Topping D70 vs the passage of time.

Lol, I'm Don, not John, and I guess I'd say yes, I think it's great, though mine has some modifications, as detailed by GaryB above. I am sure John may chime in here later.

What are you using for a DAC now?
Oops. Sorry, since you replied to my post addressed to John, I didn't paid too much attention and just assumed it was John who replied. My apologies.

I am not using any DACs right now, I am just starting to build my system. I used to be a big HiFi head, worked at a large regional electronic chain store when I was in high school, that's how I was introduced into the world of pristine sounding equipment's.

Just recently, decades later, I've upgraded my Adcom pre-amp and amp combo to an Yamaha A-S2200 integrated (I know there are a lot of audiophiles out there who would laugh at an equipment that's not from a boutique company of the likes of Krell, Classe, Parasound, Musical Fidelity, McIntosh and Luxman, but we can save that discussion for another day). Still running on my 20+ year old Mission speakers (when it was made in the UK, though I will upgrade those eventually) and just got a refurbish PC as my digital source (use for streaming). I plan to use the USB input on the D70 with my PC. I also still have a 20+ year old Sony XA3-ES CD player, which I will also send the digital signal to the D70 and use it as a transport only; that too will be upgraded eventually.

I really wanted a dual mono setup and easy on the wallet, hence I am looking to get the D70. I was also considering the Gustard A-22, but not ready to spend that kind of money yet (I was told by apos.audio that the Gustard X-26 is discontinued).
 
Oh. . .and I put my order in for the Topping D70. I studied EE in college, but I have zero interest in doing any mods. So I am hoping I like the DAC and I don't have to exercise the 30 day return policy with apos.audio.
 
Lol, I'm Don, not John, and I guess I'd say yes, I think it's great, though mine has some modifications, as detailed by GaryB above. I am sure John may chime in here later.

What are you using for a DAC now?
Can you (or anyone else for that matter) also make some recommendation on XLR cables? I'm not on either the cables believer camp or the cables snake oil camp. I do believe that quality cables make from quality materials with proper shielding makes a difference in sound, but I don't believe in spending hundreds or even thousands on cables exotic design and exotic materials.
 

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
Actually spending some time listening to my D70 this morning. I fear it got a bit of a short shrift when I first got it. The room and system were well short of setup correctly, and then I ended up finding the DAC I really wanted, so the Topping went back in the box and recently emerged for home theatre duty.
This morning, in an effort to sort out the Raspberry Pi not being cooperative, I plugged it in to make sure the DAC wasn't the problem.
Right now, I'm listening to a high res 24/192 file of Sinatra's In The Wee Small Hours, and it's sounding truly lovely. What an exceptional audio value.
 
It is on my list of "budget upgrades" for the future. Right now Im running a Schiit Bifrost 4490. Ive been happy with it but know there is better sounding (not 6 of one/half a dozen of the other/personal preferences) out there.
 
Actually spending some time listening to my D70 this morning. I fear it got a bit of a short shrift when I first got it. The room and system were well short of setup correctly, and then I ended up finding the DAC I really wanted, so the Topping went back in the box and recently emerged for home theatre duty.
This morning, in an effort to sort out the Raspberry Pi not being cooperative, I plugged it in to make sure the DAC wasn't the problem.
Right now, I'm listening to a high res 24/192 file of Sinatra's In The Wee Small Hours, and it's sounding truly lovely. What an exceptional audio value.
It indeed is a nice sounding DAC, especially for the money. I would love to hear feedback from those who also owns Schiit DACs and how they compare it. All the Schiit DACs uses EI transformers and even the Yggy can only handle up to 24/192 (not sure if that is the limitation of the Analog Device DAC it uses or their design), and looking at the pictures of the internal built quality it doesn't seem all that high quality. But everyone raves about Schiit DACs, so would love to hear from someone who owns both.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I've come -this close- so many times to buying a Schiit DAC but everytime I get close to puling the trigger my marketing spidey sense tingles and I walk away. For those who don't know I work pretty deep into the world of advertising and sometimes the way something is marketed and the online behavior that forms around it just pushes all of my "stay away" buttons, and Schiit happens to be one of those times. This is not based on any first hand experience, it's not all that rational, and its probably unfair to Schiit. Plus I know of at least one very happy Yggdrasil owner among my close friends.

Which is a weird way of saying it, but I'd relish the chance to listen to a Yggdrasil in my system. Were the Earth not in such a weird place I'd bug my friend to trade me for a week for my Berkeley Alpha or the Topping. I'd guess that the differences would be less than the internet makes them out to be, but also that it'd come down to the variable of human taste.

So if anybody has a chance to compare, please share your thoughts.
 
I've actually had to register here just now to share my thoughts on the D70.
This thread was probably the deciding factor on leading me to buy one of these things.
I'm certainly not one to spend 500 of anything on Hifi, but thought I'd give it a go, as I was, and am, perhaps always chasing
ways to get my digital side to sound closer to my (considerably cheaper) record player.
I'll try and make this as short as possible.
Bought D70 - thought it was marginally better and more spacious than my previous DAC; a FIIO X3 (Version 1)
After a few weeks I swapped back to my FIIO to check if I could sell the Topping and rekindle some dosh...then found myself going back to the Topping.
No idea why, but I preferred it for some reason.
Bought MHDT Canary DAC (Complete Hifi upgrade insanity setting in) Sounded nice, possibly nicer through headphones...used it for a couple of weeks...Then...
Went back to D70.
The MHDT is back in the box.
I think that is a true testament to the quality of this unit. The D70 is a fantastic sounding piece.

Phil
 

S0und Dragon

Moderator and Circus Hand.
Staff member
I've actually had to register here just now to share my thoughts on the D70.
This thread was probably the deciding factor on leading me to buy one of these things.
I'm certainly not one to spend 500 of anything on Hifi, but thought I'd give it a go, as I was, and am, perhaps always chasing
ways to get my digital side to sound closer to my (considerably cheaper) record player.
I'll try and make this as short as possible.
Bought D70 - thought it was marginally better and more spacious than my previous DAC; a FIIO X3 (Version 1)
After a few weeks I swapped back to my FIIO to check if I could sell the Topping and rekindle some dosh...then found myself going back to the Topping.
No idea why, but I preferred it for some reason.
Bought MHDT Canary DAC (Complete Hifi upgrade insanity setting in) Sounded nice, possibly nicer through headphones...used it for a couple of weeks...Then...
Went back to D70.
The MHDT is back in the box.
I think that is a true testament to the quality of this unit. The D70 is a fantastic sounding piece.

Phil
Congratulations and welcome. I look forward to anymore impressions that you may share on your DAC journey!
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I've actually had to register here just now to share my thoughts on the D70.
This thread was probably the deciding factor on leading me to buy one of these things.
I'm certainly not one to spend 500 of anything on Hifi, but thought I'd give it a go, as I was, and am, perhaps always chasing
ways to get my digital side to sound closer to my (considerably cheaper) record player.
I'll try and make this as short as possible.
Bought D70 - thought it was marginally better and more spacious than my previous DAC; a FIIO X3 (Version 1)
After a few weeks I swapped back to my FIIO to check if I could sell the Topping and rekindle some dosh...then found myself going back to the Topping.
No idea why, but I preferred it for some reason.
Bought MHDT Canary DAC (Complete Hifi upgrade insanity setting in) Sounded nice, possibly nicer through headphones...used it for a couple of weeks...Then...
Went back to D70.
The MHDT is back in the box.
I think that is a true testament to the quality of this unit. The D70 is a fantastic sounding piece.

Phil
Hi Phil, and welcome. I’m happy I didn’t inspire a dead end path. The Topping has kind of taken me in the same way. It doesn’t wow, I just miss it when I try other DACs. I still have the Berkeley, in a box, but I sold my other DAC, a BMC Sabre based DAC.

Good luck with it. I hope you continue to enjoy it as much as I enjoy mine. I keep thinking about the D90 but I really don’t feel I’m missing anything I really really need. Stick around, we could use more folks!
 
The fact that you compared it favourably with the Berkeley was the main reason I picked one up, as I like the idea of a bargain.
I've also had a brief look at the D90. Saw someone online saying that it was better than the D70.
As we all know though, better to one person may not be better to another.
There is one way to find out, and for me that would involve picking up one second hand and living with it for a little while.
Either way, the D70 is my first experience with Topping, and I can safely say I'm impressed.
It seems their sound signature fits my taste.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
I've also had a brief look at the D90. Saw someone online saying that it was better than the D70.
I think the biggest difference between the two is that the D90 is a fully balanced circuit, however if your pre/amp combo is not also fully balanced, then that may or may not make any big audible difference.
 
I think the biggest difference between the two is that the D90 is a fully balanced circuit, however if your pre/amp combo is not also fully balanced, then that may or may not make any big audible difference.

This is actually a big relief. You may well have saved me some time/money.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Yeah it uses the newer DAC chip and its implemented differently than the previous chip(s) in the D70... but I don't understand the technical details so I'll not venture into them. My question is whether its a matter of just better specs or do the better specs translate to anything above the threshold of audibility. As it is I'm happy with it, I've somehow managed to pry myself off of the has-to-be-best train and really don't care to spend several hundred dollars more for whatever improvement there might or might not be. I'm just not that curious anymore, as I'm actually.... content.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
Thats why I said "I think the biggest difference", because a true differential balanced circuit can be a big difference, assuming the rest of the associated system electronics are also fully balanced. Newer and slightly different iterations of DAC chip don't tend to offer earth shaking types of audible differences in my opinion, but admittedly that's a generalization.

The D70 also has "balanced looking" XLR output connectors just like the D90, but it is not a true balanced circuit.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
Ive been told by a member here that the current $200 Schiit Modius DAC (AKM 4493) sounds better than the $450 Schiit Bifrost 4490 from about 5 years ago.
Right but is the only difference between those two models the DAC chip employed, or are there other differences to the circuit that can account for sonic differences?

For sure one difference is the Modius' Unison USB input, however I have no idea if that member actually uses USB or not. Another difference is likely the fully balanced design of the Modius, I don't think the original Bifrost was balanced.

To @JohnVF 's point, the data sheet of any new iteration of a DAC chip is not necessarily going to tell you much about any audible difference, as the test bench specs (perfect world scenario) themselves long ago reached a level of performance likely above the threshold of audibility, and from that point it comes down more to the specific implementation in any given circuit as the likely differentiator.

I also find it interesting that some very old DAC chip designs, most notably the Philips TDA1541/3 but also certain others from Ultra Analog, Analog Devices, and more, have gained a cult-like status for sound quality. So it seems newer isn't automatically better with regard to DAC chipset. Some folks swear they hate the sound of every single delta-sigma based DAC they've ever heard.
 

je2a3

Senior Member
I also find it interesting that some very old DAC chip designs, most notably the Philips TDA1541/3 but also certain others from Ultra Analog, Analog Devices, and more, have gained a cult-like status for sound quality. So it seems newer isn't automatically better with regard to DAC chipset. Some folks swear they hate the sound of every single delta-sigma based DAC they've ever heard.
I belong to this minority...back to the TDA1541 with some tweaks after 30 some years.😊
 
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