Many of today's Information Technology enthusiasts were born in the past, when the passion for "popular" electronics was not tied to bytes, for the endless discussions on the true meaning of hi-fi, for the analysis of graphs, of instrumental tests and “double-blind” listening tests. With the arrival of digital technologies, the replacement of the old LP with CDs, the production of amplifiers with increasingly sophisticated circuits and above-average performance at affordable prices the world of Hi-Fi has gradually transformed: on the one hand the integrated or pre-assembled systems of the most famous manufacturers and finally the “all in one” for home theater at ever lower prices and on the other the "esoteric" electronics that seek the search for the best components of a system without price limits and out of the ordinary solutions.
In this panorama there are few objects that in the more or less recent history have been able to satisfy both categories of music reproduction lovers combining "high fidelity" at affordable prices: surely one of these was the NAD at the end of the 70s 3020, low cost, but with the sound that even the purists liked, its qualities were enhanced by the many Hi-Fi magazines that also populated the Italian newsstands and that had found a small sample with which to bring a quality electronics even in living rooms of readers with less financial availability and allow them to buy a source and speakers at the height saved with the money saved.
An analogous phenomenon is happening after almost 30 years and this time to spread "the verb" of the "democratic" hi-fi, not the traditional periodical press but a more "universal" and international media and above all in many respects out of control of the big of electronics: internet. It is thanks to the tam-tam of sites outside the big editorial circuits that the case of T-Amp, a $ 30 amplifier capable of playing, as its admirers claim, is better than products with 20-30 times its cost.
Where's the trick? How can a $ 30 amp revolutionize the way high fidelity is considered today by becoming a cult object at an ultra-popular price?
First of all it is a product that is at least spartan and born, certainly not to become the center of a hi-fi living room chain as well as very portable (it can be fed with 8 rechargeable AA batteries not supplied) amplifier for MP3 players maybe to be combined with equally anti-conventional ones flat cardboard boxes.
It has only one Mini-jack input and outputs for connecting the speakers. T-Amp does not have an internal power supply but you can buy a reliable power supply for CBs of 13.8 V and 2.5 Ampere or more and be sure that it will express its relative power even in your home. they declare 15 + 15 Watts but enough to facilitate listening in a small living room or in the children's room.
What amazes, once you come to terms with all these "adjustments", according to many the cleanliness of the sound and the three-dimensional reconstruction of the music scene.
We will not be here to repeat comparisons, wonders, discussions that have largely invested the forums and sites that deal with high fidelity and also received some annoyed replies from the hi-end gurus: the supporters sing the excellent qualities that can reset facilities of very different cost, the detractors affirm that at most the one that costs is worth.
A collective suggestion? An extraordinary solution, a hidden gem in the immense Chinese production that invades the counters of our supermarkets? First of all we invite you to read the pages of those who first "discovered" the T-Amp, the online TNT-Audio magazine managed by Lucio Cadeddu, a site without advertising but with a lot of passion and a large amount of information on the Alta Fedelt managed by enthusiasts and experts, many of whom over the years have become part of the editorial staff of sector magazines.
On the reported page you will find a review and links to other audiophiles, suggestions for using it with a CB power supply instead of batteries, as well as listening tests and web addresses to find the jewel on the net.
For our part, we bought it in the US along with its kit of boxes for an experiment that we want to do on "mobile" music and which we will give you at the end of May.
The Internet allows word of mouth between forums and enthusiasts, but the main contribution to the spread of the amplifier is the very low price: anyone can try with a very low expense to verify the goodness and to think of using it in a system with far more components expensive.
However, if it is not satisfactory in terms of power or quality, it can be redirected to the function for which it was designed, an excellent amplifier for your MP3 players and your computers without having made you a mortgage for your purchase.
P.S. Our reader Andrea Sembranti points out that the heart of the T-amp, the integrated TRIPATH TA2024, equips the Mac with the most efficient audio system in the Apple range: the eMac G4.
The topic is also discussed on this page of the Macitynet Forum.