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Topping LA90 Review (Integrated Amplifier)

Rate this amplifier:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 27 4.5%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 38 6.4%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 150 25.2%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 380 63.9%

  • Total voters
    595

pma

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I just did a sloppy test just for fun.The measurements are taken in the listening position 2.8 meters far all other things been equal,the only thing I switched was the amps.Have a look at the distortion (all the chain plus room,thats why I said sloppy).I think power has a lot to do with the lows.
Do not consider it as something serious of course,nothing clinical about it,I already said just for fun.
Same power in both measurements?
 

Sokel

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Same power in both measurements?
Everything exactly the same except the assignment of the amps,I use analog electronic crossover so is easy to change the outputs.
(see the output below,almost 82.5db for both measurements)

Then again I wouldn't expect for a tiny thing like this to handle the low's :)

300a2.PNG
 
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DualTriode

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I have spent the afternoon here in Sparky’s lab swapping in and out stereo amplifiers.

I do think that I can hear a difference when I get the speaker cable polarity crossed.

I cannot hear the difference between any of the better than 80dB SINAD amplifiers I have been auditioning here all afternoon.

The LA90 sounds nice.

So do the Parasound amplifiers.

So do the Crown Com-Tech 200 amplifiers

So does the NAD THX 216.

What I like about the Topping LA90 amplifier is zero noise (hiss) comes out of my tri-amped horns.

Thanks DT

The LA90 does run a little warmer to the touch of my hand, nowhere near hot.
 
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kenshone

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Has anyone tried bi-amping their speakers with this? This could be a good amp to drive the tweeters and maybe mids of their speakers, while a beefier amp takes the bass, sound signature issues notwithstanding.
 

pogo

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So how do you know or test this? What does softer mean?
Actually, you can hear the difference at the HIGH END in Munich. A good example of this is the T+A A200, which allows a switchable DF on Purifis (DF HI > 800 / DF LO > 70).

'A high damping factor tends to produce a more clearly defined, very precise and analytical sound image, whereas a reduced damping factor produces a more warm and softer sound image.' <- extract from the manual
 

DualTriode

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Actually, you can hear the difference at the HIGH END in Munich. A good example of this is the T+A A200, which allows a switchable DF on Purifis (DF HI > 800 / DF LO > 70).

'A high damping factor tends to produce a more clearly defined, very precise and analytical sound image, whereas a reduced damping factor produces a more warm and softer sound image.' <- extract from the manual

Okay, I get it!

I asked how you know this and how you would measure it?

And your reply is that you extracted it from the manual.

Thanks DT
 

Slayer

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No new reports of issues on the thread is somewhat promising.
Keep your fingers crossed.

Well, if I already wasn't that impressed by the low power and high price tag of this amp, today i'm even a little less impressed.
Yes, I know, I know, but look at the SINAD. Seems to me this was accomplished in part by low gain and low power. Show me these numbers with twice the power and normal gain structure (like 29db) and I will bow down and tip my hat.
Less than a month in, Topping seems to be taking advantage of Amir's review, the price now is $900. Sorry, maybe just me, but with all the issues with some of their products and what not with the economy and all, just rubs me wrong.
I won't say anymore as people will think i' just bashing the brand or product. It's just my personal observation from a consumer standpoint.
I will give credit to the impressive test results (minus power). It's obvious there must be some good engineering that went on designing this amp.

"Amirs quote
Conclusions
It is clear that Topping engineers are bringing their expertise in designing ultra low noise and distortion in headphone amplification to power amplifiers. As such, they have outdone every amplifier I have measured in that regard, getting ahead to capture the #1 position with a large gap to #2 choice.

The amplifier is not for everyone though. Power level is modest as compared to competitors. And you have that large external power supply. My wish is another version of this amp with built-in power supply, motorized volume control with bridge mode standard. For now, we need to celebrate one of the most important development in delivering transparent, high fidelity amplification to audiophiles in a very attractive package.

It is my absolute pleasure to recommend the Topping LA90. History is made on this day folks!"
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Amirs quote when referring to the modestly priced NAD C 320BEE
Conclusions
Nice to go back in time and test amplifiers which were simple to understand and simple to measure. The NAD C 320BEE seems to have been competently designed for modest power delivery at a budget price. In that regard, it completely succeeds in its mission.

Personally, I think 67 watts is not enough for home listening. Today's speakers have become smaller in size and shrunk in efficiency, needing fair bit of power to get them to produce proper dynamics. If you disagree otherwise, or have sensitive speakers, the NAD C 320BEE seems to be a good unit to buy. It certainly does away with any anxiety you may have with using class-D amplification"
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In the end, I have no doubt, the review here on ASR will be the main contributor to sales. When many want or need as much power as they can get, with SINAD numbers like this, power will undoubtedly take a second seat for many. Personally, I will wait for the next more powerfull version that I have no doubt they will come out with. Problem is, if the price for a more powerful version is comparable with this version, they may no longer be the value spot people have come accustomed to.
 

kenshone

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Keep your fingers crossed.

Well, if I already wasn't that impressed by the low power and high price tag of this amp, today i'm even a little less impressed.
Yes, I know, I know, but look at the SINAD. Seems to me this was accomplished in part by low gain and low power. Show me these numbers with twice the power and normal gain structure (like 29db) and I will bow down and tip my hat.
Less than a month in, Topping seems to be taking advantage of Amir's review, the price now is $900. Sorry, maybe just me, but with all the issues with some of their products and what not with the economy and all, just rubs me wrong.
I won't say anymore as people will think i' just bashing the brand or product. It's just my personal observation from a consumer standpoint.
I will give credit to the impressive test results (minus power). It's obvious there must be some good engineering that went on designing this amp.

"Amirs quote
Conclusions
It is clear that Topping engineers are bringing their expertise in designing ultra low noise and distortion in headphone amplification to power amplifiers. As such, they have outdone every amplifier I have measured in that regard, getting ahead to capture the #1 position with a large gap to #2 choice.

The amplifier is not for everyone though. Power level is modest as compared to competitors. And you have that large external power supply. My wish is another version of this amp with built-in power supply, motorized volume control with bridge mode standard. For now, we need to celebrate one of the most important development in delivering transparent, high fidelity amplification to audiophiles in a very attractive package.

It is my absolute pleasure to recommend the Topping LA90. History is made on this day folks!"
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Amirs quote when referring to the modestly priced NAD C 320BEE
Conclusions
Nice to go back in time and test amplifiers which were simple to understand and simple to measure. The NAD C 320BEE seems to have been competently designed for modest power delivery at a budget price. In that regard, it completely succeeds in its mission.

Personally, I think 67 watts is not enough for home listening. Today's speakers have become smaller in size and shrunk in efficiency, needing fair bit of power to get them to produce proper dynamics. If you disagree otherwise, or have sensitive speakers, the NAD C 320BEE seems to be a good unit to buy. It certainly does away with any anxiety you may have with using class-D amplification"
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In the end, I have no doubt, the review here on ASR will be the main contributor to sales. When many want or need as much power as they can get, with SINAD numbers like this, power will undoubtedly take a second seat for many. Personally, I will wait for the next more powerfull version that I have no doubt they will come out with. Problem is, if the price for a more powerful version is comparable with this version, they may no longer be the value spot people have come accustomed to.

To be fair to Amir, the noise+distortion levels of Topping are the the best in its class, whereas I don't believe the 320BEE was top of its class in anything, let alone by a country mile. While that nuance is not captured in his summary, that is my reading of the difference between the two reviews.
 

DHT 845

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Hopefully the more powerful version gets rid of the volume control, adds speakon and integrates the power supply.
I would add doubling the power to 2 Ohm high current design and stable with 1 Ohm. Of course pure monoblocks. No bridgeable stereo amp.
 

TheBatsEar

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I would add doubling the power to 2 Ohm high current design and stable with 1 Ohm. Of course pure monoblocks. No bridgeable stereo amp.
You guys should check out this company called Benchmark, they have a product almost like what you want.
 

tomchris

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Measurements aside, I simply cannot ignore the appearance of the Benchmark AHB2.

The amplifier is teeth grindlingly awful looking. Just take a look at the crammed backplate:
AHB2_Rear_Top_VP_2000x.jpeg
 

peng

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Measurements aside, I simply cannot ignore the appearance of the Benchmark AHB2.

The amplifier is teeth grindlingly awful looking. Just take a look at the crammed backplate:
AHB2_Rear_Top_VP_2000x.jpeg

It may look okay to some and not to others, but it has a lot of information on the backplate, almost as much or more details than what's typically provided in some spec sheets of many amps.
 

daniboun

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I received one of these today and am very please. I've been comparing various drivers over the past couple months for a two or three way pair of speakers that I'm building. The most notable of these drivers have been the Beyma CP755ND, GPA 288, and Celestion Axi2050. Prior to today I was using a 20watt Class A tube amp for most of my listening. I am very happy to have the LA90 now. It sounds outstanding with my high efficiency set up in the high gain mode. Looking forward to eventually experimenting with multiple of these in conjunction with active crossovers.
View attachment 207103

In French we have an expression "prendre son pied" = "take his foot" (which means to take extreme pleasure)
It makes total sense here lol ))))))))))))))))))

 

IPunchCholla

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In French we have an expression "prendre son pied" = "take his foot" (which means to take extreme pleasure)
It makes total sense here lol ))))))))))))))))))

Well, tickle me pink! The feet being notoriously ticklish.
 

kenshone

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So after using this for a bit, to reiterate the obvious, this amplifier definitely has adequate power for near-field listening. The lack of noise and distortion is very obvious to my casual audiophile ears compared to a lesser, but still decent, stereo amp that is optimized for higher power. This is the kind of transparency I've experienced from a good pair of active studio monitors, but with the added flexibility of mixing and matching speakers, etc., and probably higher overall expense.

I haven't gotten around to trying this on my tower speakers yet, which would need to fill a much larger space with sound. However, my suspicion is that it has enough power for a small-ish room at a moderate volume.
 
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