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Topping L50 Review (Headphone Amp)

Grur

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Subjectively, is there an actual audible difference, presumably due to noise reduction, between using the balanced input and the unbalanced input of the L50? Reason I ask, is that I'm looking to add a headphone amp to my E50 dac. The plan is to use the E50's balanced outputs to a pair of active speakers and its RCA's to either a new L50 or new L30II.

But if there is an audible difference with headphones, then I might just connect to the aforementioned monitors via unbalanced and keep it balanced for the headphone side.
 

djtetei

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@Grur
Use the E50 DAC balanced outputs to feed the balanced inputs of your active speakers and use the unbalanced outputs to feed the L30II or the L50 headphone amplifiers.
Use the E50 balanced outputs to feed the L50 balanced inputs only if you need a higher input voltage level to feed some power hungry high impedance headphones.
The L30II and L50 headphone amplification topology is unbalanced.
 
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LuminousMoth

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Subjectively, is there an actual audible difference, presumably due to noise reduction, between using the balanced input and the unbalanced input of the L50? Reason I ask, is that I'm looking to add a headphone amp to my E50 dac. The plan is to use the E50's balanced outputs to a pair of active speakers and its RCA's to either a new L50 or new L30II.

But if there is an audible difference with headphones, then I might just connect to the aforementioned monitors via unbalanced and keep it balanced for the headphone side.
You will get more power if you use the balanced cables to go from the E50 to L50. But you can then use the balanced passthrough from the L50 to go to your speakers. The only downside if you do it this way is that you cannot have your speakers and headphones play at the same time. If that's a thing you are planning to do then use balanced signal to go to the speakers and them RCA to go to L50 since your speakers are more further away than the L50. Then again if you do have very hard to drive headphones and need that extra power do the opposite.
 

Georgeadv

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Post no10 stated this: “Interesting about the increase in noise going from XLR in -> 1/4" out. I wonder what could be the cause of that. I assume medium gain on the L50 is unity and the AP was outputting 2Vrms over XLR? In comparison, the A30Pro going from XLR in -> 1/4" out doesn't show an increase in noise, though that was tested with 4V instead of 2V.”

Does this means if you are to use unbalanced out its better to use rca in?
 

Veri

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Does this means if you are to use unbalanced out its better to use rca in?
Theoretically yes, especially over a short length of cable, RCA with some proper shielding will be golden. It's only over long lengths, balanced shines with its common mode rejection to ward against noise issues.

On these latest Topping amps we're talking noise levels so low it probably won't matter in the real world, though.
 

Georgeadv

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Theoretically yes, especially over a short length of cable, RCA with some proper shielding will be golden. It's only over long lengths, balanced shines with its common mode rejection to ward against noise issues.

On these latest Topping amps we're talking noise levels so low it probably won't matter in the real world, though.
Hmm thanks
The amp and dac will be stacked therefore, the cables will be short anyway… whts the reason for balanced inputs?
 

Veri

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The amp and dac will be stacked therefore, the cables will be short anyway… whts the reason for balanced inputs?
Like I said, over longer lengths or over noisy environments balanced works very well to negate noise/ground loop issues. But in a domestic setting it usually isn't necessary at all. On the other hand, when you use a (home) studio set-up with (powered) speakers, TRS or XLR is standard to ensure a proper connection.

Balanced also has double the voltage compared to RCA because it has both a +/- side to the signal. Which will boost the amplifier's volume levels, should that be desired..
 

Hamrin

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L50 fed by D30Pro via XLR > TRS and XLR headphone out to my ears sounds better than the full single ended path.
The 4pin XLR is not a truly balanced out but it is not only a matter of levels: it sounds far less "edgy" and more focused at the same time.

The same happens with Qutest (3V RCA out)... Here I definitely do prefer XLR out over single ended, the jack presents some harshness.
 

Veri

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The same happens with Qutest (3V RCA out)... Here I definitely do prefer XLR out over single ended, the jack presents some harshness.
? The Jack and the XLR out is the exact same output. Not one thing is different. So no this is in your head, I'm afraid.
 

Hamrin

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I've specified it is not a matter of levels... The output is the same.

The output you're quoting is the one that goes out from the Chord.
Qutest can be set to 1V, 2V or 3V out.

The fact it is in my head... For sure it is.
My ears as far as I know are mine... ;)
 
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anli

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Hi!

After some idle period the amp (being turned on) switches to ... well, strange mode: white power LED just blink, and the amp doesn't work. The only way I have found to restore is to turn power (including PSU) off during few minutes. Just turning power switch off and on doesn't help. As well as unplugging (during few second) power cable from PSU to the amp does.

Has anybody met this behavior? Does it mean the amp is broken?
 

GPJ

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Hi!

After some idle period the amp (being turned on) switches to ... well, strange mode: white power LED just blink, and the amp doesn't work. The only way I have found to restore is to turn power (including PSU) off during few minutes. Just turning power switch off and on doesn't help. As well as unplugging (during few second) power cable from PSU to the amp does.

Has anybody met this behavior? Does it mean the amp is broken?

If you have a warranty, I'd suggest using it. Is the amp hot or reside in an area where it gets hot?
 

anli

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Topping should help you out.

Thanks, I will send a message them.

But for now I have got an idea of possible reason. Amp's PSU was plugged just into the same power line socket tee as two monitor (JBL 305P). The last one have got auto-sleep mode. I guess switching the mode on and off (on line signal) results in ripples in the power line, and the ripples (sometimes) trigger L50's AC-DC converter protection circuits. I have rearranged hardware around me, and will observe if the problem take place again.
 
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Georgeadv

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This looks incredible! The feature set looks identical to that of the A30Pro but at a more reasonable price. I was eyeing the A30Pro for a while now but I'm very tempted to buy this over it.

Interesting about the increase in noise going from XLR in -> 1/4" out. I wonder what could be the cause of that. I assume medium gain on the L50 is unity and the AP was outputting 2Vrms over XLR? In comparison, the A30Pro going from XLR in -> 1/4" out doesn't show an increase in noise, though that was tested with 4V instead of 2V.
Where do you that measurement? Sorry newbie here
 

staticV3

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@Georgeadv here's a multitone test of the L50:
https://www.l7audiolab.com/f/topping-l50-headphoneamp/
Multitone-5.jpg
 
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