Topping D50 DAC Review

Introduction

I bought this DAC a while ago and have been using it for a few months now. I was previously using a huge Breeze Audio DAC with an ES9018 chip and I must admit it sounds really good. The main reason I decided to upgrade to the Topping D50 was firstly because I had issues with the old DAC not playing nice with my LG TV. The audio kept cutting out briefly when connected to optical but was fine with a PC’s optical connection. Secondly the Topping D50 was a lot smaller and took up less space on my desk plus it has the benefit of the newer ES9038Q2M in dual configuration.

Topping D50 DAC with the Whammy by Wayne Colburn and HiFiMan HE400i headphones.

Test Setup Parameters

I have been using this DAC with both the Whammy by Wayne Colburn and the NuHybrid by Pete Millett using stock OP Amps. The headphones I am using are the HiFiMan HE400i and test audio is either CD quality or higher using FLAC file format.

I will be using some hand picked tracks I enjoy listening to and often use for testing purposes:

Club/Trance Tracks:
Clark Owen feat. Lena Katina – Melody
Lena Katina – Never Forget
Yanou Presents Do – On and On (DJ’s@Work Remix)

Orchestral/Electronic:
Evanescence – Synthesis Album

Package Contents

The Topping D50 comes nicely packaged in protective foam that fits nicely in a strong box. The accessories are stored underneath the DAC and included are just a USB power cable and a USB data cable. No power supply is included. There is also a warranty card and a user manual in the box.

Unpacking the Topping D50: Nice strong box with protective foam padding.

Build Quality

This is certainly one strong and sturdy device indeed. The case is CNC machined from a solid block of aluminium and anodised for a durable finish. Even the power button and the joystick are made of aluminium. With all this in mind, its quite weighty for such a small device. One thing to note which may annoy some is that the joystick feels a tad loose and maybe a tiny bit rattly. This is probably down to machining tolerances.

Front view of the Topping D50. Simple with a layout that is easy to navigate.

Connections on the back of the device are pretty standard for smaller DAC’s and features an unbalanced RCA output with USB, optical and S/PDIF input options for flexibility. The connections feel really sturdy and not in any way flimsy so you know you are getting a good solid connection.

Rear view of the Topping D50. Unbalanced RCA output with three different input options.

Features

  • Supports upto PCM 32Bit/768kHz and DSD 512 (Native)
  • 3 x OPA1612 OP Amps
  • 2 x ES9038Q2M SABRE DAC Chips on board
  • Low THD+N at 0.0004%
  • XMOS XU208 USB Bridge with customised Thesycon drivers
  • Auto power on/off and auto display timeout functions
  • Flexible input options; USB / Coaxial / Optical
  • Adjustable volume for pre-out support
The Topping D50 has an easy to navigate menu with some useful features.

The main thing I like about the Topping D50 is that you get a lot of DAC at such an affordable price point in a nice solid and compact device. Two useful features that I really like is that it will switch on automatically when a signal source is detected and off again when there has been no signal for a period of time.

You can also set the display to timeout automatically when not touching the control buttons which is useful for preserving the life of the OLED screen whilst at the same time minimising distractions while listening to your music or TV for example.

Sound Quality

The first thing I did when I received the Topping D50 was connect it to my LG TV via the optical connection. I did a listening test for an hour to see how it performed compared to my old DAC. Well the sound did not cut out anymore which was great as that issue had been nagging me for a long time.

Between my two headphone amps, I would describe the sound from the Topping D50 to be clear, concise and quite analytical sounding. I did notice that on some of my Evanescence tracks that the treble in places on some instruments had a slight audible distortion which was not present on the Breeze Audio ES9018 DAC but other than that I really like the clean sound it produces. The Topping D50 also provides 7 PCM filters to tweak the sound profile although each change is only very subtle and I prefer to leave mine on mode 1.

Closing Thoughts

Overall I really enjoy the Topping D50 and if you are looking for a top performing DAC at a reasonable price then look no further. This is well worth the money for all of the capabilities it has to offer and is also a worthwhile upgrade if you want a nice clean sound and wide soundstage.

For more information about this product and other products please visit https://toppingaudio.com.

Topping D50 DAC

£180
8.5

Packaging

8.0/10

Build Quality

9.0/10

Features

8.5/10

Sound Quality

8.5/10

Affordability

8.5/10

Pros

  • Auto on/off and screen timeout features
  • Build quality is solid
  • Excellent price point for a powerful device
  • Wide soundstage and detailed sound signature

Cons

  • Joystick a little rattly and loose
  • Sound may be a little too analytical for some

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *