Topping E30 review – The long-awaited successor

Topping E30 00

Topping E30

Tested at $129










  • Class leading sound quality
  • Nice set of features
  • Great value


  • DSD64 playback issue on tested unit (solved with latest firmware)

During the last few years, I tried quite a few devices produced by Topping. It all started with Topping D30 – my first leap into the world of affordable Chinese hi-fi. At the time it was a better DAC than anything I’ve heard from western manufacturers near that price. I liked it a lot, but it’s been on the market for some time now, with some great products overshadowing it. Without further ado, I can say that Topping E30 is a worthy successor, a great product that is once again claiming a best-buy title. Yes, I spilled the beans right at the beginning of the review, but keep reading to find out why I like it so much.


E30 is having a whole new look, with rounded aluminum chassis coming in either black or silver finish. The front glass panel is always glossy black. It hosts a two-color OLED and touch-sensitive button. The OLED is dominated by big and readable orange digits, with smaller blue indicators up top. I have a soft spot for orange displays so I fancy this whole look.

On the back, we have all the usual suspects – USB, optical and coaxial inputs, as well as a pair of RCA outputs. And here we come to the first important feature. RCA output can be set to serve fixed line-out of 2 V, or variable signal controlled in fine steps of 0.5 dB. That means you might use E30 both as pure DAC or as a preamp with digital attenuation. The next feature is the bundled remote that can control inputs, volume, OLED brightness and of course send the unit to standby mode.

Lastly, the unit can’t be powered through USB signal port. There is a separate power input and power cable is provided in the box, but not the power supply itself. The end of this cable finishes with a standard USB-A connector so you can use any 5 V wall wart or simply a free USB port on your PC.

In the heart of E30 there is a fresh AK4493 DAC chip coming from Asahi Kasei. Joined with XMOS XU208 USB receiver this means a great format support up to 32 bit/768 kHz PCM and DSD512.

All said and done, both build and features are well thought more than appropriate for the price. But how about sound quality?


Desktop Setup

I first connected it to the Schiit Magni 3 and Fiio K5 Pro (acting as an amp), and E30 immediately showed its skills. It easily pulls ahead of quite capable internal DAC used in K5 pro. It doesn’t really matter that both are based on the exact same AK4493 because DAC sound quality is not in its chip alone. I switched through several songs and E30 kept revealing more details and crisper edges. The increased liveliness of the sound is the next thing that the internal K5 pro DAC section can’t quite match.

I didn’t notice anything bad or undesirable in the E30’s performance so far, and I was eager to try it in a more challenging environment.

Room Setup

After moving it to my main and much more resolving system, the setup looked like this:

– Digital Source: Raspberry Pi 3 (Pi MusicBox OS and Player)
– USB regenerator: iFi nano iUSB 3.0
– DAC: Topping E30
– Integrated amp: Cyrus 8vs2
– Speakers: KEF LS50

Few songs into the listening session I was startled. Topping E30 sounded better than I could possibly hope for a device of this price. The bassline is deep and meaty, but also well-controlled and with a good sense of rhythm. Tones residing in the midrange are crisp and uncolored, with plenty of texture to be heard in both vocals and all the instruments. Higher frequencies are well extended and again superbly clean. Not once I felt cymbals sound like an indistinguishable paper or aluminum foil noise – a phenomenon quite common with lesser budget gear.

This kind of clarity and precision lands a hand to really good instrument separation. I listen to the Hans Theessink – Slow Train album and the singer is very present in the dead center, with guitar strings having crisp and energetic edges as well as long tone decay and room echoes. Sound-stage is presented in a forward manner. E30 is capable of placing an exceptionally wide image. Playing Roger Waters – Amused to Deth, the soundstage extends well past the speaker’s physical arrangement which is a treat not that often found at this or even slightly higher price range.

Surfing through both slow and fast-paced tracks, watching blockbuster movies or binging Netflix series, I haven’t found any audio material that doesn’t sound great over E30.


Well, I can name one and a half. The one is being that for some reason when I tried using DSD64, playback would get choppy. I tried a few different things but couldn’t make it work smoothly. Oddly enough, higher DSD rates work without a hitch. I hope this is just a driver issue and can be fixed, but in the meantime, it’s something you should be aware of if you own a collection of SACDs (those are using DSD64 format).

UPDATE: Updating firmware solved the DSD64 playback problem on my unit. It works great now.

The remaining half of the imperfection is not really a flaw but a warning about E30’s transparent nature and disagreement with noisy digital outputs. It will not hesitate to shame the quality of the signal it is fed with. When I pulled my USB regenerator out of the loop, leaving E30 attached to a fairly noisy Raspberry Pi USB port in a very revealing system, some degree of dryness crept in, as well as a slight glare in higher frequencies. I put the USB conditioner back and everything sounds full and juicy again. Using S/PDIF Coaxial or optical to connect my PC and TV, I don’t detect dryness either. To sum it up, E30 is not a dry or thin sounding device by itself but if you expect DAC to add warmth and veil noisy sources, better look elsewhere.


I will not compare it to every single DAC in this price range separately. Instead, I’ll just say this – E30 sounds more resolving and tonally richer than anything else I’ve tried up to $200 and even more. It completely matches and even slightly surpasses the DAC section inside the great Burson Playmate DAC/AMP combo by offering better detail retrieval and more extended high frequencies.

I don’t have D50s with me anymore, but I had it up until recently in the exact same environment. E30 definitely spreads a wider and lusher soundstage. With the newcomer being such an overachiever, I’m not confident that D50s could pull ahead in that duel. I reckon it would be more a matter of preference than anything else.


By now you already realized how impressed I actually am with the Topping E30. It offers fine build, remote control, and a preamp function. More than that, it sounds astonishingly good for the price. Backed up with a low noise power supply and clean digital source, it doesn’t feel out of place even in a pricier system.

The only thing it won’t do is to soften the truth so it’s more pleasurable. Personally, I love it just the way it is and my opinion wouldn’t change if E30 was twice its price. But the $130 price tag makes it one of the easiest recommendations I’ve ever made.

Purchase Topping E30 on HiFiGo


DAC chip: AKM AK4493
S/PDIF receiver: AKM AK4118
USB interface: XMOS XU208 2nd gen
Inputs: USB, S/PDIF (optical), S/PDIF (coaxial)
Output: RCA
USB sampling rate:
PCM: 44.1kHz – 768kHz / 16bit – 32bit
Native DSD: DSD64 – DSD512
DoP DSD: DSD64 – DSD256
Optical / coaxial sampling rate: 44.1kHz – 768kHz / 16bit – 24bit
Output voltage: 2 Vrms @ 0dBFS
THD+N: <0.0003% @ 1kHz A-weighting
SNR: >121dB @ 1kHz
Dynamic range: 119dB @ 1kHz
Channel balance: <0.3dB
Dimensions: 10 x 3.2 x 12.5 cm
Price (when tested): $129

Official page

36 thoughts on “Topping E30 review – The long-awaited successor

Hi, Srboljub, I really like your site and the audio reviews. The Topping E30 is at a price in my budget, however buying an USB generato increases the price. I have a question, what USB generator I could buy to save money?

    Thanks Denis! USB regenerators are generally expensive so I don’t have any good budget recommendation. I actually bought mine on a second-hand market. So I’d probably wait for a good offer (iFi, Intona, etc.) to pop-up on e-bay or something like that.

You can make your own by just adding some low ESR capacitors and inductors in the cable. Even a well made phone charger should have relatively low noise compared to most USB ports on computers or laptops.

  • Hi Srboljub, thanks for the review. I like your relaxed and informative style, keep it up!
    I write this as I bought the D30 two months ago and wonder if I should really make an effort and replace it with the E30. Unfortunately, it is too late to return the D30, so, in a sense, I would have lost the money, even if I could use it in a different setup, I guess. Have you compared their sound, is the difference small or big? I only care about the sound, not other features, remote etc. I use the DAC with speakers only, from 2 sources: mainly coax from a RPI3 with hifiberry digi+ (I2S) and also optical from a CD-player. Thanks a lot for answering.


      Hi Gabriel and thanks for the praise! It’s always hard to give direct advice about spending more money, and knowing if the other person will think it was justified… Personally, I feel that E30 sounds quite a bit more detailed than D30, and I would not hesitate to make the switch. However, I’m listening to all of the DACs in a very revealing environment, and can’t be sure if the difference in your system would be big enough to justify it. But if you have some decent gear (amp, speakers, headphones…) down the line, I believe you would notice the difference for the better.

      Looking from the other angle, if you’re happy with the sound of D30, there’s no reason to hurry to change it. It is not a bad DAC by any means, it was actually one of the best on the market 2-3 years ago… I personally used it for 6 months and was very happy with it. New and better sounding DACs will keep coming and will be here if you feel you’d like to upgrade in the future.

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  • Dear Srboljube 🙂 First congratz on the work you are putting in the website and channel, you just got a sub and likes on my behalf! I was wondering in general about the quality of cheaper (sub 200 USD/EUR) DACs compared to DACs integrated into some other integrated hi-fi components in the budget range. For example, I mentioned my setups in your YT video – Cambridge Audio AXR100 (499 Eur new) and a Denon Hoes Link HS2 as a streamer/DAC (299 Eur new). Do you think that a 120 Eur DAC like this is an improvement over the ones integrated into any of these components? Ah yes, the speakers are KEF R100 and MIssion LX5 so decent revealing speakers in the 500 to 1000 Eur range. I will not hold you responsible if I buy it and don’t like it,I just value the opinion 🙂


      Thanks! To be perfectly honest I’ve heard neither Link HS2 nor AXR100 so I can’t say anything about their internal DACs. That said, I believe there would be some sort of improvement as they usually don’t make those internal DACs that great. I’ve had some experience with Marantz PM6005 and its internal DAC can’t measure to E30. I’ve just recently read somebody considered E30 to be a decent upgrade over the Bluesound Node 2i DAC section too. Judging by these, I could only try to make an educated guess that E30 would bring improvements compared to that Denon and Cambridge digital inputs… But it’s just a guess after all.


    Thanks for the review. Can you tell me if you used it as a pre or set it at its maximum and used the pre in your amp in your home system. I am interested in using this as a DAC for my Bluesound Node 2i which has a mediocre internal DAC. Matching with a neutral sounding floor stander (Castle Knight 5) and a NAD c720bee receiver. The reason I am asking about the pre in the Topping is that I have the ability to use the NAD as just a power amp. Also, want inputs did you use? Coax or optical? Thanks!


      Hi Gord! I used it in a DAC mode with no volume attenuation, that was handled by my Cyrus 8vs2 integrated amp. Digital attentions like this one are handy but in my experience, they can’t really match a real pre-amp/integrated, and the volume control on a DAC always sounded more compressed to me. In your case, I’d definitely use E30 as a DAC only and let NAD handle the volume as I’m sure it’ll do a better job. Regarding inputs, I tried all three of them and they do sound very similar so nothing to worry about there.


    Hi Srboljube, How about compare with DX3 Pro , wonder they have Dual AK 4493 which is double than E30 (only 1)
    but I found your review score very low compare with E30 6,9 vs 9.6. meaning to say Sound Quality is not just about DAC Chip ?


      That’s right, sound quality is much more than D/A chip alone. There’s some analog circuitry, op-amps, power supply… that all take a role in a final 2V line out signal and its quality.
      As you can see from many of my Topping reviews, I really have nothing against the brand and like many of their products but DX3 pro line-out is of sub-par quality.


    Hi Srboljub,
    I have no knowledge about DAC but your review got my attention. I just want to ask you how can I maximize the full potential of this DAC on my simple set-up ( Yamaha CA-810 integrated amp, Tekton Design M-Lore speakers). I listen mostly on Tidal using RCA to 3.5mm plug between my phone and amp. BY adding E30 on my system, do I really need to buy a dedicated streaming device to get the best sound quality? Also, can I connect this to a TV so I can enjoy better sound compare to soundbars? Than you so much and I hope you could give me some advise.


      Hi Noel. Just by adding E30 as an external DAC, instead of using the one inside the phone, you’d already be making a big step forward in terms of quality. Now, to maximize the quality of the digital signal you’d be sending to E30, try keeping the volume on your phone at max and adjust it on your amp instead.

      If you decide to use a dedicated streamer, that could further improve the sound quality but then you wouldn’t be able to use the native Tidal app on your phone since it can’t cast the stream to an outside streamer on the network. Instead, you’d be forced to use an app provided by streamer itself or a 3rd party app such as mconnect. That does work but those apps don’t have as user-friendly UI and discovery options as native Tidal app. So it’s a “give some – take some” type of solution if you go that road.


    Hey Srboljub,
    Kudos on your review – excellent always. One comment set me thinking:
    Are you aware of any non tube Amps which do add warmth to speakers or a open Planar headphones. I cannot source or import tubes where I reside.

    Thanks in advance and keep the good flow coming!


    I did not find your review Topping L30 + E30.
    I saw your great review of the E30, I was curious to know your opinion about the L30 + E30.


      Hi, I just got E30 today, haven’t even had a chance to try it yet. Going on vacation now so I’ll get to it when I come back…


    Hey there, thanks for the review! I need some advices! I have a Fiio btr5 and Elemental Sherlock amp. Do you think it’s a good idea to get this Topping E30 or Fiio K5 pro to replace my fiio btr5? Or should I just stick to what I have now?


    Hey Srboljub, great review. I bought the Fiio K5 Pro a few months ago and I’m pretty happy with it so far. How would the Topping E30+L30 stack compare to the Fiio K5 Pro? I know there’s a hefty price difference between them but the hardware looks pretty similar. Thanks.


      L30 review is coming soon, video on YT will be ready tomorrow I think. Topping stack is more energetic and probably more detailed than K5 pro which is warmer, smoother, and more laid back. I find both setups to be pretty good for their price.

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  • Hi Srboljube,
    I intend to put this DAC between laptop and active speakers which have a lesser DAC than E30 I suppose. So theres laptop motherboard DAC sending info to E30 sending info to speakers DAC.
    Since I am not knowledgeable on a subject, can you tell me how would this affect the final sound quality, since final audio is played from the speakers DAC?


    I have been searching for dac with remote control to be able to connect it with tv and computer (samsung TV through optical, computer through usb), output to JBL lsr305 Studio monitor.
    Will it be possible to connect headphones ( Sennheiser 58X ) to it through FIIO E11K amplifier and TOPPING E30 ?)…or I have to buy L30 to do that ?


      As far as I can see E11K uses 3.5mm aux line input, so a stereo RCA to 3.5mm interconnect should work just fine to connect E30 to it.


    “Chases” is not the plural of “chassis.”


      Fixed, thanks!


    Hi there,

    I have purchased Sennheiser HD 600. I’m looking for a good dac/amp combo. Seems like that Topping e30/l30 are the best I can get for 300 EUR.
    Can you please let me know where can I buy these bad bois in Serbia.



      Kupujem Prodajem is your friend but I doubt you can stay inside the 300€ budget for E30/L30 combo. International shipping went nuts, with only expensive options such as DHL and FedEx delivering to Serbia these days… local sellers increased the prices accordingly…


    I have bought a Topping E30 on your recommendation and it’s great. I have an iFi 5v/2.4A PSU . . . . is it okay to use this with the E30 or is it too many amps?
    Thank you . . and I love your reviews btw.


      It’s perfectly fine to use it. When it comes to power supplies, you can never have too much ampers. Unlike voltage that has to be exact, current (ampers) is taken by the device itself, only in the amount that’s needed. The excess is simply unused and power supply runs cooler and more stable cause it’s not driven hard.


    Amazing review and very helpful! If you could only purchase one DAC and headphone Amp under $350 total, what would the combination be? I’ve considered pairing the E30 with the Heresy / Magni 3+ or Atom amp+ but I’m open to suggestions. My headphones are LCD-X and HiFiman HE-560 and I’m looking for punchy bass and dynamics and decent soundstaging. I would also need to use the RCA pre-outs on the headphone amp to run an Aiyima A07 amp powering bookshelf speakers, all of which would be connected to my Macbook Air. Finally, I was also looking at the K5 pro but the subpar line-out performance ruled that option out. Any other suggestions? Thanks!


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