• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Topping PA3s Review (Desktop Amplifier)

Bruce Morgen

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Messages
555
Likes
632
The NCore and Purifi designs are still the way to go if you want (or need) more power. Nonetheless, what Topping has been able to achieve with the PA5 is very impressive. I’m waiting to see what they do next—maybe a PA9 will tick all the boxes.

Using the PBTL mode of the TPA3255 -- with one chip dedicated to each channel and the distortion-reduction measures of the PA5 -- would result in one he||uvan amp given an adequate PSU IMO.
 

Dennis_FL

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 21, 2020
Messages
305
Likes
200
I had one on order from Amazon for my KEF LS50 metas and then I chickened out and cancelled.

Amir had this warning in the LS50 review: "Combined with low sensitivity, you need to have a beefy amplifier to drive them."
 

envydd

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 4, 2018
Messages
101
Likes
54
I had one on order from Amazon for my KEF LS50 metas and then I chickened out and cancelled.

Amir had this warning in the LS50 review: "Combined with low sensitivity, you need to have a beefy amplifier to drive them."
Depends on your listening room. I used to find my OG LS50s hard to drive in my living room and bought an NCore 502mp to bring them to life - it clearly needed 150W+ of power in my big room. Later on I got R3s and I moved them to another room (12x12 sqft) and I drive them with a 60W NuPrime A+D integrated and it sounds amazing. Use an SPL calculator online to see how much you need. For small rooms a PA5 might be great (hence ordered one!).
 

Dennis_FL

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 21, 2020
Messages
305
Likes
200
Depends on your listening room. I used to find my OG LS50s hard to drive in my living room and bought an NCore 502mp to bring them to life - it clearly needed 150W+ of power in my big room. Later on I got R3s and I moved them to another room (12x12 sqft) and I drive them with a 60W NuPrime A+D integrated and it sounds amazing. Use an SPL calculator online to see how much you need. For small rooms a PA5 might be great (hence ordered one!).
Yep...I used the calculator and it says it is OK......but I'm skeptical. Currently I have a million pound AB 200 W/Ch amp.
 

envydd

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 4, 2018
Messages
101
Likes
54
Yep...I used the calculator and it says it is OK......but I'm skeptical. Currently I have a million pound AB 200 W/Ch amp.
Then you should be fine unless you listen to high DR tracks at high volumes. I listen at 85dB or so and my 60W is enough. Now I want to optimize for clarity at low volumes. Since most amps have a v shaped THD function, I want to operate my amps at 50-60% of the max power delivering about 85dB of sound for my room. This gives sqrt(2) or 1.41x headroom at close to minimum distortion for the amp. maybe 2x headroom is ok but not more.
 

Dennis_FL

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 21, 2020
Messages
305
Likes
200
Yep...I used the calculator and it says it is OK......but I'm skeptical. Currently I have a million pound AB 200 W/Ch amp.
I'm very fine now...but I was trying to switch to these mini-components and sell my AVR and amp.
 

musiclover

Member
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
11
Likes
8
This is poor, again, same as for many cheap class D amplifiers.

View attachment 156836

Unfortunately, Hypex Ncore and Purifi remain the only well behaving class D amplifiers. Still a lot to learn, @JohnYang1997 .
Can someone explain to me as a non-technical person if these faults will be audible?

The PA5 obviously seems more competent but is also more than double the price. Additionally, this PA3s sports both balanced and single-ended inputs, so is more versatile than the PA5.
 

dominikz

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 10, 2020
Messages
463
Likes
1,607
Can someone explain to me as a non-technical person if these faults will be audible?

The PA5 obviously seems more competent but is also more than double the price. Additionally, this PA3s sports both balanced and single-ended inputs, so is more versatile than the PA5.
IMHO these are not likely to be audible at all.

First harmonic of 10kHz is at 20kHz, which is at the very border of a healthy young person's hearing range - and even at these frequencies THD+N is below 1% and almost certainly inaudible.
Lower frequencies show even less distortion, while higher frequencies than 10kHz will have any distortion products in the ultrasound (inaudible) part of the spectrum.

In addition, the multitone test shows that IMD distortion products are below the noise-floor for 16-bit content (in ~17bit range) with a solid 5W output, so that should be more than good enough too.
Output impedance seems very low (=good) too and therefore the amp's output is practically load-invariant.

In short I'd say if the power capability suits you it should be a pretty transparent little amp :) - I certainly would have it on my radar if I was looking for an amp that pushes around [email protected] The one I'm using is objectively worse, but still sounds fine to me :D
 

musiclover

Member
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
11
Likes
8
IMHO these are not likely to be audible at all.

First harmonic of 10kHz is at 20kHz, which is at the very border of a healthy young person's hearing range - and even at these frequencies THD+N is below 1% and almost certainly inaudible.
Lower frequencies show even less distortion, while higher frequencies than 10kHz will have any distortion products in the ultrasound (inaudible) part of the spectrum.

In addition, the multitone test shows that IMD distortion products are below the noise-floor for 16-bit content (in ~17bit range) with a solid 5W output, so that should be more than good enough too.
Output impedance seems very low (=good) too and therefore the amp's output is practically load-invariant.

In short I'd say if the power capability suits you it should be a pretty transparent little amp :) - I certainly would have it on my radar if I was looking for an amp that pushes around [email protected] The one I'm using is objectively worse, but still sounds fine to me :D
Thanks for the reply. I think most people should be fine with the power output of the PA3s. It's a desktop DAC after all, and nobody wants to kill their precious hearing by blasting the music too loud while sitting 2 metres away from the speakers. As long as one don't want to hear on deafening levels, have crazy hard to drive speakers or want to use this for the main living room system, this should be powerful (and hopefully transparent and reliable) enough. I am happy to share my experiences when it arrives :)
 

Toku

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 4, 2018
Messages
1,525
Likes
1,418
Location
Japan
Topping has announced the release of MX5 on the 21st.
I imagine the contents like PA3s + E30 + L30 + BT from the power supply voltage of 26V and TRS balanced input in the photo. It's a very fun product.
 

Attachments

  • 269089417_5006459026031583_7179057682852732421_n.jpg
    269089417_5006459026031583_7179057682852732421_n.jpg
    133.5 KB · Views: 78
  • 268799593_5006459082698244_6003641329507893971_n.jpg
    268799593_5006459082698244_6003641329507893971_n.jpg
    73.8 KB · Views: 77
  • 268824917_5006459066031579_846011084338240893_n.jpg
    268824917_5006459066031579_846011084338240893_n.jpg
    146.8 KB · Views: 78

bahamot

Active Member
Joined
May 20, 2020
Messages
178
Likes
238
Topping has announced the release of MX5 on the 21st.
I imagine the contents like PA3s + E30 + L30 + BT from the power supply voltage of 26V and TRS balanced input in the photo. It's a very fun product.
The MX5 has more goodies.It supports EQ and has 2 custom EQ profiles.
 

ModDIY

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2020
Messages
429
Likes
228
Hi Toku,

On the other thread you wrote about the P5a vs PA3s , can you tell us more?

Thank you.
 

Toku

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 4, 2018
Messages
1,525
Likes
1,418
Location
Japan
Hi Toku,

On the other thread you wrote about the P5a vs PA3s , can you tell us more?

Thank you.
What you want to know is a comparison of functional behavior?
Or is it a comparison about sound quality?
In terms of operational function, neither PA3s nor PA5 have any problematic symptoms.

1. There is no pop noise or click noise when turning the power on / off or switching the input.
However, if the AC plug is suddenly pulled out while the power of the PA5 is on, noise noise (his noise) will appear for a moment.
It may be annoying when you use the master switch to turn the entire audio system on and off all at once.
However, the level of noise generated is not high.

2. In both PA3s and PA5, noise from the speaker when there is no sound cannot be heard even if the ear is in close contact with the speaker unit. (When using 89dB speakers)

3. The heat generated by the PA5 is a little warmer this winter season, but in the middle of summer the heat generation will be even greater and the slits in the case will be effective. It is a fever situation similar to AIYIMA A07.
PA3s, on the other hand, do not feel fever.

4. It is pointed out that PA5 has a low gain, but it is not a problem for home use in the test in combination with E50.

In the sound quality comparison,
The PA3s don't feel much different in sound quality from the SMSL DA-9, SAO200, Sabaj A20a, etc. that use the same MA12070 chip, but the PA5 produces a different dimension of sound than these amps.
The biggest difference I felt when I first heard the sound of the PA5 was the spread of the sound stage.
Furthermore, the energy feeling of the bass, the transparency of the mid-high range, and the resolution are improved, and each sound is well separated and heard. The background feels darker and quieter than ever. When you hear this sound, you are fully satisfied with the price of PA5.
However, it may not be suitable for those who like tube amps and traditional AB class amps.

How you feel the sound depends on the individual. Also, if you keep listening for 3 days, your impression will change. These are my extremely subjective impressions. Depending on the listener, the evaluation may be the exact opposite. Therefore, please understand it for reference only.
The best thing is to buy it yourself and compare the sounds. I don't think it will disappoint.
PA3s and PA5 are amplifiers with different personalities. So I am currently using PA3s and PA5 together.
(I'm not good at English. I think there are some strange expressions.)
 

DHT 845

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2021
Messages
362
Likes
254
Top Bottom