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Preamplifiers - Trends PA-10 SE
TRENDS PA-10 SE PREAMPLIFIER


 

Serial number of the reviewed unit: 4003 5994
Reviewer:
Florent
Source:
Wadia 850
Digital cable:
Stereolab XV2-Ultra
Preamp:
Jadis JP-80MC
Amp:
Krell KSA-50 mk II
Speakers:
Apogee Diva
Modulation cables:
Siltech 4-80S
Speaker Cable:
Siltech LS2-090
Power cable:
Jorma super power cord, custom cable based on Belden 83802 with Furutech connectors
Power conditioner:
System and Magic, model Blacknoise Six
Stand:
Finite Eelement Pagode Signature
Accessories:
Redheco




Following the recent review of the Trends TA-10 (amplifier), I have been contacted by the manufacturer,  ITOK Media Limited alias TRENDS to review his new PA-10 preamplifier, which also includes a headphone amplifier. This is the last release named " Special Edition" with a set of Evox capacitors and some more refinement inside.


S/N of the unit reviewed: 4003 5994
Size (WxDxH) 75 mm x  110 mm x 45 mm
Weight: 300 g (main unit), 150 g (power supply)


 
I have listen only the headphone and the preamplifier sections, but there is also (for your computer) a PC/ Ipod connection.

I do not use and have never used a PC Audio source or PC cards because I prefer the standard products. In the case of the PC/Ipod, noise comes from the fan of the PC and this is not good to listen to the music !

The PA-10 is the last product of this firm from Hong Kong.

Please find the photographies herebelow:

Front panel:
trends_pa10_devant.jpg

Back Panel:
trends_pa10_derriere.jpg



And a global view connected to my installation. Normally there is enough place to put "big" preamplifier, but it is so smaill that you see it far away !

Look at the PA-10 in the Finite Elemente Pagode high-end rack !


trends_pa10_plateau.jpg



The build quality is always good for the deives made by this firm. This preamplifier is an hybrid one using only one tube.
It as been designed to support 2 kind of tubes: 6N11 and 12AU7. You just have to change some switches inside to select one tube or the other. The review as been done with the supplied 6N11 and 6H23n.

Here is the list of tubesyou can use:

 

(1) 6DJ8, 6922, 6N11, 6H23n, ECC88, E88CC, etc.

 

(2) 12AU7, 5963, 5814, ECC82, etc.

When you install a tube for the first time, you are pleased to see that it is  a very simple exercise, but be aware that there is not a lot of place around...

trends_pa10_dessus.jpg

A blue light is comming from the inside because there is no led on the front panel.

Herebelow is a view of the inside of the device:
Trends_PA10_inside_bis.jpg


The 2 white capacitors on the left are 2 EVOX, in the middle you see 2 other capacitors, LXE 25V 680µF rated 105°C (this is a good idea provided that the device is very hot when running), and on the right side of the photo are 2 ELNA Duorex II, 25V-1000µF.
The device is designed in a double mono configuration.

There are some changes in the listening protocol, compared with what we did previously. We still used the
Reference System #2 but we changed 3 things:
  • Because our usual reference, the KRELL KSA-50 mkII has to be repaired, we used the JADIS JA-80 instead.  The Jadis do a perfect job !.
  • Secondly a new reference power cable is up and running: it is the Jorma Design
  • Thirdly, the table is a Finite Element Pagode.(4 levels).

The PA-10 rapidly reaches its normal operating temperature.

So what about the listening and its musicality ?

After 20 minutes, I am really surprised by so many qualities. I have to recognized that I have got an incredible musicality when I compared it to my reference preamplifier, the
JADIS JP80MC, reaching the stratospherc price of 16.000€ whereas the Trends only costs 250€ !!

You should think that it is absurd, but I do believe that the highest price does not always match with the highest musicality...!

So, the product PA-10 is a surprise. It is so brillant that you can challenge all the great preamplifiers.

The most noticeable point is that the emotion comes out of this box: you listen to the music with a true "pleasure".
It is very rare, and most of the time, only the best (and expensive) preamps do the same.
Do not forget that my config is finely tuned, from the cabling to the AC power cord....

And what is wrong ?
  • First of all, it runs very hot after 1h, really too hot.
  • Secondly, the preamplifier section has a too high gain, so the knob can be used only until its 1/20th range ! 2 or 3mm rotating, no more. If you try to turn it more to the right, the level becomes too high and you cannot listen to the music anymore.

I was very pleased with this integrated amplifier from the same brand than the Trends TA-10, which got our "5 stars state of the art" award.
This time, I have to issue a lower appreciation: only 4 stars, simply because it runs really too hot.
Regarding its  musicality, it gets 18/20, because the price is ridiculous and the sound great: close to a super preamplifier costing 16.000€ !.
The design is exceptionnal, double mono inside.
There is a wizard in Trends audio, may be the designer ?. Congratulations.

Pros:
  • It challenges the great preamplifiers on the market !
  • The musicality can be changed by switching between the 2 supplied tubes: 6N11 or 6922
  • Build quality
  • Punch, micro informations and great bass
  • Price is so low that you can offer it as a gift !
  • Emotional sound

Cons:

  • Parts are cheap...
  • The knob can be used only until 1/20th, only a few millimeters done surely by my output Wadia
  • Be careful, I have taken AC current, may be from the tube ?
  • Not enough space between the 2 RCA connectors (only 2 mn), this is not good...
  • Hum inside the loudspeakers in conjonction with my monoblocs Jadis but not with my Jadis JP80MC
  • It runs very very hot, therefore it must be installed in a ventilated area ! (warning).


TL_4.jpg
 

Article written by Florent (provence13 on our Forum).

Creation date : 10/06/2009 @ 17:41
Last update : 08/11/2014 @ 20:39
Category : Preamplifiers
Page read 25 times


Print the article Print the article

Reactions to this article


Reaction #2 

by soundsmith 11/04/2011 @ 19:33

Even if the unit runs hot, the price is so inexpensive that many may not worry about the heat.  Also, the fact that you say the sound quality you got when hooking your headphones into the unit was excellent shows that this is an exceptional preamp.  Good quality at a good price may make up for the hot running temperature for a lot of customers.

Reaction #1 

by think 06/10/2009 @ 10:42

Nice review thanks,
i also noticed when running Krell 350mc amps that this unit is one of the best preamps that i have ever heard .Deepest and widest  soundstage with great dynamics and musicality.This preamp is  unbelievable, go and listen to it.Please use excellent tubes ,old Siemens E88cc are great.
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