Let’s say you bought a new beautiful DAC, open the box, and inside is something that looks like a phone charger. And is this the very thing that should provide your DAC with good power to get the best sound quality?
And there are even more interesting examples when you open the box, for example with the Topping D50, and there is no power supply inside at all, it is only indicated that you need to provide 5V 1A power and there is a short wiring through which you can take power for the DAC from the USB port of your computer or any other power supply. In the latter case, the Topping does not just hint to you that you need linear power. Today it is quite obvious that linear power supply is an integral part of any sound path.
Linear power significantly affects the sound quality, such experiments were carried out by many enthusiasts and it has always shown positive effects to varying degrees. There is a prejudiced skepticism about this issue, but looking ahead, we note that with the example of Topping P50, we were really stunned by the effect of linear power supply. We can say with confidence this is what any audiophile should have in the arsenal.
Topping P50 is supplied in a simple cardboard package which includes: Topping P50, AC cable, 0.2m USB to ВС cable, 0.2m DC to DC cable, 1.2m DC to DC cable, user’s manual, warranty card.
Topping has always paid special attention to the design and build quality of its products. The P50 is another example of the company’s attention to these details. “All the components of P50 power supply are integrated in a beautiful and robust Aluminium housing. It is CNC machined in a single piece of metal for better mechanical performance and reduced interference ” – as the information on the official website says.
Indeed, the P50 case does indeed look and feel like a solid piece of metal, coupled with its small size and excellent build quality, the unit is a delight.
On the back side of the device is located: power button, power cable connector, 2xUSB output 5V/1A and DC 15V/1A output.
On the front of the case is the model name P50 and power led.
The global voltage switch is located on the side (115V for AC100V-120V 50/60Hz, 230V for AC220V-240V 50/60Hz).
The heart of the P50 is sealed toroidal transformer. He has small magnetic leakage and low noise, which is very suitable for HIFI use. And the transformer is designed to suppress EMC and noise.
The 15V modules provides more than 10000uF capacitors in total, and the 5V modules provides total than 8000uF capacitors in total; giving the output enought energy reserves.
The P50 is regulated with three TPS7A4700 ultralow noise linear regulators. The TPS7A4700 is capable of high-accuracy, high-precision instrumentation-level application and HIFI applications, making it the best choice for high-performance analog circuits.
The hardware is really impressive considering price of $120, but what does it all do in practice? Let’s try to take a closer look.
The most interesting thing is how much the linear power supply affects the sound. Many people are skeptical about such fixes as linear power, as well as cables – many believe that this is some kind of placebo effect. And if with the cable in many cases it is really difficult to grasp the difference, and if it is, it may be subtle, while the ratio of the price and the result obtained may not meet expectations. Linear power supply is completely different, here the difference will be heard immediately.
The first and most important thing that you will hear is background noise, or rather its absence. Most likely, you have not heard it before on stock power supply (like charging from your smartphone), but by connecting the linear power supply, you will immediately understand what kind of noise we are talking about. Even more interesting is how exactly the absence of this noise affects the overall frequency range.
We tested Topping P50 with Topping A50 headphone amplifier, Topping E30 DAC and HiFiMAN Sundara headphones, both at regular 3.5mm output and balanced 2.5mm. And here it is worth noting an important point, when you connect the linear power supply, suddenly you understand all the instruments in music become as it were, separated more clearly from each other, while they seem to acquire new timbre colors.
This is especially noticeable on the solo parts of acoustic instruments in a track and their decays in instrumental compositions. For example, in his live performances, Al Di Meola sometimes adds reverb with a pedal, in general you could hear it well before, but with linear power gives clarity and air to the reverb, now you can feel how it bounces off the walls in the room and spreads across the hall.
In general, describe the overall sound picture, you can immediately notice a smoother flow. The roughness that was present throughout the frequency spectrum previously disappeared. Medium frequencies almost everywhere acquire physicality and their clear form. Male and female vocals, if to be listened again on well-known tracks, they acquire solidity, charisma and weight against the background of the overall composition. Now you can really enjoy them, because there is a certain naturalness in the track, the music starts to flow, and not roll, as before with the stock power supply.
Detail also appears in the upper range, if in some tracks you did not like the upper frequencies, then the linear power seems to make them what they should be, the feeling of rejection disappears and especially the sharp moments that you didn’t like before start not to prick but shine, and the amazing effect of linear power supply is clearly visible in this.
Separately, we would like to note how the Topping A50 played with the P50. In general, this is a very good amplifier that amazes with its airiness and density from the first time. But when used with the P50, it surprises you with a new level of density. The airiness remains the same, but now you can see the separation of frequencies and instruments, they become tangible. Now the instruments acquire their position in space and the sounds they make take shape. Now you understand that the notes move from a specific place at a specific angle right into your ears. Amazing effect.
Topping P50 is a good start for reasonable money to understand the difference that linear power provides. We definitely recommend improve your sound with a linear power, and only after then you can pay attention to the wires. The P50 is an excellent quality device that will not only satisfy you aesthetically, but also bring an obvious difference to your sound.
Thanks to HIFI College Store for providing the Topping P50 sample.
Official HIFI College site: https://www.hificollege.net/
HIFI College Aliexpress store: HIFI college store
HIFI College Newegg store: Newegg.com
Product type: Regulated linear power supply
Input voltage: AC110V/AC220V, 50Hz/60Hz
Input connector: IEC C14
Output voltages: 2x 5VDC 1A, 15VDC 1A
Output connector: 2x USB-A, 1x Jack DC 5.5/2.1mm
Noise: < 1mVrms
Dimensions: 11 x 11 x 5.2cm
Case material: CNC machined Aluminium