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Upgrade D30+Atom to E30+L30?

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#1
Simple question: Is it worth upgrading a D30+Atom combo to E30+L30 combo?

I currently use the D30+Atom with IEMs and next week will receive Focal Utopia (which I should have had a month ago but Focal has incompetent support). Should I expect to hear any benefit to upgrade the combo?

The biggest problem is I am in Canada and we pay additional import costs that does not translate well in resale value. So if i sell the current combo I will get about $200CAD. I expect the cost for the E30+L30 would be about $420CAD-$450CAD depending where I order from. That's about $220-$250CAD upgrade fee. I do not mind paying it knowing the equipment is technically superior. But I have a feeling it would just not be audible and therefore pointless to bother.
 

Doodski

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#2

pwjazz

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#3
The Utopia is an efficient headphone so I don't see any value in upgrading to something more powerful than the Atom.
 

Vini darko

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#4
I agree with the rest.
Best see how you like the focal on your current setup before committing to changes.
 

SJ777

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#5
Definitely agree with others. There's plenty of enthusiasm for the new L30 and rightly so. It does look really good, but the Atom will match it for most headphones.
 

JohnYang1997

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#6
You don't "need" to upgrade that's for sure. But there will be some small differences in sound and some more differences in usability. Namely, slightly less cluttered mids to lows(due to the dac), and slightly less aggressive highs(due to the amp). In terms of usability, the -9db setting and much better performing volume control give you much more usable range, also you don't need to unplug the headphones to enable the preamp. Lastly of course the new stack looks way better.
 

SJ777

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#7
You don't "need" to upgrade that's for sure. But there will be some small differences in sound and some more differences in usability. Namely, slightly less cluttered mids to lows(due to the dac), and slightly less aggressive highs(due to the amp). In terms of usability, the -9db setting and much better performing volume control give you much more usable range, also you don't need to unplug the headphones to enable the preamp. Lastly of course the new stack looks way better.
The E30 also has a remote and shows the frequency. I find a DAC remote really useful and I find frequency display surprisingly reassuring. I'm not sure that I can hear differences between red book and hi-res but I do like it when the display changes!

I'm using the D50s + Atom set up, but if I was buying today I'd go for the E30 + L30. I agree that the appearance of the new stack looks good, but I'm still pleased with the appearance of my D50s + Atom stack. The only problem is that the amp needs to be on the bottom and I always prefer to have my amp on top!!!
 

3125b

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#8
I'd say it's more of a quality of life improvement than a worthwhile upgrade.
If your current setup doesn't bother you in any particular way, just keep it.
But if you want to upgrade, that Topping stack would make a lot of sense.

I was looking at upgrading my Atom to L30, since that would fit in with my E30 (wich I'm very happy with btw) and offer some nice features like <1 gain option, switch for headphone and preamp, even better performance and so on, but ultimately decided against it for now - the Atom is simply good enough, so that I don't feel a ~50€ upgrade is really worth it for me.
 
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bravomail

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#12
I can't believe this thread. You should support your member's GAS! Of course, you should buy E30/L30 - the difference is night and day! More musicality, soundstage and imaging, but most of all - more brilliance! :D
 

thomasjast

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#13
D50s + Atom here. I would only change it out if there was, say, A Topping DX4 Pro all-in-one with digital volume control. Otherwise the Atom is all a person needs for normal use. Perfect channel balance is the thing I chase, personally.
 

Theriverlethe

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#14
You don't "need" to upgrade that's for sure. But there will be some small differences in sound and some more differences in usability. Namely, slightly less cluttered mids to lows(due to the dac), and slightly less aggressive highs(due to the amp). In terms of usability, the -9db setting and much better performing volume control give you much more usable range, also you don't need to unplug the headphones to enable the preamp. Lastly of course the new stack looks way better.
Do you have any evidence for that?
 

JohnYang1997

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#15
Do you have any evidence for that?
The noise first of all can be audible at night, drastically reducing noise only pushed out the little bit noise that's audible. No worry about it any more.
In terms of dac, the jitter, IMD, crosstalk, distortion performance and noise performance are vastly superior on E30 than D30. It wouldn't be a surprise to hear a bit of difference. Also digital filter can contribute to audible differences especially cross the manufacturer and cross age of the chips. Remember it's a very small difference that in absolute sense it's not worth it.
In terms of evidence, I did blind test (not double) with SP200 and A90 with volume matched. Even though the meter says they are at the same volume the SP200 sounds a bit louder and more aggressive. I easily passed the test. I also did some experiment with digital filter long time ago in this forum which if you put all the trials together you can get statistical significance. Very small but there's difference.
 
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therobin
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Thread Starter #16
Sounds like the general recommendation is to upgrade the DAC and keep the amp. However, yesterday I received the Utopia and decided to compare my Benchmark DAC3L to the D30 on it. I hooked up both to my PC (simulations SPDIF outputs) and used the input switch on the Atom to instantly switch between both DACs. Playing various media via Tidal and foobar200 (WASAPI exclusive) I could not detect any difference at all between them.

Perhaps the Utopia is not as revealing as many suggest it is? I must admit they do not sound very impessive. If I had known this is what they sounded like, I would not have bother buying them at all (Especially given the hindsight of the month long wait for a warranty replacement because they were DOA). Or is the Atom the weak link? I cannot imagine this being the case, given it's performance class.

Or perhaps there just isn't that much difference in perceivable difference between the DACs after all? I haven't tested USB but I do not see why that would make any significant difference.

Right now I am leaning towards the Utopia being highly overrated and I should return it and just buy the Moondrop S8 IEM and save myself a lot of money.
 
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Timbo2

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#17
D50s + Atom here. I would only change it out if there was, say, A Topping DX4 Pro all-in-one with digital volume control. Otherwise the Atom is all a person needs for normal use. Perfect channel balance is the thing I chase, personally.
I have the exact same stack.

You can do this with the gain on the D50s, but I like my volume knob! I just adjust the gain on the d50s to get far enough in the volume range where I can't hear any imbalance. Best part for me is that using IEMs I can knock the gain way down and get good volume range at 1X gain.
 

Jimbob54

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#18
It's a shame you get walloped on the delivery and charges because for £250 ish UK I'd be minded to get for knowing I have SoA performance and a remote (worth a lot to me). I just wouldnt expect to hear much if any difference. But brains being brains, you probably will
 

3125b

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#19
430CAD equals 247GBP (275€), Toppings international pricing is relatively equal.
 
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