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Aiyima A08 TPA3255 Amplifier - Owner review and initial impressions

Xulonn

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Edit: September 8, 2022

I still own the Aiyima A08 and will keep it - but I no longer recommend it as a desktop Amp/DAC to be used with a computer unless you use a separate USB DAC. The amp is excellent, the USB implemention sucks. See my September 8 post below for details.


Note: There is a long 64 page ASR thread titled "Which TPA3255 amp do you recommend?" [LINK] that was started I September, 2019. Although I have not tried other TPA3255 amplifiers, this is the one that I now own and recommend highly based on its excellent performance and features that are perfect for my requirements.
=================================================================================​

AIYIMA with SMPS.jpg

My previous desktop amp was an I.AM.D. v200, based on the TI TAS5614LA chip, which is rated for [email protected]Ω/[email protected]Ω. It is one of the tiny modern amplifiers with a coarse LED display (which was losing pixels), and an external brick power supply. It also had a tiny remote control which is not useful when you are sitting at a desk with your hand inches away from the amp. So that makes the lack of a remote for the Aiyima A08 is not an issue for me, although the lack of a remote would make it less convenient for living room systems where you sit out of reach of your amplifier. The I.AM.D v200 was so small with such a tiny volume knob that I could barely grip it, and my fingers hit the desktop when turning it.

Sound-wise, the I.AM.D v200 was o.k., so I made the "upgrade" to the Aiyima A08 based mostly on the feature set. However the I.AM.D. v200 never reached the "so loud it hurt my ears" like the Aiyima A08 can do - in spite of similar power output ratings (which have not been verified by independent testing).

I purchased my Aiyima A08 from Amazon for $170, although it costs less at some AliExpress stores in China. The A08 weighs 3.31 pounds (1.49 kg), so with the internal power supply, it is quite a bit heavier than the typical mini-amps that use the TPA3255 or similar amplifier chips and external power bricks. Rather then looking and feeling like a miniaturized traditional SS amplifier, it is more like a standard size traditional SS amp with the left and right sides cut off. Since it is my desktop/computer amplifier, I wanted to put it under my HP 24" monitor, but the Aiyima was a little too tall. So I made a 1/2" riser to lift the monitor up a bit. I am right-handed, and the larger volume knob is conveniently located right above the top right corner of my keyboard, and only a couple of inches from my trackball (which I prefer for general use rather than a mouse).

Because I am aware that properly engineered and manufactured low distortion amplifiers should sound the same when used within their limits, I did not expect the Aiyima to be able to drive my Q Acoustics 3010 loudspeakers to such deafening levels without audible distortion. From an ASR post by @Tangband "On the Swedish forum faktiskt.io they have checked the voltage of that amplifiers power supply and its 36 V 9.6 A . That gives about 2*150 watt at 4 ohms, 1 % distortion)". Based on the below graph fro the TI spec sheets, the Aiyima A08 should produce a little less output power than the Swedish forum post stated, and about the same output as my little I.AM.D v200, which is [email protected]Ω/[email protected]Ω. I will never know for sure, because I expect @amirm to get an Aiyima A08 to evaluate, but the old I.AM,D v200 will very likely never be tested at ASR.

I have seen posts about the current rating of brick power supplies limiting the output of chip amps, and I might start another thread to ask the experts and learn more about the relationship between power supply voltage, current, and how they interact with amplifier output. Without searching for info, it seems to me that the 36v/9.6a rating of the Aiyima A08 internal power supply is high enough to product a robust output. It is also the max that I have seen recommended to avoid stressing and or overheating an amplifier when it is used to listen at high volume with low efficiency loudspeakers.
TPA3255 Input Volts vs Watts Output.jpg

Bottom line:
- I like my Aiyima A08 amplifier and highly recommend it as a desktop amplifier.
- It has no tweeter hiss that I can hear with volume at max
- The Aiyima A08 can drive my Q Acoustics loudspeakers to deafening levels with no audible distortion
- Bluetooth input is not useful to me, but may be for others
- USB + RCA are the "hardware" inputs, but I don't use Coaxial or optical on my desktop
- Since I only use the USB input, having the USB/RCA source switch on the back or the amplifier is not an issue for me.
- The Aiyima A08 would have a broader potential user market if it had a line-level subwoofer output.
--------------------------------------------
Below are the Aiyima specs.

Basic Parameters:
Amplifier IC: TPA3255
Output power: 315W/4Ω 185W/8Ω
Bluetooth version: Qualcomm QCC3034 5.0 chip
Decoder IC:pCM5102 decoding
Bluetooth support: CRS8675-SBC/AAC/APTX/APTX-LL/APTX-HD 16-24Bit 44.1Hz-48Khz
USB decoding: 16Bit-48Khz
Frequency response: 20Hz-20Khz
Input power: AC100-240 50/Hz
Operational amplifier: NE5532
Signal to noise ratio: (SNR)> 111dB
Impedance: 4-8Ω
Quiescent current: 60mA
Work efficiency:.>90%
Output Power:
315W/4Ω, distortion 10%
185W/8Ω, distortion 10%
260W/4Ω, distortion 1%
150W/8Ω, distortion 1%
Product size: 101*93*184mm
 
Last edited:

phoenixdogfan

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So happy to see you back in action. :D

I recently bought the Aiyima A07 to drive a Kef HTC 3005 SE, I recently purchase for my small bedroom sized home theater. And yes. Aiyima, as far as I can tell, does indeed deliver the goods. I was just looking for a way to add a center channel to what was my Kef LS 50 Meta based 4.1 home theater, and a late model 2009 vintage Kef home theater center and the Aiyima provided me with a way to do something that seems to fit right in with my pricier gear for around $200 for speaker, stand and amp together.
 

Tangband

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I can recommend the LM4562 instead of 5532 , the sound ( and measurements ) gets a bit better . Audiophonics is a good dealer .
 

Toku

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Note: There is a long 64 page ASR thread titled "Which TPA3255 amp do you recommend?" [LINK] that was started I September, 2019. Although I have not tried other TPA3255 amplifiers, this is the one that I now own and recommend highly based on its excellent performance and features that are perfect for my requirements.
=================================================================================​

View attachment 214342
My previous desktop amp was an I.AM.D. v200, based on the TI TAS5614LA chip, which is rated for [email protected]Ω/[email protected]Ω. It is one of the tiny modern amplifiers with a coarse LED display (which was losing pixels), and an external brick power supply. It also had a tiny remote control which is not useful when you are sitting at a desk with your hand inches away from the amp. So that makes the lack of a remote for the Aiyima A08 is not an issue for me, although the lack of a remote would make it less convenient for living room systems where you sit out of reach of your amplifier. The I.AM.D v200 was so small with such a tiny volume knob that I could barely grip it, and my fingers hit the desktop when turning it.

Sound-wise, the I.AM.D v200 was o.k., so I made the "upgrade" to the Aiyima A08 based mostly on the feature set. However the I.AM.D. v200 never reached the "so loud it hurt my ears" like the Aiyima A08 can do - in spite of similar power output ratings (which have not been verified by independent testing).

I purchased my Aiyima A08 from Amazon for $170, although it costs less at some AliExpress stores in China. The A08 weighs 3.31 pounds (1.49 kg), so with the internal power supply, it is quite a bit heavier than the typical mini-amps that use the TPA3255 or similar amplifier chips and external power bricks. Rather then looking and feeling like a miniaturized traditional SS amplifier, it is more like a standard size traditional SS amp with the left and right sides cut off. Since it is my desktop/computer amplifier, I wanted to put it under my HP 24" monitor, but the Aiyima was a little too tall. So I made a 1/2" riser to lift the monitor up a bit. I am right-handed, and the larger volume knob is conveniently located right above the top right corner of my keyboard, and only a couple of inches from my trackball (which I prefer for general use rather than a mouse).

Because I am aware that properly engineered and manufactured low distortion amplifiers should sound the same when used within their limits, I did not expect the Aiyima to be able to drive my Q Acoustics 3010 loudspeakers to such deafening levels without audible distortion. From an ASR post by @Tangband "On the Swedish forum faktiskt.io they have checked the voltage of that amplifiers power supply and its 36 V 9.6 A . That gives about 2*150 watt at 4 ohms, 1 % distortion)". Based on the below graph fro the TI spec sheets, the Aiyima A08 should produce a little less output power than the Swedish forum post stated, and about the same output as my little I.AM.D v200, which is [email protected]Ω/[email protected]Ω. I will never know for sure, because I expect @amirm to get an Aiyima A08 to evaluate, but the old I.AM,D v200 will very likely never be tested at ASR.

I have seen posts about the current rating of brick power supplies limiting the output of chip amps, and I might start another thread to ask the experts and learn more about the relationship between power supply voltage, current, and how they interact with amplifier output. Without searching for info, it seems to me that the 36v/9.6a rating of the Aiyima A08 internal power supply is high enough to product a robust output. It is also the max that I have seen recommended to avoid stressing and or overheating an amplifier when it is used to listen at high volume with low efficiency loudspeakers.

Bottom line:
- I like my Aiyima A08 amplifier and highly recommend it as a desktop amplifier.
- It has no tweeter hiss that I can hear with volume at max
- The Aiyima A08 can drive my Q Acoustics loudspeakers to deafening levels with no audible distortion
- Bluetooth input is not useful to me, but may be for others
- USB + RCA are the "hardware" inputs, but I don't use Coaxial or optical on my desktop
- Since I only use the USB input, having the USB/RCA source switch on the back or the amplifier is not an issue for me.
- The Aiyima A08 would have a broader potential user market if it had a line-level subwoofer output.
--------------------------------------------
Below are the Aiyima specs.
What I am most concerned about with such products is the pop noise that occurs when the power switch is turned on and off. Do you actually use it and get pop noise? Is it completely silent? Please give me advice.
 
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Xulonn

Xulonn

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What I am most concerned about with such products is the pop noise that occurs when the power switch is turned on and off. Do you actually use it and get pop noise? Is it completely silent? Please give me advice.
My A08 is dead silent with no on/off noise. Just now, with no music playing, I cranked the volume control to max and turned the amplifier off and on a couple of times - zero noise.

The only quirk I ran into is that the USB connection, which is seen by my Windows 11 Intel NUC8i7 PC as "QCC3034", disables my PC's internal microphone. When I plug the USB cable into my PC, the A08 not only takes over the PC audio output - as it should - but it also connects as a phantom default audio input device (microphone), thereby disabling the PC's internal microphone. I discovered this bug when trying to call my USA bank from Panamá with Skype. All I had to do to fix it was to go into Windows devices settings for sound, disable the QCC3034 microphone, and re-set the internal microphone (Microsoft Array) as the default.

I am really happy with this amplifier and recommend it highly.

The only competition I see for it anywhere is the Audiophonics TPA S100, which is another TPA3255 amplifier with the same minimalist feature set as the Aiyima A08. However, the !50/180 euro Audiophonics amp (image below) has the amplifier board and the internal power supply board side-by-side, rather than stacked, so the form-factor is low-profile rectangle rather than a taller square profile like the A08. The Audiophonics amp also has a front panel LED display. Simce @amirm apparently told Aiyima that he was not interested measuring/reviewing the Aiyima 08 after measuring the A07, I wish he could measure and review the Audiophonics TPA-S100. It is the only basic TPA3255 amplifier with a traditional low-profile form-factor and internal power supply that I am aware of. Although I prefer the narrow Aiyima A08 for my desktop, I could easily live with the Audiophonics TPA-S100 as a main amplifier for a system in a small room that used small speakers and a powered subwoofer. It's small, enegy-efficient, quiet, powerful - and no external power brick!

Audiophonics TPA S100 - TPA3255 Amplifier.jpg
 
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My A08 is dead silent with no on/off noise. Just now, with no music playing, I cranked the volume control to max and turned the amplifier off and on a couple of times - zero noise.

The only quirk I ran into is that the USB connection, which is seen by my Windows 11 Intel NUC8i7 PC as "QCC3034", disables my PC's internal microphone. When I plug the USB cable into my PC, the A08 not only takes over the PC audio output - as it should - but it also connects as a phantom default audio input device (microphone), thereby disabling the PC's internal microphone. I discovered this bug when trying to call my USA bank from Panamá with Skype. All I had to do to fix it was to go into Windows devices settings for sound, disable the QCC3034 microphone, and re-set the internal microphone (Microsoft Array) as the default.

I am really happy with this amplifier and recommend it highly.

The only competition I see for it anywhere is the Audiophonics TPA S100, which is another TPA3255 amplifier with the same minimalist feature set as the Aiyima A08. However, the !50/180 euro Audiophonics amp (image below) has the amplifier board and the internal power supply board side-by-side, rather than stacked, so the form-factor is low-profile rectangle rather than a taller square profile like the A08. The Audiophonics amp also has a front panel LED display. Simce @amirm apparently told Aiyima that he was not interested measuring/reviewing the Aiyima 08 after measuring the A07, I wish he could measure and review the Audiophonics TPA-S100. It is the only basic TPA3255 amplifier with a traditional low-profile form-factor and internal power supply that I am aware of. Although I prefer the narrow Aiyima A08 for my desktop, I could easily live with the Audiophonics TPA-S100 as a main amplifier for a system in a small room that used small speakers and a powered subwoofer. It's small, enegy-efficient, quiet, powerful - and no external power brick!

Hi, are you still liking the amp? I'm considering pulling the trigger on one. How is the bluetooth range? I'd use it with an android phone over bluetooth.
 
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Xulonn

Xulonn

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Hi, are you still liking the amp?
Yes, very much. Plenty of power to drive my little Q-Acoustic 3020 desktop speakers to deafening levels with no breakup or other audible distortion. I haven't tried Bluetooth, because the amp sits below my monitor and is connected to my adjacent Intel NUC PC via USB.

The internal DAC and/or USB implementation has an issue, because there is about a one second delay between the time an audio stream - like my mail notification - begins, and the sound starts coming from the speakers, but I'm living with that, because it doesn't affect playing MP3's from my library.

When I plugged my USB cable into my PC, Windows 11 apparently saw it as an sound device AND a microphone, an issue that mentioned in my previous post.

Windows also sees the Aiyima DAC as a 16Gb flash drive - which it is not - and assigns the next available Drive letter to it, which is "E:" in my case. The USB device ID is "QCC3034". So, we have an excellent little amplifier with a really sloppy USB implementation.

As a former Windows support professional, it was easy for me to reset the default microphone, but for many less experienced and knowledgeable Windows users, that could be a problem.

Although I like the amplifier, the USB/DAC issues/idiosyncrasies will be a big negative for many people.

(I am curious as to whether the Audiophonics version that I mentioned above has similar issues. If not, It would be a better choice for a TPA3255 DAC/AMP with an internal power supply.)
 
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Thanks for the reply. I ended up finding a used yamaha receiver for now. Still will probably pick a small class d in the future.
 
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Xulonn

Xulonn

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Cross-posted from @amirm 's review of the Aiyima A200 - the replacement for this amplifier...

I own the Aiyima A08 and although I will keep it, I no longer recommend it as a desktop Amp/DAC to be used with a computer unless you use a separate USB DAC. I suggest awareness of a possible similar problem with the Aiyima A200 BT Amp/DAC until its USB function can be scrutinized and tested to see if it uses the same problematic USB/Bluetooth hybrid DAC implementation - and not a proper discrete internal USB DAC.

I am currently using my older SMSL Sanskrit 6th DAC to convert my PC's USB audio out and feed it to the A08 via RCA interconnects. That configuration works great and sounds great. I also have both Apple and Meizu USB C dongle DACs on the way, and either of those should simplify my system and retain the good performance. It will be nice to replace the much more complicated solution of the SMSL DAC with its wall-wart PS, DAC-in-a-box metal case, and AC, DC and USB cabling. Using a USB C dongle gets rid of some desktop clutter, and is basically like a single cable from the PC to the amplifier with a lump (DAC) and a Y-splitter to two RCA connectors along the way.
It seems it is the successor of the A08, would be interesting to see what their differences are as the chipsets seem to be the same and the A08 is stated at their website with higher SNR:

The A200's USB input is realized using the D/A conversion function in the qcc3034 BT module. There is no dedicated DAC for USB input. So USB input performance will be the same as BT.

I still consider the A08 to be an excellent desktop amplifier, but the USB implementation really sucks. The comment by @Toku explains why. Although the sound quality from the amplifier is good, when used as a desktop sound system for a PC (mine is an Intel NUC8BEH running Windows 11) there is always a lag after the PC plays a sound and the speakers start to react and the sound becomes audible. Also, when playing videos and skipping back and forth with the mouse or shortcut keys, sometimes the sound stops and the video continues to play, and I have to jump back and forth before the the sound randomly returns - and sometimes it doesn't return.

Below is an image of the clean USB implementation of the SMSL Sanskrit 6th DAC (top 3 rows) vs the messy USB implementation of the Aiyima A08 (next 6 rows). Windows 11 also sees the Aiyima implementation as a 32Gb USB mass storage device - which it isn't - and assigns it a drive letter. And the Aiyima does not provide a "Device Name" which makes it difficult for many people to identify when looking at a list of connected USB devices on their PC. Sloppy design.

I have also seen an identical looking TPA3255 amplifier from Weilang/Breeze at Aliexpress called the "Breeze BRZHIFI TPA3255 Bluetooth 5.0 high-power fever vertical digital power amplifier 300WX2". So my question is, does Aiyima really have engineers and designers like Topping and SMSL? Or are they buying and re-labeling generic Chinese commodity products?


View attachment 229567
 
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Snix

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Cross-posted from @amirm 's review of the Aiyima A200 - the replacement for this amplifier...

I own the Aiyima A08 and although I will keep it, I no longer recommend it as a desktop Amp/DAC to be used with a computer unless you use a separate USB DAC. I suggest awareness of a possible similar problem with the Aiyima A200 BT Amp/DAC until its USB function can be scrutinized and tested to see if it uses the same problematic USB/Bluetooth hybrid DAC implementation - and not a proper discrete internal USB DAC.

Hi,
Thank you for pointing out the issues regarding the USB.
This is why I don't use USB to connect all-in-one Chi-fi anymore.
(I had a weird driver problem and when it worked, it didn't even sound that good.)

By the way about "simplicity", I'm not sure about your Intel NUC unit but I think PC internal sound quality really improved quite a lot these past few years. In my case, I realized that when I took off my self-proclaimed-snobby-audiophile hat off, I actually could enjoy day-to-day contents (Youtube video, Youtube music) from 3.5mm audio output easily :)
 
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