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The HLLY TAMP-20 : TA2020 tryout
The HLLY TAMP-20 : TA2020 tryout
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Old 3rd February 2009, 11:09 AM   #1
Neomatth is offline Neomatth  France
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Thumbs up The HLLY TAMP-20 : TA2020 tryout

Before starting the writing of this review, I have to explain how I got to listen to an amplifier as small as seducing.
I won a few years ago a contest organised by the biggest French hifi forum HCFR (http://www.homecinema-fr.com/forum/v...php?t=29720285), and the prize was a Kora Explorer 90SI, a French hybrid amplifier, half-solid state and half-tube, very well-known by the French hifi-lovers.
The Kora is still working great associated with a pair of Infinity Alpha 40 speakers and a Philips 723 CD player. A very good association in my opinion.
At that time, I described voices realism, the sweetness of the timbres and the wonderful render of acoustics instruments, which sounded with an impressive realism.
Just to say that I know very well the “tube-sound” and that I like the listenings mainly descending.

After that, I gave a try to the Class-D amplification with the Sonic Impact T-amp TA2024 and his Tripath chipset that I still consider to be the future of amplification.
The Sonic Impact was a surprising little piece of hardware which- linked to a good power supply- gave astonishing results, provided that associated speakers had a good sensibility.
So far, I’m still using the basic TA2024 with a pair of Kenwood vintage speakers, and the association still impress listeners, even more when they learn the price of this installation. (mostly peanuts)

But you guys, hifi lovers, you all know that, and I think it’s now proven, that Class-D amplification is much more than just a fad.

Today, I want to talk a bout the big brother of the TA2024, not the oldest of the brotherhood
(think about the Populse…) but nevertheless a respectable member of the family that integrates the famous chipset from Tripath , the TA2020.

This amplifier is the HLLY TAMP-20.

Always eager to try new stuff, and after having read some very good reviews about the TA2020, which seems to compensate the lack of power of the TA2024, I tried to find an amplifier integrating this chipset.

Here are its technical specifications:

Class-T architecture
¾ 13W @ 8Ω, 10% THD+N
¾ Dynamic Range = 103 dB
¾ Up to 2X25Wrms @ 4Ω, VDD=14.6V

I loved the clarity of the TA2024, the separation of each sound, the great spatialisation, but the soundstage wasn’t that large, it lacked some amplitude in the spectrum, weaknesses that the Kora was able to render in a better way.

I knew the Populse equipped with the TA2022 was supposed to be good, but his weak sound/noise report (88 db) wasn’t really exciting.
In the meantime, I read the great review of the Kingrex which equally uses the TA2020 :

Looking in google for the TA2020, I found a Chinese brand, HLLY, who chose to integrate Tripath chipsets in their amplifiers.

Here is their website: http://www.hllye.cn/

Pictures made me confident in the good quality of their amplifiers, and i knew the company had a very good reputation on ebay. After seeing the low price of the HLLY TAMP-20 ( 150 $ shipping included ! ), I decided to order one.
A few days later, I received a package coming from HLLY with the amplifier, a Samsung power supply ( 12 volts, 4 amps ) and a US cable that you can easily switch for a EU cable.
The design is uncluttered, with a nice volume button; the front is made of nicely brushed aluminium. The speakers connectors are strongly made and they accept banana plugs.
The on/off switch is located on the back of the amplifier, exactly like the Trend TA-10.
Not being an electronic engineer, I won’t speak about the internal parts of the amplifier, all I can say is that the inside is very nicely built and properly assembled.

Now, let’s talk about the listening.
My room is 30m² large, the speakers lay on a tiled floor, decoupled by spikes.
I know those speakers very well, they have been my mains system for now several years, I know their strengths (great opening, nice medium…) as well as their weaknesses (low frequencies are sometimes kinda “fatty”, not very well defined and they usually need a lot of energy to sound correctly). Their sensibility is up to 91 decibels, so it should perfectly fit the TA2020 which equips the HLLY TAMP-20.

I start with a very well known Icelandic electro album, the famous MUM- Finally, we are no one.

Click the image to open in full size.

I immediately notice the impressive precision of the trebles, the sound snaps like soap bubbles, with a real “matter feeling”, sound really “fills” the room.
While people used to criticize the TA2024 for cutting the sound, shortening the notes the HLLY TAMP-20 let us hear a full sound without anything missing.
It’s a notion kinda hard to describe, but anyone who has already listened to a TA2024 will know what I mean.
On this album, which plays with echoes, the soundstage appears big and very well defined, nothing moves, the voices don’t switch from one speaker to another. Great spatialisation too.

After electro music, I decide to give a shot to an acoustic album, the fabulous Sopor Aeternus – Les Fleurs du mal.

Click the image to open in full size.

This album is an acoustic recording, with numerous instruments, backing vocals, but also trumpets.
I start by my favourite track, “La mort d’Arthur”.
This one shows a beautiful dynamic that the HLLY TAMP-20 perfectly transcribes while the TA2024 sounded a little narrow.
In this case, Power is control, and you can feel that the extra power offered by the TA2020 is wisely used on this track. AnnaVarney voice is in turn powerful and wailing, and I can find nothing to criticize. The light dryness I could find with the TA2024 is absent with the
HLLY TAMP-20, and the tones are nothing but gorgeous!
Same thing for the snare drums, which stand out very precisely.
Another person in same room with me during the listening was even wondering where that sound was coming.
Just to say how real it sounds.

I decide to try some classical music with my all time favourite Carmina Burana recording, the Toulouse recording, directed by Michel Plasson.

Click the image to open in full size.

This recording is hard to transcribe, it’s very complex and the dynamic is imposing.
Sometimes short, the HLLY shows a great energy and a very good spatialisation, despite the very fast accelerations that Carmina Burana commands.
In front oh him, the Kora presents a biggest soundstage, but less details.
The Kora is usually blurrier than the HLLY TAMP-20.

Next album, a bit of nu-metal with the raging album from Breaking Benjamin – Phobia.

Click the image to open in full size.

A violin takes place in the back soundstage, perfectly audible.
Before him, a guitar, then a drums, and then, on the top of this architecture, the voice takes place.
Just to present how wide and deep the soundstage is.:tresbon:
Sometimes you can feel like there are too much details, but it’s not even close of what I’m used to call a “triangle sound” by the name of the French speakers brand, which I judge too demonstrative, too “shiny”.

A little louder, I decide to try the album from Rage Against The Machine

Click the image to open in full size.

Direct recording, very detailed, the guitar Larsen’s fill the room while a roaring voice flying beneath a hammering drums. The dynamic is ok, but a little more power wouldn’t be bad.
Basses are not ultra-deep but clean, and not muddy.

I decide to test the bass frequencies with the OST from the movie HIMALAYA and its famous track two, which presents an ultra-deep bass drum recording.

Click the image to open in full size.

Same result than before, ultra-clean bass, very very well handled by the HLLY TAMP-20, far better than the Kora, but that was expected.
By directly testing TA2024 against the TA2020, I realise that the HLLY goes widely deeper than his little brother. The bass frequencies are faster too.
Nothing surprising, TA2020 is several steps beyond the TA2024.:tresbon:

To conclude, I would say that the TA2020 from the HLLY TAMP-20 go further than the TA2024, and that, on every ranges: more detailed on the trebles, with a better spatialisation and a bigger soundstage. It’s exactly what I expected from a T-AMP under amphetamines.
The amplifier is nicely built, solid, and made to last, with a high Woman Acceptance Factor because of its small size.
If your speakers are sensitive enough, don’t hesitate to give it a try, it should be a surprising listening. The HLLY TAMP-20 is now my main amplifier.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

I would be curious to read another review of this amp, because I have found none: I wrote this review mainly with the hope to get feedbacks of the TA2020 (or even from the HLLY) from others hifi lovers.

Finally, I listened to the HLLY with a friend of mine who has been so impressed by the sound that he will probably order an amplifier equipped with a TA2022. So I may have a new review to offer...if you enjoyed this one, of course.

I had gave up the reading of hifi forums, mainly by lack of time more than weariness, but I have to say that this little chipset gave me the urge to listen to the Bel Canto eVo and RedWine Signature, just to listen to another Tripath chips.
Thank you for reading me..
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Old 3rd February 2009, 08:29 PM   #2
TheDealer is offline TheDealer  Germany
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Merci beaucoupe Monsieur,

I am sure that you are writing honestly about your impressions.
I myself own and sell various tripath amps. As I observe now and it is usually well known:
The french mind was in the past and now more open for innovations than the german ones.
Thats fact. And you have every time hard to explain why Tripath is gone and their patents are bought by cirrus logic.
Suberb engineering means not the same as superb marketing...

I wish you more good impressions with you tripath amp.
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Old 5th February 2009, 01:03 PM   #3
Neomatth is offline Neomatth  France
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Thank you sir.

I should have more tripath chipsets to review soon, stay tuned.
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Old 5th February 2009, 01:32 PM   #4
Saturnus is offline Saturnus  Denmark
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If you're looking for superior sound quality amd don't mind having to solder a bit yourself, you might wanna check out the amp6basic form www.41hz.com, in my opinion the best sounding Tripath 2020 board.
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Old 5th February 2009, 01:52 PM   #5
valleyman is offline valleyman  United Kingdom
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Join Date: Feb 2008
I'm glad to hear you received your amp and liked it.
I recently had a bad experience with HLLY. They're fairly new and untested buty I wanted their AM47 bass amp board and it was only 30Eur so I went ahead and ordered it. 3 weeks later and I had no board so I sent them an email that went unanswered. A week later I sent another email, still no response.
Fortunately I paid by paypal so was able to open a dispute and within 12hrs I got an apology saying it must have been lost in the post and a full refund.
I'm not really sure what to make of this. I'm not convinced they tried to rip me off, but its also not really acceptable to ignore 2 emails from a customer who hasn't received their goods.
I do want the board though (products look to be of excellent quality from the pics), and having read this I may now give them another chance and order again. After all if the same happens I should be able to claim again!
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Old 5th February 2009, 05:35 PM   #6
kristleifur is offline kristleifur  Iceland
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Location: Reykjavík
Great read! I love my TA2020 Amp6 and Amp6-BASIC amps, here's something I wrote the other day: http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/showt...hreadid=131390

Originally Posted by Neomatth
(low frequencies are sometimes kinda “fatty”, not very well defined and they usually need a lot of energy to sound correctly)
Yeah, my opinion of a few KEF models I have heard is the same. The Amp6 did a pretty good job in tightening them up - the sound has such a different impact, it's almost a physical sensation.
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Old 5th February 2009, 07:50 PM   #7
Neomatth is offline Neomatth  France
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Saturnus> You think so ? It's the same chipset, the difference should be....minimum ? No ?

Anyway, i don't handle soldering iron very well.

Valleyman> Well, for me everything went smooth with a very good contact by mail.

HLLY is also on ebay ( http://stores.ebay.fr/FM-TRANSMITTER-SELLER ) and their feedbacks are pretty good even if the buyers sometimes speak about delays.

You should give them another chance, they are legit.
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Old 5th February 2009, 08:01 PM   #8
Saturnus is offline Saturnus  Denmark
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Originally posted by Neomatth
Saturnus> You think so ? It's the same chipset, the difference should be....minimum ? No ?
No! The differences are quite significant actually. The 41hz design uses much much better components and a superior board layout.
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Old 6th February 2009, 03:31 AM   #9
macpaulster is offline macpaulster  United States
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Default clickable link in diyaudio

Can anyone tell me how to create a clickable link in diyaudio? I've tried html, and also the directions on the site (brackets on the URL with space then text you want toi appear) but it doesn't work. Very specific, accurate instructions would be appreciated. I see that others, such as Saturnas are successful in doing so. Thanks for the help...
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Old 6th February 2009, 03:55 AM   #10
doorman is offline doorman  Canada
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Thanks for your impressions. Another worthy T-amp to consider is:
I'm just breaking in one now, it's much more satisfying than the previous 2 T-amps I've had. Way better bass, and effortless power--a whole 30 something wpc!
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