Topping E70 & L70 Review: Mid-Range FOTM

I’ve been a fan of Topping’s recent releases such as their portable G5 and the now older E50/L50. I’ve been busy reviewing a lot of IEMs and portables as of late so dipping my toes into the desktop source gear is a nice change of pace. The E70 is a new Topping DAC using the ESS ES9028Pro and comes in at $349. The L70 headphone amp comes in at $349 as well. Both are designed to be used together in a “stack” setup but they can be used separately with other source gear. I’ll be reviewing both together for most of this review.

Quick shoutout to Shenzhenaudio for sending 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.

Looks and Feel

Both my units came in black and both have a very good matte 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 units have a decent weight to them which helps when unplugging headphones from the jacks. The red ring on the volume knobs are a very nice accent touch as well.  Overall, a pretty and sleek looking stack to my eyes.

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 is 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 knobs both are smooth and easy to rotate. They both spin infinitely but the L70 has volume relays which is an extremely attractive feature for me personally.

Inputs and outputs

For the E70, 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 remotes 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 amps.

The L70 has more going on and I find it more attractive given the price. The L70 has a combined XLR/TRS which I think is a wonder compatibility option for those who might not have the XLR output option on their DAC. I could personally care less about TRS quarter inch but I like that it isn’t abandoned here since it allows those with Topping DACs that only use TRS for balanced out to have an headphone amp upgrade path. The L70 also has a standard RCA input. We get XLR and RCA outputs for passthrough use.  Only the L70 input XLR is a combo connector so no TRS output for the L70. The L70 has a ground loop noise fix built in via a switch should you pick up any noise in the source chain. I never have noise issues so I left it set to the stock GND setting. Even when running The DAC out to both RCA and XLR, and having the XLR and RCA inputs active with an XLR output on the L70, I never heard any noise so I think this ends up being a feature for the those who already have noise issues in their normal systems due to the power problems in the home. The front of the L70 also has a XLR, 4.4mm Pentaconn and quarter inch jack for headphone use.

Accessories and unboxing

We get a newer designed box that comes with the bare essentials. We get a remote and power cable plus manuals with each unit. 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 will mostly be from the two stacked together. I did however run the amp separately hence the separate sound impressions for each device. The L70 impressions will be from using both the SMSL SU-9 and Topping E70 to get the perceived sound signature. E70 impressions will be from the paired L70.


The E70 is a neutral to warm sounding DAC from my testing. It has a softer presentation which I’m not overly wild about. The lows are accurate and so are the mids with a more neutral sound. I would call this accurate and I have no issues with the lows and mids. Vocals and treble do both come in a little softer than I’m used to. I find the vocals sound good but it just feels like a little something is missing. Same thing with the treble. It sounds accurate yet it feels like it’s missing just a little extra detail and bite. Almost sounds slightly muted. That being said, I think if someone just bought this without having another mid-range DAC to A/B test, The differences wouldn’t be as noticeable. Staging is also average and imaging is accurate or at least comparable to the stack I use to review everything. This is still a very good DAC and given the amp is so dang good, I would actually recommend this DAC with the amp since they look good stacked together. Speaking of the amp…


I’ve mentioned already that I love the layout of the L70 when it comes to connections. How does it sound though? I personally prefer warmer sounding amps or at least clean sounding amps that don’t lose low end bass dynamics. The L70 is a very linear amp that doesn’t add any real sound signature differences but it also doesn’t have any downsides I could hear. The bass is dynamic and the impact/slam produced is still strong and doesn’t feel lacking. In the past, this was an issue with lower cost amps due to power supply constraints and the L70 seems to not have this issue which is wonderful. Instruments in both the mids and highs sound clean yet they don’t add any unwanted shimmer or sibilance. The vocals are accurate but don’t feel thin or lacking at all. The treble sounds sharp and fast on most headphones with a sense of higher resolution and details. I think the Staging does sound about average(depth and width) with the headphones I used for this test. I would definitely say the star of the stack/show is indeed the L70. 

Filters and fun features

The E70 does have filter options but I couldn’t hear any differences like normal so I left it on the stock filter. The stack is missing any “fun” features such as bass boosts or onboard EQ options. I think this is honestly fine and someone can easily EQ via software if they really need to.

Bluetooth/Wired connectivity

I did most of my reviewing with the wired connection but I do test range on bluetooth. LDAC has a decent range when used with the newer Shanling M6 Ultra and extended range using AAC from my iPhone 14 Pro. Keep in mind that only the E70 can take a bluetooth signal. I do see some amps in stacks like this that will also take a bluetooth input but that is not the case with this stack. I think the sound from wireless was fine and as time goes on, I’m not as picky when it comes to wireless vs wired. I still opt for wired when possible but I can see this being nice if you want a friend or someone to send their music over to the E70 without much effort to play their own music.

Personal grips with the L70 and E70?

I only have nitpick issues with the Topping stack. Though my nitpicks won’t be deal breakers for me, they might be for others.

First thing that bothers me are the two separate remotes. SMSL has one remote they can use between products and they usually have a full GUI built into their mid-range source gear. The Topping stack lacks an in depth UI so it requires the remotes to get some features turned on and off. Both remotes are different as well so it can be a pain if you have to remember which remote goes to which amp/DAC. The remotes aren’t labeled well part number wise either.

The UI is also pretty messy still and while you can do most things 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.

While I love the relays they’re using for the volume control on the L70, it’s super loud when adjusting volume. This is loud enough that if I’m testing multiple headphones at night, a pillow or something  is thrown at me since the relay changes wake up the Ms. I think most people will only be adjusting volume between tracks in one to three volume increments so this probably won’t be as big of a deal for others.

Single ended and balanced power output/Sensitivity

The L70 is a monster when it comes to output power. Output from the balanced XLR or 4.4 Pentaconn will produce a peak 7.5W into 32 ohms! Using the single ended quarter inch will produce 2.3W into the same 32 ohm load. This is impressive and my main amp I use for reviews that cost $630 can squeeze out 6W into the same 32 ohm load. The power output numbers don’t seem to matter at all when it comes to balanced vs unbalanced inputs. This makes me believe this isn’t a truly balanced design and in 2022, that is completely fine by me. I haven’t heard an amp in recent times that sounds better from balanced vs single ended like some of the older devices I have on hand. The L70 also has zero hiss(floor noise) from both the XLR and 4.4mm Pentaconn jack. My OG Campfire Solaris picked up nothing on the L70 which is quite the feat.

IEM pairing opinions

Moondrop Variations

The Variations took pretty well to this pairing. The bass was strong with good impact and kept its fuller low end sound intact. Mids sounded warm but clean and the Vocals sounded pretty good with the stack. The treble can be a little hot on the Variations for me but usually not enough to cause discomfort and the softer or relaxed sounding E70 from the stack pulled the Variation’s treble down just a little. Staging was accurate and I didn’t notice any changes on the Variations vs my personal baseline setup. 

Campfire Solaris

The OG Solaris is a slight V shape with an intense upper mids for me personally but I do rather enjoy the Solaris regardless. The bass is strong but still has average impact. The instruments in the mids do sound clear and the vocals have good detail. The upper mids and lower treble don’t sound nearly as violent to my ears but it’s not enough of a difference that I would say the E70 softness from the stack made a big enough difference to matter. Staging was still fairly deep and wide sounding which was nice to hear. The big thing here is that the Solaris is a silly sensitive IEM when run balanced and I had zero hiss from the L70 amp. This impressed me quite a bit as the Solaris brings out a small hiss that is noticeable in my main desktop setup that I don’t normally hear with other sensitive IEMs. I was also listening at around -51 volume ro 50/0 volume which was nice since I had a lot of room to go down in volume.

Over ear pairings

ZMF Atrium/Sennheiser 560s

Both the Shenn 560S and Atrium tend to sound best from desktop gear IMO and the L70 provides great power overall to both. Both are power hungry headphones and I could run both on low gain just fine via balanced. Running single ended would require high grain on at least the Atrium. The lows were strong and didn’t lack bass impact like I’ve heard in the past. The mids and vocals sound natural on both headphones with this stack and the treble does have a slight softness and as a result, lacks a little resolution on both headphones when the E70 is involved. Staging is fairly average when using both but the point I’m trying to make is that the stack can produce good results on some more power hungry headphones. The L70 is very capable however and I really like these headphones on the l70 paired with a different DAC(SU-9).

DAC/Amp comparison


The SMSL stack combo I use does cost more than the Topping E/L-70 stack but I do think it has some stuff that makes it competitive in a sense. The E70 DAC does sound softer and leans to a neutral sound signature which is fine but the ES9038Pro in the SU-9 does outperform the ES9028Pro at least in these specific devices. The SU-9 has better resolution and detail retrieval, even if it has a warmer sound signature vs the E70. I’m not sure if this is because of the design or DAC differences but it’s the first thing I pick up when running both DACs into the L70 or SP400 amp. The amps on the other hand both sound extremely similar. I think the only true difference I could hear was the staging sounded wider and deeper on the SP400. The floor noise on the SP400 while very low still produces a light hiss on super sensitive IEMs like the OG Solaris or V16 Divinity IEM when run balanced. This floor noise is non-existent on the L70 and it’s impressive. Especially since the low gain is very wide and I can use IEMs and most headphones without ever needing to switch gains. The two amps use volume relays with the SP400 being an older design but it has quieter relays so it's less noisy when doing volume changes. I honestly don’t think you can go wrong with the Topping stack.

Topping G5

The G5 has been my goto portable since I reviewed it and it is used daily at the office in rotation with my Airpods Pro 2. The G5 is a slightly brighter sounding device vs the Topping E/L-70 stack. Both the stack and G5 can handle bass really well and both produce good mids/vocals. The G5 has a slightly brighter sound signature in the treble but when I A/B the two, I find the G5 adds enough sparkle in the treble to come off sounding better detailed. I would say the sound signatures are close but I don’t find the E70 sounds vastly better if at all over the G5 when it comes to DAC performance. The E70 is a desktop unit so we do get better compatibility with things besides USB or bluetooth inputs. I think for those who don’t need the massive power output of the L70 or the extra inputs from the E70, the G5 is extremely competitive and can be substituted as a desktop unit for those who may not want or need a separate setup for desktop and portable. 

Overall thoughts

I’m lukewarm on the E70 DAC but I absolutely love the L70 amp and it will be used in the future for reviews next to my SMSL SP400 amp. Both provide great results in a good sized package. While I am reviewing this stack together, I do think I need to score them separately and meet myself in the middle. As much as I would love to just throw a 5 star rating, the E70 is competitive but not quite the performer I want given the price. Hence I think the E70 is a 4/5 rating. The L70 is extremely competitive and I was very impressed and it is an easy 5/5 for me. Regardless of the ratings, the E70 and L70 both get a recommendation if you want the stack together. However, I would personally opt for something like the SMSL SU-9n($50 more) for a better sound signature and stack it with the L70. The L70 to me, is the star of the show and I was very impressed by the performance of the L70 and its power output specs. I always love seeing Topping evolve over time and this is another step in the right direction for them. Thanks for reading!!