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Topping PA5 Review (Amplifier)

bopes

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Why does the review thread still include a strong recommendation yet no mention of obvious quality issues? Occam’s Razor says @amirm is taking kickbacks from Topping which completely destroys the credibility of the entire forum.

Edit: this was not a fair statement to make
 
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Toku

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Why does the review thread still include a strong recommendation yet no mention of obvious quality issues? Occam’s Razor says @amirm is taking kickbacks from Topping which completely destroys the credibility of the entire forum.
ASR only provides basic measurements for audio equipment. Other than that, the operation and sound quality of the actual equipment are items that should be judged by each member.
That's why I try to report to everyone about the actual working conditions of the products I purchased. We also carefully check the reports from the members of the forum.
I trust that the ASR measurement data is extremely neutral. However, it is not possible to judge the quality of audio equipment from the measurement data alone. I use it as reference data only.
 

solderdude

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Why does the review thread still include a strong recommendation yet no mention of obvious quality issues?

The review states the measurements.
Obviously the copy @amirm got had no faults.
Only after the review some (not all) owners complained about issues.
It is all in the open for everyone to read who wants to buy it.
There is no recall action from Topping. The amp has warranty on it.
This is not Amirs responsibility. Amir just measured the performance and wrote some tidbits about it.

Do you feel it is Amirs responsibility to mention some people reported faulty ones or issues for every review he did (not just Topping) ?
 

MAB

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Why does the review thread still include a strong recommendation yet no mention of obvious quality issues?
The amp was accurately reviewed with respect to performance. I bought one based on the performance, with the understanding that I was buying a newly released product. Quality and Reliability are another thing and beyond the scope of any reasonable review and need time to develop data.

There is an ASR thread on regarding the reliability issue:
So, ASR is supporting neutral interactions regarding quality.

Occam’s Razor says @amirm is taking kickbacks from Topping which completely destroys the credibility of the entire forum.
Accusing people of taking kickbacks is not cool. There is no evidence of that. Also, you misuse Occam's Razor to jump to this conclusion.
 
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bopes

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I understand that the original review couldn’t take long term reliability into consideration, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be edited or amended. The fact is that Topping is shipping defective units which fail almost immediately. Surely an “objective” review stating that its “strongly recommended” based on data might reconsider as more becomes available.
 

solderdude

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Then there should be a disclaimer for all products in all reviews along the lines of:

The reviewer only makes recommendations based on technical performance of the tested unit.

The comments usually make it clear if there are (build) quality or longevity issues of a device.
Does Amir really have to follow every thread and look if people report issues or negatives and add them to every review afterwards.
I think anyone who really wants to know about a reviewed device should also read the comments or at least investigate if some people report issues.
 
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BDWoody

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Occam’s Razor says @amirm is taking kickbacks from Topping which completely destroys the credibility of the entire forum.

What a ridiculous accusation to throw out there. You can dial back that kind of nonsense or you won't be posting.

You need to manage both your expectations and your manners.
 

pma

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Why does the review thread still include a strong recommendation yet no mention of obvious quality issues? Occam’s Razor says @amirm is taking kickbacks from Topping which completely destroys the credibility of the entire forum.
The power amplifier tests should be much more severe than the set of measurements performed by @amirm . Amplifiers should be tested with continuous sine for longer period of time and at higher power, to disclose thermal design issues that affect the reliability and longevity. Complex load to be used to disclose possible stability issues. Square wave to be used for the same reason. As of the current status of tests, they are close to pointless. They support cheap designs that are oriented to low level 1kHz SINAD, which is not very useful for the user. I do not understand why an experienced engineer like @solderdude is protecting such way of testing. It seems to me that @restorer-john is of very few here who understands amplifier testing. @amirm is not the one.
 

tomtoo

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The power amplifier tests should be much more severe than the set of measurements performed by @amirm . Amplifiers should be tested with continuous sine for longer period of time and at higher power, to disclose thermal design issues that affect the reliability and longevity. Complex load to be used to disclose possible stability issues. Square wave to be used for the same reason. As of the current status of tests, they are close to pointless. They support cheap designs that are oriented to low level 1kHz SINAD, which is not very useful for the user. I do not understand why an experienced engineer like @solderdude is protecting such way of testing. It seems to me that @restorer-john is of very few here who understands amplifier testing. @amirm is not the one.

Couse @solderdude is experienced, and knows that any kind of longterm tests include the word longterm.
And stresstests include the word stress, what can lead to damage a unit. It should be easy clear that amirs intention is not to do this. Killing a 5000$ Luxman, and then tell the person who was so nice to send it in for measurement " I am sry your amp could not stand the stress test, should i send the garbage back?" is maybe not so cool?
 

Doodski

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When I was repairing gear I torture tested every amp @ 4 ohms till I could smell the dust and chemicals burning off the gear. So I understand the benefit of a torture test. In this specific situation @pma and @tomtoo are both correct although the place for a torture test is not @ ASR as @tomtoo has so clearly explained. I agree that it would weed out the charlatans and separate the wheat from the chaff but ASR can't be damaging gear as it will create major issues in itself.
 

solderdude

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The power amplifier tests should be much more severe than the set of measurements performed by @amirm . Amplifiers should be tested with continuous sine for longer period of time and at higher power, to disclose thermal design issues that affect the reliability and longevity. Complex load to be used to disclose possible stability issues. Square wave to be used for the same reason. As of the current status of tests, they are close to pointless. They support cheap designs that are oriented to low level 1kHz SINAD, which is not very useful for the user. I do not understand why an experienced engineer like @solderdude is protecting such way of testing. It seems to me that @restorer-john is of very few here who understands amplifier testing. @amirm is not the one.

The problems reported about DOA or devices giving all kinds of tests (reliability) will also not be found when more than just a handful of standard tests are done.
Sure you can get (lots) more data about performance and I can insist time and time again that more measurements are needed to fully characterize an amp but Amir does his measurements regardless.

Sure. In some of the more rigorous tests some amps will fall flat on their nose and show less performance than the basic measurements Amir does. And yes some amps might go in protection and maybe some will blow up even.

As long as no EMC/ESD tests are done (at more extreme limits) and extensive tests are done and you can not open up devices without losing warranty (when sent in by owners) it will be really hard to predict if FW upgrades are going to be made or about longevity and potentially destructive tests are done I sure as hell cannot predict how many devices might or will fail in some (catastrophic) way.

When you test your own amps and throw all kinds of tests at it is another matter and would be very easy to fix.

That's why I 'support' Amir's measurements. I rather have at least some basic measurements than no measurements and understand that not only doing measurements and setups takes time but also reporting it.

Even simple EMC/ESD tests of something like an amp with a few input and output ports can take up 2 whole days not counting reporting and destructive tests.

Do I wish for more measurements.... sure. Will I get it by demanding anything from Amir ? Nope.
 

MAB

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The problems reported about DOA or devices giving all kinds of tests (reliability) will also not be found when more than just a handful of standard tests are done.
Sure you can get (lots) more data about performance and I can insist time and time again that more measurements are needed to fully characterize an amp but Amir does his measurements regardless.

Sure. In some of the more rigorous tests some amps will fall flat on their nose and show less performance than the basic measurements Amir does. And yes some amps might go in protection and maybe some will blow up even.

As long as no EMC/ESD tests are done (at more extreme limits) and extensive tests are done and you can not open up devices without losing warranty (when sent in by owners) it will be really hard to predict if FW upgrades are going to be made or about longevity and potentially destructive tests are done I sure as hell cannot predict how many devices might or will fail in some (catastrophic) way.

When you test your own amps and throw all kinds of tests at it is another matter and would be very easy to fix.

That's why I 'support' Amir's measurements. I rather have at least some basic measurements than no measurements and understand that not only doing measurements and setups takes time but also reporting it.

Even simple EMC/ESD tests of something like an amp with a few input and output ports can take up 2 whole days not counting reporting and destructive tests.

Do I wish for more measurements.... sure. Will I get it by demanding anything from Amir ? Nope.
Well stated. And to add, many of these tests are stress-to-fail under accelerated conditions on a population of units. This is to sort out early-life-fails from wear-out. The data is only useful on a population, and the units are destroyed by the end of the test. And many of the non-destructive tests do leave the unit degraded (Bias Temp Inversion degradation to semiconductors, parasitic leakage degradation passives, etc.) Companies that prize Quality and Reliability spend lots of time developing these tests based on the architecture and use condition of the product. Many of these tests need to be done on the subsystems during product development and can't even be done on the full product!

The post-repair stress of cranking an amp up is indeed a great idea. For instance; a technician just soldered a new part with a potential early-life defect imbedded into an otherwise perfectly working unit. And, since the unit is opened up, checking to make sure that it is properly electrically, thermally, and mechanically reassembled is important. This type of stress test has a good chance of detecting this issue. And if there is an issue, the unit is under repair and the repair can be completed by replacing the new component that just went bad, so long as the unit doesn't suffer a catastrophic fail due to the stress, which is a risk.

Also, I am pretty sure that any reasonable testing ASR could do would not have detected the reliability issue with the PA5.

Even after doing all the work, good companies rely on customer feedback and failure analysis on customer returns to improve quality. Western Electric didn't just invent contact plating for relays with bench testing. It was done over time, with lots of field feedback. That's what this thread is doing.
 

IPunchCholla

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The power amplifier tests should be much more severe than the set of measurements performed by @amirm . Amplifiers should be tested with continuous sine for longer period of time and at higher power, to disclose thermal design issues that affect the reliability and longevity. Complex load to be used to disclose possible stability issues. Square wave to be used for the same reason. As of the current status of tests, they are close to pointless. They support cheap designs that are oriented to low level 1kHz SINAD, which is not very useful for the user. I do not understand why an experienced engineer like @solderdude is protecting such way of testing. It seems to me that @restorer-john is of very few here who understands amplifier testing. @amirm is not the one.
Are you (or @restorer-john) volunteering to take on the testing and liability, because that would be a fantastic contribution given your expertise!
 

Kosimo

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Why does the review thread still include a strong recommendation yet no mention of obvious quality issues? Occam’s Razor says @amirm is taking kickbacks from Topping which completely destroys the credibility of the entire forum.

let me understand, from the performance measurements carried out on a *single device* you pretend to derive *reliability statistics of an entire product line* and the fault would be of the forum and of who made the measurement? calm down, if there is a yield problem it should be reported to Topping (which BTW I think is well aware of the matter).
 

REK2575

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if there is a yield problem it should be reported to Topping (which BTW I think is well aware of the matter).

It's not at all clear that Topping is aware of the matter. If you know where Topping has acknowledged there is a problem, please point us to it. If you know where they describe what the problem is, please point us to it.
 

bopes

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Ok, I was in a bad mood yesterday because Amazon is pushing back on my PA5 return. I’ll admit that the “kickback” remark was too far and I apologize.

But, I do think Topping built the product poorly with the intention of scoring well on the ASR tests and nothing further. There are clearly a lot of defective units being shipped. This thread still includes an emphatic recommendation from Amir and as I said before, there should be enough data now to at least include a quality disclaimer.
 

mdsimon2

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Eldus

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I don't have hard evidence but I think my PA5 runs cooler when set to max volume and using my E50 in PreAmp mode to control volume vs DAC mode.
 

IPunchCholla

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I don't have hard evidence but I think my PA5 runs cooler when set to max volume and using my E50 in PreAmp mode to control volume vs DAC mode.
I also run my PA5 at full volume controlling the volume with the pre. I don’t feel my amp getting too hot. Warm, yes. On month 6 with no problems.
 
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