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Topping PA5 II Stereo Amplifier Review

Rate this stereo amplifier:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 14 4.3%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 18 5.5%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 96 29.4%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 198 60.7%

  • Total voters
    326

Sokel

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The songs were streamed from Apple Music. I don't think I can have access to the original waveform.
I have 3 of them in FLAC but can’t guarantee that they are the same master as the Apple Music master.
Ok,found one myself (the second one) :

Topping PA5 II:

PA5.PNG

Sonos Amp:

Sonos.PNG

(did the best I could with what I have on hand,now you decide what's closer)
 

Sokel

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Tested this according to your suggestion.
Level matched with pink noise, iPhone 110cm from both speakers. Source were local flac files. Lossless audio recording on the iPhone. 3 different tracks.

WiiM on Sonos Amp vs Sonos Amp internal streamer.
(Pay attention to the names as the PA5 II vs Sonos Amp tests are also there)



It’s the white Sonos Connect:Amp that came before the black Sonos Amp.
Ok,being curious I compared these ones too:

PA5 II vs Sonos+internal streamer:

PA5 vs Sonos internal.PNGPA5 vs Sonos internal Delta.PNG

PA5 II vs Sonos+Wiim:

PA5 II vs Sonos plus Wiim.PNGPA5 II vs Sonos plus Wiim Delta.PNG

Sonos internal vs Sonos+Wiim:

Sonos internal vs Sonos plus Wiim.PNGSonos internal vs Sonos plus Wiim Delta.PNG

So nope,it's not any of the amps causing it.
Something is off with the streamers,particularly with your "B" setup of the original post.

That's where you have to put your attention.
 
Last edited:

Julf

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I guess you’re right by the definition of distortion.
In audio, "distortion" usually means harmonic distortion. Sure, uneven frequency response is also distortion in the general sense of the word, but is usually referred to as just that - uneven frequency response.
 

cptsantos

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Ok,being curious I compared these ones too:

PA5 II vs Sonos+internal streamer:

View attachment 360069View attachment 360070

PA5 II vs Sonos+Wiim:

View attachment 360071View attachment 360072

Sonos internal vs Sonos+Wiim:

View attachment 360073View attachment 360074

So nope,it's not any of the amps causing it.
Something is off with the streamers,particularly with your "B" setup of the original post.

That's where you have to put your attention.
Ok we have to be careful here because the streamer comparison recordings (wiim + Sonos vs Sonos internal streamer) were level matched at a lower level than the previous PA5 II vs Sonos Amp tests.
 

cptsantos

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Ok,being curious I compared these ones too:

PA5 II vs Sonos+internal streamer:

View attachment 360069View attachment 360070

PA5 II vs Sonos+Wiim:

View attachment 360071View attachment 360072

Sonos internal vs Sonos+Wiim:

View attachment 360073View attachment 360074

So nope,it's not any of the amps causing it.
Something is off with the streamers,particularly with your "B" setup of the original post.

That's where you have to put your attention.
The B setup was the Sonos Amp alone (steaming internally).
 

Sokel

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Ok we have to be careful here because the streamer comparison recordings (wiim + Sonos vs Sonos internal streamer) were level matched at a lower level than the previous PA5 II vs Sonos Amp tests.
You can see that but Deltawave takes care of this.
What we wanted to see is now clear in all set-ups.

The weird one is the Sonos setup alone,it did something down low.
In the second test (first in the above post) if it's the same it didn't!
Looses control maybe?Some setting?Some other interaction?Some filter?

Something.
 

cptsantos

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You can see that but Deltawave takes care of this.
What we wanted to see is now clear in all set-ups.

The weird one is the Sonos setup alone,it did something down low.
In the second test (first in the above post) if it's the same it didn't!
Looses control maybe?Some setting?Some other interaction?Some filter?

Something.
I can do all the tests you want on the Sonos. That’s the one I’m keeping as I returned the PA II and the WiiM today.
 

Xibal

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So the Sonos setup is the "wrong" one, but it is also the preferred one by cptsantos, is it right?
 

mike70

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So the Sonos setup is the "wrong" one, but it is also the preferred one by cptsantos, is it right?

Is the preferred, but we're suspecting is a simple EQ and not a real better sound quality (as almost always between decent amps).
 

Xibal

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Is the preferred, but we're suspecting is a simple EQ and not a real better sound quality (as almost always between decent amps).
But cptsantos said EQ was disabled, so are we talking about a "physical" EQ done by architectural implementation(capacitors...), or what else could be?
 

Xibal

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Hmm,it seems that something is at play here:


View attachment 359897
View attachment 359900

View attachment 359898


It seems that you're right about what you hear @cptsantos .
Check about weird EQ settings,bass boost and stuff.

Edit:for people unfamiliar with Deltawave,there's some 10db difference in favor of Sonos at the low end.
Also PA5 II seems brighter which would also boost the feeling about lifeless lows as it tips the balance even more.
Sorry, i'm just a newbie trying to learn something, but what do you mean saying that PA5 II is "brighter", are you pointing out a sound coloration not due to EQ?So there are "bright" amps and "warm" amps?Thanks
 

cptsantos

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Is the preferred, but we're suspecting is a simple EQ and not a real better sound quality (as almost always between decent amps).
The EQ was at zero and loudness off. No other settings are available in Sonos S1.
I preferred the Sonos over the PA5 II + Wiim Pro Plus to start with. Then I decided to test the two amps with the same source and there is a difference. I subjectively noticed a more “empty” low frequency region on the PA5 II. I say empty because there were low frequencies there but something was missing compared to the Sonos.
 

Julf

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But cptsantos said EQ was disabled, so are we talking about a "physical" EQ done by architectural implementation(capacitors...), or what else could be?
It was supposedly disabled, but there might still be EQ going on.
 

Julf

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Sorry, i'm just a newbie trying to learn something, but what do you mean saying that PA5 II is "brighter", are you pointing out a sound coloration not due to EQ?So there are "bright" amps and "warm" amps?Thanks
There are neutral, transparent amps. There are also amps that color/"enhance" the sound on purpose.
 

Julf

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The EQ was at zero and loudness off. No other settings are available in Sonos S1.
I preferred the Sonos over the PA5 II + Wiim Pro Plus to start with. Then I decided to test the two amps with the same source and there is a difference. I subjectively noticed a more “empty” low frequency region on the PA5 II. I say empty because there were low frequencies there but something was missing compared to the Sonos.
As your graphs showed, the sonos was amplifying low frequencies, so sure, with the neutral/transparent amps something was "missing".
 

mike70

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what we normally don't get is that "hifi" means fidelity to the recording.
in that way, if the recording doesn't have "big bass", 2 thing can be happened:

1) the artist want the song in THAT way
2) the recording isn't good

so, a "hifi" amp won't reproduce great bass from that recording, and that's in the way it is.
normally, many "audiophiles" like the "bassy / warm" amp (tubes are great for that), but that's not hifi.

how can you cure that? EQ ... but applying EQ over a transparent amp.

well, making the story short ... a hifi amp will show what the recording have, nothing more, nothing less.
i don't know if this is the case, but check the recording first, and then see what amp is playing the real thing. That's the amp you need to use in a hifi system (and remember, you can add EQ, but not to delete it if it's inside the circuits).
 

Julf

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what we normally don't get is that "hifi" means fidelity to the recording.
We get it, but "audiophiles" don't. HiFi was defined as far back as 1966 in DIN 45500 (and the subsequent EN 61305 standard 30 years later) as transparency, accuracy and fidelity (as in "High Fidelity" - "HiFi") to the recorded signal, in terms of lack of coloration, distortion and noise.
 

cptsantos

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This experience makes me think we (@amirm :)) could try to measure frequency response at different power levels.
We could also try to measure spikes at different frequencies to try to get an idea of the capacity of the amp to deliver the full energy of the original waveform. Does this make sense?
 

welwynnick

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If audiophiles like warm amps, and HiFi is just about replaying what's on the recording, why do we have "house curves" at all?
 
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