These diminutive hi-fi amplifiers are just £60 UK delivered if you buy direct from the manufacturers.
Yes, you can get more power out of, for example, the TA2022 or TA2050 chipsets. And yes, they do sound very fine. But … they don’t quite manage the transparent musical magic that I hear with the two TA2020 amps that I’ve tried.
The manufacturer says they’ve done some bespoke mods to the circuit of his Mini-T, and his amp does sound noticeably superior to the cheaper TA2020 I have also tried – it’s purer and smoother and altogether more enjoyable.
The Mini-T is ridiculously small (16x8x4cm) but very nicely made. A single pair of inputs and stereo speaker terminals for banana plugs or spades (although spades might be a bit problematic due to space limitations).
Class D amplifiers are very efficient, with little of its power being wasted to heat the amp, so it runs very cool.
20wpc, the spec says, but that’s way optimistic in real world terms. I’ve heard that it measures at 10wpc into 8 ohms.
But it drives my 83dB/W MBL speakers with no problem as long as you don’t want to flex the walls, although the MBLs are quite an easy load impedance-wise.
Some might say that it is stupid using a £60 amp with £18,000 speakers.
I say, give it a listen!
It doesn’t always fare well with difficult speaker loads, or so I’ve found, but I’ve had reports that it works fine with most speakers. And this just might be the perfect amp for Quad 57 stats, although I have not tried this. It also tends to get a little confused with very complex music compared to multi-£k amps, but is nonetheless way beyond the abilities of its price peers.
It doesn’t have the deep bass heft & slam of a good, larger amp, but the bass does go deep and is very tautly controlled.
Mids are gloriously open and very detailed.
Highs are perhaps a bit sharp, but not harsh and without the oft-encountered roll off that I usually hear in a typical class D amp.
Stereo focus / imaging is a little on the broad & spacious side, rather than pinpoint.
Where this little amp really excels is in resolution and transparency, which is where it’s at as far as I am concerned!.
I used this amp at the Scalford Hifi Show last year (2011) with Tannoy 12 inch Monitor Golds in Lancaster cabinets – and it sounded absolutely fantastic. A visiting hifi designer from a very upmarket firm was pretty much goggle-eyed in amazement when he heard it, and even peered behind the kit to make sure it really was this little amp that was wired-up and sounding so glorious!
So, yes, a major thumbs up, and as long as you can live with a single input – or just use it as a power amp with ‘sensitivity control’ plus a multi-input pre-amp – it’s just stupidly good vfm.
£60 UK delivered – money back if you don’t like it and you can’t say fairer than that.
OK, so I don’t use one now in my main rig, but I do in my second system with a valve output staged Marantz CD player and very nice Usher X719 speakers – it sounds great!
Use it in your office system, but if you try it in your main rig it just might end up staying there!
The short review – “Just buy one”.
The longer review -“Fantastic amp for beer money. Just buy one.”