Topping D70 vs the passage of time.

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I have gotten word that the Topping D70 I ordered from Drop has shipped. Now, where in the world it is I have no idea, as USPS has yet to pick it up from wherever its headed from.

If/when it gets here I'm going to offer up some listening and user impressions of it, and I will do a listening comparison between it and my first generation Berkeley Alpha DAC. Will the passage of more than a decade and all the advantages of overseas manufacture unseat what was once a state of the art and MUCH more expensive DAC? Will they, well, sound basically the same? Will I like using one more than the other? Who knows!? I really don't care one way or the other, I just needed another DAC. My preference would be that it sounds better than the older DAC but if it doesn't, well... my experience with other DACs also suggests that it'll be a game of inches, not yards and certainly not miles.

Stay tuned.
 

Audionut

Next Round Is On Me
“The drop” is a fickle mistress; she either gets the package to you in lightning fast time or takes what seems to be an eternity. I experienced both with two separate purchases. Thinking the topping d10 took forever too.
Looking forward to reading your impressions!
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Audio Science Review of D70 with 431 replies an 60+ thousand views!
Has pretty kick ass measurements. Not a bad starting place. AKM chipset rather than ESS Sabre.
That thread is what made me curious about it. Given its measurements I expect it to perform very well, and am really just curious how it sounds as a whole unit, in context. I can't hope to compete with their objective take on it and also am not interested in proving it right or wrong. Just really kind of want to hear what their best measure DAC sounds like in my setup.
 

mhardy6647

Señor Member
Could I just use this opportunity to mention that our son had two lens caps shipped to our house by B&H Photo this week? Two lens caps... arrived in a box that could comfortably hold a good-sized pair of shoes. :p 540 inch^3 (which, if I calculate right, is 0.3 ft^3) -- I measured it.
😎 The box weighs more than the lens caps.

Thus the economics of shipping in the 21st century.

🙄
 

MikeT.

Senior Member
I look at specs and generally use them as a starting point to go further unless I REALLY like the looks of a piece of gear, like the Jadis I-35. I remember Stereophile panned the measurements but went on to say it sounded really good.
If I ever get to actually listen to the Jadis, and I have any money, I hope it sounds bad.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
The Topping has arrived.

My first reaction? It's smaller than expected. Well packaged. And physically seems really well made. The instructions are mostly in a Chinese but it would seem this one has arrived set for use as a component DAC rather than a DAC-pre, as I cannot figure out how to get the volume to work. This is all fine by me, as that's what I bought it for. Were I looking for a DAC-pre I think I'd be pretty annoyed but... ?

I have listened to it a LOT in the past 12 hours but haven't been able to form much of an opinion on it, because the moment it got in the door my wife decided that she wanted to relive her youth and so we spent the entire first evening with it tanked up a bit on Sake and blasting 1990s alt-rock from two continents (she's Colombian) at jet-engine volume. This seemed like as good of a plan as any for shaking any dust off the thing from its voyage across the seas. That music, however, is probably some of the worst recorded music in the history of recorded music, so it was a bit of a "whatever! let's go!" moment for the poor Topping.

Things calmed down as the Sake wore off and some better-sounding source material has run through it and my first reaction is...VERY NICE.

I'll have a lot more to say about it in the next days/weeks. It'll be awhile before I can get to the aural comparison with the Berkeley Alpha, and my BMC sabre-based DAC.

But I have to say, I'm really impressed with the sound so far. It's as the measurements suggest, which shouldn't be a surprise. But, again, I've not always experienced a perfect correlation with such things. It's not bright, its rather surprisingly open sounding with deep authoritative bass that doesn't muddy up things or get congested. It also let a lot of early/mid 1990s music sound as bad as it could sound.. a spotlight is not friendly to a lot of that stuff.

Very happy so far.
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
It seems like the D70 was a really wise purchase. The specs are incredible and it seems the real-world results bear them out - not always the case as you pointed out. The price is certainly more than reasonable as well!
 

S0und Dragon

Junior Member
That is great news bud! I remember being more than pleased with my D30 and the new curator is pleased as punch too! This has potential to be a real bargain at its current list price. Keep us informed as the unit matures in your system.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
There’s a bit of irony here in that this was bought as “the objective DAC” and yet it’s one of the most audiophile sounding DACs I’ve run across. By that I mean it’s the usual audiophile catch phrases. Open, transparent, detailed. It’s not going to make everything sound the same. I've rarely come across a digital component that is less editorial in its presentation. Which is strange because theoretically they should almost be interchangeable. Every recording is either fantastic or terrible depending on how competently it was mastered.

So far so good. Great actually. Already it’s intrigued me more in the main system than the Berkeley Alpha and BMC did.

Maybe both sides of the subjective objective divide are after the same thing... I’ve long suspected they were.
 
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JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I'd say the one thing that has surprised me most is how fleshed out everything is. A lot of the 'cheap' (its all relative) digital I've heard has just sounded more two dimensional, kind of paper-cutouts-of-musicians, not this real, in the flesh, fooled-my-mind, they're in the room, kind of sound. I think some folks might think its a bit thin sounding if they're used to older CD players or some of the cheaper DACs that kind of put a haze over things that clumps it all together. Everything's sorted here, without it being sorted so much that it no longer holds up as a song (a criticism I've had of some of the super high end DACs I've heard).

Hmm...any drawbacks to it? Well I've heard DACs that have more dynamic bass impact. But my system really doesn't excel at that, so its not the place to really judge that. All in all, I'm guess its a matter of my room/setup being a bit lowest bass shy and it not having any desire to help out there beyond what's neutral.
 
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