TOPPING D90SE Reviews Compendium

Compendium updated: June 15th, 2021. 

The D90 has had an interesting story arc over the past year. A devastating fire knocked its chip manufacturer out of commission, casting its future into uncertainty and creating fresh demand. Soon it was sold out everywhere, leaving devotees to tend its legend in the forums of Audio Science Review. Would it come back? And in what form? Things got speculative and conjectural. 

But that’s the D90 for you. It’s beloved. It’s mythical. It’s kind of Gandalfy. Like Gandalf, the D90 is coming back, bigger and better than ever (although not in all-white). And it’s coming soon. Like, very soon. “The New King?” a March rumor thread was titled, when unattributed specs leaked. We'll leave that question to the reviewers.

We’ve compiled reviews from across the web for your reference. What you’ll find here are the TLDR versions of the full reviews (which you can access with the provided links). We’ll continue updating this compendium as reviews come in. 

 

From Audio Science Reviews' review of the TOPPING D90SE, first published on June 15th, 2021:

"It is 3:00am but I had to stay up and post this review. It is not every day that every barrier we have seen in DACs gets shattered to new levels. We are seeing extreme attention to every aspect of this design to squeeze this much performance out of this ESS DAC. Just when we though the race was over, here comes one more over achiever! Those of you who have made it a hobby to upgrade the latest and greatest, here is another one for you! At the risk of stating the very obvious, it is my absolute pleasure to recommend the Topping D90SE."

 

 

From Soundnews' video review of the TOPPING D90SE, first published on June 14th, 2021: 

 

From Soundnews' video review of the TOPPING D90SE, first published on June 14th, 2021:

"Once again, Topping proved that high-end sonics with little to no compromises can be achieved with as little as $899. D90SE will be knocking out plenty of DACs from now on, to be more specific it just outperformed all DACs that I’ve reviewed in the last 3 years, with just 3 exceptions! I know plenty of audiophiles that are measuring audio performance by looking at their price tags, I did that mistake myself several times, but I won’t do it again. A Ford can’t outperform a Bugatti, right? But with audio, the same rule doesn’t always apply, as an absurd price doesn’t guarantee outstanding sonics.

"Topping D90SE was a huge turning point for me and a real eye-opener and I hope it would do same to you, always listen with your heart and open mind and never with your wallet. I really like that they let me choose a 4V or 5V output, they made it MQA proof of all its digital inputs (except for I2S), their shelved its noise floor to inaudible levels and boosted its transparency to the stratosphere. You probably guessed which DAC I will be recommending from now on at less than one grand, don’t you?

"Topping D90SE fully justified our highest Gold Award as it performed like a TOTL DAC from any point of view. Congratulations to the team and I’m looking forward to what’s coming next!

"Topping D90SE was kindly provided by the fine gents of Apos Audio, it can be purchased from their web-store by following this link (They offer free shipping in the USA and Canada, free 45-day returns in case you don’t like it, an extra year of warranty and lowest price guarantee).

"PROS:

  • Beautiful and sleek looking device
  • Some of the best specs I’ve spotted in a D/A converter
  • MQA now works natively with 4 digital inputs
  • Selectable voltage outputs is a very usable feature
  • Holographic, airy and quite 3D sounding
  • Precise pin-point location of the notes, great imaging
  • Linear and super-extended frequency response
  • Detail retrieval and transparency incarnate, it will reveal everything from your music
  • Lacks a noise floor, one of the blackest backgrounds I’ve experienced with digital audio
  • Speedy transient response, highly engaging
  • Impressive when it comes to dynamics
  • Fuller and warmer sounding to regular ESS-Sabre designs
  • Decent preamplifier section
  • Great connectivity
  • An outstanding value!

"CONS:

  • Not as grand, open and wide sounding to the best ESS designs."

 

From Z Reviews' review of the TOPPING D90SE, first published on June 15th, 2021: 

From L7 Audio Lab’s review of the TOPPING D90SE, first published on May 15th, 2021: 

XLRDashboard

“XLR dashboard” 

 

XLR5VDashboard

“XLR 5V Dashboard”

 

Dynamic-Range

“Dynamic range”

 

Linearity-(-20

“Linearity”

 

THD+N-Ratio-vs-Freq

“THD+N Ratio vs Frequency”

 

SMPTE-Ratio

“SMPTE Ratio”

 

Multitone

“Multitone”

 

Crosstalk

“Crosstalk”

 

12K25612AVG

“12K25616AVG”

 

12K1M-A

“12K1M-A”

 

12KZoom

“12KZoom”

“Hallelujah~Hallelujah~Hallelujah~Hallelujah~Hallelujah~Hallelujah~”

Editor’s note: Emphases ours.