I wanted to see what the new AKM4499 DAC was like after trying AKM4493, which lead me to Topping D90 DAC, which arrived today from Hong Kong.
I thought it would be interesting to start a journey with this DAC and engage the community to see their thoughts on the Topping D90.
- Digital audio transceiver: AK4118
- DAC: AK4499
- 4 TI OPA1612 OpAmps for Current to Voltage Conversion
- 3 TI LME49720 OpAmp for Pre-Amp output
- Power Supply TI TPS7A47 and TPS7A33 OpAmps
- USB: Xmos XU208
- USB: 44.1-768kHz/16bit-32 bit, DSD64-DSD512 ( Native), DSD64-DSD512 ( DOP)
- IIS-LVDS: 44.1-768kHz/16bit-32 bit, DSD64-DSD512
- Coax/Optical/AES-XLR 44.1-192kHz/16bit-24 bit
- Bluetooth 5.0: AAC/SBC/APTX/APTx LL/APTX HD/LDAC
- Stereo XLR:, 4 Vrms @ 0dBFS; Dynamic Range A-wt 127 dB @1kHz
- Stereo RCA : 2 Vrms @ 0dBFS; Dynamic Range A-wt 123 dB @1kHz
Weight: 1395 Grams vs. 786 Grams for Qutest
The DAC can operate with fixed output or with volume control: -99dB to 0dB
Power: The DAC has a built-in switchable power supply 110-120 50/60 Hz and 220V-240V 50/60 Hz and uses a standard IEC Power Cable. So no wall warts needed. Or one of my nits with the Chord Qutest, it used Micro-USB cable for power, I wish it used USB-C based connector which is more robust.
The body of the unit is extremely clean with round edges; the only sharp spot is where the faceplate meets the main body of the DAC aluminum housing(body). Here it could use a rolled edge.
My main DAC Chord Qutest with RCA out only, so the D90 will give some more input and output options. Most import ability to test XLR based inputs on my two, current main Headphone Amps: SPL Phonitor x and TCA HPA-1.
Unboxing of the D90 has an upgraded experience from the normal white styrofoam of many high-fi products. It comes in a nice storage box for the DAC with clean dividers for cables and the remote. Cardboard Material is similar in weight to what is used on the Chord Qutest storage box.
I need more time with it, but Initial listening tests.
One thing right out of the box, I needed to do first is run tone test to check levels. Out of the box, the stock volume was low compared to the Qutest, which I have set to 2-volt RMS output — checked with dB and FFT meter set level.
The signal chain is Qobuz -> DAC A or B -> into TCA HPA-1 headphone amplifier -> into Audeze LCD-4 headphones
LCD-4 Song List
- Louis Armstrong “Summertime”
- Gary Clark Jr “Bright Lights”
- John Lee Hooker “Jesse James”
- Elmore James “Dust my Blues”
- Hans Zimmer “Cornfield Chase”
- Ben Howard “Old Pine”
- Biffy Clyro “Many of Horror”
- John Lee Hooker “It Serves You Right to Suffer”( the Avener Rework)
- Stevie Ray Vaughn “Pride and Joy”
- Stevie Ray Vaughn “Texas Flood”
- The Cult “Sweet Soul Sister”
- The Cult “Brother Wolf/Sister Moon”
- Love and Rockets “Holiday on the Moon”
- Dead Kennedys “Star and Stripes of Corruption”
Both DAC’s are very good at the reproduction of detail with no distortion. They are both close in musicality and dynamics; they are both excellent DAC’s.
I decided to flip back to RAD-0 since its been my daily driver. It shows these two DACs put the performance emphasis on the headphones themselves. TCA HPA-1 headphone amp was also held it own with both Easy driving RAD-0 and more power-hungry and physically husky LCD-4.
RAD-0 Song list
- Ben Howard “Time is Dancing”
- Ben Howard “Evergreen”
- John Mayer “Gravity”
- John Mayer “Slow Dancing in a Bruning Room”
Need to pull back out the SPL Phonitor x the D90 with it.