Topping D30 Pro and A30 Pro DAC/Amp Review




This will be a quick set of impressions of the Topping D30 Pro DAC and its companion amp, the A30 Pro. These were both provided to me by Linsoul for my impressions and I plan on using these for reviews of other products in the future as they are objectively "transparent" sources. That said, and you'll soon find out, these are not my preferred source chain for what I use, but they are not too bad on their own. Let's talk a little bit more, shall we?

D30 Pro Introduction


First off, the Topping D30 Pro DAC uses 4 Cirrus Logic CS43198 DAC chips within its small little housing. Its larger than their D50 unit, but smaller than the D90 DAC. The DAC has 3 inputs: USB, coaxial, and toslink. The USB controller is of the XMOS variety, and can accept up to 32-bit/384kHz PCM and native DSD256.

For outputs, the DAC can send both unbalanced and balanced signals through RCA or XLR connections. 

The D30 Pro has a front screen and a knob on the front which acts as a power button and a menu selector and a digital volume controller. The screen typically will indicate the signal rate and the input used. You can also have it show volume when using it as a preamp to active monitors.

The DAC has 9 filters to choose from and each have a small subtle changes, as well as a No Oversampling (NOS) filter. I typically have it running fast linear or NOS modes and pair it with HQPlayer and Roon.

In addition, the D30 Pro also comes with a remote, which is the only way to control some of the features of the unit.



A30 Pro Introduction

The A30 Pro is the latest amplifier from Topping and scales down the size of the A90. It literally looks like the A90 but compressed. It has all the same outputs on the front panel -- 4-pin XLR, 4.4mm and 1/4 inch headphone jacks. There's a volume knob that is the same as the one that came with the A90 and flip switches to turn on the unit and choose input and gain.

The back of the unit features RCA and XLR inputs and RCA and balanced TRS output. This unit has balanced input and output connectors, however it is NOT a balanced amp. Topping added these balanced connections for convenience and they share the same amp circuitry and amp power as the single ended connections.

The case work has A LOT of holes and slots cut into it. It makes a fun pattern, but also serves as a good air vent as this unit does get warm while in use.

Unlike the DAC, this amp does not have a remote control.



Sound Impressions

After listening to the A90 and D90 before, and coming away a bit underwhelmed, I must say my expectations on this amp/dac setup was a little lukewarm at best. While the D90 is actually a solid DAC with good resolving capabilities and clean transparent sound, I found the A90 to be a mediocre sounding amp at its price point, where other amps priced less had more dynamics, less harshness, and less issues such as the ground noise issues when using non-balanced connectors.

With the A30 Pro and D30 Pro setup, I am happy to say I don't have the same feelings that I had with the A90. I feel like the A30 Pro still has a sterile and neutral sound signature, but it does not have the total lack of dynamics and overly forward presentation that the A90 has. The A30 Pro has a good solid polite sound, that can be a little edgy at times, but it has rounder edges than the A90 does. Some may prefer that sharper edge to music, which will present details crisper, but I feel like that doesn't sound quite as natural.

The D30 Pro itself is a solid DAC foundation. It has 9 separate filter options once you update it to the latest firmware, and each are subtle in presentation. When I have it hooked up to my PC, I turn on the No-Oversampling mode, so I can perfectly pair it with HQPlayer and use HQP's various high-tap filters and noise shapers instead of the included Cirrus Logic filters in the Topping firmware.

After I moved this to a different part of my house, I linked my Chromecast Audio and a toslink cable to the D30 Pro and had it running wireless streaming using Roon or Qobuz. In this case, I typically would choose a linear fast-roll off or ultra-fast roll off filter. These tend to have the most normal sound to me, while the minimum phase ones can sound a little more analog, but with more post-ringing that can be annoying. They also tend to roll-off in treble earlier so it does provide a less airy sound with some limitations.




For the majority of my listening time on this setup, I used the Sennheiser HD600 and various IEMs as my main pairings. I also did try this with the Hifiman Susvara, which I tend to use with other systems. That said, the A30 Pro had no issues getting the Susvara to loud volumes, and actually sounding alright. Like I mentioned before, I preferred the A30 Pro over the A90 and that is the same case with the Susvara. In some ways, I think this pairing works better than even the Schiit Jotunheim 2, which I thought was a bit fatiguing with its brighter treble. 

In this case, I didn't find the A30 Pro to have the same dynamics as the Jotunheim 2. The A30 Pro is a little more lacking in this space, but I don't think its a deal breaker at its price point. Instead, I feel like the A30 Pro is less fatiguing and more evenly balanced than the Jotunheim 2, while may not necessarily having the technical depth of the Jotunheim 2. 

With IEMs, the A30 Pro was dead silent in all outputs for the ones I had on hand. I did not try it with the super sensitive IEMs from Campfire Audio or Vision Ears, but they did not hiss or hum with my Hidition Viento CIEM or Unique Melody MEST CIEMs, nor any number of other IEMs I have on hand to review. As an amp for IEMs, I think the A30 Pro does its job well. It has the same limitations as it does on headphones, but I think this is a little more forgiving for IEMs in general. I also feel like at its price point, it does a nice job overall. Many of the nitpicks are when I compare to things much greater in cost.


Comments

  1. Thank you for review, you describe a lot about the amp, but not much about the dac? Could you share some comparisons to other DACs.

    Thank you
    Andrew

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  2. How does it pair with the he6se v2?. I bought that headphone after seeing your graph comparing it to the susvara. I have the a30 pro on the way to power it.

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    Replies
    1. I sent my HE6SE V2 off to Resolve from The Headphones Show, so I don't have it with me now. Pairing-wise with the Susvara should be pretty similar with the HE6SE V2 though. They both require similar amounts of power requirements and both are generally transparent to the amp.

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