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Topping A90 Discrete Review (Headphone Amp & Preamp)

Rate this Headphone Amp/Pre-amp

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 12 3.5%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 12 3.5%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 58 16.9%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 261 76.1%

  • Total voters
    343

staticV3

Major Contributor
Joined
Aug 29, 2019
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That's it! It's button B of the A90D that changes everything. It says invalid button on the documentation but actually it changes A LOT the volume setting it to 1.
Mybe you're turning the "Safe volume mode" on and off?
Screenshot 2022-11-17 143910.png
 

metasharp

Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2022
Messages
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20
No button B seems to switch the volume scale.
Mode 1 gives the max.
Mode 2 less
...
Mode 5 the least

Now the problem that i have left is distorsion using RCA mostly.
I'll retry with/without ground loop button.
 

bearcatsandor

Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2020
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With regards to the safe volume setting and adjustable volume scale, do all of the recent, applicable Topping devices (L70, DX5) have those capabilites in the firmware, or just the A90D?
 

August

Active Member
Joined
May 4, 2019
Messages
162
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211
No button B seems to switch the volume scale.
Mode 1 gives the max.
Mode 2 less
...
Mode 5 the least

Now the problem that i have left is distorsion using RCA mostly.
I'll retry with/without ground loop button.
This is a new feature added by topping after listening to user suggestions. A detailed explanation is in the link.
 

metasharp

Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2022
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You can't imagine how I moved from night to day today... I was able to return my Stealth + DAC + both Amps.
And now I can't stop being awed song after song.

To make it shine my advice is :
- Windows volume doesn't matter (it's ignored)
- SMSL DAC USB Driver on windows
- selected windows device : SMSL USB DAC
- foobar output : primary sound driver
- foobar volume @ 0db (max)
- SU-9 Pro @ -6db to remove RCA & DSP distorsions
- A90D (button B) in either Volume Curve 1 or 2 with High gain
- A90D custom C1 for headphone only, custom C2 for loudspeakers only
- LA90 AB @ 50% volume

Tears are close!

@amirm Thanks for the tests. Helped a lot to narrow flagship hardware for a bargain!
Got my whole setup for about 6000€ during chinese black friday (excluding my loudspeakers).
 

Haruko

Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2021
Messages
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107
What difference does it make that the A90 descrete is fully balanced? I know it gives you a little more power, but is there any sonic or other benefit to it?
i may have faulty unit but balanced sounds completely different to unbalanced output... (on A90D)... Balanced sounds a bit more mid forward (not mid as in frequency but mid as in mid-side staging) Unbalanced sounds more wide and far away. I prefer unbalanced output
 

metasharp

Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2022
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Yes it is.
 

808lab

Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2022
Messages
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5
Update: exchanged the A90 for the A90d. No hissing regardless of how I set the ground lift switch. ‍♂️
Can't notice any difference in sound quality.
After all these days still can’t find any difference?
People online says that with planar headphones the Discrete amplifiers are way better,so,really no difference in sound with the “normal” A90?
 

Gggggas

Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2018
Messages
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17
After all these days still can’t find any difference?
People online says that with planar headphones the Discrete amplifiers are way better,so,really no difference in sound with the “normal” A90?
I personally noticed differences immediately after plugging my LCD-Xs, imo the bass quality and quantity is greatly improved. It is a lot fuller and punchier, vocals are warmer and on the treble department it is smoother in a good way (while maintaining all the details) since the sibilants are way better sounding.
Unfortunately I did not have much time to spend on the A90D since it is being tuned now by Topping so in the meantime I'm back to the A90.
 

808lab

Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2022
Messages
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5
I personally noticed differences immediately after plugging my LCD-Xs, imo the bass quality and quantity is greatly improved. It is a lot fuller and punchier, vocals are warmer and on the treble department it is smoother in a good way (while maintaining all the details) since the sibilants are way better sounding.
Unfortunately I did not have much time to spend on the A90D since it is being tuned now by Topping so in the meantime I'm back to the A90.
Thanks for the reply,i see many people talk about discrete circuit like a giant step up in terms of quality,but in the meantime i read about people like you who can’t find difference from A90D and A90,i’m so curious about it,i really want to try them both with my Audeze
 

Gggggas

Member
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Nov 23, 2018
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Thanks for the reply,i see many people talk about discrete circuit like a giant step up in terms of quality,but in the meantime i read about people like you who can’t find difference from A90D and A90,i’m so curious about it,i really want to try them both with my Audeze
I'm not being negative but I honestly struggle to understand how some users don't notice the changes. To me it was a striking difference especially on the lower frequencies, it is clearly an upgrade to the original A90 plus I absolutely love the new look with that screen and the clicky volume knob.
 

808lab

Member
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Nov 17, 2022
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I'm not being negative but I honestly struggle to understand how some users don't notice the changes. To me it was a striking difference especially on the lower frequencies, it is clearly an upgrade to the original A90 plus I absolutely love the new look with that screen and the clicky volume knob.
I know,it’s strange that difference in sound by user from user,anyway,do you think that the D30 Pro can be a good dac for the A90Discrete?
 

metasharp

Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2022
Messages
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Last edited:

808lab

Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2022
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I don't own a regular A90 but I doubt there's much difference. Do the measures locate any differences in the hearing range? Hmmmm?
A90 : https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...topping-a90-headphone-amplifier-review.13592/
A90 Discrete : https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...0-discrete-review-headphone-amp-preamp.35114/
In fact, if any, the A90 is performing better than the A90 on the paper. The A90 Discrete is more userfriendly however.
Many people says incredible things about the discrete circuit
 

metasharp

Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2022
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incredible :)
 

bearcatsandor

Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2020
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Are you suggesting that the A90D will sound better than the L70 and A90 *because* the circuit is discreet? If so, why would that be?
 

808lab

Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2022
Messages
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Are you suggesting that the A90D will sound better than the L70 and A90 *because* the circuit is discreet? If so, why would that be?
This is the mistery of the life :D
Audiophiles sustain that but any concrete proof about that,i will try to compare them by myself
 
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