Friday, 18 May 2012

Tiny Amp Packs A Significant Punch

I have a Trends Audio TA-10.1 integrated stereo amp for travelling.  It's about 10 watts per channel, has one input, a power switch and a volume control.  Using "T-class" amplification its tiny (4 x 5 x 2 inches), doesn't get warm and looks rather underwhelming.

I normally plug my iPod into it, then it powers a small pair of Tangent Evo speakers - making longer stays in hotels for business purposes just a little bit more tolerable.

However, last Autumn I happened to be in Scotland and needed to pick up a pair of Mission 783 speakers one day, stay in the hotel overnight and then deliver them the next day.  Being very large, its not possible to hide a pair of these in the car boot, so it was no good leaving them in the car overnight.  Borrowing the hotel's large luggage trolley I transported them up to my room.  So there was the Trends amp and the little Evos and this huge pair of 783s.  Well, you can't let an opportunity like go by can you.....?

Inside the Glasgow Hilton on an unusual night (click to enlarge)
How did it get on?  Very very well - far better than you'd have any right to expect.  Bearing in mind that the speakers were not on spikes and there's a great big bed in the middle of the room, it did a decent job.  Clearly you're not going to get party volume levels, but pretty much everything was there - there's  touch of stridency in the treble at higher volumes, and bass could do with a fair bit more slam, but these could just as easily be the compressed 320 kbps AAC files on the iPod as the amp itsself (definitely not limitations of the speakers though - having heard them with some higher end Cyrus kit).

Not the most convenient hotel system of course, but just a bit of experimental fun.  As for the TA-10.1, it's quite and achievement - would be ideal for a bedroom, study or kitchen system, or anywhere with limited space.

Friday, 4 May 2012