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NSMT Modified Lepai T-Amp Continues to Charm
"...a great surprise, an amplifier no bigger than my fist, hooked up to my Tonian floorstanders, churning out music and sounds commensurate with an amplifier many times its size and price. I love it! Deep, wide, soundstages, and solid image placements were easily reproduced with this modified chip amplifier."
"Many movies were played through this amp. On the great western, The Undefeated starring Clint Eastwood and Gene Hackman, I had the amp hooked to my Ascend Acoustics. In several of the scenes with thunder, my son and I heard taut, deep, fast dynamics, and low-end reproduction. .. We heard dialogue that was crisp and clean and intelligible for a two-way system. Again, we heard a nice spread on the soundstage. The rain scene sounded as if the rain was falling in my listening room. The bass fiddles at the end of the movie didn't exactly shake the walls, but they sounded very solid and satisfying."
Even stock, this Tripath TA2020 Class-T amplifier is impressive because of its robust bass and engaging soundstage. Moreover it is one of the few T-amps that has defeatable bass and treble controls. Stock, it may be less "audiophile" (less laid back, less tube like) than some T-amps, but its good bass performance and tone controls make it a more engaging and more listen-able amp, especially for intimate situations and low level listening. At the same time, it is robust enough to drive just about any loudspeaker very loud. It is rated at 20 watt per channel into 4 ohms, about 15 watts per channel into 8 ohms.
What is lacking in the amp is that although it bass is more robust than most T-amplifiers, like most T-amplifiers, the bass is not well defined. Second, the soundstage is vague. Third, the highs are a little edgy.
We have modified the amplifier to improve its bass performance, to improve the definition of its soundstage, improve its dynamic punch, and to improve its high frequency detail and its musicality. And we have enhanced its looks and usability with a gorgeous, retro, Baltic white birch plywood cabinet and gold plated banana speaker connectors.
Moreover, we offer a deluxe power supply as an additional mod, and a pair of six foot speaker cables, as an additional mod, that further enhances its bass and imaging performance. The wires are terminated with banana plugs on both ends.
We have tested our modified T amplifier with a wide range of speakers against some highly regarded amplifiers, many, many times its price. Our conclusion? If you feed our Modified amp a quality signal, especially through a DAC, it is an amazing amplifier.
"...my impressions are those of a 62 year old who has been in the audio thing for over 25 years. In addition, most of my equipment has been tubes which is what I prefer. I am not going to get into a comparison of tube versus solid state.
I have owned or auditioned several T amps and typically have one around for extended listening sessions so as not to burn up tubes.
To begin, it has to be the coolest looking T amp out there. The cabinet is first rate and gives it a sort of retro look with the blue dial light on the volume control.
What impressed me the most was the bass. There was a solid bass foundation to the music in addition to the typical bass notes. I never had to increase the volume over the 9 position and listened for extended periods with no fatigue.
At your suggestion, I then hitched it up to the Windjammers in my 11 x 11 listening room. Based on their sensitivity, I was not expecting much. Boy was I surprised as this combination sounded even better. In both systems, I used Eva Cassidy's Songbird CD. What was even more impressive was that I did not have to go above the 9 o'clock position to get a very satisfying musical experience. It's like the darn amp is on steroids and performs well beyond it's 12 wpc rating. The same results of detail, texture, bass and most importantly musicality were there with the Windjammers also.
For the money, this is one heck of an amp that can be the foundation of a very inexpensive musical system. I forgot to mention that I used the speaker cable provided with the amp and hookup was very easy to do.