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Topping A50s Headphone Amplifier Review

blanc

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It seems strange to me that:



A50s = SE input + BAL amplifier

L50 = SE+BAL input + SE amplifier



Why aren’t they consistant?
 

Cidious

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It seems strange to me that:



A50s = SE input + BAL amplifier

L50 = SE+BAL input + SE amplifier



Why aren’t they consistant?
SKU diversification for different scenarios. More products. More confusion. Bigger market reach etc etc etc.
 

blanc

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Does A50 have enough power to drive open back hps such as Hifiman Edition XS in balanced mode? Is it a good pairing?
 

Caktuz

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Just received the a50s+d50s combo. It's a very nice set of equipment
but one thing that is annoying me is sound coming from the amp
when the knob is turned all the way down. I have to set the dac to -20db for the amp to be mute.
Has anyone run in to the same problem?
 

yavormoskov

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Just received the a50s+d50s combo. It's a very nice set of equipment
but one thing that is annoying me is sound coming from the amp
when the knob is turned all the way down. I have to set the dac to -20db for the amp to be mute.
Has anyone run in to the same problem?
Not at all. All is good with my combo.
 

RHO

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Just received the a50s+d50s combo. It's a very nice set of equipment
but one thing that is annoying me is sound coming from the amp
when the knob is turned all the way down. I have to set the dac to -20db for the amp to be mute.
Has anyone run in to the same problem?
Feeding my A50s with a DX3 pro. No issues with noise from the amp.
 

eboleyn

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Just received the a50s+d50s combo. It's a very nice set of equipment
but one thing that is annoying me is sound coming from the amp
when the knob is turned all the way down. I have to set the dac to -20db for the amp to be mute.
Has anyone run in to the same problem?
This is often a problem for super-sensitive headphones/IEMs. For my Shure SE-846 IEMs indeed I have to decrease the input level to get best use out of the A50s volume knob. The negative gain range offered by the volume knob is not huge.
 

Berwhale

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Just received the a50s+d50s combo. It's a very nice set of equipment
but one thing that is annoying me is sound coming from the amp
when the knob is turned all the way down. I have to set the dac to -20db for the amp to be mute.
Has anyone run in to the same problem?

What is the DAC connected to?
Is the Amp connected to anything else apart from headphones? (i.e. active speakers or another amp for passive speakers)
 

usern

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Just received the a50s+d50s combo. It's a very nice set of equipment
but one thing that is annoying me is sound coming from the amp
when the knob is turned all the way down. I have to set the dac to -20db for the amp to be mute.
Has anyone run in to the same problem?
It's the same for my A30pro + D30pro with sensitive headphones. Even at low gain min volume can still hear a little something. Does not bother me though.
 

Caktuz

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Thanks guys I guess it's not a problem. I was little worried it had a bad pot. Yes it's much more noticeable with sensitive EIM's
 

skiiver

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Wondering if you all can help me because APOS support and I are stuck. I paired a A50s with a E30 DAC and P50 power supply and 4.4mm output on the A50s is faulty. Uncomfortably loud POP from the headphones when I plug in via pentacon cable, with really distorted sound during playback. 1/4" SE output works great. I use Hart audio cables. My first thought was a bad Hart 4.4mm cable interconnect, so I bought a 4.4mm adapter for an XLR interconnect that works great on another amp, and same result. This led me to conclude there was some problem with the 4.4mm out on the a50s. Sent it back to APOS for an exchange. Waited and waited. Finally got word back that they tested it and it works fine, but I didn't receive any other detail about what they tested or how they tested it.
Really belated reply on this, but I just had this exact same experience. And I think 2 instances means this is a warning for the balanced out on the A50s.

I have the A50S/D50/P50 stack, and it was perfect as my desk setup since Jun'22. Over the holidays, I did an office desk clean up/reorg and moved the stack from one side of my desk to the other. When I plugged everything back in (same plugs, same wall outlet), I got a huge POP in my Senn 6xx's Left ear. Loud enough that I smacked the senn's off my head into my monitor. I thought i did something stupid like have music playing or the volume way up already. Nothing of the sort though. Nothing coming into the DAC and the volume was Zero'd out. It did play music afterward, but it was highly distorted, like fading the balance far right.

I also use Hart Audio cables for my Senn 6xx, and had been doing so without incident for quite some time. But maybe it was shorted inside? I have another mobile version of the 4.4 connector though, so I tried that. Same pop, audible without the headphones on my ears this time, and same distorted playing when the music came on (like balance was faded to the right). Swapping the 4.4 balanced pigtail for the ¼" Hart cable though works fine: No pop, no faded balanced (can't tell if there's any subtle damage to the headphone yet but that pop couldn't have been painless).

So I did more of a gamble. Used a Focal balanced 4.4 > dual 3.5mm cable from a no-name amazon store on my Elex's....same POP (left ear). Maybe not a great idea but I kinda want an excuse to upgrade my Focal Opens anyway ;-). But it also adds more evidence that it's not a Hart or aftermarket cable problem. (Not to mention I had 6mos of flawless usage with the Hart 4.4mm connectors, swapping between 2 Focal's and 2 Senns with zero problems that entire time)

Finally I tried the A50 w/o the P50, using the supplied 15V wall wart. SAME POP. So, it's a good looking desk setup and served me nicely for 6 mos, but it's scared me off of plugging anything into a Topping now.
 

eboleyn

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Really belated reply on this, but I just had this exact same experience. And I think 2 instances means this is a warning for the balanced out on the A50s.

I have the A50S/D50/P50 stack, and it was perfect as my desk setup since Jun'22. Over the holidays, I did an office desk clean up/reorg and moved the stack from one side of my desk to the other. When I plugged everything back in (same plugs, same wall outlet), I got a huge POP in my Senn 6xx's Left ear. Loud enough that I smacked the senn's off my head into my monitor. I thought i did something stupid like have music playing or the volume way up already. Nothing of the sort though. Nothing coming into the DAC and the volume was Zero'd out. It did play music afterward, but it was highly distorted, like fading the balance far right.

I also use Hart Audio cables for my Senn 6xx, and had been doing so without incident for quite some time. But maybe it was shorted inside? I have another mobile version of the 4.4 connector though, so I tried that. Same pop, audible without the headphones on my ears this time, and same distorted playing when the music came on (like balance was faded to the right). Swapping the 4.4 balanced pigtail for the ¼" Hart cable though works fine: No pop, no faded balanced (can't tell if there's any subtle damage to the headphone yet but that pop couldn't have been painless).

So I did more of a gamble. Used a Focal balanced 4.4 > dual 3.5mm cable from a no-name amazon store on my Elex's....same POP (left ear). Maybe not a great idea but I kinda want an excuse to upgrade my Focal Opens anyway ;-). But it also adds more evidence that it's not a Hart or aftermarket cable problem. (Not to mention I had 6mos of flawless usage with the Hart 4.4mm connectors, swapping between 2 Focal's and 2 Senns with zero problems that entire time)

Finally I tried the A50 w/o the P50, using the supplied 15V wall wart. SAME POP. So, it's a good looking desk setup and served me nicely for 6 mos, but it's scared me off of plugging anything into a Topping now.
I've had an A50s for some time, and never had a big "POP" in my ear with it. There were times that I had issues with a 4.4mm (Pentaconn) -> 4-pin XLR converter, due to slightly finicky connections, but unplugging/replugging has always resolved the issue.

If you're consistently getting bad audio out of one of the ears at this point yet still able to hear something, it kind of sounds like one of the halves of the balanced output amp is fried.
 

skiiver

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I've had an A50s for some time, and never had a big "POP" in my ear with it. There were times that I had issues with a 4.4mm (Pentaconn) -> 4-pin XLR converter, due to slightly finicky connections, but unplugging/replugging has always resolved the issue.
Yeah this is consistent and persists regardless of what cable craziness I try. I know this is ASR so I can only truly rule out the cables if I get a multimeter out, but the fact that the pop persists across brands and styles of connectors, added to the fact that it worked fine with all of those connectors for 6mos, leans hard toward "bad 4.4mm socket" with Topping at fault.

Really wish just a few jiggles or unplug/replug did fix it. Was a very nice little desk stack otherwise
 

Berwhale

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Yeah this is consistent and persists regardless of what cable craziness I try. I know this is ASR so I can only truly rule out the cables if I get a multimeter out, but the fact that the pop persists across brands and styles of connectors, added to the fact that it worked fine with all of those connectors for 6mos, leans hard toward "bad 4.4mm socket" with Topping at fault.

Really wish just a few jiggles or unplug/replug did fix it. Was a very nice little desk stack otherwise

I had some crackling on the Pentaconn socket on one of my A50s (but never the other). I cleaned the socket by gently inserting a cotton bud with some isopropyl alcohol on it and it solved the issue.
 

skiiver

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I had some crackling on the Pentaconn socket on one of my A50s (but never the other). I cleaned the socket by gently inserting a cotton bud with some isopropyl alcohol on it and it solved the issue.
Interesting. Mine has no crackling but only a very loud pop when plugging in (or when turning on if you leave the 4.4 plugged in...even with the volume zero'd)
 

TimF

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I bought an Topping A50s. Output power isn't an issue for me. It drives every headphone I have way more than I need. I may put a small rubber band around the volume knob to make it easier to grasp and turn. I am beginning to like the small form factor of modern equipment. I wonder if some day we will have small telephones we could put into a pocket or small computers we could take to and from the office.
 

B00tySalads

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On paper this just looks weaker than the L50, what would make this more expensive/produce better sound quality?
 

Berwhale

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On paper this just looks weaker than the L50, what would make this more expensive/produce better sound quality?

The A50s is an older model than the L50. I think i'm correct in saying that the A50s was the first device with Topping's NFCA amplifier design. There is not a lot of reason to get the A50s over the L50 unless you want the nicer machined aluminium case or want to match it visually with other devices in the x50 range like the D50/D50s DACs, M50 streamer or P50 Linear PSU.

I would certainly buy the L50 over the A50s today as it has balanced inputs. I had to retire my x50s stack to secondary duties after encountering a ground loop when I introduced monitors into my setup with an earthed power connection (it wasn't the A50s fault, there's always a risk of ground loops with single ended connections).
 
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