Topping DX5 Lite DAC/Amplifier Review
Topping DX5 Lite DAC/AMP Review
Topping (Topping Electronics & Technology co., LTD.) is a 2008 founded company with location in Guangzhou, China that is specialized in development, designing and production of Hi-Res portable and desktop type DAC/AMP’s and Amplifiers. The Topping DX5 Lite is the None MQA supported version of the original DX5 desktop type Headphone DAC/Amplifier. The device is equipped with Dual ES9068AS DAC chips from ESS Sabre Technologies and offers multiple connectivity options including Bluetooth, Coaxial, Optical and USB for input, RCA/XLR Lineout options and such like 6.35mm single-ended output and a 4-pin XLR balanced headphone outputs. The device features Topping’s in-house developed NFCA headphone amplification circuit. Another remarkable ability of the DX5 Lite are the 4 output modes, which means that you can use the device as stand alone Headphone Amplifier, Headphone Amplifier + Line out, DAC only and as a Pre-Amplifier.
I would like to thank Shenzhen Audio for providing me the Topping DX5 Lite review sample. I am not affiliated with Topping and Shenzhen Audio beyond this review and these words reflect my true and unaltered, opinions about the product.
Price & Availability:
The actual price of the Topping DX5 Lite DAC & Amplifier is 349.00 US$. More information’s can be found under the link below;
Package & Accessories:
The Topping DX5 Lite came inside a relative large black box with a nice textured surface that sports the Topping branding on the top.
The box of the Topping DX5 Lite contains the following items:
- 1 x Topping DX5 Lite Desktop Headphone DAC/Amplifier
- 1 x USB-A to USB-B cable
- 1 x Power Cable
- 1 x Remote Control
- 1 x Bluetooth Antenna
- 1 x 6.35mm to 3.5mm Headphone Adapter
- 1 x Print Material (User Manual & Warranty card)
The DX5 Lite comes with a rich set of accessories, while the Remote controller and the 6.35mm to 3.5mm headphone adapter are some useful additions.
Design & Build Quality:
The Topping DX5 Lite is a solid looking All-in One desktop type DAC and Headphone Amplifier with a relative compact that has dimensions of just 180 x 45 x 148mm. I really like the fact that the small profile of the device won’t take up too much space on your desk.
The DX5 Lite is available in two different color options that are silver and the one in black color with a matte finish same like my review unit.
The device comes with a solid aluminum chassis with curved edges that feel pretty sturdy and well-made same like all other Topping products I have reviewed before.
On the top of the device are the Lite label and the Hi-Res Audio & Hi-Res Audio Wireless sticker.
The front of the DX5 Lite has a curved shape with a plastic panel in black color that is equipped with the analog outputs, a large display and a multifunctional rotatable knob.
The left area of the front panel sports a 4-PIN-XLR + 6.35mm headphone output and the Topping branding.
At the center is the pretty large OLED display that gives access to information’s such as the input source, sampling rates, volume level, etc.
The multifunctional rotary knob is located at the right side of the front panel that can be used to adjust the volume, switch between multiple inputs and to access the menu settings.
The rear panel of the device features a wide variety of analog and digital interfaces, such like the XLR Balanced + RCA outputs and the USB, Coaxial, Optical and Bluetooth inputs (via Bluetooth Antenna).
Here area also the power switch and the power input (AC 100-240V) of the device.
At the bottom of the solid aluminum body are four rubber isolations feet’s with a circular shape.
- Model : DX5 Lite
- DAC : Dual ES9068AS
- USB Decoder : XMOS XUF 216
- USB Decoding : 32-Bit/768kHz PCM, DSD512 Native, DSD256 (DoP)
- Opt/Coax Decoding : 24-Bit/192kHz PCM, DSD64 (DoP)
- BT Decoding : AAC, SBC, APTX, APTX LL, APTX HD, LDAC
- Bluetooth chipset : Qualcomm QCC5125
- Amplifier Design : NFCA Headphone Amplification Circuit
- Output : 6.35mm Single-Ended + 4.4mm Balanced
- Inputs : XLR, RCA, USB, Optical, Coaxial, Bluetooth
- Output Level : 6Vpp (Low gain), 25Vpp (High gain)
- Output modes : Headphone AMP, AMP + Line-Out, DAC, & Pre-AMP
- Output Power : 1800mWx2@32Ω, 1000mWx2@64Ω, 250mWx2@300Ω
- Dynamic Range : 128dB
- Noise : <2.0uVrms
- SNR : 125dB @ 1kHz
- THD+N : <0.00009% @ 15mW (300Ω) / <0.00010% @ 145mW (32Ω)
- Output impedance : <0.1Ω
- Channel Balance : 0.3dB
- Frequency Response : 20Hz-20kHz (±0.1dB), 20Hz-40kHz (±0.3dB)
- Dimensions : 180 x 45 x 148mm
- Weight : approx 730g
The Topping DX5 Lite is an All-in One desktop type DAC & Headphone Amplifier solution that is equipped with some impressive hardware components such like Dual ES9068AS DAC chips, High-Power NFCA Circuit, 2x THX AAA 788+ amplifiers, XMOS XUF216 USB receiver, Qualcomm QCC5125 Bluetooth Chipset and many more.
Dual ES9068AS DAC chip:
The Topping DX5 Lite features a pretty capable ES9068AS DAC chip that is able to handle sapling rates up to 32-bit 768 kHz PCM and Native DSD decoding up to DSD512. The DAC inside the DX5 Lite delivers a solid SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio) value of approx 125dB over both and a Total Harmonic Distortion (THD+N) that measures about <0.00009% @ 15mW (300Ω) and <0.00010% @ 145mW (32Ω) both over the 6.35mm and XLR headphone outputs
Amplification & Hissing:
The DX5 Lite DAC/Amplifier utilizes Topping’s “Nested Feedback Composite Amplifier” circuitry (NFCA) in order to produce a powerful amplification while retaining a pretty clean and noise free performance for both sensitivity IEM’s and power hungry Headphones. The NFCA circuitry offers low distortion, high bandwidth, high slew rate and high output current.
The device has two headphone outputs on the front panel: a 6.3mm single-ended jack and a 4-pin XLR balanced jack. Both outputs do have the same power output of up to 1800mW per channel at 32Ω. Hower, the 4-PIN XLR output does not offer a true balanced signal, as it uses the same single-ended signal as the 6.3mm output.
The DX5 Lite uses Topping’s NFCA (Nested Feedback Composite Amplifier) circuitry to provide high-quality amplification for headphones. The NFCA circuitry has low distortion, high bandwidth, high slew rate, and high output current.
The device comes with a High and Low options that can be manually selected over the settings menu.
- Output Levels: 6Vpp (Low gain), 25Vpp (High gain)
Another remarkable ability of the DX5 Lite are the 4 output modes, which means that you can use the device as stand alone Headphone Amplifier, Headphone Amplifier + Line out, DAC only and as a Pre-Amplifier that you can adjust with the multifunctional rotary knob.
The Topping DX5 Lite is a Desktop DAC/AMP that offers LDAC 24bit/96kHz Bluetooth transmission by its antenna located at the rear side of the device. The DX5 Lite utilizing the latest QCC5125 Qualcomm Bluetooth chipset that supports various protocols such as LDAC, AAC, SBC, aptX, aptX LL, and aptX HD. The Bluetooth input signal bypasses the QCC5125’s built-in DAC chip, and the dual ESS chips decode the signals.
The Topping DX5 Lite is a desktop solution that offers compatibility with a wide range of devices and Operating Systems. The DX5 Lite supports Windows 10 or above, MAC, Linux, IOS, Android can be plug and play. DX5 Lite uses 2nd generation 16 core XMOS XU216, USB supports up to PCM32bit768kHz, DSD512 native.
Equipment’s used for this review:
- DAC/Amplifier’s : Topping DX5 Lite
- Sources : ASUS TUF FX504GD
- IEM’s : Moondrop Blessing 3, Westone MACH60, CFA Solaris Stellar Horizon
- Headphones : HiFiMAN Edition XS, SIVGA Luan
Albums & tracks used for this review:
- Adele – My Little Love (Dezzer HiFi)
- Randy Crawford – On Day I Will Fly Away (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Hayley Westenra – Odyssey Album (Dezzer HiFi)
- Dionne Warwick – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Sarah McLachlan – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Sertap Erener – Aşk (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Edith Piaf – Non Je Ne Regrette Rien (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
- Aretha Franklin – I Say A Little Payer (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Sonya Yoncheva – (Giuseppe Verdi) II Trovatore, ActI (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- George Michael – Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- David Bowie – Heroes (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Elton John – Rocket Man ((Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Barry White – Just The Way You Are (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Isaac Hayes – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Sting – Englishman in New York – (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- B. King – Riding With The King (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Bro Safari, UFO! – Drama (Deezer HiFi)
- Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Daft Punk – Doin’ it Right (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Jo Blankenburg – Meraki (Spotify)
- Lorde – Royals (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Toutant – Rebirth (Deezer HiFi)
- Gogo Penguin – Raven (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Gogo Penguin – Murmuration (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Portishead – It Could Be Sweet (Spotify)
- Max Richter – On the Nature of Daylight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Charly Antolini – Duwadjuwandadu (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Ferit Odman – Look, Stop & Listen (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Chopin – Nocturn No. 20 In C-Sharp Minor (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Fazıl Say – Nazım Oratoryosu (Live) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Deezer HiFi)
- Otto Liebert & Luna Negra – The River (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Lunatic Soul – The Passage (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Deftones – My Own Summer (Shove it) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Metallica – Master of Puppets (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Opeth – Windowpane (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Rush’s – Leave That Thing Alone (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Slayer – Angel of Death (Spotify)
- Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
- Yosi Horikawa – Bubbles (Spotify)
The Topping DX5 Lite shows a neutral sound signature with a tad of coloration at the top end that adds the overall presentation a nice sense of clarity and resolution without to sound overdone. The device offers an excellent grade of transparency, imaging and resolution from the lows up to the highs, as well as a wide and spacious soundstage atmosphere that was audible with all earphones and headphone I have tested. The bass is sound pretty tight and punchy, while the midrange is produced with a decent level of clarity and naturalness. The treble range on the other hand is able to show a natural sense of air and crispiness.
This Topping DX5 Lite review has been written after a burn-in process of approx 100 hours. My sound experience below are mainly based on my impressions over the 6.35mm Headphone output paired with In-Ear Monitors such like the Campfire Audio Solaris Stellar Horizon, Moondrop Blessing 3 and Westone MACH60, and Headphones like the HiFiMAN Edition XS and SIVGA Luan..
The DX5 Lite is a pretty neutral and balanced sounding DAC/Amplifier that shows minimal coloration in the lower frequency area. The device has an overall linear and accurate bass response that offers a good level of layering, texture and extension. Especially the sense of authority and separation in this area is remarkable.
The subbass region is shown with a decent grade of depth and extension without to sound boomy or distorted. The midbass area on the other hand is tight, clean and has good level of authority that was especially audible with IEM’s like the Campfire Audio Solaris (Stellar Horizon), Moondrop Blessing 3 or headphones like the HiFiMAN Edition XS, while listen to complex bass passages. What I really like about the lower frequency area of the DX5 Lite is that it is well-integrated with the rest of the frequency spectrum and does not bleed into the mids and highs.
The Topping DX5 Lite has a pretty clear, natural and expressive midrange presentation that shows a close to neutral timbre. The midrange is produced with a decent sense of transparency and airiness, both in the lower midrange as well as the upper midrange area.
The lower midrange of the Topping DX5 Lite provides a good balance between clarity and warmth, which sounds in general fairly accurate and neutral without any negative conditions such like over-emphasis or recession, The lower midrange has a good level of body and depth paired with the Westone MACH60 and HiFiMAN Edtion XS while listen to male voices and to instruments such like strings or snare drums.
The upper midrange of the Topping DX5 Lite shows a tad of coloration that adds dynamism and presence to female voices such like Adel, Edith Piaf or Aretha Franklin without to show any remarkable sibilance or harshness. The general upper midrange character of the Topping DX5 Lite is quite detailed, energetic and offers a decent level of clarity and resolution that was audible while listen to instruments like pianos or mandolins.
The Topping DX5 Lite shows a quite airy, neutral, mildly bright and fatigue-free treble character. It sounds controlled and detailed from the lower register up to the upper treble area. The lower treble area is nicely emphasized yet controlled paired with the HiFiMAN Edition XS and SIVGA Luan when I do listen to soprano voices such like Sertap Erener and Sonya Yoncheva or to treble intensive instruments such like percussions. Violins and Pianos on the other hand are reproduced with a decent grade of clarity and definition.
The upper treble region of the DX5 Lite offers a pretty good sense of brilliance, airiness and sparkle that was quite audible with the Campfire Audio Solaris Stellar Horizon and HiFiMAN Edition XS. The overall treble performance of the Topping DX5 Lite is excellent for a product at this price level, which especially surprised me in terms of separation, resolution and extension.
Soundstage & Imaging:
The Topping DX5 Lite is a quite successful DAC/Amplifier when it comes to the separation as well as the positioning of instruments. The soundstage of the DX5 Lite shows a decent sense of width, depth and height, while the neutral air that is presented by the device between the instruments is able to create a spacious atmosphere.
The Topping DX5 Lite is an impressive sounding device with great hardware specs and features that offers an excellent sonic performance. The versatility and high-performance will satisfy audiophiles who are looking for a neutral and detailed sound reproduction. Moreover, it can handle various sources and formats with ease and accuracy, and it has a sleek and modern design that fits well in any desktop setup, which makes it to a device with a decent value for your money.
Pros & Cons:
- + Excellent All-in One Desktop DAC/AMP Solution in a Compact Size
- + Neutral and Detailed Sound Profile
- + Good Hardware Specs (Dual ES9068AS DAC, NFCA headphone amplification circuit, etc.)
- + Works well with both IEM’s & Headphones
- + Tons of Input & Output Options
- + Excellent Value for your Money
- – No MQA Decoding
- – 4-PIN XLR output does not offer a true balanced signal
- – 4.4mm True Balanced headphone output would be welcome
Thank you for the Read!