The best DM7 8-channel D/A processor
The Topping DM7 DAC ($599.99) is a high-resolution, eight-channel DAC that helps PCM and DSD sources however doesn’t deal with frequent Dolby/DTS codecs. It makes use of the extremely succesful and revered ES-9038PRO DAC chip, which is the flagship of ESS. It has just one enter and that’s USB. Its eight analog outputs are totally balanced, however these are the extra frequent TRS (type-ring-sleeve) telephone jacks in skilled audio; most audiophiles require adapters. Lastly, it features a grasp quantity management and separate channel achieve controls (all at 0.5dB decision), however the finicky up/down buttons on the entrance panel decide using the included distant for quantity management. All these are insignificant and their significance might lower relying on the efficiency of the DM7.
That is the second Topping audio machine I’ve reviewed. stereophile. First – before 90 analog stereo preamp—and this eight-channel DAC shares numerous options, most good and a few much less good. Each occupy the identical clear, slim case and have the identical clearly readable show. Each declare nice technical efficiency and options on paper, and definitely the Pre90 lived as much as the claims, performing effectively on my system and on the take a look at bench. Alternatively, each are extra restricted in sure areas than their rivals and could also be extra restricted in guarantee assist (footnote 1). Then once more, each are low cost.
Ideas on unpacking
Because the Topping DM7 has the identical bodily dimensions because the Pre90, it is no shock that it is available in the identical packaging. Packaging supplies are cheap, however they’re used elegantly. An AC cable, USB cable and distant management are included. The entrance panel is paying homage to the Pre90 with a sq. On/Off/Multi-Perform button on the left and a legible OLED show dominating the centre. Throughout regular use, the DM7’s show reveals the quantity in giant font on the fitting, format (PCM or DSD) and bitrate in smaller on the left. To the fitting of the OLED are two extra sq. buttons for quantity up/down and menu operations (the quantity button occupies on the Pre90). On the backside of the rear panel are horizontal TRS jacks numbered 1-8 for output and a single USB-B enter port. Above the USB are two 1/8″ 12V set off jacks, enter and output. To the fitting of all it is a energy change and an IEC receptacle.
The DM7’s analog outputs current a number of issues. First, telephone jacks are uncommon in a house audio system. This drawback was in all probability offset by the compactness of the TRS connectors; eight XLR jacks don’t match on this commonplace Topping case. An alternate is likely to be mini-XLR connectors, however I am glad they did not make that alternative: I discovered mini-XLRs unreliable. But another choice – my desire – can be a single DB25 connector that may be screwed in securely. In its frequent configuration, it connects cables with as much as eight XLRs, TRS, and even RCAs.
Secondly, Topping doesn’t specify the channel ID on the again panel, menus or consumer handbook. In follow, on JRiver and Roon, the channels got here out within the appropriate order for all codecs as much as 7.1: FrontL / FrontR / Middle / LFE / SurrL / SurrR / RearL / RearR. Those that plan to make use of the DM7 for multi-amp, lively pass-through stereo techniques can prepare channels accordingly. Specifically, the most recent firmware permits stage changes for channels separate from the distant.
Lastly, some have had points with the DM7’s lack of unbalanced RCA outputs. Certain, there’s sufficient room for eight RCA jacks on the rear panel, however there’s in all probability not sufficient room on the stability sheet to offer each balanced and unbalanced outputs. The apparent answer is to make use of passive XLR to RCA cable adapters, however most differentials will floor one facet of the output; Topping advises towards this because it causes a 6dB output voltage loss and probably an analogous discount in S/N ratio. The perfect answer is to maintain it balanced. In case your preamp solely has RCA inputs, use an acceptable adapter primarily based on the balun or lively stage. There could also be some lower in efficiency, however it’s possible you’ll not hear the distinction.
The DM7 was fast and simple to put in. Since my server is PC primarily based, I needed to obtain and set up Topping’s ASIO driver for the DM7; Mac customers can skip this step. After connecting a USB cable, Roon and JRiver acknowledged the machine and I used to be in a position to configure the DM7 because the output machine.
I positioned brief TRS-XLR wires (footnote 2) on the eight outputs of the DM7 and plugged them into my eight-channel change together with the opposite sources in my system. I can join them on to my Pre90 preamp stack, or I can use the DM7 to regulate the quantity, bypass the switches and preamps and join them on to my energy amps. That is in all probability what most customers will do. This a lot; set up is full.
The DM7’s menu has many fascinating choices, together with the flexibility to select from seven PCM filters and 4 DSD filters. I used Quick Roll-off, Minimal Part PCM filter and 70kHz DSD filter, each of which I exploit on my different DACs. The DM7 additionally has PRE and DAC modes that enable or disable quantity adjustment; I left it in PRE mode however set it to 0dB to check with different DACs. In keeping with Topping this I discovered to be equal to and indistinguishable from DAC mode. There are two most output ranges: 4V, default and 5V, every voltage RMS corresponds to full scale enter. I left it as default. The menu additionally contains show timeout, set off, and brightness settings.
After which there’s the difficulty of quantity management. As I discussed earlier, the DM7 has two small up/down buttons. These are appropriate for menu operations however not quantity management; Utilizing the buttons to regulate the quantity was tedious and sluggish. Even fine-tuning the quantity was annoying, because it required switching between buttons. Happily, the DM7’s distant management is extra handy, handy and controllable, though additionally it is primarily based on the Up/Down buttons. It helped me keep away from disappointment, and I am glad so as to add that its operation is rather more dependable than that of the Topping Pre90. Quantity management from Roon, JRiver or different music sources can be an choice.
After selecting DM7 as output machine in Roon and JRiver, I needed to listen to one thing new. The timing was proper. I’ve actually loved Holst for a few years. St. Paul’s Suite at any time when i come throughout it, particularly the third act Intermezzo. Written to rejoice the opening of a soundproof music studio at Paul’s College for Ladies in Hammersmith, the e-book is delightfully stuffed with variants and interweaving of conventional melodies acquainted from Holst’s different works. Second Suite for the Marching Band. The semi-Japanese part that opens the door IntermezzoThe solo violin melody is completely positioned and stunning. I already had two recordings of the suite, however neither was notably satisfying, so I appeared for a greater multi-channel model if potential. HRaudio. internet three have been listed. One in all my Qobuz auditions stood out, Ensemble Esperanza’s. I ordered the SACD (Ars Produktion ARS 38 227, SACD) which arrived in time to be copied and performed for the DM7’s debut on my system.
The readability and breadth of the recording was nice, with stereo or multi-channel dynamic vary spectacular. Each variations approached the same success (in several music) of Trondheimsolistene’s very immersive 2L information, however they weren’t equal; however, the DM7 constructed a conventional and plausible soundstage from Ensemble Esperanza’s recording. I heard a hanging purity in Chouchane Siranossian’s solo violin, particularly that great violin. Intermezzo– and likewise within the Grieg, Bridge and Nielsen suites that fill the disc.
Footnote 1: It appears to me that Topping emphasised on making a top quality product on the lowest potential value with the expectation that there can be no use for prolonged guarantee assist. The essential guarantee is just one yr, and on-line purchases might require transport to China for guarantee repairs or substitute. Whereas none of my toppings have failed, patrons want to guage their private tolerances to take care of this chance.
Footnote 2: I used Single priced TRS-XLR cableshowever there are a lot of alternate options from different sources of your alternative.
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