6P (basically beefed up 6922's) and nothing blew.  Sounded a bit weak and thin, so they went back on my Little Dot.
I dont have the time or technical capability to assemble my own buffer. A tube buffer with tango power supply is going to be very interesting

I find the telefunken 6922 sound is quite different compare to mullard or siemens. Currently I'm using mullard e88cc
 
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yeap.. mine came 3-4 days before.. and this is great unit!! even at price point of under 500$..
 
first of all. Build and component quailty far more better than other Chinese cheap brands..
 
Good components mean; quality analog out stage and clean finishing.. it has more lower noise level then other Chinese Brands..
 
and its support Native DSD with USB port.. :)
 
i did use with Fiio X3 2nd gen. driver.. (with some mode *.inf files..) for Native DSD playback.. cos its own driver support only DoP DSD playback..
 
when benchmark with Chord Mojo..  its sound at little analytical side.. Mojo has more analog, bodied and musical sound.. But the d30 is not far bad by Mojo.. even under 500$.. actually more neutral and transparent sound than Mojo..
 
 
i did listen with USB and Optical S-PDIF (with QED Optical Quartz real glass cable..) connection.. and S-PDIF sound far more better then USB sound.. USB connection thinner and muddy sound then S-PDIF connection.. like other DAC components :)
 
i used USB port with native DSD playback only..
 
 
only cons of D30.. it did not have a DAC filter selection.. if its have (Slow Roll-Off & Fast Roll-Of filter) make me more than ever happy :)
 
finally.. Topping D30 is a great component of under 500$.. i'm serious :)
 
 
Highly recommended!! :)
 
 
 
sorry my little English BTWA..
 
 
My Setup: Chord Mojo (Line-Out Mode), Topping D30 DAC, Plinius 9100 Integrated Amplifier, ATC SCM11 (2013 Curved Edition)
Van Damme Blue Speaker Cable, Van Damme HıFı Interconnect, Acoustic Revive Standart 8800 Power Cable, QED Optical Reference Quartz S-PDIF Cable, QED Reference USB Cable and iFi iPurifier 2 USB Isolator..
 
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