Topping E30 Digital to Analogue Converter Review & Comments

gagaga

Active Member
Nice review, as you say £115 is night out money so worth a play, and terribly tempting with that Rega to update my desk system.

re the price - where was that from? Amazon seems to be £139 now - brilliantly the ads on the page show 109 crossed out and 139 presented as a bargain :).
 

Jamie

Distinguished Member
It's.impressive what you can get for the money these days, combined with a bargain pair of powered monitors for a decent system for not much cash.

I'll admit I misread the post title as £30 not E30 so it's not quite the bargain I thought it was at first though 😀
 

Spick72

Active Member
Been toying with adding a dac to a Bluesound node 2i connected to a M2si and LS50 Metas, do you think this would be a noticeable improvement?
 

Ed Selley

AVF Reviewer
re the price - where was that from? Amazon seems to be £139 now - brilliantly the ads on the page show 109 crossed out and 139 presented as a bargain :).

From the distributor.

Been toying with adding a dac to a Bluesound node 2i connected to a M2si and LS50 Metas, do you think this would be a noticeable improvement?

Not sure- it's going to be fairly marginal as the Bluesound sounds pretty good. Realistically, you'd need to be looking to spend at least what the Bluesound cost to see a worthwhile improvement.
 

PJTX100

Distinguished Member
I've had the Topping D10 for several years and it's never disappointed. Renders high res FLAC and DSD very nicely. I also like the display, it's good to see what is actually being presented to it.
 

acgingersnaps

Active Member
I still use a Topping D30 for tv duty. Does a fine job. When i used to have Qobuz running into it from a PC, that sounded excellent too.
 

muljao

Well-known Member
This would work nice for active monitors also
 

fordster

Member
Very thorough review Ed, thanks. This DAC has been well reviewed and raved about for a long time now and has excellent measurements. I really appreciate the way you put context into your reviews, they tell a story which measurements on their own don’t. So it is nice that I can now combine these from different sources and form a more educated opinion on whether this would be of interest to me. I’ve been burnt by hype on cheap “wonder” DACs before so even though it isn’t that expensive I’m always still cautious. Several mistakes soon adds up!
 

vkvedam

Active Member
Good to see such reviews Ed, it's a phenomenal DAC and to my ears it sounds as good as any other high end DACs I owned if not better.
 

manicminer1

Standard Member
I bought an E30 in August last year (for £109 from Amazon), and can throughly recommend and support everything in the excellent article by Ed. Not sure why its not a 10 out of 10 though!.

Mine is connected to my garage/workshop system with a Tangent Ampster BT II integrated amp, pair of wall mounted Mission LX-1’s and a spare Acoustic Energy Radiance sub I had stored. I usually stream Tidal Masters from my iPhone 11 via a usb cable into the Topping.

I can only say that this setup sounds far better than you could ever expect for the sum of the parts. I got the LX-1’s for £79 (new in Oct 20; bargain) and the Tangent for £149 (Amazon/Richer Sounds, May 20). I also have a Chord Mojo and in a back-to-back comparison its very difficult to prefer one over the other. It is important to point out that the improvement using the E30 vs Bluetooth is astonishing and I would not hesitate to recommend - a true Hi-Fi bargain and one of my best buys.

As a result, I’ve had to spend quite a bit of time on my main home system - but that requires a separate post!
 

acgingersnaps

Active Member
I sold my Mojo-Poly setup after toying with Google CCA and E30. And I lived with Mojo for 4 years and Poly for 2 years so you can imagine 🙂
Also sold my Mojo recently. Side by side testing of the D30, Mojo and my Sonos Connect showed little to no difference.
In my opinion, further confirmation that as long as your connections, amplification and DAC are up to the task, you don't need to spend the earth on them.
Speakers, cartridges and your room can make a big difference. The rest just need to do their jobs.

The Mojo money has paid for a pair of AKG 712's and half of a Schiit Magni Heresy. It is not worth that.
 

sue_hall

Well-known Member
Great review,

quick question Ed (or owners), can the display be switched off?

Kind regards

Rob
 

Ed Selley

AVF Reviewer
Speakers, cartridges and your room can make a big difference. The rest just need to do their jobs.
Perhaps not entirely surprisingly, I don't completely agree with that assessment. I've used the Audio Technica VM-95SH in a selection of applications including recently moving it between an Audio Technica LP5X (review coming soon) and a Rega Planar 10. I can assure you that, even with every other component in the chain being kept the same, the VM-95X does not sound the same in those two different turntables. They're both doing their jobs... but one is doing a better job than the other (although you'd hope so given a Planar 10 less cart is ten times the price of the LP5X).

In the last year or so, where possible, I try and use a component both in context and in a more absolute situation. The reason for this is that the absolute setting does often demonstrate that- with greater ability to resolve- differences can be established. The E30 and Chord Qutest sound very similar into the Rega Io and Q Acoustics 3030i (to the point of the worth of the Qutest would be entirely debatable). Run the same comparison into the Musical Fidelity M2si and pair of Spendor A1s and the Qutest begins to show some benefits. Rinse and repeat into the Chord 2800MkII and Kudos Titans and the Qutest is quite a bit better.

Now, if you own a Rega Io, that's interesting in the abstract but of no benefit in reality. Buy the Topping and revel in what it does. If- in the working belief they make a difference (and they indisputably do), you've gone long on speakers, do be prepared for source equipment and amplifiers to make differences they weren't making before.

How would this compare to the Cambridge Audio Dacmagic 100?

It's better.

quick question Ed (or owners), can the display be switched off?

The sample has gone home so I can't confirm but I don't think you can.
 

acgingersnaps

Active Member
Perhaps not entirely surprisingly, I don't completely agree with that assessment. I've used the Audio Technica VM-95SH in a selection of applications including recently moving it between an Audio Technica LP5X (review coming soon) and a Rega Planar 10. I can assure you that, even with every other component in the chain being kept the same, the VM-95X does not sound the same in those two different turntables. They're both doing their jobs... but one is doing a better job than the other (although you'd hope so given a Planar 10 less cart is ten times the price of the LP5X).

In the last year or so, where possible, I try and use a component both in context and in a more absolute situation. The reason for this is that the absolute setting does often demonstrate that- with greater ability to resolve- differences can be established. The E30 and Chord Qutest sound very similar into the Rega Io and Q Acoustics 3030i (to the point of the worth of the Qutest would be entirely debatable). Run the same comparison into the Musical Fidelity M2si and pair of Spendor A1s and the Qutest begins to show some benefits. Rinse and repeat into the Chord 2800MkII and Kudos Titans and the Qutest is quite a bit better.

Now, if you own a Rega Io, that's interesting in the abstract but of no benefit in reality. Buy the Topping and revel in what it does. If- in the working belief they make a difference (and they indisputably do), you've gone long on speakers, do be prepared for source equipment and amplifiers to make differences they weren't making before.



It's better.



The sample has gone home so I can't confirm but I don't think you can.
You make some fair points, but I stand by the gist of what I said. For people on ok budgets, with a total of say £1k to £3k in existing kit, going after noticable upgrades in sound in your DAC or turntable is so expensive as to be verging on pointless. I could double the cost of my amp DAC or turntable, for example, and probably not notice much difference. If I doubled my speaker or cartridge cost, or invested in room correction, I undoubtedly would.
 

vkvedam

Active Member
Perhaps not entirely surprisingly, I don't completely agree with that assessment. I've used the Audio Technica VM-95SH in a selection of applications including recently moving it between an Audio Technica LP5X (review coming soon) and a Rega Planar 10. I can assure you that, even with every other component in the chain being kept the same, the VM-95X does not sound the same in those two different turntables. They're both doing their jobs... but one is doing a better job than the other (although you'd hope so given a Planar 10 less cart is ten times the price of the LP5X).

In the last year or so, where possible, I try and use a component both in context and in a more absolute situation. The reason for this is that the absolute setting does often demonstrate that- with greater ability to resolve- differences can be established. The E30 and Chord Qutest sound very similar into the Rega Io and Q Acoustics 3030i (to the point of the worth of the Qutest would be entirely debatable). Run the same comparison into the Musical Fidelity M2si and pair of Spendor A1s and the Qutest begins to show some benefits. Rinse and repeat into the Chord 2800MkII and Kudos Titans and the Qutest is quite a bit better.

Now, if you own a Rega Io, that's interesting in the abstract but of no benefit in reality. Buy the Topping and revel in what it does. If- in the working belief they make a difference (and they indisputably do), you've gone long on speakers, do be prepared for source equipment and amplifiers to make differences they weren't making before.



It's better.



The sample has gone home so I can't confirm but I don't think you can.
Not necessarily Ed, I have been in the game for some time now, might be as long as you are. I have been fortunate enough to have experienced a lot of gear whether been bought or borrowed. Sounding different isn't necessarily better all the time. Once you reach a bare minimum requirement/specification all the gear will sound high end. They might sound subtly different to one another but not necessarily better. You may prefer sound A to sound B, I am OK with that.

Speakers and headphones make the biggest difference once we reach that bare minimum specification which we can call as true HiFi. For instance going from Spendors to Kudos would make a huge difference as compared to you switch in between E30 and Qutest. At least with E30 I don't need to guess the filter/sampling as it has got a display :)

We are fortunate enough to be living in these times where very high end sound quality is within reach of the masses. I am just glad that being a reviewer you agreed to review this and share your thoughts.
 

Ed Selley

AVF Reviewer
You make some fair points, but I stand by the gist of what I said. For people on ok budgets, with a total of say £1k to £3k in existing kit, going after noticable upgrades in sound in your DAC or turntable is so expensive as to be verging on pointless. I could double the cost of my amp DAC or turntable, for example, and probably not notice much difference. If I doubled my speaker or cartridge cost, or invested in room correction, I undoubtedly would.

For digital this is almost certainly the case- I go so far as to say the same in the review copy. Something like a Qutest for example might stand to be a worthwhile undertaking if the rest of the system is at the £3k point but it's going to be swings and roundabouts.

Turntables on the other hand, play by different rules and they continue to intrigue and periodically annoy me for this reason. A few years ago, AVID did a fascinating demonstration where every turntable model they made at that time was kitted out with an SME 309 and a Nagaoka MP-150 moving magnet cartridge and each turntable output into an identical example of one of their phono stages and there into a preamp so you could put five examples of the same record on and switch (with perfect level matching) through the different models. The differences were appreciable at every point.

Now, assuming your X1 has the cartridge it was supplied with (your signature doesn't specify), it is slightly 'undercartridged'. If you doubled the cost of the cartridge on it (so went for a £200 cart), the benefits would be absolutely clear cut. I'd venture so far as to say doubling again (£400) would be a straightforward gain. After that though, any gain would be rather more incremental- you would have reached the limit of what the turntable could realistically 'do' with the cartridge. Does that mean that carts that cost more than £400 have no purpose? Of course not because running the same test again on- for the sake of argument an RPM10- would see it realise the gains of carts up to and past the four figure point.

Once you reach a bare minimum requirement/specification all the gear will sound high end. They might sound subtly different to one another but not necessarily better. You may prefer sound A to sound B, I am OK with that.

I won't lie, every time I see this on the forum (and in eighteen years, I've seen it a lot), the point where this notional transparency is reached, seems to be at about the point where the person saying it happens to own equipment. I'm sure it's just a coincidence though.
 

vkvedam

Active Member
For digital this is almost certainly the case- I go so far as to say the same in the review copy. Something like a Qutest for example might stand to be a worthwhile undertaking if the rest of the system is at the £3k point but it's going to be swings and roundabouts.

Turntables on the other hand, play by different rules and they continue to intrigue and periodically annoy me for this reason. A few years ago, AVID did a fascinating demonstration where every turntable model they made at that time was kitted out with an SME 309 and a Nagaoka MP-150 moving magnet cartridge and each turntable output into an identical example of one of their phono stages and there into a preamp so you could put five examples of the same record on and switch (with perfect level matching) through the different models. The differences were appreciable at every point.

Now, assuming your X1 has the cartridge it was supplied with (your signature doesn't specify), it is slightly 'undercartridged'. If you doubled the cost of the cartridge on it (so went for a £200 cart), the benefits would be absolutely clear cut. I'd venture so far as to say doubling again (£400) would be a straightforward gain. After that though, any gain would be rather more incremental- you would have reached the limit of what the turntable could realistically 'do' with the cartridge. Does that mean that carts that cost more than £400 have no purpose? Of course not because running the same test again on- for the sake of argument an RPM10- would see it realise the gains of carts up to and past the four figure point.



I won't lie, every time I see this on the forum (and in eighteen years, I've seen it a lot), the point where this notional transparency is reached, seems to be at about the point where the person saying it happens to own equipment. I'm sure it's just a coincidence though.
Sorry, I was referring to the digital domain. Analogue I haven't got the experience to speak of. I tend to agree with you on the analogue front, no qualms.

PS: When I moved to Mojo from an rDAC it was a revelation, no contest there.
 
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