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Topping Pre90 Review (preamplifier)

yyzsb

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Volume granularity in myspeak refers to the range of volume adjustments possible where you can hear a change in volume. With the pre90 and my CODA #8 and also my sold LSA Voyager 350 GAN the change in volume levels from the MUTE to MAX was limited. It was too loud over most of the volume settings. With the AHB2 stereo and mono this is not a problem and the volume can be adjusted from total MUTE to a very loud level. Each volume change had a noticeable affect on the loudness.

Unfortunately, my AHB2s are not the amps I use for the system that I want the pre90 to be used. I ended up buying the Benchmark LA4 for the AHB2's since I realized it was a better preamp. I had the HPA4 before but sold it when I got the Topping pre90. A little too fast to sell though I made money on the unit by selling it to Europe. The LA4 is amazing on the CODA #8 and the Voyager.

If you can get the pre90 to work it is a good unit.
 

DACs_Lover

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Volume granularity in myspeak refers to the range of volume adjustments possible where you can hear a change in volume. With the pre90 and my CODA #8 and also my sold LSA Voyager 350 GAN the change in volume levels from the MUTE to MAX was limited. It was too loud over most of the volume settings. With the AHB2 stereo and mono this is not a problem and the volume can be adjusted from total MUTE to a very loud level. Each volume change had a noticeable affect on the loudness.

Unfortunately, my AHB2s are not the amps I use for the system that I want the pre90 to be used. I ended up buying the Benchmark LA4 for the AHB2's since I realized it was a better preamp. I had the HPA4 before but sold it when I got the Topping pre90. A little too fast to sell though I made money on the unit by selling it to Europe. The LA4 is amazing on the CODA #8 and the Voyager.

If you can get the pre90 to work it is a good unit.

Hi. I am thinking about buying Topping Pre 90 to a/b test with my Benchmark LA4 Pre amp. I also have AHB2.

So Topping Pre with AHB2 is not good? I expect it to be transparent. :) Thank you.
 

yyzsb

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Hi. I am thinking about buying Topping Pre 90 to a/b test with my Benchmark LA4 Pre amp. I also have AHB2.

So Topping Pre with AHB2 is not good? I expect it to be transparent. :) Thank you.
The Topping pre90 works excellent with my AHB2 stereo and mono. It also works well with my new Parasound A21+, my new headphone only amp. It does not work well with my CODA #8 or my now sold LSA Voyager 350 GAN. These issues I have had with the pre90 and amps does not occur with the LA4 or HPA4. I actually sold the HPA4 thinking the pre90 would be all I needed since it worked great with the AHB2. However, after I switched amps in the office the pre90 fell on it's face.

I am keeping my CODA #8 and my Parasound A21+ in my office connected to a CODA 07x preamp. I was thinking that the Topping pre90 could work here but it does not. So I will be selling my Topping pre90 + Ext90 once my CODA 07x is returned back to me from repairs. Send me a message if you are interested in the pre90.
 

misterdog

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Hi. I am thinking about buying Topping Pre 90 to a/b test with my Benchmark LA4 Pre amp. I also have AHB2.

So Topping Pre with AHB2 is not good? I expect it to be transparent. :) Thank you.

See my post 901 above. I use SMSL M400 and a £ 10K vinyl set up for sources.
 
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Please, audio science brothers and sisters: I need guidance. I know I have a perfection seeking neurosis and as such, that minor illness is part of the reason I love acquiring instrument grade audio equipment . However, I'm trying to learn to listen as well to round out my life and hopefully reduce the influence of my neurosis upon my bank account. Thankfully, I'll never endanger my ability to pay for living expenses just to cuddle with another wizardly box.

I'm currently using a D90SE as a DAC + pre-amp. I wonder if the preamp part of my D90 is in the same league as is my DAC.

Is there any possibility that acquiring a Topping PRE90 (to replace the preamp circuit of my D90SE) might accomplish more than just serving my madness?

I think I'm reasonably intelligent and capable of eventually learning to listen critically and evolve to focus on the music as much or more than upon my toys.

Thank you.

Jonathan
 

yyzsb

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I think it was this review that compared the DAC90SE as a preamp with the pre90.

 

DHT 845

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It was D90 not D90SE...
 

Philong

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Can I ask a noob question? As I know the Dac D90se already has the preamp and volume control function. So why do we need an pre90 preamp?
 

Astojab

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Can I ask a noob question? As I know the Dac D90se already has the preamp and volume control function. So why do we need an pre90 preamp?
You need it if you have more than one analog input (Edit or any....) (cd player+turntable etc) and maybe if you need the increased Voltage if you have a low gain poweramplifier.
 
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bungle

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You need it if you have more than one analog input (cd player+turntable etc) and maybe if you need the increased Voltage if you have a low gain poweramplifier.
Does D90/D90SE have analog input?
 
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I think the correct answer is: if you are attempting to use a power amplifier that would "view" the power of the signal output of the D90se as overly low or "faint," even using the D90se's preamp section, a separate preamp such as the Pre90 would help to boost that tiny D90 output to better serve the input requirements of the power amp.
 

Jimbob54

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I think the correct answer is: if you are attempting to use a power amplifier that would "view" the power of the signal output of the D90se as overly low or "faint," even using the D90se's preamp section, a separate preamp such as the Pre90 would help to boost that tiny D90 output to better serve the input requirements of the power amp.
The "preamp" part of the D90 is just digital attenuation of the output down from max output of (over) 4V. Some amps might be able to handle higher input than that so the Pre90 can do that boost but more likely people want to use the D90 at full output but use the volume control on the p90 instead going into a poweramp
 
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So the output of the D90se is higher when used as a DAC only as opposed to using its default configuration of DAC + preamp?
 

Jimbob54

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So the output of the D90se is higher when used as a DAC only as opposed to using its default configuration of DAC + preamp?
No. Full output in preamp mode is same as dac only mode.
 
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That answers begs the following question: then what advantage is gained utilizing the DAC only mode of the D90se (reveal: I'm both a relative newbie AND a new D90se owner). Maybe a better question: under what circumstances should I use my D90 in DAC only mode and when should I use in DAC + preamp mode)?
 

Atanasi

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That answers begs the following question: then what advantage is gained utilizing the DAC only mode of the D90se (reveal: I'm both a relative newbie AND a new D90se owner). Maybe a better question: under what circumstances should I use my D90 in DAC only mode and when should I use in DAC + preamp mode)?
I don't think ESS chips (as in D90se) have any differences in addition to locking volume. AKM chips (as in old D90) turned on direct DSD (avoiding PCM conversion) when in DAC mode. ESS chips don't have a separate direct DSD mode, they have their own prioprietary DSD implementation.
 
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Sounds as though the answer is that there is no real world sonic difference whether using the D90se in DAC only mode versus DAC + preamp mode. Therefore, it really doesn't matter, especially if there are no caveats when connecting my D90 to other components. That sits fine with me. Thanks. Feel free to correct my thinking.
 

arshinov101

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set:
- Yamaha BD-A1010 (analog out SACD, digital output for CD, HDD)
- Topping D90SE (spdif from Yamaha, usb from Acer Helios 300, aptxHD from phone)
- Topping A90 (QED RCA-RCA from Yamaha, Belden XLR-XLR from D90SE, Sennheiser HD650, and Preamp Mode most of all)
- ICEPower 1200ASx2 (YYTCG G2 XLR-XLR from A90)
- AudioPhysic Tempo VI (chinese valhalla from ICEPower)

impressions:
1) At the same volume level, the sound difference is negligible between the Yamaha and the D90SE. Some time ago JohnYang1997 tell me the 100% truth - "... D90SE will improve sound, but not much"
2) Using the D90SE in Pre-mode without the A90 is perceived by ear as a small increase in dynamics, but with a slight loss of softness. "Playing" with both digital (usually no more than -6...-12 dB) and analog amplification, you can get a more or less soft and dynamic sound for different types of records. Further the risk of damaging the speaker with pops, too much power of my amplifier, inclined me to use the A90 as Preamp.
3) When D90SE in DAC Mode the potentiometer of A90 at small volume is not good enough (disbalance and degrade sound). That make me think about Pre90...

questions:
1) How does the manufacturer recommend connecting the D90SE to both A90 and Pre90 at the same time?
2) A90 XLR Preamp Mode slightly worse than Pre90 at medium gain (https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...g-pre90-review-preamplifier.18283/post-597663) But what about this comparison at low gain A90?
 
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