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Topping A90 Discrete Review (Headphone Amp & Preamp)

Rate this Headphone Amp/Pre-amp

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 16 3.9%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 14 3.4%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 70 17.2%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 306 75.4%

  • Total voters
    406

Hemi-Demon

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Update: After contacting the topping technical service and it must be said that they have been very quick in responding, they recommended that I update the firmware and they sent me a file with the name A90D26, it is curious that on the official website the latest update that There is 2.4, now I have the problem that my Windows computer does not detect the a90, the truth is that it has never detected it even though it is working correctly and it has always shown me the code "-2" on the screen. I don't know if it is the cables or Windows or what do I know, I have tried with usbC-usbC and usbC-usbA cables and on different computers and nothing, I only have to try on MAC. The same thing has happened to someone and they have solved it ? Greetings to the forum

Can you upload the firmware file to Dropbox or some other cloud service. Thanks
 
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Toni Mas

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Update: After contacting the topping technical service and it must be said that they have been very quick in responding, they recommended that I update the firmware and they sent me a file with the name A90D26, it is curious that on the official website the latest update that There is 2.4, now I have the problem that my Windows computer does not detect the a90, the truth is that it has never detected it even though it is working correctly and it has always shown me the code "-2" on the screen. I don't know if it is the cables or Windows or what do I know, I have tried with usbC-usbC and usbC-usbA cables and on different computers and nothing, I only have to try on MAC. The same thing has happened to someone and they have solved it ? Greetings to the forum
What I find incredible is that these companies insist in keeping the supply chain as short as posible and direct from a chinese location to any customer in the world. If they had local importers in charge of customer service, things would be much better for us end users. But in order to get lower retail prices they prefer to bypass these dealers and sell direct at Amazon, Aliexpress, etc... and the result is this unsustainable lack of after sale assistance...:oops:
 

mocenigo

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Please don't be angry with me if I say this so directly, but firstly, @restorer-john statement is not unfair, and secondly, you don't seem to be aware of the botched work that the Topping company installs in the devices.

That's why I said "a bit" unfair. (1-"a bit") is fair, because of what is done in headamps and poweramps.

And just to make this clear again, I am actually a Topping fan, especially of Topping's development performance.
But what Topping is doing with customers regarding these cast modules is an absolute and bottomless outrage and completely disrespectful to every buyer.
And although the problem with these cast modules has been known for two years and devices continue to fail as a result, these modules continue to be installed in current and new devices.

Yeah, potted modules are always bad, esp if they contain active components. FM Acoustics has similar problems — in a smaller scale, but they have.

I now had 5 failed devices myself and another 11 in my acquaintances and circle of friends.

2 here, two L30's.

I trust only the DACs.

Roberto
 

Jimster480

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What I find incredible is that these companies insist in keeping the supply chain as short as posible and direct from a chinese location to any customer in the world. If they had local importers in charge of customer service, things would be much better for us end users. But in order to get lower retail prices they prefer to bypass these dealers and sell direct at Amazon, Aliexpress, etc... and the result is this unsustainable lack of after sale assistance...:oops:
This is the model that everything is going to. No after-sales support, everyone is on their own. They try to solve things via email, if it isn't via email then it doesn't matter.
That's why I said "a bit" unfair. (1-"a bit") is fair, because of what is done in headamps and poweramps.



Yeah, potted modules are always bad, esp if they contain active components. FM Acoustics has similar problems — in a smaller scale, but they have.



2 here, two L30's.

I trust only the DACs.

Roberto
After how many hours did they fail?
 

Toni Mas

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This is the model that everything is going to. No after-sales support, everyone is on their own. They try to solve things via email, if it isn't via email then it doesn't matter.
In the worst case you will get a refund, so why don't you just shut your mouth and keep filling your cart... o_O
 

pseudoid

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...I will no longer buy devices with these modules and no one in my acquaintances and circle of friends will either....
Thank you for the great information @Roland68,

I am trying to visualize you during an impromptu dinner engagement (w/your 'acquaintances') or while downing a few brewskis (w/i your 'circle'); where you slam your fist onto the table and shout "Toppings are forbidden!" And they all look at you like :eek:!

:cool:
 

Roland68

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Thank you for the great information @Roland68,

I am trying to visualize you during an impromptu dinner engagement (w/your 'acquaintances') or while downing a few brewskis (w/i your 'circle'); where you slam your fist onto the table and shout "Toppings are forbidden!" And they all look at you like :eek:!

:cool:
You are misunderstanding something, or you want to misunderstand it.
I have several topping devices and recently bought an L70. In many places I see a feat of engineering in topping devices that is not seen in many other devices.
That's why I have no problems recommending these devices as long as no cast modules are installed.

But since I have already opened more than 10 of these cast modules and made them functional again, I can also estimate very precisely how poor the workmanship is. All of these modules could be repaired without replacing any components and have been running perfectly since then without any casting compound.

And in response to your ridiculous statement, my friends and acquaintances simply appreciate my many years of experience in audio, IT and industry, especially when it comes to electronics and technology. Each of them has already lost time and money due to poor quality and are happy if they were spared that.
 

pseudoid

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You are misunderstanding something, or you want to misunderstand it...
"Monty, I'll take door number three, please!"
202402_WhipCream.jpg

;)
I hope you too can consider Reddi-Whip as a 'topping'!
 

Jimster480

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In the worst case you will get a refund, so why don't you just shut your mouth and keep filling your cart... o_O
Lots of times you do not get a refund. As a person who tested many products for years... you don't get a refund even half the time. Only if this happens in the first 30 days. Getting companies to honor warranties today.... is pretty hard. Most don't reply to email or just cut you off when you ask about warranty. I had this happen to me with Motorola, Edifier, Honor.
 

Toni Mas

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Getting companies to honor warranties today.... is pretty hard.
Don't know in other countries but in EU it's a legal requirement for at least 2 years after buying the product. In Spain it has recently been extended to 3 years and the brands must be able to repair for 10 years. Legal warranty includes shipping costs, so returning to China a defective product by UPS should not be a problem, except for the factory.

Also "green" authorities clearly want us to stop constantly buy new products and claim that products must be made to last for years.
 
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julyjol

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I managed to update the firmware, it turns out that you need a USBC to USBA 3.1 cable, otherwise Windows does not recognize it, unfortunately the error "-4"is still there, at least I tried it
 

Roland68

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Lots of times you do not get a refund. As a person who tested many products for years... you don't get a refund even half the time. Only if this happens in the first 30 days. Getting companies to honor warranties today.... is pretty hard. Most don't reply to email or just cut you off when you ask about warranty. I had this happen to me with Motorola, Edifier, Honor.
And you shouldn't forget the enormous time investment, especially with these companies and retailers.
With a reputable company, after reporting the defect, I have the option of a guarantee/return/repair, at least within the EU. I don't have to make stupid videos or be held back for days or weeks with stupid question/answer games.
Don't know in other countries but in EU it's a legal requirement for at least 2 years after buying the product. In Spain it has recently been extended to 3 years and the brands must be able to repair for 10 years. Legal warranty includes shipping costs, so returning to China a defective product by UPS should not be a problem, except for the factory.

Also "green" authorities clearly want us to stop constantly buy new products and claim that products must be made to last for years.
But this only applies within your country or the EU, in official language “devices that were placed on the market in the EU”. If you buy it outside the EU, this doesn't apply.
And even if you buy such a device from a retailer within the EU, what happens if the manufacturer doesn't support the retailer? Then the only thing left is repayment.

These laws in the EU all sound great, but in reality most of them are just window dressing. I recently had two defective Bauknecht devices, about 1 year after the warranty. Bauknecht could have repaired the devices, but the hours would have been 1 1/2 times as much as the new devices cost. Law 1, customer 0
 

Roland68

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I managed to update the firmware, it turns out that you need a USBC to USBA 3.1 cable, otherwise Windows does not recognize it, unfortunately the error "-4"is still there, at least I tried it
I'm really sorry for you.
Try to clarify this with your dealer and with Topping. A little over a year is just a tenth of the lifespan I expect from a device like this.
 

Toni Mas

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But this only applies within your country or the EU, in official language “devices that were placed on the market in the EU”. If you buy it outside the EU, this doesn't apply.
And even if you buy such a device from a retailer within the EU, what happens if the manufacturer doesn't support the retailer?
If this retailer has bought to the legal importer, in official language company that has placed the device on the market in the EU, this importer must support the retailer.
If this retailer has imported the product, he will be held responsible as if he were the manufacturer. For EU laws an importer is called a producer because he is placing the product on the market in the EU.
Any other case would be illegal sales and should be reported. Marketplaces must take care that this should not happen.
 
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Toni Mas

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I'm really sorry for you.
Try to clarify this with your dealer and with Topping. A little over a year is just a tenth of the lifespan I expect from a device like this.
Hard to imagine collectionists selling vintage chifi at Ebay around 2050...:facepalm:
 

Roland68

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If this retailer has bought to the legal importer, in official language company that has placed the device on the market in the EU, this importer must support the retailer.
If this retailer has imported the product, he will be held responsible as if he were the manufacturer. For EU laws an importer is called a producer because he is placing the product on the market in the EU.
Any other case would be illegal sales and should be reported. Marketplaces must take care that this should not happen.
That's the theory, the daily practice is different.
Let's just take Amazon. If you complain about a device because it is defective, your only option is often to return the device and get the money you paid back. In most cases, repairs or replacements are not offered at all. Even more annoying if the device was bought on sale or is now significantly more expensive.
Hard to imagine collectionists selling vintage chifi at Ebay around 2050...:facepalm:
Be careful with such statements, perhaps the examples of these devices that will still be working in 2050 will be worth a fortune...
For a headphone amplifier for 600, - I expect a lifespan of at least 10 years, which in this case would be the end of 2032.

With Violectric and Lake People devices, for example, I don't worry about the fact that they will still work in 10-20 years and can be repaired inexpensively. Last year I had a Lake People Studio HPA that was over 30 years old and was showing signs of failure. The defect was completely worn out jack sockets. I replaced the capacitors prophylactically. 20 minutes and €25 components. This HPA will serve the recording studio for years to come.
My work device is now 14 years old and works perfectly. In terms of lifespan, my HPA V100 was a bargain (currently €50/year and cheaper every year).
 

Toni Mas

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That's the theory, the daily practice is different.
Let's just take Amazon. If you complain about a device because it is defective, your only option is often to return the device and get the money you paid back. In most cases, repairs or replacements are not offered at all. Even more annoying if the device was bought on sale or is now significantly more expensive.
Well marketplaces are a very convenient way to make products widely available, but also with some limits, the main one being that you can only be delivered items that are listed with a price and inventory. Generally sending a replacement unit to avoid a refund is an available option, but accessories like remote controls, psu blocks, power cords, etc... are not available because a simply not part of the catalogue. Obviously services like repairing that would require a private transaction between buyer and seller are not allowed, so refunding remains the most convenient way of dealing with any uncovered issue, and this maybe ok for popular cheapo devices, but quite a limiting factor for more pricy items.
 
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Atanasi

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Let's just take Amazon. If you complain about a device because it is defective, your only option is often to return the device and get the money you paid back. In most cases, repairs or replacements are not offered at all. Even more annoying if the device was bought on sale or is now significantly more expensive.
Sales are one thing, but in general refunds are advantageous to the buyer. If the purchase price is refunded the after one year of use, there is sometimes a newer version available for the same price, so the buyer gets an upgrade for free. The general trend is that the model has less value as it gets older.
 

Toni Mas

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Sales are one thing, but in general refunds are advantageous to the buyer. If the purchase price is refunded the after one year of use, there is sometimes a newer version available for the same price, so the buyer gets an upgrade for free. The general trend is that the model has less value as it gets older.
Ecologists are strongly biased against this kind of argument!:D
 
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