T+A Power Plant integrated amplifier

With the Music Player, T+A also sent along the Power Plant integrated amplifier ($2700). The Power Plant (PP) looks almost identical to the MP, and the two comprise a handsome, fully functional audio system in a single modest stack. To make this even easier, you connect the two at their rear panels with a supplied RJ-12 cable (T+A calls this the E Link), which coordinates their functions and allows the MP and PP to be operated with a single remote control.

The front of the PP looks like a typical integrated amp: large volume knob; input buttons; Bass, Treble, and Balance controls; Mute, Loudness, and Flat settings; and a headphone minijack. The tone controls, which pop in and out, are really only touchup controls with limited range. For example, T+A says they limited the range of the Balance control for reasons of sound quality; running it hard left or right moves the image only a few degrees either way.

Audio is routed from MP to PP via regular analog cables, and the PP has additional analog input jacks for the rest of your legacy components, including tape decks, video, and, with the PP's optional phono board installed, your turntable. There's also a preamp-out for attaching a separate power amp or subwoofer.

The amplifier section features a toroidal transformer in its power supply and puts out 140Wpc into 8 ohms. Based on the principle of a Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) output stage, the PP is described by T+A as a "switch-mode power amplifier" that uses an output stage where the signal is described as a series of high-frequency positive and negative full-scale pulses. "These new switch-mode output stages were developed entirely in-house, in contrast to the 'off-the-peg' integrated ready-made IC amplifiers used by other producers," says T+A, "and are of discrete construction, equipped with the latest ultra-fast MOSFET transistors and high-energy intelligent driver modules."

The result is a dynamic-sounding amplifier section that exhibited ample and well-controlled bass along with a smooth, detailed top end. I ran the MP-PP combo over a period of several weeks in two primary systems, and also as part of a small office setup. The main systems included both my MartinLogan Prodigy loudspeakers and a neighbor's Vandersteen 3A Signatures in a large living/dining area, though I wasn't sure the PP could adequately power the Prodigys or Vandersteens the way I like to hear them in large spaces.

I shouldn't have been concerned. In either system, the PP never ran out of steam—it never ran that warm, either—and exhibited the same tight yet musical character as the MP. Both my neighbor, Matt, and I were very impressed with the PP driving his Vandersteens, which he normally uses with a pair of modified Parasound amplifiers. Matt, who particularly favors electric jazz and blues guitar, pulled out discs by Jeff Golub and Ronnie Earl, then switched to his music-stuffed laptop. Each time, he remarked on how detailed and dynamic his speakers were sounding. I had to agree—they sounded wonderful.

Clearly, this combination of T+A Music Player, Power Plant, and a hard drive stuffed with music was all that was needed to coax great sound from the Vandersteen 3As—an altogether impressive and complete system for just over $10,000.

COMPANY INFO
T+A elektroakustik GmbH & Co. KG
Planckstrasse 9-11
D-32052 Herford
Germany
(49) (0)52-21-7676-0
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