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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

registlse

Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2022
Messages
11
Likes
9
I have had the A90D for 18 months, on 24/24, I listen to it several hours a week with a Focal Clear plugged in XLR, it works perfectly, no bugs... Must I conclude that I came across the right number? :)
 

zhgutov

Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2022
Messages
40
Likes
23
I have had the A90D for 18 months, on 24/24, I listen to it several hours a week with a Focal Clear plugged in XLR, it works perfectly, no bugs... Must I conclude that I came across the right number? :)
My amp is working fine as well.
 

julyjol

Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2024
Messages
6
Likes
3
Yes, mine worked perfectly until it died, I think these amplifiers will die in less than 3 years, maybe I'm wrong, we'll see.
 

Selarom

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Messages
42
Likes
11
My takeaway from different threads on different forums is that Topping QA for HPAs is pretty bad. Do SMSLs fare better? I am trying to experiment fix my Drop THX 789, but if that doesn't go well.. I'm gonna need to get something and seems that Topping is not it... How about SMSLs??
 

Roland68

Major Contributor
Joined
Jan 31, 2020
Messages
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Location
Cologne, Germany
My takeaway from different threads on different forums is that Topping QA for HPAs is pretty bad. Do SMSLs fare better? I am trying to experiment fix my Drop THX 789, but if that doesn't go well.. I'm gonna need to get something and seems that Topping is not it... How about SMSLs??
If you're really looking for something that will last, why not get a Lake People or Violectric? You can get used HPA V200 for €400-500 and these devices will last at least 10-20 years and are very easy to repair.
 

julyjol

Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2024
Messages
6
Likes
3
Topping answered this
Topping.png
 

Roland68

Major Contributor
Joined
Jan 31, 2020
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Location
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How is it possible that only a little more than one year after purchase it is no longer under warranty?

And why should you do all this process and not the dealer that sold it to you?
Any reputable manufacturer would extend the warranty to 5 years for these errors if there was a known problem and would not leave the customer stuck with the shipping costs. In the EU and USA it may not be that difficult to find someone who can repair these devices for Topping so that the shipping costs are not so high.
An RME ADI-2 DAC FS from Thomann currently costs €1199 including a 3-year full warranty. How much does a Topping A90D with the corresponding large DAC cost? Definitely not less.

It is now also noticeable that there is a large discrepancy in the failure rate for topping devices with and without the modules.
 

Toni Mas

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2022
Messages
490
Likes
315
Any reputable manufacturer would extend the warranty to 5 years for these errors if there was a known problem and would not leave the customer stuck with the shipping costs. In the EU and USA it may not be that difficult to find someone who can repair these devices for Topping so that the shipping costs are not so high.
An RME ADI-2 DAC FS from Thomann currently costs €1199 including a 3-year full warranty. How much does a Topping A90D with the corresponding large DAC cost? Definitely not less.
Yes clearly this supply model supported by marketplaces like Amazon or Aliexpress is only sustainable (at best) for single use and scrap products...
 

Sokel

Master Contributor
Joined
Sep 8, 2021
Messages
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6,132
In the EU and USA it may not be that difficult to find someone who can repair these devices for Topping so that the shipping costs are not so high.
There's no way finding technicians in EU and USA that will do the job for pennies,if that was the case all of the cheap far east manufacturers would do it.
It's been suggested multiple times,even by Amir I think that a repair center or something similar would be the way to go but probably the cost is too much for them.
 

Toni Mas

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2022
Messages
490
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315
There's no way finding technicians in EU and USA that will do the job for pennies,if that was the case all of the cheap far east manufacturers would do it.
It's been suggested multiple times,even by Amir I think that a repair center or something similar would be the way to go but probably the cost is too much for them.
What? This cannot be admited and rma must be financed by the profit margin generated by the importer first and by the Factory. If they sell to cheap It is their problem, not the consumer's.
Morover, at least in the EU It is illegal, and even the shipping costs must be financed by the dealer.
 

Sokel

Master Contributor
Joined
Sep 8, 2021
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6,132
What? This cannot be admited and rma must be financed by the profit margin generated by the importer first and by the Factory. If they sell to cheap It is their problem, not the consumer's.
Morover, at least in the EU It is illegal, and even the shipping costs must be financed by the dealer.
The main strength of cheap devices is exactly that,been cheap.
Cutting corners like after sale full support,or avoiding (European or USA) certifications or submitting to our local legislation is the obvious way to cut huge costs.

Note that some of the devices don't even have EU or USA reps while others have.
The ones that they don't (coincidently?) are some with built in PSU.

So,one takes it for what it is and with the accompanying risk.
What must be noted though is the cost always counts oner time,sometimes people here get beefs at higher cost devices but the very same devices hold their resale value and work like a charm for decades while the same time one buys 10 cheap ones at about the same or greater cost.
 

Toni Mas

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2022
Messages
490
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315
The main strength of cheap devices is exactly that,been cheap.
Cutting corners like after sale full support,or avoiding (European or USA) certifications or submitting to our local legislation is the obvious way to cut huge costs.

Note that some of the devices don't even have EU or USA reps while others have.
The ones that they don't (coincidently?) are some with built in PSU.

So,one takes it for what it is and with the accompanying risk.
What must be noted though is the cost always counts oner time,sometimes people here get beefs at higher cost devices but the very same devices hold their resale value and work like a charm for decades while the same time one buys 10 cheap ones at about the same or greater cost.
It is not aceptable! Laws are the same for all and at any price point!
 

Roland68

Major Contributor
Joined
Jan 31, 2020
Messages
1,456
Likes
1,276
Location
Cologne, Germany
The main strength of cheap devices is exactly that,been cheap.
Cutting corners like after sale full support,or avoiding (European or USA) certifications or submitting to our local legislation is the obvious way to cut huge costs.

Note that some of the devices don't even have EU or USA reps while others have.
The ones that they don't (coincidently?) are some with built in PSU.

So,one takes it for what it is and with the accompanying risk.
What must be noted though is the cost always counts oner time,sometimes people here get beefs at higher cost devices but the very same devices hold their resale value and work like a charm for decades while the same time one buys 10 cheap ones at about the same or greater cost.
Topping would just have to think outside the box, maybe they don't realize how much they are losing by doing this.

If shipping remained on the respective continent, then €60-70 of the shipping costs to China and back would be left over for the repair time, which should often be enough for the known problems (module replacement). At least this would mean less money wasted by injured customers when they have to pay for their own warranty anyway.
Alternatively, Topping could send complete repaired and tested boards to a workshop in the EU or USA (e.g. 10, 20 or 50 pieces) and only the boards are replaced on site. This is also totally easy to do from a customs perspective and without any additional costs (same number of repair boards in and out = no customs costs).

And try to get the €500-600 back from DHL or another shipping company if the package is lost and the customs declaration or Cn22/23 form shows a value of €20. Have fun.

I notice more and more often directly and in various forums that people are afraid to buy the LA90D, PA5 II, A70 Pro, etc. And now also with the DX9, because nobody knows exactly whether the modules are cast or not.

In my personal environment alone there were around 50 devices in the higher price range last year (at least 25 LA90D units), where people then switched to used devices, new devices from Audiophonics, Denafrips, RME, Yamaha, NAD. There were also a few high-quality DIY stories among them.
I don't even want to estimate how many fewer devices Topping sold in the high-priced area.
And since topping does nothing to increase customer trust in your brand, it probably won't get any better.
 

Selarom

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Messages
42
Likes
11
If you're really looking for something that will last, why not get a Lake People or Violectric? You can get used HPA V200 for €400-500 and these devices will last at least 10-20 years and are very easy to repair.
Thank you. Will look into those..
 

SashaR

Active Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2021
Messages
100
Likes
15
Please answer my question!

Does it make sense to buy a headphone amplifier if I have an LA90SE and unbalanced headphones that I connect unbalanced to the LA90SE? In addition, a speaker amplifier (LA90) is connected (as balanced) to the LA90SE .

1) Will combining the noise and distortion created by the LA90SE and by one of the (A90D or L70) give better quality than the unbalanced output of the LA90SE to which the headphones are currently connected?

2) If the headphone amplifier does NOT have a pass-through mode for XLR, then in this case the superposition of the two amplifiers should degrade the signal, right?

3) Which amplifier is better - A90D or L70?

Thank you all!
 

Roland68

Major Contributor
Joined
Jan 31, 2020
Messages
1,456
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1,276
Location
Cologne, Germany
Please answer my question!

Does it make sense to buy a headphone amplifier if I have an LA90SE and unbalanced headphones that I connect unbalanced to the LA90SE? In addition, a speaker amplifier (LA90) is connected (as balanced) to the LA90SE .

1) Will combining the noise and distortion created by the LA90SE and by one of the (A90D or L70) give better quality than the unbalanced output of the LA90SE to which the headphones are currently connected?

2) If the headphone amplifier does NOT have a pass-through mode for XLR, then in this case the superposition of the two amplifiers should degrade the signal, right?

3) Which amplifier is better - A90D or L70?

Thank you all!
The L70 is really good and the signal is only balanced before the power amplifier.
I wouldn't have any concerns with short RCA cables. I once compared the L70 with 70cm long and high-quality XLR and RCA cables (same cable) and couldn't see any difference.
 

Tank81

Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2023
Messages
10
Likes
6
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.
Thats complete bullshit. Well basically law says that it should not cost you to get working new product and yeah it didnt. I sent my Topping a90d back after -5/-4 error cos i could not fix it with their email update. It cost me 89e to send it back to China and I waited 6 weeks to get new one. So 6weeks + 89e and frustration that at that time I didnt have any device to run my headphones is bit more than nth. Theres no law saying that companies should pay if You send units to China cos China aint part oh Eu dude.
 

Toni Mas

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2022
Messages
490
Likes
315
Thats complete bullshit. Well basically law says that it should not cost you to get working new product and yeah it didnt. I sent my Topping a90d back after -5/-4 error cos i could not fix it with their email update. It cost me 89e to send it back to China and I waited 6 weeks to get new one. So 6weeks + 89e and frustration that at that time I didnt have any device to run my headphones is bit more than nth. Theres no law saying that companies should pay if You send units to China cos China aint part oh Eu dude.
Yes China is not part of the EU, so if you want to be covered by EU laws simply buy inside the EU...
 
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