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Topping E50 Review (Balanced DAC)

DIYguy

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Mar 8, 2024
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Thank you for your opinion. I am glad to see you like the functionality of E50. It is indeed a good product. Unfortunately, like @DIYguy also said, there are things that could, and must be improved in my (and not only) opinion.
There are indeed always another options, but we are not talking here about that !
We are talking about a product that we bought and are using it, not about something we can buy.
So, I think Topping must know if there are also some complains about their products, not only appreciations !
Regarding the firmware, if Topping does not want or have no interest in developing an improved firmware, maybe could provide the source code and that could be a solution for us, the small community of unhappy people.
Yes indeed..!
I completely understand that once a product is released, unless there is a glaring problem, a manufacturer would be hesitant to change it in any manner.
However as you said, you and I are not the only ones that have voiced similar complaints about the E50.

If by some miracle Topping would release the source code (which is vanishingly unlikely), I would be the first person to dig into it and fix the issue I am having with it.
However, to reverse engineer firmware from compiled code can be extremely difficult and time-consuming, therefore unlikely to be worth the effort.
I would very gladly sign a non-disclosure agreement just to be able to work from the source code, if necessary.
But I certainly will not hold my breath waiting for this to happen.

In the meantime, their customer service department did just now respond to me that the D10s may possibly meet my needs.
Because I do not need or use the balanced outputs on the E50 their absence on the D10s would be of no concern to me.
I should receive my new DAC in 2-3 days (however I am still not saying what it is) and will test it every way I can think of then.
I will post the results, good, bad or ugly. :)

I totally agree with you that this forum thread is not about what could be purchased, it is about what we already purchased and are using.
However, if a suitable "solution" is available for those having problems with the E50, it might help them to purchase a different model than the E50.
 
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DIYguy

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Well, I received a new Topping D10s DAC to replace my E50.

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Unlike the E50, the D10s works perfectly (so far anyway) with my Raspberry Pi4B and MoOde software streaming setup, other than a minor power issue (see below).
It turns on when the Pi is powered and it remains on and in an active state even when the music is paused for an extended period of time.
I have tried waiting as much as 5 minutes after power up to begin play, and have also paused the streamer as long as 15 minutes.
There have been no problems such as the streamer losing connections to the DAC, resetting the output device, failing to start audio playback upon command, or doing anything else that is annoying.
In other words, it functions exactly as I would expect any DAC component to function.
Quite surprisingly though, the D10s was also automatically detected and selected as the playback device by the software..! Nice.
The E50 by comparison was more difficult to set up and configure, was generally unstable and unreliable, and not at all "automatic".

I then tried connecting the optical output of the D10s to the optical input of the E50.
The D10s is connected to a tape monitor input on my amp and the E50 is connected to a regular line input.
Both are direct inputs (no circuitry at all other than the switch contacts).
This allows me to do easy A-B testing using the tape monitor button.
To my ears, the D10s sounds exactly like the E50 other than the E50 being a very, very tiny bit louder (but this is no problem).
And because the E50 is being driven by the optical link, it does wake up shortly after the music starts (in the A-O mode) and does not trigger a streamer fault.
This is because the streamer has absolutely no idea that the E50 is even connected.

---------------
The minor power issue mentioned above is caused by either the Argon One V2 case that the Pi is installed into, the USB-C power cable to it, or a combination of both.
The power source itself is capable of sourcing more than 5.25 amperes (well-regulated and heavily filtered).
Because the D10s takes its power from the USB port rather than an external source, it adds a considerable extra load passing through the Pi board.
There is clearly too much internal resistance somewhere in the power chain (TBD).
This, frankly, is the main reason that I purchased the E50 instead of a D10s to begin with.
I will track the root cause down and correct it eventually.
Most likely I will fabricate a power tap-style cable to power the D10s from an external source while also passing the data signals.

All of this further convinces me that the E50's automatic timeout is a bad idea, or at least that the implementation of it is flawed.
I still consider it to be a genuine "bug" in the E50 code, which really is a shame.
A-C mode does not resolve the problem because then it does not automatically turn on.
Both the A-O and A-C mode cause problems with the streaming software and hardware.
Different problems yes, but they are still problems.

Regardless, in the meantime my system now works properly.
The low voltage warning does not crash the system, it is just slightly annoying.
I would not recommend an E50 as a streaming system component, but I would recommend the D10s or perhaps its D10b (balanced) sibling.
The E50 is back in its box for the time being.
It can sit quietly on a shelf for now.

Thanks for reading through my epic saga.
I do hope that this information helps someone else.
 

Cigibroke

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Can i connect topping e50 with trs balanced 6.3mm cable directly to my focal alpha 50 evo active speakers? I just want better performance with them on my computer sound if they are enough and safe.
 

Cigibroke

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Which one is better and less problematic for daily computer using? any audio interface or topping e50 dac
I mean, without any recording-mixing etc. just for listening music, gaming, browsing, watching music videos etc.
 

AVKS

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Which one is better and less problematic for daily computer using? any audio interface or topping e50 dac
I mean, without any recording-mixing etc. just for listening music, gaming, browsing, watching music videos etc.

I use mine with USB audio out from my computer every day... flawless thus far.
 

Cigibroke

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I use mine with USB audio out from my computer every day... flawless thus far.
So, do I need to connect topping e50 to DC 5v at the same time? I mean multi connection; one usb cable to usb input of computer and the other usb cable to phone charger, dc power etc.
 

Power Pop 23

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I use mine with USB audio out from my computer every day... flawless thus far.
So, do I need to connect topping e50 to DC 5v at the same time?
No, if you are just using USB

Yes, if you are using another input and you do not want to power the E50 from a USB jack from your computer
 

AVKS

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So, do I need to connect topping e50 to DC 5v at the same time? I mean multi connection; one usb cable to usb input of computer and the other usb cable to phone charger, dc power etc.
I believe so, but I've always run mine off of a standalone battery pack.
 

Cigibroke

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No, if you are just using USB

Yes, if you are using another input and you do not want to power the E50 from a USB jack from your computer
No, i will not use any other input. I will just connect from usb output of computer to e50 and connect from trs output of e50 to active speakers. Is this way safe for this configuration?
 
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Power Pop 23

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No, i will not use any other input. I will just connect from usb output of computer to e50 and connect from trs output of e50 to active speakers. Is this way safe for this configuration?
Yes
 

DIYguy

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No, if you are just using USB

Interesting.
My E50 definitely does not power up using only the USB-B data connection from a PC, regardless of the signal input selected.
It always requires the barrel jack to be power-sourced in order to operate when using any of the data inputs.
The user's manual does not specifically state that (that I can see anyway), but that's the way mine operates.

If anyone else's E50 runs with only the USB-B connection to the back (no barrel jack connection) they must have some variant or revision of the "normal" unit.

I am still very happy with the completely trouble-free (so far) D10s replacement for the E50 on my Pi-based streamer.
I fabricated a short, 20-gauge USB-C cable to power the Pi itself and use a short data cable to connect to the D10s.
I then adjusted the power source to 5.20 volts (no load).
No more low voltage warnings.
It just works! :)
 
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Cigibroke

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I had to connect also dc cable to power outlet. Then e50 woke up. For first hour, i have not any sound problem, clipping, distortion etc. on you tube music videos. After two bad experiences on audio interfaces, this is good news at now.
 

Cigibroke

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Interesting.
My E50 definitely does not power up using only the USB-B data connection from a PC, regardless of the signal input selected.
It always requires the barrel jack to be power-sourced in order to operate when using any input.
The barrel jack cable could of course be plugged into a different USB port on the PC or any other 5 volt source (2 wired connections- one for power, one for data).
Or only the barrel connector cable could be connected to the power source and then use the optical or coax inputs on the E50.

If anyone else's E50 runs with only the USB-B connection to the back (no barrel jack connection) they must have some variant or revision of the "normal" unit.

I am still very happy with the completely trouble-free (so far) D10s replacement for the E50 on my Pi-based streamer.
I fabricated a short, 20-gauge USB-C cable to power the Pi itself.
I then adjusted the power source to 5.20 volts (no load).
No more low voltage warnings.
It just works! :)
Thanks for your sharing too. I have used an iphone 12 watt wall charger (USB-A output 5v/3A) . Can I leave this cable connected to power all the time?
 

DIYguy

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I had to connect also dc cable to power outlet. Then e50 woke up. For first hour, i have not any sound problem, clipping, distortion etc. on you tube music videos. After two bad experiences on audio interfaces, this is good news at now.
Great!
Glad to hear it is working for you. :)
My issue with the E50 was emphatically not anything to do with its sound output or operations other than the built-in timeout and failure to power up into an "on and ready" state.
I thought it sounded superb, actually.
It just caused too many random problems and repeated headaches with my Pi/MoOde streamer setup.
Others have posted similar sorts of E50 problems too (I am not the only one with this complaint).
On the other hand, when I have tried plugging the E50 into a couple of PCs it behaves itself quite nicely.
I already had a DAC for my main PC and do not need the balanced output capability, so I do not need the E50 for that application.

Again, glad to hear it is working for you.
 

Power Pop 23

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Interesting.
My E50 definitely does not power up using only the USB-B data connection from a PC, regardless of the signal input selected.
It always requires the barrel jack to be power-sourced in order to operate when using any of the data inputs.
The user's manual does not specifically state that (that I can see anyway), but that's the way mine operates.

If anyone else's E50 runs with only the USB-B connection to the back (no barrel jack connection) they must have some variant or revision of the "normal" unit.

I am still very happy with the completely trouble-free (so far) D10s replacement for the E50 on my Pi-based streamer.
I fabricated a short, 20-gauge USB-C cable to power the Pi itself and use a short data cable to connect to the D10s.
I then adjusted the power source to 5.20 volts (no load).
No more low voltage warnings.
It just works! :)
U R correct

my bad

thank you
 

DIYguy

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Thanks for your sharing too. I have used an iphone 12 watt wall charger (USB-A output 5v/3A) . Can I leave this cable connected to power all the time?
I would imagine so.
That is exactly what I was using before I built my own heavily filtered/regulated supply.
I had no issues with it.
When my E50 goes into "standby" mode it draws 0.17 amperes (0.85 watts @ 5V) which is less than most mains-powered clocks.
When "on and operating" it draws about 0.31 amperes (1.55 watts @ 5V).
The user's manual states "<2.5 watts" but I have never seen mine draw close to that much power.
Either way it should not be overly stressing your iPhone charger.
 

Gradius

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New driver should be coming:

Revision History
-----------------------------------------------------
V5.68.0 (February 5, 2024)
-----------------------------------------------------

* Fix: Installer secure problem

* Fix: Deadlock during wake up
 

Toku

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New driver should be coming:

Revision History
-----------------------------------------------------
V5.68.0 (February 5, 2024)
-----------------------------------------------------

* Fix: Installer secure problem

* Fix: Deadlock during wake up
SMSL has already released V5.68, but it may take some time for Topping to release it.
 
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