I was urged to start this thread when I asked if it existed. I will be following it closely. It strikes me that, according to specs, Topping A90 should be able to drive more or less any headphone with great success. I am therefore very interested in hearing what actual users have to say.
It sounded great to me (a90/d90 stack). However, it didn’t feel like it was worth the money unless you absolutely needed the power.
Now I am more interested in the a30/d30 pro stack which is basically half the money with a chip I liked even better in other devices. And it has nearly the same power.
My 2 cents. I will say all topping stuff has been reliable. While most other stuff had problems for me on the QC side of things.
Topping has been the most unreliable amplifiers for me. I own about 40 amplifiers right now including some of the reliable brands such as Schiit, HeadAmp, Ray Samuels Audio, SMSL, Darkvoice, Little Dot, JDS Labs, Monolith, etc…
Both toppings that I have listened to in the past year have problems. NONE of my other amplifiers have any problems. The Topping also destroyed my headphones when it died. Topping was awful to deal with. The other companies have been wonderful to communicate with. Topping is garbage in my book. I would recommend all other brands over Topping.
I’ve had zero problems with my A90 and I have no complaints about it. Maybe I just got lucky with a good unit, or maybe my time is coming, but so far it’s been golden and drives everything I throw at it without breaking a sweat.
Also, I think a lot of the people who complain about the A90 being “analytical” or “undynamic” are pairing it with the wrong DAC. I feel like Bifrost 2 > A90 is a good combination, allowing the Bifrost’s sound to come through without putting any spin on it whatsoever. But I could see how feeding a sharper sounding delta-sigma dac, such as the D90, into the A90 could be a different experience. It’s all about synergy - no piece of equipment is good OR bad in isolation, it’s all about where it lives in your chain.
Just my 2 cents.
My experience was basically the opposite. I had xduoo, smsl, some thx even an ifi and a few others. And they all dropped sound, played static or would shutdown randomly. I had 3 topping products and none of them did any of that. But basically all of them were chi-fi.
I will say that my he6se died while connected to the a90. But, I do think it was a faulty headphone there.
I went portable and have zero desktop amps now. And I am much happier.
I had an expensive DAC ordered directly from China 15 years ago that only lasted three months.
One of my Little Dot Chi-fi amplifiers used a cheap IEC320 C14 combo male socket/power switch that I had to repair.
The Chi-fi SMSL THX uses a cheap 1/4 inch socket for the headphone output.
Basically only cheap and unreliable parts were used on my Chi-fi products.
The knobs on many of the Topping amplifiers (and I believe the A90 is one of them) cannot be removed. So, if you want to work on it or get it repaired, forget it. Disposable. Once you take off the knob the pot is loose from the board and so another repair is needed just for removing the knob. What a horrible design flaw.
On ALL of my other amplifiers you can remove the knobs as many times as you want without damaging them.
I’m pretty sure the pot on my A90 died - the right channel no longer produces sound except for when I bump the pot at which point it produces horrible screechy noises. Has anyone else encountered this issue?