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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: 158 24.0%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 428 65.1%

  • Total voters
    657

simplywyn

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At $1200 CAD, this item is dead on arrival.

For $1200 CAD I can get a Purifi 1ET400 which has a whopping 250W to 8ohms and 400W into 4 ohms.

Hell I can even get the new NC1200 if I wanted for the same price, that doubles those numbers.
 

IPunchCholla

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At $1200 CAD, this item is dead on arrival.

For $1200 CAD I can get a Purifi 1ET400 which has a whopping 250W to 8ohms and 400W into 4 ohms.

Hell I can even get the new NC1200 if I wanted for the same price, that doubles those numbers.
Where? Everything I'm finding is $200-$300 US more.
 

DrDen

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I’m happy with LA90. Listening in small room, sensitive speakers (93dB). Low gain is enough (from -25 to -15 dB on my Gustard X26pro).
 

simplywyn

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I bought a LA90 off shenzhenaudio... they have a sale and I have $50 USD off, so came out to only $750USD
 

amper42

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Can't imagine purchasing an LA90 when I can buy the Purifi 1ET400A for a little bit extra.
1. No Topping warranty issues to deal with.
2. 30 day in home trial.
3. No external power brick
4. 425W @ 4ohm, 225W @8 ohm
5. Amazingly clean sounding and super energy efficient.
6. Great to work with

 

theREALdotnet

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Can't imagine purchasing an LA90 when I can buy the Purifi 1ET400A for a little bit extra.
1. No Topping warranty issues to deal with.

Yes, but with the Topping you get a complimentary 12 month Club SINAD membership. I got that with my D90, sadly it’s expired now…
 

IPunchCholla

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Can't imagine purchasing an LA90 when I can buy the Purifi 1ET400A for a little bit extra.
1. No Topping warranty issues to deal with.
2. 30 day in home trial.
3. No external power brick
4. 425W @ 4ohm, 225W @8 ohm
5. Amazingly clean sounding and super energy efficient.
6. Great to work with

I would personally go with the Buckeye Purifi, but the price difference is 47 percent of the cost of the Topping. While $380 wouldn’t bust my budget, I also don’t think they are quite in the same price class.
 

delta76

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I would personally go with the Buckeye Purifi, but the price difference is 47 percent of the cost of the Topping. While $380 wouldn’t bust my budget, I also don’t think they are quite in the same price class.
no they are not. That purifi has more than 2x power (more like 4x), and your money would be spent in better QA and better after sale service (based on the issues with PA5, people are spending between 50-70$ and 2 months to ship their amp back to China to repair).
Of course people will have different priority, but I would say P/P is better in Purifi case
 

Rottmannash

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no they are not. That purifi has more than 2x power (more like 4x), and your money would be spent in better QA and better after sale service (based on the issues with PA5, people are spending between 50-70$ and 2 months to ship their amp back to China to repair).
Of course people will have different priority, but I would say P/P is better in Purifi case
Why would anyone assume the LA90 has or will have the same issues as the PA5? We shouldn't paint with such a broad brush when discussing amplifiers.
 

delta76

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Why would anyone assume the LA90 has or will have the same issues as the PA5? We shouldn't paint with such a broad brush when discussing amplifiers.
I did not assume. I was saying that if your LA90 has problems (even if it's within then normal failure rate), it will cost you both time and money to get fixed.
 

restorer-john

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Yes, but with the Topping you get a complimentary 12 month Club SINAD membership. I got that with my D90, sadly it’s expired now…

Club SINAD. I remember that place! Went there years ago and it was dull and boring. Certainly no hot women, only blokes - all engineering types. It may have been exclusive once, but the cost of entry is so low these days, nobody takes it seriously. Definitely not the place you want to be 'seen'.
 

Rottmannash

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I did not assume. I was saying that if your LA90 has problems (even if it's within then normal failure rate), it will cost you both time and money to get fixed.
Not if ordered from Apos Audio.
 

delta76

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Not if ordered from Apos Audio.
sadly they are not the only retailer.
all in all, just saying that for me, all things considered, Purifi provides better value for the money (even though they are not same classes, I find it hard to imagine that people wish they had bought something with higher SINAD, it is much more likely they wish they had bought something with higher power). As different people have different priorities, many might find it perfectly reasonable to buy LA90 to drive their speakers, and that's fine.
 

simplywyn

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CDs have 80 SINAD and your hearing doesn't pass 100 or so... I still don't understand why people sign about SINAD all day
 

mocenigo

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CDs have 80 SINAD and your hearing doesn't pass 100 or so... I still don't understand why people sign about SINAD all day

It is more important for sources, since the noise and distortion floor will be amplified with the signal. If the signal is below maximum output, then at least the residual noise of the device will be closer to the signal than the nominal SINAD. So the noise at least may become audible. Granted, this is a corner case, but having high SINAD for DAC and preamp (if you have one), say hearing+20, which means closer to 120 than to 100 in practice, can be useful. Not so for the power amp.
 

simplywyn

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It is more important for sources, since the noise and distortion floor will be amplified with the signal. If the signal is below maximum output, then at least the residual noise of the device will be closer to the signal than the nominal SINAD. So the noise at least may become audible. Granted, this is a corner case, but having high SINAD for DAC and preamp (if you have one), say hearing+20, which means closer to 120 than to 100 in practice, can be useful. Not so for the power amp.

Good to know thanks, my electrical engineering should've told me that lol d'oh.
 

mocenigo

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Good to know thanks, my electrical engineering should've told me that lol d'oh.

Of course also with amplifiers it has some importance and it depends also on the speakers downstream. I have a quite sensitive setup (97.5Db/w/m on average from 60 to 23000hz, and one sub per channel below that), and with other amplifiers I hear hiss through the speakers. Not with my (admittedly overengineered) Neurochrome/Purifi build.
 

simplywyn

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I just got the LA90 and hooked it up to my R3's. They have plenty of power, not sure why you'll need another one.

LA90 is basically PA5 on steroids. All the problems I had with PA5 are completely gone with LA90.

Just imagine the PA5, but with a massively beefy power behind it.

I'm going to try these with my R11s soon enough.

So far I don't see any point in upgrading to another better amp..this is it.

Benchmarks might be only 10-11% better at 3x the price.

Comparing it to my Purifi ET400 - this is far better in terms of accuracy, and just sound producing ability (sounds feel like real sounds, with other amps I could tell it's not, not sure how to describe it). Music coming out of it feels sharp, and steely, but has a feeling of liviness. Highs are a delight to the ears like PA5, sharp sounds feel sharp like PA5 but mids and bass are way more beefy than PA5 can punch out.

The Purifi ET400 feels a bit darker, missing the details but it's got tremendous power which sometimes makes the songs a bit over kill. It's still a great amp, we're talking about hair strings here. ET400 just feels a bit more clinical without the musical feeling.

Overall, LA90 is a far better performer for your average listening, the ET400 is for when you really want that boost (probably better for movies and explosive scenes)

LA90 - I'm keeping it for sure, great amp
ET400 - keeping it for R11, looking to maybe upgrade to a more powerful amp maybe benchmark
PA5 - returned
 

Talisman

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Overall, LA90 is a far better performer for your average listening, the ET400 is for when you really want that boost (probably better for movies and explosive scenes)
I would be incredibly curious to know if you would be able to recognize them blindly.
I don't understand how you can so clearly recognize amplifiers with flat response and absolute load independence.
 
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