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Topping E50 Review (Balanced DAC)

Rottmannash

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My understanding is coax & optical will both do up to 24bit/192khz
Sorry-didn't know that. From the Bluesound website:

The Bluesound NODE and VAULT can stream up to 24-bit/192kHz FLAC, ALAC, WAV, and AIFF files over an optical connection.

If you hear choppy playback - distorted or even no audio - with the optical port working and illuminated, please check the following:

  • Cable Quality – Digital TOSLINK cables can range from inexpensive 1 mm plastic optical fiber, higher-quality multistrand plastic optical fibers, or quartz glass optical fibers, depending on the desired bandwidth and application.
    Please verify with the cable manufacturer about the limits of the TOSLINK cable.

  • Limitations on the Connected Device – As the Bitrate of TOSLINK has expanded over the years from 3.1 Mbit/s to as high as 125 Mbit/s, devices such as Digital-to-Analog Converters connecting using TOSLINK may have limitations of the Bitrate.
    Please refer to the DAC Manufacturer's documentation if it can playback 24-bit/96kHz and 24-bit/192kHz encoded files.

For cases where a verified 24-bit/192kHz DAC fails to handle files in the quality range of 24-bit/96kHz to 24-bit/192kHz, we recommend contacting the DAC Manufacturer with these details.
 

mmichii

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As soon as the Topping E50 I ordered arrived, I performed the operation test, so I will report the result.

Until now, I mainly used E30 and D10s D10 Balanced for DAC, but I bought the newly released E50 because it can also play MQA.

Immediately after arriving, I checked all the basic operations. The genuine AC adapter of iPad is used for the power supply. The PC is Windows 10 Pro and the audio player is using Foober2000 and TuneBrowser in ASIO mode.
I did a continuous playback test by randomly switching between PCM44.1kHz~784KHz/16~32Bit and DSD2.8~DSD512, but there are no problems to worry about.
I tested PCM44.1~192kHz (16/24Bit) using the OPT/COAX output of D10s for the input of OPT/COAX, but it also plays back without any problem.

I used to use the SMSL M500 to play MQA, but the E50 is a big improvement.
On the M500, when MQA is played, it will be PCM playback at first and will switch to MQA after 3 to 4 seconds. At the time of switching, the sound was interrupted for a moment and could not be played smoothly, but with the E50, when MQA is played, the MQA is displayed instantly and playback starts. The sound is not interrupted like the M500, but there is a small click noise.

With the E30, I had a habit of making a slight click noise when switching songs or during sleep/wake, and I was a little worried when I connected the power amplifier directly, but with the E50, this is completely silent. This is a nice evolution. The product has been energized continuously for a long time since it arrived, but I hardly feel the heat generated by the main unit.

The brightness of the display can be adjusted in 3 steps, and automatic ON/OFF can be selected, improving usability.


Problems I noticed
When using USB input in pre-mode, the volume is suddenly maximized when the volume is lowered from -0.0 to the minimum value of -99. This symptom is the same for both balanced and unbalanced outputs. It is completely normal when inputting OPT/COAX.
If you operate the volume without knowing this, it will cause serious troubles such as destroying the speaker. I immediately reported this issue to Topping. I hope it will be improved as soon as possible.
---- postscript ----
This issue only occurs when playing DSD.
hi i noticed you also have a d10b. i just got my e50. How does it ncompare to your d10b. i have both my d10b and e50 feeding into a thx 789. I find they both sound quite different from each other especiall in the lower frequencies. I originally thought there was something wrong with my d10b as it sounded very bright and shrill but i've gotten used to it now and i think it might be just the way it sounds. the vocals on the e50 sound fuller. When i say noticeably different i meant i can listen to a track on both and later come back and tell you blindfolded which dac im listening to. the bass on the e50 has a softer tone while the d10b has definition but maybe less full. i prefer one to the other depending on the track. this is as always how my hearing perceives these two. These are not subtle differences either. How is your experience?
 

Toku

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hi i noticed you also have a d10b. i just got my e50. How does it ncompare to your d10b. i have both my d10b and e50 feeding into a thx 789. I find they both sound quite different from each other especiall in the lower frequencies. I originally thought there was something wrong with my d10b as it sounded very bright and shrill but i've gotten used to it now and i think it might be just the way it sounds. the vocals on the e50 sound fuller. When i say noticeably different i meant i can listen to a track on both and later come back and tell you blindfolded which dac im listening to. the bass on the e50 has a softer tone while the d10b has definition but maybe less full. i prefer one to the other depending on the track. this is as always how my hearing perceives these two. These are not subtle differences either. How is your experience?
I usually use D10b, D10s and E30, and this time I added more E50.
As for the sound quality of the E50, I feel that the low-end range has been extended and the amount of bass has increased slightly.
I think that's what makes the vocals you point out sound richer.
I only play speakers and don't listen with headphones. So I can't detect the detailed differences like you do, but I agree with what you say.
 

Debqtz

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I ended up yoloing at a local audio store. Got a pair of Focal Utopias, Nordost Blue Heaven Cables, Music Fedility MX-HPA, Topping D90SE, ran off a Blue Node 2021, all plugged into a linear power supply. Never knew music could sound this good !
 

jawbfl

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hi i noticed you also have a d10b. i just got my e50. How does it ncompare to your d10b. i have both my d10b and e50 feeding into a thx 789. I find they both sound quite different from each other especiall in the lower frequencies. I originally thought there was something wrong with my d10b as it sounded very bright and shrill but i've gotten used to it now and i think it might be just the way it sounds. the vocals on the e50 sound fuller. When i say noticeably different i meant i can listen to a track on both and later come back and tell you blindfolded which dac im listening to. the bass on the e50 has a softer tone while the d10b has definition but maybe less full. i prefer one to the other depending on the track. this is as always how my hearing perceives these two. These are not subtle differences either. How is your experience?
Interesting, could someone point where this difference can be seen in the measurements? if it's measurable that is.
 

zepplock

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I ended up yoloing at a local audio store. Got a pair of Focal Utopias, Nordost Blue Heaven Cables, Music Fedility MX-HPA, Topping D90SE, ran off a Blue Node 2021, all plugged into a linear power supply. Never knew music could sound this good !
Nordost Blue Heaven Cables

lol?
 

Postlan

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I usually use D10b, D10s and E30, and this time I added more E50.
As for the sound quality of the E50, I feel that the low-end range has been extended and the amount of bass has increased slightly.
I think that's what makes the vocals you point out sound richer.
I only play speakers and don't listen with headphones. So I can't detect the detailed differences like you do, but I agree with what you say.

I also directly compared E50 with E30. Both unbalanced output with Hypex nCore connected to Dynaudio. I actually prefer E30 over E50 especially with very slow filter setting. Bass is slightly fatter with ESS (E50) but high frequency is more neutral with AKM (E30). It's a tough choice.
 

zepplock

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I also directly compared E50 with E30. Both unbalanced output with Hypex nCore connected to Dynaudio. I actually prefer E30 over E50 especially with very slow filter setting. Bass is slightly fatter with ESS (E50) but high frequency is more neutral with AKM (E30). It's a tough choice.

I struggle to see how you can hear those differences. Did you use any measurement tools? Volume matching? ABX?
 

Bel Canto

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It's a pity Topping didn't use the AK4497 chip for the E50. Personally, I like the soft and musical sound of AKM more than ESS.

Sounds like you're not aware of the AKM fire and subsequent unavailability of AKM DAC chips. There is a reason almost every manufacturer in the world have moved to Sabre chips.
 

Asma

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Sounds like you're not aware of the AKM fire and subsequent unavailability of AKM DAC chips. There is a reason almost every manufacturer in the world have moved to Sabre chips.
I know about the fire at the Asahi Kasei factory. This did not stop Sabaj from releasing the A10d DAC model on the AK4497. Why is it a problem for Topping and no problem for Sabaj?
 

litguy

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I know about the fire at the Asahi Kasei factory. This did not stop Sabaj from releasing the A10d DAC model on the AK4497. Why is it a problem for Topping and no problem for Sabaj?
it depend if they already buy enough ic before akm fire happened
 

Lupin

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measurement cannot standing every thing
Ooh no here we go again... :facepalm:
I would get popcorn and follow this but somehow I have the feeling whatever litguy is going to bring to the table to argue this has been brought to the table 1001 times before. Might as well sign out right now.
 

777

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I finally got my first Topping converter, E50.

E50 sounds surprisingly good considering the PSU is +5V which drives analog OpAmp only by +-2.5V. Its output level is quite low (not professional +4dB), and it still does not sound as good as my other $4000 ESS based converter, but they are pretty close. I have an impression that E50 can be as good once it has +-15V power supply for its analog part. I'll modify E50 with LM49720 with +-15V supply hoping I can sell my expensive converter.

Are you sure about +-2.5V ? Is there no possibility of voltage boosters? Can you open the unit and take the pictures ?
 

kchap

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I finally got my first Topping converter, E50.

E50 sounds surprisingly good considering the PSU is +5V which drives analog OpAmp only by +-2.5V. Its output level is quite low (not professional +4dB), and it still does not sound as good as my other $4000 ESS based converter, but they are pretty close. I have an impression that E50 can be as good once it has +-15V power supply for its analog part. I'll modify E50 with LM49720 with +-15V supply hoping I can sell my expensive converter.
My maths says output is +8.2 dBu for SE and +14.2 dBu for balanced. How are using the DAC?
 

jawbfl

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Ooh no here we go again... :facepalm:
I would get popcorn and follow this but somehow I have the feeling whatever litguy is going to bring to the table to argue this has been brought to the table 1001 times before. Might as well sign out right now.
I'm waiting for the day where we will see objective camp (lead by Amir obviously) vs subjective camp (maybe lead by Darko? WTV) on a Youtube livestream in a long epic ABX battle, proving once and for all who is right, it will be legendary. If anyone has the resources to make these people put their ego aside and their reputation at stake, please do it.
 
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