Trends Audio TA-10

Around christmas last year, I bought a Super T-Amp and a pair of Axiom M3 speakers. What can I say, I think I’m addicted by that T-Amp technology now :-). Some weeks ago I ordered an upgraded TA-10 amp from It takes some time to burn in before the amp comes to full bloom, and now it is really ‘ripe’. I’m really excited about this great sound that this little amp gets out of the speakers. The Super T is already great, and this amp is similar, only better in everything. Wider soundstage, more detailed sound, better dynamics. It’s just as if the musicians are in the room. Which is strange for orchestral music 😉 It has the same limitations as the Super T though: needs efficient speakers (mine have around 90db/w/m and it is just enough), no remote control, only one input, etc. But this is exactly right for me, I tend to follow the KISS priniciple here too. I also recently bought a used Sony DVP NS900 CD/SACD/DVD player for 150€, a reference player back when it was released. Together this makes a hifi setup for 600-700€ that sounds like something that is around 5x – 10x the price.

There are two downsides you have to be aware of if you plan on such a setup: First, it reveals many limitations of not-carefully-produced CDs (or every media for that matter). For example, I already spotted a couple of clipped passages on Johnny Cash’s ‘American IV’, and Norah Jones’ ‘Feels Like Home’ CDs, which are otherwise great sounding albums. Too bad that pop/rock CDs are often not well produced, with added compression etc, only to get more bang effect on cheap hifis.

The other ‘downside’ I experienced is, that this new setup changed my musical taste quite significantly. For example, I could never stand classical music. Now I know why: it ain’t no fun listening classical music on a bad hifi. Everything gets muddied up and distorted. Now I see that classical music can be much more interesting and rewarding than rock music (my god, if you told me that I would write something like this some years ago, I would have hit you over with something 😉 ) Similar with female voices. I seldomly bought female singer’s CDs, and I was never really excited about them. Now I listen to Norah Jones, Fiona Apple, Cat Power, etc more than anything else, and they sound soooo beautiful :-). I don’t want to say that changing or adding to your musical taste is a bad thing, or a disadvantage, but it is something you should be aware of before buying some good audio gear.

That said, the most important thing is to keep listening to music, and not technology. The net is full of audiophile babble and chatter, and it seems to me that many so called audiophiles see audio tech as a kind of status symbol. Recently I saw speaker cables for 4000€ in a hifi shop. WTF?? The T amps are pretty good at bringing down audio quality back to earth.

About Roman Kennke
JVM Hacker, Principal Software Engineer at Red Hat's OpenJDK team, Shenandoah GC project lead, Java Champion

2 Responses to Trends Audio TA-10

  1. Mike Gagne says:

    What did you listen to previously equipment wise? mike

  2. roman says:

    Mike: In my own home, I listened to to low- to midrange equipment for a long time, so I might not be the best reference 🙂 However, I did a lot of listening tests before buying the Super T last year, and I’m pretty sure you can’t get anything better for the price of ~120€ or what that thing costs. Even the $400 for the modded TA-10 are pretty cheap for the kind of sound you get.

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