Which T-amp and which speaker?

a3aan92

Member
2013-05-15 5:53 pm
Hi all,

First of all, I want to say I'm new here and I don't know anything about electronics. I do know what a T-amp is, but my knowledge doesn't go alot further than that! I have read and searched a bit on this forum, but haven't been able to find an answer to my questions. My questions are pretty simple actually. The setup would be used somehow as a mobile system, just a speaker with the little t-amp which i can easily connect to a 12v SLA and transport by bike or by car. A good-to-go t-amp could as well be re-used in for example my room, whereas you cannot hook your bookshelf speakers to a boombox.

1) It's probably a very stupid question, but I want to ask it anyway to be sure: would you recommend me buying a ta2024 or ta2020 board if I cannot solder? Can you buy like ready-to-go boards, with the jack cable which goes to your audio input? I guess the best option in my case is just to buy a whole t-amp which is good to go?

2) Which type of TA should i go for?!
- Indeed TA2021
- SMSL
- SURE TA2024C
- Dayton DTA-1

-> Will the extra wattage of the Indeed TA2021 give me noticable more volume than for example the Dayton? What's the best quality and what would give me the loudest setup? Would the extra wattage of the Indeed also use alot more than a TA2024 chip? Would it really drain the battery (SLA 12v 7.2Ah) alot faster or...?

3) Which speakers would you recommend?

I got my inspiration for t-amps actually from this site: Bike Party Sound System - Easy Rear Rack Style

Should I just look at the SPL 1w/1m? What would be the best, 8", 10" or 12"? Would the bigger drivers give me alot more of volume? Should i buy a low budget 12" speaker with 96 or + SPL 1w/1m with alot of wattage or should i rather go for an ok speaker like the Wharfedale Titan 8"? (I think it's ok? :D) Link: TITAN 8 PASSIVE - TITAN SERIES - Wharfedale Pro -> 96 db SPL 1w/1m

Sorry for these questions, maybe they don't belong on this forum cause it's not that 'DIY', but I can't find proper answers and I'd like to get advice from the pro's. :D Thanks for advance!!!
 
Tripath went out of production a few years back (2006??)
Yet there are more TA chips currently floating about or built into 'products' than ever before :)
I recently bought (Guaranteed Real) TA 2020 chips from Arjen Helder.
Guess what.. I was sent what I believe are Fakes as these copies feature gold plated pins. My original/ old TA2020 evaluation chips.. from Tripath just ain't the same ..
Not worth the trouble to chase that Rat's butt though.. But I can Publicize it :)
IMO there is a 90% chance that any Tripath chip out of Chine or environs, is a poor Copy.
That a path you wish to spend your time on?
 
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a3aan92

Member
2013-05-15 5:53 pm
Thank you, I have read about the Sure boards before. So these wouldn't require any soldering? Which one of these would you recommend? Still a TA2024? I can't use the TK2050 because I'm planning to use a SLA 12v battery (only one). T. he 25W and the 50W chips also need a 14V or higher supplySince these bare boards don't have a volume control, it is controlled by the sound source (mp3 player). Shouldn't it be modded then, or will it be loud enough?
 
I recently purchased an SMSL SA-S1 TA2020 T-amp. Overall, I am happy with my purchase. However, I have two issues with this amp.

1. The volume pot is imbalanced at low volume levels. The left channel is stronger than the right channel up to a certain point, and then both channels come in balanced. I raised this issue with SMSL. They would have sent me an entire unit, but I told them it would be fine to send me a replacement pot, and I'll install it myself.

2. The sound is a little brighter than I prefer. A couple other people who have the same amp have said the same on another Web audio forum. For a quick experiment, I added a couple Sonicap Gen 2 0.1uF/250V metallized Polyproprylene (MKP) caps as temporary bypasses to the stock ERO MKT1813 metallized Polyester (MKT) input caps. This really smoothed out the highs and allowed more midrange detail to come through; however, the midrange sounded out-of-phase, especially with female vocals. I've taken the Sonicaps out and the MKT1813 caps sound like they've settled in, but with some recordings the sound can still be bright and shrill. My plan is to replace the ERO MKT1813's with a pair of 2.2uF Mundorf Mcap MKP caps. They will fit inside the chassis and based on prior experience in using these caps, the sound quality should be better too.

Even with these issues, I still like this amp more than my modified Sonic Impact 5065 Gen 2 TA-2024 T-amp and my Arjen Helder TA2020 MkIII T-amp. The amp is capable of smooth, warm sound with a larger and deeper soundstage than the other two amps and I really like the Aluminum chassis. Compared to other fully assembled TA2020 T-amps, this amp has enough room to fit in the Mcaps and has decent components like the Rubycon and Nichicon power supply caps, quality output filter components, and decent connectors.
 

a3aan92

Member
2013-05-15 5:53 pm
Thank you for your feedback! Do you know if the SMSL SA-S1 is better quality than the SMSL SA-36A? They are both TA2020, but have other components. The SA-S1 looks better to me, although it is cheaper... What would you say if you compare the quality of both SMSL's to the Indeed TA2021? (New Indeed Class T Amp Tripath TA2021 25WX2 Amplifier Improved 20000 MFD Cap | eBay) It looks to me the Indeed got higher quality components, or am I wrong? It is more expensive though, so it's not a comparison at the same level... :)
 

alex1966

Member
2010-05-01 1:22 pm
I recently purchased an SMSL SA-S1 TA2020 T-amp. Overall, I am happy with my purchase. However, I have two issues with this amp.

1. The volume pot is imbalanced at low volume levels. The left channel is stronger than the right channel up to a certain point, and then both channels come in balanced. I raised this issue with SMSL. They would have sent me an entire unit, but I told them it would be fine to send me a replacement pot, and I'll install it myself.

2. The sound is a little brighter than I prefer. A couple other people who have the same amp have said the same on another Web audio forum. For a quick experiment, I added a couple Sonicap Gen 2 0.1uF/250V metallized Polyproprylene (MKP) caps as temporary bypasses to the stock ERO MKT1813 metallized Polyester (MKT) input caps. This really smoothed out the highs and allowed more midrange detail to come through; however, the midrange sounded out-of-phase, especially with female vocals. I've taken the Sonicaps out and the MKT1813 caps sound like they've settled in, but with some recordings the sound can still be bright and shrill. My plan is to replace the ERO MKT1813's with a pair of 2.2uF Mundorf Mcap MKP caps. They will fit inside the chassis and based on prior experience in using these caps, the sound quality should be better too.

Even with these issues, I still like this amp more than my modified Sonic Impact 5065 Gen 2 TA-2024 T-amp and my Arjen Helder TA2020 MkIII T-amp. The amp is capable of smooth, warm sound with a larger and deeper soundstage than the other two amps and I really like the Aluminum chassis. Compared to other fully assembled TA2020 T-amps, this amp has enough room to fit in the Mcaps and has decent components like the Rubycon and Nichicon power supply caps, quality output filter components, and decent connectors.

Just a thought but would replacing the pot with a switched resistor volume control solve this? My Muse MU-15 was all over the place at low volumes too. I built a small passive with a cheep off ebay switched resistor pot and now no more chanel drift.
 
Thank you for your feedback! Do you know if the SMSL SA-S1 is better quality than the SMSL SA-36A? They are both TA2020, but have other components. The SA-S1 looks better to me, although it is cheaper... What would you say if you compare the quality of both SMSL's to the Indeed TA2021? (New Indeed Class T Amp Tripath TA2021 25WX2 Amplifier Improved 20000 MFD Cap | eBay) It looks to me the Indeed got higher quality components, or am I wrong? It is more expensive though, so it's not a comparison at the same level... :)

The SMSL SA-S1 appears to be a better amp than the SA-36 on paper, but I have not heard an SMSL SA-36A amp. They probably sound more similar than different. The SA-S1 has a bit more space to roll input caps and it has the air core inductors (not necessarily better, but different).

As for the Indeed TA2021 amp, I have never heard that amp begore, but it looks like it might have a bit more power than the TA2020 amps. I have upgraded Klipsch Forte II's, so the SA-S1 has plenty of power for me.

Just a thought but would replacing the pot with a switched resistor volume control solve this? My Muse MU-15 was all over the place at low volumes too. I built a small passive with a cheep off ebay switched resistor pot and now no more chanel drift.

Are you referring to the small SMD resistor-based stepped attenuators, or something else? I've used small SMD resistor-based stepped attenuators to replace volume pots like the small Alps used in the SMSL SA-S1 with great results. I'm thinking about doing the same with the SMSL amp.
 

alex1966

Member
2010-05-01 1:22 pm
Are you referring to the small SMD resistor-based stepped attenuators, or something else? I've used small SMD resistor-based stepped attenuators to replace volume pots like the small Alps used in the SMSL SA-S1 with great results. I'm thinking about doing the same with the SMSL amp.[/QUOTE]

Yes it is the SMD based ones I used. I have a high intolerance to the soundstage drifting with volume control movement so I look for a pot with a low varience between tracks.
 

a3aan92

Member
2013-05-15 5:53 pm
I guess that, in the end, it is still very subjective of course, since it's just a perspective of hearing. Some people may be satisfied with a crappy non-modded Lepai, whereas others might think that a Topping TP-60 isn't good enough. ^^ Thank you for the honest feedback! I'll order one of these magical tiny amps soon!
 
I must have 70-80 hours on this amp, and the sound quality is still changing--all for the better. The hot highs are cooling off and the midrange detail is coming through nicely. Only with the brightest recordings is the listening on the edge. For the most part though, this SMSL SA-S1 is sounding richer and warmer. I wonder how long this amp takes to finally settle in. If you aren't a believer in burn-in, this little T-amp will make you a believer, the changes are that noticeable.

I removed the front faceplate to determine if an SMD stepped attenuator would fit where the Alps RK097 volume pot sits. It would be a very tight fit and the pin spacing is much tighter with an RK097 volume pot versus one of the SMD stepped attenuators.
 

Turdinator

Member
2013-05-26 10:27 pm
I have the smsl sa-s3 ta2021b which is a fantastic amp still burning in but sounds great as is.i run mine off a 16v 6amp smps power supply which has given me more headroom it plays louder before clipping now.so whichever amp you buy I would advise you to get a decent power supply as this makes quite a big difference.i know you say you want to run it from 12v but 16v power supplies are cheap and make a big difference. just my opinion :)