2020 Best Mid range USB DAC Topping E30

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Our take

For those of you new to this, here's a pretty good DAC 101 article. In layman's terms, a DAC simply converts digitally stored information (stream of 1s and 0s) from a smartphone, laptop computer into an analog sound that we can hear. 

Many devices include built-in DACs. However, an outboard/ external DAC usually offers better sound quality by minimizing jitter problems, background hiss and unwanted noise.

Now, here's a DAC that features Hi-Res audio certification with support for DSD512 and up to 768kHz/ 32-bit audio. Includes advanced options such as: USB DAC, Pre-amp, Native DSD, DSD Direct mode and Filter modes. Certainly proves to be an outstanding option for budget audiophiles looking for an upgrade into a dedicated external DAC.

AudioScience Review

Product details

Topping E30 is yet another example of Topping’s philosophy. This entry level DAC combines Topping’s famous exceptional value for money with proven components, high build quality and a very compact size. It is a perfect choice for anyone who wants to start their adventure with hi-fi audio.

DSD512 and PCM 32 bit / 768 kHz support
Topping E30 is built around AK4493 DAC chip, a new generation premium digital to analogue converter from Asahi Kasei Microdevices (AKM). This 32-bit DAC, 2 channel chip is a successor of a very popular AK4490EQ DAC and boasts lower distortion levels, better signal to noise ratio and wider dynamic range compared to it predecessor, while still benefitting from all the technologies that made it popular and so renoved. On top of that, it includes the Velvet Sound technology known from the AKM’s flagship chip AK4499.

The AK4493EQ integrates a newly developed switched capacitor filter “OSR Doubler”, making it capable of supporting wide range signals and achieving low out-of-band noise while realizing low power consumption. Moreover, the AK4493EQ has six types of 32-bit digital filters, realizing simple and flexible sound tuning in wide range of applications. The AK4493EQ accepts up to 768kHz PCM data and 22.4MHz DSD data (native DSD512 and DoP DSD256 support), ideal for a high-resolution audio source such as Topping E30.

Proven components
E30 is built around a number of components with proven reputation in the audio world. USB input is controlled by the second generation XMOS XU208 USB interface that is also able to support up to PCM 32bit/768kHz. Customized Thesycon drivers for Windows 7 and above allow to maximize E30’s performance when using a PC as a source.

S/PDIF input signals are handled by AKM AK4118 receiver famed for its low jutter in the signal transmission. The AK4118AEQ is a digital audio transceiver supporting up to 24bit/192kHz and ccan automatically detect a Non-PCM bit stream.

Thanks to these components and a high quality of design and production E30 achieves a very clear signal with minimal distortion rate of 0.0003%, crosstalk of less than -130dB, signal to noise ratio of 121dB and a dynamic range measured at 119dB. Products of this size and price very rarely achieve such performance.

Compact, classy and convenient
Despite being small in size, Topping E30 is surprisingly functional and high-performance, which led Topping to nicknaming it a “small hot hatch”, a term often used to described high-performance small hatchback car. Even though E30 can fit on a palm of your hand, and is only 3.2 cm high, its compact back panel is packed to the full with commonly used inputs: USB, coaxial and optical, as well as the stereo RCA output. The front panel is in turn very clean and minimalist, it has only a large, crisp OLED display and a touch button that can be used to switch the active source.

Topping E30 also comes with a handy remote control and a very convenient 5V power supply, meaning it can be powered straight from the USB port making it very versatile and portable. A DC jack also makes E30 ideal for connecting it to any hi-fi grade power supply without the need for any adapter. E30 has an auto turn on/off function which, increases the comfort of use even more. It will automatically switch to a stand by mode when it detects a continuous loss of signal for at least 1 minute. Once any signal is detected again, it will turn on and automatically switch to the input that’s receiving the signal.

Topping E30 can either operate as a DAC and pre-amplifier or as a pure DAC. In the first scenario a built-in volume control function allows the user to adjust the volume from -99dB to 0dB with the remote control making it a great match with a power amplifier or active speakers. In the second scenario E30 fixes the output level to maximum by bypassing the volume modulator and providing direct DSD performance. E30’s compact aluminum body comes in two colors: black and silver.

Tech specs

DAC chipAKM  AK4493
S/PDIF  receiverAKM AK4118
USB interfaceXMOS XU208 2nd Gen
InputsUSB, Optical,  Coaxial
Dimensions10 x 3.2 x 12.5 cm
USB Sampling RatePCM: 44.1kHz – 768kHz / 16bit – 32bit
Native DSD: DSD64 – DSD512
DoP DSD: DSD64 – DSD256
Optical/ coaxial sampling rate44.1kHz - 768kHz/ 16bit - 24bit
Output voltage2Vrms @ 0 dBFS
THD+N<0.0003% @ 1kHz A-weighting
Noise<2uVrms @ A-weighting
Crosstalk-130db @ 1kHz
SNR>121dB @ 1kHz
Dynamic range119dB @ 1kHz
Channel balance<0.3dB

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