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Topping E2x2 Audio Interface Review

Rate this audio interface

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 10 4.3%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 23 9.8%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 121 51.7%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 80 34.2%

  • Total voters
    234

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Topping Professional E2x2 audio interface (ADC, DAC, Headphone Amp). It was sent to me by the company and costs US $159.
Topping E2x2 Audio Interface DAC Balanced Out headphone review.jpg

As the British would say, the E2x2 definitely "looks the part" as far as fitting in the general offering of interfaces in the market. And that extends to control app which seems a lot fancier than I expected from a company just getting into this market:
Topping E2x2 Audio Interface DAC Balanced Out Control Panel UI.png

The company must have staffed up on the software side of things. You can power the unit exclusively via USB-C if your host supports its level of power (mine did), or with auxiliary USB-C power:
Topping E2x2 Audio Interface DAC Balanced Out headphone back panel review.jpg


Note an interesting feature that if you use TRS in line In, you get a different gain than when using XLR. One is used for microphone and the other for line in/instrument.

We have three subsystems to test so let's get on with it.

Topping E2x2 DAC Measurements
Treating the unit strictly as a DAC, we have this for our dashboard:
Topping E2x2 Audio Interface DAC Balanced Out Measurement.png

I am so used to chart topping measurements from Topping DACs that this seems decisively less performant:
Best audio interface DAC review.png

We do beat the spec so that is good.

Noise performance is better:
Topping E2x2 Audio Interface DAC Balanced Out DNR Measurement.png

As is multitone:
Topping E2x2 Audio Interface DAC Balanced Out Multitone Measurement.png


Linearity is near perfect:
Topping E2x2 Audio Interface DAC Balanced Out Linearity Measurement.png


As is jitter:
Topping E2x2 Audio Interface DAC Balanced Out Jitter Measurement.png


IMD noise and distortion is along the same lines as the dashboard SINAD:
Topping E2x2 Audio Interface DAC Balanced Out IMD Measurement.png


One filter is provided:
Topping E2x2 Audio Interface DAC Balanced Out Filter Measurement.png


Wideband THD+N again is similar to what we saw in dashboard:
Topping E2x2 Audio Interface DAC Balanced Out THD vs Frequency Measurement.png


Topping E2x2 ADC Measurements
The E2x2 starts to show the strength of the brand in this department:
Topping E2x2 Audio Interface DAC Balanced In Line Measurement.png

Best ADC Audio Interface Review 2023.png


Noise performance is nice:
Topping E2x2 Audio Interface DAC Balanced In Line Dynamic Range Measurement.png


As is frequency response:
Topping E2x2 Audio Interface DAC Balanced In Line Frequency Response Measurement.png


Measuring the IMD level was a bit tricky in that the gain impacted that initial hump. This measurement is also not ideal as it shows the generator level on X axis, not the output:

Topping E2x2 Audio Interface DAC Balanced In Line IMD vs Generator Level Measurement.png


Still what is there seems pretty nice especially if you use the right gain structure. Testing against measured level, I had an older THD sweep which I resurrected:
Topping E2x2 Audio Interface DAC Balanced In Line THD vs Level Measurement.png


As you see, it matched the reference pretty well.

Performance is essentially frequency independent:
Topping E2x2 Audio Interface DAC Balanced In Line THD vs Frequency Measurement.png


Topping E2x2 Headphone Amplifier Measurement
Let's see if Topping brought its "A game" in this department:
Topping E2x2 Audio Interface DAC Headphone Out 300 ohm Measurement.png


Seems to be the case seeing how this is USB powered. Many competitors just have a checklist headphone amp with low power and high noise and distortion. Not here. We have good bit of power in high gain mode and excellent noise and distortion in low gain. Same is true of 32 ohm:
Topping E2x2 Audio Interface DAC Headphone Out 32 ohm Measurement.png


I was impressed by the noise level as represented in our 50 mv test:
Topping E2x2 Audio Interface DAC Headphone Out 50mv SNR Measurement.png


Many stand-alone headphone amps struggle to achieve this level of quietness:
Best audio interface headphone amplifier review.png


Conclusions
Topping gives us a "good" DAC in E2x2. But then surprises us with very good performance of its ADC and excellent response of the headphone amplifier. I suspect the cost constraints here kept it from delivering better DAC performance. For some reason I thought if Topping entered the interface market, they would top of the chart performance with costs to go with it. Thinking about it, they may have been wise to go after the entry level market first. This way, they pick up customers who are not wedded to long established brands.

I am impressed by the completeness of the product especially when considering the control app and such. You would think the company has been in market for many years.

I am going to recommend the Topping E2x2 audio interface as an entry level product.

E2x2 Specifications@24bits/96kitz)

1. Microphone Inputs:


Equivalent Input Noise@A-wt,150 Ohm | -130.5dBu
THD+N@A-wt | -110dB (0.0003%)
Dynamic Range @A-wt | 115dB
SNR | 115dB
Crosstalk@1kHz | -140dB
Frequency Response | 20Hz-40kHz (#0.2dB)
Maximum Input Level | 8.6dBu
Input Impedance | 1.5k Ohms
Available Gain | 58dB + 20dB (20dB digital gain)
Phantom Power | 48V
Phantom Power | XLR connector of the combo socket:

2. Line Inputs:

THD+N@A-wt | -107dB0.00045%)
Dynamic Range @A-wt | 115dB
SNR @A-wt | 115dB
Crosstalk@1kHz | -140dB
Frequency Response | 20Hz-40kHz (#0.1dB)
Maximum Input Level | 23.9dBu
Input Impedance | 6k Ohms
Available Gain | 58B + 20dB (20dB digital gain)
Connector Type | TRS connector of the combo socket:
Tip (Hot), Ring (Cold) & Sleeve (Shield)

3. Instrument Inputs:

THD+N@A-wt | -108dB (0.0004%)
Dynamic Range @A-wt | 115dB
SNR @A-wt | 115dB
Crosstalk@1kHz | -140dB
Frequency Response | 20Hz-40kHz (#0.3dB)
Maximum Input Level | 14.8dBu
Input Impedance | 1M Ohms
Available Gain | 58dB + 20dB (20dB digital gain)
Connector Type | TS connector of the combo socket:
Tip (Hot) & Sleeve (Shield)

4. Line Outputs:

THD+N@A-wt | -100dB (0.001%)
Dynamic Range @A-wt | 115dB
Analogue Dynamic Range@A-wt, -40B attenuation | 127dB
SNR @A-wt | 115dB
Crosstalk@1kHz | -128dB
Frequency Response | 20Hz-40kHz (#0.3dB)
Maximum Input Level | 14dBu
Noise @A-wt | 1.8uVrms
Output Impedance | 100 Ohms
Connector Type | 6.35mm TRS balanced jack:
Tip (Hot), Ring (Cold) & Sleeve (Shield)

5. Headphone Outputs:

THD+N @A-wt | -100dB (0.001%)
Dynamic Range @A-wt | 115dB
Analogue Dynamic Range @A-wt, -40dB attenuation | 132dB
SNR @A-wt | 115dB
Crosstalk@1kHz | -120dB
Frequency Response | 20Hz-40kHz (£0.3dB)
Maximum Input Level | OdBu@ Gain=L, 17dBu@ Gain=H
Noise @A-wt | 1 uVrms
Output Impedance | 1 Ohms
Connector Type | 6.35mm stereo headphone jack:
Tip(Left), Ring (Right) & Sleeve (Shield)
6.35mm stereo headphone jack | 580mWx2@320 THD+N<1%
380mW x 2@64Q THD+N<1%
198mW x 2 @1500 THD+N<1%
105mW x 2@3000 THD+N<1%
55mW x 2@6000 THD+N<1%

*Note: The above data is the result of the test in TOPPING laboratory.


----------
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ocinn

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Great for the price and for casual users.

Wouldn’t personally use it in any professional context until driver reliability and customer support is field proven.

But for non pro use, there is absolutely zero reason to buy a Scarlett 2i2 now that this exists, and if you are okay Guinea-pigging portential short term driver quirks as they are ironed out.

@amirm , would be nice for interface reviews in the future to show round-trip latency of the driver and interface. Similar to this.

There are many interfaces that are very high performing in measurements but useless for tracking use in studio environments due to monitoring latency.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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shuppatsu

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Thank you, Amir. This looks like a great product. I would have been tempted to get it instead of my D10s/L30II stack if it were available at the time, for the rare times an ADC would come in handy.

Did you measure output impedance of the headphone out? The cheap Focusrite interfaces have had really high output impedance. Topping website says this one is 1ohm but it would be nice to get confirmation.
 

Michael Fidler

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Excellent analysis. As an inhabitant of the land of black mould (the UK) I would not only say that it looks the part, but also that it's sorted out with a proper set of features!

Voted great for the ADC - especially for the price. It's no easy task making a quiet balanced input circuit and combining it with decent A-D conversion. Somewhat of a pity that the DAC is only 'good' for Topping, but I guess it's more of an afterthought for a product like this. Maybe we're all just spoiled at this point! Considering what you get for the money it looks like a super bit of kit.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Did you measure output impedance of the headphone out? The cheap Focusrite interfaces have had really high output impedance. Topping website says this one is 1ohm but it would be nice to get confirmation.
I was going to but forgot. :) Will see if I can do it later.
 

Bruce Morgen

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If it wasn't {a} considerably bigger and {b} from Topping (ongoing reliability and customer service concerns), this would be replacing my trusty Behringer UMC202HD, mostly because of the DAC section's considerably better SINAD.
 

Nuyes

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Wow. Thank you.
This is the review I've been waiting for! :)
It's Topping!!!
 
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amirm

amirm

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If it wasn't {a} considerably bigger and {b} from Topping (ongoing reliability and customer service concerns), this would be replacing my trusty Behringer UMC202HD, mostly because of the DAC section's considerably better SINAD.
I don't know how you can put "customer service" and "Behringer" in the same sentence. I bought one of their speakers on Amazon. Measured it. It was clearly broken. Initiated a warranty repair. After some delay and back and forth, they said to send it to them which I did. Even though I had bought this from Amazon and I had shown then a copy of my online receipt, they answered that I had not provided proper proof of purchase so I had to send them that order reference again. After a while they said they have no parts for it so can't repair it. And proceeded to close the ticket without any offer of a refund!!! So now I not only had lost the original purchase price but cost of shipping too. I tried to get their attention again but they would not respond. BTW, this is on top of the stupid "tribe" thing you have to register just to submit such a ticket.

A few months went by and I decided to contact their sales channel and telling them (again) that I am reviewer. This got their attention and they then offered to make a refund. But not to my credit card but with a wire transfer to my back account (!). I provided all of the information and they say that the info must be wrong as they can't do the transfer. I check with my bank and it is all correct. I send again but they still complain and once again proceed to close my ticket!

The above went on for some 9 months. A couple of months ago on a whim, I complained to Amazon. They immediately issued a refund to me even though this was not their fault.

Based on this, I would never, ever buy anything Behringer.
 

lkanies

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This largely validates my plan to replace my Motu M2 with this. It’s mostly for the headphone amp - should drive my DCA Noire cans well enough that I can avoid a separate amp.

very much looking forward to a simpler setup again. I like the M2, and the power of the Topping A90 Discrete, but will be selling both to achieve an emptier desk. ( if anyone’s interested in either, please do let me know.)
 

Bruce Morgen

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Based on this, I would never, ever buy anything Behringer.
I don't blame you -- but at least you weren't told to ship a $130 item to China just so Topping could determine whether or not it was covered under warranty. My UMC202HD has soldiered on perfectly for over three years and, if it fails, I'll probably buy another one -- and the four little Behringer "Truth" passive monitors I use for ambience/surround speakers are more than 20 years old now and don't owe me anything. :cool:
 

G|force

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@amirm -How does the HP amp stack up against Lynx Hilo? Hilo appears on the AD rankings but i've never seen the HPA ranked.
 

sodface

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IanRoberts

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Thank you for the review Amir! As a guitarist who has owned several audio interfaces and a Topping fanboy who owns 5 Topping dacs and amps, I've been dreaming they jump into this industry. Their price/performance focus makes them perfect for the enormous home recording market and their ability to squeeze noise and distortion out of everything they touch could make them a real player in professional market if they want to go that direction. The low noise and distortion on ADC on this entry level interface is an incredibly good sign.

For ADC testing it might be nice to see the performance of the microphone and instrument preamps with the input voltage closer to what a microphone or electric guitar produces. But I dunno. Maybe it would be the same.
 

phoenixdogfan

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Amir, great review. Thank you, hope you are well.

Personally, I'd give this a golfing panther: Topping gives us a very good dac, very good headphone amp, and an extremely good A to D converter. And it's only $159. Also has a gain adjustment switch which allows a user to optimize gain level for IEMs which is a very nice feature. I think a lot of people could buy this, use it for recording projects (maybe at school?) and then use it for a home/dorm personal audio system with only a few quibbles at most.

I think, once again, Topping is busy raising the bar in yet another market segment.
 
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