Topping E50 & L50 Review

Topping E50 & L50

On this page we’re checking out the Topping E50 & L50 DAC & AMP stack performance.

Topping E50 & L50 DAC & AMP Stack Performance

In this section, I’ll be evaluating the stack performance of the E50 and the L50. I’ll be using various monitors and headphones for this section. I am also using Topping’s balanced TCT1 interconnect cable between the E50 and L50.

Topping’s E50 & L50 complete each other perfectly and they show excellent synergy together. I am sure that Topping has done enough R&D on the performance of these two products together, as a stack and they did pretty much everything to improve their joint performance. Both of the units are technically capable units and together they have an organic, neutral, and resolving sound signature. They are surprisingly forgiving for a highly resolving stack but never lacking any detail whatsoever. l. 

Frankly, we have two, very successful and top-performing devices in front of us. The E50 and L50 stack sound coherent, detailed, and clean, right off the bat. Pairing it with sensitive monitors causes no noise penalty and the stack offers a dark, silent background, even when paired with super sensitive monitors. The sound signature of the couple can be described as neutral, natural, and organic. The stack does a very good job of conveying the sound signature of the equipment you pair them with. The stack does not add coloration to the mix and it does not saturate the sound signature of your IEMs or HPs.

I believe the most impressive advantage of the E50 and L50 is that besides their linear and colorless signature, they offer very good dynamism and energy so the presentation does not feel dull or lacking. 

The reproduction stays faithful to the mastering and feels quite natural across the spectrum. The natural timbre and good note weight help the stack sound organic regardless of genre. Additionally, the stack offers excellent pace, rhythm, and timing and successfully boosts the ability of congestion handling of the slower monitors. Astrotec’s Volans can be a great example of this. The Volans are not the fastest monitor out there and they struggle while dealing with congested and complex passages with multi-instruments on stage. Pairing it with the E50 and L50 positively affects its PRaT and improves the transient response of the monitor. 

If you are not happy with the technical side of a monitor or headphone in your inventory, you could try pairing it with a stack like the E50 and L50 to improve the technical capability of the monitors. Apart from that, if you’re a soundstage connoisseur, you should know that the E50 and L50 do not offer a huge stage. Instead, they provide a medium-sized, more focused stage with a precise sense of instrument positioning. Because of that, you can easily spot and track individual instruments on the stage. The depth and the layering are also quite nice and tidy. 

 

Topping E50 & L50

Comparisons

vs. SMSL SU-8s & SH-8s ($588 USD)

Let me be completely honest with you. Comparing two or three award-winning stacks is quite hard but there are a few points that I would like you to know. The most obvious difference between the two stacks is the upper midrange and the soundstage width. The SMSL stack has slightly more energy in the upper midrange and a slightly sharper transients response. This can be a boon or a bane, depending on the configuration. For example, with the Etymotic EVO, I prefer the synergy of the E50 stack because the EVO takes advantage of a more forgiving upper midrange. As for the soundstage difference, it is highly dependant on the pairing but the SMSL stack offers a slightly wider soundstage compared to the Topping stack. On the other hand, the Topping stack offers slightly better instrument positioning. Again, both of the stacks perform very similarly to each other and you can’t go wrong with either. 

vs. SMSL SU-9 & SH-9 ($749 USD)

Apart from the wireless connectivity and an overall better feature set, the biggest difference, sound-wise is the superior PRaT of the SU-9 & SH-9 stack. It is surprising but I’ve been writing this same sentence over and over again and I have asked my girlfriend to help me conduct A/B tests to verify my deduction. I verified it. The transients feel faster and more aggressive with the SU-9 & SH-9 stack. It feels more energetic and dynamic compared to all the other stacks that I have recommended but again, the difference is quite small so it shouldn’t be a big decision-making factor for you. In my opinion, if I had to choose between HFN recommended stacks, I’d focus on the price-to-performance ratio and the feature set.

Topping E50 & L50

Pairings

Sennheiser & Drop HD58X ($170 USD)

I have a modded Massdrop (now Drop) & Sennheiser collab 58X. (Removed the grille foam and circular damper behind the driver.) I love using it with budget oriented setups because it punches easily above its price tag and using it with high-performance stacks like the This was my favorite pairing with the previous-gen Atom stack and it definitely still is. The HD58X sounds amazing with the Atom+ stack. The bass is authoritative, impactful, and rounded while still offering good PRaT. The midrange is sweet, articulate, and musical. The note-weight is ever so slightly on the thicker side of the scale and feels organic. Instruments and vocals feel breathy and natural. The timbre doesn’t feel artificial or digital and that is brilliant for a sub-400 setup! The upper midrange is controlled and defined while showing good energy and boosts the perceived clarity of the overall signature. The treble is airy and clean and the extension is very good. I definitely recommend you to try this budget combo. It will surprise you.

Moondrop Kato ($189 USD)

The Moondrop Kato is the latest addition to Moondrop’s line-up of IEMs. It is a single driver IEM equipped with a very special and specifically R&D’d dynamic driver. It has an impressive soundstage for an IEM and combining its strongest virtue with the imaging capabilities of the E50 & L50 results in a joyful outcome. The pairing sounds absolutely marvelous, the soundstage is wide, deep and the positioning of the instruments feels as accurate as it gets in this price bracket. The Kato takes advantage of the clarity, resolution, and technical prowess of the Topping stack and they offer a clean, detailed, and smooth reproduction together. If you like a pairing that would seduce you into 10 hour-long listening marathons, this is it.

Topping E50 & L50

Last Words

Topping and SMSL have been designing excellent devices since last year and now you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a proper DAC or AMP to pair with your favorite equipment. The competition is always good for the consumer and we are quite happy with the recent advancements. 

The E50 and L50 stack offers excellent performance for the money and easily outperforms their price tag, therefore, we found it fair to award the stack with the HFN Recommendation. If you’re looking for a solid desktop DAC & AMP combo, make sure you give this combo a listen. You will not regret it.

Page 1: Topping, Topping E50 Desktop DAC,  Packaging & Accessories, Design & Build Quality, Technology Inside, Controls & UI, DAC Performance

Page 2:Topping L50 Desktop Amp, Packaging & Accessories, Design & Build Quality, Power & Technology, Controls, Amp Performance

Page 3: Topping E50 & L50 DAC & AMP Stack Performance,Comparisons, Pairings, Last Words

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Long time Tech Enthusiast, an ambitious petrol-head, Yagiz likes his gadgets and always finds new ways into the tinkerer's world. He tries to improve anything and everything he gets his hands onto. Loves an occasional shine on the rocks.

4 Comments

  • Reply October 20, 2021

    James McCook

    Awesome review, ordered!!!!!

  • Reply October 21, 2021

    Mike

    It sound little harsh in my stereo. E30 didnt sounded like this. Its heavy to listen for even few periods.
    I have a raspberry 4, use flac and dac connected with rca to a onkyo amplifer. I have a pair of focal chorus. Bass are ok, but voices are harsh when goes high notes. This is my impression, and i read another user that tried to limitate this harshness, by going in preamp mode and -25 volume. But i hear the same. No way for me, sorry

  • Reply November 18, 2021

    Darwin

    $269 and no power adapter??? I hope they enjoyed their minuscule savings, I won’t be buying one.

  • Reply November 30, 2021

    David Campbell

    I’ve seen this movie before. Chi-Fi stepping up their game and indulging in profit. Lots of their signature black or silver box’s. Standard LED display with remote. Topping WAS a brand from 8 years ago at least that provided a bargain, or a good a deal. Today, not so much. The$300 range up or down a bit is the new $99 each from way back. Here’s the thing, it’s the same black or silver box with an updated circuit board and offering MQA as a selling point. I also used to believe in MQA. Things really got upended when Apple Music became lossless last year. Phenomenal quality NOT from compressed MQA. No sir, I understand the compression or lack there of for MQA tracks. Now I listen PRIMARILY to Apple lossless everywhere at home. Then Alexa does most everything else around the house along with her Amazon lossless files.MQA is sold on the fact that it’s truly portable. This setup is obviously meant for home use pluggwd in. So, why be at home plugged in X 2 anchored to a desktop when I can buy (and I did) a DAP w/OB MQA? Remember, MQA is certified as high res BUT, MQA is also compressed. Let me stop here!

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