Topping D70 vs the passage of time.

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Day 3 of listening to it, and I'm still impressed by it. Actually, more like blown away by it. One of the most natural sounding DACs I've heard at any price. This employs the new AKM 4497 chip if that matters to anybody here. Subjective word is that it sounds more natural than the ubiquitous ESS SABRE, though as always I'm sure much of that would have to do with implementation. I have an ESS SABRE based DAC in the BMC PureDAC and always found it to have a bit of an electronic sheen over everything. This has none of that. Very natural, analog, non-electronic sound. I've heard much more expensive DACs that I've liked a lot less.

It arrived in a nice well padded box. It's a little worse for wear on the outside but it did its job, and protected it on its trip around the globe.

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Inside the box, it's nicely laid out. The DAC was smaller than I expected, going by the photos I saw.

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I grabbed the first thing in reach that would show some context for size. That happened to be one of my wife's size 7 1/2 ladies shoes.

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JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Very nice bud! When you have a moment, would you mind taking a front shot with the display on?
Will do...though I'm not around it at the moment. Any particular thing you're interested in? I've not played around with settings or filters yet. I plan on, at some point, trying to figure out how to get it out of dedicated DAC mode to use it, balanced, straight to my amp. There are several different filters to vary the sound a bit. And you can select the input/output choice from the front or remote.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
this isn't mine but it looks the same. Basically, input/output, volume and sampling frequency its locked onto. Some of that changes as you cycle through things. I vaguely recall seeing it say "DAC" when it turns on, which is indicative of it being set to stand-alone DAC with set volume, as opposed to DAC-PRE, with the variable volume.

It does not do MQA, unfortunately, but makes up for it in having even 16/44 sound really really fantastic...

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JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I have yet to make any direct comparisons but I'll say this, I like it at least as much as any digital source I've used. I can't say if its better or worse in direct comparison at the moment, but I find myself enjoying it in the same manner I did my other two favorite digital sources, which were my Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC, and my Meitner/EMM Labs CDSA cd player.

To put this in perspective, The EMM Labs CDSA was last sold for $11,500, the Berkeley Alph was around $5000 new. Both of them are from the late-mid 2000s (and no I didn't pay nearly those prices but this is for new-to-new comparison). The Topping dac was selling for around $400 yesterday on Amazon.

Is it as good or better? Hard to say but it is in that FAMILY of sound. Which is to say, its free of whatever it is that has made a lot of cheap digital sound like an electronic component trying to fake music, instead of sounding like the music itself. It does that trick and it does it well.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
I have yet to make any direct comparisons but I'll say this, I like it at least as much as any digital source I've used.
What sources have you used (or plan to use)? I'm curious if this DAC sounds similar using it's various different inputs, or if one particular input seems to be head and shoulders better than the rest. Of course that's a difficult or impossible direct comparison unless you've got a source that has for instance coax, Toslink, and AES/EBU output.

Even if not, I'm still curious how the different inputs perform and what sources you are using to drive this DAC.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
What sources have you used (or plan to use)? I'm curious if this DAC sounds similar using it's various different inputs, or if one particular input seems to be head and shoulders better than the rest. Of course that's a difficult or impossible direct comparison unless you've got a source that has for instance coax, Toslink, and AES/EBU output.

Even if not, I'm still curious how the different inputs perform and what sources you are using to drive this DAC.
I haven't had a chance to do a deep dive on different inputs/outputs yet, but will in time. So far I've only used COAX in, and RCA out. The digital source has been a BlueSound Node2 streaming from Tidal or from files on the BlueSound Vault2 in the other room. So mostly its been 16/44.1 with some half-converted MQA in there for good measure (it won't do its half of the conversion).

The only AES/EBU equipped device I have is from a usb-AES converter/clock I have, so I could plug that in off of my old computer that has some high res files on it. I've been meaning to get a Transport with an AES output, as my Berkeley Alpha sounds better that way..but I just sort of forgot about it once my CDs all got ripped to the server.

I'm also going to run it balanced straight to my DAC, leaving out my TVC...so I can use the balanced outputs.

I just haven't had hardly any spare time lately. So far its just been doing duty with my morning coffee listening, and its been a pleasure to listen to. Absolutely no digital glare/etch, just a very natural sound.

Oh, I haven't experimented with any of the filters yet, either. So this will be ongoing...
 

TubeHiFiNut

Administrator
I haven't had a chance to do a deep dive on different inputs/outputs yet, but will in time. So far I've only used COAX in, and RCA out. The digital source has been a BlueSound Node2 streaming from Tidal or from files on the BlueSound Vault2 in the other room. So mostly its been 16/44.1 with some half-converted MQA in there for good measure (it won't do its half of the conversion).

The only AES/EBU equipped device I have is from a usb-AES converter/clock I have, so I could plug that in off of my old computer that has some high res files on it. I've been meaning to get a Transport with an AES output, as my Berkeley Alpha sounds better that way..but I just sort of forgot about it once my CDs all got ripped to the server.

I'm also going to run it balanced straight to my DAC, leaving out my TVC...so I can use the balanced outputs.

I just haven't had hardly any spare time lately. So far its just been doing duty with my morning coffee listening, and its been a pleasure to listen to. Absolutely no digital glare/etch, just a very natural sound.

Oh, I haven't experimented with any of the filters yet, either. So this will be ongoing...
You have really piqued my curiosity regarding the Topping D70.

I have been quite impressed with the build quality and performance of the Topping T60 amp. Glad to hear that their DACs are also good.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
This is what AKM has to say about the DAC chips, AKM 4497, used in this unit:

"The AK4497 is a next flagship, premium, 32-bit, 2-channel DAC based on AKM’s VELVET SOUND™ technology. It provides low-distortion characteristics of -116 dB THD+N DAC with 128 dB S/N. The AK4497 currently has the best performance among AKM’s D/A converters. In addition, the AK4497 integrates a switched capacitor filter over sampling ratio doubler (OSRD) technology, making it able to support a wide range of signals and achieve low out-of-band noise all while consuming low power.

The AK4497 has six types of 32-bit digital filters, for simple and flexible sound tuning in a wide range of applications. The AK4497 accepts up to 768 kHz PCM data and 22.4 MHz direct stream digital (DSD) data, making it ideal for a high-resolution audio source playback that is as close as possible to the original acoustic source. The product is industry leading and has low-level distortion characteristics and a wide dynamic range."
 

opa1

Moderator
Staff member
This is looking very interesting. I could eliminate the SYS in my set up and run direct from the D70 to amp and have remote too!
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
I'm also going to run it balanced straight to my DAC, leaving out my TVC...so I can use the balanced outputs.
That should be very interesting, on the one hand the TVC isn't exactly known to be lacking sonically speaking (quite the opposite actually), however losing that entire stage and it's associated cables and going full balanced may prove surprisingly good.

Digital volume control has come a long way, the old ones truly sucked and were not worth using at all, however the newer 32-bit implementations are pretty darn good, especially in dual mono configuration as in the D70.
 

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
This is what AKM has to say about the DAC chips, AKM 4497, used in this unit:

"The AK4497 is a next flagship, premium, 32-bit, 2-channel DAC based on AKM’s VELVET SOUND™ technology. It provides low-distortion characteristics of -116 dB THD+N DAC with 128 dB S/N. The AK4497 currently has the best performance among AKM’s D/A converters. In addition, the AK4497 integrates a switched capacitor filter over sampling ratio doubler (OSRD) technology, making it able to support a wide range of signals and achieve low out-of-band noise all while consuming low power.

The AK4497 has six types of 32-bit digital filters, for simple and flexible sound tuning in a wide range of applications. The AK4497 accepts up to 768 kHz PCM data and 22.4 MHz direct stream digital (DSD) data, making it ideal for a high-resolution audio source playback that is as close as possible to the original acoustic source. The product is industry leading and has low-level distortion characteristics and a wide dynamic range."
Velvet sound? Have you tried any Mel Torme?
 

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
If it had an analog in, I could get rid of my preamp altogether. As sacrilegious as it sounds, I've grown accustomed, and totally comfortable, with all of my audio being in the digital domain.
 
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