TOPPING E50 DAC: Packaging and Accessories
This is not my first time with TOPPING, but I have never before photographed their products for review. As such, I will say straight away that TOPPING isn't big on fancy packaging, with a utilitarian unboxing deemed more important. The product box for the TOPPING E50 is predominantly white cardboard with the brand name and Hi-Res Audio badge on the front. The minimalism continues on the sides, with the company website and contact information listed in what is clearly a common box design. The only product-specific information comes in the form of a sticker confirming the E50 in black is inside. Side flaps keep the contents in place during transit, and opening the box reveals foam protection all around, with a thick layer that is compartmentalized to separate the accessories from the E50 DAC itself, which in turn ships inside a wax paper wrap to keep it pristine and free of dust out of the box.
TOPPING includes a warranty card with the E50, as well as a multi-language user manual (online copy found here) that walks you through initial setup and use of the DAC. This is all the more handy given the TOPPING E50 has more functionality than, say, the JDS Labs Atom DAC+ or evenElement II we saw before, let alone the more portable sources examined to date. Take the remote control, for example, which is so useful, almost a necessity even. It has dedicated buttons for a lot of things, including shortcuts and navigation between inputs and outputs, changing the display brightness, and so on. It is predominantly plastic and won't win any build quality awards, and takes two AAA batteries TOPPING does not provide to get you going.
As with most standalone DAC units, the TOPPING E50 takes external power. However, and this is clearly a move and a half away from those who go the AC power route from the wall directly, TOPPING instead relies on a 5 V plug heading to a USB Type-A port, which is then directed to a spare USB port on your PC or a USB wall adapter as long as it feeds in 5 VDC. I would have liked a quality wall adapter since USB power can be "dirtier" in terms of the phase irregularities hardcore audiophiles will protest against, though I have yet to really come across any tangible differences. The digital input comes in the form of a Type-B to Type-A male/male cable, which in turn indicates the adoption of Type-B connectivity on the DAC.