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TOPPING E30 II DAC + L30 II Amplifier Desktop Stack

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TOPPING is back at it with another impressive stack of an affordable DAC and high-performance amplifier. Today we examine the TOPPING E30 II and L30 II, that improve significantly over previous models, and provide excellent value for money in a small footprint - catering not only to demanding headphones but also sensitive IEMs.

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Great stuff. Personally I'm not a big fan of stacks when products like Topping DX3pro + exist.
 
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These are good bang for the buck and most people interested in a stack with amp don't care about bluetooth and a lot of people don't care about MQA. Leaving those out to go with a lower price will be seen as a plus to a lot of people.
 

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Didn't know Topping was updating these, very cool. Would have been nice to have a comparison to the DX3 Pro+.
I don't have the DX3 Pro+ here unfortunately.
 
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Great stuff. Personally I'm not a big fan of stacks when products like Topping DX3pro + exist.
The great thing about stacks is you can add more things in or swap things out. This can be fun and even useful with stuff like a hardware EQ or if you are feeling silly a preamp. It can also get in same with stuff like master clock generators.
 
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Coincidentally, I bought silver E30 & L30 (the first versions) five month ago and I'm pretty happy with it.
But I don't understand why is a negative that ESS and AKM based DACs sounds the same. IMO good DACs should be transparent and sound the same, otherwise there's something wrong with them.
 
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Coincidentally, I bought silver E30 & L30 (the first versions) five month ago and I'm pretty happy with it.
But I don't understand why is a negative that ESS and AKM based DACs sounds the same. IMO good DACs should be transparent and sound the same, otherwise there's something wrong with them.
The only DACs that ever REALLY sounded different to me were vintage r2r and old mobo DACs.

Come to think of it, some modern multibit DACs need to reach the right temp for accuracy. Same chips sometimes have heating attatched when used in precision military, medical, and scientific equipment. My Modi multibit is like that. Tone sounds very weird cold.

I tend to agree though... a good DAC just does the conversion. And I think weve actually been there for a while with the majority. The main reason to buy or not buy any one of them should generally come down to features needed, assuming it measures within reason.
 
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Coincidentally, I bought silver E30 & L30 (the first versions) five month ago and I'm pretty happy with it.
But I don't understand why is a negative that ESS and AKM based DACs sounds the same. IMO good DACs should be transparent and sound the same, otherwise there's something wrong with them.

Most people don't feel that ESS and AKM DACs sound the same. However it's not just the DAC chip itself the implementationn of it has a lot to do with it. People will say that ESS is brightest, AKM is warm, Burr Brown is the warmest but a lot of this is placebo (hell toss in Cirus Logic) . The chips are different and are definetly different products, however the sound the actual full DAC produces is really more dependent on the implementation and design. The better the design the more transparent the sound should be which is where the small differences in the chip might show up. But really badly sounding things are usually poor implementation and good implementations are going to sound more transparent and better. The implementation of the amp makes a difference as well.
 
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Coincidentally, I bought silver E30 & L30 (the first versions) five month ago and I'm pretty happy with it.
But I don't understand why is a negative that ESS and AKM based DACs sounds the same. IMO good DACs should be transparent and sound the same, otherwise there's something wrong with them.
Are you aware of the problem with the first L30 though? Make sure to check your serial number, some L30s might destroy your headphones and ears.
 
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Any high-quality DACs with a headphone amplifier that offer a software equalizer? I wanted to replace my X-Fi HD USB soundcard, but I was never able to find anything with this feature.

I am never satisfied with the default tuning of any headphones or speakers. Even my Philips Fidelio X2 headphones need a slight tuning (and that is just my personal taste).
 

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Any high-quality DACs with a headphone amplifier that offer a software equalizer? I wanted to replace my X-Fi HD USB soundcard, but I was never able to find anything with this feature.

I am never satisfied with the default tuning of any headphones or speakers. Even my Philips Fidelio X2 headphones need a slight tuning (and that is just my personal taste).
RME ADI-2?
 
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Any high-quality DACs with a headphone amplifier that offer a software equalizer? I wanted to replace my X-Fi HD USB soundcard, but I was never able to find anything with this feature.
Seconded lol... Ive just been using the thing pictured below. I end up converting from USB to spdif to AES, and then back from AES to spdif on the way out to the DAC, transformers askew :rolleyes:
behringer_deq2496_1.jpg

Honestly, I kind of love the dedicated control now, and like pure software, it never leaves the digital phase. The EQs available are capable, you can even generate noise and set up some basic manual room correction.

Tons of preset slots to fill, too. Im the same with EQ for every headphone. I even EQ my speakers by genre. This thing was a little costly and annoying to rig compared to an app. Software can do way more fancy stuff, too. But after two years with dedicated hardware, I cant even think about it.

RME ADI-2?
Now, theres a DAC with some nice features. I had my eye on that for a while but 1.3k is steeeep. For that, Id rather have at least one new pair of headphones.
 
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RME ADI-2?
I guess I meant quality, or maybe decent quality, not high quality. ;)

$500 is probably the most I could spend. But I have to admit, this does look amazing. I will make a note of it in case I become rich.
 
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I guess I meant quality, or maybe decent quality, not high quality. ;)

$500 is probably the most I could spend. But I have to admit, this does look amazing. I will make a note of it in case I become rich.
Eyyy, that DEQ2496 is callin your name then lmao. $350 bucks + whatever cabling/conversion needed. Converting from the toslink on that DAC may not be worth it though. For coax SPDIF, I got off with buying an $80 hosa powered dual tranformer to get the AES the Behringer desires (it wants to pretend its classy like that.) But for optical, you're looking at like $130 just to be able to hook it up. If you have wired SPDIF out on the PC, that might be better-suited.

I held off on buying the thing for a long time, but I never did find a better option at remotely the price point. It's a Behringer for sure, but not one of THOSE models. Cheaply built, but performs great.
 
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Any high-quality DACs with a headphone amplifier that offer a software equalizer? I wanted to replace my X-Fi HD USB soundcard, but I was never able to find anything with this feature.

I am never satisfied with the default tuning of any headphones or speakers. Even my Philips Fidelio X2 headphones need a slight tuning (and that is just my personal taste).
You looked into equalizer software?

I've also always been miffed that companies like fiio, ifi, moondrop, the thx one, offer apps for phones (no, you do not need it) but not for Windows/OSX! To an extent, I get it. They often have a built in one, there are countless programs to do it, often the application itself has one. It's just throwing one more thing on top of it. Especially when many of these offer fullsized desktop DACs. Like common you're most of the way there.

Also, unrelated by while surfing through companies I've used on amazon to see if they had software eq a shocking amount of people are plugging a 3.5 into a 4.4 and then being confused and saying the jack is wrong. Which is funny. And not going to lie many a year ago I didn't know about balanced stuff either but it's a good giggle now. And there are enough jacks that look close enough (outside of XLR) that it's easy to get mixed up if you are going fast. Still great in an amazon review though!

Speaking of which, I need a 4.4 to two pin iem cable because I'm going to get another dongle dac/amp.
 
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You looked into equalizer software?

I've also always been miffed that companies like fiio, ifi, moondrop, the thx one, offer apps for phones (no, you do not need it) but not for Windows/OSX! To an extent, I get it. They often have a built in one, there are countless programs to do it, often the application itself has one. It's just throwing one more thing on top of it. Especially when many of these offer fullsized desktop DACs. Like common you're most of the way there.
It really is ridiculous that you can't get basic DSP out of these devices made specifically to work with PCs. When I buy a friggin $90 USB recording interface (same thing PLUS mic power circuits, monitored inputs, and ADC) it at a minimum comes with some software plugins that frankly do more than what we're asking for here. YEARS back, I bought a Line 6 POD Farm XT... simple little usb box with two unbalanced RCA outs and two instrument impedance 1/4" ins... and I guess something approximating a headphone amp. THAT THING CAME WITH EVERYTHING YOU NEED IN SOFTWARE TO PRODUCE WHOLE SONGS. Like... they developed a whole DAW for it, to go with all of the amp sims they gave you. All it needed to do was be able to record guitar tracks without distracting latency when monitoring what you're recording live. But they gave you a whole care package of useful stuff that goes perfectly with the hardware and makes it more functional out of the box. And that is fairly typical with that type of gear. That's entry level. ~$100 and you're there with those recording interfaces.

There really is no excuse in my book lol.
 
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You looked into equalizer software?

I actually did not think there could be EQ software that supports any device.

I just googled something called Equalizer APO (with Peace Equalizer GUI). Looks promising, I will definitely try it out!
 
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I actually did not think there could be EQ software that supports any device.

I just googled something called Equalizer APO (with Peace Equalizer GUI). Looks promising, I will definitely try it out!
That's currently the top choice for software EQ. It works pretty well, though keep in mind you will have to reenable it on your sound devices after most windows updates (it's a pretty quick and easy process)

 
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My current setup for desktop is Topping DX3pro+ HiFiMan400SE's and I have a couple of parametric EQ settings that I use to tweak the headphones. I use Equalizer APO and Peace and have been very happy with the results. I do need to run my Musicbee with WASAPI shared settings. I can recommend this EQ setup.
 
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It really is ridiculous that you can't get basic DSP out of these devices made specifically to work with PCs. When I buy a friggin $90 USB recording interface (same thing PLUS mic power circuits, monitored inputs, and ADC) it at a minimum comes with some software plugins that frankly do more than what we're asking for here. YEARS back, I bought a Line 6 POD Farm XT... simple little usb box with two unbalanced RCA outs and two instrument impedance 1/4" ins... and I guess something approximating a headphone amp. THAT THING CAME WITH EVERYTHING YOU NEED IN SOFTWARE TO PRODUCE WHOLE SONGS. Like... they developed a whole DAW for it, to go with all of the amp sims they gave you. All it needed to do was be able to record guitar tracks without distracting latency when monitoring what you're recording live. But they gave you a whole care package of useful stuff that goes perfectly with the hardware and makes it more functional out of the box. And that is fairly typical with that type of gear. That's entry level. ~$100 and you're there with those recording interfaces.

There really is no excuse in my book lol.

I feel that people soured on it. For years everything on the PC was CREATIVE and that lead to the crazy. Drivers that were horrible, software that didn't work, features that weren't implemented in most games, features that made stuff worse, refusal to release drivers for new operating systems, operating systems where features went away, and on and on. It was a nightmare. A whole selling point of USB devices became "driverless, no software to download". This became a feature, not a bug. Sound Interfaces are another matter.

I think it sort of came back due to mobile devices.
That's currently the top choice for software EQ. It works pretty well, though keep in mind you will have to reenable it on your sound devices after most windows updates (it's a pretty quick and easy process)


Yeah. There are a lot and you can go as crazy as you want with this.
 
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Wow, I was between the l30/e30, l50/e50 for my Arya. I thought why risk it, so went for a30 / d30 pro stack but damn, even the l30 can drive the he1000? Holy cow.

Topping is not messing around

I actually did not think there could be EQ software that supports any device.

I just googled something called Equalizer APO (with Peace Equalizer GUI). Looks promising, I will definitely try it out!
Equalizer APO is well known among the music community and yes, it is amazing. You can even find profiles with tuning for every single headphone out there.

Just for comparisons sake, the a30/d30 pro drives the Arya V3 at medium gain between 12 to 1 o clock perfectly. Haven't dared going any higher than that, i think im already close to hearing damage listening levels :p
 
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It really is ridiculous that you can't get basic DSP out of these devices made specifically to work with PCs.
I agree. It's not like DSP chips cost a lot and designing some basic software UI isn't rocket science either.
But the audiophile market is predicated on ignorant consumers. People are led to believe that spending hundreds of dollars on a featureless "DAC" will magically improve their experience. And so manufacturers don't feel the need to bother with this, except for companies like RME and some other "pro" brands, which are geared towards more tech savvy users.


I actually did not think there could be EQ software that supports any device.

I just googled something called Equalizer APO (with Peace Equalizer GUI). Looks promising, I will definitely try it out!
Yes, software DSP can work too. It's not as robust as hardware DSP and you can't use it for low latency applications, but some people are happy with it.
 
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