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Topping E70 Stereo DAC Review

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 8 2.7%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 7 2.3%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 35 11.7%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 249 83.3%

  • Total voters
    299

sq225917

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I currently have one in the house against my Gustard A18. I can only match volume within 0.5db but the short review is.

Sounds great, can't hear any difference between dacs. Love the display, hate that you have to switch the dac off and on again to enter the setup menu and swap from pre to fixed output, that's bollox UI design. And I'd trade the triggers for AES input.

But hell for £300....
 

chillwig

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Long time lurker, here. Recently registered when I pulled the trigger (no pun intended) on a new E70 based on feature set (and of course the review/measured performance). It's my first "ChiFi" purchase so I'm reasonably skeptical about the long term value proposition in terms of reliability. But at this price point, I'm OK with it potentially ending up a disposable just to get this feature set - you'd be hard pressed to find another well-implemented ESS Pro converter with "professional" features like balanced XLR outs and a 12v trigger i/o at this price. Bought it direct from Apos (digression for whoever named that company -- when I first saw the name my childish brain immediately joked that maybe it was an acronym for "another piece of s...") and hoping for satisfaction.

My plan is to set the unit to DAC-mode and connect via XLR to a Parasound HINT6 (driving Dynaudio Contour 30 and feeding a Sub 6). I assume that the E70's default 4V output will be sufficient for the HINT6, because my Cambridge DACMagic200M is spec'd at 4.2V on the XLR outs and sounds terrific feeding the HINT6 (to me). (If you're curious why I'm pulling the DACMagic, it's bc my primary desktop headphone amp/dac and I only pulled it into temporary service on my 2.1 rig because the results sounded so much better than the HINT6's internal DAC. But I want my headphone amp back on my desk and I'm not ready to do the upgrade that I think I really want, which is an all in one network streamer preamp like the Mytek Brooklyn).

Question for the Group: any thoughts on whether I should (or why I would want to) try switching the E70 output to 5V? Main reason I'm asking is that a lot of my source material is uncompressed and often a lower average RMS (but higher DR) than commercially released music, so I suspect the voltage boost might help me make the most of my DR without audibly affecting noise or distortion. The HINT6 manual (PDF Link) provides these specs:
Screenshot 2022-12-07 at 9.27.56 AM.png


Would appreciate any comments. TIA, I appreciate it.
 

tonycollinet

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Long time lurker, here. Recently registered when I pulled the trigger (no pun intended) on a new E70 based on feature set (and of course the review/measured performance). It's my first "ChiFi" purchase so I'm reasonably skeptical about the long term value proposition in terms of reliability. But at this price point, I'm OK with it potentially ending up a disposable just to get this feature set - you'd be hard pressed to find another well-implemented ESS Pro converter with "professional" features like balanced XLR outs and a 12v trigger i/o at this price. Bought it direct from Apos (digression for whoever named that company -- when I first saw the name my childish brain immediately joked that maybe it was an acronym for "another piece of s...") and hoping for satisfaction.

My plan is to set the unit to DAC-mode and connect via XLR to a Parasound HINT6 (driving Dynaudio Contour 30 and feeding a Sub 6). I assume that the E70's default 4V output will be sufficient for the HINT6, because my Cambridge DACMagic200M is spec'd at 4.2V on the XLR outs and sounds terrific feeding the HINT6 (to me). (If you're curious why I'm pulling the DACMagic, it's bc my primary desktop headphone amp/dac and I only pulled it into temporary service on my 2.1 rig because the results sounded so much better than the HINT6's internal DAC. But I want my headphone amp back on my desk and I'm not ready to do the upgrade that I think I really want, which is an all in one network streamer preamp like the Mytek Brooklyn).

Question for the Group: any thoughts on whether I should (or why I would want to) try switching the E70 output to 5V? Main reason I'm asking is that a lot of my source material is uncompressed and often a lower average RMS (but higher DR) than commercially released music, so I suspect the voltage boost might help me make the most of my DR without audibly affecting noise or distortion. The HINT6 manual (PDF Link) provides these specs:
View attachment 248368

Would appreciate any comments. TIA, I appreciate it.
You've got 10db gain in the preamp, and 28 in the power stage - for a total gain of 38dB.

No way do you need 5V output from the E70. In fact you can drive the amp to full power with less than 400mV input.
 

misterdog

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Just received this reply from Topping regarding the 1.04 firmware update, strangely still absent from their website.

E70 V1.04:
Add bandwidth setting in setup menu (B-5)
Customized settings from 5 to 15 (default: 5)
The larger the number is, the stronger the range to adapt to jitter, and the smaller the number, the better the performance against clock jitter.

 

misterdog

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No way do you need 5V output from the E70

Unless the increased voltage provides benefits to your system.

Assuming that the 5V output provides better measures. All Amirs tests are shown at 4V, though the THD+N v output level, shows increasing performance with rising output up to 4.25V.

6866251.jpg


Topping's measures use A weighting.

Only by trying it can you tell. Some seem to view output on XLR other than 4V, as some form of heresy and 'cheating', though why on an objective forum, better measured performance is 'criticised' I know not.

Many used to criticise the use of XLR at all - but that's audio for a hobby.. :)
 

Sokel

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If I was ever using a DAC straight to my power amp (never-ever!) 5 volts would be what it needs for full output (my particular amp).
So I guess is handy.
 

misterdog

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The Benchmark Dac3 has output voltage of 12V..
You can always attenuate a higher V out, though adding gain with active pre-amps and power amps which normally have much higher levels of THD + N seems counter productive to me.

Though some, seem to like distortion and maybe see it as a good thing.
 

Trell

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Unless the increased voltage provides benefits to your system.

Of course, that is always the case.

Assuming that the 5V output provides better measures. All Amirs tests are shown at 4V, though the THD+N v output level, shows increasing performance with rising output up to 4.25V.

This is false as @amirm do tests above 4V. Here is one example of one device and there are others, but that you can search for yourself:


Only by trying it can you tell. Some seem to view output on XLR other than 4V, as some form of heresy and 'cheating', though why on an objective forum, better measured performance is 'criticised' I know not.

I can't recall reading posts where "output on XLR other than 4V, as some form of heresy and 'cheating'". Do you have some examples?

Many used to criticise the use of XLR at all - but that's audio for a hobby.. :)

They did? In what context?
 

staticV3

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I can't recall reading posts where "output on XLR other than 4V, as some form of heresy and 'cheating'". Do you have some examples?
A bit over 5V is where the APx555B has the least distortion and noise:
1528516561604 (1).png
Many chinese Hifi brands like Topping, Gustard, SMSL, etc. have recognized that and have set their high end DACs to 5V output at 100% volume so that they can advertise even higher SINAD numbers.

The 4V mode is just a digital volume limiter on top to retain compatibility with 4V expecting gear downstream.

Of course, the DAC does perform best at 5V, every DAC has peak SNR at 100% volume.

But the reason all these brands have chosen 5.0-5.2Vrms instead of 5.5, 6, or any other value is not entirely pure. They're playing the SINAD game.
 
Last edited:

tonycollinet

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Unless the increased voltage provides benefits to your system.

Assuming that the 5V output provides better measures. All Amirs tests are shown at 4V, though the THD+N v output level, shows increasing performance with rising output up to 4.25V.

6866251.jpg


Topping's measures use A weighting.

Only by trying it can you tell. Some seem to view output on XLR other than 4V, as some form of heresy and 'cheating', though why on an objective forum, better measured performance is 'criticised' I know not.

Many used to criticise the use of XLR at all - but that's audio for a hobby.. :)
i was replying to a question concerning a particular amp. With that amp and it‘s gain, full power will be reached at less than half a volt. So even with 4v output the volume control is going to need to be set at -20 db for full power. Probably -40 to -60 for a reasonable listening volume. There is a risk of running into channel imbalance down there?
 

chillwig

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Thanks, this discussion is starting to get helpful. As noted Amir tested the E70 at the 4v setting (which measured at 4.2v):


Screenshot 2022-12-08 at 9.13.48 AM.png


Topping's published specs are at 5V with slightly better numbers:

Screenshot 2022-12-08 at 9.12.51 AM.png


Obviously not a controlled comparison, but it's not an unexpected result from a well-implemented DAC is it not?

I guess what I really want to know (and should have asked up front) is, assuming for the sake of argument the E70 measures better at 5vrms, is there any reason NOT to try it and see if I get better subjective results with some of my quieter source material? As best as I can tell, theres no reason to think Parasound HINT6 preamp section can't handle the additional voltage.
 

Trell

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A bit over 5V is where the APx555B has the least distortion and noise:
View attachment 248560
Many chinese Hifi brands like Topping, Gustard, SMSL, etc. have recognized that and have set their high end DACs to 5V output at 100% volume so that they can advertise even higher SINAD numbers.

The 4V mode is just a digital volume limiter on top to retain compatibility with 4V expecting gear downstream.

Of course, the DAC does perform best at 5V, every DAC has peak SNR at 100% volume.

But the reason all these brands have chosen ~5.1-5.2Vrms instead of 5.5, 6, or any other value is not entirely pure. They're playing the SINAD game.

Ah, I see, and I'm sorry to see they appear to do that. The performance is great in any case, but things like this does damage their credibility in my view, and totally unnecessary as well.

Perhaps they should look at RME how this is done....
 

misterdog

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This is false as @amirm do tests above 4V. Here is one example of one device and there are others, but that you can search for yourself:

My other DAC was both tested at 4V and 5.2V (Maxout).

Though this thread (Topping E70) was only tested at 4V so more true than false.

But you could see that for yourself, Toppings own tests were performed at 5V though with A weighting.
 

misterdog

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I can't recall reading posts where "output on XLR other than 4V, as some form of heresy and 'cheating'". Do you have some examples?

The post 12 minutes after yours is a good example #429.

Seems it is time for a new Audio Precision analyser. For the Chinese to cheat at SINAD numberwang with.

It's a shame that @staticV3 couldn't balance his post by saying what incredible value for money Chinese audio is providing us with.
Maybe that's the reason he needs to find a source of criticism and conspiracy theory though.
 

Killingbeans

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I guess what I really want to know (and should have asked up front) is, assuming for the sake of argument the E70 measures better at 5vrms, is there any reason NOT to try it and see if I get better subjective results with some of my quieter source material?

The SINAD is still limited by noise. If you aren't getting hiss from the speakers at 4V, 5V isn't going to make a difference.
 

Trell

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The post 12 minutes after yours is a good example #429.

You might have noticed that I replied to that post about 44 minutes before this post of yours. ;)

Seems it is time for a new Audio Precision analyser. For the Chinese to cheat at SINAD numberwang with.

It's a shame that @staticV3 couldn't balance his post by saying what incredible value for money Chinese audio is providing us with.
Maybe that's the reason he needs to find a source of criticism and conspiracy theory though.

What are you talking about?
 

misterdog

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hate that you have to switch the dac off and on again to enter the setup menu and swap from pre to fixed output, that's bollox UI design

Those who have blown tweeters, or worse, with inadvertent switching to full output might see it as a safety feature.

No I haven't - yet - touch wood.
 

sq225917

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The 5.2v max out on xxlris gaming the system, but then any dac output level that you then have to attenuate in the pre-amp could be accused of the same.

Truth is there are relatively few power amps with sufficiently low gain to make use of max output from most of the best performing dacs. ( ncores, benchmark, some recent Chinese offerings)

My own nuerochrome amps use Tom's lowest gain option, but even then I'd need my dac to be at -30db to achieve my usual listening level without a pre amp to burn off those volts ⚡️
 
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