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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

enricoclaudio

Senior Member
Manufacturer
Joined
Jan 7, 2021
Messages
499
Likes
784

Snoopy

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Jul 19, 2021
Messages
747
Likes
411
Just got my A90D delivered. It came with Firmware 2.3 already and after connecting it to my Mac Studio with a USB-C to USB-A cable, the firmware drive came up on my desktop immediately. Sound is as good as my A90. Can't really hear any difference with my Sennheiser 660s or with my Sundaras. I have it set it up in High gain and volume at 65 is plenty loud for me. This is really the perfect companion for my Matrix Audio X-SABRE 3 ;)

View attachment 222324
Isnt the sabre3 and the A90D a bit overkill for these headphones or do U have other headphones as well?
 

enricoclaudio

Senior Member
Manufacturer
Joined
Jan 7, 2021
Messages
499
Likes
784
Isnt the sabre3 and the A90D a bit overkill for these headphones or do U have other headphones as well?

Overkill? Not because I own a $3000 DAC/Streamer that means I need to own a $3000 pair of headphones. I used to own a pair of DCA AEON 2 Noires and returned them after 6 months because I found myself listened more with the 660s and Sundaras. I also listen much more with my Dynaudio monitors than with headphones but I do like to own good electronics, and in this case the MA X-SABRE 3 is my favorite DAC/Streamer.
 

nagster

Active Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2021
Messages
250
Likes
396
Input impedance graph and output impedance graph of the A90 Discrete.
I don't have an XLR4 conversion cable so there is no XLR4 output graph.
01_a90d_inimp_xlr.png
02_a90d_inimp_rca.png
 

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Matias

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 1, 2019
Messages
3,468
Likes
6,515
Location
São Paulo, Brazil
 

Madlop26

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
May 2, 2021
Messages
117
Likes
192
Joshua Valor claims a sound difference between the A90 and A90D, hard to believe, he did a blind test to prove it, there is a video , but it was barely scientific to put it mildly.
Anyway I think he is moving to right direction, I guess....
 

registlse

Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2022
Messages
8
Likes
7
Another person compared the two on another forum (Headfi), it says exactly the opposite, the A90D would sound leaner, analytical than the A90... you would have to order both to get an opinion!
 

Zenairis

Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2021
Messages
19
Likes
13
The real question is in these test was the A90 used in High gain or Medium gain vs the A90D's High/Low gain. Most people I know keep their A90 on medium. Where as if I'm using a power hungry set of cans like the Susvara it sounds the most lively on high imo but that's pushing the amp at it's (higher) volume levels.
 

PointyFox

Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2021
Messages
30
Likes
25
Another person compared the two on another forum (Headfi), it says exactly the opposite, the A90D would sound leaner, analytical than the A90... you would have to order both to get an opinion!

Head-Fi seems to be a gathering of a rare type of people who like the sound of distortion in their music.

To them (yes, they've used all these adjectives):

Lack of distortion = bright, sharp, fatiguing, cheap, painful, clinical, and sterile

Distortion = powerful, rich, euphonic, wide, musical, dancing, live, relaxing, syrupy, smooth, and authoritative

The moment anyone suggests they prefer distortion or dare say they like a flaw of the amplifier, they start by defending their own character "I'm a good guy because I think everyone is entitled to like whatever they want" then proceed to attack the character of the other person, calling them an "ASR fanboy", insinuating that measurements have made them blind to the truth, saying that they can't hear, or even that they're just trolling. They will then appeal to others on the forum for support, like "can you believe this troll?", "thank God for the ignore button, amirite?", "your posts belong on ASR, not here", "everyone just mute them", etc.
 

Haruko

Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2021
Messages
82
Likes
93
Joshua Valor claims a sound difference between the A90 and A90D, hard to believe, he did a blind test to prove it, there is a video , but it was barely scientific to put it mildly.
Anyway I think he is moving to right direction, I guess....
idk if there is difference between A90 and A90D but there is difference between balanced and SE output... maybe it's the bad cable but we will find out soon enough (balanced cable is on the way).. Difference is obvious in soundstage .. in balanced Soundstage is much more smaller and singer is more in the face.. (it is not mono tho but very close)
 

mrjayviper

Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2022
Messages
55
Likes
2
anybody flashed the new firmware (version 2.4) yet? feedback?
 

Arnas

Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2020
Messages
76
Likes
94
Head-Fi seems to be a gathering of a rare type of people who like the sound of distortion in their music.

To them (yes, they've used all these adjectives):

Lack of distortion = bright, sharp, fatiguing, cheap, painful, clinical, and sterile

Distortion = powerful, rich, euphonic, wide, musical, dancing, live, relaxing, syrupy, smooth, and authoritative

The moment anyone suggests they prefer distortion or dare say they like a flaw of the amplifier, they start by defending their own character "I'm a good guy because I think everyone is entitled to like whatever they want" then proceed to attack the character of the other person, calling them an "ASR fanboy", insinuating that measurements have made them blind to the truth, saying that they can't hear, or even that they're just trolling. They will then appeal to others on the forum for support, like "can you believe this troll?", "thank God for the ignore button, amirite?", "your posts belong on ASR, not here", "everyone just mute them", etc.
It seems more and more people are not affraid to spit facts and Audiophools are mad for the truth.
I love how the start review and the say: "This cost only 500" so dont expect it to sound as good as units costing 3k.
How u take guys like these serious when main argument is the price.
 

WhyNotHad

Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2022
Messages
25
Likes
14
I was disappointed with the toppings. I am not sure that sending it to China will fix it.
Absolutely, bro

It is so disappointing to consumers that Topping started selling products without checking and resolving this simple error that is difficult to handle by the firmware updates before selling them.

So what's your plan, Topping?
I love Topping's products, but what it has been doing these days makes me hard to love it
 
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WhyNotHad

Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2022
Messages
25
Likes
14
(time line: 9:28)

It's from the review of Joshua's

There is an issue on the Single end of his A90D, and the same goes for mine.

Please check this out

Thanks
 

eyecent

Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2019
Messages
34
Likes
26
Check that your cable isn't shorted.
There is no problem with sa1 and hpa4 brought for comparison. It is a matter of a90d.


I have been bugging toppings since 2.0 firmware. I waited for more than a month, but the only answer that came back was to send the machine to China. Many Korean users, including myself, are experiencing the same problem.
 
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