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Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Sound Impressions: TM801A and Silver Differential D3a Phono


Last month I already posted some feedback from users of the new TM801A tubes. In the meantime I received more feedback which I am allowed to share with you.

The first report is from a gentlemen who uses a silver 10Y linestage along with 46 drive 46 mono blocks and a D3a phono stage. He compared both ER801A-Mo and TM801A against old production Sylvania 10Y in the 10Y line preamp.  Here is his report translated by me from german:

Hello Thomas!

I just finished the comparison of the tubes which you sent. Here is my report:

The first tests were done with LPs played on my AMG Viella "Forte" turntable with AMG JT12 "Turbo" tonearm and the Myajima "Kansui" cartridge which was hooked up to the D3a phono. These are the three LPs I concentrated on:

I spent the first two hours to listen with the ER801A-Mo. I did not expect such big improvements compared to my Sylvania 10Y.

Improvements are immediately audible in all areas with regard to transparency, details and soundstage. On the Oscar Peterson record details appeared which I did not notice before. On the Scheherazade the placement of the different instrumentalists got more precise with more air between them. On the chamber music record it is the tone colours of the instruments which is very charming with the silky violins.

After a 1 hour break to let the tubes cool down I changed to the TM801A. What can I say about these tubes? Well, everything the ER801A-Mo already does very well, the TM801A does even better.

The next day I continued experimenting with other music and digital recordings from Qobuz. Here the results are the same as from the day before. Finally I did blind listening (my wife determined the order of the tubes in use). And again it was the TM801A which won to my ears. Both tubes simply reproduce music beautifully.

So I decided the TM801A remains in my 10Y linestage!

You can get an impression of this gentlemen's system on a video posted on facebook.

For the german readers here the original report:

Hallo Thomas !

Ich habe gerade die Vergleichstests der Röhren beendet, die Sie mir geschickt haben. Hier ist der Bericht : 

Die ersten Tests wurden mit LP's durchgeführt, die von meinem AMG Viella „Forte“-Plattenspieler gelesen wurden, der mit dem AMG JT12 „Turbo“-Arm und dem Myajima „Kansui“-Tonabnehmer ausgestattet war, der mit dem D3 verbunden war. Die drei LPs, auf die ich mich konzentriert habe, sind: Oscar Peterson, Scherazade und Koppoo Trio.

Die ersten zwei Stunden verbrachte ich damit, dem 801A mo zuzuhören. Ich habe keine so große Verbesserung gegenüber meinem VT25 (Sylvania) erwartet.

In allen Bereichen sind die Fortschritte sofort wahrnehmbar, sowohl in Bezug auf Transparenz, Details und Verräumlichung. Auf der LP von Oscar Peterson tauchten Details auf, auf die ich bisher nicht geachtet hatte. Auf Scheherazade ist die Platzierung der verschiedenen Instrumentalisten präziser geworden und es gibt mehr Luft zwischen ihnen.Auf der Kammermusik-LP ist es die Klangfarbe der Instrumente, die mit seidigen Streichern besonders reizvoll ist.

Nach einer einstündigen Pause zum Abkühlen der Röhren wechselte ich zum TM801A. Was soll man zu dieser Röhre sagen? Nun, was der 801A mo schon sehr gut macht, macht der TM801A noch ein bisschen besser!

Am nächsten Tag experimentierte ich weiter mit anderer Musik sowie mit digitalen Aufnahmen von Qobuz und meiner eigenen Diskothek. Auch hier stimmen die Ergebnisse mit den Tests vom Vortag überein. Schließlich ging ich zum blinden Hören über (es war meine Frau, die die Reihenfolge der Röhren wählte). Und wieder ist es der TM801A, der meine Ohren gewonnen hat. Beide machen einfach schöne Musik mehr kann ich nicht sagen !

Next a report from a gentlemen whom I recently delivered his all silver differential D3a phono stage.

This phono completes a system with TM300B mono blocks and Silver differential 10Y linestage.

The first sound impressions of this system with power amps and line stages were already posted in February. When I delivered the phono I also left two pairs TM801A to try in the linestage. BTW this is one of the very best systems I ever had the pleasure to listen to and the best analog reproduction I experienced. The analog front end of this system is superbly fine tuned and adjusted with a lot of passion and experience. After I listend to the TopWing Red Sparrow cartridge .for the first time in this system it was clear that I had to get one for myself.

Here the report:

When my Differential D3A Phono Silver was delivered by Thomas in early August and sound for the first time in combination with the Differential ER 801A Line Silver and the TM300B SE Monos Silver and the vinyl front end (Doehmann Helix One Mk2, Acoustical Systems Axiom tonearm and Top Wing Red Sparrow pickup) on the Aries Cerat Symphonias it was immediately clear, this chain fulfills all my hopes for a very subtle, realistic music reproduction that offers a wealth of the finest timbres and spatial information, playful, effortless dynamics and wonderful timing. The musicality and the realism of the presentation was so convincing that I didn't believe the new TM801A, of which Thomas brought 2 pairs, would really intensify the sound experience in my chain. Oh how one can deceive oneself. When I finally got around to testing the new TM801A in the Differential ER801A Line Silver after a few weeks, it was clear after a few minutes that I was so wrong. The synergy of the TM801A in the preamp and the TM300B in the monos is fantastic. The previously described sound qualities are clearly intensified again, without any showmanship or exaggeration. Listening to music becomes an even more moving experience. Fantastic! The journey of sound discovery through my small collection of LPs begins anew.

Thank you Thomas for letting all that happen.

Just a final remark. There are many audiophiles who think that the extensive use of silver in such a system would automatically result in a too bright and harsh sound. Maybe this is true for certain pre-amps/amps but definitely not for the ones Thomas builds. 

Thanks a lot to these two gentlemen to sum up their listening impressions. I am always reluctant to write about sound myself since I am of course heavily biased and prefer to post independent views.

Best regards


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