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Topping L30 Headphone Amplifier Review

raif71

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No, not specifically.

The popular influencer/reviewers almost all mention using EQ to correct headphones, so it's a real possibility that use of EQ may (depending on settings) affect their claimed need for ridiculous, headphone- and hearing-damaging amounts of power. That's on top of things like changing for example playback software volume. This is something that should be quite obvious to anyone who has basic understanding of gain staging in audio systems, and it's why I call them amateurs with experience (as opposed to knowledge). It's not clear they even have standardized test settings, let alone publish them. Many of them do post EQ for different headphones, since I don't use EQ I never dug into it, but baseline preamp levels may be part of their EQ settings.
Since I have touched upon inadequate volume of the L30 at 0db, let me 1st clarify that I'm not using any EQ. Anyway, the issue was on some sources thats all ie classical music sources. Other modern genre pop/rock so far I'm happy to say that at 0db, I'm playing them circa 12 o'clock. My setup is mainly Hiby R5-->e30-->l30. The only way for me to even use EQ is at Hiby but then using usb audio would disable any EQ, right? How do people use EQ in their setup if they are using external dac and amp? I'm a novice at this EQ thingy. :)
 

Jimbob54

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Since I have touched upon inadequate volume of the L30 at 0db, let me 1st clarify that I'm not using any EQ. Anyway, the issue was on some sources thats all ie classical music sources. Other modern genre pop/rock so far I'm happy to say that at 0db, I'm playing them circa 12 o'clock. My setup is mainly Hiby R5-->e30-->l30. The only way for me to even use EQ is at Hiby but then using usb audio would disable any EQ, right? How do people use EQ in their setup if they are using external dac and amp? I'm a novice at this EQ thingy. :)
No, not necessarily at all. Best place to do eq is before the dac. Depends on settings but the eq you do on the hiby might well be going to the e30. Easy test, max out the bass eq, play. Reduce all bass eq, play again.
 

Doodski

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Since I have touched upon inadequate volume of the L30 at 0db, let me 1st clarify that I'm not using any EQ. Anyway, the issue was on some sources thats all ie classical music sources. Other modern genre pop/rock so far I'm happy to say that at 0db, I'm playing them circa 12 o'clock. My setup is mainly Hiby R5-->e30-->l30. The only way for me to even use EQ is at Hiby but then using usb audio would disable any EQ, right? How do people use EQ in their setup if they are using external dac and amp? I'm a novice at this EQ thingy. :)
My ASUS PC has EQ adjust on the SPDIF output.
Capture_09062020_172009.png
 
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RE: DMS, and other subjective influencer/reviewer types...potential hidden biases aside, I'm pretty sure most of them are in the process of damaging their hearing, or already have, possibly quite severely. They listen way too loud way too often, I'm certain of it. Part of their 'job', unfortunately, is to get views, clicks on affiliate links, and hype going; if they say something controversial, it makes them money too. If they say something non-sensical like 'you need high gain for this headphone' (said in a recent review of the HD600/650 wrt the Atom amp) or 'you need ten watts for headroom to make a lower-sensitivity headphone 'come alive' (for a few notorious headphones), it stirs up the click/view money hypetrain.

Unfortunately, the web influencer/reviewer culture quickly devolved into the same thing the internet helped us avoid at first, the old media publication advertiser money motivation.



Well, thank god for that. I was worried reading through the thread and things were getting crazy. Changing a DAC to 3V output for the sake of the amp seemed silly and would cause its own set of problems, as did all the craziness about changing gains on the L30 or other amps. All anyone wanted in the first place was clear 'real world' specs. Given that you recommend E30 (2V output) with the L30, it only makes sense to for the manufacturer to provide those specs. As you can see below, it can and does cause confusion, like it or not. While consumers should be reasonably knowledgeable, it's easy to overlook details too.





lol. Is there some law that says you have grab the knob at 9 and 3 0'clock ? Just use 11 and 7 0r 12 and 6 :p For real though, I reached toward mine without thinking about it, and 9 and 3 felt really awkward because I had to twist my forearm and wrist, 11 and 7 was 'natural' because I just reach out with my hand at about a 45 degree angle. *I see you got a different knob anyway :p



I am using it as a preamp, no noise problem. What is the noise exactly ? Hiss ? Ground loop ? Iirc the Crown amps (maybe not your model) have input gain settings for 'pro' or 'consumer'...did you set that correctly ? It does sound as if the Crown is just noisier with single-ended input at least.
The noise is high pitched squealing and intermittent bursts of noise. It's ground loop noise as far as I know. I have tried different cables, and different configurations of where the AC is plugged in. I changed from USB connection to my computer to optical which lowered it a bit, but it is still there (it's driving my wife crazy). I have used different preamps and the noise is either not there or much reduced. It's complete gone with a balanced DAC.

The Crown is an XLS 1500 which does not have the special higher sensitivity setting that the XLS 1502 has, so its the same as the lower sensitivity setting on that amp. I've pretty much narrowed it down to the Schiit Heresy being the problem component, I just didn't want to order an L30 only to find the same problem. I'll be waiting a bit as I just ordered a MOTU M4 which should fix my noise problems. The only thing left to find out is if it sounds good to me. Thanks for the response!
 
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Since I have touched upon inadequate volume of the L30 at 0db, let me 1st clarify that I'm not using any EQ. Anyway, the issue was on some sources thats all ie classical music sources. Other modern genre pop/rock so far I'm happy to say that at 0db, I'm playing them circa 12 o'clock. My setup is mainly Hiby R5-->e30-->l30. The only way for me to even use EQ is at Hiby but then using usb audio would disable any EQ, right? How do people use EQ in their setup if they are using external dac and amp? I'm a novice at this EQ thingy. :)
They use software EQ. I'm not exactly sure how software EQ works alongside exclusive mode audio for Windows, for normal Windows mixer audio it should apply the EQ. For your DAP you'd have to see whether the EQ affects USB output.
 

Jimbob54

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L30 received today (From Shenzenaudio)

Very clean sounding, plenty of power. High gain , 12 o' clock is loud for Fostex T60 with a 3 dB preamp reduction and a few dB off on the DAC volume too. Grado PS1000 low gain is plenty- well controlled.

Good work @JohnYang1997 .Now get back in that shed and solder a few more thousand.
 
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Hi guys,
I'm new to this audiophile experience. I'm try to decide budget amp/dac combo that can maximize my beyerdynamic amiron wired headphone. I have in mind the topping E30 and Creative G6. Will really appreciate your charm in!:):)
 

Jimbob54

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Hi guys,
I'm new to this audiophile experience. I'm try to decide budget amp/dac combo that can maximize my beyerdynamic amiron wired headphone. I have in mind the topping E30 and Creative G6. Will really appreciate your charm in!:):)
Isnt the G6 a Dac/amp combo in itself? The e30 would need a separate HP amp- I have just taken delivery of the topping L30 (matches e30) and its great.
 
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Isnt the G6 a Dac/amp combo in itself? The e30 would need a separate HP amp- I have just taken delivery of the topping L30 (matches e30) and its great.
you are right G6 is the combo DAC/Amp. I'm a casual classical listener, streaming movies. I wonder if the topping E30/L30 really worth the extra cost
 

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Isnt the G6 a Dac/amp combo in itself? The e30 would need a separate HP amp- I have just taken delivery of the topping L30 (matches e30) and its great.
Also there's the potentially "buggy" nature of the G6. I've no personal experience but it's been mentioned on this forum.

@Jimbob54's suggestion of the L30 would provide a good solution. Other options rather depend on where you are in the world. Topping provides a particualrly good solution for Europe, US has other readily available budget options (JDS Atom and Schiit Heresy).
 
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SJ777

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you are right G6 is the combo DAC/Amp. I'm a casual classical listener, streaming movies. I wonder if the topping E30/L30 really worth the extra cost
The E30/L30 combo will work well, but a cheaper option is the Topping DX3 Pro (if you want an all in 1 unit). It costs more than the G6, but looks like a better bet.
 

Robbo99999

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you are right G6 is the combo DAC/Amp. I'm a casual classical listener, streaming movies. I wonder if the topping E30/L30 really worth the extra cost
If it helps at all, I've got the G6 and use it with a JDS Labs Atom headphone amp, and I noticed a difference in sound quality between that and using the headphone amplifier built into the G6. I wanted to get the best possible audio experience from my headphones though, so whether or not you go with the L30 depends on how much you prioritise sound quality. Also I would recommend you just use your G6 with the L30 rather than buying another DAC unless you want the features of the E30 like remote control & some of the other features. Re using your G6 with the L30, make sure you run Windows Volume no higher than 85% as that equates to -2.4dBFS, and the G6 shows distortion above -2.0 dBFS according to Amir's review of the G6. The G6 has excellent measurements if you run it below -2.0 dBFS: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...w-and-measurements-of-sound-blasterx-g6.7016/

(You would of course attach the Line Out port of the G6 to the L30, you wouldn't attach it through the headphone port on the G6, but you know that!)
 
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Jimbob54

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you are right G6 is the combo DAC/Amp. I'm a casual classical listener, streaming movies. I wonder if the topping E30/L30 really worth the extra cost
The Amiron is (I think) a 600 ohm Tesla driver like the Beyer T1. It would definitely benefit from a bit more grunt that what you get from your phone or maybe PC HP output. Whether you need a new DAC depends on what you would be plugging any new DAC into.

Assuming you are currently on a PC/MAC and would be taking USB out to an external DAC- maybe you would be better just getting an L30 amp and using the inbuilt DAC of your PC first (running it out of the line out jack of your PC) . If that isnt to your taste, get a new DAC too (eg E30)
 

Jimbob54

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If it helps at all, I've got the G6 and use it with a JDS Labs Atom headphone amp, and I noticed a difference in sound quality between that and using the headphone amplifier built into the G6. I wanted to get the best possible audio experience from my headphones though, so whether or not you go with the L30 depends on how much you prioritise sound quality. Also I would recommend you just use your G6 with the L30 rather than buying another DAC unless you want the features of the E30 like remote control & some of the other features. Re using your G6 with the L30, make sure you run Windows Volume no higher than 85% as that equates to -2.4dBFS, and the G6 shows distortion above -2.0 dBFS according to Amir's review of the G6. The G6 has excellent measurements if you run it below -2.0 dBFS: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...w-and-measurements-of-sound-blasterx-g6.7016/
I dont believe they have the G6- I think that was a device under consideration. For me e30/l30 stack beats G6 alone for reasons stated by you and others. The g6/l30 purchased together makes no real sense unless gaming is a priority.
 

Robbo99999

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I dont believe they have the G6- I think that was a device under consideration. For me e30/l30 stack beats G6 alone for reasons stated by you and others. The g6/l30 purchased together makes no real sense unless gaming is a priority.
Ah yes, I misread his post. Only get the G6 if you want to use it for gaming in terms of using the 7.1 virtual surround sound processing feature for game immersion & enemy location.....otherwise if gaming is not his thing he should for sure get the E30 instead, because G6 is buggy too.
 
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If it helps at all, I've got the G6 and use it with a JDS Labs Atom headphone amp, and I noticed a difference in sound quality between that and using the headphone amplifier built into the G6. I wanted to get the best possible audio experience from my headphones though, so whether or not you go with the L30 depends on how much you prioritise sound quality. Also I would recommend you just use your G6 with the L30 rather than buying another DAC unless you want the features of the E30 like remote control & some of the other features. Re using your G6 with the L30, make sure you run Windows Volume no higher than 85% as that equates to -2.4dBFS, and the G6 shows distortion above -2.0 dBFS according to Amir's review of the G6. The G6 has excellent measurements if you run it below -2.0 dBFS: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...w-and-measurements-of-sound-blasterx-g6.7016/

(You would of course attach the Line Out port of the G6 to the L30, you wouldn't attach it through the headphone port on the G6, but you know that!)
Do you think the G6 or E30 would better to fit the movie experience?
 
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@JohnYang1997 wanted to say thank you to you and everyone at Topping! Finally have my d10s and l30. I upgraded from an odac/o2 combo from Head n Hifi I purchased back in 2014. I was actually quite surprised how big the difference was. Overall I'm very happy! :D
Like some people here, I am a little worried about temperatures with my 8 ohm in ears on my days off, where I have this running for the full day plus night (I listen to podcasts for sleeping). The l30 does get very hot after 1 or 2 hours. I will measure this soon and see if it is above 50c, but I don't think it will be. I will also test long sessions with my 37 ohm Hifiman Sundara. I'm wondering if the heat affects the d10s performance if I stack them though, as it usually runs extremely cool.
 

3125b

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The Amiron has 250 Ohm Tesla drivers, it's fairly easy to drive with its high impedance and high sensitivity. The G6 should work fine, every decent headphone amp surely will, and even on a phone it works ok.
Buy whatever you can get at a good price.
 

Robbo99999

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Do you think the G6 or E30 would better to fit the movie experience?
Good question, the only reason for it potentially fitting the movie experience better would be the Dolby Digital and 7.1 virtual surround processing of the G6. I've never used my G6 with movies so I don't know how it functions for the that, but looking at the Creative website it seems that Dolby Digital decoding only happens if you connect your source via optical link to the G6: https://uk.creative.com/p/amplifiers/sound-blasterx-g6. Regarding using the 7.1 virtual surround processing with movies (not Dolby, so using the USB connection to a PC as the input), then I don't know if that's compatible with movies, in terms of the movie sending the right data for each virtual speaker. I know for sure that the PC sees the G6 as a 7.1 device when the G6 is setup in 7.1 surround mode, but given that it wouldn't be Dolby Decoding over USB connection then I don't know how the movie 5.1 or 7.1 movie soundtrack marries up with that. Hopefully some experienced movie audiophiles can chime in to advise us on this point.

EDIT: if you don't get any responses here, you could also ask the movie decoding/playback question in the G6 thread: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...w-and-measurements-of-sound-blasterx-g6.7016/
 
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