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Topping LA90 Review (Integrated Amplifier)

Rate this amplifier:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 27 4.3%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 42 6.7%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 154 24.4%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 408 64.7%

  • Total voters
    631

raest

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Overall, I really don't understand the camp that seems bitter that Topping decided to build a power amplifier in the LA90 that weights sound quality over power, and achieved that goal at the highest level. Can someone, ideally impartial, help us understand?
(repeating myself for likely the 100th time)

how is an amp that has more problems driving complex loads and that will clip significantly sooner (i.e. significantly less power... unless all you listen to is modern rock and pop with a dynamic range of basically zero) one that "weighs sound quality", particularly when outside very, very niche applications, those SINAD numbers have been beyond human hearing for a long while???

unless your "music listening" consists of test tones and putting your ear 15cm from the tweeter for 90% of the time, of course. because in real world applications, you won't be hearing the difference between that 120 SINAD and a 90 SINAD (unless it's some funky thing heavily distortion dominated) competent amp. hell, people in blind test couldn't tell the AHB2 from your average Crown amp apart. you will hear it clip, though (unless, as stated, you're here just "for the engineering" and derive great pleasure from test tones)

and in what ways is this amp superior to Toppings own PA5 (absolutely rubbish QC notwithstanding)? the PA5 is smaller, more energy efficient, and even provides more power (though not significantly so) for almost a third of the price... and you still get your "look ma, my amp is in the top 10 chart"

this mindless glorifying of inaudible "performance" metrics will only have negative consequences. you're essentially swapping the membership card from one cult to another. otherwise, we might as well praise tweeter extensions in loudspeakers beyond 20kHz "for the engineering". or fancy cables that will "improve" the FR by 0,001db... "for the engineering". or other pointless inaudible performance metrics. and completely ignore the science of psychoacoustics... "for the engineering", of course
 

kenshone

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(repeating myself for likely the 100th time)

how is an amp that has more problems driving complex loads and that will clip significantly sooner (i.e. significantly less power... unless all you listen to is modern rock and pop with a dynamic range of basically zero) one that "weighs sound quality", particularly when outside very, very niche applications, those SINAD numbers have been beyond human hearing for a long while???

unless your "music listening" consists of test tones and putting your ear 15cm from the tweeter for 90% of the time, of course. because in real world applications, you won't be hearing the difference between that 120 SINAD and a 90 SINAD (unless it's some funky thing heavily distortion dominated) competent amp. hell, people in blind test couldn't tell the AHB2 from your average Crown amp apart. you will hear it clip, though (unless, as stated, you're here just "for the engineering" and derive great pleasure from test tones)

and in what ways is this amp superior to Toppings own PA5 (absolutely rubbish QC notwithstanding)? the PA5 is smaller, more energy efficient, and even provides more power (though not significantly so) for almost a third of the price... and you still get your "look ma, my amp is in the top 10 chart"

this mindless glorifying of inaudible "performance" metrics will only have negative consequences. you're essentially swapping the membership card from one cult to another. otherwise, we might as well praise tweeter extensions in loudspeakers beyond 20kHz "for the engineering". or fancy cables that will "improve" the FR by 0,001db... "for the engineering". or other pointless inaudible performance metrics. and completely ignore the science of psychoacoustics... "for the engineering", of course

I don't think anyone is saying that the SINAD difference is audible. Even Amir frequently states that the level of quality is so high that differences are inaudible. So why are you so bitter about this point?

It's not "mindless" to appreciate SINAD. As said by myself, and many others, it is a stunning engineering achievement. In the bigger scheme of things, such engineering advancements in any field, even though they seem small in the micro, are what move humanity forward in the macro, and should thus be celebrated.
 
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kenshone

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how can be "best value" with that reliability?

you pay for reliability (in a way or another) ... i prefer when it comes included in the price tag

I've had no reliability issues with my LA90 and I use it almost daily. If there are significant reliability issues in the macro, they will surface and we will re-evaluate the value proposition. But assuming the baseline that this is as reliable as most of Topping's amps (PA5 being an exception), this is a good value for its performance, IF it matches your use case (near/mid field listening, primarily of music, or maybe to power your Hifiman Susvara).
 
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Rottmannash

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less chance of shorting the 12V when plugging/unplugging the trigger TRS plug when the ring is not used.
I know I had to use mono plugs when I first used the 12V trigger w/ my Purifi. Stereo would not work.
 

Rottmannash

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I don't think anyone is saying that the SINAD difference is audible. Even Amir frequently states that the level of quality is so high that differences are inaudible. So why are you so bitter about this point?

It's not "mindless" to appreciate SINAD. As said by myself, and many others, it is a stunning engineering achievement. In the bigger scheme of things, such engineering advancements in any field, even though they seem small in the micro, are what move humanity forward in the macro, and should thus be celebrated.
I don't own the LA90 but want to weigh in-I do own and Purifi and bought it purely because of its engineering and specs-nothing else. I wanted an amp simply because it was an exemplary performer and that's enough for me. I might buy an LA90-don't know but if I do it will be based on its engineering and specs as well. Don't need to justify my purchasing decisions. Leave it alone.
 

Talisman

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I don't own the LA90 but want to weigh in-I do own and Purifi and bought it purely because of its engineering and specs-nothing else. I wanted an amp simply because it was an exemplary performer and that's enough for me. I might buy an LA90-don't know but if I do it will be based on its engineering and specs as well. Don't need to justify my purchasing decisions. Leave it alone.
In fact, no one has to justify himself for something he likes and buys with his sweat-earned money.
In the same way we must not say "whoever buys 200watt amplifiers is an idiot because he hasn't understood anything and is influenced by culture"
Everyone will have their own needs and tastes of him.
I emphasize, however, that if you agree to buy something for pure engineering pleasure, others may do so for pure aesthetic pleasure, and at that point you should carefully avoid making fun of them because "they have spent a lot of money and have no audio quality more"
 
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Rottmannash

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In fact, no one has to justify himself for something he likes and buys with his sweat-earned money.
In the same way we must not say "whoever buys 200watt amplifiers is an idiot because he hasn't understood anything and is influenced by culture"
Everyone will have their own needs and tastes of him.
I emphasize, however, that if you agree to buy something for pure engineering pleasure, others may do so for pure aesthetic pleasure, and at that point you should carefully avoid making fun of them because "they have spent a lot of money and have no audio quality more"
On the contrary, it is the @raest who continues to "make fun" of those of us who admire and want to purchase devices which represent the highest of engineering efforts and impeccable measurements.
 

raest

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On the contrary, it is the @raest who continues to "make fun" of those of us who admire and want to purchase devices which represent the highest of engineering efforts and impeccable measurements.
i don't. i'm just pointing out the hypocrisy and i just don't think it's a particularly high engineering achievement (just like i don't think transducers achieving super high frequency responses above 20kHz is a noteworthy achievement... something that both you, @kenshone and similar absolutely should to remain consistent with your own views) with such a list of very substantial compromises. i think the AHB2, the Purifies and Hypex Ncores are significantly higher engineering achievements.

this would've been a fun research project. as a product...

Amir himself hinted in his latest video (and often in other amp reviews) what a wise man does when he buys an amp. take the hint
 

DualTriode

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Hello All,

In my listening room I now have two LA90's driving the CD/WaveGuide tweeters and high efficiency 10 inch mid-range cone drivers. They sound good and the aesthetics meet the household design guidelines.

Performance wise all is good; no noise, no distortion and no complaints. I much prefer the cone mid-range drivers to Compression Drivers. Compression Driver mid-range drivers have their own brand of distortion and frequency response (not my preference).

The third LA90 is ordered. The Topping Tri-Amped amplifiers will all be neat in a row each with its' neat printed label; Woofers, Mid-Range and Tweeters.

Thanks DT
 

nUUK25

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Ocay, LA90 gain in mono mode is 15,5 db or 25,2 db ....or as you suggest just try with one amp in stereo as a start and see how it goes at 1/4 of the expence - maybe 4 amps are overkill. Stereo and one amp will give me an idear about quality level at lower and modest audio levels - can always expand later if I feel it is necessary.
I've had one LA90 for one week now and it is way better than 4, Icepower 125ASX2 bridged/Ghentaudio case.
Much more control and detail, and cleaner sound (much less destortion).
I'm so curious about how 4, LA90 will perform in mono with my Martin Logan Electromotion ESL X (6 ohm).
The sound clarity step from 2 to 4 Icepower was huge and I think there might be gains to do the same with LA90. I'lI get back on this !

12 v trigger ?.........
I'm also interested in being able to turn on/off the whole stereo from one remote. LA90 has 12 v trigger. (in) but D90SE has not 12 v trigger in/out at all.
I hoped I could have controled the LA90 (all 4) by a 230 v. wireless sucket, with its own remote: The eksternal PSU for LA90 reacts fine to the sucket/remote but the amp itself stays off - guess there is no way but find some 12 v trigger solution ? How about this :
https://emotiva.com/products/et-3
"The ET-3 can also be configured to send trigger signals to up to three connected devices as soon as it is powered on" - then it should just be attatched the same remote controlled sucket as the 4, LA90, PSUs.
Because I need 4 ports in all: Can one trigger port (out) on the ET-3, control 4 identical power amps if I use cascading plugs: 4, TS plugs or 4, TRS plugs, each wire with one male and two female (the extra female plugs in turn, feeds the 4 amps each with a TS/TSR plugged male/male wire) ?

1656956742067.png


Your comments are appreciated
 

Rottmannash

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I've had one LA90 for one week now and it is way better than 4, Icepower 125ASX2 bridged/Ghentaudio case.
Much more control and detail, and cleaner sound (much less destortion).
I'm so curious about how 4, LA90 will perform in mono with my Martin Logan Electromotion ESL X (6 ohm).
The sound clarity step from 2 to 4 Icepower was huge and I think there might be gains to do the same with LA90. I'lI get back on this !

12 v trigger ?.........
I'm also interested in being able to turn on/off the whole stereo from one remote. LA90 has 12 v trigger. (in) but D90SE has not 12 v trigger in/out at all.
I hoped I could have controled the LA90 (all 4) by a 230 v. wireless sucket, with its own remote: The eksternal PSU for LA90 reacts fine to the sucket/remote but the amp itself stays off - guess there is no way but find some 12 v trigger solution ? How about this :
https://emotiva.com/products/et-3
"The ET-3 can also be configured to send trigger signals to up to three connected devices as soon as it is powered on" - then it should just be attatched the same remote controlled sucket as the 4, LA90, PSUs.
Because I need 4 ports in all: Can one trigger port (out) on the ET-3, control 4 identical power amps if I use cascading plugs: 4, TS plugs or 4, TRS plugs, each wire with one male and two female (the extra female plugs in turn, feeds the 4 amps each with a TS/TSR plugged male/male wire) ?

View attachment 216428

Your comments are appreciated
I believe there is a setting on the D90SE to automatically turn on when a signal is sensed and off when the signal stops.
 

nUUK25

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I believe there is a setting on the D90SE to automatically turn on when a signal is sensed and off when the signal stops.
It's not the D90SE which is the problem but the LA90s inability to turn on when it's on a remote controlled wireless sucket. So you think once the LA90 PSUs are turned on by the wireless sucket the signal from the pre-amp part on he D90SE is enough to turn on all 4 LA90 (provided the setting on the D90SE is enabled for it) Right ?
 

kenshone

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I've had one LA90 for one week now and it is way better than 4, Icepower 125ASX2 bridged/Ghentaudio case.
Much more control and detail, and cleaner sound (much less destortion).
I'm so curious about how 4, LA90 will perform in mono with my Martin Logan Electromotion ESL X (6 ohm).
The sound clarity step from 2 to 4 Icepower was huge and I think there might be gains to do the same with LA90. I'lI get back on this !

12 v trigger ?.........
I'm also interested in being able to turn on/off the whole stereo from one remote. LA90 has 12 v trigger. (in) but D90SE has not 12 v trigger in/out at all.
I hoped I could have controled the LA90 (all 4) by a 230 v. wireless sucket, with its own remote: The eksternal PSU for LA90 reacts fine to the sucket/remote but the amp itself stays off - guess there is no way but find some 12 v trigger solution ? How about this :
https://emotiva.com/products/et-3
"The ET-3 can also be configured to send trigger signals to up to three connected devices as soon as it is powered on" - then it should just be attatched the same remote controlled sucket as the 4, LA90, PSUs.
Because I need 4 ports in all: Can one trigger port (out) on the ET-3, control 4 identical power amps if I use cascading plugs: 4, TS plugs or 4, TRS plugs, each wire with one male and two female (the extra female plugs in turn, feeds the 4 amps each with a TS/TSR plugged male/male wire) ?

View attachment 216428

Your comments are appreciated

The Emotiva device should work just fine. I also created a bit of a DIY remote controlled trigger system: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...er-to-topping-audio-chain.33997/#post-1189473. The bit about polarity is quite important as most audio devices require a specific polarity for their 12v trigger inputs.
 

nUUK25

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Not sure. Maybe someone with the same combo can chime in.
I think there is a low tech. cost effective solution here by Rip City Dave:
 

nUUK25

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The Emotiva device should work just fine. I also created a bit of a DIY remote controlled trigger system: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...er-to-topping-audio-chain.33997/#post-1189473. The bit about polarity is quite important as most audio devices require a specific polarity for their 12v trigger inputs.
How about these two ? - a combination !! D90SE with the remote control on the Master (red) The eksternal PSU 12v (1000 mA) on a slave (Black) and the LA90 (its externel PSU) on a Slave (Black). With more 12 v. (1000 mA) it can control more LA90'ies.
# Kenshone.....What are the minimum current needed in 12 v. for trigging the LA90 to turn on/off ?
Should the tip of the Mini-jack plug be positive (and mono type) in the case of LA90 ?
1657154409501.png

PSU 12v (1000 mA):
1657154432982.png
 
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How about these two ? - a combination !! D90SE with the remote control on the Master (red) The eksternal PSU 12v (1000 mA) on a slave (Black) and the LA90 (its externel PSU) on a Slave (Black). With more 12 v. (1000 mA) it can control more LA90'ies.
# Kenshone.....What are the minimum current needed in 12 v. for trigging the LA90 to turn on/off ?
Should the tip of the Mini-jack plug be positive (and mono type) in the case of LA90 ?
View attachment 216829
PSU 12v (1000 mA):
View attachment 216830
I don’t have that specific triggered power strip, but the one I do have isn’t sensitive enough to be triggered by any of the modern efficient stuff I’ve tried to trigger it with (Pre90, Atom Amp+).
 

Latent333

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The entire Topping 90 lineup should have 12v trigger in my opinion. It doesn't make sense for only A90 Discrete and LA90 to have it.
 
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