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Topping A90 Discrete Review (Headphone Amp & Preamp)

Rate this Headphone Amp/Pre-amp

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 16 4.0%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 13 3.2%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 68 16.9%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 305 75.9%

  • Total voters
    402

enricoclaudio

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Hmmmmm, I might look to replace my A90D at some point if we don't have any statement from @JohnYang1997 on the status of the modules in this device. I'm a bit nervous after my LA90D double failure :\. I'm not sure there's other good options out there that allow balanced input/output, work as preamp, have remote control, and have dimmable front. The Benchmark maybe? I will look at it - hopefully its screen auto dims (anybody know?)
I went from A90D to Benchmark HPA4 and all I can say is that I would never purchase any Topping device, ever. The HPA4 screen is dimmable and it also has a Sleep option. If you have the funds to get the HPA4, go for it. You won't regret it.

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aphysically

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ooohh, auto sleep is what I was looking for, yeah (so pitch black while not messing with settings). Will have to consider. The height would require a little rearranging on my desk, but I think I could manage.
 

enricoclaudio

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ooohh, auto sleep is what I was looking for, yeah (so pitch black while not messing with settings). Will have to consider. The height would require a little rearranging on my desk, but I think I could manage.
Correct, pitch black when on sleep.

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And, it doesn't take too much desk space, honestly:

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ReaderZ

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Purité Audio

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Superb components the their aesthetic I find challenging and I agree with above, keep the Topping and put the money towards better speakers.
Keith
 

Monosauras

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I got new amp from Audiophonics. Im just going to sell it. Original was bought 4/23. I was told that theres quite a few broken ones. I didnt reciave any mail considering my headphones. I hope my home insurance is going to cover that.
This really scares me off buying. I'm guessing the issue isn't widespread, but in terms of reliability what amp would people be looking at over this? The HPA4 is not available locally, and even if it was, is waaaay too expensive.
 

Bds3151

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Agreed we don't have the failure rates but still, nobody should put up with poor quality and wait to ask if others are having issues and how to fix

Don't waste time - send it back

The product in this thread is not cheap.

In time QA/QC will improve quickly, if they get to analyse all the returns / faults
We all should stop being Quality Assurance for Topping and reward them by not buying their defective products. This makes at least 3 products I know of that fail soon after purchase. If Amirm was truly trying to look out for us he would label Topping reviews as new products and potentially unreliable for the first year.
 
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We all should stop being Quality Assurance for Topping and reward them by not buying their defective products. This makes at least 3 products I know of that fail soon after purchase. If Amirm was truly trying to look out for us he would label Topping reviews as new products and potentially unreliable for the first year.
He does now and he specifically points out that this is a known issue with amps in general because of the high voltages they operate compared to a DAC, for example.
 
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aphysically

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I just think it's not a good idea to spend 10x more on amp than transducer since the latter makes all the difference in sound you hear.
Hmm, I’m pretty happy with my KEF R3, the only real upgrade path being genelec maybe..but then I would feel tempted to set up surround sound and it feels like every avr processor is bad
 

ReaderZ

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Hmm, I’m pretty happy with my KEF R3, the only real upgrade path being genelec maybe..but then I would feel tempted to set up surround sound and it feels like every avr processor is bad
I thought Genelec SAM would able to do 5.1 without a AVR and use its own GLM?
 

staticV3

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I thought Genelec SAM would able to do 5.1 without a AVR and use its own GLM?
SAM monitors like the 8341A cannot manage surround sound on their own. They only have Stereo in/out.

If you want a Genelec Surround setup, then you will need an external box that can decode surround and convert it into separate channels for each speaker.
Something like an Arvus H2-4D would work.

If you're mixing and don't need to decode, then something like the Topping DM7 or Motu mk5 would suffice.
 
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David_M

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He does now and he specifically points out that this is a known issue with amps in general because of the high votages they operate compared to a DAC, for example.
If the unreliability is caused by high voltages, then I believe they underrated the power FETs for this amp (to save $$$ ?). If your rails are +/-90VDC, then its prudent to use 200V rated FETs, twice the maximum power of the rails. This provides amp headroom for rail glitches, etc. and thermal stresses.
 
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(to save $$$ ?)

Affordable products often cut corners and use bad or unsuitable components in order to either get the target msrp or increase profit margins. The problem with these companies is that quite often these products aren't even what I'd call "affordable". Nowadays if you want an amp that performs really well, is reliable and well designed ( not an ugly box ) you'll have to spend thousands of euros and I'd argue that long term you'd still actually save money compared to the people that buy a new topping every year.
As to why good stuff gets more expensive every year, well, that's complicated.
 

ReaderZ

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Affordable products often cut corners and use bad or unsuitable components in order to either get the target msrp or increase profit margins. The problem with these companies is that quite often these products aren't even what I'd call "affordable". Nowadays if you want an amp that performs really well, is reliable and well designed ( not an ugly box ) you'll have to spend thousands of euros and I'd argue that long term you'd still actually save money compared to the people that buy a new topping every year.
As to why good stuff gets more expensive every year, well, that's complicated.
My Toppings been 3-4 years old, they work fine, don't see why I need a new one every year... At thousands of euros just get something like KH310A or 8531B, you get both amp and some of the best speakers...
 

David_M

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Affordable products often cut corners and use bad or unsuitable components in order to either get the target msrp or increase profit margins. The problem with these companies is that quite often these products aren't even what I'd call "affordable". Nowadays if you want an amp that performs really well, is reliable and well designed ( not an ugly box ) you'll have to spend thousands of euros and I'd argue that long term you'd still actually save money compared to the people that buy a new topping every year.
As to why good stuff gets more expensive every year, well, that's complicated.
Topping doesn't have much experience designing power amps, linear or Class D as they require high performance, high reliability components, an area they are not familiar with. Designing dacs and other low voltage devices has been their forte which requires a different skillset than amplifier design. One requires you to stitch low voltage, low current chips together, while the other requires knowledge of working with high voltage, high current devices and the issues they bring.
 

mrjayviper

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So my amp is out of warranty and i want to drill some holes on top for ventilation.

How can i separate the board from the chassis?

I was watching a video where the person mention something about ribbon cables but he didn't show the disassembly.

Thanks
 

enricoclaudio

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So my amp is out of warranty and i want to drill some holes on top for ventilation.

How can i separate the board from the chassis?

I was watching a video where the person mention something about ribbon cables but he didn't show the disassembly.

Thanks


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