LOW as in LOW measurements! WOW. Talk about IMPRESSIVE STUFF. This is a teaser before the full review comes out next week. Hopefully either the section of review or more likely a totally separate review of the Topping E70 AKM Velvet drops at the same time.
Until then, feast on these numbers. Yeah I know you can find similar at a particular website that has the unbelievable privilege and advantage of using state of the art Audio Precision hardware and software. But for those of us in a lower earth orbit, the day has arrived where the measurement lab is not so handicapped. I said it earlier, we are getting within spitting distance of the big dogs, and I just rang up another order from China direct to add another piece into the puzzle that may get us dangerously close to the results out of a 30 grand AP unit.
First of all, this is NOT the Topping review. When it actually drops, it will be a very, very interesting review because everyone has heard about the jaw dropping test numbers. I guess everyone assumes because its numbers match or beat a DCS Rossini Apex, that the 350 dollar DAC is just as great as the 32,000 DCS. I am here to say, sorry folks, but that is highly, very likely not going to be the case. And it is NOT because I do not wish it to be. How I wish, wish wish that a DAC with these kind of performance numbers in the most common metrics we use was a true DCS killer. But, folks, it just isn't the case. Sorry if that is a spoiler alert for the upcoming full review. But hang on a minute, for the money, its an AMAZING piece of work. Truly amazing. Not perfect, and I will give it to you straight. All the things I liked about it, and all the things I didn't like that you may want to hear if you are ready to take the leap that something that measures this well, could be less than ambrosia from the audio gods.
Well enough chatter.. here we go. Feast on these numbers from the EUPHONIC REVIEW LAB.
All measurements are taken with filter F-4, XLR outputs, and at 4V output level.
SNR- <-125db (The best I could do; it could be my particular Topping unit variant, or just the least noise the EIDA Cosmos(B) can resolve. The best third party Audio Precision test had it at about -128db. Still, we at Euphonic Review labs have it at just under 21 bit, those other guys at just over 21 bit)
THD- 0.000032% which is equal to -130db!!
THD+N/SINAD- 0.00010% which is 120db SINAD
Jitter- <3 picoseconds RMS
Jitter is usually a non-issue with the ESS chipset. It has an inherently good PLL/ASRC that keeps even the worst jitter at bay, assuming you use good clocks, and follow the instructions. It can also be configured in ways that 'bypass' the ASRC, however it seems its becomes more of a 1:1 system in this usage mode, and requires excellent matching of the clock on the input side, and the DAC master clock on the output side of the ASRC. You CAN mess it up, but ESS makes that pretty hard to do. In any case, things are implemented here in textbook fashion, and represent jitter that may be essentially unmeasurable. We may be looking at logic level phase noise or other 'unknowns' when we have such a deep noise floor. We still can see some possible random jitter, but the spread of the test signal is miniscule, so again, well done here Topping.
The Topping E70 allows for choice of all 7 ESS standard PCM oversampling filters. In the graphs below, you will find performance data for each filter. To get a better view, click on the photo for larger image.
And that is it for the preview; look for the ESS70 ESS review and its part two AKM review by next weekend.
Cheers to all; Happy listening!