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T-Amps

Discussion in 'audio' started by Tony L, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I'm thinking of getting a little T-Amp as a spare amp / for 3rd system use (I have a pair of Klipsch Heresys doing nothing at present - I could set them up in the 'record shop', I've also got a pair of JR149s, but I doubt a chip amp would drive them).

    Anyone got any recommendations as to which are the nicest sounding ones / which are to be avoided? I notice there are several different chipsets 2020, 2021, 2024 etc, all of which seem to have their fans and detractors. I'm in an ideal position to have a play as I have some very efficient and easy to drive loudspeakers: the Heresys are 95db and a minimum impedance of 8 Ohms, plus I have a pair of La Scalas in system #2 which are 104db! I've skim-read the huge thread over on WigWam, but many of the models discussed have been superseded. I don't really care about price, so if the verdict is that a Bantam or larger Topping e.g. TP60 are better sounding than the <£60 stuff then I'll buy one of them. I'm just curious to try this technology given all the hype and would like to give it a fair crack.
     
  2. brian2957

    brian2957 pfm Member

    This is a decent little T amp Tony http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SMSL-SA-S..._HomeAudioHiFi_Amplifiers&hash=item2ecae78e67
    I used one for a while . However the Temple Audio Bantam Gold is a big leap in sound quality IMO . I'm now using it in my main system , as do a couple of my friends . It has seen off a couple of very good and much more expensive amps. Temple Audio also offer a long trial period I believe. I didn't need to use it :)
     
  3. Rodney gold

    Rodney gold Im just me...

    You got to be real careful with T-amps , the quoted wattage is at 10% distortion , for eg the little Trends audio was supposedly 15w into 4 ohms , but the distortion at 11w was 0.1% - so you really have to "underdrive" them for them to sound really good.
    I used 3 of them and triamped a set of 96db Osborn epitome's , all running off a car battery - sounded good to me...but it could have been the dancing bear syndrome - you are so amazed the bear can dance you dont look at how well it dances...
     
  4. beammeup

    beammeup pfm Member

    What did the Temple Audio replace for you to find it more impressive? That little Temple is tiny, I just could not imagine it being used in the heart of a main system without some compromise unless you replaced some budget gear rather than hi-end gear - meaning that the Bantam was just excellent value for money.
     
  5. Chefren

    Chefren pfm Member

    It seems you have to almost double the price of the SMSL to get a second RCA input and you also have to buy a 12v 5a PSU unless you have one hanging around. Still, you're getting a perfectly good amp usable for small rooms, high-efficiency speakers or backgroud music volume levels.

    The higher output models aren't much more expensive either, though I don't know if they sound the same as their little cousins: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2X80W-hig...t=US_Pro_Audio_Amplifiers&hash=item19e3e14ae0
     
  6. DAVOhorn

    DAVOhorn Active Member

    I had a couple of the original Sonic Impact amps and ran a pair of DIY speakers passive bi amped. Sadly one of them died quite spectacularly.

    I replaced them with the S.M.S.L. T amps. They are quite spectacular sound quality wise. They are very fast and dynamic with deep controlled weighty bass. The mids are fantastic and the top end is very fast and clean.

    I have used one of them on ACR Eckhorns (Klipschorn copies using Fostex drivers ) and th single amp was almost as good as my CARY 2A3 pp. The T amps are really only 5wpc into 8 ohms. But that is more than enough for large horns.

    I am tempted by the TEMPLE amps as they seem to be even better made than the SMSL but are 5 times the price.

    What made the S.I and SMSL so good is that each amp has a 12.8 v 7amp CB radio bench top power supply. So much better than the crappy wall warts.

    David
     
  7. brian2957

    brian2957 pfm Member

    I don't use high end gear so perhaps you have a point . IMO the Bantam bettered a dared I30 hybrid valve amp and a Sony TA- FS 530 ES . We also tested it against a pair of home brewed valve monoblocks which cost quite a bit to build and it came out tops . I'm using it connected to a 12V battery at the moment and I'm very please with it .
     
  8. dan m

    dan m pfm Member

    I can't comment on the sound with Klipschs, however, a friend says they work really well with his Cornwalls. I have one of the SMSLs in the garage. I would not hesitate in ordering from them via ebay if you want to try them out. They ship quickly, and the amps are packaged nicely, very well finished and mine came with a beefy non-wallwart PSU.
     
  9. ItemAudio

    ItemAudio Trade: Item Audio

    Any 20-series Tripath chip amp will be ludicrously good by any standards, within certain constraints, ie:

    1. Within the first 50-60% of its output
    2. With benign high-efficiency loads
    3. Cleanly powered (battery is super-clean; linear transformer a bit punchier)

    We took such a system to Whittlebury: over the cause of a few days we ran sine absurd full range monsters with a wide variety of amplification up to around £25K. Truthfully, nothing was quite as good as a SLA battery-driven KingRex T20.

    There are a fair few unreliable cheapo creations on eBay: many sound good, but have a very high fail rate. The gold standard models are made by KingRex and Virtue. The Temple models have a good reputation, too.

    Broadly, 2024-based models have a bit more treble sparkle and the 2020s are 'smoother'. The 2050 and higher powered versions are capable of greatness, but I've never heard an implementation that wasn't afflicted by relatively high levels of self-noise.
     
  10. smithy

    smithy pfm Member

    Never had any noise issues with an Autocostruire 2020 used with horns and compressions drivers,recently got an Omniphonics Footprint 75 for £31 on EBay and using that instead.
     
  11. ItemAudio

    ItemAudio Trade: Item Audio

    Never heard a noisy 2020; never heard a clean 2050.
     
  12. Peter Stockwell

    Peter Stockwell Fried Man in Paris

    It's tiny, but with the Heresy's it'll be brilliant. I have one, I've used it in place of an avondale S100, sure, the Avondale is better, but the Bantam Gold is extrordinarily good for the price. It's even better with a linear supply up it's back side. The caveat with the BG is that the load must be easy.
     
  13. aquapiranha

    aquapiranha pfm Member

    Best I ever had was a Trends TA10.1 superb little amplifier.
     
  14. beammeup

    beammeup pfm Member

    Sometimes I get the feeling with quotes like the above, supported also by Item's quote of how a good class T amp (Kingrex in his example) can give amplification up to around £25K a run for their money; and another previous comment on how good active loudspeakers can be compared to £6k mono-blocks driving passives.. and so it can go on.. makes me think that with a little bit of savvy you can cobble together a low cost system which will see off far far more expensive separates!

    Somebody put together a system now :)
     
  15. Peter Stockwell

    Peter Stockwell Fried Man in Paris

    You might not get all of what the £25k system might do. However, say a Bantam Gold, fronted with, any fairly decent dac at around £300, and perhaps much less, plus speakers to taste and you can get the makings of a very satisfying sytem for very little.
     
  16. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I don't need much power given I doubt I ever get past the first watt, though noise / hiss / hum is obviously a factor here - high-efficiency speakers let you know it's there for sure! The other thing is does anyone know what the input impedance of these things tend to be? I'd like it to be able to work with a passive pre if possible.

    Has anyone compared the standard Bantum with the Gold? Do you get much more than more power (which I don't need as long as I consider this a 'Klipsch amp')?
     
  17. brian2957

    brian2957 pfm Member

  18. monkfish

    monkfish pfm Member

    I am running a Muse 2020 into Tannoy Chesters at the mo and can say it sounds very good indeed, stupidly good if you factor in the cost but that notwithstanding a lovely sounding amp as long as you have appropriate speakers, which of course you have.

    I also have a Sure 2024 based amp which also sounds fine, a bit forward at the top end compared to the 2020 and a little less power, sounded great with a pair of Infinity reference somethings which were 90db. they are so cheap you could try them all.
    I'll be interested to see how you get on with this, have fun.
     
  19. GRC

    GRC More Red Wine Member

    I was also curious about the technology so scoured the net and made a decision. I bought a Topping TP20 MK2 in 2011 and it's really very good for the £45 I paid for it from a UK source on eBay. Only used occasionally when I need an extra system on a temporary basis. It's usually fed from an iPod and drives Genexxa LX5 or JBL Control 1.

    However, while my Naim kit was being serviced I hooked it up between a Squeezebox Touch and my Dynaudio Contour 1.8 MK II speakers (not known for their sensitivity) and it coped admirably at "normal" volumes. Really quite surprising.

    On the basis of the TP20 experience I sprang for a TP60 earlier this year on the grounds that a bit more welly could be useful for the speakers I have lurking around, especially when used outdoors. Once again, pleasantly surprised. It's currently driving the Dynaudios because we've just had the decorators in so I had to pack everything away and it's a lot easier to set up quickly than a 6-box Naim system.

    Neither has the detail and PRAT of my my Naim olive setup but they are non-too-shabby at the price. And the (external) product quality and packaging are very good as well.

    Suggest starting with a TP20 MK2 to get a feel for their house sound. Actually I see there is a now TP22 with two inputs (like the TP60) so even better.

    Just the ramblings of a middle-aged music-lover with a nice glass of wine to hand.

    Enjoy!

    NB - Now I'm curious about cheap little Chinese valve amps but I understand the Miniwatt range are no longer made. Suggestions?
     
  20. avole

    avole A wise man reflects

    Item, I agree with some of your points, which are good, so have edited your post to remove the selling bits and the hyperbole. Hope you don't mind.

    By the way, I agree T amps can sound really good, but, as item says, the sound does break up quickly once you start cranking up the volume. They work well with Triangle or similar.
     

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