• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Topping A90 Discrete Review (Headphone Amp & Preamp)

Rate this Headphone Amp/Pre-amp

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 12 3.7%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 10 3.1%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 56 17.3%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 245 75.9%

  • Total voters
    323

PointyFox

Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2021
Messages
30
Likes
25
I'd guess that I wouldn't hear a difference, but I don't have my headphones now to check. My Stealth had a couple issues that DCA is fixing for me.
 

Dogcoop

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 12, 2021
Messages
136
Likes
264
I'd guess that I wouldn't hear a difference, but I don't have my headphones now to check. My Stealth had a couple issues that DCA is fixing for me.
Speedy repairs;)
Sorry that you had a problem!
 

Doodski

Grand Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 9, 2019
Messages
13,693
Likes
13,480
Location
Canada
Thnx for the input. Is it an audible difference, because for the life of me I can’t hear a drawback with high gain. Old ears:)
Cheers
There is about a 10dB difference from ~58dB THD + N Ratio and downwards.
index.php

index.php
 
Last edited:

Dogcoop

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 12, 2021
Messages
136
Likes
264
There is a bout a 10dB difference from ~61.5dB THD + N Ratio and downwards.
index.php

index.php
Thnx!
Is that an audible difference? If it is, I am very disappointed that Topping would recommend high gain with full size headphones.
 

mocenigo

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Dec 8, 2018
Messages
995
Likes
741
Unable to update the firmware on my A90D. I just got my A90D from Apos, and before even connecting wall power I plugged in the the USB-C cable and on THREE computers (two Macs, one Windows) no drive came up. No display. I then wall powered the A90D for a bit, pulled the plug, waited 2 minutes, and same results. I tried three USB-C cables and same results. What am I doing wrong?

Try again through a powered hub.
 

Doodski

Grand Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 9, 2019
Messages
13,693
Likes
13,480
Location
Canada
Thnx!
Is that an audible difference? If it is, I am very disappointed that Topping would recommend high gain with full size headphones.
The amp output is clean enough for IEM's and the 50mV test got good marks too.

Audible is a not-likely situation from the lowest wattage onward.
 

MRC01

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 5, 2019
Messages
2,681
Likes
2,908
Location
Pacific Northwest
Another common reason low gain is preferred is channel balance: most volume knobs have better channel balance in the top (loudest) of the range. However, with the A90 Discrete this is not an issue as it has a stepped attenuator - perfect channel balance at all settings. To me, that alone justifies the extra $ from the A90, the extra power is just icing on that cake.
 

HDavidson

Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2019
Messages
93
Likes
82
Topping has several devices with a preamplifier in its range.

Question: pourquoi n’a-t-il pas sorti un amplificateur de puissance à part entière (sans contrôle du volume) jusqu’à présent?
He has all the competencies for this..
This would be a logical extension..
 
Last edited:

MRC01

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 5, 2019
Messages
2,681
Likes
2,908
Location
Pacific Northwest
Good question. Topping does make power amps, but I don't know why they have volume controls.
Why write the question in French?
 
Joined
Mar 31, 2021
Messages
24
Likes
33
My result.
When I held down the volume knob on the main unit and turned it to the right, the gain switched to "H". Turned it to the left, the gain switched to "L". The firmware is "VER23".
Thank you, happy to see it's a very simple operation.
 

mrjayviper

Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2022
Messages
55
Likes
2
Suggestion for suitable and current production Topping balanced DAC? (Not the d90) thanks
 

enricoclaudio

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Manufacturer
Joined
Jan 7, 2021
Messages
500
Likes
784
Suggestion for suitable and current production Topping balanced DAC? (Not the d90) thanks
D30 Pro or E50. I have an E50 and it’s very reliable.
 

carlcamper

Active Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2020
Messages
117
Likes
139
Location
Cavite, Philippines

enricoclaudio

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Manufacturer
Joined
Jan 7, 2021
Messages
500
Likes
784
My A90D finally will be shipped tomorrow from Headphones.com. For those interested, they got plenty stock and it ships from their warehouse in the US with free FedEx 2 days shipping.

 

dougq

Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2021
Messages
15
Likes
3
It is a direct comparison with the RME. @amirm has said that the RME is his every day dac/amp. When he says he has never seen an amp have such an upper hand that includes the RME. When he says he has not heard the Stealth come to life so well, that includes compared to the RME. What exact comparison are you looking for?
I wanted to touch back on this because the response seems kind of touchy. Is there an audible improvement in dynamics at normal volume levels. Bass response? Anything? Is the difference at any listening levels? Or only when listening loud? Really any kind of comparisons. Is it worth even grabbing this for most use cases in comparison to the RME internal amp?

Reading the review, and then going back and reading the original review statements are kind of high level and vague. I'm looking for a direct comparison if one can be had.
 

carlcamper

Active Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2020
Messages
117
Likes
139
Location
Cavite, Philippines
I wanted to touch back on this because the response seems kind of touchy. Is there an audible improvement in dynamics at normal volume levels. Bass response? Anything? Is the difference at any listening levels? Or only when listening loud? Really any kind of comparisons. Is it worth even grabbing this for most use cases in comparison to the RME internal amp?

Reading the review, and then going back and reading the original review statements are kind of high level and vague. I'm looking for a direct comparison if one can be had.
Im expecting a lot more reviews and comparisons moving forward since these are starting to ship out to the US market.
 

enricoclaudio

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Manufacturer
Joined
Jan 7, 2021
Messages
500
Likes
784
I wanted to touch back on this because the response seems kind of touchy. Is there an audible improvement in dynamics at normal volume levels. Bass response? Anything? Is the difference at any listening levels? Or only when listening loud? Really any kind of comparisons. Is it worth even grabbing this for most use cases in comparison to the RME internal amp?

Reading the review, and then going back and reading the original review statements are kind of high level and vague. I'm looking for a direct comparison if one can be had.
This is the kind of comparison that you have to do yourself. Get the A90D and the RME, listen to both, keep the one you like the most and return the loser back. The most you can lose is the return shipping and maybe a 10% restocking fee.
 
Top Bottom