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Topping A90 Discrete Review (Headphone Amp & Preamp)

Rate this Headphone Amp/Pre-amp

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 9 3.1%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

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

    Votes: 49 17.1%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 220 76.7%

  • Total voters
    287

nyxnyxnyx

Senior Member
Joined
May 22, 2019
Messages
370
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302
It's great but since it share similarities with a90 I guess it won't attract audiophiles alot. Maybe people who wanted an a90 but didn't buy one will see this as the #1 priority.
 

usern

Active Member
Joined
May 31, 2020
Messages
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270
The measurement is very beautiful. But Topping needs to learn Singxer and Gustard, using higher quality components for their products to increase reliability and make it more premium.
You imply that low quality components are used. How do you determine that?
 
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PeteL

Major Contributor
Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
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Amazing. I am looking for a "Preamp" /headphone amp that can mute the line outs when headphones are connected and where volume pot controls the line out levels. Can this do that? @JohnYang1997
 
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seka

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2022
Messages
50
Likes
49
Location
Lyon, France
I'm not much of a headphones user, but the dot design has my attention. Would love to see it reused for a DAC.
 
Joined
Jul 24, 2019
Messages
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35
Location
Japan
You imply that low quality components are used. How do you determine that?
It is not really low quality, but it is not very good. For example, CPLD chip is more expensive and more stronger on Singxer and Gustard's products, Topping does not include high quality of Neutrik connectors, Wima capacitors, high quality capacitors of Nichicon and Matsushita are installed on not only the sound processing circuit but also on the power filter circuit of Singxer and Gustard. For Topping, there have been reports that the solder joints between the potentiometer and the circuit board can easy break, the inappropriate buttons ....
You can easily notice manufacturer's skill with your naked eye.
 
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dsnyder0cnn

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2019
Messages
460
Likes
620
I have the Pre90 + Ext90 now and love it. The A90 Discrete could be an interesting "upgrade", adding excellent headphone output to my room + loudspeakers setup. Trigger connection to an L90 is interesting too, but I'm not looking to change power amps at this time. These products are so cool that it is tempting, though. :)
 

DWI

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Feb 19, 2021
Messages
503
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414
The measurement is very beautiful. But Topping needs to learn Singxer and Gustard, using higher quality components for their products to increase reliability and make it more premium.
I wonder how many of these things they sell. amazon.com shows only 15 reviews for the older A90, which has been listed for 5 years, whereas the $70 Fiio E10K headphone DAC amp for example has almost 5,000 reviews over about 6 years. Look at the tremendous build quality of Cambridge Audio and their AXA25 25w integrated amplifier costs $300, half the price of the A90 discrete. Seems that either Topping have expensive production from low volumes or are making big profit margins on SInad-chasers.
 

GiFi

Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2021
Messages
68
Likes
21
Location
Rome
Yes, the same. And the same basically for the XLR out.
Hi John,
congratulations, great product!
I've a question: wich is the input impedance over the rear XLR?
There are any problems to drive 1,2 kOhm loads?
 
Joined
Jul 24, 2019
Messages
62
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35
Location
Japan
I wonder how many of these things they sell. amazon.com shows only 15 reviews for the older A90, which has been listed for 5 years, whereas the $70 Fiio E10K headphone DAC amp for example has almost 5,000 reviews over about 6 years. Look at the tremendous build quality of Cambridge Audio and their AXA25 25w integrated amplifier costs $300, half the price of the A90 discrete. Seems that either Topping have expensive production from low volumes or are making big profit margins on SInad-chasers.
When the price is almost equal, the measurement on the Audio Precision is almost the same, but the competitor company has better construction quality (at least using more secure components), then users have the right to require Topping to upgrade the reliability of long-term use value in their products. The measurements do not show the reliability of the product when used for a long time.
 

PatentLawyer

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Apr 13, 2021
Messages
252
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418
Location
Deep in the Soundstage
I might be missing it, but any sense for its performance as a preamp via its line level XLR out?
 

muslhead

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
May 28, 2020
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1,138
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1,098
It does the same thing doesn’t it?

It’s very obvious to me that the A90 sales are decreasing and they needed a new product so that reviewers can talk about it all over again and bring sales back up.

If this product makes you wanna throw your A90 in the trash because this one is so much better go ahead, but I personally don’t agree.
This is called excellence in marketing. They make great products and understand, better than most on ASR, the marketing.
Kudos Topping
 

McCluskey

Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2019
Messages
10
Likes
4
Curious how much headroom it has on the input side before it clips? I run my ADI-2 Pro FS at +7Db into my SMSL SP400 to get the most power out of it into my DCA Stealths. The SP400 was designed to accept elevated input levels. It has lots of input headroom.
 

maverickronin

Major Contributor
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Jul 19, 2018
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Midwest, USA
Getting such great performance out of a discrete circuit makes me think of the audiophool school of thought which claims that integrated circuits are somehow "cheating" and don't "count" for good performance or sound.
 

DWI

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Feb 19, 2021
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414
I only buy hifi where I get the UK/EU 2 year warranty and I know I can get a repair done effectively. There are hardly any Topping resellers in the UK and the one I found (scan.co.uk) I suspect will have a good warranty arrangement with Topping (they are a large company from whom I buy servers).

I've only had three audio items break in 35+ years. One was my Chord Mojo, the usb socket, out of warranty. I sent it to them and they sent me an invoice for the repair - £0.25 for the part and £9.99 for postage. I regret not keeping the invoice!

The other two was a piece of Danish hifi, 6 years out of warranty, they shipped UK/Denmark and back and fixed free of charge. The third item was a Zorloo DAC Amir recommended, the volume button broke, which went in the bin.
 
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