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Using the Topping L30 as a preamp for the E30

time 2021/07/11

Using the Topping L30 as a preamp for the E30

When I bought the Topping E30, I got the Topping L30 together with it at a very low price, so I bought it even though I wasn’t planning to buy it.

Topping L30

It says in the description that it can be used as a preamp in combination with the E30, but it’s basically a headphone amp.

The image of how I use it is that of someone who has a configuration where a tube amp is connected to the amp after the DAC, and that’s how I use it.
To be honest, I didn’t really feel the need for a preamp, so for a while after I bought it, I really just displayed it.


The L30 is a high-performance headphone amplifier for the price, with the same power supply circuit configuration as the advanced models, clear sound quality without noise, and a high reputation on overseas sites.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a decent enough pair of headphones to need this amp. That seemed like a waste, so I decided to use the L30 as a preamp.

Accessories for Topping L30

The L30 box is larger than the E30 box.
The size of the main unit is the same, but the L30 comes with a transformer adapter for the power supply, which makes the box heavier and larger.
L30 is AC/AC adaper
The adapter is not a standard AC/DC adapter, but an AC/AC adapter, and the internal circuit is just a step-up transformer.
The internal circuitry is just a step-up transformer. If you replace the AC adapter, which is a standard practice in improving the sound quality of Chinese products like this, it will break at once. There are people who broke it in the Amazon reviews, but I think this is a trap.
There is almost no apparent difference in the terminals that plug into the unit to use it stacked with the E30, and there is no mechanism to prevent errors.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

L30 Features

Compared to the E30, the functions are simple. The selling price of this is the same as the E30, so it must have high-end circuitry.
Front bezel of the Topping L30

The left toggle switch turns the power on and off, and toggles between HPA headphone amp mode and PRE preamp mode.
If the power is off, the output will not go through and will not be output from anywhere.

The right toggle switch is for gain adjustment.
This is used to adjust headphones that are difficult to play, but since it is used as a preamp, the gain is set to the standard 0db.

The rest is volume.
When you turn it, it feels light and turns smoothly. It has an orange ring around it, matching the color of the E30 display.

How to adjust the volume in preamplifier mode

Since the L30 does not have a remote control and volume cannot be adjusted remotely, fine adjustment of volume is done on the E30.

The connection looks like this: E30 onwards is analog processing.
I would really like to use the E30 in DAC mode, but then I would not be able to adjust the volume remotely, which is a dilemma.

[V20PRO]- USB -[E30]- RCA -[L30]- RCA -[FX502J-S]

First, adjust the volume of the FX502J-S amplifier to the lowest possible volume that will not cause a gang error.
Next, set the E30 to -5db. This leaves 5db of room to increase the volume, and since it can be adjusted in 0.5db increments, this leaves 10 steps.

In this state, play a song that you listen to frequently and adjust the volume position of the L30 so that you can hear it at just the right volume. the volume control on the L30 side should be able to minimize the effect of the volume control because it contains a high-performance electronic circuit.

Topping L30 Sound Quality Review

First of all, if the effect of replacing the DAC from the V20PRO to the E30 is 10, the effect of adding the L30 is about 2, but the sound quality changes at a level that anyone can understand.
Manufacturer's recommended configuration for E30 and L30
As for the sound change, it feels like the sound pressure increases, the sound extrusion increases, the sound thickens in all areas, and the bass becomes more resonant.
Since it’s a preamplifier, it’s natural for it to color the sound in a certain way, but I think the best way to describe it is that it makes the E30 sound thicker.

Once you hear the E30 and L30 set, you can’t go back to the sound without the L30. No, it sounds good.

Power consumption of L30

China products tend to be electricity-hungry, and the L30 uses a lot of electricity.

It uses more electricity than the FX502J-S at 3.2W standby power, which is when the unit is switched off.
Standby power of L30 is large
With the switch on, it’s 7.2W. That’s a lot of power.
Power consumption during L30 startup is also high.

And the body is quite warm.
It’s not warm, it’s hot. Since the body is used to dissipate the heat, it feels like it’s over 40 degrees Celsius.

summary

There are very few reviews of people using the L30 as a preamp, and I was skeptical, but the E30 and L30 as a set definitely improve the sound, so if you have one, there is no reason not to use it.
And they look great when placed side by side, a great configuration that satisfies the desire to own.

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