Dec 2, 2018275 views

Topping A30, Burson Audio V5i Opamp Upgrade

I was pretty impressed by the Topping A30/D30 combo. For the price point it sounded pretty good. Very neutral and accurate. It has plenty of power. But it can sound a little veiled in the highs. After reading a lot of other reviews I thought I'd take a stab at swapping out the opamps. The TI OPA 2134's by all accounts are very competent opamps so I wasn't sure if switching them out would make a difference and a lot of people seem to frown on the idea and seem to be of the opinion that they all do the same thing. That may be the case. On a scope perhaps they all just amplify voltage and the 2134's do this very well with very little distortion. All I can say with absolute certainty is that swapping them out in my Topping A30 made a huge improvement in the sound quality. It pulled away the veil. It sounds cleaner and clearer than previously. Sonically, pushing my HD6xx's and HD598 Jubilees, it's now very very similar to my Emotiva BasX A100 (resistor bypass jumpers installed). Side by side you can tell the Emotiva has more to give. It has more headroom and is trying so much less hard. But, it's close. The Emotiva has more immediacy and is a little cleaner in its delivery (to the point of almost sounding clinical/sterile) but the Topping really gives it a run for its money now. I suppose it should considering that with the Burson opamps the A30 is now about $180. So if anyone wants a very very nice sounding stack and doesn't have the desktop real estate to dedicate to the Emotiva I highly recommend the Topping A30/D30 combo. Fit and finish of both the A30 and D30 is excellent. I can't compare the Topping to other similar offerings by Schiit, SMSL, JS Audio etc because I have no personal experience with them. What I can say is that, particularly with the Burson opamps installed I am back to listening to the music instead of trying to figure out where the weak link is in my audio chain. I didn't intend to be a headphone hobbyist. I just wanted a pair of headphones that gave me similar enjoyment to my main stereo without breaking the bank. Little did I know how difficult that was going to be. Caveat: The A30 is perhaps not the best candidate if you need a low output impedance amp. My current collection consists of HD6xx's, HD598 Jubilees, Monolith M560's, and M&O Beryllium driver bluetooth headphones (used wired at 32ohms). Here's what's interesting, the only pair that didn't play nice with the A30, or the Emotiva for that matter, was the M560's. I kind of expected this with the Topping but not the Emotiva. As a side note, the only amp I have that sounded good with the M560's was the headphone out of my Parasound Zamp v.2. I was so relieved that I got that figured out. I was starting to think that everyone saying how great the M560's sounded were lying or that I got a defective pair.
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migrained, Megazine, and 3 others
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It is interesting. I have M650 and like it so much, so bought another one. Never had issue with sound from different amps. Have Emotiva basX100, Oppo HA1, Burson Conductor V2, Topping DX7, Schiit Jountenheim, Pioneer 5U, Denon PM50, Linnenberg Maestro.
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Typo M1060C
kimdeug
I remember you. You with 14 headphones:))
I really like my Topping D30. I'm not even a headphone user - I needed a cheap DAC for a cheap tube amp I have in a 2.1 stereo system and I went with the D30 (alone - didn't get the A30). Big improvement over my sources' DACs. I doubt you can beat that DAC for the $120 I paid on Amazon. Very happy with the purchase.
Instead of v5i, I am using V6 vivid. Also, I am pairing my A30 with D50 and to me, that's a killer combination.
ghostie
Cool, does it fit in the chassis without modification? I didn't even consider those. Now I'm curious based on my experience with the v5i's.
CaseyOD
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I won't say you need a mod for this but the V6 will not fit vertically. You have to lay them down horizontal. This would mean you will have to do a pin-to-pin wired connection from the A30 socket to the V6 pin. You can do something like in this picture. This is for Cambridge Audio but it is exactly what I have done.