Topping E30 DAC

comes with AK 4493 and remote
silver and black versions available
single ended

maybe something for those on a budget
maybe for those who don’t want a budget ESS implementation

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Topping E30 review from headfonia

I’ll be the first to admit, as much as I love D10 functionally I haven’t been exactly impressed with it’s performance. I mean it’s respectable and a damn good value but not the BEST sounding DAC at it’s price.

Even D90 while very respectable didn’t leave me feeling EXCITED, about future products from Topping. However, after a few weeks with E30 I really feel Topping is starting to step it up.

Functionally it’s got a dedicated line for power and 3 digital inputs with a single ended pair of RCA outs, digital display, metal chasis, 7 digital filters and a remote! Best of all it’s only $130!

First and formost I did recieve this as a review sample from Apos Audio, the team there are excellent and I’m happy to have this product in for review! Secondly I don’t make a single cent if you buy from them, but I do enjoy their customer service and encourage you guys to take them up on their price match offers when avalible.

Sound Quality

I did review this using USB out from my Windows 10 Laptop into D10, Coax out of D10 into E30 which I then fed into my Koss ESP 95X, comparisons to other DACs where done level matched via the use of a Pre-Amp when needed

I did all of my listening and comparisons using the #1 Sharp Filter, rather than the #3 default

Overall I find E30 has a;

  • Dry tonality
    • Without over emphasizing texture like D10 can
  • Slightly Aggressive Envelope
    • Emphasis on the attack and decay but not enough to detract from one’s perception of sustain and release
  • Average Staging width and cohesion
  • Above Average Staging Depth
    • Hearing sounds as the travel both towards your self and back into the audible space
  • Above Average Detail
    • Again room accoustics when captured and preserved are evident amoung other small transients and details

All in all I feel it’s a excellent example of what we can and should expect from a DAC at this price point! An as much as I enjoy D10 it find the D10’s staging is quite flat in comparison to most other products.

Now a worthwhile comparison I feel is Modi 3 vs E30, I felt that Modi 3 did have some advantages over E30, namely;

  • More natural tonality/Timbre
    • Espically evident in vocals
  • More cohesive presentation of staging width
    • Hearing a smoother audible transtion as sound travels throughout the audible space

Tho my biggest gripe with Modi 3 is it’s soft rounded presentation of low frequancies, most better than average recordings and masterings don’t typically exsaperbate this issue how ever about a third of my collection does.

E30 on the other hand has these advantages over Modi 3 imo

  • Vividly defined texture in low frequancies
  • Depth within the audible sound stage

While I think Modi 3s strengths give it greater potential for contributing to an overall balanced, detailed and natural sound system it’s faults are equally detrimental.

That said, E30 is in a sense a bit more transparent as there aren’t any elements of it’s presentation that I’d conider detrimental.

So again, kudos to Topping for really stepping up and raising the bar on what we can expect at this price point with E30!

An I’m excited to see how other companies within this space step up as well.

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I received my E30 today, and it’s quite impressive. Detailed, clear and neutral. Not very forgiving though, it allows you to hear exactly what’s in the recording, good or bad. I think I prefer it to the Modi 3’s somewhat colored presentation, but I’ll dust it off and compare soon.

edit: This DAC has 6 filters, so the sound will vary somewhat depending on which you choose. I’ve primarily been using #4.

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I think it was a mistake not to include a power supply with this bad boy. I’ve been hearing reports of people using a USB port or a random charger they had lying around for power, and having problems because of it. I’ve been using a Mean Well power supply though, and I’m very happy with it. On the plus side, the E30 comes with a remote, especially useful if you want to use it as a preamp.

edit: Now that I’ve had a chance to compare them, I actually prefer the Modi 3, it’s a bit smoother and more cohesive. The E30 is more energetic, but has a bit of a glare to it.

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Well because I was bored I swapped out my RME ADI-2 DAC from the main system and popped the little E30 I recently bought with it’s L30 amp for headphone duties instead… oh dear, bad move! The E30 gives up nothing to the RME, it is maybe a touch less edged (I have removed the Roon DSP the RME demanded to tame the brightness down a bit) it is delivering masses of clear, precise detail, exactly like the reviews say it does in a headphone environment. I am astonished - we really are living in an age of DAC development where the lines between expensive (not the at RME is what most folk call expensive - but it’s a lot more then £115 I paid for the Topping!) and budget DACs are getting very had to define.

Now I’m looking for maybe a ‘downgrade’ on the RME - I really don’t use half the features! :blush:

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