In this article, we review the $139 USD Topping D10 Balanced DAC.
Disclaimer: ShenzhenAudio sent us the Topping D10 Balanced for this review, free of charge. I only covered the customs fees & taxes. All thoughts and experiences with the product are naturally my own.
Topping Electronics & Technology, known as ‘TOPPING’, is based in Guangzhou, China, and was established in 2008. They design some of the best DACs and AMPs when it comes to the price-to-performance ratio. They have a dedicated R&D team of skilled engineers and audiophiles. In addition to that, they are heavily invested in the latest audio testing machinery such as the APx555 from Audio Precision. Of course, all of this means one thing for us consumers, better devices! I have used many Topping products in the past, the oldest two I remember are the TP30 and the NX1. The year was 2013 I believe. I never had any problems with their products despite using 25+ of them throughout the years. They have a really good track record, performance-wise, in my book. Today we’ll be reviewing one of their latest DACs, the D10 Balanced, also known as the D10B. It is Topping’s latest USB-powered, high-performance, budget DAC.
You can find all of our Topping reviews here.
Topping D10B Balanced Desktop DAC
Topping D10 Balanced is a budget-oriented, high-performance, plug-n-play DAC that can decode PCM up to 32bit-768kHz and DSD up to DSD256, natively, via USB. It is powered by the ESS Technology’s ES9038Q2M premium-tier DAC. I have listed the highlights of the D10B below.
- ESS Technology ES9038Q2M DAC
- XMOS XU208 USB Controller
- Balanced TRS Output + XLR (via TRS to XLR Adapter)
- 16bit-32bit, PCM 44.1kHz-768kHz
- DSD DSD64-DSD256 (Native Support)
- Optical Toslink, Coax & USB Inputs
- Auto Power On/Off
Packaging & Accessories
Topping’s D10B comes in a medium-sized, white rectangular box. The classic Topping packaging, model name slapped on a barcoded sticker on the side, no specs, the usual. Upon opening the box, you’re welcomed by the foam compartment that protects the device from damage during transportation.
As for the accessories, Topping provides you a USB-A to USB-B cable, two TRS male to XLR female adapters, a couple of manuals and that’s it. The device is fed through the USB port so you don’t need anything else to use the device apart from interconnect cables. The XLR interconnects are easier to find in some countries than TRS interconnects so it’s quite nice that Topping included the XLR adapters in the package.
Design & Build Quality
Measuring 10.3 x 14.6 x 3.6 centimeters, the D10B DAC is small and compact. It features 3-piece aluminum chassis with Topping’s classic orange display on the front. The unit is available in silver and black color. My unit is in black and the brushed aluminum texture looks very chic.
The build on the other hand is, as expected. It is built to last with its aluminum chassis and all the connectors feel solid & sturdy. I can’t see any assembly issues or imperfections on the chassis. Topping has improved their QC throughout the years and they have been quite consistent with their build quality last two years. Additionally, rubber feet can be seen under the device helping the lightweight body stay put.
The device layout is clean, all the I/O options are located on the rear side of the device. We see the TRS 1/4 balanced out, coaxial, optical, and USB inputs, side by side. Topping’s signature orange font display can be seen on the front. The unit has no button or any means of navigation available. It is a simple plug-n-play device.
Technology & Features
Although Topping does not give many details about the audio board, the specifications and measurement numbers are quite interesting. Compared to the past, you had to pay a fortune for a DAC with such numbers, but now you can have it for a little over a hundred bucks. This shows the point that technology and competition have come to.
The D10B utilizes ESS’s ES9038Q2M premium tier DAC and Topping’s custom proprietary audio and power stage. It comes equipped with the XMOS’ XU208 USB controller that enables it to natively run PCM up to 32bit-784kHz and DSD up to DSD256. It also runs driverless in MAC OS, Linux, and other compatible devices. For Windows, you’ll need this driver to fully utilize the USB controller in the device. The D10B can’t be used with Android or iOS due to insufficient current. However, if you are an engineer or an enthusiast, you can try separating the power and data cables and try supplying power to the device from another source such as a battery pack. Just a quick thought for you my fellow tinkerers out there. On an additional note, the device has no official MQA capability.
The review continues on Page Two, after the click HERE or by using the jump below.
Page 2: Usage, Performance & Sound, Comparisons, Last Words