The original Topping D10 has been quite a few years on the market already, quite long for a competitive DAC market, so the company brought a refresh in the form of D10s. Now let us dive into this review and check what’s changed and what’s not.
Build and Features
From the outside, it looks like nothing really changed. The design is exactly the same, with the same orange display and lack of any controls. The unit turns on and off automatically with your computer. The Remote is still not included and the volume is fixed, so D10s is a pure old DAC just like its predecessor.
Talking about connectivity, there’s still only one input and that’s the USB. Both optical and coaxial are actually digital outputs, and that means you can use D10s as a digital bridge that can also feed a digital signal to an external D/A converter. A pair of RCA connectors provide analog output with a fixed-line level of approximately 2 Volts.
Well, is there anything new you ask. Yes, there is, but on the inside. D/A converter went from Sabre ES9018K2M to a more capable ES9038Q2M. Add some circuitry optimization to it and we basically have a completely new product in our hands. Let’s give it a spin, shall we?
Topping D10s is definitely a new and different DAC, sonically capable of taking down the original D10 with ease. The bassline is tight and well-controlled which lends this DAC a good sense of rhythm. Going above it, everything feels well balanced and D10s is a neither dark nor bright-sounding device. Vocals are well present and nicely focused, quite rich with details but not lacking body. The same goes for the instruments and I’m happy to report that D10s doesn’t lack details but it’s also not overly analytical and thin the way some Toppings used to be in the past.
In terms of dynamics, D10s sounds as lively and jumpy as any DAC in this price range. Fear not of thin and compressed presentation so typical for some earlier budget models coming out from China.
When it comes to the sound-stage, there’s decent width but not much depth to talk of. The separation between the instruments is very good, and there are sufficient focus and layering to make sense of busier tracks.
FX-Audio DAC-X6 MKI is an even more affordable DAC/AMP combo that I really like. Being a dedicated DAC however, has it’s perks and D10s offers a bit more of sound-stage depth. Other than that, the most obvious difference is a more full-bodied presentation and lack of any midrange dryness. So if you don’t need all of the perks X6 MKII offers, D10s is a more capable DAC.
Topping E30 is a $30 more but offers a remote, more digital inputs, and a choice between pure DAC and preamp mode. There’s not much sonic difference out of the box, E30 has a smoother presentation, a wider sound-stage, and a weightier but slightly softer baseline. D10s, on the other hand, is more focused and better controlled in the bass region – so I’d call it a tie. But E30 does have an ace in its sleeve and that’s a separate power connector that D10s doesn’t have. Feed it with a low noise power supply such as iFi iPower and it will spread its wings, providing overall clarity and dynamics that D10s just can’t match.
Topping D10s looks the same, but it’s actually a proper upgrade on the inside. It is a capable device that will not disappoint the first-time DAC buyers or anybody moving from a few years old budget models such as the original D10 or D30. If there’s an argument against D10s, it would be the existence of a slightly more expensive and more feature-packed E30. That said if you don’t feel like needing those additional features, and you’re certain you wouldn’t upgrade your DAC with a low noise power supply, Topping D10s is as good a budget DAC as they come.
|TOPPING D10s – CHARACTERISTICS|
Power supply: DC 5 V / 0.5 A