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A Topping TP30 Mark 2,(Late to the Table) Review

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by DogMeat, Aug 8, 2017.
  1. DogMeat
    So, I've had the TP30-Mk2 for oh, about 2 months now. Giving it a reasonable run-in time, comparison plays between the multiple sets of headphones that I own, tried several sets of iem's with it as well.
    I thought I'd toss out a bit of a review, in case anybody is considering this one as a purchase.

    Headphones used; Beyerdynamic DT770's--T1 Teslas, both v.1 and v2
    Sennheiser 600, 650,(chosen for their specific sound sig, which I prefer over the "better" Senns),
    Grados. Almost every version of the Grado. All the way from the PHENOMENAL original RS1.
    Massdrop X Fostex THX00 mahogany.
    Audeez, Stax, HiFiman, just to see if this thing could push magnaplanars. Not So Much, although there
    was some noise coming from the HiFimans, just not great, so we'll not mention them again...
    IEMs; NuForce Primo 8, MEE Pinnacle P1, Shure 535's, Etymotic,(various), RHA T20, Echobox Finder x1, a couple of the
    Sennheiser IEM offerings, and the Beyerdynamic idx160.
    NOT going to discuss every set of sounds per eargear item here, as it's tedious and not always helpful to other sets of ears than my own, but will give an OVERALL sense of how these appreciate the various sound sigs represented by my fairly eclectic range of eargears chosen. I tend to prefer 'phones that offer a more neutral, flat, "clinical" presentation of the musics, maybe lean more toward mid and high-rangers with a SMOOTH, present, but not heavy or bloomy bass. Much of that is per my music preference for classical music, I guess. One can use equalizers to play with sig, and I like the more accurate representation of what was originally recorded better than phones which colour the music in any one direction.
    NOTE- I don't own AKG. I am not a massive fan of the AKG sound, so prefer to spend my cash elsewhere, it's not a political statement in any way.
    OTHER NOTE- I did not examine the ability to play speakers, as my speakers are hard to drive and need a high-power amp like a Carver to drive them. The specs imply that the amp could drive passive bookshelf speakers adequately.
    Comparison equipment; JDS Labs The Element. Schiit Fulla 2. Schiit Modi 2. A couple of iBassos. Stuck to DAC/amps in the class bracket and that were solid state, as comparing it against tube amps isn't really just, they are 2 very different experiences.
    Kind of Music chosen; Lots of classical with much strings, voice, Beethoven through Bernstein and Glass. Lots of electronic music a la Wollo, Boddy, Roach, Serrie, etc. Much Leo Kottke guitar happiness, with some Bluegrass and Appalachian schtuff tossed in. Classical piano. Silk Road Ensemble. Popular and Rock, from Joplin to Foo Fighters to Neil Young to classic Santana, to The Killers to Maroon 5 and so on. Jazz and Blues , Muddy Waters, early Severin, Puente. I don't really do Rap, Dub, or Hip-Hop, although I did run a little Black Eyed Peas and Outkast through it.
    My musics were chosen to represent the spectrum and check out what this DAC/Amp offers in the way of clarity, speed, presentation of details and ability to translate input from my iMac running Lossless, FLAC, Songbird et al from iTunes, and several streaming services, as I believe that this is the purpose for which most buyers... buy.

    The Meat; The is the summary, the overall take away, the mean/average result of my cross-gear listen; after you read this you could, essentially, skip the more detailed review following,(when I get it all typed), and have a good sense of how I appreciated this DAC/amp and whether it's worth buying, especially if on a budget, and how well it turned out in my assessment. More conversational than techie-speak...
    I found the Topping TP30 Mk2 to be a very responsive, accurate DAC/amp that offers a pretty crisp, sparkling-yet-smooth presentation of the various musics used in the audition. It's a really NICE entry-level DAC/amp for those just entering the world of highER-end audio listening with a nice price-point and looking for an excellent all-arounder as their first/early choice for a DAC/amp. It has great portability, but I found it best used on my desktop for stationary listening as I either work with my photography images or just sit back to LISTEN to the music. Kind of BULKY for strapping to an iPhone and carrying around, it's rather obviously meant for table-top use. It also LOOKS nice, which I personally think is part of the audiophile experience. It's satin-y smooth, tactile, and the interfacing was easy; easy to set up, easy to find the toggles, knob, buttons. The jack-port is the 3.5, which makes it an immediate attractant to IEM's use. I personally would prefer a 1/4 incher, as I am more of a cans fan, and don't really like adding adaptors to my audio stream. It faired well against the JDS Labs and The Schiit equipments, but I appreciated a bit more detail and "presence", a bit more speed, with the others and can feel the higher-end qualities represented with the JDS and Schiits, especially returning again and again to The Element as a preferred experience.
    The TP30 does a very nice job of presenting detail to many of the electronic musics heard,(which is what I think solid state DAC/amps do very well, as opposed to live and organic), it showcases the tricky and intricate noises and rhythmics that sequencer electronics generate, especially with pieces by Boddy and Serrie. All those little ear-tickling sounds in the background of their music are healthily presented with this DAC/amp, but not quite as forward as I would like. The sound is clean and fairly crisp, does justice to what I am hearing. With acoustic music, one still hears the little squeaky noises of fingers on strings, one still hears the intake of breath when lungs are involved, and I don't feel that anything is dropped by the amp, yet these sounds are a bit better resolved and present with the other DAC/amps compared. Nothing shrill or harsh in the vocals-especially after a 50-hour run-in time .
    This is where, if you don't have a better/different device for comparison, you don't feel like you have missed anything in your listening session, it's ALL there. You won't feel like you should have spent more on your DAC/amp, it's a nice little workhorse that can do it all, and quite favourably. A winner at the price, FOR SURE.
    OKAY. That's the Summary.

    I may occupy a new comment box for the nittygritty side-by-side,more DETAIL comparison/review schtuff.
    After my fingers get their feeling back.....
    bhima and fokta like this.
  2. fokta
    Hi There, I am quite surprise there are not much thread for Topping TP30 MK2...

    I found this DAC AMP as my first step to audiophile. I bought it around Jan 2018 to drive HD668B for gaming, connected to my Laptop. I need the sound stage of semi open can to improve the location... TP 30 did the jobs..

    for Me, this is suitable for the entry level /beginner DAC AMP for Computer or laptop.
    Not to convenience for portable use, since it have power adapter.
    Connectivity via USB is easy to be recognize by Win 10. It is a plug and play system..

    Now is just to drive my ATH M40x beside my bed, with source OTG to my smartphone...
  3. warbles
    Hello there....I presently use what I thought was the entry-level Topping, ie the little NXS1(amp only), and am wondering if by purchasing this how much of a boost into higher-end experience I'd be getting? Any sense of perspective on this would be truly appreciated...

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