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Topping DAC's on HPZ

Audio 6000N Play

mayukh80

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How would E30 pair with Bluesound Node 2i? I am quite curious to know.
Using the Node 2i as standalone streamer for MQA unfold, I believe E30 would deliver good results.
Any inputs would save loads of money !!
 

sathtom

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How would E30 pair with Bluesound Node 2i? I am quite curious to know.
Using the Node 2i as standalone streamer for MQA unfold, I believe E30 would deliver good results.
Any inputs would save loads of money !!
you will not get a significant improvement with E30 as the performance of both Node 2i & E30 are more or less same. I didn't compare it myself but read about these comparision reviews in other Forums earlier.
 

mayukh80

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you will not get a significant improvement with E30 as the performance of both Node 2i & E30 are more or less same. I didn't compare it myself but read about these comparision reviews in other Forums earlier.
Thanks for your feedback ! I am pulling the idea of connecting the Node 2i to E30. Versatility of Node 2i streaming with above par performance of E30 would be a formidable combination for my average Elac B6.2
 

sathtom

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Thanks for your feedback ! I am pulling the idea of connecting the Node 2i to E30. Versatility of Node 2i streaming with above par performance of E30 would be a formidable combination for my average Elac B6.2
I am using Topping E30 with Elac Navis ARB-51 Active speaker. I am getting Warmer Midrange, Excellent Vocals. Topping E30 is not ideal for those who expects any kind of Analytical, Brightness in the sound signature.
 

Bloom@83

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I am using Topping E30 with Elac Navis ARB-51 Active speaker. I am getting Warmer Midrange, Excellent Vocals. Topping E30 is not ideal for those who expects any kind of Analytical, Brightness in the sound signature.
Can you tell me if E30 is any improvement over Schitt Modi Uber 2 or Schiit Modi 3 , over USB and Coaxial inputs ?
 

sathtom

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Can you tell me if E30 is any improvement over Schitt Modi Uber 2 or Schiit Modi 3 , over USB and Coaxial inputs ?
I didn't try any Schiit DACs myself so not able to comment on this. But feature wise, Topping E30 has more features (Remote, Digital Preamp, DSD etc.,) than Schiit Modi 3. If anyone is thinking of upgrading from schiit modi 3, then they have to look far higher than Topping E30. If anyone is looking to buy a DAC with remote control under $150, then Topping E30 is the best choice I think.
 

Amitdubey

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I am using Topping E30 with Elac Navis ARB-51 Active speaker. I am getting Warmer Midrange, Excellent Vocals. Topping E30 is not ideal for those who expects any kind of Analytical, Brightness in the sound signature.
Phew. Good to know. I was going to pull the trigger. Not my kind of sound
 

Passive_audio_enthusiast

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E30 is text book perfect. Means anything there on the recording is already accurately reproduced. Anything more you pay is either for features or a particular coloring of sound(which a DAC should not do)
 

DB1989

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How does the E30 stack up SQ wise against other similarly priced DACs like the ifi Zen DAC or something priced a bit higher such as the Chord Mojo?

or perhaps something else priced considerably lower or higher? To some, the DAC in the apple dongle is as good as the Mojo which really begs the question, does spending even 11k make sense for what may be an imperceptible improvement in SQ?
 
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sanjivnayak

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The price in HPZ is now 13k for E30. That is their basic Dac but it is built with many features which one can keep as a stand by unit if you are searching for the best possible SQ Dac. Subjective opinions will vary among schiit modi, ifi zen, chord mojo. You may refer to the tech review of each of these individually.
 

Passive_audio_enthusiast

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How does the E30 stack up SQ wise against other similarly priced DACs like the ifi Zen DAC or something priced a bit higher such as the Chord Mojo?

or perhaps something else priced considerably lower or higher? To some, the DAC in the apple dongle is as good as the Mojo which really begs the question, does spending even 11k make sense for what may be an imperceptible improvement in SQ?
I have a mojo. Personally for me with several low priced devices around many times I feel like, mojo is good in certain aspects like smooth analogous nature but even my Samsung phone or iPhones headphone dongles has certain things “subjectively” better than it. I had a ODAC some time back, and even that had certain things better. May be they all sound different somehow but, to me nothing is better in all terms than the other. Depends on what you like at the end of the day. E30 is enough for an accurate representation. With mojo we pay for a powerful headphone out section which works extremely well on Iems. But if we look on absolute sound terms, I think a newer topping e30 and l30 would destroy mojo on iem. I am yet to compare it though. !
 

DB1989

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I have a mojo. Personally for me with several low priced devices around many times I feel like, mojo is good in certain aspects like smooth analogous nature but even my Samsung phone or iPhones headphone dongles has certain things “subjectively” better than it. I had a ODAC some time back, and even that had certain things better. May be they all sound different somehow but, to me nothing is better in all terms than the other. Depends on what you like at the end of the day. E30 is enough for an accurate representation. With mojo we pay for a powerful headphone out section which works extremely well on Iems. But if we look on absolute sound terms, I think a newer topping e30 and l30 would destroy mojo on iem. I am yet to compare it though. !
Interesting observations. I've only compared the SQ of mojo with the ifi Zen DAC and the internal DACs of my amps viz. the Cambridge Audio CXA81, Marantz SR6013, Marantz PM6006. I won't even try and compare it with the internal DAC of my Galaxy S9+ since i actually tried the comparison on one occasion (again, stereo and not headphones) and yeah, it especially sounded terrible when i compared it with the mojo.

While i can appreciate certain things in the internal DACs of my amps, to my ears, the Mojo is clearly superior to them with much better detail retrieval, stereo separation/depth/imaging/soundstage, dark background, and bass note distinction, yet keeping the overall sound smooth.

When I'd initially got the Mojo, i kept it lying around without much usage for a good year or two cuz i simply found it too inconvenient to switch it on and off and charge it every single time i wanted to use it for music. IMHO, i don't like the headphone output of the Mojo. It doesn't do anything for my cheap <10k IEMs or my equally cheap headphones and they sound rather bright with it while bringing nothing else except the ability to pump the volume higher. On the other hand, the headphone outs of all my Amps sound better with headphones than the Mojo... Im yet to figure out why that's the case. Bad with headphones but good as a standalone DAC?

But that was never the objective as i wanted a DAC for my stereo.

As such, i got myself the ifi Zen DAC - very convenient as it's powered directly off USB while also having the option to connect a 5V 3A adapter including XLR outs and the trubass function (i love it despite being a no EQ guy).

While the Ifi Zen DACs performance was respectable for the price, it wasn't at the same level as the mojo.... Till i got the XLR cable for it and then it was a holy mackerel moment as i simply couldn't distinguish between the two - they had rather stranglely similar sound signatures.

But it's when i connected the Mojo to the Allo Digione Signature that it really came into it's own. It benefits from a better source for sure.

But nevertheless, the Ifi Zen DAC is almost if not at par with it while being 1/4th the cost (but really, it's 20K if you add the XLR cables which is still a pretty sweet deal if you're certain that you'll only need USB)

I must say my interest is piqued. Need to try the Topping E30 now.
 

Amitdubey

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I personally don't care for dacs much. Have atleast tried over 50 in the last twenty years. An idsd, zen, mojo, topping, smsl, audio gd, chord, just never made much of a difference to my ears. Its always the amplification and gain levels or the power stage of the dac that gives the perception of it being different. Any decent inbuilt dac on an amp is adequate like a Cambridge cxa81 and for most its pointless trying to upgrade within 1 lakh price range. Yes, when I jumped to a different league of dacs or demo'ed them...the dac part just stood out. An esoteric, lumin, DCS, anything from matrix audio just differentiates itself in the dac section. Rest all are different pronunciations of tomatoes to my ears atleast. No big gains to be found here, just subtle and nuanced differences between dacs within the same price segment.

Currently using dac of lumin T2. Quite a decent one, as in has dynamics, microdetails of a modern dac..delivered in an envelope of timbre and tonality which is very analogish sounding. My kind of sound! A digital device that doesn't sound digital. Pretty much all I ever wanted in a dac ever was to have my flacs sound like vinyl
 

Amitdubey

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I personally don't care for dacs much. Have atleast tried over 50 in the last twenty years. An idsd, zen, mojo, topping, smsl, audio gd, chord, just never made much of a difference to my ears. Its always the amplification and gain levels or the power stage of the dac that gives the perception of it being different. Any decent inbuilt dac on an amp is adequate like a Cambridge cxa81 and for most its pointless trying to upgrade within 1 lakh price range. Yes, when I jumped to a different league of dacs or demo'ed them...the dac part just stood out. An esoteric, lumin, DCS, anything from matrix audio just differentiates itself in the dac section. Rest all are different pronunciations of tomatoes to my ears atleast. No big gains to be found here, just subtle and nuanced differences between dacs within the same price segment.

Currently using dac of lumin T2. Quite a decent one, as in has dynamics, microdetails of a modern dac..delivered in an envelope of timbre and tonality which is very analogish sounding. My kind of sound! A digital device that doesn't sound digital. Pretty much all I ever wanted in a dac ever was to have my flacs sound like vinyl
So given my description of T2 for my two channel setup, are there any headphone dacs or amp/dac combos that can mimic the T2? To pair with arya, clear, hd600, hd-25 ii. Tried tube amps also. Sigh..still haven't found what I am looking for and I don't care about measurements..open to suggestions.
 

DB1989

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I personally don't care for dacs much. Have atleast tried over 50 in the last twenty years. An idsd, zen, mojo, topping, smsl, audio gd, chord, just never made much of a difference to my ears. Its always the amplification and gain levels or the power stage of the dac that gives the perception of it being different. Any decent inbuilt dac on an amp is adequate like a Cambridge cxa81 and for most its pointless trying to upgrade within 1 lakh price range. Yes, when I jumped to a different league of dacs or demo'ed them...the dac part just stood out. An esoteric, lumin, DCS, anything from matrix audio just differentiates itself in the dac section. Rest all are different pronunciations of tomatoes to my ears atleast. No big gains to be found here, just subtle and nuanced differences between dacs within the same price segment.

Currently using dac of lumin T2. Quite a decent one, as in has dynamics, microdetails of a modern dac..delivered in an envelope of timbre and tonality which is very analogish sounding. My kind of sound! A digital device that doesn't sound digital. Pretty much all I ever wanted in a dac ever was to have my flacs sound like vinyl
I get where you're coming from. To some, especially when you've got a very high end reference point or can afford it, it may seem pointless to upgrade within the 1 lakh price bracket as the differences within them may not seem substantial enough to cough up a little extra for a slightly improved performance when you can spend a lot extra and get a substantial bump up. In fact, DACs of yesteryear (my reference point is the Chord Mojo) have been equalled if not bettered by newer competition at less than half the cost.

I myself have been a victim to this thought process where it seemed pointless to me when somebody asked for a speaker suggestion below 20K when there are some great options between 25k and 50K. But not too long ago, the stretch from 20k to 30K would have been impossible and simply because you get a much better and wider variety of speakers in >25K range does not mean, at least in my experience, that all speakers <20k are comparable in performance. In my books, though the bump in performance amongst speakers within that price range may not be significant, to others, that extra bit of what i consider a small upgrade makes a compelling case.


And within that small bump up in performance, I'd be remiss if i declared that they are all different takes on the same limits of performance when indeed some options are objectively better than others in certain departments, if not all. Therefore, a comparison of performance of such gear in the "budget" segment is very much relevant, at least to get the best bang for buck if nothing else. I would imagine that the same aspect would also be applicable to DACs.

In my experience and to my ears, there is a substantial step up in performance from the internal DAC of my Cambridge Audio CXA81 to the Chord Mojo. While the DAC of the CXA81 is by no means bad and is very competent indeed, the Mojo is simply better in every single department objectively and makes the former sound thin, dry and almost brittle in comparison i.e. basically what we consider digital audio to sound like. So yeah, the Mojo is definitely more "analog" and to my mind, more than a worthwhile upgrade from that of the CXA81. But being an older design, newer competition like the Zen DAC (when connected through a balanced connection and powered by a linear/clean PSU) have caught up which is why I consider it a relevant consideration for people looking in this price bracket.

Again, to your ears, after having heard really high end gear, the differences in SQ in the budget segment may not seem significant but for others who are limited by their budget or for lack of a similar reference point or simply because spending lakhs on audio equipment does not seem prudent, it's very much relevant.
 
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Amitdubey

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I get where you're coming from. To some, especially when you've got a very high end reference point or can afford it, it may seem pointless to upgrade within the 1 lakh price bracket as the differences within them may not seem substantial enough to cough up a little extra for a slightly improved performance when you can spend a lot extra and get a substantial bump up. In fact, DACs of yesteryear (my reference point is the Chord Mojo) have been equalled if not bettered by newer competition at less than half the cost.

I myself have been a victim to this thought process where it seemed pointless to me when somebody asked for a speaker suggestion below 20K when there are some great options between 25k and 50K. But not too long ago, the stretch from 20k to 30K would have been impossible and simply because you get a much better and wider variety of speakers in >25K range does not mean, at least in my experience, that all speakers <20k are comparable in performance. In my books, though the bump in performance amongst speakers within that price range may not be significant, to others, that extra bit of what i consider a small upgrade makes a compelling case.


And within that small bump up in performance, I'd be remiss if i declared that they are all different takes on the same limits of performance when indeed some options are objectively better than others in certain departments, if not all. Therefore, a comparison of performance of such gear in the "budget" segment is very much relevant, at least to get the best bang for buck if nothing else. I would imagine that the same aspect would also be applicable to DACs.

In my experience and to my ears, there is a substantial step up in performance from the internal DAC of my Cambridge Audio CXA81 to the Chord Mojo. While the DAC of the CXA81 is by no means bad and is very competent indeed, the Mojo is simply better in every single department objectively and makes the former sound thin, dry and almost brittle in comparison i.e. basically what we consider digital audio to sound like. So yeah, the Mojo is definitely more "analog" and to my mind, more than a worthwhile upgrade from that of the CXA81. But being an older design, newer competition like the Zen DAC (when connected through a balanced connection and powered by a linear/clean PSU) have caught up which is why I consider it a relevant consideration for people looking in this price bracket.

Again, to your ears, after having heard really high end gear, the differences in SQ in the budget segment may not seem significant but for others who are limited by their budget or for lack of a similar reference point or simply because spending lakhs on audio equipment does not seem prudent, it's very much relevant.
I think you got me wrong. I was debating difference in dacs being marginal at best within a price segment and not speakers. That logic does not apply to speakers, amps.

Also, I was very underwhelmed with mojo though I wanted to hear which I did thorough testing with cxa81 dac and did not find it better and ended up selling it. Maybe it was a better power cable on cxa81 and not the stock one I was using. Mojo to me just did not live upto the hype. It was warm and fuzzy with average soundstage and separation. I could not help imagine it was being held back by its power given how compact the device is.

Different products within same segment are usually different in terms of tuning and are not necessarily more resolving. There are always exceptions, but those are fewer
 

DB1989

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I think you got me wrong. I was debating difference in dacs being marginal at best within a price segment and not speakers. That logic does not apply to speakers, amps.
I totally got that. I was explaining that what I'd experienced with respect to speakers also applies to DAC's, albeit to a lesser extent. I have performed a number of back to back comparisons of the Chord Mojo with the internal DAC of the Cambridge Audio CXA81 and the Ifi Zen DAC. Against the CXA81, the step up was HUGE as I'd observed in my earlier post and even to a casual observer as I've tried out on many occasions.

Invariably, everyone gravitates towards the sound of the Mojo as clearly better with a wider soundstage, better reverb and meatier sound.

While both DACs dig up adequate detail and nothing goes missing, it's the manner in which the Chord Mojo emphasizes those details i.e. the sound is less coarse and much more refined with better reverb and much better bass detail and nuance (i don't know if its a good measure of whether I'll be able to detect bass response better but i have paired my loudspeakers with a dual subs, specifically REL T9is and i daresay I've set them up pretty well with the aid of REW measurements) with more meat on the bone without losing any of that detail which really makes it stand apart. Ergo, clearly a better DAC in my books. If the abovesaid is not an indication of better SQ, i really have to reassess my understanding of what constitutes sound quality in all earnest. :)

The Ifi Zen DAC is also clearly a better DAC to my ears due to being more refined/less coarse with more weight to the sound than the CXA81. When i added the XLR cable, it was as if a veil (an expression beaten to death but let me clarify, a thin, not thick meaning the sound became just a bit more distinct) was lifted from the presentation but the most substantial gains were in the bass department again, more nuanced, darker and have the impression of digging deeper without actually doing so - more dynamic yet tuneful I'd say. These differences are not huge and an incremental step up but i suppose we're all aware that the improvements in SQ insofar as DACs are concerned do not scale in the same manner as that of speakers.

Also, I was very underwhelmed with mojo though I wanted to hear which I did thorough testing with cxa81 dac and did not find it better and ended up selling it. Maybe it was a better power cable on cxa81 and not the stock one I was using. Mojo to me just did not live upto the hype. It was warm and fuzzy with average soundstage and separation. I could not help imagine it was being held back by its power given how compact the device is.
One thing that i noticed was that the better the source, the better the Mojo leverages it. For instance, while the difference between the Mojo and Zen DAC were nearly indiscernible with a PC as source, it distinguishes itself when using a better quality source such as the Allo USBridge Signature and the Allo Digione Signature.
Different products within same segment are usually different in terms of tuning and are not necessarily more resolving. There are always exceptions, but those are fewer
Agreed. But look at it this way - certain speakers which were well regarded in the past and are still a pleasure to listen to have been bettered by newer and cheaper speakers. The same is also applicable to DACs and in fact, more so considering their technical progression over the same temporal period.

If it's not perhaps too much trouble, could you mention the chain you heard the Mojo with, interconnects, speaker cables et al so that we can perhaps identify why you did not find the SQ to be (clearly) better?
 
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Amitdubey

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I totally got that. I was explaining that what I'd experienced with respect to speakers also applies to DAC's, albeit to a lesser extent. I have performed a number of back to back comparisons of the Chord Mojo with the internal DAC of the Cambridge Audio CXA81 and the Ifi Zen DAC. Against the CXA81, the step up was HUGE as I'd observed in my earlier post and even to a casual observer as I've tried out on many occasions.
Testimony to the fact that we hear things differently. I had the ifi zen stack from headphone zone when it first came out and couldn't care less for it. Used it after 6 months of extensive listening with my headphones (arya, clear, hd600 and hd25-ii) apart from connecting to cxa81 connected to tannoy, proacs. Went back to cxa81 dac and finally moved to T2. I found the implementation much better on cxa81 better anyways to this range of products. Maybe it's also the fact that my av entire hifi(receiver, integrated, PA, tv, streamer) are connected to a dedicated line with thick sqmm high quality cables serviced by a dedicated MCB. That along with upgraded power cables just transformed my two channel and home theatre setup with everything in my signal chain sounding squeaky clean

I've set them up pretty well with the aid of REW measurements) with more meat on the bone without losing any of that detail which really makes it stand apart.
I do not use it for anything apart from lower frequencies to help with how the room messes with the bass. For the mids and highs, it just kills the dynamics. But that's just me.

Invariably, everyone gravitates towards the sound of the Mojo as clearly better with a wider soundstage, better reverb and meatier sound.
Figured out long time back, not to gravitate towards what everyone else does and to use my own ears to guide me in this direction. As much as I liked mojo, I really didn't think it was any special and to my ears nothing special either for hp listening or for two channel. Dragonfly cobalt, mojo, Hugo 2, ifi micros idsd black...All these were just overly hyped products as per me. The 4.2V in max output mode and 3V on fixed (line out) volume into the pre of an integrated never sat well with me. It was much better directly connected to a power amp.

Agreed. But look at it this way - certain speakers which were well regarded in the past and are still a pleasure to listen to have been bettered by newer and cheaper speakers. The same is also applicable to DACs and in fact, more so considering their technical progression over the same temporal period.
Partly, I agree that value gear is getting better and high end is getting cheaper but Modern equipment also suffers with multiple issues... Being built more to a budget, huge margins to cover for skyrocket marketing expenses, more all in one box solution, segmenting and targeting mass market more compared to earlier approach of niche demographics. I am tired of lousy build quality and use of components these days. Decision to buy something is determined more on what attributes are we ok to compromise on in one product vs the other. Selection process itself is determined with what we can live with and what we can't. This phenomenon existed earlier too but to a far lesser degree.

If I am in the market to spend 1k usd in speakers, amp..I would definitely lean towards gear from a decade to two decades ago in the used market over new or used new purely for the value you get out of it. A 4k usd amp a decade ago will be far superior to a 1k new modern amp..it won't even be close.

And then the most important aspect...I am at a phase in this journey where I want my digital gear to sound less digital and more analogue and organic, and not just digital with extra or different digital artifacts. None of these ifi, chord, topping and other mainstream dacs cut it for me. I can't get into vinyl and tubes for the life of me, just ain't gonna happen. So the only way forward is being extremely selective with cables, amps, streamers, amplifiers that are void of that digital glare I have come to hate so much.
 
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