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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 the opposite of what the "theory" is.

    You should use the volume knob for your volume (analog) instead of digital volume (computer).

    You should set the DAC (D30) to max inside of windows at all times and in your applications, then you control the volume with the knob.
    You turn the "gain" up when the volume is at max and the volume is too low (which increases the amount of power by the multiplication of the gain).

    That's about what I use on my setup (D30/A30).
    I have also used the A30 now with some other DAC's (Schiit Fulla2 DAC-Out, SMSL M8, SMSL M8a, Schiit Modi Multibit). It sounds great with all of them and I continue to listen it basically all day every day!
  2. GirgleMirt
    Hmm... yeah you're right, although there's no consensus, most digital volumes seem destructive to signal & the DAC's SNR is also likely worse than your pot... Tested on my Schiits & 400i and either I can hear the difference (low digital volume + amp maxed = more noise) or it's placebo and I just think I hear more noise :wink:

    Got the A30 a few days ago, along with new Bosshifi B8 headphones. Quite happy with both! Comparing the Aune's T1 amp to the Topping, the topping seemed, like the Magni, bit less dark sounding & bit clearer than T1. Not sure of the exact extent of the difference, but on 400i headphones, the difference between T1 and Magni seemed more significant than on the AKG K550 or B8s and T1 vs A30. Could just be headphones though...

    It would be interesting to do an A/B comparison with the same headphones... Being both amps are 15km from one another and it's different headphones, can't really comment more than that... It's definitely better than the T1's amp, not by an incredible margin though, I'd qualify it as subtle... But as stated Magni vs T1 on 400i was a more evident difference.

    I was a bit surprised at its power though, I'm listening bit more than 1/2 volume and given the numbers somewhat expected to be louder; going 3/4 is quite loud, more than I typically listen to, but it's about the same as the T1, I'd have thought it would have been louder... Not that it really matters as I'm getting adequate volume, plus there's the gain settings. :)

    So it's definitely a decent amp! Maybe someone less lazy than me will do a more serious comparison! lol :D
  3. Jimster480
    What settings are you using? The A30 has quite a number of combinations for an Amp.
    Between the 3.5mm and the 6.35(is that the size?) outputs and the hi/lo setting on the amp + the 9 or 18db gain settings...
    For me I listen on 1/2 volume typically on my IEM's with 0db gain and low on the power setting on the 3.5mm output.

    Its especially nice for IEM's where a 6.35 - > 3.5mm adapter causes issues with the "triple tip" plugs that contain a mic also. Ive tried it with like 3-4 headphones now and couldnt get any of them to work right across 5-6 different adapters, so the A30 is really perfect if you listen to IEM's alot.
    I don't have any high power cans but overall the amp is really transparent and has a great range of volume for low power stuff when its at its lowest settings.
  4. GirgleMirt
    Well like you and Pulstura I can't really tell the difference between lo/hi so I'm just using lo, 0dB gain, and the 6.35mm plug. To go back to my earlier power comment, I don't think I can/should attribute volume position to power though, as I think the pots might make a difference (ex: Some pots at 12 o clock give 40% power, some 60% power, etc.), so it's not really a good power indicative... Plus as I mentioned I got plenty of power at 0dB gain so definitely not an issue with Bosshifi B8 or AKG 550!

    About the plugs, I think I remember seeing that the 3.5mm didn't have the same specs as 6.35mm output, and indeed volume seemed to take a hit with the 3.5mm...

    Maximum output power
    1551mW x 2 (PO=Hi, 6.35 output, RL=32Ω,THD+N=1%) vs 757mW x 2 (PO=Hi, 3.5 output, RL=32Ω,THD+N=1%)
    291mW x 2 (PO=Hi, 6.35 output, RL=300Ω,THD+N=1%) vs 258mW x 2 (PO=Hi, 3.5 output, RL=300Ω,THD+N=1%)
    152mW x 2 (PO=Hi, 6.35 output, RL=600Ω,THD+N=1%) vs 143mW x 2 (PO=Hi, 3.5 output, RL=600Ω,THD+N=1%)

    Any idea why? And while we were talking about optimal performance, given the above, wouldn't 6.5mm output be preferable?

    Oh, and somewhat simplistic comment; it's a plus that it's power switch is on the front of the unit... I don't know why the Magni, T1, etc., have the power switch behind the unit... I guess looks, but it's just so much more practical to have it in front!
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2017
  5. Jimster480
    Yes I love that the power switch is on the front.
    But no you dont want to have the amp on more power, it doesn't make a difference. But if it was on more power and you had to have the pot lower, well lower on the pot just has a higher chance for channel imbalance. So if the amp is in low mode and thats enough volume for you then its fine.
    Personally I havent tried hi power mode but I'll try it when I'm back at home.
    Mostly I just leave it and listen to it all day every day and adjust the volume as needed!

    I probably have 1000 hours of playtime on mine already haha
  6. ostewart
    The A30 just about powers the Hifiman Susvara, but not the fullest bass compared to a speaker amp.

    High gain and High power, volume is around 1 o'clock
  7. Jimster480
    Max gain? Thats pretty crazy power output lol

    Holy crap those headphones are $6000!

    Well I would say that the A30 is pretty good to be able to power a $6000 PM headphone LOL
  8. ostewart
    *Just about powers them :D

    But yeah pretty impressive output.
  9. Jimster480
    Yes "Just about" :)

    That's pretty good considering $6000 headphones and $100 amp :p
    ostewart likes this.
  10. Oscar-HiFi
    Mmmm Burson V5i D opamps in the A30, currently running them in

    TCube and Jimster480 like this.
  11. Jimster480
    Cool stuff! Interested to know how it sounds compared to the stock TI OP amps.
  12. ostewart
    I'm not a huge believer in massive night and day differences between opamps, previous experience being with a simple cmoy amp.

    But if you have the money, the Burson opamps make a remarkable difference.

    The soundstage is much more immersive and the bass has so much texture.
  13. Jimster480
    I see, well did you compare it with the stock OpAmp's before?
  14. ostewart
    I listened to it stock for quite a while, then popped the Burson in and was quite amazed.

    Yes it's not night and day, but a definite step up over the stock, the stock just sounds a bit forced and closed in. The Burson is more effortless and open sounding.
  15. Jimster480
    The inside is socketed right?
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