(Disclaimer: sample Topping E30 provided by HIFI college store)
Chinese manufacturer Toping well known to all audiophiles has presented its new DAC toping E30. Almost all new models of Topping DAC became the best in their segment, and the E30 was no exception. The new product is equipped with a top AKM chip AK4493EQ that for its price of 130$ has almost no competitors, not counting the noname chinese manufacturers. It is clear that only top chip is not enough to get a really good sound, but Topping knows how to do really well for relatively little money. Perhaps, this is one of the cheapest DAC with such sound quality today.
Packaging & Accessories
Topping E30 comes in a simple cardboard box, in this comes almost all the topping products. Minimum set: E30 topping, USB type B cable, USB type A to DC cable, warranty card and user’s manual.
Design, Controls & Connectivity
Toping E30 has an almost solid aluminum construction with a very clean and minimal appearance. On the front panel is located one sensor button (it is used for all management, we will talk about it later) and orange/blue LED panel which informs the user of sample rate, volume, input and file type. The display brightness can be selected from three levels.
On the back panel, there is a standard set of connectors for DAC of this price: pair of RCA output, optical and coaxial digital connectivity, USB connection type ‘A’ female port and DC (5V) power input.
We immediately recommend switching the E30 to DAC mode (we don’t recommend using the E30 as a preamp, it doesn’t sound very impressive to be honest). To do this, go to standby mode, press and hold the on/off button on the touch panel for 3 seconds until the “DAC” label will appear on the display. Release the button and turn it on. In this mode, the volume position cannot be changed, and instead the sample rate will be displayed on the screen. However, in this mode, DAC begins to reveal his soul to the full.
E30 has a much simpler user interface compared to the D50/S, D90 and etc, it has become easier to use and manage. As soon as the E30 is turned on, a short press on the on/off button will switch between these 3 digital inputs and display the message “Err” (Error) if it is not possible to establish a connection via the selected input, and as soon as you insert it into the standby mode you can select PRE or DAC mode. If you want to reach your full potential, you will need the included remote control for E30.
In addition to switching the digital input and selecting the volume level using the remote control, there is also a button for automatically turning on/off the power, a mute button, you can select the desired digital filter (total of 6 filters) using the button and change the brightness level.
The E30 comes with the new Asahi Kasei AK4493 DAC chip, which is part of a premium line of digital-to-analog converters that carry this famous Velvet Sound technology. An AK4118 receiver chip was used for optical and coaxial input, Topping uses this chip in most of its DAC for its low jitter and stability. Also on Board is the latest USB XU208 from XMOS, which is one of the best solutions for today. Of the dozens of USB receiver chips for us, XMOS is still the most reliable and stable chipset that can be found on the market. This makes the E30 capable of receiving and decoding 32-bit PCM 768 kHz and DSD512 files via USB. We also strongly recommend that you install custom Thesycon drivers from the Topping website for a better experience.
It is surprising how close Topping managed to get in terms of sound quality to its more expensive models considering the really small price. However, it differs slightly from any other model in its timbral pitch. E30 doesn’t emphasize any frequency region we have deep punchy bass line which is also really well controlled it’s not bloated. It’s not warmish, but it’s not thin, it’s just really great and the same story continues when we go up to the mid-range it’s really clear it’s really crisp.
There is no overlap between mid bass and mid range. So when we listen to some vocals they’re perfectly clear crisp and well textured. We cannot detect in those vocals any emphasis on bass to give like fake bigger body to the vocal or any emphasis on higher mid-range that would give too much sharpness or coarseness to it’s just really nice and naturally balanced. Same goes of course for guitars or any other instruments they are present clear and in really nice sounding.
In the same story continues when we move up to the highest frequency range, again a lot of clarity, a lot of extension and good thing that it doesn’t sound too bright or too harsh or anything you hear every tiny detail. But they never melt to a white noise to something that sounds like paper or like aluminum foil that some lesser ducts suffer from it’s, just everything is well separated and resolved in a great manner.
In general, sounds very present quite upfront we might say but not two-dimensional not compressed in any way quite the opposite. It can throw our really nice scale sound stage like the width is quite great in some recordings it can go even outside of the speaker’s borders. It’s great and all instruments and vocals are really nicely separated each of them having firm place in the picture and a lot of space to breathe nothing feels cramped or compressed this is one of the biggest scale of sound that we’ve heard anywhere near this price point and we was very impressed.
Topping E30 gives you a very honest sound. It’s brought us few new features we can use: it as preamp, a remote control, several different filters and the sound is even better than we expected. And it simply sounds much better then the price would suggest. We currently cannot think of anything better near this price that we would rather recommend to anybody.
USB :44.1kHz-768kHz 16bit-32bit
OPT/COAX : 44.1kHz-192kHz 16bit- 24bit
OPT/COAX: Not supported
OPT/COAX: Not supported
Output Voltage: 2Vrms@0dBFS
THD+N: <0.0003% @1kHz A-weighting
Noise: <2uVrms @A-weighting
Crosstalk: -130dB @1 kHz
SNR: >121dB @ 1kHz
Dynamic Range: 119dB @1kHz
Channel Balance: <0.3 dB