16
Sep
10

Tri TRV-M300SE – a hidden gem

This 300B monoblock power amp has been getting a lot of attention from customers lately due in part to the fact that I’ve been using it regularly to demo the new Avantgarde UNO G2 horn speakers. I just feel that the metallic red transformer caps of the amp make to it look very attractive and it matches with the bright orange horns of the speakers to give the system a funky, modern look that is extremely eye-catching! The fact that it makes great sound together with the Avantgardes could also be a factor!

I have also been asked quite a number of times which country it is manufactured in, especially when told that it retails for only SGD 8200 a pair. For the record, all Tri (short for Triode Corporation) products are completely manufactured in Japan and they even use Japanese-made Koa precision resistors and Toichi oil capacitors, in a point-to-point circuit (for single-ended designs) that eschews the commercially less expensive but sonically inferior PCB.

Is it the best single-ended power amp that I have? No, I have better (and more expensive) amps at my disposal but the point is to show that very often, what is more expensive is not necessarily superior. A well matched system consisting of components that is high on the ‘value-for-money’ scale can often out-perform a very much more expensive system that is not as well matched or that are chockfull of convenience features that up the price without doing anything for the sound quality (always the most important feature in a music system, IMHO).

Coming back to the Tri 300B monoblocks, I find sonically, they have impressed me with their sense of transparency, not the kind that is etched and edgy but a more natural portrayal of the musical notes that is totally non fatiguing. The transient response and dynamic contrast, and even bass control (not a traditional area of strength for SET designs) are also much better than I had expected. This goes to show that one should never under-estimate anything just because it is not very expensive or not such a well known name (yet!).

The only thing usually holding them back is the factory supplied tubes that are of decent quality but will not show you the full potential of these giant-killers! Just plug in some good NOS tubes for the input stage and a pair of Sophia Electric mesh-plates for the output and you’ll immediately know what I mean! Without going overboard with the praises, these SET amps will give you a big chunk of that 300B triode magic that many people are raving about, but at a cost that will not burn a hole in your pocket (not too big a hole, at least!).

More info on the TRV-M300SE

http://www.hifi.com.sg/products/amplifier/triode/trv-m300se.htm

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