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Topping L70 Headphone Amp Review

Rate this headphone amplifier:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 13 4.9%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 2 0.7%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 26 9.7%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 226 84.6%

  • Total voters
    267

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of Topping L70 balanced headphone amplifier. It was sent to me by the company and costs US $349.
Topping L70 Balanced Headphone Amplifier Balanced Amp Review.jpg

The L70 has the beautiful white segmented display. It is the most visible/high contrast display I have seen on an audio product. Volume control is very responsive and is relay based to provide perfect channel matching. You get both unbalanced and balanced output with the latter providing substantially more power. A remote control is provided. Back panel shows some nice extra features:
Topping L70 Balanced Headphone Amplifier Balanced Amp back panel remote Review.jpg

You have 12 volt trigger to power it on or have its power switch power other gear. A ground lift is provided as well to help with ground loops. And my favorite feature which is an included power supply.

A microprocessor controls the conditions of the unit and shuts it off or limits output as needed. Different error messages in the form of "r-" are provided when this happens. I pushed the unit routinely and repeatedly into clipping and overload with no ill effect. But please note that both headphone and power amps are subject to failures due to varying load/usage so if you are risk averse, you may want to wait for others to test it before deciding on purchasing it.

Topping L70 Balanced Measurements
I hooked up the L70 using its XLR input and measured its XLR balanced headphone output. In the next section you will see unbalanced performance. Let's start with our dashboard:
Topping L70 Balanced Headphone Amplifier Balanced measurements.png

I was amazed to see distortion at incredibly low -145 dB! This is some 30 dB better than our best case hearing threshold! SINAD which sums noise and distortion is noise limited to the tune of 120.4 which lands the L70 near the top of our rankings:
best desktop headphone amp review.png

Speaking of noise, that is also excellent:
Topping L70 Balanced Headphone Amplifier SNR Balanced measurements.png

50 millivolt rating is excellent and the only thing keeping it from topping the charts completely is the fact that there is no negative gain setting:
Lowest noise headphone amp reviewed.png


Still, 93 dB is superb meaning that you almost get the dynamic range of the CD even though you are listening at just 0.05 volts!

Frequency response is as flat as we need:
Topping L70 Balanced Headphone Amplifier frequency response measurements.png


The low distortion shows off again in multitone test:
Topping L70 Balanced Headphone Amplifier Balanced Multitone measurements.png


After noise, power is everything in a headphone amp so let's see how the L70 does with its XLR output:
Topping L70 Balanced Headphone Amplifier Power into 300 ohm measurements.png

I like to see > 100 milliwatts and the L70 accomplishes that in Low Gain!!! In high gain, it blows the doors open with 1 watt of power. This should let it drive high impedance with ease.

The dynamics get even better with 32 ohm:
Topping L70 Balanced Headphone Amplifier Balanced Power into 32 ohm measurements.png


We get a stunning 7 watts in high gain now! Even in low gain we have nearly 2 watts. And it does this while keeping its composure and not even clipping.

Changing the load we get the same superb results:
Topping L70 Balanced Headphone Amplifier Balanced Power vs Load measurements.png


Topping L70 Unbalanced Measurements
Changing the output to 1/4 inch gets us the same superb dashboard:
Topping L70 Balanced Headphone Amplifier unbalanced measurements.png


Power is naturally low but still very healthy:
Topping L70 Balanced Headphone Amplifier Power into 300 ohm quarnter inch measurements.png

Topping L70 Balanced Headphone Amplifier Balanced Power into 32 ohm quarter inch measurements.png


Topping L70 Listening Tests
I started testing with my Dan Clark Expanse headphone using XLR connection. This is a low impedance and insensitive headphone which breaks the back of many headphone amplifiers. Not here. The L70 dominated it like nobody's business. In high gain, I did not dare to get anywhere near the max volume. There was so much power that it drove the right channel of the headphone into crackling with bass notes. Mind you, this was *at extremely* high volume level. Way past threshold of comfort. Yet, the L70 had more power left on the volume control! The sound and overall experience was exceptional with super detail and dynamics.

I then switched to Sennheiser HD650 which is easier to drive. The sound was yet again superb with some 30 dB of headroom left on L70. If I didn't have to finish the review by taking a picture of the L70, I would still be sitting there listening to this combo! Even though the HD650 is deficient in bass you would not know it while driving it with L70. The sound was superbly clean and enjoyable.

Conclusions
As much as Topping has made us expect superb engineering, I am still surprised when I unbox and measure/experience their newer offerings. The L70 innovates with wonderful new front panel and incredible power and low noise and distortion. It has level of performance that enables you to buy and enjoy any headphone regardless of insensitive or difficult it is to drive. Nice features like R2R relay control solves the problem of analog volume controls causing channel mismatch, giving you a perfect experience even with sensitive IEMs/headphones. I like to find something to complain about I just can't!

It is my pleasure to recommend Topping L70 headphone amplifier.

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As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

HDavidson

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Is it possible to use it as a preamplifier with an integrated amplifier that does not have a special amplifier input? Using the line input and setting the volume control to 100% this integrated amplifier.
 
Last edited:

naviivan

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Is it possible to use it as a preamplifier with an integrated amplifier that does not have a special amplifier input? Using the line input and setting the volume control to 100%.
I think this would depend on your int. amp. if your integrated amp had a passive volume pot then you could. If it has a pre amp section with gain then it might be tricky.
If you had a amp with a passive volume pot in front then I would just use the volume pot instead of this unit.
 

HDavidson

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This is a mini Panasonic with RCA an entrance. Topping D10B XLR to Topping L70 as a preamplifier and RCA to this Panasonic and setting the volume control to 100%.
 

WhyNotHad

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Wow but I wonder if there is a problem with the 6.3 terminal of this amplifier.
 

ObjectiveSubjectivist

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Interesting, with multitone channel imbalance at low frequencies and noise floor much higher than in high-er frequencies.

I would like to see dashboard for 50hz. @amirm
ps. also we are missing THD+N vs frequency ratio graph
 
Last edited:

777

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How big is the input impedance? Why does Topping never publish the input impedance value?
 

Dennis_FL

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I wish my equipment had an easy to read display volume and a 12v trigger.
My two wishes came true here
 

Sokel

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Just waiting for the inevitable Poor (headless panther) votes to start appearing.
I gave it one for the OLED display alone,otherwise I would have given it fine (to give great must be proved reliable over time too)
(I'm in an open war with OLED displays,I like to be able to read a screen more than 1 or 2 years after i get it)
 

Sokel

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Where is it indicated the display is OLED? I thought Topping were moving away from same...


JSmith
I will be happy if they did,but I would like confirmation because sure looks like one.
 

VariousArtists

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Really happy to see the independently controlled HP outputs, and that the internal power supply (in my unit at least) has no coil whine like the A30Pro
 

Dennis_FL

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I gave it one for the OLED display alone,otherwise I would have given it fine (to give great must be proved reliable over time too)
(I'm in an open war with OLED displays,I like to be able to read a screen more than 1 or 2 years after i get it)
My OLED TV is on year 5 and looks like day one.

I believe you are thinking of the first gen OLEDs (I have a remote with those and it is quite dimmed). And the display isn't OLED --- otherwise it wouldn't have seqments.
 
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