I’ve been looking for a reasonably priced DAC for a while. I’m not an audiophile — but I do enjoy high quality, clear and true audio.

Yesterday I received the Topping E30 DAC — which, according to Passion for Sound offers “Amazing Value & Performance!" 😃

Table of contents

USB audio device

I read on the Audio Science Review forum that the Linux kernel would recognize the Topping E30 as a USB audio device, no drivers required 🙂

And sure enough — when I plugged it in; these messages appeared in my dmesg:

[  517.620538] usb 9-1.2: new high-speed USB device number 6 using xhci_hcd
[  517.711182] usb 9-1.2: New USB device found, idVendor=152a, idProduct=8750, bcdDevice= 2.10
[  517.711189] usb 9-1.2: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=3, SerialNumber=0
[  517.711192] usb 9-1.2: Product: E30
[  517.711194] usb 9-1.2: Manufacturer: Topping
[  517.794468] usb 9-1.2: 1:3 : unsupported format bits 0x100000000

Not sure what unsupported format bits 0x100000000 means, but I’ve had no issues so far.

PulseAudio

For the DAC to play sample rates over 44.1 kHz; I had to make some changes to the PulseAudio config:

$ sudo vim /etc/pulse/daemon.conf
avoid-resampling = true
default-sample-rate = 44100
default-sample-channels = 2
default-channel-map = front-left,front-right

The avoid-resampling parameter is what enables the higher rates. As explained by the pulse-daemon.conf manual:

avoid-resampling= If set, try to configure the device to avoid resampling. This only works on devices which support reconfiguring their rate, and when no other streams are already playing or capturing audio. The device will also not be configured to a rate less than the default and alternate sample rates.

The other settings just made sense to me 🙂

Kill the service, for the changes to take effect:

$ pulseaudio -k

The sample rate is how many times per second you capture the signal. The bit depth is the number of bits of information in each sample. The bit rate is the sample rate multiplied by the bit depth. — r/explainlikeimfive

Playing FLAC at 96 kHz sample rate

Power supply

Topping also sells a linear power supply; P50. But this costs as much as the E30 DAC 😕 After reading a forum post on Audio Science Review, which concludes:

It is clear that whether you use the USB power, or the supplied switching power supply, there is absolutely no audible improvement in the output of the DAC with linear power supplies. One can help himself believe otherwise by looking at the noise spectrum alone as I have shown in the last graph. But again, we don’t listen to power supply wires. Those waveforms go through filtering stages even in cheapest DACs. […]

I decided a 2A USB charger would probably be sufficient 🙂

My setup

I have a pretty simple and budget friendly setup:

  • Topping E30 DAC
  • Argon Audio TEMPO A4 active speakers
  • 2 × K&M 26772 table monitor stands

It plays surprisingly well 🙂 The sound is deep, rich and really engulfs me. The speakers are perpendicular to each other, facing my head, at ear height.

In my small basement home office, with concrete walls — the small speakers even provide convincing bass.

My setup, night lighting
My setup, day lighting

Resources

Reviews