Trends Audio TA-10 Ver. 1.1 Tripath (Class-T) Amp

by | May 24, 2007 | Component Reviews | 0 comments

Trends Audio TA-10 Ver. 1.1 Tripath (Class-T) Amp
SRP: $119 until June 1, then $149

T-Amp IC Tripath TA2024
Output Power 2 x 15W @ 4ohm, 2 x 10W @ 8ohm
Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) 98dB
Dynamic Range 98dB
IHF-IM Distortion 0.10% @ 1W, 4ohm


0.03% @ 9W, 4ohm
0.1% @ 11W 4ohm
0.1% @ 6W 8ohm


10% @ 15W 4ohm
10% @ 10W 8ohm
Power Efficiency 81% @ 15W, 4ohm, 90% @ 10W, 8ohm

Audio IN RCA (Left/Right) x 1
Power socket (5.5mm/2.1mm) x 1
Speaker OUT (Left) x 1 pair (+ / -)
Speaker OUT (Right) x 1 pair (+ / -)  
Power ON/OFF switch x 1
Power Indicator (Blue LED) x 1
Volume knob x 1
Power Supply DC 12V~13.2V(max.)


(W)76mm x (H)46mm x (D)114mm
[case only]/150mm[incl. sockets & knob]
Weight 500g
Spec. (AC Adaptor)
AC Input Universal AC 100V-240V / 50~60Hz
DC Output DC 12V / 3A (36W)
Ripple & Noise <=50mV
Over-load Protection 105%-150%
Over-voltage Protection 115%-150%
Dimensions (L)117mm x (W)48mm x (H)33mm
Weight 300g
3 Pins Power Cord x1 (IEC UK plug, exchangable
with your own power cord for different regions)
User Guide x1
Manufacturers Warranty Card x1

Rm 1011-13, 10/F., Tower 1,Millennium City 1,
388 Kwun Tong Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2566 5810
Fax: (852) 2566 5740
Online shop:
U.S. Distributors

Perhaps like you, I have been reading about the new Class D and Class T amps here and there.  The offering of this nifty little T-Class amp moved me to give an audition to one of the inexpensive, tiny new entries in integrated amps. I’m not sure I fully understand the electrical ramifications of the design, but I thought it was time to do a subjective test and let my ears decide if the approach was ready for prime time or not. You’ll see elsewhere online that this very unit even won an amp shoot-out with competitors costing thousands of dollars. The TA-10 uses proprietary Class-T technology (a cousin of Class D) and special techniques in circuit design and component selection to achieve the same quality of sound as typical high end Hi-Fi, but without the lofty price. Though listed at 15W per channel into 4 ohms, it is actually closer to 8W per channel into typical 8 ohm speakers, but more on that below. The idea here is to achieve a similar hi-fi sound as a good Class-AB amp, but with the physical size and power efficiency of a tiny Class-D amp. These tiny amps dissipate less power as heat than conventional amps, so they run much cooler and don’t need cooling fins. Trends uses 1% metal film resistors, a double-sided PCB board, Thomson & EVOX small film capacitors and Sanyo WG electrolytic power filters, plus large air-core inductors and four low-pass filters.
I began auditioning the TA-10.1 in my office audio system, currently powered by an AudioSource Amp 2 with 80 watts per channel going into a pair of Paradigm Atom speakers and a Cambridge SoundWorks subwoofer. I was blown over by how great the CDs I had just been listening to on the AudioSource sounded when I switched over to the Trend amp. It had more than enough guts to power the Atoms, and there was an actual improvement in clarity and transparency over the AudioSource amp. The biggest improvement was in the deep bass – it was as though I had turned up the level on the sub, but it was coming from the Atoms. Discs with prominent string basses came thru with enhanced clarity vs. the AudioSource amp.  I listening to some NPR programs and some jazz from online webcasters and everything sounded great.

I hadn’t counted on the Trend amp having enough power – even at the listed 15 watts – to handle the front L & R speakers of my Von Schweikert VR-2 tower speakers in my main listening room. But they did. And here the upgrade over previous Tripath amps in the RCA jacks and speaker terminals of the Trend amp took first notice. I was able to plug my garden hose-size Kimber speaker cables directly into the amp without a problem (except that they lifted the tiny amp into the air…). Also, there is no worry about batteries – the TA-10.1 comes with a good AC power adaptor.

I have identical VR-2s all the way around in my surround system, except for the center channel. I normally power my front speakers with 40w Consonance vacuum tube monoblocks and the surrounds with a Parasound 200w-per-channel solid state amp. I tried the Trend amp powering both the front and surround VR-2s. I first used the DGG CD of Claudio Abbado conducting the Mahler Ninth. The sonics were quite similar on the surrounds, with a slightly wider soundstage and tighter low bass.  I had to run the Trend with the level control full up to achieve this. The Trend was very clean and natural sounding. 

Substituting the Trend for my tube monoblocks on the front L & R channels didn’t provide as close a match, though the Trend sounded equally detailed and with plenty of resolution and good articulation.  I had to turn up the level a bit on my Sunfire AV preamp to equal the level I had with the tube amps, but I was impressed how well the fraction of watts I had available with the Trend still provided such full bass and balanced sound.  Part of what made this possible was undoubtedly the 87.5 dB sensitivity of the VR-2s.

The high strings in the Mahler Ninth sounded somewhat metallic and steely vs. the tube powering, but the soundstaging actually seemed better.  I next tried a new Songlines SACD – “At Night” with Theo Bleckmann and Ben Monder. I switched the audio option from multichannel to 2-channel for this test. Bleckmann is heard on voice and also via live electronic processing. The electronic sounds were more harsh and steely via the Trend amp than with the tube monoblocks – but we’re talking a price difference of about $1900 here.

I left the Trend connected to watch some DVDs. The sound quality was excellent on everything and produced a good match with the surround speakers behind me. If you didn’t mind dealing with three level controls, three of the Trend amps would provide a superb cut-rate five-channel powering system unless you had inefficient speakers. At the very least, one TA-10.1, a pair of the entry-level speakers from one of the Canadian makers such as PSB or Paradigm, and a good little powered sub would make a killer audio system for any computer in an office situation – and much better than what’s generally offered for that. Of course there’s only the single input, but you could connect one of these to a pair of efficient speakers and then feed it with a passive preamp or a simple powered preamp for a fabulous two-channel system. You could also add a Radio Shack selector switch at the input. [Obad has just introduced a more powerful Tripath amp sourced from Taiwan, suitable for less efficient speakers, at $399.]

— John Sunier

Related Reviews
Logo Jazz Detective Deep Digs Animated 01
Logo Pure Pleasure