Whats the general concensus on Tripath/T-Amps? All hype or good value?
Oct 22, 2009 at 7:15 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 24

Drakemoor

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I've been reading into all this hype recently about the original T-Amp and it's souped up derivatives using the Tripath TA2024 chip and the reviews gushing praise so with a little money ready to waste i went out and bought a chinese variant (still using the TA2024).

Now i always go into purchases like this with a decent amount of scepticism but even then i've ended up feeling a little underwhelmed with this product. The amp i've bought handles power output exactly as i was expecting, generally quite decent but struggles to fill a larger room, it has some good points in that it images well and generally sounds very clean without any hiss.

My main problem is that there is a significant early roll-off in the upper treble which leaves the whole sound incredibly dull (and leaving the 7khz area fairly exposed makes it sound pretty uneasy on the ear). From what i remember reading this amp should be paired with reserved sounding speakers to tame a slightly forward treble - that is far from what i'm hearing, it was also praised for detail, something which is surely present in the midrange but nowhere to be found above that range - this has been tried with a few sets of speakers, easy and hard to drive with little change.

As i say i wasn't expecting the hyperbole of a 'giant killer matching amps worth $1000' etc but this is doesn't touch a whole host of cheap second hand 1980's amps i've bought at car boot sales let alone anything expensive.

I'm willing to try a different model of TA2024 amplifier, just wanted to know if the reviews are worth taking a pinch (handful) of salt or whether maybe i've just got a bad one?
 
Oct 22, 2009 at 7:31 PM Post #2 of 24

JadeEast

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My impression is that the 2020 based amps seem to be preferred and that not every Tamp is created equal. Power supplies may vary the quality of the amps as well they don't in general seem to like big complicated multidriver crossovers. Other factors certainly can influence the sound. Source/preamp/speakers could be causing problems.
 
Oct 22, 2009 at 7:33 PM Post #3 of 24

scootermafia

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I have the Pop Pulse one. For medium size bookshelfs, it's not monstrously powerful, but the sound that comes out is very surprising (especially with a 12V battery powering it) - it really is impressive for its size. It's plenty loud enough for anyone's purposes, and the price is right. Very clean and accurate sounding, too.
 
Oct 22, 2009 at 7:49 PM Post #5 of 24

Drakemoor

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the main issue i've experienced is the upper treble roll-off (i'm talking somewhere in the 15khz area), this is pretty obvious compared to any other amp and is noticeable on every set of speakers i've tried.

Should this be expected ...sound signature wise or does that sound pretty off? Every other aspect of the amp is fairly respectable considering the power output, just this one little niggle that is getting on my nerves.
 
Oct 23, 2009 at 1:34 AM Post #6 of 24

Bones13

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There are good ones, bad ones, and really good ones. You must assume that you are going to run some pretty sensitive speakers if you use a T-Amp, or that you don't expect super loud sound.

I think they have their place, and I love mine in a computer based nearfield setup, using fostex full range speakers.

Get one with quality components, clean power supply, and the sound is really great - for the price. The one I use is pretty small besides.

However - can you get great sound from a used stereo receiver thats in good shape for less coin - probably.
 
Oct 23, 2009 at 2:06 AM Post #7 of 24

cujobob

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Like a class D amp, they require the best PSU possible to sound really good. Very clean sound with tripath...I've heard a few tripath units, to me, soundstage and imaging was a bit imprecise, but that could be a limitation of current/wattage.

If your speakers aren't efficient enough, any low powered amp will underwhelm. I love the First Watt F5s which can be DIY'd cheap...only 25wpc but sounds amazing and isn't nearly as hard to drive as the F4 (which sounds amazing too, I'm told).

There are quite a few good cheap options depending on your needs..gainclones, being another.

FWIW, I've never found tripath amps to be bright at all...though the implementation can make a difference. Class D amps are known for being bright, on the other hand. Tripath is known for being 'tubey' sounding...
 
Dec 17, 2009 at 11:41 AM Post #9 of 24

tea-head

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I have owned/heard the old Sonic impact, Trends (2024), Mardis modded Trends), KingRex (2020), Tsunami (2024) and the Sure 2024 boards. I still have a modded KingRex (3 yrs and going) and like it. I use a 12v/8amp hr SLA for a solar-powered set up and a linear regulated 13.8v supply from autocostruire (Italy) that has the best sound. Power supplies make a difference. I use the KingRex to power 92dB hornshoppe horns with hemp drivers and like the result. YMMV. If you want tube sound, get tubes. For headphones I use a old Optimus (RadioShack) receiver that sounds surprisingly good and was free...A Class D Panasonic receiver I had was a bit bright for my tastes...

Bottom line is it depends on your taste as to whether they are for you...
 
Dec 17, 2009 at 5:46 PM Post #10 of 24

krmathis

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I would say there are both good and bad ones.
I for one certainly love mine. The RWA Signature 30.2, which afaik are built around the Tripath 2051. Love it!
smile.gif
 
Dec 20, 2009 at 1:56 PM Post #11 of 24

jim1274

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Quote:

Originally Posted by krmathis /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I would say there are both good and bad ones.
I for one certainly love mine. The RWA Signature 30.2, which afaik are built around the Tripath 2051. Love it!
smile.gif



For $2600, I imagine the RWA Signature 30.2 is INCREDIBLE!

I've spent more than a few hours researching this, but never even considered something like the RWA Signature 30.2 due to the price. My only experience is as an owner of the Sonic Impact T-Amp, which is OK at best IMHO. What could one possibly expect from an amp that cost me maybe 30 bucks or so? I pulled it out a few days ago and was underwhelmed, but my source chain was suspect (just used to test some gear before putting on the sale block).

I'm definitely getting a better tripath based on the reviews I've read, just not sure which one yet. There are some pretty tempting budget ones that have fans, including a couple mentioned earlier in the thread (Pop Pulse and Kingrex) It seems the 2020 based ones are preferable to the 2024's from what I've read and also noted earlier in the thread.

This can't be all hype, I'm thinking, and am going to find out for myself. I need a small footprint desktop amp to feed my just purchased JohnBlue JB3's, and I'm hoping a tripath is just what the doctor ordered.
 
Dec 20, 2009 at 2:22 PM Post #12 of 24

FraGGleR

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I think it is the 2020, not the 2024 that set off all the storm about T-amps several years ago. The 2024 doesn't provide as much power. At any rate, I bought a case-it-yourself amp based around the 2020 off of ebay for $21 shipped (they sell their fully built ones for about $90). Another $15 for jacks, plugs, and a cheap project box, another $10 for a decent power supply and I am quite enjoying the sound I get. If anything, I could use a warmer sound, but right now I am stunned by how quiet the background is, and how crisp and detailed the music is that I am hearing out of some $25 Daytons. Stunned, really. I got my HD650's about a day after getting this T-amp up and running and somehow I am not disappointed with the sound I am getting. I would like better bass, but that is more the product of my very small bookshelf speakers and not the amp. I was able to get some decent sound out of some large Yamaha floorstanders with 10" woofers with this little guy. Not a lot of power, but very clean sound. I don't have a way to measure roll off, but compared to my headphones, I didn't notice anything that seemed to be missing.

So as others have said, unless you build it yourself using a proven design, it is going to be a bit of a crapshoot as to the quality you get. For the just shy of $50 I spent to quasi build mine, I am super satisfied.
 
Dec 20, 2009 at 2:42 PM Post #13 of 24

jim1274

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Quote:

Originally Posted by FraGGleR /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I think it is the 2020, not the 2024 that set off all the storm about T-amps several years ago. The 2024 doesn't provide as much power. At any rate, I bought a case-it-yourself amp based around the 2020 off of ebay for $21 shipped (they sell their fully built ones for about $90). Another $15 for jacks, plugs, and a cheap project box, another $10 for a decent power supply and I am quite enjoying the sound I get. If anything, I could use a warmer sound, but right now I am stunned by how quiet the background is, and how crisp and detailed the music is that I am hearing out of some $25 Daytons. Stunned, really. I got my HD650's about a day after getting this T-amp up and running and somehow I am not disappointed with the sound I am getting. I would like better bass, but that is more the product of my very small bookshelf speakers and not the amp. I was able to get some decent sound out of some large Yamaha floorstanders with 10" woofers with this little guy. Not a lot of power, but very clean sound. I don't have a way to measure roll off, but compared to my headphones, I didn't notice anything that seemed to be missing.

So as others have said, unless you build it yourself using a proven design, it is going to be a bit of a crapshoot as to the quality you get. For the just shy of $50 I spent to quasi build mine, I am super satisfied.



Wasn't it the Sonic Impact version that started the buzz? That is a 2024 (Tripath 2024B chip), not 2020, based unit and the one that I bought/have:

6moons audio reviews: Sonic Impact Class-T amp
 
Dec 20, 2009 at 2:50 PM Post #14 of 24

jim1274

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Quote:

Originally Posted by FraGGleR /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I think it is the 2020, not the 2024 that set off all the storm about T-amps several years ago. The 2024 doesn't provide as much power. At any rate, I bought a case-it-yourself amp based around the 2020 off of ebay for $21 shipped (they sell their fully built ones for about $90). Another $15 for jacks, plugs, and a cheap project box, another $10 for a decent power supply and I am quite enjoying the sound I get. If anything, I could use a warmer sound, but right now I am stunned by how quiet the background is, and how crisp and detailed the music is that I am hearing out of some $25 Daytons. Stunned, really. I got my HD650's about a day after getting this T-amp up and running and somehow I am not disappointed with the sound I am getting. I would like better bass, but that is more the product of my very small bookshelf speakers and not the amp. I was able to get some decent sound out of some large Yamaha floorstanders with 10" woofers with this little guy. Not a lot of power, but very clean sound. I don't have a way to measure roll off, but compared to my headphones, I didn't notice anything that seemed to be missing.

So as others have said, unless you build it yourself using a proven design, it is going to be a bit of a crapshoot as to the quality you get. For the just shy of $50 I spent to quasi build mine, I am super satisfied.



This was a useful summary of the T-Amp found when verifying that the chip was a 2024, not 2020:

Retro Thing: Sonic Impact T-Amp - The Truth
 
Dec 20, 2009 at 4:27 PM Post #15 of 24

jim1274

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I came across this, and while not a true "Tripath" chip, appears to be similar enough(?) being based on the Yamaha class D chip, to mention as a candidate for the successor to the original T-Amp in terms of bang-per-buck. For 50 bucks, if this review is accurate, looks like a cheap way to check-out the low end of the tripath "sound"? I may actually get one until Virtue Audio starts delivering product next year to tide me over (and A/B to my original Sonic Impact T-Amp for kicks):

Scythe Kama Bay amp SDA-1000 - Class D integrated amplifier - [English]

I am VERY skeptical at this price point, but not much invested if it sucks.
 

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