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Topping A30 Headphone Amplifier

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by jimster480, Mar 20, 2017.
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  1. Jimster480
    This is my first "new thread' here. I realized there is no thread currently for the Topping A30 (only one for the D30).

    I got this in a few weeks ago but just opened it up on saturday. Unfortunately it came with a USA plug attached to a 230/240V adapter (its not a wall wart, its a floor wart with non removable plugs).
    It has a proprietary end on it so its not like there will be a universal adapter for it (I think its part of how it has its dual mode setup).
    It has both a low output 3.5mm and a high output 6.25mm jack(s).
    3 Gain settings (0db, 9db, 18db) and it has a maximum power of 1551mw in high output mode.
    I have been searching (as some of you might have read) for a low power amp good for sensitive phones and IEM's that works in a desktop environment.
    I also wanted one that has an analog passthrough all in one unit. This unit delivers on all my needs.
    Here are the posted specs:
    Product Description:
    A30 power supply is a special customized three-way high-performance linear power supply
    Analog input 1 x RCA (L + R)
    LineOUT 1 x RCA (L + R)
    Headphone output 1 x 6.35 headphone jack; 1 x 3.5 headphone jack
    Unit weight of 525g (not including the adapter)
    Unit Size 17.0 cm x 12.2 cm x 3.8 cm
    The recommended load impedance range: 16-600Ω
    Maximum output power:
    1551mW x 2 (PO = Hi, 6.35 headphone port, RL = 32Ω, THD + N = 1%)
    291mW x 2 (PO = Hi, 6.35 headphone jack, RL = 300Ω, THD + N = 1%)
    152mW x 2 (PO = Hi, 6.35 headphone jack, RL = 600Ω, THD + N = 1%)
    757mW x 2 (PO = Hi, 3.5 headphone jack, RL = 32Ω, THD + N = 1%)
    258mW x 2 (PO = Hi, 3.5 headphone jack, RL = 300Ω, THD + N = 1%)
    143mW x 2 (PO = Hi, 3.5 headphone jack, RL = 600Ω, THD + N = 1%)
    The output voltage swing:26.6Vpp
    Typical Distortion (@ 1kHz) :
    0.0019% (RL = 32Ω, G = 0dB, IN = 0.5Vrms)
    0.0003% (RL = 300Ω, G = 9dB, IN = 0.5Vrms)
    0.0006% (RL = 600Ω, G = 18dB, IN = 0.5Vrms)
    Frequency response: 10 - 200kHz
    Input Sensitivity:
    10.0Vrms (PO = Hi, G = 0dB)
    3.3Vrms (PO = Hi, G = 9dB)
    1.2Vrms (PO = Hi, G = 18dB)
    Bottom noise (A-weighted):
    2.2uV (G = 0dB, RL = 32Ω)
    3.2uV (G = 9dB, RL = 32Ω)
    8.2uV (G = 18dB, RL = 32Ω)
    Gain : 0dB / 9dB / 18dB
    Signal to noise ratio:
    126dB (PO = Hi, G = 0dB)
    121dB (PO = Hi, G = 9dB)
    111dB (PO = Hi, G = 18dB)
    Packaging list:
    Packing List 1 x A30
    1 x power adapter
    1 x Operating Instructions
    1 x Warranty card
    Now some are going to ask "how does it sound", well it sounds like nothing. I can't hear any "modification" to any of my music.
    I tested it against a Fulla 2 (more testing will be done) and its warmer than the Fulla 2 (which is a bit bright IMHO). So far I have only tested it with the Topping D30 DAC, although I did just have the D30 plugged into the Fulla 2 (RCA -> 3.5mm to Fulla 2 Input) for a few hours and I would have to say that the amp stage is similar but the Fulla2 just has way too much power for my headphones and I basically have to use a UE Buffer Jack if I want any sort of volume control (although this mutes the lower end a bit even at higher volumes).

    I have not yet compared it against my FiiO K1 or my HTC 10 (I will in time) but this also is a full stack comparison vs just an Amp comparison.

    I will have an O2Amp sometime in the future and will compare that aswell.
    What really does it for me though is  that I have real granular volume control with sensitive IEM's/Headphones.
    I currently have used my Panasonic RP-HD10's and my 1More Triple drivers with it. Previously the 1More's were too loud past the 10 oclock position on the Fulla 2 and the Panasonics are honestly already quite loud (too loud for some songs) past the 8 oclock position. Meaning that I have very little volume control as the Fulla 2's volume is "off" at the 7 oclock position. I found myself regularly moving it back and forth because songs were either too loud or too quiet.
    As I said before the UE Buffer Jack helped with that but honestly with the 1More's it really mutes the lower end where I could have the volume at the 2 oclock position and the bass still didn't come back.
    Right now on the A30 I am writing this while listening to Soft Jazz backdrop playlist on Spotify on the 1More's and my volume Pot is around 12 oclock and the volume is very nice.
    This is in the 0db setting, the amp on "low" and using the 3.5mm jack. Another plus is that I can just plug my 1More's into this jack without issue, on the Fulla2 I cannot do that as I have to use a 6.25->3.5mm adapter and I get ghost voices when its plugged in all the way.
    I think its more than a relevant offering today where more and more cans are being designed to run off of phones and as such they need less and less power, yet most amps on the market are providing tons of power for big cans, and honestly you can't plug headphones into DAC's and actually get quality output, leaving you with no real offerings.
    Here is a little pic of the stack:
    I hope this helps anyone looking at one of these, its really a great Amp that nobody knows about.
    Cleo Hoeger, Luxed, fokta and 2 others like this.
  2. GirgleMirt
    Is this a new amp?  Indeed there really doesn't seem to be much info about it, I just learned about 'Topping' recently and am thinking about getting an A30, from the specs & price, looks interesting;  http://www.head-fi.org/t/843011/best-cheap-upgrade-from-aune-t1-schiit-magni-1-for-hifiman-400i-topping-d3-or-a30
    Btw you should have posted in the headphone amp forum instead of source as now it doesn't come up when searched in headphone amp forum section!  Maybe repost?  I'd certainly be interesting in hearing how it compares to other amps!
  3. Jimster480
    Yes it is a relatively new amplifier at came out I think six or seven months ago because it was somewhere towards the end of 2016. I will try to message one of the moderators and see if they can move the thread I didn't realize I posted in the wrong section.

    At this point in time I actually have two of them and I'm really enjoying them
  4. GirgleMirt
    Cool yeah at least it came out with a google search!  I'd be very curious to know how it compares to say the Aune T1 or the different Magni flavors.  I think I might order one also...  I've not even seen a single 'official/pro' review of the A30...  I found a glowing review of the D2, (http://www.headfonia.com/affordable-digital-to-analog-conversion-topping-d2-and-d20/), so Topping as a brand looks like a great bang for the buck, and looking at the pics & descriptions the A30 looks like a solid unit (to my amateur eyes) but really not much so far in terms of review for A30, weird!
    Just going with power vs the above, it's about the same power as the Schiit Uber, but Uber for me (in Canada), is 149$ + $25$ ship vs ~100$ USD shipped for A30, so that's quite a significant price difference.  It's actually cheaper for me than just the regular Magni 2!  And yeah, in terms of power, looks like it's a lot more powerful than the T1...
     Topping A30Aune T1Schiit Magni (1)Magni 2Magni 2 Uber
    32 ohms1551mW x 21000mW1200mW1200mW1500mW
    50 ohms
    120 ohms 400mW   
    300 ohms291mW x 2150mW260mW260mW320mW
    600 ohms152mW x 2 130mW130mW160mW

  5. Jimster480
    The real difference here and what makes the topping a much better option in my eyes is that it has a high-power side and a low-power side and a high-power mode and the low-power mode. It also has three different game options so it is actually a perfect amp to use with sensitive headphones and iems. Most everything else has far too much power as you will surely not need 1.5 watts per Channel unless you have some sort of very crazy high demand planar magnetic headphones. Most headphones these days are actually made to work with cell phones and other portable music devices so most things have a power requirement of 100 mw or less. Even the Oppo pm-3 has a power requirement of 250 Mw.

    And this is the main reason why I bought it because I can use it with my lower power headphones and have perfect volume control and clarity. On the side of things like the Magni you can honestly not get over 3% volume with most IEMs. Which not only means you have no actual volume control but at that setting on the pot it's often that you will have a channel imbalance.

    I tried out the fulla2 first and I could not get past 9 o'clock on the volume control and it was already too loud in most songs. Bear in mind that that product has a maximum output of only 550 MW.
    PlantsmanTX likes this.
  6. GirgleMirt
    Hmm, I only have the Ety HF5 and have never noticed an issue with either Magni & T1?  Guess it probably depends on the IEM...
    Well hifiman 400i for me is pushing the Aune a bit I think...  On its 0 gain setting, for non-compressed to **** albums, at max volume you're getting just about good listening volume.  The beyers 990 600 ohms aren't even getting as loud as I typically listen, which isn't very loud imho...  I guess that's why the gain setting is there, and with the 10dB gain you're getting plenty of volume for both phones.  And it doesn't sound bad, but I'm under the impression (although I never directly A/B'd) that the Magni did better driving the 400i..  Magni might have been more detailed, although some in the Aune T1 thread have mentioned this could also be caused by the base tube... 
    Anyhow, I've read in the T1 thread that the amp section could be better, and 100$ really isn't very expensive IMHO if indeed it's comparable to something like the Magni 2 Uber and really does improve vs the T1/Magni...
    But still, vs the Magni, 1200 mW vs 1500 mW isn't that huge of a difference though, for speakers it's basically double the power for a 3dB increase, does this hold true also for headphones?  If so, the power might not be that significant, especially if the Magni isn't lacking & isn't pushed hard when driving the 400i... Sigh...  lol   Hmm... Guess I'll try to look into the 400i's behavior in Magni vs Magni Uber for instance, that should give a decent idea of Magni vs A30!
  7. Jimster480
    Well like I said all I know is from the Fulla 2 and its already too strong for my IEMs and my Panasonic HD-10.
    But it is stronger than a Magni 2 on the high power side.
    I'd say just to order it and try it out, if you don't like it you can always sell it. But it's not as expensive as most options despite its power.
  8. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    But the reverse might be true - the Fulla2 might just be the one that isn't modifying the sound, while the A30 is making it warmer.
    One way to test qualitatively if you don't have measuring equipment is to use a newer recording, one that's been drafted to fight the Loudness War. If it isn't bright on one amp while it's bright through another amp, chances are the first amp is warming the sound (although that doesn't ensure that the other isn't making it worse, but still, you'd know one amp is warming it), because by default these newer recordings tend to have sharp edges.
  9. Jimster480

    No I mean I have a Xonar DG, Xonar D2S, FiiO K1, HTC 10, HTC M8
    And for speakers too I have Klipsch R-15PM and 2 Denon Heos 3

    Its not just one thing I tested it against lol
    The HTC 10 is a much warmer sound and the K1 is also warmer (but not as warm as the 10). The M8 sounds similar to the 10 with less volume and less detail.
  10. natto
    For spec with this price, very interesting.
  11. GirgleMirt
    Yeah, also the fact that they list in detail many of the components and have a plethora of internal pictures is quite reassuring.  Who else does that?  Aune for instance has very little info on its 249.99$ amp...  Just going by that fact, the amp with the most details and info is the one most inspiring confidence to me, as it seems that the one without is trying to hide something, while the one happy to hand out the most info seems much more confident in its product's quality and is showing it off to attract customers. 
    One is basically saying; "Hey look I'm 100$ and you get all of that!  Isn't that fantastic!", while the other is saying: "I'm 249$, yeah we won't really show you what you get for that price just trust us".  Yeah okay...  Think I'll just go with the one who seems most proud about its product and isn't ashamed to open the hood...  I'm sure the Aune is great though and that it isn't trying to hide a bad product, I just mean that if the Topping's page was as vague and detail-less as the Aune, I likely wouldn't have bought it. 
    Also by being so detailed, it also reminds potential buyers that an amp is just a series of components, and that if they use quality components, as amplifier design has been around for quite a while and is quite advanced state, you're bound to get a well performing product.  Well that was my logic purchasing it, hopefully won't be bad..
    Topping: http://www.tpdz.net/en/products/a30/index.htm
    Aune: http://en.auneaudio.com/index.php?s=Home/Article/detail/id/132.html
    Also just comparing to say Schiit Magni, does seem like a more serious amp but who knows!  Mine's on the way, the 'how it sounds' is what really matters in the end, I'll know in 2-3 months...
    (oh.. And I did an A/B comparison of Aune vs Magni, and the Aune indeed wasn't as good as the Magni:  http://www.head-fi.org/t/633006/aune-t1-usb-tube-dac-ss-amp-discussion-thread-see-first-post-for-faq-updated-on-02-14-15/8070#post_13409671)
  12. Jimster480
    I hope you like it!
    The Magni has around the same peak power but it doesn't have the level of control that the A30 offers.
    I personally think this is the best IEM / sensitive headphone amp.
    I don't have heavy cans to test it with but it sounds super nice with my quads and it is heavy and solid. It's only downside is the highly proprietary power supply connector. But i think that the power supply has modes and switches based on if you select low or high power mode for the amp.

    I'm glad I can help other people to find this little gem!
  13. Pulstura
    Thanks for the review! I've received my Topping D30 and A30 not too long ago from Massdrop! But I'm still not sure if I'm using them properly...

    Could you explain or direct me towards a good resource for me to read as I'm not sure which voltage setting "Low/High" I should be at as it's made no difference to the audio quality... The dB "18,9,0" changes the overall volume, but when should I be turning the gain up instead of the volume knob?

    Also from the pc when it's connecting to the Topping D30 via usb, should I be putting the volume on max on the pc? or lowest and adjust the audio via the amp?

    Also I own a pair of HD6XX which are pretty much identical to the HD650's!

    Sorry I'm quite new to the audio community :) haha.
  14. GirgleMirt
    And how does it sound? :D

    Hmm.. weird can't find A30 manual, didn't yours come with one? Here's my guesses:

    "Hi or Lo working voltage" - hd6xx; Nominal impedance: 300 ohm so I'm guessing hi for full sized headphones? It really makes no audible difference between the different settings?

    Increasing the gain increase the noise (noise as in distortion added to signal), so you want to have the gain as low as you can while getting the volume you want.

    That doesn't really matter, in theory, might be best to max your amp's volume (the volume pot is basically a resistor, so max volume bypasses it, but rather insignificant in reality) and manage your volume through your pc, but that increases the risk of having your pc sound for some reason increasing and blasting volume though amp & headphones & ears... So likely not worth the risk; plus just try it, if you can't tell the difference it really doesn't matter now does it? :wink:
    Last edited: May 7, 2017
  15. Pulstura
    It really doesn't change the audio at all haha... I've gotten a replacement A30 from Topping as my first one was faulty, and both of them didn't change the audio quality at all. I've also seen someone else mention on a Massdrop discussion that it didn't change anything for them as well. I guess if thats the case I should just leave it at low... haha

    And sweet, the settings I've been using are max pc audio, Low and 0dB gain and 3/4 on the volume knob which seems loud and clear enough for my ears :D
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