Topping is indulged in offering desktop and portable audio components like amplifiers, headphones, DACs, and more to those who look for simple, affordable options.
The company stands out for producing some of the budget-oriented products with high performance like the D10. The DAC is loaded with a distinctive set of features and costs almost half than other products in the market.
In this review, we try to understand what exactly this affordable DAC from Topping offers. We talk about the features, pros, and cons of the product to help potential buyers make an informed decision.
Topping D10 Review – UPDATED 2021
The Topping D10 is introduced as a solution that balances performance with affordability. It tends to outperform the more popular bang-for-the-buck models with the ESS chipset and powerful features like LED display and aluminum case.
- Excellent build quality
- Functions as a digital bridge
- Large LED display
- Audible transparency
- Auto power on and off
- Excellent performance metrics
- A limited number of inputs and outputs
- Basic aluminum enclosure design
Design and Construction
The D10 uses the ESS ES9018K2M which are generally low-power 2-channel parts intended for mobile use. However, this DAC achieves much better performance than others with this chip. It uses brushed aluminum chases to give it a clean and sturdy look. You can find only one input which is USB. At the rear, you can find digital output connections.
D10 has a large LED display with colored text showing the sampling frequency of tracks being played. There are no knobs, remote, or volume controls. The display is not so slick as MOLED but is quite functional and readable across the room. The orange color seems to be easy on the eyes and it adjusts the brightness automatically.
The USB interface is class-2 compliant which means it easily works as a plug-and-play on modern systems. The DAC is capable of converting USB to SPDIF output, making it a USB streaming DAC.
Digital Bridge Mode
The coaxial and optical output connections on the rear of the D10 take the signal from the USB input and passes along another DAC for analog conversion. You need not connect any analog RCA outputs; just connect one of the digital outputs and the DCA works as a digital bridge. An extra benefit of using the component as a digital bridge via optical cable is to get rid of any ground loop noise problem. The connection does not transmit any noise to the amplifier and DAC.
Topping D10 DAC – What You Should Know?
Topping D10 comes loaded with everything you would find in a high-quality DAC. Some of the main attractions are the ability to work as a digital bridge, easy replacement of amps, and USB functionality. The ESS chip allows processing sound with up to 384 kHz/32-bit resolution and a DSD of up to 11.2MHz.
Let us look at the technical specifications of this DAC.
- Power input – 5V DC
- Input – USB
- Digital Output – coax/opt
- Frequency response – 20Hz – 20kHz
- Output impedance – 100ohms
- Dimensions – 4.1 x 5.7 x 1.5 inches
- Weight – 314 g
The D10 is powered by a USB connection to the computer and requires no special power source. You can see three lines on the display when no digital signal is available and it automatically converts to a single dot after a few minutes of inactivity.
The D10 can directly communicate with Windows 10 if the latest updates are installed. You can easily change the sample rate to high-res in Windows by going to the panel for Speakers Properties. Go to the Windows Settings-Sound and select D10 in the box that lists the speakers. Click on Device Properties.
If you select a sample rate of 384/s, the Windows driver will put that out and the D10 screen will show. The Windows up-samples to 384k samples per second regardless of the sampling rate. With upsampling, the DAC gets pushed to its maximum rate, reducing performance. The solution is to reduce the sampling rate to the maximum rate. For example, if the file has a rate of 96k samples/sec, you can choose to go down to 24bit 96 k per second.
If the file exceeds the sample rate of the DAC, the Windows 10 driver samples it down to 96k samples/s. This is a highly necessary function. The computer’s internal sound card gets everything sampled down to 48k samples per second.
The sound delivered by the Topping D10 is detailed and balanced. Mids are neutral while bass goes deep. There is no sibilance in vocals which keeps it natural to a great extent. When you listen to highs, you feel them balanced with detail and brightness without being too edgy or sharp. When compared to a USB stick, the soundstage is a little wider and bass deeper. The overall sound is bigger and fuller.
Topping D10 Vs D30 – How It Differs?
Topping D30 is a high-performance DAC with coaxial and optical inputs along with USB while the D10 only has a USB input. The D30 is designed to support 16bit-24 bit/ 32-192kHz PCM input and DSD64, DSD128 input. Apart from the input types, the two amplifiers differ in terms of the built-in DAC. The Topping D10 features ES9018K2M DAC while the D30 has a CS4398.
The Topping D30 is somewhat bigger in size and weight as compared to the D10. The sample resolution rate of D10 is 32bit/384kHz while the D30 has a rate of 24bit/192kHz. The signal-to-noise ratio is a little higher for D30. Both the models have an aluminum construction with a number of similar features including system compatibility and interfaces. The Topping D30 has extras like a power switch and input selector.
The D30 is an older version of D10 and about 25% more pricey though it justifies the price difference. The D30 sounds more natural as compared to D10 with a wider soundstage. The notes strike with better body and energy, delivering an overall more appealing sound. D30 also comes with extra digital inputs but there are no digital outputs just like D10.
Aimpire AD10 Vs Topping D10 – How They Compare?
Aimpire AD10 is an audio component that resembles a lot to the Topping D10 but has a few critical differences. Both these are HiFi DAC equipped with line, optical and coaxial outputs. The Aimpire AD10 is compatible with 16-32 bit and DSD256. You can connect the coaxial or optical output of the device to your DAC to use it as a USB interface. It outputs a 16-24bit/44.1-192kHz signal when used as a USB interface.
Just like the Topping D10, Aimpire AD10 uses XMOS XU208 for USB interface and custom drivers for compatibility with high-resolution files like DSD. They connect easily to the amp or headphone input to become a part of the HiFi system and deliver excellent sound quality when playing high-resolution files. Both these DACs support multiple operating systems including Windows, Mac OS, Android, and Apple. The Aimpire AD10 also has an automatic on/off function whereby it switches on/off synchronously with the computer.
Topping D10 – Where to Buy?
Topping should not be confused with other Chinese products generally sold by Amazon third-party sellers and eBay. Topping is a different brand than what you see on listings with similar names. If you want to buy it on Amazon, choose to see only what it sells directly and not pick a third-party seller. You can find Topping D10 in the amplifier category on the website along with other products from the company.
Another reputed dealer for Topping products is Parts Express which offers 60-day returns as well but requires paying a shipping charge. You should make sure you see Topping as the manufacturer when buying this product from Amazon. Other companies like Aimpire offer similar looking product which may not give the same performance. Topping D10 has an FCC certification and RoHS certification that confirm the quality of this unit. You can buy the product directly from Amazon or other genuine sellers for about $99.
Topping D10 combines excellent performance with a budget price though you don’t get an extensive set of features. If you simply need a great performing DAC with USB input and RCA output, this model is surely the right pick for you. While more money buys you more features, the Topping D10 is the best value DAC you can add to your music system.
It is an excellent choice for those who need no fancy features like a volume knob and headphone output and is on a budget. It looks clean and well-built and is backed by certification. It offers amazing measured performance and a high output to drive any amplifier.