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This is actually a crazy good deal. I paid $100 more for mine from Ali Express and considered that a bargain, because if you want a fully balanced DAC with XLR line out, there's really no equivalent (let alone better) unit for anywhere near the price. DAC/AMP combo's like the Benchmark DAC3 are literally 4X to 5X the price in the $2000+ range.
I've been very very happy with the sound quality: very detailed, fast /responsive, neutral and clean with the best sound stage, and accurate positioning I've ever heard. Better than my previous IFI IDSD Black by a noticeable margin.
If you don't need balanced out or the headphone stage, then there are other options (some also made by Topping) for a little less, but again there's nothing that does what this does for anywhere close to the price... and its nice to see Massdrop offering a true bargain on top of the already super-reasonable street price.
In Ali Express It is not 100usd more. Actually it is like 50USD more but you get warranty with them and a period to send it back if it is not satisfactory. Ali offers at the moment a 12USD discount for orders over 199USD plus free delivery instead in massdrop they charge a crazy shipping fee of 38USD on top the price so total price of 418USD and not warranty from my understanding or probably on good will which is like not warranty.
You seriously think its better than iDSD BL? I have one and I'm intrigued.
Yeah that's a bummer on the shipping cost. Ali-Express seller "TakstarAudio Store" gave free 3day shipping direct from China. The box was VERY well packaged with 3 moisture barriers: exterior box surface totally sealed in plastic tape, interior box also wrapped in plastic, and unit itself wrapped in one more lay of plastic. Short of being dropped out of plane into the ocean, not harm was going to come to my order. Communication and support was also excellent, with the seller really going the extra mile.
"better" is a loaded and relative term and I should be careful using it :)
To be clear the IDSD BL serves a different purpose / offers very different functionality. If you need it to be portable / battery powered, to work with very low impedance / sensitive IEMS's and HP then the BL offers some things that the DX7s does not.
The BL is an astoundingly versatile and powerful little beast, but I needed to run it on med or turbo to get the most out of my more demanding cans (planars from MrSpeakers and Audeze). The balanced out of the DX7s drives my LCD-4's way louder than I'd ever want and doesn't get hot doing it (like the BL would on Turbo).
However, I'm using it only on my desktop in DAC mode connected to my GS-X mk2 via balanced XLR line out. This is where, for me, it really excels. The GSX is a extremely capable and revealing amp and how good it sounds with the DX7s just shows how much the other DAC's I tried it with(including the BL) where holding it back.
Comparing the DX7s vs the IDSD BL feeding the GSX, soundstage is improved in depth and width as well as positional accuracy / imaging on the DX7s: It's just naturally better without the need for the 3D effect and sounds much more natural (no artificial brightness or artifacts like I hear with the BL's 3D filter) . Detail resolution, speed and a sense of physical impact to the sound are also better on the DX7s.
The IDSD and the DX7s are both innovative and unique products that, IMO do not have any REAL direct competitors (including each-other). But in terms of pure performance / SQ when functioning as a DAC for TOTL external amp, the DX7s is the best I've heard.
IIRC Topping themselves said that the D50 has better DACs than the ones in DX7/DX7s. Maybe you should've gotten that one instead?
I would have except the DX7s is the one one that's ballanced and has ballanced XLR out.
The D50 has just very slightly better measurements, but usues the same chips so should sound be practically the same.
When you said that the DAC in the DX7s is the best you've heard, what you're basing that on? Other than both DX7s and iDSD BL, any other higher-end DACs you've tried with your GS-X mk2 amp?
I spend some time with a McIntosh MHA150, but didn't get the chance to try just the DAC connected to the GSX. Prior to the GSX/DX7S combo, it was the best that I'd heard in terms of resolution and soundstage.
I've also used a handful of more entry level dacs and currently own a Mayflower ARC at work and an Asus STX II (stereo) in my home PC.
Both are also excellent, but can't keep up with the gsx like the DX7s can