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Topping E2x2 Audio Interface Review

Rate this audio interface

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 10 4.2%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 24 10.0%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 121 50.4%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 85 35.4%

  • Total voters
    240
Julian Krause talks about the issues with testing without mics here: USE YOUR GAIN! The TRUTH about maximum gain setting (set preamp gain properly and minimize noise)

That said, I've had mine for 4 months and doubt I could get the results of Krause's tests shared by staticV3 a few posts back. My theory is that there was supposedly a change of the mic impedance since Julian's review, which has somehow altered its performance. The pinned post by Julian on his e2x2 video: "According to a mail I got from Topping Pro, the input impedance has been increased to 1.5 kOhm in the second batch run." I'm not an engineer and don't have proper testing equipment so don't have any results though, but I am a bit suspicious of its performance recording through the mic inputs.
Ok but I hear the noise when I'm recording the Mic and it's the same noise level that without mic. And yes if you don't apply any any gain there is no noise bit the same time you don't hear the mic :) .... So already started return for refund. Mic Preamps not good
 
32.
But I also used other headphones, the situation is similar.
So do those 32 Ohm headphones distort with the high gain button off? I expect them to distort with it on.

Basically anything 32 Ohm and under should have high gain button off.

Anything over 32 Ohm use high gain, but use the output knob proportionally.

Example I have Sony MDR-7506 which are 50 to 100 Ohm and I can only go 1/2 on the output knob before distortion with high gain button on.

My Senn 650HD at 300 Ohm can go a little over 3/4 the way.

If you had a high impedance headphone which then also distorts with the high gain button off, then the device probably does have a problem.
 
Hello everyone
Maybe someone has faced a similar problem. I bought the e2x2 topping about a month ago, now I have a problem with the sound.
When listening, I hear interference and distortion.
An example of recording the interference of a tone generator.


What attempts have I made to solve the problem:

1. Check on three sound sources (PC, Dell laptop, Pixel 8 Pro).
2. Check on three headphones (Meze 99, Hifiman Ananda, KZ Castor)
3. Reinstall drivers and hard reset.
4. Used other USB cables
5. Used several different adapters 6.3

None of the above helped. Do you have any ideas?
It's not correct test: you did full volume with gain button. How about distortion with 50% volume do you still hear it?
 
Так эти наушники на 32 Ом искажают звук при выключенной кнопке высокого усиления? Я ожидаю, что они будут искажать его.

По сути, все, что имеет сопротивление 32 Ом и ниже, должно быть отключено кнопкой высокого усиления.

Все, что превышает 32 Ом, использует высокий коэффициент усиления, но используйте ручку выхода пропорционально.

Пример. У меня есть Sony MDR-7506 с сопротивлением от 50 до 100 Ом, и я могу поворачивать ручку выхода только на 1/2 перед искажением при включенной кнопке высокого усиления.

Мой Senn 650HD на 300 Ом может пройти чуть более 3/4 пути.

Если у вас наушники с высоким сопротивлением, которые также искажают звук при выключенной кнопке высокого усиления, то, вероятно, в устройстве действительно есть проблема.
Это некорректный тест: вы включили полную громкость с помощью кнопки усиления. А как насчет искажений при громкости 50%, вы их еще слышите?
I turned on the gain solely for video recording, since the microphone could not record this sound at minimum volume.
If I turn off the gain and set the volume to minimum, I will still hear distortion.
 
I turned on the gain solely for video recording, since the microphone could not record this sound at minimum volume.
If I turn off the gain and set the volume to minimum, I will still hear distortion.
Warranty: return it
 
I trust my ears not numbers
IMHO numbers can lie
You Sir have it backwards and in fact numbers never lie and Ears usually do lie and mislead us. This Forum is based on the science and engineering behind audio reproduction and associated audio products. You could say measuring and analyzing is our primary objective. Just a suggestion but if you want to learn more about what we do here and why we do it. I suggest you take a look at our Video Learning series all produced by our host Amir. Also take note that we have zero commercial banners and pop ups. That’s because we have no commercial endorsements or entanglements. We are a Member funded forum and this is by design.

Here is the link to the Video Library where you can learn more about what we do here:

 
I turned on the gain solely for video recording, since the microphone could not record this sound at minimum volume.
If I turn off the gain and set the volume to minimum, I will still hear distortion.
That is probably a Dynamic Mic. To not add distortion, would need a device like a "Cloudlifter" to raise the volume of the Mic instead.

Another thing about your test, is that you covered the side of the mic with both headphone drivers, which is probably the cause of the wobbly phasing when combined with the high gain distortion. Should have the driver from only one side of the headphone pointed to the end of the mic or wherever the mic's capsule is supposed to be aimed at.

In fact, the reason you needed more volume is probably because the headphones were being muffled on the side of the mic away from the capsule, so you probably wouldn't need a cloudlifter in that case. Just need to put one headphone driver to the end of the mic.

But these are just small details. If you hear distortion in normal use, and have made sure you are not sending a hot signal out of your computer by for example using a safety true peak limiter, then the device is at likely at fault and returning it is the only option.
 
I looked into this product a bit closer and it seems it can NOT deliver a digital output signal. I think this is a huge drawback that makes it less usable and less attractive. Really an entry level product.
Most audio interfaces in this price bracket, do not have digital ins(except USB or USB-C more often in recent times, of course) or digital outs
 
I looked into this product a bit closer and it seems it can NOT deliver a digital output signal. I think this is a huge drawback that makes it less usable and less attractive. Really an entry level product.
There is a new model, E2X2 OTG, with a digital output.
 
The PA5 fiasco is somewhat a red flag for me.

however the “stakes” of a product like this are much higher. Pa5 is designed for enthusiast consumers. If their amp dies, oh well, they lose an amp that they use for an enthusiast hobby. It’s annoying but is not costing anyone income or reputation/professionalism.

In in professional contexts there are deadlines and expectations. A driver bug that stagnates work or corrupts a perfect take, that takes a week before the manufacturer can solve the issue is completely unacceptable.

Am I saying the prospective client of a $150 interface is needing to deal with strict deadlines etc….? Not necessarily.

But competitors like focusrite, MOTU, and RME (somewhat, they are pretty high end overall), who not only serve the budget/prosumer line, but also operate in ultra professional studio scenarios have customer support and development infrastructure to handle extremely urgent and serious matters, and have DECADES of software development experience to back it up (so there are no issues from the get-go) and that support directly translates down to their cheapest most entry level products.

ASR has a very strong focus on technical measurements, etc… but most of us in the pro world are happy to take a hit in performance for absolutely guaranteed reliability and customer support.

Issues cost enthusiasts convenience, issues cost professionals money and reuputarion.
Assuming the product is reliable, it addresses several important omissions of level audio budget oriented audio interfaces.

1. Hardware Metering display, not very common - at this price bracket this is the only audio interface that has this, that I can remember that has this - comes in very very handy., most others have some kind of display, but it's vague, can't really tell what the input peak levels are, so one mostly would revert to software monitoring, in the computer

2. Low impedance headphone outputs. 1 Ohm in the specs. Fantastic. One reason I have hesitated from buying any Audient audio interface, cos their headphone output impedance is IMHO, too high for low impedance headphones. More and more people are using low impedance headphones, and IEM's and this segment of the market is receiving a lot of attention, with lower cost planar magnetic IEMS, and generally higher performance in budget IEM's, also just convenience - smaller devices, more portable than traditional in ears. Contrary to all popular wisdom, more of us are mixing on these things. I did my best ever mix on an IEM recently, and the client was extremely pleased with the result. He has no clue that it was mixed on an IEM. No need to tell him. I did not reference on real speakers - not even once. Definitely going against the grain.

So for more people, especially hobbyists, cos that is how we all start out, the benchmark for professional is changing. I like to think of it this way, of course there is gear with 120dB + SINAD, for "professionals", but what is professional, the gear or the music or the results. I think there is a lot of snobbery about professional gear. All of the budget audio interfaces we have today, easily beat the specs of the gear that Michael Jackson used to record Thriller, so why the snobbery against these entry level devices. Lots of independent artists and major label artists, have aspects of their songs recorded on these budget interfaces, which make it into the final mix of the song.

Think Billie Eilish - home studio, many Grammy's, it's a whole new world.

3. Powerful headphones, that can drive pretty much anything, from low to high impedance and low sensitivity headphones. About the only other budget audio interface with a powerful headphone amp are the products from SSL.

4. All the other measured specs are "good enough", definitely beyond the audibility threshold, if one records with proper gain staging. If I may add, a lot of what is being recorded today is based on virtual instruments, where one does not need esoteric preamps, cos the Audio Interface inputs are not needed for this.

The device plays to Topping's strengths, in the headphone department.

I am sure however, that they are just testing the market. Furthermore they cannot put out an audio interface that competes with their higher end products, without also charging more.

5. Individual phantom power switching per input channel, at that price point, is not common.

It is decent entry level product with only one omission - MIDI. But this is not a deal breaker. Many MIDI Controller devices - such as keyboard controllers, no longer have traditional 5 pin MIDI, and are using MIDI over USB, instead., or in addition to 5 pin MIDI, also have USB-MIDI.

If I was starting out today, this is what I would buy, if I did not already have stand alone preamps and a headphone amp.
 
There is a new model, E2X2 OTG, with a digital output.
OMG. Now this is a deal breaker - how much is this device, cos it means you can pair this up with any other DAC of your choice, to get a higher quality audio output, if you deem this necessary. Would be a bonus if it also had other digital inputs, which can be routed into the computer. Kind of like a budget RME or budget Audient.
 
Regarding my previous comment about USB-C connectors. After looking at other manufacturers' microphone amplifiers, in fairness it should perhaps be said that USB-C seems to have become more or less a standard. It wasn't like that when I bought a microphone amplifier last time. I wonder if it has to do with Apple and Mac dominating so much among musicians and studio people. As far as I know, their Laptops only have USB-C ports these days. Typical Apple, but not particularly robust. And you need adapters for all those gear that do no´t have USB-C connectors.
You'll find that most likely the reason for USB-C is to provide enough power for the phantom power as well as headphone outputs. In the good old days, USB has not provided sufficient power and typically one would need to add an external wall wart unit. USB-C allows more of these smaller devices to run both data and power, on one USB-C cable connected to the computer/tablet/smartphone.

Also brings down the manufacturing cost - no external power adaptor, and no need to invest in engineering to overcome the power limits of traditional USB, like folks such as RME had to do, on their Babyface products. (which still needed external power adaptors to max out the performance of their audio interfaces).
 
The headphone Amp built into Focusrite's brand new 2i2 4th Gen comes with a 50Ω output impedance. 30 years ago, that may have been acceptable.

If there's a brand that should maybe do some reverse engineering, it's them.
Awesome comment. Puts things in proper perspective. Everytime I have thought of buying a Focusrite budget audio interface, something is never quite right. Lack of metering, lower than average specs, worse than average preamps, just something that holds me back.

Their 4th Gen has some decent specs based on Julian's testing e.g dynamic range on outputs, but then you highlight this - Wow - definitely a showstopper for me.

I feel the budget range is always going to miss something, cos they are after all built to a budget. One key example is max levels on inputs and outputs, where they depart from the professional standards like +24 dBu on inputs and outputs. So seeing a 23+ dBu on the Topping's line inputs, is a nod to their professional aspirations. Competition is good, for all of us. Keeps everyone including RME on their toes. JUst look at how many revisions and formats their two channel DAC/ADC has had. I can barely keep up - shows that competition is fierce, even at the high end. Good for everyone.
 
Spoke too soon. I can't seem to get microphone monitoring working, at least not usably. I have to turn the mic level up to maximum (where it clearly kicks in a high gain mode at the very end of the volume knob) to hear myself on my headphones. I assume I'm doing something wrong, but if anyone has any pointers on what, I'd appreciate it.

This is on a Mac, so I don't have access to their software.

Also, compared to my M2, the knobs aren't quite as friendly. They're smooth, and a little hard to turn. The combination makes them, well, hard to turn. I like the extra friction, as fine control is easier. But it would be better if the knob were knurled in some way so I could get a grip on it. And boy is it dark. Having to use a flashlight to adjust it. :)
no mac support, in software!! that will limit sales, to discerning mac users.
 
Thanks for posting!
Also, the Arturia comes with a 5 year warranty:):

Topping Pro warranty is 1 year. Given most of my Topping devices are now dead and had difficult time with after-sale service, Arturia looks like a great alternative. That is if the word alternative is the correct use.;)
Hmmm Topping devices dead. Not a good omen. Caveat emptor.
 
Awesome comment. Puts things in proper perspective. Everytime I have thought of buying a Focusrite budget audio interface, something is never quite right. Lack of metering, lower than average specs, worse than average preamps, just something that holds me back.

Their 4th Gen has some decent specs based on Julian's testing e.g dynamic range on outputs, but then you highlight this - Wow - definitely a showstopper for me.

I feel the budget range is always going to miss something, cos they are after all built to a budget. One key example is max levels on inputs and outputs, where they depart from the professional standards like +24 dBu on inputs and outputs. So seeing a 23+ dBu on the Topping's line inputs, is a nod to their professional aspirations. Competition is good, for all of us. Keeps everyone including RME on their toes. JUst look at how many revisions and formats their two channel DAC/ADC has had. I can barely keep up - shows that competition is fierce, even at the high end. Good for everyone.
The 2i2 having 50 ohm output impedance is odd, but true. The 3rd gen of the same interface had less than 1 ohm (confirmed by measurements by Julian Krause). The slightly more expensive 2i4 has 11 ohms now (also less than 1 ohm in 3rd gen). 11 ohm is probably okay, and they have more than average power for cheap interfaces. HP outs are the shortcoming of many/most affordable interfaces.
 
Does anyone know if the outputs on the E2x2 are DC-coupled? Alternatively, would it be easy to modify the AUX out on the E2x2 OTG to be DC-coupled?
 
Does anyone know if the outputs on the E2x2 are DC-coupled? Alternatively, would it be easy to modify the AUX out on the E2x2 OTG to be DC-coupled?
I don't think that modifying anything today would be worth it unless it were for some extreme edge case. There are way too many products in the market to the point that you should be able to find anything you need for a very reasonable price.
 
Does anyone know if the outputs on the E2x2 are DC-coupled? Alternatively, would it be easy to modify the AUX out on the E2x2 OTG to be DC-coupled?
I don't know, but most such interfaces are DC-coupled at the output. They are AC-coupled at the ADC side. Besides which is there some special use where it matters? In any case here is the output frequency response measured by Julian Krause. I don't believe Amir measured the FR of the DAC in his review.

1717472525442.png


 
Thanks, I am hoping to take advantage of the AUX output to provide a TTL logic high for a laser shutter, programmatically controlled from within UNITY. Since I already need a soundcard, playing a "sound" when needed (just a DC signal) would be the easiest solution. Definitely a niche application.
 
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