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Did you like this 1-year review? Be honest

  • Yes

    Votes: 9 64.3%
  • No

    Votes: 5 35.7%

  • Total voters
    14

ThatM1key

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Its my one anniversary with this legacy combo. I'll tell you my experiences with these two. For disclaimer I've owned the E30 a bit longer than the L30's, I'll start with newest to oldest. My amp is an old Sansui 2000A. Headphones is AKG 7XX.

Topping E30 (Serial 2003) : Pure glorious DAC. The DAC part sounds cleaner than D10, mainly the highs. Once in a blue moon, or even blood moon the DAC side glitches. A simple on/off fixes the issue. The most glitches I encounter are mainly Windows 10 problems. It plugs and play well but I recommend installing the drivers. The recent problem is that the ASIO shares audio with other programs, I am certain that this is a Windows 10 problem but who knows. With foobar2000, I hope around WASAPI push & event, sometimes push works better or sometimes event works better. PCM media sounds better than DSD media on this dac. I haven't use the digital inputs, so I don't have any saying on that. As a pre-amp, this is gonna get juicy. Probably the worst pre-amp I have ever experienced. No the problem isn't switching frequency small pop, that is mild. Sometimes the pre-map makes my Sansui have a loud pop through the speakers. The sound is as loud as firework snappers (bang snaps). When the loud pop happens, the woofers feel slightly hot and I get a headache fast. I know for a fact that this loud pop isn't caused by my Sansui, as I owned this machine for 6 years. I tested everything switched rca cables, usb cables, and power sources. I can confirm that the loud pop is caused by the E30's preamp mode. Now when the pre-amp does work, I don't know if its in my head or not, but it sounds less clean. Although it is nice having a remote control. After a while being on, one of the channels becomes louder than the other, a simple fix is to turn it off and on. The channel imbalance problem only happens in pre-amp mode.

TL;DR: Great DAC, Terrible Pre-amp.

Recalled Topping L30 (Serial 2006) : Great power and sounded a-lot cleaner than my Sansui 2000A's headphone part. I hate the relay clicks. Another juicy tale, so this thing got really really hot. Comparable to warmth of fire, probably could literally could cook an egg on it. I never tested the pre-amp section on this guy, so I don't have a saying on that part. The gain I think sounded worse with +9 dB than 0 dB for some reason.

Replacement Topping L30 (Serial 2012) : Once again, almost same story. Great power, sounded cleaner than my Sansui 2000A. This puppy barely got hot at all, even under stress. I did use the pre-amp section of this amp. Its very good. I think the pre-amp of this L30 is cleaner than my Sansui 2000A's. Volume control is buttery smooth and stable. I think there's a very very slight channel imbalance but its not as bad as the *coughs* E30's preamp *coughs*. Regardless of gain setting (pre/hpa) this thing sounds clean. Its all-round a very good machine. The only thing I hate about it is the relay clicks.

I recommend the Topping E30 as a DAC only. I also recommend the L30, its a great headphone amp and pre-amp.
 
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daftcombo

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I liked your review. I have an E30 used in preamp mode without drivers and it works fine. Music through Foobar2000 1.6.7 default output (WASAPI Shared).
 

raif71

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I too like your review. Like you I got the E30 longer than L30 coz E30 came out earlier. My combo E30/L30 are in their respective boxes now as I have too many gears and especially I prefer balanced dacs and amps. Once in a blue moon I will take them out of their boxes for a spin. Waiting forward for the E50/L50 stack :)
 

daftcombo

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I just switched to DAC mode and am listening now.
Sounds clean! Maybe cleaner!!? Or just my mood.
 
OP
ThatM1key

ThatM1key

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I just switched to DAC mode and am listening now.
Sounds clean! Maybe cleaner!!? Or just my mood.
I thought I was the only experiencing that lol
 

MarcosCh

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I have a L30 and in general I like it. It is cheap, competent, functional and small.
However I see a few weak points that are significant for me:
First, the aesthetics are not my cup of tea.
Second and more important, the massive power brick... If it needs to be so big, couldn't they make it with a cable to the mains plug??
Third is that it gets uncomfortably warm. As average user, I don't understand how a small electronic device in 2021 can get so hot. It has been many years that I don't have at home any other electronic device that gets hot in normal use. Even my surface pro laptop that I hold right now in my hands never ever got to a temperature even close to the L30. Heat generation in small electronic machines seems a problem solved years ago (I am not an expert, it's just my experience as consumer)... that alone makes the topping feel like a 80s machine.... let's see how long it lasts...
 
OP
ThatM1key

ThatM1key

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I have a L30 and in general I like it. It is cheap, competent, functional and small.
However I see a few weak points that are significant for me:
First, the aesthetics are not my cup of tea.
Second and more important, the massive power brick... If it needs to be so big, couldn't they make it with a cable to the mains plug??
Third is that it gets uncomfortably warm. As average user, I don't understand how a small electronic device in 2021 can get so hot. It has been many years that I don't have at home any other electronic device that gets hot in normal use. Even my surface pro laptop that I hold right now in my hands never ever got to a temperature even close to the L30. Heat generation in small electronic machines seems a problem solved years ago (I am not an expert, it's just my experience as consumer)... that alone makes the topping feel like a 80s machine.... let's see how long it lasts...

Is your L30 part of the "recall/early" generation or is yours a "recent/replacement" L30?
 
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ThatM1key

ThatM1key

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Replaced 2012xxxxx
That is pretty weird. My replacement is also a 2012 and it never gets hot like my recalled 2006. Even when my 2012 L30 is under load (HPA&PRE), it doesn't get hotter.
 

JohnYang1997

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I have a L30 and in general I like it. It is cheap, competent, functional and small.
However I see a few weak points that are significant for me:
First, the aesthetics are not my cup of tea.
Second and more important, the massive power brick... If it needs to be so big, couldn't they make it with a cable to the mains plug??
Third is that it gets uncomfortably warm. As average user, I don't understand how a small electronic device in 2021 can get so hot. It has been many years that I don't have at home any other electronic device that gets hot in normal use. Even my surface pro laptop that I hold right now in my hands never ever got to a temperature even close to the L30. Heat generation in small electronic machines seems a problem solved years ago (I am not an expert, it's just my experience as consumer)... that alone makes the topping feel like a 80s machine.... let's see how long it lasts...
In a sense you are right. The fundamental technology is working on the same principle 50 years ago. The key however it to achieve the best SOTA performance for the budge price. It's still one of the lowest noise and distortion devices ever.
 

Vini darko

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Really happy with my L30 does it's jobs very well.
Do wish low gain was -12db for sensitive headphones and preamp duties.
Only kinda issue I've encountered is it's vulnerable to magnetic coupling when placed on top of a speaker amp with a big transformer inside. Wich results in mains hum.
Mine doesn't get hot unless it's 30°c in the room. A battery powered fan sloves that nicely.
 

Atanasi

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Second and more important, the massive power brick... If it needs to be so big, couldn't they make it with a cable to the mains plug??
You can add an AC extension cable if you don't want to attach the brick directly to the mains. I don't have an L30, but use such a cable with Atom and a few other devices with a combined brick and AC connector, so they don't cover other power sockets.
 

MarcosCh

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In a sense you are right. The fundamental technology is working on the same principle 50 years ago. The key however it to achieve the best SOTA performance for the budge price. It's still one of the lowest noise and distortion devices ever.
Got it. Just a small criticism/observation. Would buy it again if needed, very much worth it :)
 

virtua

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I'll chime in my experience with both 2006 and 2012 (replacement, confirmed retrofitted ground) L30's I've owned. I have absolutely no complaints to the quality of the preamp and amplifier. There's not much to say apart from that it's super clean sounding, and I've never heard a noise floor on even my most sensitive IEMs. I've never experienced either being anything but slightly hotter than body temperature but I don't listen very loudly, staying mostly on the -9db setting (which I appreciate a lot, since I'm a quiet listener - this is something a lot of other devices don't have).

The only small gripe I have, is that my replacement 2012 model volume pot seems to be of lower quality in terms of the lowest level adjustment incurring more channel imbalance, so there is less usable adjustment at the lowest volume levels compared to my previous 2006 model, I had to lower my source slightly to make up for this. But, I'm a fringe case compared to most users - I probably listen at lower levels than 95% or more of people as I have sensitive hearing.

Also, I'll just add that while the design of the L30 by any means isn't ugly, and functionally the build quality is solid, there are definitely better looking devices made by the competitors. Not really a complaint, just an observation. The newer topping devices are definitely starting to look nicer over time though.

Overall, how I see the L30 is that it's a great tool, and very utilitarian. It sounds great and gets the job done really well. I especially appreciate the level of gain control offered by the -9/0/+9 db toggle. I believe it wasn't until the IEMagni came out that anything even close to the price range afforded that level of control to the user. But in the future, even if the objective performance stays the same (which is already more than good enough), the successor to the L30 could do with some care to aesthetics, which will help give it more of a sense of being nicer aesthetically - much like the A90 and D90 look more like a luxury product. The way things look and feel subjectively can help add to the experience of ownership.
 
Last edited:
OP
ThatM1key

ThatM1key

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If I could update my review on top I would, anyways.

The Topping E30 doesn't like to be worked while I do heavy networking (regardless if its a clean install of Windows 10/11), PCM & DSD, the audio would pop a little about every 1 minute & 30 seconds. I think the popping problem is the bad i/o of my cheap cheap motherboard. When my computer is basically idle, there's barely any pops, I would say the pops are every 30 minutes to 1 hour. In terms of gaming, its very good. You can hear the radio stations more clearly in GTA 5 (Radio stations in the game are 32khz lossless, weird isn't it). Cars in Forza Horizon 3 sound really detailed and don't sound mashed together. Forza Horizon 4 has worse car sounds (because bad sound design) but ambient and everything else sound very clear. It is very good for music and gaming. You can use Topping E30 and it'll do good at it.

The Topping L30 (As a Pre-amp) is more of a Music Pre-Amp than a "Can Do Anything" Pre-Amp. I would say this a terrible terrible gaming pre-amp. Every time I hit a tree or make a huge jump in Forza Horizon 4, the L30 makes a small pop. My Sansui 2000A's Pre-Amp section never had this problem, so I knew it was the L30. You can do this popping test at home with Grand Theft Auto 5. If you pause GTA 5, theres a 50% chance (At least with my Topping L30), that it'll make a small but quick pop. Is it annoying at times? Yes but you kind of get used to it. I'll explain the channel imbalance problem more that me & virtua experienced. At only low volumes (I'm sure), you'll experience small to medium channel imbalance. Is it noticeable, it depends. If you listen to 1950s & 1960s music, its hard to notice. If you listen to mainly more modern music like 1980s music and above you'll notice it. You can combat the problem by turning it up more or by using a channel balance plugin for foobar2000 or your preferred music player. Obviously you can't hear the problem over text but I can make a drawing of what I hear.


This is what I hear when it comes to channel balance on the Topping L30. For reference the bottom point is balanced/equal. It doesn't sound like a "shift to one end" kind of channel balance (Ex: Car Radio), it sounds like a V channel balance system, I don't know why it does to me.
V.png
 

Robbo99999

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Its my one anniversary with this legacy combo. I'll tell you my experiences with these two. For disclaimer I've owned the E30 a bit longer than the L30's, I'll start with newest to oldest. My amp is an old Sansui 2000A. Headphones is AKG 7XX.

Topping E30 (Serial 2003) : Pure glorious DAC. The DAC part sounds cleaner than D10, mainly the highs. Once in a blue moon, or even blood moon the DAC side glitches. A simple on/off fixes the issue. The most glitches I encounter are mainly Windows 10 problems. It plugs and play well but I recommend installing the drivers. The recent problem is that the ASIO shares audio with other programs, I am certain that this is a Windows 10 problem but who knows. With foobar2000, I hope around WASAPI push & event, sometimes push works better or sometimes event works better. PCM media sounds better than DSD media on this dac. I haven't use the digital inputs, so I don't have any saying on that. As a pre-amp, this is gonna get juicy. Probably the worst pre-amp I have ever experienced. No the problem isn't switching frequency small pop, that is mild. Sometimes the pre-map makes my Sansui have a loud pop through the speakers. The sound is as loud as firework snappers (bang snaps). When the loud pop happens, the woofers feel slightly hot and I get a headache fast. I know for a fact that this loud pop isn't caused by my Sansui, as I owned this machine for 6 years. I tested everything switched rca cables, usb cables, and power sources. I can confirm that the loud pop is caused by the E30's preamp mode. Now when the pre-amp does work, I don't know if its in my head or not, but it sounds less clean. Although it is nice having a remote control. After a while being on, one of the channels becomes louder than the other, a simple fix is to turn it off and on. The channel imbalance problem only happens in pre-amp mode.

TL;DR: Great DAC, Terrible Pre-amp.

Recalled Topping L30 (Serial 2006) : Great power and sounded a-lot cleaner than my Sansui 2000A's headphone part. I hate the relay clicks. Another juicy tale, so this thing got really really hot. Comparable to warmth of fire, probably could literally could cook an egg on it. I never tested the pre-amp section on this guy, so I don't have a saying on that part. The gain I think sounded worse with +9 dB than 0 dB for some reason.

Replacement Topping L30 (Serial 2012) : Once again, almost same story. Great power, sounded cleaner than my Sansui 2000A. This puppy barely got hot at all, even under stress. I did use the pre-amp section of this amp. Its very good. I think the pre-amp of this L30 is cleaner than my Sansui 2000A's. Volume control is buttery smooth and stable. I think there's a very very slight channel imbalance but its not as bad as the *coughs* E30's preamp *coughs*. Regardless of gain setting (pre/hpa) this thing sounds clean. Its all-round a very good machine. The only thing I hate about it is the relay clicks.

I recommend the Topping E30 as a DAC only. I also recommend the L30, its a great headphone amp and pre-amp.
I have the Topping E30 too, I use it with my JBL 308p Mkii speakers, and I always use it in preamp mode and haven't noticed any pops at all, I use my E30 with an old but powerful laptop from about 2011 that's running Windows 10. I've also not noticed any differences in sound quality between using preamp mode vs preamp at 0dB - @JohnYang1997 stated in the E30 thread that preamp at 0dB is the same as using the DAC in DAC mode in terms of what's going on inside. (He can correct me if I've remembered wrongly on this). To be honest, I think you're probably imagining the sound quality differences between preamp & DAC mode in the E30 and/or you're not level matching you're comparisons - louder sounds better. You certainly aren't imagining the loud popping sounds, how could you imagine that, but I don't know what's causing those for you, and I don't experience that with my E30. The preamp mode of the E30 is totally useful for me and I use it constantly when listening to music to change the volume depending on how much I like the song or how loud it's recorded or whatever.

I didn't vote a like in your poll because I think your listening comparisons are probably flawed and I don't believe there are big or even perceptible sound quality differences between well-measuring DACS and whether they are in preamp mode or DAC mode, so I think a large part of your review was mumbo jumbo that can mostly only serve to miseducate people, but I don't resent your thread you created as it's all discussion at the end of the day.

EDIT: regarding the popping issues you're having with your E30, have a look over in the E30 thread to see if someone's found a possible cause/reason, or maybe JohnYang will be able to tell you the possible causes. (I do remember some users reporting similar)
 
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ReaderZ

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I have a L30 and in general I like it. It is cheap, competent, functional and small.
However I see a few weak points that are significant for me:
First, the aesthetics are not my cup of tea.
Second and more important, the massive power brick... If it needs to be so big, couldn't they make it with a cable to the mains plug??
Third is that it gets uncomfortably warm. As average user, I don't understand how a small electronic device in 2021 can get so hot. It has been many years that I don't have at home any other electronic device that gets hot in normal use. Even my surface pro laptop that I hold right now in my hands never ever got to a temperature even close to the L30. Heat generation in small electronic machines seems a problem solved years ago (I am not an expert, it's just my experience as consumer)... that alone makes the topping feel like a 80s machine.... let's see how long it lasts...

Basically the reasons I got an A50s instead.
 
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