I’m reviewing 2 devices today: the TOPPING E30 II desktop DAC and the L30 II desktop amplifier. The E30 II features dual AK4493S DAC chips, a preamp function and absurdly good measurements. It retails for $149.
The TOPPING L30 II is a headphone amp with preamp functionality, 3 gain settings and again, absurdly good measurements. It’s priced at $149.
Compared to the previous versions the new models have some incremental but significant upgrades. The E30 II boasts newer dual AK4493S DACs, better dynamic range and a lower noise floor, among other things. The L30 II has improved THD+N and a big boost in output power.
Disclaimer: This sample was provided by Shenzhen Audio for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
TOPPING E30 II and L30 II Review
An affordable desktop DAC/Amp stack with a pure, clean and powerful sound.
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Clean, transparent sound
An affordable desktop stack
Small footprint and ease of use
The L30 II is compatible with a wide range of headphones and IEMs
Both the TOPPING E30 II and L30 II have similar aluminium chassis and identical dimensions. They both have the same matte finish which makes sense, considering they’re intended to be paired together. They’re available in black, silver, red and blue colours. Each unit has 4 rubber feet to protect the surface they’re on and prevent sliding.
The E30 II’s front panel has an orange OLED display and a single touch-sensitive button. The button is used for powering the unit on and off plus switching between inputs. On the back panel are (from left to right): RCA inputs, coaxial input, optical input, USB input and 5V DC power input.
Internally, the E30 II has dual AK4493S DAC chips compared to the single AK4493 in the original. It supports up to 32-bit/384kHz and DSD512. The updated DACs provide better SINAD, SNR, dynamic range and lower noise.
The 5V input allows you to power the E30 II via USB with a PC, phone charger or a power bank. All of the audio inputs support an auto On/Off function and the device will turn itself On when there’s a valid signal and Off when there’s no signal for 1 minute.
E30 II can be used in pure DAC mode where it bypasses the DATT soft mute and AE modulator to provide a direct DSD signal. In addition, the E30 II has built-in volume control so it can also be used as a preamp. Note that due to the lack of onboard volume controls you need to use the remote control to adjust the volume.
On the left of the front panel is the power On/Off, HPA (Headphone Amplifier) and PRE (preamp) selector switch. Next to that is the 3-stage gain switch.
To the right of the gain switch is a single power LED. Next to the LED is the 6.35mm single-ended headphone output. Finally, on the far right is the volume knob. A red ring surrounds the volume knob but I wish it was the same coppery orange colour as the display! The rear panel hosts the RCA inputs, RCA outputs and AC15V power input.
The unit has 3 gain options: -14dB, 0dB and +16.5dB. Combined with a super low <0.1Ω output impedance, the L30 II is compatible with almost any kind of headphones, including high-sensitivity IEMs. In terms of output power, the L30 II can push up to 2500mW @ 32Ω which is enough to drive almost any headphones.
As usual, the TOPPING DAC is transparent and uncoloured. This is another purist type of DAC that simply processes the digital signal and outputs an analogue one. Tonally, it’s very similar to the SMSL D-6 DAC I reviewed recently. That’s unsurprising since they both use the same dual 4493S DAC chips and have a very linear approach to conversion.
It’s a similar story to the L30 II amp: it’s pure amplification with next to no distortion or colour, as can be attested by the measurements. As such, this setup works great as a budget reference system and will highlight the inherent characteristics of your headphones or IEMs.
The end-to-end extension is fantastic. With a good pair of headphones or earphones, you’ll hear thunderous bass and soaring highs. And while this little stack doesn’t add any sonic character of its own, it doesn’t leave any details on the table either. To put it bluntly, the E30 II and L30 II will give your headphones the best opportunity to strut their stuff without limitations.
Thanks to the gain controls, this combo is great for sensitive IEMs too. The Letshuoer D13 is an incredibly efficient IEM that could almost be powered by a potato. It gets loud very quickly and can be troublesome if you don’t have an amp with fine volume control. However, with the TOPPING stack and L30 II set to Low gain, you get precise control of the volume and the blackest of backgrounds.
At the other end of the scale, well, I still don’t have any really power-demanding headphones in my collection. But the L30 II has abundant juice for my DT990 Pros with lots of power to spare. It’s the same with my Hifiman Sundara planar headphones and the surprisingly demanding OneOdio Monitor 80.
TOPPING E30 II and L30 II Verdict
At first, I couldn’t understand the single button and lack of volume control on the E30 II but paired with the L30 II it makes perfect sense. The E30 II only needs to be turned On or Off so for me, it works best as a pure DAC rather than a preamp. It’s basically a set-and-forget unit that’s always on standby when you need it.
As for the L30 II, it plays a huge role in the effectiveness and usability of this setup. With its abundant, pure power and wide range of gain control, it’s an extremely versatile unit that’s perfect as a desktop headphone amplifier. Overall, the TOPPING E30II and L30 II offer a lot of value here at an affordable price. Recommended.
Form: Desktop DAC
Inputs: USB PCM: 32-bit/768kHz, DSD512 (Native), DSD256 (DoP), Coax/optical:24-bit/192kHz
THD+N @1kHz (A-wt): <0.00015%
THD @90kBw (No-wt): <0.0006% @20-20kHz
SNR @A-wt: 123dB @1kHz
Dynamic range @A-wt: 123dB @1kHz
Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz (±0.3dB), 20Hz – 40kHz (±0.8dB)