Buying Guide

The best desktop DAC and Amp under ₹10,000 - Topping DX1

In today's video we'll be talking about toppings a new DX1 headphone Amp and DAC. Now this is a fairly affordable and powerful DAC and Amp and it's been making waves in the audio community all across the world. So let's talk all about it so before we get into the technical aspects the design language of the DX1.


In today's video we'll be talking about toppings a new DX1 headphone Amp and DAC now this is a fairly affordable and powerful DAC and Amp and it's been making waves in the audio community all across the world so let's talk all about it so before we get into the technical aspects the design language of the DX1.  

In the Box + Build

Let's talk a little bit about the unboxing experience and what you get in the box. You get the unit itself, the DX1, you get a USB to USB B cable to connect to your devices and you get some literature - which is the user manual and the warranty card. It's a straight up unboxing experience with no frills and it just gets to the point where you can just connect the device and get started with it. Now this is a fairly compact device and it's designed to be used on a desktop setup, you get a 3.5 mm single-ended output and you also get a 6.35mm single-ended output to connect to your headphones. There is a nice large volume wheel and this is a volume wheel that's got the perfect amount of resistance and it feels perfect to use. On the back panel you get an RCA out, you get a gain switch that allows you to switch from a low gain to a high gain and you also get a full-size USB B to connect to your devices to a computer or a phone. 

Technical aspects  

I think this is a really well built device especially coming from Topping and especially at its price point. All right so I want to talk a little bit about the technical aspects of the DX1. Now as I mentioned this features a USB B port - now this port not only acts as a data transmission port but it is also the power transmission or the power delivery port. Now you'd be wondering or asking yourself how does topping solve the common 5 volt USB power delivery and the noise issue. So the team at Topping have embedded a really clever LNRD circuit. It basically cuts out any interferences and any noise that you get from the USB power delivery. Now that's not the only place where the DX1 excels - now this has got a really nice and powerful amplification stage - you will be able to drive most of your IEMs and a lot of the lesser demanding headphones through this device quite efficientl. I was trying this unit with the DT990 pro from Beyerdynamic which is a 250 ohms headphone and I just had to switch the device to a high gain and I was comfortably listening to the headphone at around the 12 o'clock mark on the volume and I had enough headroom to even push it now that says something about this device. As I mentioned earlier this features a RCA line out on the rear panel and this RCA is a line out with a fixed level. Now what this means is this device cannot be used as a preamp, but what happens out here on this device is the output on the RCA and the headphones is the same, so you can essentially connect your speakers through the RCA and you can connect your headphones through the front ports either the 6.35mm or the 3.5mm and you can control the volume at the same time. Now there is a benefit to this, you can control the volume in such a way that you won't blow up your speakers or headphones. Preamp functionalities would have been great but regardless at this price point having the functionality to connect your speakers and headphones is just fantastic.


Moving on to how this DX1 from Topping sounds. So like all Topping DACs, this is a highly refined and accurate sounding DAC and it features the latest AKM chips from their velvet sound lineup. Now this DAC chip combined with the LNRD circuit I think produces a really refined and transparent sound and it makes the music listening super super engaging. Now another aspect that I wanted to talk about in terms of sound is the Amplification stage. Now as I already mentioned this is quite powerful and has a lot of headroom but considering every aspect of this device I think there is an application that a lot of people will be looking to get this device for and that is gaming. If you choose to use this device for your gaming experience I think you will be really happy with that elevated audio presentation. It'll be able to make you hear all the finer details and aspects in your gameplay making it truly immersive. Now there's a downside to this device that I wanted to talk about and this is, of course, me nitpicking on the DX1 and especially considering the price point and the form factor. I think that a lot of the Toppings higher end models has a much bigger sound stage imaging and this is something that the DX1 lacks but I think with the accurate transparent audio presentation and with the form factor and with the build quality I think this is something that a lot of people will be willing to overlook.

TOPPING DX1 vs iFi Audio UNO  

I thought it'd be great to compare it with the all-new iFi Audio UNO. Now the UNO also retails around the same price point, maybe a little lesser and it's an even more compact device than the DX1. Now what the UNO offers is very unique it's got these three playback modes namely movie mode, music mode and a gaming mode. It also gives you the option to use the power match functionality which is something that iFi Audio is famous for or known for. What this does is when you plug in a headphone you really don't need to switch between a low or high gain mode you click this button and it will set the right output level for your headphones. If you're someone who's looking to tweak your sound, to tinker with the sound profile, then I think the iFi Audio UNO does a great job at it, but if you're someone who's looking for a clean accurate sound, I think the Topping does it with more power and a lot more transparency.


So having discussed all the things, all the aspects of the DX1 what are my final thoughts? I personally feel that the DX1 is a winner on all fronts - it's compact, it's budget-friendly, it delivers great sound, it has a great amplification stage capable of driving a lot of IEMs and headphones. The AKM chip implementation is phenomenal, the sound that it outputs is refined, it's accurate, it's transparent and although as I mentioned the sound stage of this device may not be on par with some of the other Topping DACs, I still think for the price that you get the DX1 is a great choice for anyone, even a seasoned audiophile or someone who's even beginning their audiophile journey. So if you'd like to try the Topping DX 1 for yourself, you're more than welcome to drop by at our experience Studio here in Mumbai or you could also visit us at a headphone connect event at a city near you. Having said all of this I think that's it for today I'll see you in the next one thank you