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Topping L30 Headphone Amplifier Review

bravomail

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Went on NewYear holiday break. Ordered E30/L30 via Drop. Meanwhile, a storm here for 50+ pages.
Some Nevada desert guy (where static is in the air) managed to jolt L30 and his headphones to death.
I would hire this guy to jolt/test all the equipment which is praised on ASR - esp Atom without any DC protection. :)
L30 I got is with 2010xxxx serial number. So it goes back. Thx to JohnYang and Topping for quick fix!
But, meanwhile, here's my subjective impressions of E30/L30 stack vs Schiit Modi3/Magni 3+ (PC Windows10, Foobar2000 with WASAPI output to USB, FLAC audio, AKG K7xx headphones).
E30 has no problem handling 32 bit/44.1kHz. I had issues with 32 bit on Modi3, it was set to 24bit. There is a difference with 32bit E30/L30 config (vs the same config of 24 bit) - it is sharper and crisper, not muddy.
I also played with different filters of E30, it comes with FF4 by default (slow rolloff, short delay). After playing a while I chose FF1 (sharpest, no delay) - the base had more energy. Other thoughts - I don't want my ears destroyed by supersonic high energy waves.
I set E30 to DAC mode (not PreAmp).
I set my L30 to 0dB gain and HPA. What I noticed - I had to rotate volume pot significantly between different tracks when trying to listen to different fragments of songs. I have my Foobar player set on per-track volume normalization, so it is not my source material issue. Looks like you will rotate more with L30. With Schiit Magni3+ my physical rotation was less. Not sure if it is good or bad. Just reporting.
Now to main thing - sound. It sounds good, only very slightly better than Schiit stack, very slightly. In other words - if you have Schiit stack - there is very little reason to change. Heresy maybe closer to L30, but I don't have Heresy.
 

solderdude

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How safe am I if my laptop, DAC, and L30 all have no ground?

Safer (when operating wireless on batteries) but still not safe. A current will still be able to flow. When the laptop is connected to mains (via a switching power supply) then for very high frequencies that power supply is basically directly connected to mains which in itself is referenced to ground.
In the SMPS there are low value caps from the secondary side to the mains side. This is to ensure they meet requirements. That cap is close to 0 Ohm for ESD pulses. ESD pulses are VERY high (steep) in frequency component and can pack quite some punch, be it only for a very, very brief moment.
What happens is: body charged to say 12kV (really happens easily when getting of a cloth covered couch for instance) and discharges through the potmeter shaft into the opamp and part of it to the groundplane in the amp. This continues to the RCA shield which is connected to the DAC which is connected to USB ground which is connected to the laptop ground which via the power supply makes its way to mains and ultimately to ground.

Just arrange a new one and all your worries are gone. No ESD sensitivity for the amp, no DC on the output.

When you often experience a 'jolt' in the house in the winter and/or see sparks flying from your hand (is fun to see in the dark) then the old L30 is 'at risk'. When the air is dry try pulling a sweater over your head in the dark and let others see ESD flashes.
Harmless for humans... not for electronic components.
That's why there are ESD tests.. to test for this.
 

Pdxwayne

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Safer (when operating wireless on batteries) but still not safe. A current will still be able to flow. When the laptop is connected to mains (via a switching power supply) then for very high frequencies that power supply is basically directly connected to mains which in itself is referenced to ground.
In the SMPS there are low value caps from the secondary side to the mains side. This is to ensure they meet requirements. That cap is close to 0 Ohm for ESD pulses. ESD pulses are VERY high (steep) in frequency component and can pack quite some punch, be it only for a very, very brief moment.
What happens is: body charged to say 12kV (really happens easily when getting of a cloth covered couch for instance) and discharges through the potmeter shaft into the opamp and part of it to the groundplane in the amp. This continues to the RCA shield which is connected to the DAC which is connected to USB ground which is connected to the laptop ground which via the power supply makes its way to mains and ultimately to ground.

Just arrange a new one and all your worries are gone. No ESD sensitivity for the amp, no DC on the output.

When you often experience a 'jolt' in the house in the winter and/or see sparks flying from your hand (is fun to see in the dark) then the old L30 is 'at risk'. When the air is dry try pulling a sweater over your head in the dark and let others see ESD flashes.
Harmless for humans... not for electronic components.
That's why there are ESD tests.. to test for this.
In my area, year long humidity is 60% to 80%. I don't recall the last time I have a static discharge inside my home....But I do get many at work!
 

maverickronin

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How many headphones have you heard being destroyed by an Atom amp? I've never heard of any, and the Atom has been out for over 2 years and is an extremely popular headphone amp.

It seems like it damaged, but didn't didn't completely destroy, a pair here.
 

Thalis

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In my area, year long humidity is 60% to 80%. I don't recall the last time I have a static discharge inside my home....But I do get many at work!

here where I live its almost at 100% daily.... but I used to get a lot of static in one particular workplace a long time ago... aircon and carpets....
 

solderdude

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In my area, year long humidity is 60% to 80%. I don't recall the last time I have a static discharge inside my home....But I do get many at work!

Still.. I would contact the seller to have a replacement sent. The DC protection isn't working properly.
 

raistlin65

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It seems like it damaged, but didn't didn't completely destroy, a pair here.

If that's true, one up in two years is not evidence of a major design problem that supports John Yang's negative claims about the Atom. Could be a random failure of a component within the range of what almost everyone would feel is acceptable.
 

maverickronin

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If that's true, one up in two years is not evidence of a major design problem that supports John Yang's negative claims about the Atom. Could be a random failure of a component within the range of what almost everyone would feel is acceptable.

It's certainly not prone to failures that require DC protection like the L30 is, but it's still true it doesn't have any.
 

raistlin65

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It's certainly not prone to failures that require DC protection like the L30 is, but it's still true it doesn't have any.

Right. I'm not sure what your point is, as that's already been established and I did not make claims that it had DC voltage protection.

Rather, JY said,

JDS Atom also doesn't have protection whatsoever. DC in DC out, no protection. So USA made = better quality is simply BS.

So you support that claim? Seems to me the proof is in the pudding, so to speak, as I originally pointed out.
 

maverickronin

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Right. I'm not sure what your point is, as that's already been established and I did not make claims that it had DC voltage protection.

Just that the L30 being a disaster doesn't make the Atom perfect. You asked about the Atom harming headphones. I provided a case. I didn't make any other claims. I didn't make any reference to JY's post.
 

ngs428

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I received some further direction from Apos today. Seems like we are all in the same page, which is good. I assume it will be 1.5 to 2 months before I see the new one. We shall see.


I'd like to provide you with an update on the status of the replacement program for the TOPPING L30.

As you might have heard, besides the DC protection design improvement on the L30 (serial number 2012 or higher), TOPPING has also further refined the L30 to address the ESD concern in rare instances. I am happy to let you know that the replacement unit you are entitled to will include all the latest revisions.

I have already gone ahead and submitted a shipment request for the replacement unit with our warehouse. And we'll have it shipped out to you as soon as we receive them from TOPPING. At this point, TOPPING is working overtime to ramp up the production of the L30. Your understanding and patience are greatly appreciated.

Please note that the replacement shipment will NOT include the power adapter for the L30. You will need to continue to use your current power adapter that came with your original L30 for the new unit. Once you have received the replacement L30, please kindly recycle your original L30 at your earliest convenience.

Thank you very much for partnering with us to resolve this issue. “
 

raistlin65

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Just that the L30 being a disaster doesn't make the Atom perfect. You asked about the Atom harming headphones. I provided a case. I didn't make any other claims. I didn't make any reference to JY's post.

I didn't say the Atom was perfect. So I'm still not sure why you posted that.
 

Pdxwayne

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I received some further direction from Apos today. Seems like we are all in the same page, which is good. I assume it will be 1.5 to 2 months before I see the new one. We shall see.


I'd like to provide you with an update on the status of the replacement program for the TOPPING L30.

As you might have heard, besides the DC protection design improvement on the L30 (serial number 2012 or higher), TOPPING has also further refined the L30 to address the ESD concern in rare instances. I am happy to let you know that the replacement unit you are entitled to will include all the latest revisions.

I have already gone ahead and submitted a shipment request for the replacement unit with our warehouse. And we'll have it shipped out to you as soon as we receive them from TOPPING. At this point, TOPPING is working overtime to ramp up the production of the L30. Your understanding and patience are greatly appreciated.

Please note that the replacement shipment will NOT include the power adapter for the L30. You will need to continue to use your current power adapter that came with your original L30 for the new unit. Once you have received the replacement L30, please kindly recycle your original L30 at your earliest convenience.

Thank you very much for partnering with us to resolve this issue. “
Got same message too. Hope to get a replacement soon. Thanks Apos!
 
Last edited:

Blizz

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I received some further direction from Apos today. Seems like we are all in the same page, which is good. I assume it will be 1.5 to 2 months before I see the new one. We shall see.


I'd like to provide you with an update on the status of the replacement program for the TOPPING L30.

As you might have heard, besides the DC protection design improvement on the L30 (serial number 2012 or higher), TOPPING has also further refined the L30 to address the ESD concern in rare instances. I am happy to let you know that the replacement unit you are entitled to will include all the latest revisions.

I have already gone ahead and submitted a shipment request for the replacement unit with our warehouse. And we'll have it shipped out to you as soon as we receive them from TOPPING. At this point, TOPPING is working overtime to ramp up the production of the L30. Your understanding and patience are greatly appreciated.

Please note that the replacement shipment will NOT include the power adapter for the L30. You will need to continue to use your current power adapter that came with your original L30 for the new unit. Once you have received the replacement L30, please kindly recycle your original L30 at your earliest convenience.

Thank you very much for partnering with us to resolve this issue. “
Received this email too. Seems like they're going to ship ESD protected units :)
 

ngs428

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Received this email too. Seems like they're going to ship ESD protected units :)

I did send a request for an ESD protected unit. Did you? Curious if the email was sent regardless of if the owner requested the ESD protected version.
 

Sombreuil

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If one wants to buy the latest revision on say Amazon, is there a way to make sure that they won't sell one of the early units?
 

pallatin

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What should I do if I got mine on Amazon, from SHENZHENAUDIO? Or am I screwed and can only hope it won't blow up any of my headphones?
 
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