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Topping D50

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by junki, Apr 8, 2018.
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  1. Slade01
    It comes down to whether you prefer the sabre sound or akm sound. Balanced connection aside...it implements a dual akm chipset. I dont think of the d70 of an upgrade with the exception of having a balanced connector.
  2. carlmart
  3. carlmart
    Yes, the DAC chip comparison seems quite interesting to me, and I would love to listen to such a thing.

    Balanced connector or output is not an upgrade, but the D70 does have one thing that makes it interesting: its power supply seems to be all linear.

    I say it seems because I would have to inspect it more thoroughly to see if there are no switching regulators in there. Apparently not, from the photos I have seen.

    Let's hope I have the time to do what I plan with my D50, which is setting up an external output, using the balanced output pins the DAC provides.

    That would allow adding linear power supply regulators for that stage, which might make an audible difference.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2019
  4. Sonic Defender Contributor
    Generally I agree. I purchased the SMSL U8 based on the measured specifications and the subjective reports at audiosciencereview and while it is very nice, I do tend to prefer the tonality of my FiiO Q5 or Q5s (although the Q5s seems more detail retrieval focused than the Q5).
  5. lucidreamer
    I still prefer my D50 over any other DAC for its tone, details and overall balanced sound. I am on my second D50 and usually I do not buy 'burn-in' theory except for tube gear but after a while D50 seems to mellow down a bit and start sounding more pleasant. Initially it seems to be a little bit fatiguing but after a few days some magic takes place. I thought it was just my imagination but I noticed the same pattern with the second D50 which I exchanged for the first one that had small display issues. Just my humble opinion.
    Light - Man likes this.
  6. Baten
    It seems much easier to just buy the $80 e1da 9038s DAC and use a 2.5mm to 2x XLR cable, will probably cost you less than all those mods, too :) :)

    The e1da is an amazingly good 9038Q2M implementation
  7. carlmart
    I think you are missing the focus of my conversion.

    All small DAC share the use of switching supplies, usually from the 5v coming through USB. That I want to eliminate and use regulated linear supplies for the output stages, or even the DAC itself if necessary.

    Using external outputs would allow fine tuning the opamps you can use, looking for the quality you want, balanced or unbalanced.
    Interceptor69 likes this.
  8. ceausuc
    Actually I think small dacs working on usb power give an easy way to actually try clean power:
    This way you can change dacs while keeping the (good) power supply. Allo Audio Shanti for instance looks pretty good for this job.
    Truth is that some of today's small dacs sound crazy good for their prices...
  9. carlmart
    The problem is not what you power the DAC with. I already use high quality linear regulated 5v power supply for my Topping D50.

    The problem is how the DAC distributes and regulates that linear regulated voltage inside the box.

    In the case of the D50, only the DAC chips are powered with linear regulators, which is already a good thing, but for the output Topping added a DC-DC switching supply that converts the +5v onto +/-8v.

    Whether that is or not audible can only be said after doing what I want to. That is picking the balanced output signal at the DACs,with three wires each, and taking it outside to an external output stage, powered with fully linear regulated +/-15v supplies.

    Then we can say the DAC was powered with linear supplies only.

    In the case of that small DAC, which I do not doubt may sound good, even if I make that TNT project USB + linear supply cable, the regulation INSIDE the DAC will certainly be switching type. It's how they do it.

    Next Black Friday I intend to buy a Topping D10 to use with my PC. The D10 has no separate power socket, DC comes with the USB, and I will do that separation between them.

    In that case I don't know if I will modify the output and add a linear supply for it. When the time comes I will have a look.

    That Allo Shanti regulated supply you suggested is quite expensive. I would suggest this one:

    Last edited: Sep 16, 2019
    Light - Man likes this.
  10. Slade01
    So are you doing this just to see if you can improve the sound quality? I mean the D50 itself is pretty dead quiet (no noise) to my ears. Is your aim to push the envelope in this regard (further noise reduction)?
  11. carlmart
    The question is not very low noise from the supply, but audio quality. How the power supply affects or not the audio quality.
  12. Slade01
    I'd imagine it does affect it to some degree. I'm no expert or engineer but I'd liken it to the same way different power tubes affect the sound in my tube amp...where ones that draw more/less power / provide different gain stages/ can make a sound cleaner or warmer, or dry and analytical. I'm sure what ever is part of that sound path of course affects SQ somehow. Hope you can build that into the d10 and let us know!
  13. ceausuc
    I know what you mean and you are perfectly right. I owned D50 and I still have a pretty clean (kind of DIY) 5V power supply.
    This power supply made an audible improvement to the tiny Sabaj da3 but wasn't able to improve D50 (to my ears of couse).
    Which means that D50 has a just as good power section or (as you suggest?) a bad one that negates the benefits of the clean supplied power.

    If you are looking for a nice little dac you shouldn't ignore Khadas Tone Board from the candidates list. It's still a naked board but they promised a cased version this year.

    I don't know what to say about Allo Shanti vs ebay PS but good power supplies are not cheap and Allo proved to have good price/performance products.
  14. carlmart
    I have been listening to the D50 a lot since I assembled my streaming system, using a Raspberry with PiCorePlayer, output through USB to the Topping, and then to the amp.

    With no mods, just with the linear power supply, the Topping D50 sounds superb.

    As my old CD player is at my brother's place, I can't make a comparison to it. Hopefully I will be able to compare the Topping on a Marantz, comparing the player's analog output with that coming out of the Topping. I'm curious to listen to that.

    No expectations though, except for certain differences that will be there. Question is whether how those differences sound: more life-like, more or less aggressive, and so on. It's wrong to use the terms "better" or "worst", and "different" is more precise.

    I can't quite understand what they plug the Khadas to.

    What I can say is that this eBay is quite a good design, circuit based on Jung's supply design, which is one of the best there is. I don't know what they put inside the Allo, but I guess it must be good too. Expensive though.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
  15. Baten
    The Khadas just needs USB or coax in, not unlike the D50. That's it. Just needs a case, too.

    What eBay power supply? The Allo has been in development for suite some time so it surely is good too, but yeah. Expensive.
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