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Topping NX3s

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by Magicman74, Oct 17, 2018.
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  1. Magicman74
    Can anyone confirm that you can swap the opamps as listed?
  2. Palash
    Yes you can swap the opamps but buffer chip is soldered. It would be great if the buffer ic also can be swap able.

  3. Magicman74
    I'm not familiar with the chip they are using for the buffer but the LME is a decent chip. I already have a NX3 but I think I might grab the NX3S too. For $60 it can't be too bad. I already like the NX3 better then the Fiio offerings. The slight warmth really works well with my Beyers.
  4. Magicman74
    Okay here goes, I'm no expert in giving reviews but now that I have the NX3s in the house I'll give you some quick impressions vs the original NX3 and Fiio A5.
    I've not swapped opamps yet so this is in stock form. First off the build quality is top rate just like the original. It feels very sturdy in the hand even more so then the A5. The A5 is of top quality as well.
    The NX3s is in the same form factor as the original but just about a few mm longer, it looks like they needed need a little more room for the recessed knob and maybe internals. As far as sound goes, WOW!!! it really sounds fantastic. The differences between the original and the S is very slight.
    As I said I haven't swapped opamps yet but here is my take:
    I don't have the original specs for the original but I think the NX3s might not be true as listed. They have it rated at much more power but I'm not hearing it, oh it has plenty of power for my 250 ohm Beyers but if you volume match, the Original has just a tad more power in low gain, high gain for me it's hard to tell as they both get way too loud for me to make a call.
    For complete sound is where it gets a bit crazy. Both in low gain no Bass boost. The Nx3s is clean and crisp sounding just a tad cleaner then the original. Not by much it seems just a tad more detailed but both are really detailed. The bass on both are completely the same in my opinion, Now the mids on the Nx3s seems to just sound more detailed.
    The highs are nearly identical as well. I think the NX3s just has a tad longer decay in the notes. As far as sound stage the NX3s is for sure wider and a tad deeper. Much better then the A5 IMO.
    Now if you put both into High gain they both retain the same sound as in Low gain. I'm only hearing gain here, no coloration or anything added which is fantastic. But once you hit the Bass boost things get crazy. The NX3s has some serious bass here. I think it might be more of Mid-Bass but I don't notice it bleeding into anything else. If you kick in the boost on the original it is Sub-Bass and Imo works much better. It's tighter and cleaner.
    It's really a hard call on which on to recommend? Both are $60 and Imo a deal for what you get.. You really have to up your spending maybe in the 200-300 range to beat this little thing. I'd say grab the NX3s, the plus here is its a tad cleaner sound even tho the Bass boost is not my cup of tea. Plus you can roll the opamps. $60 it's really a fantastic deal if you just need a standalone small foot print amp.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018
    Alberto01, Palash and kukkurovaca like this.
  5. Palash
    Thanks for your words. I am going to pick it in 11.11 alliexpress sale for 50 $.
  6. Shane D
    Thanks for the review. So, are you saying that it is a better unit than the A5? It is on MassDrop at $50.00 and the A5 goes for like $129.00, which is almost triple the price. Can you compare bass boost on the NX3s and the A5? My 'phones are all pretty easy to drive, but I do have a HE4XX on the way. While I don't llisten loud (I only use 50% to 60% of the power available on my Sony NW-ZX300), I am curious about the sound.

    Shane D
  7. Magicman74
    IMO the NX3s is better. The Bass Boost on both are about the same but the Topping has a tad more punch. The A5 sounds thin IMO, It's very good not knocking it at all.
    I think the NX3s just sounds so much more detailed and musical. Both are very flat/neutral sounding amps but the resolution and details hands down go to the Topping.
    it very well could be the LME chip. It's very clean sounding, very hard to explain. It's one of those you have to hear it yourself kinda things. I think it might even beat out my Meier XXS, and that's saying a lot :)
    Alberto01 likes this.
  8. Shane D
    Thanks for the reply. Hard to. Believe it can be that cheap AND great.

    I am in Canada and looking at the A5 ($169.00 plus 15% tax), the O2 (about $180.00, all in Can $'s) and the SMSL APII ($90.00, plus 15% tax). I was Leery about the SMSL due to the low price.
    And the Topping would be the cheapest, by far. Some of the reviews refer to cheap quality and that they don't hold up, but if it sounds good and doesn't cost much...

    I think I will order this tomorrow via MassDrop.

    Thanks for the feedback!

    Shane D
  9. Shane D
    Went ahead and ordered this today in silver. MassDrop doesn't ship it until December 27th.

    Shane D
  10. Magicman74
    Awesome man, I'm still being blown away by this little thing. I'll tell you what tho, I am a big fan of the LME chip it comes with but I swapped it out with a LME49860, Holy Hell, It still retains the same details of the 720 but is SO much smoother and the Bass digs deeper and even tighter. No idea why they didn't use the LME49860 to begin with? Maybe the slight price increase stopped them?, or the 720 just was the best to their ears? Either way you're going to dig this thing. The wait will be worth it :)
    Alberto01 likes this.
  11. Shane D
    I AM looking forward to it. After I ordered it, I noticed that it ships December 27th. For some reason I thought it would ship right away. I guess I was confused with the HE4XX's.

    Oh well, a few weeks isn't bad. :)

    Shane D
  12. Magicman74
    Wanted to drop in and tell you all, you MUST replace the op amp with the LT1364. I was very impressed with the LM49860 upgrade but after rolling a few chips I have here on hand. Forget about it.
    The LT1364 behind the OPA buffer is wonderful. It is so natural sounding. This combo works with any type of music I toss its way. The sound of this combo is flat, but reaches deep and low on both ends. And the SS is very WIDE and DEEP. My 880s have come alive. You'll have to grab a micro set of hex keys tho, here I couldn't find a set with a smaller then 1.5mm key, it takes a 0.9 which is tiny. You can buy a set off fleabay for like $8 or cheaper. :)
    Alberto01 likes this.
  13. Wannabenewton
    Any word on the output impedance? Cant seem to find the value anywhere. And what is the signature like? Warm or neutral or bright. I prefer flat.
  14. Magicman74
    I'm not sure on the DC output , I'll have to measure it myself. I can't find it online and it's not in the paperwork as well.
    As far as the signature. With the stock op amp LME49720 its very flat from top to bottom BUT it can get kinda bright sounding on certain songs. I think it's the signature of the chip itself.
    It is a really good chip very(HI-DEF) mirco-details are top of the top. But like I said it can get bright. The sound stage is 360 tho, one of the best I've heard from a portable.
    I'd say the amp itself really stays flat as possible but I've been Rolling the Opamps so the sound does somewhat change drastically.
    I don't have the super duper so-called opamps on hand but I'll give a short take on what I have here.

    OPA2132P Nice deep tight Bass, with warmth from Mids to Top- the image is horrible, Stage is pretty much in your head. Very boring.
    OPA2134 Basically the same as 2132 just even more boring. Both of these chips sound veiled big time. Not that its bad, it just not good.
    OPA2604 Lighter in the Bass, but the mids and treble are cleaner and Stage is far better then the other two. Still has that laid back sound of BB chips. But this one is pretty good.
    LM4562 stats say this is the "Original" LME49720. Not even close here. It is way bass light and lifeless sounding. Just bright from top to bottom. Good stage but it just way too cold/thin sounding.
    LME49860 Reviewed above, This one is pretty good. Same as the stock LME but smoother more relaxed sounding. A tad of grain in the trebles tho. VERY good slightly warmer the stock, less bright and tiresome.
    LT1364 Forget it. This thing shines to me, review above. This chip is so natural sounding, This combo is just fantastic. I'd call it musical. Nice deep tight bass, The mids (oh man), wonderful 650 mids. Male/Female voices sound fabulous. The treble nice and crisp and extends just to the right spot. No harshness here but not rolled off either. The LME49720 just has it beat in Stage but this chip is right there. Note tho these were all coming off BEYER DT770/880/990 I've not had much head time on my Senns but I don't think my opinion on this would change.
    Alberto01, justrest and Palash like this.
  15. Magicman74
    Had time to check the DC offset, I used the LT1364 chip which gives off some serious offset in cheaper designs, this thing measures less then 0. No need to worry here on frying out your cans.
    Meter only goes as low as 20 ohms so I couldn't get a reading on the ohm output, so someone else might have to chime in on that. I know one of the Topping desktops is like 10ohms, which isn't ideal but I don't think this little thing puts out that much?
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