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Topping L50 Review (Headphone Amp)

kiyu

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Feb 13, 2021
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Guys,
hmm this could be the first product that is better with RCA rather than balance? how that make sense?
here is the manual of the L50
1632404811149.png

The distorsion is higher or "worse" in balance than in RCA? how is that possible?..
For SE the ouput on Low and Medium are the same? that may show why on amir's graph there is no difference , because is the same?..
input sensitivity from 60 to 12 but in balance 12.7 ?..
there is more gain in SE than in balance?
I am really NOT an expert and I am learning, but these numbers confused me A LOT!
could somoene bring some light?
 

kchap

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Jun 10, 2021
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Guys,
hmm this could be the first product that is better with RCA rather than balance? how that make sense?
here is the manual of the L50
View attachment 155244
The distorsion is higher or "worse" in balance than in RCA? how is that possible?..
For SE the ouput on Low and Medium are the same? that may show why on amir's graph there is no difference , because is the same?..
input sensitivity from 60 to 12 but in balance 12.7 ?..
there is more gain in SE than in balance?
I am really NOT an expert and I am learning, but these numbers confused me A LOT!
could somoene bring some light?
Some of the data may be a typo i.e. the 6.6 Vpp. Balanced designs can be good at reducing earth loops and improving CMRR but may generate higher noise and distortion figures. The figures are still quite good.
 

whatever

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@JohnYang1997 i know you already clarified on multiple occasions that both HP outputs on this are basically "same everything", but i've been wondering does that mean even crosstalk is no different? i ask this because while A30Pro and this listed the crosstalk value of both HP outputs at the same column, it was listed different on the supposedly-similar-situation EX5. so does the balanced connector (working with balanced HP cable as a whole) improve the crosstalk even one bit on the L50? i know in this particular case this is totally unimportant, just curiosity. thanks in advance.
 
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mmichii

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Feb 11, 2021
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Just got my l50. paired with my e50. I have to use the rca plugs since im waiting on some trs cables to be delivered. So far out of the box its easily bested by the thx aaa 789 even with my messed up relays. Ps scratchy volume pot on your 789? Deoxit works wonders. Didn't get rid of all the scratchiness right away. Just a tad left listening at the top of the volume swing listening to sensitive iems but after it soaked in after a few hours all scratchiness gone. Anyways 789 sounds more open, fuller in vocals. I'm not saying l50 sounds bad just not as good to my ears. I'm a firm believer in measurements but I also can't discount how a d10b and an e50 which measure so close can sound so different from each other. So in that vein i'm gonna let this amp burn in a bit and see how it sounds after a bit. As a note i'm using the balanced plugs for the headphones on both (which might make a difference i don't know). I used to believe the only significant audible difference among all these amps and dacs was in your head. However after this little trip of mine with just this small sampling size I am actually surprised how audibly different they sound. As a test i commissioned the hearing of my 14 year old nephew with his good hearing and he said the differences are quite audible. At the same time my units were not measured using equipment so the differences might be in my samples but at the same these are all new topping units except for the 789.
 

kiyu

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I'm a firm believer in measurements but I also can't discount how a d10b and an e50 which measure so close can sound so different from each other.
Which is better in your opinion? or what kind of difference have you heard?
 

mmichii

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Which is better in your opinion? or what kind of difference have you heard?
I've been listening a few hours on and off to rest my ears. Mostly on a pair of 400i's and moondrop starfields. Not uber dollar hifi stuff but the general impression is L50 at this stage is very buttoned down tight clean is what i would say. 789 is more wide open. This is listening on a pair with a well known spike in its fr. Hard to put into words. Its like having different takes on a recipe. Some add this spice some add more salt etc. The L50 does sound clean and its a bargain at its price. So too the 789 now at 200 i think. the one track (wide awake, katy perry) that illustrates this difference (i know its not some esoteric jazz track recorded in 65 lol) L50 her voice (autotuned to death as it is) is very present smooth central. 789 the echoes spread out and the rest of the track sounds expansive less so on the L50 but on the 789 her voice has this bit of a noisy edge to it unlike L50. This is based on impressions from non megadollar gear so your mileage will vary. It just reinforces to me that there seems to be more to it than the measurements that are taken. I'm sure the differences i hear are quantifiable but they don't seem to be reflected in the ones taken since these amps should sound the same and they don't.
 

UltraPro

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@mmichii Indeed some solid state amps might need burn-in. My Gustard H16 sounded thin and bad in first hours - I was shocked how bad the quality was for the price before it settled down. Of course, there is no way to prove this change once the burn-in is done, you just have to take my word, so I recommend anyone to burn in Topping L50 as well, likely around 36 hours before deciding anything.

I'm reading the posts of this thread and I have to say I'm very impressed by this amp. For now, it seems the ultimate price-performance combo is Topping D10 (139 €) + Topping L50 (229 €) + for example Sennheiser HD6XX or Hifiman Sundara. Amazing sound quality for such a price. I would even go fully balanced straight away if building new chain from scratch. I do realize the single ended output is almost as good, which is uncommon it seems and admirable that Topping has focused to make it so good.

All said, the quality of Topping products is still iffy, so if money is no serious concern, I recommend to prefer other brands over Topping, or at least make sure you get extended warranty, like what you get from Audiophonics store (two years).
 
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cheapmessiah

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I dont understand whats the point of this amp at the moment at its current price, as remarcable as the measuremets are for a SE output, powerwise both the 789 and the magnius outperform it, the 789 can be had for $240 and even for $200 if you have the time to wait since massdrop does rebates every now and then, and the magnius is just $200. I think it should be $40 or $50 cheaper.

You could make the argument that to use both those amps full potential you need a balanced cable, but you can build your own for $20 in parts (with some exceptions), and thats in the case that you dont already have one.

Not criticizing the unit, just the price to performance.
 

Diable

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Where are getting these power numbers from? I ask cause in Amir's test the L50 was equal to the 789 balanced in and out at 3.2w and behind the Magnius which put out 4.2w. And like the Magnius the L50 is a balanced amp first with the SE output as a extra.
 

Veri

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And like the Magnius the L50 is a balanced amp first with the SE output as a extra.
That's... wrong. Magnius has much more power over balanced out, and an inferior SE out. L50 has same power over both where SE is not any inferior but essentially same output performance.
 

Itamarz

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So how would the L50 and A50S compare?
I heard the A50S is maybe a bit more aggressive or bassy sounding than the rest of the topping amps,
So the L50 is more "correct" sounding?
Im looking for a reference grade for pro mixing use
 

kkeretic

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So how would the L50 and A50S compare?
I heard the A50S is maybe a bit more aggressive or bassy sounding than the rest of the topping amps,
So the L50 is more "correct" sounding?
Im looking for a reference grade for pro mixing use

Is this the place where you heard that from ;) ?
 

Itamarz

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So how would the L50 and A50S compare?
I heard the A50S is maybe a bit more aggressive or bassy sounding than the rest of the topping amps,
So the L50 is more "correct" sounding?
Im looking for a reference grade for pro mixing use
Anyone?
 

kkeretic

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I am only a click away from ordering another A50s to replace the remaining A50 in my secondary stack and to be used mostly (if not only) with Sundara. But the local store got silver L50 for only ~40$ more and now I am scratching my head. So I would also like to hear if there are any real world "sound" difference to be expected between the two. From the specs point, all the measurements around, reviews and common sense, there should be no real world sound differences between anything Topping (and not just Topping) released within a year+ back, at least if compared with A50s balanced. But here is why I am scratching my head... Had the L30 before for several months and replaced it with the A50s because of the ESD incident. The L30 was really love at first sight. I was really impressed how the L30 "sounded". But, to be honest, I was not so impressed with the A50s SE. Not even today and don't know why exactly. Can't get rid of the feeling that the L30 sounded somehow better in lower end than the A50s SE. Probably just a placebo, but I was happier with the L30. Until I purchased a balanced cable. OMG. Soundwise, Sundara+A50s balanced is probably the end game for me. And whenever I try my Sundaras back unbalanced, get the impression that it’s just not there how it sounded on the L30, not to mention balanced. The point is, L50 should actually be L30 in sound + more power, switch and XLR out?

Edit: I ended up ordering another A50s :rolleyes:.
 
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Bel Canto

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Where are getting these power numbers from? I ask cause in Amir's test the L50 was equal to the 789 balanced in and out at 3.2w and behind the Magnius which put out 4.2w. And like the Magnius the L50 is a balanced amp first with the SE output as a extra.
The L50 is not a balanced amp even though it has balanced inputs. It is unbalanced outputting the same power from all outputs, 6.3 or xlr.
 

platimn

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I am getting confused now. Is this better than the A30Pro? It seems a slight bit weaker and a lot cheaper. Topping's letter and number classifications are a bit of a mystery to me.
 

usern

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@platimn you should not make decision based on sound quality between current Topping headphone amps. Volume matched, you most likely would not notice any difference. Just buy the one that has the features you need. Inputs, outputs, max power, gain options, inner or outer PSU, etc.
 

platimn

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@platimn you should not make decision based on sound quality between current Topping headphone amps. Volume matched, you most likely would not notice any difference. Just buy the one that has the features you need. Inputs, outputs, max power, gain options, inner or outer PSU, etc.
I know, I am looking for maximum power actually (without going top of the line). I think it is the A30 Pro and D10 from them if I am not mistaken, but their lineup seems to have numbers and letters all over the place at a glance. I am used to GPU numbers (bigger is better or at least newer).
 
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