Pocket-Sized Headphone & Turntable Amp With Genuine Glowing Tube
For almost as long as we've been around, we've been excited by the flurry of little amplifiers using Tripath T-Amp chips. These amps claimed to sound every bit as good as gear costing many hundreds of times more, and their simplicity invited old-school hi-fi hacking and modding. Many in the audiophile community were breathless in their praise of these mini amps, spooling off reams of positive prose. I joined the fray be doing some testing at home with some T-amp gear from Trends Audio and I found it to be an outstanding piece of music equipment.
Trends Audio just announced the new PA-10 headphone/pre-amplifier that diverges from the solid-state designs of their previous offerings. Like their other products, the PA-10 is small and good-looking, has a simplified signal path, is made up of audiophile rated parts, but in the middle of it all is a glowing analog tube. So let's mark today as the day that we start hearing from those dedicated audiophiles who love/hate tubes, and they will string together almost innumerable adjectives to describe the rapturous quality/ghetto raspiness of this new unit before even trying it out. We're hoping to get a sample unit here at Retro Thing labs so we can share a realistic assessment of the new PA10.
I'm enthusiastic about the use of the PA-10 as a pre-amp for my turntable. The compact design of the PA-10 frees the record player from being tethered to my main stereo system. I can spin platters wherever I want to, just by using the PA-10 to drive a set of high end headphones. I've also got a lot of vinyl to digitize, and it would be great to simplify the signal path as much as possible. Having the sound make a pitstop at a tube might also make for nice sounding digital recordings.
The suggested price of the PA-10 is $225, which could be considered affordable compared to how much high end audio gear often goes for. There's no spec sheet on the website yet, but you can check out plenty of pictures of the internals showing off the audiophile rated components, and all the spots you can add your own mods and tweaks. I just want to know how they got the tube to glow blue.
Trends Audio PA-10 product page