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Old 23rd February 2009, 09:56 AM   #1
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Thumbs up The HLLY TAMP-10 : TA2024 tryout

After enjoying for few days the TAMP-20 equipped with the famous Tripath chipset TA2020, I wondered about the sound I could get with a more powerful chipset like theTA2022.
Having lately won a pair of Klipsch RB2 speakers in a contest, I decided to associate them with the TAMP-20 . But this left my Infinity Alpha 40 alone…it was the argument I needed to ease my WAF. (Woman Acceptance Factor)

The HLLY TAMP-90 seemed a good competitor in this category (TA2022), being reasonably powerful with a low price. Having a good contact with HLLY (Their English is not perfect but they are reliable) I asked them about the TAMP-90. As it is a new product, he offered a good price.

In the same time I ordered a TAMP-10 (TA2024 ) for my sister who was until then using a Sonic Impact on Sony speakers. I also added- by curiosity- their usb soundcard to improve the sound of my pc.

A few days later, I received a big parcel by EMS with three amps inside.

So I’m now a temporary owner of a TAMP-10 (TA2024 ), a TAMP-20 (TA2020), a TAMP-90(TA2022) and a headphone amp (first time for me). These constitute a nice sample of the Tripath line.

Let’s analyse those amps.

It seems interesting to me to write these comparative reviews because those amps are built on the same basis, so I have the ability to really be objective about the Tripath chipsets. I will give a final opinion about the TAMP-10-20-90 in the end of my TAMP-90’s review. In order to make things in a logical order, this second review will be about the TAMP-10.

I pretty well know the TA2024 ; I have been one of the first to follow this technology in a passionate French thread: http://www.homecinema-fr.com/forum/v...php?t=29767649
It was named, “the T-amp, amplifier or toy ?”, and now I think we all know the answer…

I don’t expect big revelations about this amplifier, but let’s see how a serious built – more than the Sonic Impact- can improve the sound of the TA2024 .

Technical datas :
1. Single DC 12V Power supply required
2. 6W @ 8Ω, 0.1% THD+N
3. Turn-on & turn-off pop suppression

Let’s begin with the aesthetic aspect. It is going to be fast cause it is the exact same case than the TAMP-20, brushed aluminium with a very nice volume button. The speakers connectors are fine and accept banana plugs. Coax are of great quality too.

Like the TAMP-20 , this amplifier is built with a softstart in order to avoid unwanted sound when you switch it on. Power supply is a Samsung delivering 12 volts under 4 amps. I have not tried my linear power supply yet, but it will be done.

I am using my Philips CD 723 unmodified and a pair of Infinity alpha 40 (91db).

I am starting with the album of Jorane, a wonderful cello player gifted with a beautiful voice.

Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.

On this album, the sound recording is very good, with an interesting dynamic (crescendo on the track FILM III)

The first thing I notice is- like the TAMP-20 - that there is no white noise in the speakers. Even without music, nothing comes out from the tweeters.
You must be wondering why I am pointing that out.
Well, this will be important in my next review of theTAMP-90 which presents a noticeable white noise, like the PopPulse

The voice rises in the room, vey high, without sibilance.
The sound of the cello appears, very loud, clear and defined, but without its lowest frequencies.
No miracle here. The technical specifications of the chipset reveal that theTA2024 cuts low frequencies quite fast. Nevertheless, bass are clean and defined.
Tones seem corrects and the whole thing is sounding fine in my 40 meters room.
I have to precise that I don’t push the volume button further that ¾ in order to avoid distortions.

In an immediate comparison with the Sonic Impact, I wonder how I could have ever found that the latter had a “clean” sound. In a very weird way (it is the same chipset!) the HLLY offers a very clinical and precise rendering. My Sonic impact never sounded like that…and though, here is what I said about this one when I first got my hands on it:

“Very precise, very impressive in his analytical ability, very detailed. Bass are very clean, I won’t say more about the lower frequencies, but it sounds great. Highest frequencies are really nice.”

Four years after, people know more about the hardware and are more able to get the best of it.

This Jorane LP is sounding pretty good on the HLLY, but it is not a very complex music.
It is more a sensitive music, and the HLLY is performing well in this area.

Then, I try a CD from my favourite crazy-deutsch-singer, Sopor Aeternus.
The recording is the magnificent “Songs from the inverted womb” .

Click the image to open in full size.

On the track “May I kiss your wound” , the TAMP-10 shows its specific talent to play acoustic music: lots of micro-details, lips sounds, bow’s friction on the strings
The inflexions in Anna Varney’s voice are reproduced with a lot of nuance.
You immediately feel that the HLLY is doing fine with light acoustic music which needs smoothness and precision for not being to aggressive in the higher frequencies.
I would not talk about tube sound, but it is something close to it.
Anna-Varney is followed by a Harmonia Mundi recording of Pachelbel and what I hear is sounding LOUD !

Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.

The dynamic is very well transcribed, the strings sound with clarity, without giving birth to a big meltdown, everything is in its right place.
No sibilance in higher frequencies, the instruments stay where they’re supposed to be. The soundstage is wide and stable.

Then comes the last record of a nu-metal band, Red:

Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.

This album is hungry for watts with a lot of bass and it is not easy to make it sound well. There are lots of instruments but the voice is supposed to stay very clear above the whole orchestration.
At the first listening, nothing shocks me, everything seems to be fine.
At the second listening, something bothers me.
I listen more carefully and perceive a small sibilance in the higher frequencies.
I plug theTAMP-20 , and that sibilance disappears immediately.
It is really noticeable, but let’s remembers that the TAMP-20 has twice the power of the TAMP-10, and I imagine that it is what I’m feeling here.
Let me remind us that my speakers have a 91db sensibility, I think that with 95db or more speakers, this sibilance should disappear. I suppose.
Nevertheless, when I hear that, I wonder how people can pretend using a TA2024with 83db or less speakers. With such speakers it will sound probably distorted or very low.
Too bad I have no speakers with such low a sensibility to test it.

Let’s go back to the acoustic music with a cello album from the very well known “Yo yo ma”.

Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.

The instrument tessitura is wide but incomplete in the lower frequencies.
The higher frequencies sound very well but this recording is less demanding than the one I listened to previously. The whole record sounds very natural, the notes sound smooth but precise.

By listening to clarinet recordings, we can realise that having no white noise in the tweeters is essential: on a good recording, clarinet’s “niente” can be heard without mixing with noise produced by the speaker.


Conclusion:

HLLY TAMP-10 is a great realisation-variation – may I say- on the very well known TA2024 .
This amplifier is obviously quite superior to my basic Sonic Impact.
More delicate, more subtle, he offers the rendering of more onerous amplifiers (let’s remember the cost, something like 100 bucks…) and when people who had never heard a class T amplification before listen to it, they are nothing but astonished.
The main weakness is its low power: I would not advise it to owners of speakers below 90db.
As a temporary conclusion to my reviews, I would say that it is a good amplifier if your speakers have enough sensibility.
Nevertheless, being realistic, I can only advise to get a TAMP-20, more powerful.
It will drive the speakers with more ease, it is obvious.
I don’t think I am mistaking when I say that a TA2020 based amplifier is superior to a TA2024[/B] and I can only advise TA2024 lovers to try a TA2020amplifier, like the HLLY.

Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.

P.S: As I can see, HLLY products are now distributed in the US (http://www.p-macaudio.com/), someone bet on them.
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Old 23rd February 2009, 12:20 PM   #2
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Default Re: The HLLY TAMP-10 : TA2024 tryout

Very nice review and well written. It echos my experience when comparing TAA2020 to TAA2024 based amplifiers quite well.

One thing I noted though was:

Quote:
Originally posted by Neomatth
It is really noticeable, but let’s remembers that the TAMP-20 has twice the power of the TAMP-10, and I imagine that it is what I’m feeling here.
This is false. Technically the two chips are completely identical. The only difference is in the chip packaging, and therefore has precisely the same output power. The TAA2020 by virtue of being in a much more heat dissipation friendly package has more dynamic headroom but technically they have the same specified output power.
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Old 23rd February 2009, 12:30 PM   #3
ttan98 is online now ttan98  Australia
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Thanks for yr review can't wait for yr TAMP-90 review.
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Old 23rd February 2009, 01:47 PM   #4
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Saturnus> Really ?

I'm surprised, the feeling while you listen the two chipsets differs clearly, but by very specific details.
Globally, its the same kind of sound ( of course) but you can easily notice that the TA2020 sounds better on precises points.
Ta2020 sounds also "louder".

ttan98> I'm just starting to draft it.
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Old 23rd February 2009, 02:23 PM   #5
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Yeah, it is really amazing when you consider the quite remarkable difference in sound and lot least that the TAA2020 seems much "louder" or "dynamic" but the chip design is 100% identical. It is just the packaging that differs.
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Old 23rd February 2009, 02:58 PM   #6
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I think one of the main reasons for the difference in sound between the amps is not in the chips themselves but in the PCB.
One is through the hole and the other is SMT. With the switching frequencies being where they are, things like inductance play a major role and here the SMT devices will shine.
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Old 23rd February 2009, 04:17 PM   #7
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Except it's opposite. It's the through-hole part (TAA2020) that is decidely much better than the SMD part (TAA2024).
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Old 24th February 2009, 01:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Except it's opposite. It's the through-hole part (TAA2020) that is decidely much better than the SMD part (TAA2024)
This simply means you prefer the through the hole PCB?
Nothing at all wrong. SMT simply is theoretically and technically better, that does not mean anyone must prefer it.

I have several Tripath amps and my two favorites are both SMT PCB's. One is the Charlize and the other is the Truepath. I am now working on a Amp 15 which is through hole so I am not biased in anyway due to the construction but only on the end result, the sound.
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Old 24th February 2009, 04:57 PM   #9
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Nice post - thanks!

The TA2020 is still my favorite of the low voltage chips. There is just somthing so nice about it......
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Old 24th February 2009, 09:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Andrewbee


This simply means you prefer the through the hole PCB?
Nothing at all wrong. SMT simply is theoretically and technically better, that does not mean anyone must prefer it.

I have several Tripath amps and my two favorites are both SMT PCB's. One is the Charlize and the other is the Truepath. I am now working on a Amp 15 which is through hole so I am not biased in anyway due to the construction but only on the end result, the sound.
You do know that both Charlize AND the Truepath use hole mount chips (the TAA2020 and TAA3020, respectively) right? So you're argueing that the SMD chipsets are theorically and technically better but at the same time you also prefer the through-hole chipsets over the SMD ones. Very strange arguement indeed.
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