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Sonic Impact T-Amp - Page 2

post #31 of 107
This is probably a dumb question, but can these be used as a generic headphone amp? From what I've seen, they're cheaper than most dedicated headphone amps. I'm getting distorted bass and overall bad sound from my computer's headphone jack so I'm thinking an amp may help.
post #32 of 107
For those interested, there is a website which does an in depth look into the technical aspects of this amp. Its an interesting read, especially if you're considering purchasing one.

http://www.michael.mardis.com/sonic

Quote:


This is probably a dumb question, but can these be used as a generic headphone amp? From what I've seen, they're cheaper than most dedicated headphone amps. I'm getting distorted bass and overall bad sound from my computer's headphone jack so I'm thinking an amp may help.

Yes you can, but with one word of caution though: With higher impedances this amp ramps up the high end frequency response, don't know exact estimates but its after or around 20khz. Ti's equibit amplifiers do this and some others if not all analog switching amps do too I believe- the tripath design is not the only one. Of course cd players don't play ultrsonic frequencies, but there still may be a noise in the ultrasonic range among other interferences from other devices. From reading a post on DIYaudio it seems that the lowpass filter on the amp is at about 60 or 70khz. If you have really high impedance headphones, say 300 ohm, the poster over at DIY figured it would be around a 6 db increase around the 40-60khz range. If you're listening at high volume levels another 6db could be damaging to your hearing if ultrasonic frequencies damage hearing. The only way to combat this is to lower the low pass filter frequency. If I had one of these, I could probably find it, but I don't, sorry

If you have headphones with low impedance, 16-32 ohms you may be ok. Also if you listen to mainly cd source, you may be ok. I really don't know the effects of ultrasonic frequencies on hearing, maybe someone else will chime with the answer. I just noticed the caution the poster over at DIYaudio gave and thought I'd spread the info.


Here's a pic from another topic about the xr10 and its frequency response versus impedance. I'm guessing tripath would be similar.


Edit: Looks like machani found some supporting evidence, looks like a no-go for a stock T-amp and headphones.
LL
post #33 of 107
Quote:


Originally posted by jvrobert
This is probably a dumb question, but can these be used as a generic headphone amp? From what I've seen, they're cheaper than most dedicated headphone amps. I'm getting distorted bass and overall bad sound from my computer's headphone jack so I'm thinking an amp may help.


In a nutshell, NO. The T-Amp is designed for low impedence loads (4 or 8ohm). Headphones normally have high impedence and running the T-Amp to a headphone in stock form is NOT recommended due to ultrasonic frequencies that will be output. This can cause permanent hearing damage!

Unless you have a headphone with very low impedence or get the output filter of the T-Amp modded, I don't advise trying it.

See also this thread in the head-fi forums. Scroll down to find the posts addressing this specific subject. The TNT Audio reviewer also advises against using it as a headphone amp.

It is surprising that Sonic Impact did not put a proper warning in their tiny two-page "manual".
post #34 of 107
Quote:


Initially I used the 12V 300 mA wallwart

Quote:


then switched to the 12V 4.5Ah SLA battery and holy-cow, what a huge improvement

You went from a 4Watt power supply to a 54Watt power supply...that might have an effect.

Quote:


one of the known shortcomings of the T-Amp is its power limitation of about 4W max, after which it will begin serious clipping

Even if it was 100% efficient, feeding it with 4 Watts of DC power and expecting 4 Watts of audio power out is just crazy.
post #35 of 107
Hi guys,
My T-Amp has been with me for three weeks and has about 60 to 70 hours on it. I have been using the T-Amp to break in my new TAD-150 preamplifier from Tube Audio Design - another exciting piece of work in itself. (Used with a preamp, the T-Amp's volume knob needs to be set all the way up. Otherwise you would not normally turn the volume beyond the 11 o'clock position, where clipping and distortion begin to increase dramatically). Please read my earlier post on my reference setup.

Here are my updated impressions on the T-Amp:
  • The T-Amp improves considerably over time. Mainly, the top end is noticeably smoother (less harsh and strident) and the soundstage depth has also increased.
  • The T-Amp is susceptible to clipping above 5W (see here ). Therefore I have been playing it below clipping volumes (in the region of 2 - 3W max). This is sufficient power to drive my JMLab speakers above normal listening levels.
  • The T-Amp's musical performance is influenced by the power source. I have tried two wallwarts, one 12V, 300mA and another 15V, 1A. It seems to like slightly higher voltage than 12V. The 15V, 1A wallwart sounded much better than the 12V, 300mA one. It also seems to prefer battery power over wallwarts. It sounds better with my 12V, 4.5Ah SLA battery than the 15V, 1A wallwart. The battery produces the most pleasing sound with slightly better soundstage depth and micro dynamics.
  • Compared to solid state, the T-Amp is warm sounding and has a harmonically rich midrange.
  • Its frequency response is flat throughout the spectrum, yielding tonally natural sound.
  • The T-Amp is also very detailed from mid-bass to upper mid-range. There is substantial bass roll off below 60Hz, mainly due to the coupling capacitors. To get deeper bass you would need to upgrade the 0.33µF caps (C3 and C4 according to [this schematic ) with 1µF or higher value ones. But the bass is good enough for most music.
  • Overall, T-Amp is a very lively and non-fatiguing sounding in stock form. Add to that the bonus of the excellent soundstage and imaging and you do get the "you are there" or "they are here" feeling.
One 'side' benefit I got from the T-Amp was to notice and cure a tonal coloration in my Cayin TA-30 (tube) integrated amp - by replacing the Auricaps (signal coupling capacitors) with more neutral sounding Sonicaps. My Cayin sounds much better now, thanks to the T-Amp!

That said, the stock T-Amp comes close to but does not match the detailed imagery, soundstage depth, microdynamics and deep bass notes that my modded Cayin amp puts out.

But we are talking about the $30 stock T-Amp here compared to a highly tweaked tube amp (legendary at its own price point). One can only imagine how good a modded T-Amp can sound.

The bottom line is I am convinced on the capabilities of Digital Amplifier technology. I believe digital amps have the potential to reproduce music very close to the original recordings, particularly due to their high resolution and their linear response throughout the frequency spectrum.
post #36 of 107
Machani,
Have you heard a similar buzz with the $99 TEAC three channel amp based on the Tripath as well ? This may be more suitable to you. Also, without battery power supply, the SI is not that great, I am told.
I am sticking to my Panny XR50 mainly for convenience. I think Tripath might be a little more 'high-fidelity' than the TI in the XR50.
I only heard the TEACs briefly in my friends system with tube preamp driving Rocket 750 speakers (the one with 4 white drivers + tweeter).
post #37 of 107
Quote:


Originally posted by SoftwireEngineer
Machani,
Have you heard a similar buzz with the $99 TEAC three channel amp based on the Tripath as well ? This may be more suitable to you. Also, without battery power supply, the SI is not that great, I am told.
I am sticking to my Panny XR50 mainly for convenience. I think Tripath might be a little more 'high-fidelity' than the TI in the XR50.
I only heard the TEACs briefly in my friends system with tube preamp driving Rocket 750 speakers (the one with 4 white drivers + tweeter).

Yes, I have seen a lot of buzz about Teac and the Panny XR50. Your Panny XR50 is getting a lot of raves in AudioAsylum.

The T-Amp convinced me on the promise of digital amplification technology. It has the cheapest possible components surrounding the Tripath chip and yet it puts out excitingly good sound.

My next upgrade will probably be for a dedicated power amp, and I will certainly look at both tube and digital ones. By the way, my TAD-150 tube preamp is astonishingly good in terms of realism and 3D soundstage.
post #38 of 107
Do you guys think this amp could drive the Polk R15's at decent listening levels in a mid sized bedroom?

the efficiency is rated at 89 for these speakers
post #39 of 107
I'd say it depends a lot upon how loud you consider "decent listening levels" to be, and also what kind of music you like. Because for some people such a combination, it may be enough, and for others it may not even be close to enough. With only 4watts and speakers that are rated at 89db, there is certainly not going to be anywhere near being too much power for the speakers.
post #40 of 107
It is good that everyone agrees that this digital amplifier sound best with a high cuurent supply which is isolates the amplifier from external RF interference.

I finally bought the Panasonic XR70 all digital amplifier/receiver and the Panasonic 97 Dvd HDMI player. Plugged straight into the A/C wall socket the sound and picture quality are only mediocre.

But after I provided filtered, isolated and balanced A/C power to each piece the sound quality hit a home run. It is in a word now superb.

The bottom line here is that ALL gear needs to be feed clean power with ample reserves of local instantaneous energy. The battery isolates this digital amplifier, so that IT does not contaminate the other components (and thus destroy the sound quality) of the system.

The Panasonic XR70 is actually a better buy (and FAR more practical) than this inexpensive amplifier.

600w/$329 = 1.82 watts/dollar
18w/$30 = 0.60watts/dollar

In any case this amplifier is an excellent introduction to the care and feeding required to get the best performance from digital amplifiers.
post #41 of 107
It is good that everyone agrees that this digital amplifier sound best with a high cuurent supply which is isolates the amplifier from external RF interference.

I finally bought the Panasonic XR70 all digital amplifier/receiver and the Panasonic 97 Dvd HDMI player. Plugged straight into the A/C wall socket the sound and picture quality are only mediocre.

But after I provided filtered, isolated and balanced A/C power to each piece the sound quality hit a home run. It is in a word now superb.

The bottom line here is that ALL gear needs to be feed clean power with ample reserves of local instantaneous energy. The battery isolates this digital amplifier, so that IT does not contaminate the other components (and thus destroy the sound quality) of the system.

The Panasonic XR70 is actually a better buy (and FAR more practical) than this inexpensive amplifier.

600w/$329 = 1.82 watts/dollar
18w/$30 = 0.60watts/dollar

In any event this amplifier is an excellent introduction to the care and feeding required to get the best performance from digital amplifiers.
post #42 of 107
It is good that everyone agrees that this digital amplifier sounds best with a high cuurent supply which isolates the amplifier from external RF interference.

I finally bought the Panasonic XR70 all digital amplifier/receiver and the Panasonic 97 Dvd HDMI player. Plugged straight into the A/C wall socket the sound and picture quality are only mediocre.

But after I provided filtered, isolated and balanced A/C power to each piece, the sound quality hit a home run. It is in a word now superb.

The bottom line here is that ALL gear needs to be feed clean power with ample reserves of local instantaneous energy. The battery isolates this digital amplifier, so that IT does not contaminate the other components (and thus destroy the sound quality) of the system.

The Panasonic XR70 is actually a better buy (and FAR more practical) than this inexpensive amplifier.

600w/$329 = 1.82 watts/dollar
18w/$30 = 0.60watts/dollar

In any event this amplifier is an excellent introduction to the care and feeding required to get the best performance from digital amplifiers.
post #43 of 107
Quote:


Originally posted by calvintr
Do you guys think this amp could drive the Polk R15's at decent listening levels in a mid sized bedroom?

the efficiency is rated at 89 for these speakers

Should be fine for TV and music at below ear-splitting levels. It drives my Cerwin Vega L-7 bookshelves just fine at around the 9 o'clock position. I believe they are no more than 90dB efficiency. Once you cross the 11 o'clock position you are hitting the 5 watt level where it begins its distortion and clipping.

If I were you I'd get one anyway. Buy it from your local Target and return it if not satisfied.

Cheers!
post #44 of 107
i believe that this amp is available only online through target's website - not in the locl stores
post #45 of 107
i cant help but revisit this old thread

just got the little gem from ebay and without mods

added a 12vdc 2amp power supply, using a thick wire and connect it to the amp

burn in continuously for 5 days and now i hook it up with a marantz cd player and a pair of kef 104.2 floorstander

wow it sounds so nice especially the mids and highs. bass is ok most probably need to change the caps. will think of serious mods later

this is poorman's high end toy for sure
post #46 of 107
can this T amp be used just to amp a center speaker for better dialog or maybe the L/center/R?? I Have the paradigm monitor 9's front L/R and the CC370 for center???
post #47 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by artimp View Post

can this T amp be used just to amp a center speaker for better dialog or maybe the L/center/R?? I Have the paradigm monitor 9's front L/R and the CC370 for center???

If you have a pre amp output signal then you can insert this amp between the pre amp and the speaker. I noticed the sound was clearer with Tamp than an older receiver I was using. Your speakers are very sensitive so they would be a good match.

However, since this doesn't put out that much power, you wouldn't want to use it for loud listening, or very dynamic loud listening.

It's so cheap it's worth trying. If nothing else use it for an office/bedroom and bookshelf speakers.
post #48 of 107
so maybe I could use it just to amp the center channel???I will be getting the 3806 or pioneer 74. Would amping a center help with dialog??
post #49 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by artimp View Post

so maybe I could use it just to amp the center channel???I will be getting the 3806 or pioneer 74. Would amping a center help with dialog??

If you are getting a new receiver it is likely you don't need it, since a newer receiver should have pretty good amp quality, but you'd have to try it yourself to find out.

I have not heard those Paradigm speakers, but my preference is horn tweeters (like Klipsch) for clear dialogue.
post #50 of 107
try the super t-amp it has better bass response, rca sockets and speaker posts instead of having to mod the basic t-amp
post #51 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by cpu8088 View Post

try the super t-amp it has better bass response, rca sockets and speaker posts instead of having to mod the basic t-amp

but does it have audiophile gold feet, diamond dust mica insulator, super-dampening brass heatsink, Alps micro-stepper, and oxygen free 100% pure silver wires inside the chips?

If not, it cannot sound good to us audiophiles.
post #52 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by tlf9999 View Post

but does it have audiophile gold feet, diamond dust mica insulator, super-dampening brass heatsink, Alps micro-stepper, and oxygen free 100% pure silver wires inside the chips?

If not, it cannot sound good to us audiophiles.

apparently you have very limited knowledge and capability of the t-amp
post #53 of 107
i think he was being sarcy
post #54 of 107
nah he was serious

cannot see any smiley
post #55 of 107
do I get the super T amp at Target also?? Or is there no super T amp??
post #56 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by cpu8088 View Post

cannot see any smiley

what does a smiley do when some of us are so humor-impaired?
post #57 of 107
don't worry I got it and actually I think he did also and was being silly back :-) sometimes I hate when you can't hear a person
post #58 of 107
artimp - you can get a SuperT at Target, but i would not recommend this amp for your home theater, and definitely not with Paradigms.

The T-amps will shine but you need to take into consideration the low output power (7W into 8Ω ) If you were going to give them a fair listen, I'd recommend high sensitivity speakers (>93db/w/m).

I am using a T-amp with Paradigms - but in a near-field situation where the amp doesn't get pushed too much. Also there are higher powered Tripath amps powering HT equipment (TEAC legacy, Denon, Naim for example)
post #59 of 107
I have blueroom minipods which are 90db sensitivity at 4 ohms. These are for mostly low volume listening in my bedroom off my squeezebox but I do want some punch. Will a T-Amp be an OK idea? At the price point I'm tempted to just try one.
post #60 of 107
Just thought I'd chime in, and mention that when I tested my Sonic T-Amp with a 13.5V 1.7A wallwart, hooked up to my Onix X-LS, I was able to reach >90dB from 6 feet away...with the volume knob below 1/2.

And the X-LS' are not necessarily what some would call "efficient" at 87 dB (@ 1 watt / 1 meter).

I think the whole "you need super efficient >90dB speakers to fully utilize the T-Amp" talk is simply not true, unless one listens to ear-damaging volumes for extended periods of time.
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