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Topping LA90 Review (Integrated Amplifier)

Rate this amplifier:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 27 4.1%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 44 6.7%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 159 24.1%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 430 65.2%

  • Total voters
    660

Xulonn

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Stop using those idiotic elephant bricks and learn how to make good integrated power supplies! There are some good devices out already
Including the two TPA3255 amplifiers I've mentioned - the Audiophonics TPA-S100...

11.jpg

and the Aiyima A08...
22.jpg
 

jjmanda

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Aug 5, 2020
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Stop using those idiotic elephant bricks and learn how to make good integrated power supplies!
I agree!

But doubt that will happen.

Appears to me "they" are trying to both maintain a "desktop" footprint to appeal to both desktop and non-desktop markets and that "easy cheap route".

If they can't fit the power supply internally to maintain a desktop size, they'll put it in an external power supply
 

oli2000

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Jul 18, 2022
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I bought a LA90 after the measurement buzz. I was curious to know if I would hear a difference. Few years ago,n I got a pass lab amp on loan for a weekend, I was amazed how big the difference was with a Marantz PM 15S1. After that I bought a classé audio cap2100. It is not as good as the passlab but better than the Marantz. For the price, I’m very happy with it. I own also BW 802d loudspeakers.

hen I powered on the LA 90 for the first time, I encountered the same already discussed issue that it switched off immediately. After upgrading the software, it was fixed. Still, I’m wondering how a company can sell a device that doesn’t power on.

When I listened the LA 90, I was immediately stunned by the lack of bass. The weigh and the slam of my 802d wasall gone. The rest of the spectrum is ok. In term of bass impact and dynamics, the difference is huge with the classé audio. I’m wondering how can the frequency response is flat in the low octave. It is the proof that measurement on a bench is not enough. Clearly you notice immediately the difference, what is the point of SINAD when in a real world, the loudspeaker has lost the impact and extension in the bass. Is it still hi resolution and hifi amplifier?

To summarize, I’m clearly disappointed. I’m surprised that some people are happy with it.
 

Selkirks

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Mar 23, 2022
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To summarize, I’m clearly disappointed. I’m surprised that some people are happy with it.

I wouldn't consider using the LA90 with my previously owned B&W 802 Nautilus, 802 D2 and 802 D3. They need something more substantial to get pleasing bass response. A MOON 600i v2 was barely enough for the D3's.

With high(ish) efficiency speakers I was very happy with the LA90. Sound quality was comparable with any pricey amp I've owned. It was suitable with 91 dB Martin Logan Electrostatic hybrids as well but the soundstage was smaller compared to Purifi EVAL-1 and Nord NC500 amps.
 
Last edited:

Toku

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I bought a LA90 after the measurement buzz. I was curious to know if I would hear a difference. Few years ago,n I got a pass lab amp on loan for a weekend, I was amazed how big the difference was with a Marantz PM 15S1. After that I bought a classé audio cap2100. It is not as good as the passlab but better than the Marantz. For the price, I’m very happy with it. I own also BW 802d loudspeakers.

hen I powered on the LA 90 for the first time, I encountered the same already discussed issue that it switched off immediately. After upgrading the software, it was fixed. Still, I’m wondering how a company can sell a device that doesn’t power on.

When I listened the LA 90, I was immediately stunned by the lack of bass. The weigh and the slam of my 802d wasall gone. The rest of the spectrum is ok. In term of bass impact and dynamics, the difference is huge with the classé audio. I’m wondering how can the frequency response is flat in the low octave. It is the proof that measurement on a bench is not enough. Clearly you notice immediately the difference, what is the point of SINAD when in a real world, the loudspeaker has lost the impact and extension in the bass. Is it still hi resolution and hifi amplifier?

To summarize, I’m clearly disappointed. I’m surprised that some people are happy with it.
The opinion that the bass of LA90 is lacking was also pointed out in the following Youtube.
I was planning to buy the LA90, but I gave up after hearing some opinions that the bass was lacking.
 

restorer-john

Master Contributor
Joined
Mar 1, 2018
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Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
I bought a LA90 after the measurement buzz. I was curious to know if I would hear a difference. Few years ago,n I got a pass lab amp on loan for a weekend, I was amazed how big the difference was with a Marantz PM 15S1. After that I bought a classé audio cap2100. It is not as good as the passlab but better than the Marantz. For the price, I’m very happy with it. I own also BW 802d loudspeakers.

hen I powered on the LA 90 for the first time, I encountered the same already discussed issue that it switched off immediately. After upgrading the software, it was fixed. Still, I’m wondering how a company can sell a device that doesn’t power on.

When I listened the LA 90, I was immediately stunned by the lack of bass. The weigh and the slam of my 802d wasall gone. The rest of the spectrum is ok. In term of bass impact and dynamics, the difference is huge with the classé audio. I’m wondering how can the frequency response is flat in the low octave. It is the proof that measurement on a bench is not enough. Clearly you notice immediately the difference, what is the point of SINAD when in a real world, the loudspeaker has lost the impact and extension in the bass. Is it still hi resolution and hifi amplifier?

To summarize, I’m clearly disappointed. I’m surprised that some people are happy with it.

Send it back, get a refund and move on. Garbage is garbage.
 

jjmanda

Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2020
Messages
60
Likes
97
I bought a LA90 after the measurement buzz. I was curious to know if I would hear a difference. Few years ago,n I got a pass lab amp on loan for a weekend, I was amazed how big the difference was with a Marantz PM 15S1. After that I bought a classé audio cap2100. It is not as good as the passlab but better than the Marantz. For the price, I’m very happy with it. I own also BW 802d loudspeakers.

hen I powered on the LA 90 for the first time, I encountered the same already discussed issue that it switched off immediately. After upgrading the software, it was fixed. Still, I’m wondering how a company can sell a device that doesn’t power on.

When I listened the LA 90, I was immediately stunned by the lack of bass. The weigh and the slam of my 802d wasall gone. The rest of the spectrum is ok. In term of bass impact and dynamics, the difference is huge with the classé audio. I’m wondering how can the frequency response is flat in the low octave. It is the proof that measurement on a bench is not enough. Clearly you notice immediately the difference, what is the point of SINAD when in a real world, the loudspeaker has lost the impact and extension in the bass. Is it still hi resolution and hifi amplifier?

To summarize, I’m clearly disappointed. I’m surprised that some people are happy with it.
Interesting. I have the LA90, but to be honest, I didn't notice a lack of bass for a couple of reasons.

One, the LA90 is powering my 2 way mains that have a 6" woofer, so I'm not going to have a whole lot of slam out of it to begin with.

Two, I have a pair of 12" subs with more than enough power to them, so I get my low bass from those.

But for what I use the LA90 for, it sounds good.

Doesn't matter to me anyways as I'm saving my nickels for an ABH2. After that, I'll be rid of all things Topping including the LA90.
 

juliangst

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Dec 11, 2021
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Has anyone done a comparision with the Audiophonics Purifi amp? The Topping costs 700€ here in Germany and the audiophonics amp about 1400€. Two LA90 almost have the same power as the Purifi and I can't decide which one to get for my LS50.
 

Sokel

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Has anyone done a comparision with the Audiophonics Purifi amp? The Topping costs 700€ here in Germany and the audiophonics amp about 1400€. Two LA90 almost have the same power as the Purifi and I can't decide which one to get for my LS50.
The purifi.Easier service ( hope you'll never need it).
 

delta76

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Has anyone done a comparision with the Audiophonics Purifi amp? The Topping costs 700€ here in Germany and the audiophonics amp about 1400€. Two LA90 almost have the same power as the Purifi and I can't decide which one to get for my LS50.
it will be quite overkill for your LS50, better save up for a speaker upgrade. But between those two, Audiophonics Purifi, no contest.
 

juliangst

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it will be quite overkill for your LS50, better save up for a speaker upgrade. But between those two, Audiophonics Purifi, no contest.
I'm currently using an old Denon PMA 1500 RII integrated amp that I bought from ebay a few years ago.
It has enough power to drive my KEFs but I just wonder how much better the KEFs (or any future speakers) would sound if I had one of those perfectly measuring amps like the topping. I don't have measurements for my Denon but I guess that old integrated amps like it will measure rather poorly.

The Topping would have more than enough power to drive my LS50 on my desk. When I'll eventually use them in a living room I'd invest in a sub and minidsp flex to cross them over and use the LA90 as a power amp.
So practically, the LA90 will be powerful enough but I'm not sure if it's a reasonable upgrade over my Denon integrated to begin with.
 

delta76

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I'm currently using an old Denon PMA 1500 RII integrated amp that I bought from ebay a few years ago.
It has enough power to drive my KEFs but I just wonder how much better the KEFs (or any future speakers) would sound if I had one of those perfectly measuring amps like the topping. I don't have measurements for my Denon but I guess that old integrated amps like it will measure rather poorly.

The Topping would have more than enough power to drive my LS50 on my desk. When I'll eventually use them in a living room I'd invest in a sub and minidsp flex to cross them over and use the LA90 as a power amp.
So practically, the LA90 will be powerful enough but I'm not sure if it's a reasonable upgrade over my Denon integrated to begin with.
understand your itch, but you likely won't notice a difference. A better speaker (R3 maybe) would have more impact
 

juliangst

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understand your itch, but you likely won't notice a difference. A better speaker (R3 maybe) would have more impact
You're probably right. The only real advantage would be the ability to use the topping as a power amp so I could use something like a minidsp to apply crossover and dsp.
But just buying better speakers that don't need a sub in the first place would probably be a better plan
 

rubley00

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Oct 20, 2019
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I bought a LA90 after the measurement buzz. I was curious to know if I would hear a difference. Few years ago,n I got a pass lab amp on loan for a weekend, I was amazed how big the difference was with a Marantz PM 15S1. After that I bought a classé audio cap2100. It is not as good as the passlab but better than the Marantz. For the price, I’m very happy with it. I own also BW 802d loudspeakers.
You powered each speaker with one channel? The LA90 clearly isn't designed to power floorstanding speakers with a 50-500 Watt power rating. You'd have to at least bridge one LA90 into each speaker, and honestly if you need power like that go Purifi, or something else.
 

Chrise36

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You're probably right. The only real advantage would be the ability to use the topping as a power amp so I could use something like a minidsp to apply crossover and dsp.
But just buying better speakers that don't need a sub in the first place would probably be a better plan
The specs of your amp are quite good and there is also a direct input where you can use it as a power amp. If you can not hear any hiss with the volume maxed it is probably a good amp. Class d amps have their problems too so dont worry too much.
 

delta76

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You powered each speaker with one channel? The LA90 clearly isn't designed to power floorstanding speakers with a 50-500 Watt power rating. You'd have to at least bridge one LA90 into each speaker, and honestly if you need power like that go Purifi, or something else.
Unless his speakers are very insensitive, or he listens at very high volume, it'd be just fine. Floorstanding speakers are usually quite sensitive (>90dB), so at normal listening distance and volume, it will draw less than 5w per channel.

Of course a more powerful amp can drive it louder, but this amp can handle it, in most cases
 

juliangst

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The specs of your amp are quite good and there is also a direct input where you can use it as a power amp. If you can not hear any hiss with the volume maxed it is probably a good amp. Class d amps have their problems too so dont worry too much.
I will definitely keep it for a while. But it doesn’t have a main in. I think only newer or the bigger Denon amps have this
B04EA1EB-D3FC-4FB8-A465-98A32896C143.jpeg
 

Chrise36

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I will definitely keep it for a while. But it doesn’t have a main in. I think only newer or the bigger Denon amps have thisView attachment 219488
Source direct applies to all of your inputs and shortens the path for a cleaner signal. It is supposed to have better than 110 db A weighted S/N if the parts are still up to spec.
 
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