• Welcome to TechPowerUp Forums, Guest! Please check out our forum guidelines for info related to our community.

Am I doing something wrong?

Joined
Oct 30, 2006
Messages
2,686 (0.42/day)
Location
Republic Of Ireland
System Name The Metadis
Processor AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D
Motherboard Asrock B650 RS Pro
Cooling MSI MAG CoreLiquid 360R V2
Memory 32GB G-Skill Trident Z5 Neo 6000mhz CL32
Video Card(s) Asus Tuf RX 7900XTX OC 24GB
Storage Crucial P5 Plus 2TB Gen4 nvme + Sabrent Rocket Pro 500GB Nvme Gen3
Display(s) LG C2 42" 4K 120hz OLED
Case NZXT H6 Flow
Audio Device(s) Hifiman Edition XS - Ifi Zen DAC V2 - Topping D90 discrete
Power Supply Seasonic G12 GM - 850W 80 Plus Gold
Mouse Corsair M65 ELITE RGB Optical FPS Gaming Mouse (18000 DPI Optical Sensor)
Keyboard Redragon K648 90% Wired Aluminium Mechanical - Rock-Solid Metal Board Built-in Noise Absorbing Foams
VR HMD Meta Quest 3
Software Windows 11 64-bit
Hello people!


So recently I just bought myself a nice new Topping D90 Discrete Headphone Amp and I was thinking.. hmmm.. this could be fun?

Boy oh boy am I disappointed!
My Ifi Zen Dac V2 which cost me 3 times less... can handle everything on it's own without any difference in quality of sound?!
I thought a dedicated amp was supposed to improve things pretty well especially with Planar headphones?! " Hifiman Edition XS "
No difference found at all when it comes to Music " Tidal " Gaming, Netflix or standard Youtube!

Am I doing something wrong here or are my headphones just not beefy enough to benefit from this amp?
I have them hooked up via balanced 2.5 cable so.. I believe I am hooked up properly and ready to go!
But I promise I hear absolutely no improvement at all in music with my eyes closed and truly just critically listening for something! anything!
I am 36 and not deaf.. am I just... gone past it or?!

Thanks guys!
Please say anything at all! Much appreciated!
 
Joined
Aug 5, 2019
Messages
131 (0.07/day)
System Name Locutus TT P90 open air case
Processor Intel I7 12700K
Motherboard Asus Z690 WIFI D4
Cooling NZXT 280 mm AIO
Memory 32 Gig Corsair Vengeance 3600 DDR4
Video Card(s) Zotac 3080 Holo LHR
Storage 3 various branded SSDs and 6 TB Seagate HD
Display(s) LG 32'' g-sync 144 Hz VA IPS
Case P90 open air case
Power Supply EVGA G2 1 KW
Mouse Logitech G900
Keyboard Corsair Strafe
Software Win 11 Pro
Usually the more expensive the gear the more neutral the sound, if the recording has any flaws it will be heard. I would source any uncompressed classical source and listen again.
"No difference found at all when it comes to Music " Tidal " Gaming, Netflix or standard Youtube!" not the best sources. Note this a prime example: This young prodigy has the ability to literally wreck a Bluthner grand and turn its bell like tone into a howling beast but the camcorder used to record it cannot handle the dynamics of the piano.


Hope this helps I am a retired professional chemist with a specialty in analytical instrumentation and have a relative in the recording industry. I have knowledge of the consumer and pro side of audio. I have been noticing a lot of posts about speaker and equipment recommendations etc.

Also, some are wondering why their setup disappoints at high SPL or when a quality SVS sub is added. SVS subs are musically accurate, low distortion and have minimal enclosure resonances or added unwanted vibrational modes when properly placed. With some rock music, they can be ruthlessly revealing of bad recordings.

Do not get to caught up in the specs or being a "measurebator" audio is very subjective and personal. Must listen to speakers and base purchase on your personal taste, all are voiced differently so I do not recommend one brand of speaker over another, feelings can be hurt depending on how critique is taken. For example, I was at a high-end dealer (Early 1990) when they were showcasing a Wilson WAMM setup valued at 100K. The customer pulls out a personal recording of an oboe and a bassoon solo that he performed. After listening he says I am done with the Wilsons, why was he not satisfied? It wasn’t the 100K sticker shock, it was the fact that the system couldn’t resolve a A440 hertz note properly. To the untrained ear they sound identical but have a slight timbre difference that is noticeable to a professional Oboe/Bassoon performer. He also would dump a speaker if it couldn’t resolve a piano recording with the lid up or closed. FYI, he settled with the B&W Nautilus at 30K, I believe.


Cheap amp equals poor sound at elevated SPL. More power equals more volume assumption. Sound output is logarithmic not linear, double power not twice as loud.
For example I am a metal fan, the sound system for Iron Maiden is approx. 300 KW at 117 dB this SPL projects thousands of feet. If I do not add speakers or change drivers, doubling power to 600 KW it is only 3 dB louder which is not noticeably louder to most.
The quality of the watt is crucial, for example a discrete Darlington hand wired transistor amp can run over 10K whereas your MosFET receivers are sub $500 (99% of gear bought today). I have a Yamaha DSP receiver, 5 ch which is MoSFET. Infinity frontend, Paradigm center and Paradigm rears, SVS SB2000 Pro sub.


The power rating is irrelevant most sound systems play sound best when at under 5 watts continuous give or take. Efficiency rating will tell you how loud a speaker plays at 1 m away with one watt in. My Infinity speakers are rated at 98 dB/watt. To reproduce distortion free sound field at ref levels you need massive reserves of power for transients.
So my system at 1 meter out outputs the following SPL
1 watt is 98 dB SPL, OSHA states no more than 90 dB @ 8 hrs. at this threshold without hearing protection.
2 watts is 101 dB
4 watts 104 dB
8 watts 107 dB Need to spend ton of money to experience clean uncompressed music at this level or above.
16 watts 110 dB
32 watts 113 dB
64 watts 116 dB
128 watts 119 dB Permanent loss of hearing
Why is this important let say speaker brand X is rated at 80 dB/watt, what power is needed to match my setup?
1 watt 80 dB
2 watts 83 dB
4W 86
8W 89
16W 92
32W 95
64W 98
128W 101 dB
256W 104
512W 107 dB
1024W 110 to get this I need to invest in a Krell, Mark Levinson mono-block in excess of $20K. These high end amps are rated at 1 horsepower which is around 750 W at 8 ohms, 1500 W at 4 ohms continuous), No FET stages, discrete class A.
2048W 113 out
4096W 116 dB out

8192 W 119 dB out
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 22, 2016
Messages
1,648 (0.54/day)
Processor Intel i5 8400
Motherboard Asus Prime H370M-Plus/CSM
Cooling Scythe Big Shuriken & Noctua NF-A15 HS-PWM chromax.black.swap
Memory 8GB Crucial Ballistix Sport LT DDR4-2400
Video Card(s) ROG-STRIX-GTX1060-O6G-GAMING
Storage 1TB 980 Pro
Display(s) Samsung UN55KU6300F
Case Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3
Power Supply Super Flower Leadex III 750w
Software W11 Pro
So recently I just bought myself a nice new Topping D90 Discrete Headphone Amp and I was thinking.. hmmm.. this could be fun?

Boy oh boy am I disappointed!

SOP with amps is leave it powered on the full return period unless you start to notice breakup or other signs it needs 24 hours in standby. That means resting on a solid surface without any movement whatsoever. If time is drawing near and you aren't satisfied, send it back.

Since we are talking about headphones. I will mention any EQ profile you were running is going to need revisiting.
 
Joined
Aug 5, 2019
Messages
131 (0.07/day)
System Name Locutus TT P90 open air case
Processor Intel I7 12700K
Motherboard Asus Z690 WIFI D4
Cooling NZXT 280 mm AIO
Memory 32 Gig Corsair Vengeance 3600 DDR4
Video Card(s) Zotac 3080 Holo LHR
Storage 3 various branded SSDs and 6 TB Seagate HD
Display(s) LG 32'' g-sync 144 Hz VA IPS
Case P90 open air case
Power Supply EVGA G2 1 KW
Mouse Logitech G900
Keyboard Corsair Strafe
Software Win 11 Pro
Planars are ruthless revealing cans so I am not surprised that the apparent sound quality drops with increasing priced gear. Law of diminishing returns here. Like I would not play any highly compressed rock recording on a pair of Maggies speakers either. What I would do is go to a high end dealer and listen to your cans on a price no object system and see if the apparent audio is worth the money, use your recordings not what the dealer plays for a demo. Any disappointment is the fault of the source not your auditory acumen What to listen for on a reed instrument do you hear the felt pads sticking, reed buzz or finger nails clicking on keys? When you listen to piano do you hear the action or pedal noise, nails clicking on keys can you tell if lid is open or partially closed? On electric guitar do you hear strings hitting the frets?
Pull up some Iron Maiden and listen to the Fender Precision Jazz bass Harris shreds. Should hear nail clicking depending on what style the bassist plays.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 5, 2019
Messages
131 (0.07/day)
System Name Locutus TT P90 open air case
Processor Intel I7 12700K
Motherboard Asus Z690 WIFI D4
Cooling NZXT 280 mm AIO
Memory 32 Gig Corsair Vengeance 3600 DDR4
Video Card(s) Zotac 3080 Holo LHR
Storage 3 various branded SSDs and 6 TB Seagate HD
Display(s) LG 32'' g-sync 144 Hz VA IPS
Case P90 open air case
Power Supply EVGA G2 1 KW
Mouse Logitech G900
Keyboard Corsair Strafe
Software Win 11 Pro
If you want to really spoil yourself find a Nagra dealer.

 
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
Messages
13,566 (3.82/day)
Location
Sunshine Coast
System Name Lenovo ThinkCentre
Processor AMD 5650GE
Motherboard Lenovo
Memory 32 GB DDR4
Display(s) AOC 24" Freesync 1m.s. 75Hz
Mouse Lenovo
Keyboard Lenovo
Software W11 Pro 64 bit
This young prodigy has the ability to literally wreck a Bluthner grand and turn its bell like tone into a howling beast but the camcorder used to record it cannot handle the dynamics of the piano.

She wrecked it alright, ruined a classic piece of music. I've heard better playing by strangers on public pianos.
 
Top