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Topping PA3: subjective impressions

Joined
Aug 11, 2019
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#61
Hello again people .
Finally after all these busy days , I had the time to change the potentiometer.
Definitely I seen big improvement but there is still small difference between channels in balance.
At the moment all the small Chinese class D Amps are back to the storage as I have stick again with my class ab amps .
I can tell that these amps are small , but definitely they can't do the job well, especially if you are very fussy like me .
I bought a second hand (excellent condition) NAD C 320BEE and my speakers are very happy again .
Yes there is big difference on amp size but if you really love music, you'll always find the room to fit your bigger amp .
Thank you very much for the share and all the information.
Greetings from down under
 
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#63
I also own the cheap retail FX Audio FX502Pro from the same chip family. I hear absolutely no hiss or hum, there is no turn on/off thump, and I have noticed no anomalies on my new amp. Sounds great. But I have not compared the two objectively in a blind test yet.
Does FX502 Pro produce no hiss when you lean your ears on the speakers?

I connected a generic TPA3251 amp and a generic TPA3255 amp to Eltax Monitor 3 which has efficiency of 89dB. Hiss becomes imperceptible at 10cm away with ambient noise. Both generic amps were used with a chinese 32V 5A adapter from aliexpress. The potentiometer on the generic TPA3251 amp is substantially louder than that on the generic TPA3255 amp at the same volume level.
 
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Oct 1, 2019
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#64
I just opened the box on my Topping PA 3 and it has a screw rolling around inside the case. I am sure it is a small screw, I can hear it the way it moves. Someone else in this forum mentioned a rattle. Someone in the Topping factory is a real joker. I was running an old Luxman M-113 on my desk with a Topping D50s DAC the new PA3 sounds great and frees up a large spot on my desk. My speakers are Paradigm Monitor SE and they are great. I use Tidal as my streaming service. I think as long as I don't shake the amp the screw is not a big deal. Listening to Nora Jones, Come Away With Me, her voice jumps out of the speakers, very sharp and crisp. The Luxman was more mellow or pleasurable. The PA 3 is very detailed I am hearing the guitar players fingers move on the strings.
 
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Feb 17, 2020
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#65
HAH! Nicely put....I will have to remember that line the next time someone dares to question my subjective views on anything;)

If the Allo Amps are closely based on TI's Evaluation Boards, (this guy who got one free says they are) then you are right, it is unlikely that what you are hearing is effects or artifacts. The purpose of these boards is to demonstrate the accuracy & power of the chip. So they are, as you say, made with better components and with a well thought out layout.

But, of course the only scientifically objective qualitative listening happens in double blind tests. Seklem has done everything possible in his review to be objective....but he rightly titles the thread subjective, because there is no blind test involved. Two Thumbs Up for that.

I think we can conclude that there is more audible hiss on the PA3 than there is on some other TPA7489E amps (I cannot hear hiss on my Indeed Amp). But, as you said in one of your earlier posts...this is usually a design choice made to make it appear an amp is more powerful in subjective comparisons.

So, I really hope Amirm does further testing of inexpensive amps...and also reviews a typical eBay or other inexpensive retail amp with an amp using or based on the evaluation board of the same chip. I recently built a class D amplifier using amp and power supply boards from 3e Audio based on the TPA3255 evaluation board (because of this article). I also own the cheap retail FX Audio FX502Pro from the same chip family. I hear absolutely no hiss or hum, there is no turn on/off thump, and I have noticed no anomalies on my new amp. Sounds great. But I have not compared the two objectively in a blind test yet.

My proud father photo below :D
View attachment 26762
I am contemplating this build, and love how small and perfect this case is. Where did you buy it?
 

taisho

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#66
Both Topping PA3 and SMSL SA-98E use TDA7498E, you can see FFT measurements on page 7:
https://www.st.com/resource/en/datasheet/tda7498e.pdf

EDIT: SINAD from datasheet under the following standard conditions: 4Ohm, 1W, 1kHz is 65.5dB A-weighted, 62.6dB worst measurement.

According to customer reviews, both Topping PA3 and SMSL SA-98E, have annoying hiss and high fail rate. I would never risk spending over $100 for this kind of performance and quality (well over $100 in the case of PA3).

If someone really wants a budget solution, then probably this unit which is also based on TDA7498E is much more promising in terms of life expectancy and costs only $74 on Amazon, much more suitable for such low performance (hiss still reported):
https://www.amazon.com/TDA7498E-Audio-Amplifier-Receiver-Integrated/dp/B077GWVHHN/
 
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May 6, 2020
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#69
According to customer reviews, both Topping PA3 and SMSL SA-98E, have annoying hiss and high fail rate. I would never risk spending over $100 for this kind of performance and quality (well over $100 in the case of PA3).

If someone really wants a budget solution, then probably this unit which is also based on TDA7498E is much more promising in terms of life expectancy and costs only $74 on Amazon, much more suitable for such low performance (hiss still reported):
https://www.amazon.com/TDA7498E-Audio-Amplifier-Receiver-Integrated/dp/B077GWVHHN/
I've been using both the $74 Fosi Audio and SMSL versions daily for about a year, powering the speakers in my living room as well as a pair of ATC monitors. They both sound great and have plenty of power. I slightly prefer the SMSL for a couple of reasons. It was incredibly noisy with the included power supply but with the 36v one linked to below it's very, very quiet. It also doesn't get hot at all, unlike the Fosi which gets hot to the touch just by being plugged in.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07WNST3BG/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
 
Joined
Nov 18, 2019
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#70
Thanks for this thread,
My PA3 finally arrived from China after the long shipping delay. Parts Express doesn't sell the silver model.
I sold my Class A and AB tube amps along with my Carver and Pioneer AVR to downsize our household some.
My wife is really techno-adverse , a luddite, but loves music, so I am trying to simplify.
I still have a Kenwood amp and the Fulsom chip amp I built but have been using my years old Topping 2020 mark 2 amp to power my 89 db Seas full range speakers.
The Topping 2020 is by FAR, the best of the cheap sonic impact , lepai, dayton , SMSL and Kinter amps I have.
Really pleasing sound and one knob !
So , the PA3 sounds ......not good through the SEAS, no louder than the 2020 although it is rated more than twice the power ,and no low end or low mids with a bright clear top end . A little hiss at the speaker but not objectionable.
I moved the PA3 upstairs to a dormer room where I have some Klipsch MTM's. Bass heavy sound is there because of floor and corner loading, so the PA3 seems to work better in that situation. Still , that hard treble presence is noticeable though. Power not a problem though the Klipsch are lower efficiency speakers than the Seas.
Disappointing , but it was only a hundred dollars
I'd like to send both Toppings to Amir to get the data but am using both amps .
 
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May 6, 2020
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#71
I should say that I use my SMSL for music production so for me a flat response is the main thing. I don't want the amp to make things sound nicer, almost the opposite. That said, I think it does sound good at low to normal levels in a neutral, revealing kind of way.
 
Joined
Sep 19, 2019
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#72
Hello guys , my name is Nick and I'm new member to the forum .
Sorry if my question have been answered before, if so I didn't notice it.
I own an indeed tda7498 amp and the smsl sa98e that both have the same chip .
I'm running into a problem with both of them , at very low volume , but really low I can only get music from one speaker, and then I have to increase the volume to get music from the other side. Most of the people will think that maybe is the speakers or the input device.
To be more specific, indeed amp first coming up the left channel and with the smsl sa98e first was the right.
Input was through topping d10 dac and I have even try the Logitech bt MODULE without the dac and still does the same thing.
Have you ever guys had the same issue?
Is that probably defected volume potentiometer or something else ?
I have already order an alps micro potentiometer to replace at my indeed amp to see if I can fix that.
I spoke with indeed and they said defected potentiometer and I was sure , but after my smsl did the same then I thought that maybe is something else.
Any idea guys ?
Thank you very much

Tube buffer https://audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/fx-audio-6j1-tube-preamp-a-31-wonder.848535/

You buy one and turn the amp up to 12 o'clock and then turn the volume up on the tube buffer or preamp with tubes using one of the loudest songs you have, when it start to get distort stay at the level or 1-2 click higher since most songs are not as loud as your loudest song

You could also go as fare as 1 or 2 or even 3 o'clock where you adjust max volume, a ytube buffer or preamp with tubes can be cheaper than something like rothwells -10 db attenuators (or -15 or -20db)
 

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