Topping L30 xploding and taking headphones out

Discussion in 'All Points Bulletin / Be on the Look Out' started by M3NTAL, Dec 17, 2020.

  1. M3NTAL

    M3NTAL Friend

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  2. Baten

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    That's mental... I'm using one at home as a cheap RCA-out pre and it seems to do the job well, now you have me scared :/
     
  3. M3NTAL

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    I have no idea what happened. There is not an external fuse on the L30, so i'm not sure if it has any protection built-in. I guess not. It is possible something happened in the i4 and caused it to go nuclear also. It left my room with the electronic fire smell. Glad I was around to catch it.
     
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  4. bboris77

    bboris77 Friend

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    Apparently, there is been a series of L30s going up in flames and taking out headphones. Here is a discussion on Topping’s unofficial forum:
    https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/sequential-damage.19003/page-3

    The scary part is that Topping has not recalled this amp yet and is refusing to cover the cost of destroyed headphones. At this point, I’m glad that I don’t own any of their devices any longer. It’s bad enough that they made an engineering mistake that is making these amps susceptible to failure caused by simple static electricity, but they are now compounding the damage by their non-reaction to this.

    Another test is for the leader of ASR now - he was quick to criticize Schiit for their grounding issues with the original Jot (which did not cause it to go up in smoke). Let’s see whether he will be so quick to dish out the same treatment to Topping. Actions speak louder than words.
     
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  5. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    That's horrible. Hopefully Audeze takes care of you. They are usually very good at taking care of their customers, even if the warranty has expired.

    Can you pop the case and take photos of the board? Inquiring minds want to know / investigate. SBAF will be happy to purchase this from you for what you paid.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 6, 2021
  6. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Ugh...

    Hopefully people learn from this. Is a few db of SINAD from a company with not much history, no physical presence in your country, and no available public person to take your concerns, other than a mysterious guy on the Internet with an AP555 who shills its products, worth it?

    Give him 24 hours to formulate a response. It will be some non-committal statement. Amir at times will fancy himself as some sort of expert on design. He will weasel out of it in a way that will not besmirch his reputation as technical "expert".

    --

    The cries to John Yang are hilarious - considering his mysterious status (is he or is he not a Topping employee? And if not, why has he been vocal on ASR. exalting the "engineering chops" of the Topping while crapping on the competition - and why was he allowed to do this while maintaining an anonymous status for so long - no vendor tag?).

    Oh Topping, why have you forsaken me!
     
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  7. bboris77

    bboris77 Friend

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    I feel so bad for people whose headphones were destroyed in the process and are apparently left out to dry by the manufacturer of a device that caused the damage. I actually do not get how Topping can legally not be responsible for the damages if it can conclusively be proven that it was a design defect within their device that destroyed these headphones. Topping's reputation has been seriously damaged from my point of view just based on their "look at the warranty card" response to the affected people.

    As for Amir, I am genuinely looking forward to seeing his response. He has made some progress when it comes to his relationship with Schiit but has done little to dispel the sentiment that he never says anything critical about Topping. If he does not clearly advise people not to buy this amp for now (thus removing his "Can't recommend strongly enough" statement), it will become very obvious that he was not being honest when he said he had no relationship with this company.

    A proper response from him would be to dissect one of these amplifiers (a failed one would be ideal) in the same way he dissected the Jot that had a grounding issue, and draw attention to any engineering weak points that contributed to this failure.

    Few examples of BS-type response would be to claim that these are isolated unverified incidents, blame user error, or claim that it may have been a bad batch of capacitors/transformers and so on. He could also not respond at all which would speak volumes. Bring on the popcorn.
     
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  8. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    He won't because it goes against his business model. ASR business model is to acquire as many readers as possible via the quantity of gear "reviews" that he churns through. One measurement per day, sometimes two - which if you ask @atomicbob or me (I will readily admit I can be sloppy) is hardly enough time to properly conduct measurements.

    Having to ask for broken gear, compensate a member, take said gear apart, photograph, analyze, ask for peers in assisting. All these things take time. It would interrupt his review pipeline too significantly.
     
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  9. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    I had picked one of these up over the holidays. The L30 really sounded nice with iems. Super black background. After reading @M3NTAL ’s experience, I started to worry. After seeing those ASR threads, I sent it back to Amazon. There are too many reports of this now. In fact, @ChaChaRealSmooth, we should specify in all loaner threads going forward that participants are restricted from using the L30 with loaner gear.
     
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  10. bboris77

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    He has a business model? I thought he was doing it for the benefit of the audiophile community to protect us all from evil audio companies who claim measurements are not be-all end-all of audio experience. Practically a modern-day Robin Hood. ;)
     
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  11. M3NTAL

    M3NTAL Friend

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    Yes, I can try to pop it open and take a little look. It has a strong smell or chlorine. It will be going in to the trash. Because 1, I don't want another and 2, they are not even remotely interested in attempting to help me out.

    Audeze has so far been responsive and polite as normal. I have returned my headphones for them to assess and let me know what's what. The plastic shell was about to melt off the planar driver LOL.

    It does seem like a static issue when it is powered up. I flipped it on and I heard the i4 yell "ouch" and then the smell. I knew what was what and everything was over that quick. "well... fuck-me"

    Good news - I received a Focal Clear and it was what I needed to take my mind off of things.

    Eventually I will need to find a L30 "type" replacement for my IEM's.. I was hoping the Jot 2 would answer my prayers, but these damn Campfires are so sensitive to noise. Portable amps just don't cut it in the full system. Pico Power sounds fine, but its not any of my larger amps in terms of refinement.

    EDIT: P.S. I have not heard the Jot 2 - only read the anecdotes of noise being present with Campfire IEM's from trusted *cough* Mervy type ears ;)

    Anyways - ramble over. I'll try to snap photos, hopefully the iPhone 11 pro camera can get a clean enough macro of what I assume will be all SMD under there. Or there could be a giant clue with residue everywhere and it will be easy to figure out where to take a photo HA HA HA HA.

    Happy New Years! :D
     
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  12. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Keep in mind that my ears are not as sensitive to noise and hiss as younger ears. So if I hear noise / hiss from CFA IEMs from certain amps, everybody else will. If I hear no noise, I get my kid to double-check for me because he hears stuff out in nature that I don't hear as well.

    I asked Jason for a Magni 3+ with 0.5db or -6db gain. :) It's been a huge gap in their lineup for a while. The separate outboard units with the lower gain settings typically sound better than any portable.
     
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  13. Huhnkopf

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    Schiit taking over Topping's business like Bodhidharma.
     
  14. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    Amir owns a Harman dealership, Madrona Digital, that also does high end installs. This is why he’s been shitting on ATC, who simply make better big speakers than Harman, and are a huge competitor in high end rooms for years. He also has a hookup to Topping. I believe @ultrabike found it.

    Topping is only cleaner than Schiit when Amir measures it. When you take the right measurements, and don’t do off what’s on a chip, 0 dbfs, or ignore the treble and jitter, they’re dirty as dogshit compared to made in the USA and Europe workhorse pro and hifi hardware. Decidedly not RME. Amir also shills RME for free samples. Okay let’s get straight to it. TotalMix is truncated bullshit worse than 1990s plugins and the guts are Chinesium bullshit with the cheapest possible caps, opamps, and a defective by design power supply worse than Schiit warts. Those cleaned up Taiwanese regulated switchers actually cost a good deal wholesale and eat into the bom so you’re not going to see them use what Dangerous Music uses. They use pirated parts low end focusrite and most active monitors. All of those caps are knockoffs and much of the other parts are pirated due to contaminated Chinese supply chains and chabuduo part substitutions by oems.

    Harman gutted all of their brands, doesn’t push what sells, can’t service anything under Samsung, and has dead on arrival products. Nothing post Harman is as good as it was pre Harman getting their hands on it except for maybe Quested, which was bought back by Roger Quested. JBL has so many dead on arrival shelf turds now and Crown loses market share by Samsung not fixing anything. They’re Behringer level. Sub Behringer sometimes.
     
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  15. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I would say all Topping / SMSL gear with opamps. At least for now. It could be specific to L30, but I want to stay safe until science establishes the cause.

    Been reading about ESD and opamps. Don't trust Topping / SMSL engineers since they seemed so obsessed about measurements and mentioned little else such as thermals, safety, failure modes, etc.
     
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  16. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    Bad parts die and can fry everything. It’s not just op amps. Even a lot of the tank, discrete and tube TAB gear that can last decades is known to totally destroy itself when certain components fail. These cheap boxes are not using to spec components and there is no QC, testing, or safety standards whatsoever. It might even be made from recycled components that didn’t pass qc at another factory. It’s the PRC and they are selling on AliExpress
     
  17. bboris77

    bboris77 Friend

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    Out of 4 Topping devices that I had and sold (D30, D50, D50S, D70), the first one I owned had a meltdown within the first 30 minutes of ownership. It was the D30 DAC and one of its channels just went out with no prior warning. I immediately unplugged it, thanked heavens that it did not take out anything in the process, and returned it to Amazon. I chalked that up to bad luck.

    However, after the public fiasco with the DX3 Pro failing within months for many users, this L30 issue as well as the E30 polarity reversal snafu, it is fairly obvious that there are serious issues with Topping's engineering and QC. They could make it up to people through good customer support but they are not. Finally, they have been raising their prices steadily, so it is not like they are making up for all these shortcomings by being cheaper than competition. They need to go back to the drawing board and rethink their business model.
     
  18. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Seriously? I had a few pieces of Topping gear in for review and had no issues. I was going to reply to @Psalmanazar that perhaps he was jumping to conclusions in regards to poor QC as the ESD is the prevailing theory for the xplodes.

    Either way, I guess it's bad. The question is whether Topping / SMSL will step up to the plate and compensate owners for their destroyed headphones.

    For all ASR has concentrated on how Schiit is the boogie-man, at least Schiit made things right when they fucked up. I know that episode was expensive for Schiit to handle, deeply affected Jason, and almost made him throw in the towel. (Keep in mind Schiit was not big back then either - Topping is bigger now than Schiit was at that time).

    Fuck ups are inevitable in life and in business. It's how people make it right that counts. Now I need a meme of Homer Simpson breaking something and tip-toeing away to avoid any responsibility.

    I think it's ironic that Amir makes mountains out of mole hills in regards to solder splatter on Schiit PCBs, but doesn't catch major stuff like this with Topping.
     
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  19. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    @purr1n @atomicbob brief search of asr members opening up topping d30 shows part substitutions. Nichicon substituted by Capxon. Holy shit. Who knows if the Nichicon and Omron in Amir’s tear down of the d30 were legitimate parts.

    furthermore on the ASR site you have solderdude talking good caps but then recommending bad cap gear and bad jacks from AliExpress (wtf) and people recommending bad caps like chemcon. Holy shit. It’s all pirated bs.

    They have to be using fake TI/BB opamps too. No fucking way these scumbags are paying 4 bucks a chip. Especially in China where many legitimate parts are not available in small quantities. They should be banned from Amazon and import banned from western counties.
     
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  20. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    LOL. You make me laugh as I don't like to think that people would be so unethical, but I am afraid you could very well be right based on my experience from Chang Spygate. Fake parts from China are indeed a known issue.

    The thing is, Topping gear isn't exactly cheap or better value than JDS, Geshilli, Schiit, etc. As such with lower labor costs, no environmental regulations, and state subsidized infrastructure, they gotta be raking in the bucks.
     
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