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Topping A90 Discrete Review (Headphone Amp & Preamp)

Rate this Headphone Amp/Pre-amp

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 11 3.8%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 9 3.1%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 50 17.1%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 223 76.1%

  • Total voters
    293

tritopia

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Apr 30, 2022
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Between the new A90 discrete and the regular A90 whic hsi the better option? Would it be worth it to pay extra for the a90d?

Advantages of the A90D in terms of my use case...

* Built-in better preamp (Same as Pre90...)
* A better way to mount a volume
* Built-in 12V trigger (I am using an LA90 power amp that supports this function)
* Remote control support
* Input device expandable
 

majingotan

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Guys what exactly is the difference between volume pot control and a ladder relay type thingy? Which is better and which does the A90d have? Also does the d90se çome with a remote?

Resistor ladder Relay gives superior channel balance at the lowest volumes (great for very sensitive IEMs) while traditional volume pot has infinite volume "steps". A90D has that resistor ladder relay while the A90 has the regular volume pot. The only time I see A90D being better than A90 is when you primarily use very sensitive IEMs like the one I have on my profile pic. Other than that, there should be no objective difference between the two amps
 
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Advantages of the A90D in terms of my use case...

* Built-in better preamp (Same as Pre90...)
* A better way to mount a volume
* Built-in 12V trigger (I am using an LA90 power amp that supports this function)
* Remote control support
* Input device expandable
Oh. So can I use the a90d with both headphones and a powered speakers connected? If so how do I switch between them?

What exactly is a 12V trigger?

What do you mean by input device expandable?
 
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Resistor ladder Relay gives superior channel balance at the lowest volumes (great for very sensitive IEMs) while traditional volume pot has infinite volume "steps". A90D has that resistor ladder relay while the A90 has the regular volume pot. The only time I see A90D being better than A90 is when you primarily use very sensitive IEMs like the one I have on my profile pic. Other than that, there should be no objective difference between the two amps
Btw is the noise floor on the a90d low enough for super sensitive iems?
 

majingotan

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Btw is the noise floor on the a90d low enough for super sensitive iems?

It's not the noise floor that causes the issue but channel imbalance rather. At low volume pot position i.e. 7-8 o'clock, A90 may exhibit channel imbalance (since very sensitive IEMs will be reasonably loud at those pot position even at low gain). A90D will have zero channel imbalance issues at any pot position. BTW, the only volume pot I've demoed with absolute zero channel imbalance at any volume position (pretty much closest to relay stepped attenuator performance without the step limitation) so far is the Alps RK50 4 gang pot implemented on Sony DMP Z1 and Blue Hawaii SE

IMG_1684.JPG
 
Last edited:
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It's not the noise floor that causes the issue but channel imbalance rather. At low volume pot position i.e. 7-8 o'clock, A90 may exhibit channel imbalance (since very sensitive IEMs will be reasonably loud at those pot position even at low gain). A90D will have zero channel imbalance issues at any pot position
Oh. But I heard that for some super powerful Amps u will hear noise or crackling at very low volumes? Does this happen on the discrete?
 

majingotan

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Oh. But I heard that for some super powerful Amps u will hear noise or crackling at very low volumes? Does this happen on the discrete?

Only if noise floor and distortion performance at 50 mV is very poor. A90D should NOT make any electrical noises or hiss with extremely sensitive IEMs.
 

tritopia

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Apr 30, 2022
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Oh. So can I use the a90d with both headphones and a powered speakers connected? If so how do I switch between them?

What exactly is a 12V trigger?

What do you mean by input device expandable?
* Oh. So can I use the a90d with both headphones and a powered speakers connected? If so how do I switch between them?

"Just select the 'Pre+HPA' mode with the remote control."

* What exactly is a 12V trigger?

"This is a terminal for interlocking power on/off between devices that support this terminal.
I'm using an LA90 power amp, which also supports 12V triggers. Two devices can be linked with this jack."

* What do you mean by input device expandable?

"Can connect more source devices using the EXT90 sold by Topping. It was a function supported by Pre90, but it is also supported in this A90D."
 
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* Oh. So can I use the a90d with both headphones and a powered speakers connected? If so how do I switch between them?

"Just select the 'Pre+HPA' mode with the remote control."

* What exactly is a 12V trigger?

"This is a terminal for interlocking power on/off between devices that support this terminal.
I'm using an LA90 power amp, which also supports 12V triggers. Two devices can be linked with this jack."

* What do you mean by input device expandable?

"Can connect more source devices using the EXT90 sold by Topping. It was a function supported by Pre90, but it is also supported in this A90D."
Btw what exactly does interlocking power mean and what is it's use?
 

Trell

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Also guys is there a dad/amp to which u can input an autoeq profile?

The RME ADI-2 DAC FS has onboard EQ, and I use that for my headphones.

 

Matias

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Between the new A90 discrete and the regular A90 whic hsi the better option? Would it be worth it to pay extra for the a90d?
Here is a chart comparing both.

 

Arnas

Member
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Nov 9, 2020
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This is totally wrong point of view. All features of the device should be usable withouth Remote. A90D has digital gain switch therefore it is easy to make it work by using volume knob/button. My child broke remote for topping D70s and it would be really bad if I've had to wait 3 weeks jut to be able to completely control my device. So this is a deal breaker for me.
Maybe Topping will enable this feature by some firmware update because if remote can do it, volume knob certanly can do it.
You have to send unit if switches instead of remote were destroyed instead too...
That is not problem of manufacturer.
 

odyo

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Oct 30, 2019
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I rarely give great golfing panther but this one deserves it. Nice product. Too expensive for me though. SP400 killer maybe ?

Update the A30 pro with this display and volume control please.
 
Last edited:

nagster

Active Member
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Jan 24, 2021
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Guys what exactly is the difference between volume pot control and a ladder relay type thingy? Which is better and which does the A90d have? Also does the d90se çome with a remote?
The difference in measurement is that the relay type generally has less channel imbalance.
TOPPING A90, Pre90 and SONY DMP-Z1 Channel imbalance vs. Volume position graph.

a90_pre90_dmpz1.jpg
 

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tritopia

Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2022
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Btw what exactly does interlocking power mean and what is it's use?

The amp I use - the topping LA90 does not support remote control. However, if you link the 12V trigger on the back of the device with other devices, you can turn the power on/off with the remote control of other devices.

I don't know yet whether it only supports power on/off, or if other functions can be operated with the remote control.

Perhaps we will know the result when the A90D arrives next week.
 

S34MH1

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Apr 3, 2019
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xema

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Dec 1, 2019
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It's disappointing that it's $100 more expensive than its predecessor, but we're excited about the new performance. Order complete!
$100 is very worth for the relay + LED volume and remote control
 
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