• 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). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Topping PA5 Review (Amplifier)

BoredErica

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2019
Messages
406
Likes
464
Location
USA
It's even cheaper still with Hifigo in US if you have over 100k in assets with Bofa (or Merill Lynch owned by them). 5.25% cash back + $10 off from Hifigo coupon. $322.15 :p

Plus if you buy from Amazon might have to pay tax? Unsure
 

Paco De Lucia

Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2021
Messages
48
Likes
87
The way i see it, this is a highly engineered budget amplifier, engineered to measure and perform well. That in itself is worth the money and is sadly unusual
 

DS23MAN

Active Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2019
Messages
128
Likes
156
Location
Hypex doorstep
The rating on the powerbrick is continues for hours and hours,(thermal) but doesn't exclude it can deliver more for short periods....
 

pma

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 23, 2019
Messages
2,590
Likes
4,877
Location
Prague
The rating on the powerbrick is continues for hours and hours,(thermal) but doesn't exclude it can deliver more for short periods....

That "short period power" is almost undefined parameter, as it depends on momentary temperature of the chip and other conditions like PSU loading. You never know what it means. Therefore proper technical specs are necessary.
 

maty

Major Contributor
Joined
Dec 12, 2017
Messages
4,009
Likes
2,636
Location
Tarragona (Spain)
REFLEXION

Many write that if power, that if so ... but then most listen to terrible modern recordings and with very low DR (dynamic range).

The interesting data still to be known is the phase variation with respect to the frequency: that it is flat and at 20 kHz the deviation is less than 6º. This way we would have confidence that the acoustic instrumentation will be reproduced correctly by the tweeter.

Only I know two class D amps that do not have this problem: Purifi and Orchard Audio amps (Starkrimson).

If the above were verified, knowing the low distortion at high frequencies (tweeter) is less than 0.1%, I have no doubts for a well-dimensioned sound system (the small boxes are for distances <3m).

It remains to be seen if the sound, with some good loudspeakers set back from the walls, is three-dimensional, if different of depth layers are appreciated and not only if we differentiate the instruments.
 

Lambda

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 22, 2020
Messages
1,089
Likes
854
Measurements look convincing, but let us please know how the trick works to obtain 2x120W (=240W) output power from a PS rated at 38V x 4A (=150W)?
You get 240VA into the speaker from 150W
A speaker is not a restive load. most of the apparent power you put in comes back out.
 

Calleberg

Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2021
Messages
52
Likes
71

Yes, thats the only one, It's just a noise measurement. You have the same thing unweighted just below it. Everything else and all the THD plots appears to be unweighted and with an AES17. There is also at least one THD plot with both 20kHz(AES17) & 80kHz BW.

As I wrote before, an Apples to Apples comparable measurement would be the 19+20kHz IMD plot.
Amir does a multitone plot that addresses the same thing, but for comparison reasons the two tone would be a good complement as that has atleast historically been more used.
 
Last edited:

Rottmannash

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 11, 2020
Messages
1,646
Likes
1,250
Location
Nashville
I didn't read the whole thread, so thanks for pointing to that. However XRK is based in DC, so his assessment can be a bit skewed considering Topping is a fully Chinese operation.
Didn't Amir say the company was located in the Phillipines?
 

pjug

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 2, 2019
Messages
1,329
Likes
1,113
Yes, thats the only one, It's just a noise measurement. You have the same thing unweighted just below it. Everything else and all the THD plots appears to be unweighted and with an AES17. There is also at least one THD plot with both 20kHz(AES17) & 80kHz BW.

As I wrote before, an Apples to Apples comparable measurement would be the 19+20kHz IMD plot.
Amir does a multitone plot that addresses the same thing, but for comparison reasons the two tone would be a good complement as that has atleast historicaly been more used.
My question was only to do with noise. Whether the AUX040 filter gives any advantage to Class D noise measurements compared to noise measurements for Class AB. But from what I can find, I am starting to think the Class AB amps are not disadvantaged by the way things have been measured.
 

pma

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 23, 2019
Messages
2,590
Likes
4,877
Location
Prague
My question was only to do with noise. Whether the AUX040 filter gives any advantage to Class D noise measurements compared to noise measurements for Class AB.

The question might be put in a different way - why AUX040. For noise measurements and also for low level signal measurements the filter is a must (unfortunately), otherwise the input stage of the measuring instrument like AP (which is set to low level signal measurement) is saturated by high level of high frequency noise coming from the class D amplifier. You may reduce the measuring BW but still the input stage would be saturated, unless the signal before the input is bandwidth limited by the lowpass filter. This of course gives an advantage to class D amp IF the wideband noise measurement is made (like AP2722 has 500kHz setting), but in case of measurement with 22kHz bandwidth or A-weighting there would be no advantage for class D.
 

dsnyder0cnn

Active Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2019
Messages
289
Likes
383
IMHO, this thread has gone off the rails. If it was so easy to grab a fist-full of off-the-shelf parts and make a >45 watt amplifier with SINAD above 100 dB, there'd be lots of them. As it is, all of the amplifiers that we've seen with this performance except for the PA5 cost thousands of dollars, are kits, or both.

An audio product that's worth owning is more than the sum of its parts. John has obviously put a ton of engineering effort into the PA5. There's tremendous value in the experience he and his team bring to the table, as evidenced by the consistently great measurements from Topping products on this site.

If I was in the market for an ultra-performance desktop amp, I'd happily pay $1k for the PA5. It's a steal for $349, so I may buy one even though I don't currently have a use for it.
 

Papaya_X

Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2021
Messages
32
Likes
12
IMHO, this thread has gone off the rails. If it was so easy to grab a fist-full of off-the-shelf parts and make a >45 watt amplifier with SINAD above 100 dB, there'd be lots of them. As it is, all of the amplifiers that we've seen with this performance except for the PA5 cost thousands of dollars, are kits, or both.

An audio product that's worth owning is more than the sum of its parts. John has obviously put a ton of engineering effort into the PA5. There's tremendous value in the experience he and his team bring to the table, as evidenced by the consistently great measurements from Topping products on this site.

If I was in the market for an ultra-performance desktop amp, I'd happily pay $1k for the PA5. It's a steal for $349, so I may buy one even though I don't currently have a use for it.
I totally agree with your opinion.

Nonetheless, and very objectively, the manufacturing quality of the sample shown by Genfreeciv is subpar compared to what Topping used to deliver. (exemple : EX5 or DX7 pro are both very well made, the PCB is super clean and the housing is partially made using CNC aluminum).

The engineering part is amazing, this is one thing and everyone will agree to say that John and Topping's team have done a very good job regardless of the chip used. For that, thumbs up and well done.

However, this unit seems to be very badly manufactured (solders, flux, attention to details, maybe component sourcing ?) and when you buy something, especially when the manufacturing process is already mastered by a number of Chinese factories, it is normal to evaluate the product also on the manufacturing characteristics and in comparison to what we already have on the market.

Here we have a 350€ class D amplifier, yes it is higher priced than what we can buy on AE for the same kind of layout and same TI chipset and that is due to the R&D behind the product, resulting in a higher performance product. BUT the problem is, for 350€ we have a unit that is less well produced than a sub-100€ class D chinese amp, and THAT is not acceptable, especially when you have an amazingly well engineered product.

I already bought a PA5 unit, I'm currently waiting for its delivery, but I'm quiet disappointed by the build quality.
 

tmtomh

Major Contributor
Joined
Aug 14, 2018
Messages
1,314
Likes
3,823
IMHO, this thread has gone off the rails. If it was so easy to grab a fist-full of off-the-shelf parts and make a >45 watt amplifier with SINAD above 100 dB, there'd be lots of them. As it is, all of the amplifiers that we've seen with this performance except for the PA5 cost thousands of dollars, are kits, or both.

An audio product that's worth owning is more than the sum of its parts. John has obviously put a ton of engineering effort into the PA5. There's tremendous value in the experience he and his team bring to the table, as evidenced by the consistently great measurements from Topping products on this site.

If I was in the market for an ultra-performance desktop amp, I'd happily pay $1k for the PA5. It's a steal for $349, so I may buy one even though I don't currently have a use for it.

Agree. The only question I'd have would be whether this amp has sufficient power for far-field listening with somewhat inefficient speakers played at levels above 85-90 SPL. Personally I don't even care as I don't listen at levels above that, and I think very low-efficiency (below about 85dB) passive speakers are just dumb (again, personal opinion).

But aside from that, I have trouble seeing an issue here. Excellent linearity, super-low distortion, very low noise, 1.73x increase in power from 8 ohms to 4 ohms (not 2x but respectably close), load-invariant in the audible range, superb crosstalk performance, two balanced inputs, and costs only $349.

The issue, as I see it, is that folks are getting hung up on the "120 watt" at 10% THD spec. I understand why this upsets folks, but FFS, we have extensive measurements showing the true performance here and it is stellar, so get over it and stop beating a dead horse.

As for the price, would anyone seriously claim that a Hypex NC122-based amp actually produces the stated 125wpc into 4 ohms? No. As an NC400 (or Purifi 400) amp typically produces about 150-175 wpc into 8 ohms before any clipping occurs, we can estimate that a Hypex 122-based amp will supply about 50-55 wpc real-world into 8 ohms. I just found a 122-based stereo amp from VTV - one of if not the most inexpensive Hypex/Purifi assembler - with only one input and no volume control, for $500.

So how this $349 amp can be seen as anything other than a stellar performer and excellent value is beyond me.
 

mdsimon2

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Oct 20, 2020
Messages
788
Likes
926
Location
Detroit, MI
Agree. The only question I'd have would be whether this amp has sufficient power for far-field listening with somewhat inefficient speakers played at levels above 85-90 SPL. Personally I don't even care as I don't listen at levels above that, and I think very low-efficiency (below about 85dB) passive speakers are just dumb (again, personal opinion).

But aside from that, I have trouble seeing an issue here. Excellent linearity, super-low distortion, very low noise, 1.73x increase in power from 8 ohms to 4 ohms (not 2x but respectably close), load-invariant in the audible range, superb crosstalk performance, two balanced inputs, and costs only $349.

The issue, as I see it, is that folks are getting hung up on the "120 watt" at 10% THD spec. I understand why this upsets folks, but FFS, we have extensive measurements showing the true performance here and it is stellar, so get over it and stop beating a dead horse.

As for the price, would anyone seriously claim that a Hypex NC122-based amp actually produces the stated 125wpc into 4 ohms? No. As an NC400 (or Purifi 400) amp typically produces about 150-175 wpc into 8 ohms before any clipping occurs, we can estimate that a Hypex 122-based amp will supply about 50-55 wpc real-world into 8 ohms. I just found a 122-based stereo amp from VTV - one of if not the most inexpensive Hypex/Purifi assembler - with only one input and no volume control, for $500.

So how this $349 amp can be seen as anything other than a stellar performer and excellent value is beyond me.

I absolutely believe a NC122MP will meet its 125 watt @ 4 ohm rating at the conditions specified in the Hypex datasheet (1 kHz, 1% THD+N) and they have AP test results to back it up. The NC122MP is in a really weird space as it is usually only marginally cheaper than a NC252MP. Both Audiophonics and Buckeye offer NC252MP amps for $500 and Buckeye can be even more affordable than this if you need multiple amps ($780 for a 4 channel!).

The Topping is definitely an interesting proposition and I think the noise performance definitely sets it apart from other amps but it certainly is a bit power limited.

Michael
 

Matias

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 1, 2019
Messages
2,860
Likes
4,874
Location
São Paulo, Brazil
It's now about belief, there are measurements proving it, no need for speculation. Of course no one listens to continuous full scale sine waves for half an hour, but this has been discussed at nausea here in ASR....
 
Top Bottom