New version of T-Amp by Rick Bracke
Has anybody any info about this new version of the t-amp? I just got a Sonic Impact T-amp and actually like it. I'd like to modify it but I don't have any experience doing that kind of stuff. i was wondering if this version of the t-amp would be a nice alternative:
"In response to the incredible popularity of the original and the countless DIY modifications it inspired, Rick Bracke of Sonic Impact Technologies is now introducing his own hot-rodded version, incorporating the features customers have been asking for. The 2026 will be an improved, gussied-up T-amp for $119 and the 2050 a 50wc version for $299. Our own Jeff Day has taken delivery of samples to continue reporting on this underground phenomenon."
thats pretty cool, the manufacturers are actually RESPONDING to the market they created.
At any rate, I just finished modding my SI after never having done anything like it before, and it really wasn't that hard. It works great, and you have the satisfaction of knowing you did it
Considering how overpriced the Clari-T amp is, these should sell like hotcakes. Before I buy one though, I want to see what they did to improve it, beyond using better quality parts. I somehow doubt it's 5x better. And I wouldn't be suprised if they discontinue the original in the not too distant future.
I can understand your view of the Clari-T pricing
If the Clari-T was a mass-produced item, it would be way overpriced by any measure (except maybe when comparing sound quality per $ versus traditional "heavy metal" amps). But in view of the inherent inefficiencies of doing business on a small scale, I think the price is entirely to be expected. Naturally, Sonic Impact should be able to do much the same thing for much less. If the boutique makers get put out of business by the big mfr, it will be another case of entreprenuers having "subsidized" the market with their long hours of labor in development, refinement, and pioneering a new market niche. And if that's the case, then they are entiitled to make their money while they can, IMO. (Which is not to suggest that you are implying the contrary.)
1. Stock SI amp
2. Anodized aluminum case
3. RCA jacks
4. Binding posts
5. Wire, solder, cable ties, battery connectors, power switch, LED, chassis mount power jack, power connector
6. Battery 3.4AH SLA
7. Battery charger
8. Power supply caps 1500mf x2, output diodes x4, replacement smd resistors
9. labor to pull SI board, remove extraneous parts/connectors
10. Labor for assembly
11. Labor to create website, answer emails, take orders, ship orders, purchase parts, account for income, SI amps toasted while being modded etc...
While it is true that someone with good DIY skills could make a similar amp they would probably not be able to get the same sound and finished look without spending $150 in parts alone, then figure what you time is worth per hour. Vinnie is not getting rich selling theses amps at $500 dollars and they outperform most amps costing 10x that...
I recently built up a similar amp thanks to posts by Vinnie and other DIY forum denizens. The outcome is gratifying but by the time I finished and figured in my time I could have bought one of Vinnie's amps. For me it was fun and time well spent but for someone who does not want to risk "letting the smoke out" of a perfectly good SI amp $500 is money well spend for a taste of audio bliss.
Thank you Vinnie!
-AKA "He Who Lets Out Smoke From Chips"
Only in the eye of the beholder.
The ability of boutique manufacturers to charge so much and the willingness of customers to pay that much astounds me. It's a gussied up $40 amp. I'm doing the same thing to my T-Amp, for about $60 in parts (2200uf Panasonic FM caps, better resistors, connectors, etc), minus the aluminum case (I'm using hardwood). Is that what makes people willing to pay so much? The aluminum case? I can assure you, it's not twelve times better than the stock amp because of it. So it's got an SLA battery and charger too. Will you hear the difference between that and a $30 Astron RS-3A regulated linear power supply? No.
I guess compared to mass produced products you're getting a bit more for your money, as it's only 2x as expensive as the parts, compared to typical retail markup of at least 5-10x. But then, it'd only take half as much money and an hour (two tops) of your time to do it yourself. And for everyone defending it (more likely defending the guy who builds the Clari-T rather than the product itself), how many of you own one? If it's such a great value, everyone should have one. I'm not trying to be a dick, but I just don't understand how someone could spend $500 on something worth a bit over $200. Especially people on a DIY forum. Why pay someone twice as much for something when you could do it yourself?
But maybe everyone's just on my *** because he's a forum member. I haven't been here that long, so I don't know him. Regardless, I still wouldn't buy a $500 amp knowing it was only worth $200, even if my best friend made it. And please, how many people criticizing my opinion actually own one (aside from mourip who actually does own one).
spots25, which modifications did you make? Just being curious...
Would i buy one? No, because i'm into DIY, and i'm willing to tackle one of thee myself (there is one sitting on top of my monitors as i speak -- i'm just waiting for the right bits to come by -- latest addition was a donated UPS to be converted into a self-charging battery supply (i strongly suspect the batteries are important -- i have a regged AC supply lined up too)).
I'm going to side with JWFokker on it. Think about the original T-amp. it probably costs SI somewhere between $4 and $8 to make one of them. Now, lets suppose that instead of using a molded plastic enclosure, they get custom metal ones done en masse in asia or wherever it's made. Their cost to manufacture goes up by $3. Now add on a new panasonic cap in a better location, which might cost them in the neighborhood of $0.50 max, some binding posts for say $2, some better output coils for another $1 over what they already spend on them, and finally the resistor change is free, since they already have the parts. Finally, lets say they put in a good panasonic pot instead of their cheapy one, for another $1.
Now you have an amp that's costing them $15.50, since they probably produce them in thousands. Mark that up 6x and you have your newly priced amp, that probably will do everything the Clari-T does.
I'm not going to bag on Vinnie, because he did get the ball rolling for some folks to mod these amps. Further, his amp is worth the $500 he charges because of HIS labor -- he doesn't have people stamping his out by the thousands (though he should've looked into it ;) ).. And now, someone found a way to make a similar product for a helluva lot cheaper. That's the way a free market works.
At least give the guys at SI some credit for recognizing the market and stepping up to the plate with a new, interesting product aimed at all of us who've been modding these things. I'm sure they'll sell plenty of them, since even at $120, they're still probably cheap to most audiophiles.
Are you guys going to knock the dude at 41hz.com for putting out great DIY tripath amps?
Also, finally, I don't think vinnie uses the SI's for his amp -- I think he uses a Tripath eval board, which is around $100 (if i recall correctly). Make sure you figure that into the costs :D
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