TOPPING E70 Velvet (E70V)


1000+ Head-Fier
AKM is Back and They’re not Messing Around
Pros: Great detail retrieval, Unique UI, Price
Cons: Wonky UI menu, Not a typical AKM sound

I just reviewed the Topping E70/L70 not that long ago and I was rather impressed by the L70 amp but I was pretty lukewarm on the E70 DAC. With the L70 performing well above my expectations, it felt like something was off in terms of the original DAC pairing for the “stack”. To my surprise, a new version of the E70 DAC was around the corner using AKM’s newest flagship instead of an older ESS 9028pro DAC from the standard E70. I’ve never been the biggest fan of AKM DACs and every one I’ve used in the past was always neutral sounding and somewhat boring/bland. This new AKM 4499EX is a real performer and the E70 Velvet comes in at $449.

A bit of this review will be a copy and paste from the E70/L70 review since the only real difference here is the sound performance of the new AKM DAC being used in the E70V.

Quick shoutout to Shenzhenaudio for setting me up a review unit to check out. While I always appreciate stuff being sent in to test and review, It never affects the rating of my review.

The E70V and L70(wonderful amp to pair with) can be picked up together or separately at Shenzhenaudio’s website below.


Gear used​

SMSL SU-9/SP400 stack, Topping E70 and Topping L70.

Looks and Feel​

The E70V came in silver this time around and it has a nice bead blasted looking finish applied. While the displays are fingerprint magnets, I do like the glossy display. The numbers are a bright white and I really like Topping’s UI looks when it comes to the numbers displayed. The unit has a decent weight to it which I prefer since I usually put the DAC on top of a headphone amp to keep it secure. Overall a good looking design though I prefer the black with red accent color I have on the original E70/L70 stack.

Power switch and volume knob​

The power button is actually a touch sensitive button. I would prefer a button I can physically press but the provided remote works as a backup should the touch sensitivity die in the future. There’s a power switch in the back next to the power cable should you wish to power it down completely for longer periods of time. I do like the added switch and prefer that over having to unplug the cable. The volume knob feels smooth and easy to rotate. I usually set my volume adjustable DACs to max output or “DAC only” modes when I have the option to get the most power out and into a headphone amp. The volume adjustable DAC is nice for those using powered monitors however.

Inputs and outputs​

For the E70V, we get the standard XLR and RCA outputs as well as COAX, Optical, USB-B and BT inputs. There’s the 12V trigger ports to link the remote(if you use the L70 amp) but I didn’t test that at all. It is lacking the TRS output, so those with different Topping Amps might run into issues if they wish to run balanced to their TRS input amps.

Accessories and unboxing​

We get a newer designed box that comes with the bare essentials. We get a remote and power cable plus manuals. I think this is mostly fine but I would have preferred a small cheap 3.5mm cable to make use of the 12V trigger connection. Not the end of the world but I think most people will be buying this in a stack setup so maybe it will be offered in a bundle.


These impressions were done via the E70V paired to the L70 headphone amp via XLR. This is what the E70V sounds like via the current headphone/IEM inventory I have on hand. Things like headphone pairings or different headphone amps will produce different results and impressions versus what my ears hear on my specific gear.

The new E70V still sounds somewhat neutral to me but it definitely has more life throughout the frequency range. I find the difference in DAC sound signature to have a minor to moderate impact when it comes to the sound chain. I don’t think a DAC will make a night and day difference per say but I was able to pick up the differences fairly quickly after listening to the original E70.

The lows have a more dynamic reproduction and have a little extra fullness and speed I was surprised to hear. The mids are very accurate but instruments sound fast and dont feel hazy or bland sounding like I’ve heard on older AKM designs. The vocals are detailed but they sound a little more clinical/artificial and lack just a bit of presence when paired to the two amps I tested with. I have a hard time since I like how detailed the vocals sound here but I do enjoy more natural sounding vocals when I’m not reviewing stuff and just want to enjoy music. The upper mids are laser accurate and I don’t think it adds anything extra to the upper mids and stays neutral in tone. The Treble is very sharp as well which I was surprised to hear given my past AKM experience. It pulls in really good micro details and overall does resolution really well. This sounds more like a really good(if not better) ESS DAC when it comes to speed and sharpness from my specific E70V unit. I usually don’t talk about staging and imaging on DACs since I find those to be headphone specific things. The E70V however does have a somewhat light but noticeable echo, at least on my unit. I say echo but it’s a little hard to explain and might be better to say it has something going on with the stock filters. The result is a slightly wider and deeper soundstage no matter what amp I paired the E70V to. I actually like this kinda sound and I’ve heard it on other source gear before too though I can’t remember which ones off the top of my head. Regardless, I really like the sound signature and performance of the E70V!

Filters and fun features​

The E70V does have filter options but I couldn’t hear any differences between them like normal so I left it on the stock filter.

Personal grips with the E70V?​

As I complained in my original E70/L70 review, the UI is still pretty messy and while you can do most things in the menu when the device is on, some things need to be accessed via a different menu which is only accessed by holding the volume knob button in while turning on the unit from the back. This and having to keep the manual near to translate what the short codes mean in the menus doesn’t make for an enjoyable experience should you need to change things. For most people it's going to be a “change once and never mess with things again” thing but it still feels like quite the chore.

DAC/Amp comparison​

SMSL SU-9/SP400​

The SMSL stack I use for all my reviews is a somewhat unfair pairing since the SMSL SP400 headphone amp costs an extra $300 over the L70 amp I’m using from the sound impressions section above. I however said in the L70 review that it’s quite the performer and was extremely close in sound performance to my trusty SP400 and that still stands. Which is why this comparison is the E70V/L70 vs SU-9/SP400.

I will start off by saying both have very close sound performance to my ears and the sound signatures off both are ever so slightly different with their overall presentation. The SMSL stack is more dynamic sounding with a more prominent bass response. The bass provides a fairly good impact/slam over the Topping stack when called for. The mids on both are pretty good but the SMSL stack seems to produce more natural sounding vocals. The Topping stack is a little more artificial sounding but it’s still no slouch and I found the vocals still very detailed sounding. The treble on both setups are really accurate and provide great detail retrieval overall. I find the slightly better staging of the Topping stack edges out the SMSL stack. The Topping stack also sounds faster(decay) in the treble to me over the SMSL stack. The detail retrieval does come through a little more prominently on the SMSL stack. I find the Topping stack is more enjoyable to listen to for long term sessions. I think both are wonderful and the E70V when paired with the L70 headphone amp, is a better value over my SMSL stack. Which is why I exclusively use the Topping stack now when I need to do listening via my iPad or Macbook.

A Note on the E70 vs E70V
So I decided not to do a big comparison between the two but I will add a small set of notes. The E70 is still good but it has a warmer if not a relaxed sound signature where the E70V sounds more dynamic and full of details. I think The E70V is a better DAC, but I wouldn’t recommend an upgrade if you already own a E70. If you like the E70 then I would keep it. If you didn’t like the E70 and wanted something a little more, I would say grab the E70V if it doesn’t require trying to sell the E70 at a big loss. For those looking at the two as new buyers, I would say definitely grab the E70V.

Overall thoughts​

I was impressed by the Topping L70 headphone amp I reviewed before and I find myself extremely impressed by the E70V DAC. Especially when the two are paired together. I give the E70V a full recommendation. I think it will work as one of the better mid-fi DACs and I find it very competitive in terms of the price. This isn’t quite dethroning the SMSL SU-9(when paired to my SP400) I use to review all my gear but I honestly prefer the Topping E70V/L70 stack when I just want to chill and enjoy music away from reviewing. I’m happy to see AKM is finally back and while I had low interest in their DAC offerings from past experiences, I find myself way more interested in seeing how their future DAC designs sound. Great job to Topping as well for getting the new AKM 4499EX setup into the same shell as the original E70 instead of making a different shell/design and possibly charging something like $600+ for it. Overall a good design and I look forward to seeing what’s next from Topping. Thanks for reading!
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It can be adjusted. Three levels of brightness. It can also be set to turn off after a few seconds but I don’t remember what brightness level it used for that feature. I set it to the lowest and that’s fairly good for night useage.
Great. Thank you. Which headphones did you use for the review?
You gotta try the E70V + E70pro