Topping have gathered a huge following lately for their objective-backed designs. The D10S was one of their most popular DACs, a well-performing model that was also one of the most affordable on the market. Its shortfall was its lack of balanced connectivity, but that changes now with the new D10B.
Topping’s latest entry-level DAC uses ESS’ ES9038Q2M chip and XMOS XU208 USB processor for huge decoding power up to 32-bit/384kHz PCM and native DSD256. Chiefly, the D10B trades the single-ended RCA outputs of the D10s for two balanced TRS outputs cross-compatible with XLR systems using adaptors (included).
The Topping D10B is now available for $139 USD. You can read more about it and treat yourself to a unit on HiFiGO!
We recently reviewing Sivga’s Phoenix open-back dynamic driver headphones where we were impressed by its gorgeous build and warm, natural tuning. The company is back with a brand new model sporting a similar solid-wood design alongside a more traditional padded headband and solid metal frame.
Perhaps most exciting is what’s inside. It features a 50mm dynamic driver on each side, with 3mm high-performance Nd-Fe-B magnets, specially developed copper-clad aluminium voice coil and a polycarbonate diaphragm. Sivga reason this setup provides a natural and smooth sound whilst remaining efficient and easy to drive.
The SC021 is now available for $179 USD. You can read more about it and treat yourself to a unit on HiFiGO!
Aune Audio is a name that is highly regarded in the high-end audio space. The company just launched the new X5s 8th Anniversary Edition music player, the 4th generation of the X5 with a new Freescale 600M processor, a low-level hardware solution player framework. This enables the player to decode high-resolution audio signals up to 32-bit/768kHz PCM and DSD512 in addition to supporting key digital player clock input interface.
The 8th Anniversary X5s retails for $299 USD. You can read all about the X5s and purchase a unit for yourself on HiFiGO!
While IEM cable-rolling has is a common point of conversation, the same attention hasn’t been applied to headphones. This strikes as peculiar as many come with very basic cables that harden over time and leave much to be desired in terms of ergonomics as well. Apos Audio are seeking to address this with their new line of custom headphone cables featuring tons of termination options to suit models from all leading headphone brands.
Each unit is made by hand and features multi-layer shielding. They use OCC 6N pure copper wires and Neutrik professional-grade terminations rated for reliable operation over 1000+ mating cycles. The Flow cable features hard-wearing braided fabric sleeving available in red and black. Perhaps most importantly, Apos has priced these cables very frugally, starting at just $109 USD meaning you can get a quality cable for about the same cost as an OEM replacement.
You can peruse their current selection and treat yourself to a cable on Apos Audio!
xDuoo has been on a roll with their affordable high-output tube amps, the TA-26 being their latest addition. The TA-26 is an all-analogue amplifier with a focus on simplicity and delivering a classic tube sound. This is topped off with chrome guard rails, aluminium grills and a sleek, retro aesthetic.
In addition, the TA-26 offers preamplifier functionality to enhance its versatility. Tube rolling is available to tailor the sound to listener preference. It offers 500mW of output power and comes stock with 6N8P and 6N5P tubes.
The TA-26 retails for $319 USD. You can read more about it and treat yourself to one on Apos Audio!
Moondrop is a name on everyone’s mind, producing winner after winner. The Blessing 2 was perhaps one of their most famous models, that offered an excellent mix between refined, Harman-inspired tonality and a resolving 5-driver hybrid setup. The new variations seek to build atop this foundation. From the outset, we see a Blessing inspired shell design, now with smoke acrylic shell as opposed to transparent. In addition, the faceplate design has been revised with a new geometric pattern and sand-blasted finish.
But it’s what’s inside that’s really exciting, the Variations uses a Sonion’s high-performance EST tweeter system complemented by two custom Soft Ears BA drivers for the midrange and a 10mm LCP dynamic driver woofer. These drivers have been tuned according to the company’s popular VDSF tuning curve and 3D-printed acoustics promise near full frequency phase coherence. A 6N high-purity crystal copper cable completes the experience.
Perhaps most surprising is the price point, at $520 USD, the Variations undercuts the vast majority of earphones with such a comprehensive driver setup. This is shaping up to be another strong entry into the Moondrop lineup! You can read more about the Variations and treat yourself to a unit on Apos Audio (affiliate) and HiFiGO!
Shanling has partnered with Tanchjim and Moondrop to provide a limited edition version of their new M3X DAP. The companies have joined forces to re-tune the M3X in order to achieve better pairings with Moondrop and Tanchjim earphones.
Though using the same components, the companies tease a warmer and better-controlled output with a darker background as compared to the vanilla M3X. In addition, a unique white leather case is included to match the new clean silver design with an anime-inspired rear-glass panel.
The M3X LE is available in limited quantities, with only 500 units available for international sale. It retails for $430 USD with shipments beginning mid-June. You can read more about the M3X Collab and treat yourself to a unit here!
Copplinn Sound and Engineered is a relatively new brand with a couple of IEMs under their belt. Copplinn is very confident about the Alula. It houses a single Liquid Silicone Driver which has a thickness of just 0.1mm. According to Copplinn it delivers Best Woofer and Full-Band Sound Quality with an IPX8 protection. Copplinn has decided to equip their IEMs with hand crafted wooden housings and the Alula comes with 3 different type of wood. Alula with Walnut and Cherry wood shells is priced at $250 while the Olive wood demands a premium of $100.
Alula incorporates patent pending Frequency Filter System along with 3.5 and 13.5 kHz resonance blocking technology for the best possible sound output. Interestingly Copplinn’s wood usage is not restricted to the IEM’s shell, these IEMs ship with excellent looking wooden carry cases too. Accompanying the Alula along with the wooden carry case is a pure copper MMCX cable.
The Topping D90 is one of the company’s most popular products and also one of the most renowned DACs on the market. Their best models gets even better with the release of the new D90SE. Due to the tragic fire affecting the production of AKM DAC chips as used in the original D90, the SE utilises ESS’ flagship ES9038 PRO DAC chip instead.
It also introduces the 2nd generation 16-core XMOS XU216 processor that can decode DSD1024 (Native) in addition to PCM 32bit/768kHz and MQA standard. The same IO remains including BT5.0 with LDAC support and it retains a fully balanced design. The shell is unchanged from the original D90 making it a perfect complement for the company’s own A90 amplifier.
The D90SE is now available on Apos Audio for $899 USD at the time of writing. You can read all about it and treat yourself to a unit here.
SMSL made a great impact with their SX-9 stack which combined clean, high-end audio hardware, modern design and reasonable pricing. The company returns with an update to their very popular SX-8 series in the form of the SX-8s devices. While lacking the feature set of the 9-series, the 8s devices boast a focus on similar audio quality while keeping the usability experience simple to uphold the same legendary value as the original series.
The SH-8s is the update to the SH-8 amplifier, with enhanced 6Wx2 power output, 17.5dB of adjustable gain, high-quality relays and low noise power supply. It implements a very similar chassis to the SH-9 though the colour screen makes way for basic switch-based operation. This is a balanced design supporting RCA and XLR inputs in addition to XLR and 1/4″ outputs.
The SU-8s as expected follows up on the immensely popular SU-8 that was the go-to budget balanced DAC for a long time. It’s utilising ESS’ new ES9068AS DAC chip supporting DSD512 and PCM 32bit/768kHz. In addition, the DAC supports Qualcomm’s aptX and aptX HD Bluetooth codecs for high quality wireless streaming. An XMOS 16-core usb chipset maximises wired codec support to match the powerful DAC inside. It also supports remote operation and it has a colour display much like the higher end SU-9. Interestingly, while the SU-9 has a lower SNR for its balanced output, the SU-8s promises a lower noise from its RCA outputs.
You can read all about the SH-8s here and the SU-8s here (affiliate). For those interested in purchasing both, Apos Audio supports the new 8s stack on their ensemble program offering discounts when both are purchased together.
Look forward to the full review coming to THL soon!