TPA3255 Amplifier (Sold to Robin L. of Los Gatos, California)
TDA 7492 Amplifier (Sold to Jeff of Toledo, Ohio)
Ayima A07 Amplifier Adventures & Modifications
In 2004, Six Moons reviewed the $39 Sonic Impact Tripath amplifier. At that time, this amplifier took the budget audiophile world by storm. The “Sonic T” as it was affectionately called, came scary close to the sound of many very respectable low watt amplifiers. DIY Audio enthusiasts, myself included, began experimenting with Tripath “chip amps”. Around that same time, Gainclone amplifiers, based on the class A/B LM3886 integrated circuit were also wildly popular among DIY’ers. Then, the Texas Instruments TPA3110 & 3116 entered the scene and many audio enthusiasts concluded they were a less lean sounding alternative to some of the Tripath offerings. Fast forward and the current budget amplifier making a splash is the Ayima A07 using the Texas Instruments TPA3255, which is the more powerful offspring of the TPA3116.
YouTube reviewers abound and there are no shortage of positive reviews of this amplifier. Purchasing a few of these brought me back to my Tripath amplifier modding days. There are several recommended modifications to the A07 to make incremental improvements.
Some of these suggested modifications are replacing the input buffer Op Amps. Sparkos Labs specifically, makes a well executed and reportedly good sounding op amp. (Shout out to Sparkos for the quick shipping and friendly service) The heat sink in the stock A07 is not well ventilated, so many have drilled holes in the enclosure to properly vent it. Some of the early A07’s came with Nichicon power supply capacitors. Mine did not and were generic types. Replacing these is often beneficial. These capacitors are quite close to the heat sink. Some heat reflective tape on the side of the capacitors nearest the heat sinks was recommended by several people.
My stock A07 did have some static while idle and rotating the volume pot. Once the volume is set, this is a non-issue, but the volume pot, I suspect, is a very low cost affair. I won’t post a review of the stock A07, but I would say that most of what one would read on-line or see in a video is accurate. This is definitely a budget audiophile’s dream come true.
I bought three of the A07’s to experiment with. First, I did the recommended Op Amp and capacitor swaps. In addition, I swapped the stock output wire with some short pieces of Dueland tinned copper wire. These modifications allowed me to keep the amplifier board in the stock enclosure, although the top lid had to be modified to accommodate the increase height of the op amps and Nichicon capacitors. These changes did make a subtle change in the sound of the stock amplifier. Whether they were worth the expense would depend on one’s budget and how much they value incremental increases in performance.
Next, I was curious to find out how replacing the external switching power supply brick with a large, high quality linear power supply would impact the A07. Obviously this would require a larger enclosure to envelope a big transformer and power supply board. Since the A07 circuit board would need to be removed to mount in a larger enclosure, I also felt it was appropriate to grace the A07 with a better volume potentiometer, binding posts, hook up wire and RCA connectors. All of these modifications and additions come at somewhat of a high cost. Were they worth the money and time? For me, yes they were. The most notable improvements in my system was the separation of instruments, larger soundstage and tighter, deeper bass. I found the sound thoroughly pleasing. As with anything in this hobby, preferences in sound presentation are subjective and often system dependent.
If you have an Ayima A07 and would like it modified or placed in a new enclosures with linear power supply, please contact me. If you don’t already have one and are curious, I have a few stock units on the shelf waiting to be all dressed up. Happy Listening!
Lii Audio F-15 Open Baffle Speakers (Built for Chuck in Ann Arbor, MI)
Mark Audio Pensil 10.3 designed by Scott Lindgren
“Coltrane” (Sold to David of Norwalk, Connecticut)
This TPA3116 amplifier includes a high purity copper EI transformer, a regulated power supply with Nichicon Gold Tune capacitors, Klei naked Harmony RCA connectors and binding posts. Input wiring is shielded Belden Brilliance and output wire is Dueland brand cotton insulated stranded copper. A US Navy stamped vintage Western Electric meter adorns the last piece of Ambrosia Maple from the stock I obtained with this striking grain pattern.
Ambrosia Maple Western Electric Meter (Sold to Mark of Shreveport Louisiana)
Ambrosia Maple TPA3116 (Sold to Richard N. of El Portal, Florida)
2023- Production Resumes!
I’ve spent many years hand crafting custom amplifiers based on the venerable TPA3116D2 integrated circuit. My goal has always been to use audiophile quality parts in the recipe and design that produces sound as close as one can get to a triode tube amplifier, but without the expense of tubes.
My amplifiers are 20 watts into an 8 ohm load and 40 watts into a 4 ohm load. I typically recommend one mates my amplifiers with an efficient speaker system. If you have questions about compatibility, please feel free to email me.
I’m now taking orders for 2023. Please email me if you are interested.
“Gershwin II” (Sold to Sean of Brooklyn, NY)
It’s always exciting to discover a piece of audio gear that doesn’t just result in a different flavor of sound, but takes one’s system to the next level of musical enjoyment. After thirty years in the hobby, this is quite a rare occurrence.
Inserting a pair of KrappyKable interconnects into my system, I had that exact exciting experience. Using my Fostex FF165K equipped Frugal Horn XL’s and one of my TPA3116 amplifiers, I was gobsmacked by the bass response improvements over my previous two reference interconnects! Not only was the bass deeper, but it was tight and tuneful. Midrange was as hauntingly real as my previous cables with perhaps a bit more separation between instruments. The bass response alone had me sold on these as my new reference. I’m looking forward to trying out their speaker cables in the future. Link below for more information.
“Texas Oak” Sold to Tim of Bella Vista, AR
Two input integrated (Sold to Larry of Montgomery, Texas)
Perdomo 20th Anniversary Cigar Box Stereo. (Sold to Emre of NYC)
“Sotho Blue” TPA3116D2 (Sold to Rich of Clarksville, Tennessee)
"Murat 124" TPA3116D2 (Sold to Emre of New York City)
The Frazier Super Texan
I plan to pay tribute to Jack Frazier and the Super Texan model by documenting some of it's history while simultaneously providing a centralized resource for information on this rare speaker. There is a F.U.G. (Frazier's User Group) that is quite active on Facebook. There is also a 200+ page FUG thread on the Klipsch forum. Unfortunately, both take hours of searching to find small bits of information pertaining to the Super Texan. If you own Frazier Super Texan's or have ever heard a pair, PLEASE email me. I would like to obtain as much information as possible from actual owners, past owners or those who enjoyed their sound. I want to pay special thanks to Todd Crane and John Daggett. Todd was the sales manager for Frazier from the early 1970’s until 1983, when Jack Frazier died and the company was sold. John worked in the woodworking plant and the electronics plant. Both men have been helpful in my research. This post will continue to evolve as I collect more information. I hope in the end, it is a good resource for the Super Texan aficionado.
Bond Street Tobacco lamp (Sold to Steven in Saint Hedwig, Texas)
Radio Dial Belts Lamp (Available)
Frugal Horn XL with Planet 10 enabled Mark Audio Alpair 10p
TPA3116D2 "The In Crowd" Soft Maple (Sold to Will of Arlington, Virginia)
ICEpower 50ASX2SE (Sold)
TPA3116D2 "Eric Coates" Integrated Amplifier (Sold to Ryan J. of Ridge, New York)
"Storyville” TPA3116D2 (Sold to Sean C. of Sacramento California)
"Kenny Burrell" 5670 Tube Buffered Volume Control (Sold to Scott K. of Ft. Wayne, Indiana)
"Strayhorn" TPA3116D2 Amplifier (Sold to Scott K. of Ft. Wayne, Indiana)
"Glenn Gould" TPA3116D2 (Sold to Paul H. of Boca Raton, Florida)