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Topping PA3s Review (Desktop Amplifier)

DHT 845

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Bryston B60R price is 3500 USD,. One shout be out of his mind to Pay the price for small simple amp, even if it measures Ok.
 

DSJR

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From memory, the P50II was a Stan Curtis design, unlike the earlier P40 and P50, and did "not" suffer from crossover distortion. Martin Colloms rated it highly both for measurements and for subjective SQ. BTW I still think those Cambridge amps were some of the best looking ever, although the slim design probably did compromise heat dissipation.

As a mere consumer, my impression at the time was that Japanese amps were starting to gain respect, but the serious brand was Crown/Amcron, or Phase Linear if you wanted huge power (200 or 350 W seemed incredible then). The Quad 303 was still the established top Brit amp but there were doubts about load tolerance and SQ.
Sorry to drift off topic. Are you talking of the black fronted large knob Cambridge amps from the late 80's? I liked those a lot! The possible unreliable era I recall was the slim silver classic-stylish looking models from the early to mid 70's. Stan may have had design inpout into these as well, but I'm damned if I can remember reliably here...
 

Bruce Morgen

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It just means that technology in speaker amplification hasnt progressed that much so a 4 grand amp can be made for the same specs in 2021 for $150. In fact they might cost as much if not more. This isnt the fault of a single manufacturer like Topping but perhaps the industry as a whole.

How much more "speaker amplification" progress would be required to have an audible effect? I think we're already at a point where the real audible improvements have to be in speaker system design and amp-speaker integration rather than in squeezing out the last possible SINAD increase out of standalone amps.
 

boselover61

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How much more "speaker amplification" progress would be required to have an audible effect? I think we're already at a point where the real audible improvements have to be in speaker system design and amp-speaker integration rather than in squeezing out the last possible SINAD increase out of standalone amps.
Well thats my point. Remember when a 4gb micro sd card cost almost $200 15 years ago and now you can buy a 512gb micro sd card for $30. Thats what i call progress, which sadly hasnt happened much in this snake oil filled industry.
 

pma

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It just means that technology in speaker amplification hasnt progressed that much so a 4 grand amp can be made for the same specs in 2021 for $150. In fact they might cost as much if not more. This isnt the fault of a single manufacturer like Topping but perhaps the industry as a whole.

So the only remaining power amplifier designer in the industry who is worth mentioning and kudos for SOTA circuit ideas is Bruno Putzeys? I would say so and I would say it is a typical example of lost knowledge. Most of the designers act like mere chip and block assemblers, not true design engineers.
 

boselover61

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So the only remaining power amplifier designer in the industry who is worth mentioning and kudos for SOTA circuit ideas is Bruno Putzeys? I would say so and I would say it is a typical example of lost knowledge. Most of the designers act like mere chip and block assemblers, not true design engineers.
Well its a snake oil filled industry after all. One of the few industries where you absolutely cant get your worth with the money spent
 

Bruce Morgen

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Well thats my point. Remember when a 4gb micro sd card cost almost $200 15 years ago and now you can buy a 512gb micro sd card for $30. Thats what i call progress, which sadly hasnt happened much in this snake oil filled industry.

Actually, it has -- but the audiophool contingent is too tethered to their folklore and their preferred specialized vendors. The closest thing to a "Moore's Law" pace of progress in audio amplification is embodied in the best of today's monolithic Class D ICs, and if Bruno is ever willing to license Eigentakt to a capable IC house like TI that will be game/set/match -- even Bruno himself has stated he's done with amp design other than scaling up Eigentakt to four-figure power levels and is now more interested in high-end speaker-amp integration and thus surpassing his triumphant work on the Kii Three system, which uses previous-generation NCore modules from Hypex.
 

restorer-john

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I would say so and I would say it is a typical example of lost knowledge. Most of the designers act like mere chip and block assemblers, not true design engineers.

What you say is true. The topological advances, novel designs and real effort has retired or died with the engineers of the past.

Yamaha haven't produced anything of note since the 1990s and their amplification is stuck in a rut.
Sony, I don't even want go there. Their innovation in amplification stopped dead in the 1990s. They should be ashamed.
Panasonic at least have resurrected their excellent turntables, improved them and embraced GaN- I expect to see better from them.
Most of the other big Japanese brands have been bought out and rolled up into umbrella brands. They just don't exist like they did.
Accuphase is still doing what they do best- kudos to them.

And Harman/Samsung? They haven't produced a decent amplifier or range of amplifiers for 35 years. And they pimped out JBL (I saw a stand of JBL headphones at my local gas/petrol station- can you believe that? How to destroy a brand legacy.)
 

restorer-john

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This little Topping is not remotely in the same leauge as the Bryston discussed above. Not even close.

But, for people who want a tiny little amplifier that actually works, it's cheap and cheerful.
 

Bruce Morgen

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So the only remaining power amplifier designer in the industry who is worth mentioning and kudos for SOTA circuit ideas is Bruno Putzeys? I would say so and I would say it is a typical example of lost knowledge. Most of the designers act like mere chip and block assemblers, not true design engineers.

...and the remaining old-time design engineers, e.g. Nelson Pass, Bob Carver, and Bascom King, have given up on actually advancing the SOTA in favor of quirky designs that appeal to deep-pocketed audiophools, e.g. resorting to tubes, Class A circuitry, and deliberately implementing what their customers hear as the right kind of "euphonic" distortion.
 

tomtoo

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This little Topping is not remotely in the same leauge as the Bryston discussed above. Not even close.

But, for people who want a tiny little amplifier that actually works, it's cheap and cheerful.

No the remote alone is more than 4 times as expensive. And makes no sound. ;)
 

boselover61

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This little Topping is not remotely in the same leauge as the Bryston discussed above. Not even close.

But, for people who want a tiny little amplifier that actually works, it's cheap and cheerful.
The bryston is 40x the price so Id hope it performs 40x better. If it somehow performs worse than this little cute toy then I would feel extreme shame telling anyone I work for Bryston
 

DSS

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Boulder is pathetic by comparison:
£373 per stereo watt for Boulder
£3.26 per stereo watt for Topping

40dB£ more expensive per watt.

Just one metric admittedly - but still... ;)
Nonsense of course. PAS 2002PCS is about 1.15€ per watt per channel in mono mode.
 

restorer-john

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The bryston is 40x the price so Id hope it performs 40x better. If it somehow performs worse than this little cute toy then I would feel extreme shame telling anyone I work for Bryston

That's just silly and you know it. HiFi, and indeed anything else in life doesn't work like that. Ever heard of the law of diminishing returns? :)

You can buy an $8 bottle of wine and an $800 bottle of wine. Is the $800 one a hundred times better? Nope.
You can buy a $30,000 car and a $3,000,000 dollar car. Does the expensive one accelerate 100 times faster to 60mph? Nope.

Bryston and indeed most other proper HiFi companies cannot be merely dissected into one or two metrics. So much more to it.
 

boselover61

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That's just silly and you know it. HiFi, and indeed anything else in life doesn't work like that. Ever heard of the law of diminishing returns? :)

You can buy an $8 bottle of wine and an $800 bottle of wine. Is the $800 one a hundred times better? Nope.
You can buy a $30,000 car and a $3,000,000 dollar car. Does the expensive one accelerate 100 times faster to 60mph? Nope.

Bryston and indeed most other proper HiFi companies cannot be merely dissected into one or two metrics. So much more to it.
It was merely an hyperbole statement by me. My point still stands that the day topping outperforms a company like Bryston by having an amp that is a lot cheaper but has the same performance is the day all HiFi company should sit down and ask themselves what have they been doing for the past decades.

It might or might not happen. We will have to see this through. But knowing topping track record of pumping out products that completely destroy other SOTA dacs and headphone amps at a reasonable price, it would not surprise me one bit if their next top of the line amp does just that.
 

AudioSceptic

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Sorry to drift off topic. Are you talking of the black fronted large knob Cambridge amps from the late 80's? I liked those a lot! The possible unreliable era I recall was the slim silver classic-stylish looking models from the early to mid 70's. Stan may have had design inpout into these as well, but I'm damned if I can remember reliably here...
I'm talking about the early-mid-70s ones, P40-P50-P50II. IIRC they were silver only, whereas the P100 and P110 could be silver or black. I also liked the later ones, but not as much. Note I'm talking about styling ("industrial design"), not necessarily performance or reliability. Someone here agrees with me ;-) <https://community.naimaudio.com/t/what-comes-first-looks-or-sound-quality/14542/224>

In the 80s, there was an AR (Acoustic Research, not Arcam) amp that looked very like the CA of the time, also a Curtis design I believe. I would've bought one but it lacked a headphone socket and I got an Audiolab 8000A instead.
 

BDWoody

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Bryston and indeed most other proper HiFi companies cannot be merely dissected into one or two metrics. So much more to it.

20 year warranty being one.
 

DSJR

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Bryston seemed to go up hugely in price in the late noughties I recall - all but doubling in the UK. I never could work out why. PMC who imported them, did the same with their domestic (at least) speaker models too, a £1250pr model being £2000pr after a very few years. I'm not businessman as you may have gathered, but drastic increases like this way over inflation (and I suspect even the stock-market crash of 2008) never lay easy with me.
 

DHT 845

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Bryston seemed to go up hugely in price in the late noughties I recall - all but doubling in the UK. I never could work out why. PMC who imported them, did the same with their domestic (at least) speaker models too, a £1250pr model being £2000pr after a very few years. I'm not businessman as you may have gathered, but drastic increases like this way over inflation (and I suspect even the stock-market crash of 2008) never lay easy with me.
As far as I know Creek rised its prises as well, seems to me EU market is hugely uncompetitive for audio manufacturing.
 
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