Topping D90 DAC - Official Thread

That Google guy knows a lot. :thinking:


So I have the potential opportunity to possibly exchange my SU8V2 from the retailer I bought it from as the audio constantly drops out when the Quality of the track changes via Qobuz. I also know aside from the audible click in the headphones after the drop in audio the brittle sterile sound from that unit is not to my liking. If I was able to exchange obviously have to shell out the difference :confused: what pushed you toward the D90 vs the D70 I just don’t want another Dac that has a audible drop in the music as well as one that is over analytical brittle or bright sounding? Do you listen to yours via Qobuz? @Andrew_Davis


Great impressions @angstorms are you still enjoying the D90?

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I use Tidal and Amazon to stream and not had problems, but I’ve never tried Qobuz.

I bought a super low distortion,sterile,neutral, latest AKM chip DAC because this audio stuff is complicated enough without adding extra variables! :laughing:. What I mean by that is I wanted DAC that added as little as possible while I experiment with amps and headphones. And the D90 is very much that. Maybe once I get through all the amp headphone combos I’m interested in I’ll start playing with DACs. I mean, how long could that take?:joy:

Actually I have been spending time researching R2R dacs lately. So never say never, I suppose.


Cool thanks Andrew, I already have a pretty sterile and dry desktop THX amp so I would be looking at exchanging the sterile, audio dropping DAC for maybe something that sounds a bit smoother and doesn’t drop the audio during audio quality changes, which is why I thought maybe the D90 or D70 could replace the SMSLSU8 as the company I bought it from carries it and may be willing to exchange it. Hard to know without hearing it first though maybe @angstorms can confirm if there is any audible drop while listening via Qobuz when track quality changes.


I think one of the best “low distortion, sterile, neutral” dac’s is the Matrix Audio X-Sabre Pro MQA.

I’ve seen at least two members here whos opinions I highly respect refer to it as likely the best implementation of an ESS chipset.

There’s been one in the Community Preview Program in the past, if I remember correctly.


Sorry I was flying yesterday, I do not have audio Drops with Qobuz and D90


No worries thank you

I’d rate the Matrix X-Sabre Pro MQA as the best-sounding ESS-based DAC I’ve heard. And that includes when it is put up against things like the Merging NADAC. The Element:X is audibly indistinguishable from the X-Sabre Pro MQA as a DAC.

Perhaps more notably, if I drew up a list of my “Top 10” favorite DACs - it’s the only ESS-based unit that might qualify.

As for the D90/AKM4499 - I don’t think I’ve ever heard an AKM-based DAC that I would really describe as sterile (which is not to say there aren’t some turds based on the 449X stuff) - at least not in the same way as I mean it when that term comes up with the Sabre stuff (which I usually further qualify anyway in a proper evaluation).

And then regarding dropouts with the D90 during rate/format changes … I’ve not experienced that. It’s an early test I do when a new DAC comes in as part of evaluating functionality (which I usually do during a warm-up/burn-in phase).


Thank you @Torq I am trying to figure out what I should do, I know I want to part ways with the harsh sounding SMSL SU8 and don’t want to inadvertently get something else that sounds harsh or sterile so this is helpful.


The Matrix X-Sabre is the one I covet… :laughing:


@ValentineLuke I love the Bifrost LYR synergy so far, I just know I need something not so harsh sounding for my SMSL SP200THX and not dropping audio would be nice too, lol. I need to do some reading on the D90 vs the D70, too. I checked out the Matrix X-Sabre last night after you posted about it!


I moved from THX amp to ECP T4 tube amp


Very nice amp!!



Nice. @ProfFalkin mentioned this amp manufacturer in another thread, and prior to that I had never heard of them.

Looking forward to your impressions.

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I think I’m going to try this DAC “D90” out as it’s an AKM chip and I am told by the company that is doing an outside return policy exchange for me on My smsl SU8 to be nice that the D90 has the best most nuanced smoother delivery between the D70 or SU8.

They don’t carry RME or many of the other brands, since Ian @Torq thinks this should be fairly indistinguishable from the RME and I have a return credit, it seems to make the most sense as I trust his judgement 100%. It sounds like the AKM chips are pretty well enjoyed by most people and the technology is good and I don’t do MQA. I am hopping this gives me a smoother while still detailed presentation vs the SU8. :crossed_fingers:. They do carry the Matrix @ValentineLuke but that’s way too expensive for me at this time lol!


ECP Audio T4 Build by Beezar Audio


Funny that I liked the thread linked and a few posts in that thread, but I have no recollection… :thinking:

Having had a few concussions growing up is apparently revealing itself in an annoying way as I get older. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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Perhaps this has more to do with it than the concussions? It has for me.


I’m sure it’s a combination.

Aside from being hard on my body through physical activity, I’ve generally taken really good care of myself.

Starting about five years ago my health went south. Those activities came to collect. :laughing: