Can Topping do it, can A70 Pro bring the performance of the flagship model A90D to a lower price bracket? I’m sure that’s the question on everybody’s mind. So without wasting any of your time, let’s get to it.
Build and Connectivity
As with all Topping products, the A70 Pro is built like a tank even though it’s not a flagship model. The whole body is made of thick aluminium with a sturdy feel. Regarding connectivity, there’s a lot of versatility with the A70 Pro. Starting with the back of the unit, we find both single-ended RCA inputs and balanced ones that combine XLR and TRS into one connector. Moreover, there are single-ended RCA and balanced XLR lineouts so you can pass the signal to another device in the chain (an amplifier or active speakers for example). This is always a nice and welcome feature. Aside from that, we see an IEC power inlet, meaning that the power supply is located inside the unit and there is no power brick sitting outside of the device, just a good old power cord that goes directly into 110 or 220 Volts depending on your region.
In the front, we find our headphone outs starting with an unbalanced 6.35 mm jack. Next to it, there is a balanced 4.4 mm Pentaconn, and finally, an XLR out that is also balanced of course. As you can see, there’s little if anything left out when it comes to possible ways of connecting Topping A70 Pro to other devices.
Features and Tech
The display is new, in color, and now fully matches the new line of Topping DACs. Now add a few gimmicks like choosing different effects, like VU-meter or Spectrograph to be displayed, and the fun never ends.
Inside the unit, Topping used their NFCA circuitry already known for its high power and low distortion. Topping brags about extremely high power output that goes all the way up to 2 x 17 W in its peak, which is even higher than what A90D can offer. Paired with high voltages up to 56 Vpp, and two gain levels, this amp will drive almost any headphones on the market without a fuss, from small and sensitive IEMs to big and voltage-hungry high-impedance headphones. Distortion and noise measurements are next to perfect as with most Topping products, and they once again surpass what the pricier but slightly older flagship A90D could do. That said, let’s test the real-life sound quality and worth of this product. For tech spec lovers, there’s a long spec sheet at the end of the review waiting for you.
Topping A70 Pro has plenty of power and that is immediately noticeable. The bass section is deep and punchy, but also slightly warm. Mid-bass is the same way, powerful, full-bodied, and with a bit of added warmth. The midrange is present and clear, you will not lack details that’s for sure. The highest spectrum is revealing but not too prominent or airy. I would rather call it slightly laid back instead. But talking just about tonality won’t paint the whole picture.
Dynamics are strong too, and this amp will not leave you wanting for a more engaging sound. A good midbass punch only adds to this sensation. When it comes to soundstaging, the A70 Pro proves to be a decent performer but not reaching the level of airiness that pricier amps can offer. Everything said and done, this is one well-balanced amplifier that doesn’t have any obvious highlights or shortcomings. It simply sounds good and it is fuss-free when it comes to pairing.
Topping L70 comes from a more affordable line, but it still fares well. Tonally speaking, these two amps are much more alike than they’re different. Both boast slightly fuller and warmer tonality, without any harsh edges or anyingly prominent highs. But upon a more careful listen, you can notice that the A70 Pro has somewhat cleaner sound and crisper edges. In a direct comparison, L70 sounds just a touch muddy and hazy. The difference is not big really, so is added clarity of A70 Pro justified is up to your own judgment.
Topping A90D is only one hundred dollars more expensive now. The real question is why would anybody go for it when the A70 Pro offers better performance on paper? Because it is only on paper, as far as my ears can tell. First of all, these two are tonally different. A90D sounds firmer in the bassline, with better grip and more tone texture. It feels like A90D has more power and control over the bass notes even though the paper says it doesn’t. Maybe, just maybe, it’s not only about the number but also about how it was achieved. The midrange has more resolution too. Highs are airer and the soundstage is bigger and more airy as a consequence. A70 Pro does sound warmer and fuller in the midbass, which is pleasant. But to my ears that’s not enough to justify losing all of that bass grip, tone texture, air, and soundstage that A90D provides.
Topping A70 Pro is a well-built, well-sounding, and insanely well-speced product. It definitely brings an uplift in performance when compared to some more budget-friendly models. Its only problem, in my opinion, is that the slightly older but better-performing A90D is too close price-wise to be ignored.