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Old 12-28-2011, 02:33 PM   #1
weirdlookinguy
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Default Buying an amp

Hello all,

I was wondering if I could get some thoughts on this T-amp I want to buy:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/SMSL-Hi-Clas...item2eb8445667

Price is without a power supply. I have a beefy 12v brick that I will be using to power this.

It will be used to drive a small pair of bookshelf speakers for close range listening, so its 12w @ 8ohm maximum is not an issue.

Thoughts? Concerns? The SMSL T-amps seem to be well-received by audiophiles.
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Old 12-28-2011, 02:57 PM   #2
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Default Re: Buying an amp

You get what you pay for. Personally, I'd get a small receiver from the seventies. Craigslist has them cheap. I enjoy the nostalgia and they are better made. You can overhaul it fairly cheap. And, a big and, the last time I ordered anything from Hong Kong on E-prey, I was swamped with 300 offers a day for Viagra. That's my opinion. Good luck.

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Old 12-28-2011, 03:15 PM   #3
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Default Re: Buying an amp

Also, the special amplifier ICs aren't manufactured anymore.

That might only matter to me since I blow up a lot of audio equipment.
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Old 12-28-2011, 11:53 PM   #4
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Default Re: Buying an amp

Discontinued by the original manufacturer, but I think the Chinese have been producing tons of replica chips since you still see them being sold, with date codes that indicate they were made after Tripath disappeared.

Quote:
4: the protection of human start indicator is displayed;
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Old 12-29-2011, 12:50 AM   #5
weirdlookinguy
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Default Re: Buying an amp

I want to buy this amp because I am curious about them and have heard a lot of good things. I know Tripath went under a few years ago, so I am pretty sure this amp is using Chinese replicas. I dabbled into the world of HiFi many years back, and I still have a really nice receiver left over from those days (a 2008 harman/kardon 3490, 120wpc high current stereo receiver) along with an old Technics Direct Drive turntable and a moderately decent Yamaha CDP from the 90s.

I don't expect this to be a solid, timeless piece of audio gear like some of the really good 70s stuff. I'm just intrigued that you can get good audio out of such a small package. A marvel of modern engineering IMO.

My h/k receiver delivers a shitlode of high current, warm, rich audio. It is also a huge (for this day and age) piece of gear. This T-amp promises to be the opposite of that. Low wattage, and the reviews for other TA2020/2021-based amps claim that these little guys output exactly what you put into them - very neutral, natural sound.

This isn't as much of a "I want some good audio gear" purchase, more of a "oh shit this is cool, I wonder what it sounds like?"
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Old 12-29-2011, 03:25 AM   #6
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Default Re: Buying an amp

From what I've heard of a few unbranded Chinese mini-amps, the Chinese like bass, lots of it. It probably gives the impression of being more powerful because of the "boom".
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Old 12-29-2011, 11:22 AM   #7
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Default Re: Buying an amp

Quote:
1: 2 * 25W Stereo real circuit design;
2: the internal parallel a large filter capacitor 7150uf (reservoir) to meet the needs of high-power bursting to solve delicate problems of partial voice switching power supply;
3: built-in speaker protection and power delay circuit, so there was no impact sound switch and protect your expensive speakers;
4: the protection of human start indicator is displayed;
5: the real full-fever all original parts manufacturing;
6: High tensile aluminum housing patterns oxidation process
three quarts of this makes no sense. I think they used Google translate.
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Old 12-29-2011, 12:09 PM   #8
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Default Re: Buying an amp

Makes sense to me, just worded a little funny.

What else would you expect from a Hong Kong fleabay dealer though?

Like I said this is more of a fun toy than a serious audio purchase.
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Old 12-29-2011, 12:36 PM   #9
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Default Re: Buying an amp

Quote:
Originally Posted by weirdlookinguy View Post
Makes sense to me, just worded a little funny.

What else would you expect from a Hong Kong fleabay dealer though?

Like I said this is more of a fun toy than a serious audio purchase.
Did you catch my ironic pun in my post?
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Old 12-30-2011, 12:18 PM   #10
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Default Re: Buying an amp

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhomanski View Post
...I was swamped with 300 offers a day for Viagra.
The bastards gave you a hard time, eh...
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Old 12-30-2011, 01:49 PM   #11
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Default Re: Buying an amp

I have one of these which I modded to the max and found it excellent.
I replaced it with a pair of 300b monoblocks, chalk and cheese but the old T amp was good all the same. Efficient speakers are a must to not push it too hard.

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/trends/ta10.html
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Old 12-31-2011, 07:53 PM   #12
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Default Re: Buying an amp

I would not want a receiver from the 70s as a substitute. It would have more features but it is a maintenance issue with old potentiometers, dried up capacitors, years of residue buildup on contacts, complexity making repair difficult if your don't have the schematic or can source/know replacement values for output transistors, etc... and watt per watt they consume a lot more power.

This little amp, it looks nice and you're paying extra for that but it is doubtful you'll hear much sonic difference.

REMEMBER it is not 25W output into 8ohm speakers with 12V power supply! Even for bookshelf speakers if you want to turn the volume up every now and then you may find it struggles with bass notes.

See the datasheet, http://www.datasheetcatalog.org/data...h/mXyzxwwv.pdf

I'm going to ignore the output for 10% THD, you DON'T want to be at 10% THD. Being generous and letting THD be as high as 1%, see the graph on first page of datasheet. Let's also assume your 8 ohm speakers dip down to about 6 ohms giving an even higher wattage number on the graph. Result is:

13W output @ 1% THD into ~ 6 ohms with a 13.5V, not 12.0V power supply. I highly recommend using a 13.5V to 14.5V power supply, even if you have to use a 15V PSU (to get a common value if your PSU isn't one with adjustable output) and put a silicon diode in series on its output to drop it down to about 14.3V.

Overall it will do fine at moderate listening levels but ideally it would be mated with fairly efficient 4 ohm speakers. Regardless, for close range listening it should be ok, I just wanted you to realize the true, lower output wattage you will have with it and that is with the real TA2021, if it is a clone/fake chip then it might work ok, or it might not tolerate as much heat or sound as good.

Also while these amps are efficient enough they do not produce much heat unless continuously playing loud music, the amp casing has no ventilation at all. The 5 electrolytic caps adjacent the chip heatsink may degrade over time or vent. It would seem a shame to put the case floor and lid on a drill press to add vent holes but I think I'd do it anyway marking a pattern for regular spacing so it didn't look as ghetto, then maybe coloring in the silver walled holes with a black sharpie marker, or putting masking tape over them on the outside and spraying black paint on from the inside.
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Old 01-09-2012, 12:07 PM   #13
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Default Re: Buying an amp

Love the quote ' to not damage your expensive speakers. haha.

That is the last component I would use with this amp.

Well as you say, it looks cool, wonder how it sounds. Almost certainly the lowest common denominator will be the power supply.

Most of these parts were manufactured for car audio, so don't expect much more than that.

Hopefully a short signal path and a good ps- it should be clean. Depends on the topology. But for the cash, it's an evening or so's entertainment.

But I have two 50's mono valve amps that weigh in at over 15Kg's. I'm never gonna be impressed by this cigarette box. haha.

Have fun!

Bernie.
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Old 01-09-2012, 05:32 PM   #14
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Default Re: Buying an amp

those tiny digital amps have sh*tloads of power (considering the size) and sound pretty good if the circuit is designed properly

Video from maxxarcade (who's also on here btw.. for those who don't know) testing a Tripath-based Lepai LP-2020A+
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBsmFoWVmwE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nNK8Nc73i4

especially the 2nd video is pretty damn impressive.. lol

Last edited by Scenic; 01-09-2012 at 05:38 PM..
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Old 02-10-2012, 08:05 PM   #15
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Default Re: Buying an amp

I overlooked something previously. It's not a good ideal to use an unregulated 12VDC rated power brick over about 500mA (if that) on these. At very light loads the power rail may rise a bit above 16.0V while 16V is the absolute max the chip is spec'd for (lower 14.6V is max for operating conditions).

It's not hard to have a very light load with these class T amps, once I measured the current at a listening level higher than I'd want for most near field uses and with not especially efficient speakers and still it was under 400mA. On the other hand people have done so without letting the magic smoke out but it would still be good to measure the input voltage during a quiet or no-source situation to see how high the voltage rises with an unregulated PSU.

Last edited by 999999999; 02-10-2012 at 08:14 PM..
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Old 03-07-2012, 10:04 PM   #16
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Default Re: Buying an amp

There's TA2024 amps for under $10 shipped if someone is hesitant about trying Tripath amps. (BTW, I haven't received any offers of Viagra when buying from eBay sellers in China.) The wattage may not sound like much, but it's almost exactly the same as a "high power" car head unit, and those are capable of bass you can feel with the right speakers. (Read the specs or reviews carefully, and you'll see that even a name-brand "40 watt" deck is more like 12W RMS.) I'm using one for my computer speakers, powered by a 12V adapter I found in a gravel pit.

Audio fanatics have been quite impressed by Tripath amps. Check out DIYaudio.com
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