Trends, Words and Otherwise

You know how it is when you hear a strange new word for the first time, and then, all of a sudden, you start hearing that strange new word everywhere? Where had that word been for the previous twenty-eight years of your life and why is it surrounding you now?

Truth is, that word had always been around, just waiting for you to discover it. Words are patient, and you just weren't ready for it until now. Timing is so very important, yes indeed. With that in mind, I suggest you start watching out for hemidemisemiquavers. They're everywhere, I tell you.

This weird trend works with audio components, too. Lately, ever since I mentioned my interest in putting together The Magnificent $1000 System, I keep running into one particular amplifier: The Trends, in fact, TA-10.

It's a hundred and forty-nine dollars and fits in the palm of your hand. Use it in a sentence three times, and it's practically yours for life.

The TA-10 uses Tripath's class-T Digital Power Processing technology. What does that mean? To tell you the truth, as I oft am wont, I know very little about class, especially as it pertains to amplifiers. Class-T is, if I've got this right, Tripath's class-D implementation. Ah, but such talk is meant to both confuse and illuminate. It's marketing. And marketing freaks us out. So what's it really all about?

D does not necessarily stand for digital. D might, however, stand for different. Class-D amps are efficient, that I know for sure. I mean, I've learned that class-D amps waste very little energy and run relatively cool. We like that. Wasting energy is stupid and bad, and giving off lots of heat can cause problems.

Unfortunately, the sound of class-D amplifiers has also often been described as cool. Too cool. Sam Tellig likes to joke that some class-D amps leave him feeling ICE cold. Tripath's Class-T technology, however, is said to offer class-D's efficiency, while providing a warm, clean sound. The Trends TA-10, like the popular Sonic Impact Super T, uses Tripath's TA2024 chip.

A chip? Now I'm talking about a chip. My exploration of this topic, I'm giving myself the feeling, is not going in the proper sequence. The classification of amplifiers has something to do with the input signal and something to do with switching. Switching what? The more I think about it, the more questions I create. Can somebody help me out here? I'm sure John Atkinson can explain it to me tomorrow when he walks into my office and stands there, looking at me.

"I'm standing here," he'll eventually explain, "because my office is filled with work."

I'll smile and say, "Oh yeah, I know I should know this by now, but what the hell are you talking about when you say an amplifier is class-A or -B or -C or -D?"

"Hemidemisemiquavers," he'll say.


Trends Audio has both a mission and a vision(s). The Mission:

Integrating new technologies with traditional wisdom and our innovative ideas to bring audiophiles and music lovers the outstanding Hi-Fi gears in affordable prices.

The Vision(s):

In the Hi-Fi field, some may like to play new technologies such as SACD, DVD-Audio, Blue-ray DVD, Home Theatre PC (HTPC), Class-D or Class-T amplifiers, etc. On the other side, some may like to play valve amplifiers, Class-A amplifiers and LP turntable. The worst is that it creates many unnecessary arguing between both sides in the cyberspace and other areas frequently.

We would like to breakdown the wall between the new technologies and traditional wisdom and integrating them to provide good Hi-Fi gear in affordable prices, of course, without the compromise of the sound quality. No matter what kind of technology, the one which can provide good sound in an optimized cost would be included in our consideration list.

Moreover, we hope our affordable Hi-Fi gears can attract more youngsters to join into the Hi-Fi field. Let more people be able to enjoy Hi-Fi quality gears and widen their music listening scopes.

Alright, so the language is a little screwy. So what? Our language is a little screwy, too. Hemidemisemiquaver? But I'll tell you this: I know all about that unnecessary arguing between both sides in the cyberspace and other areas frequently. And it really fricking sucks. It's an enormous waste of energy and gets me all hot under the collar. If Trends is against that, then I'm with Trends. And if Trends wants to attract more youngsters to join into the Hi-Fi field, then, again, I'm with Trends.

The Trends TA-10, at $149 and with such an honorable mission and vision, is, it seems to me, well worth looking into. Let more people be able to enjoy Hi-Fi quality gears and widen their music listening scopes!

Right on.

Anil S's picture

I have a fairly large room with 24' ceiling but my Mirage Omni 260s sing! Soundstaging is absolutely beautiful. My only gripe is sometimes I think extreme low frequency signals are not reproduced effectively. Wondering if I can connect a subwoofer (Mirage S-12) to TA-10. I don't use a preamp (yet). Any suggestions?

Al Marcy's picture

I sometimes give old amps and speakers to kids, as toys with possible musical message. I am not concerned that anyone will get this jolly madness, but, I like to give them a chance.

Vinnie Rossi's picture

IMO, the Trends TA-10.1 is a really good value... at $149.00, it will floor you! I really love how good the lower-powered Tripath chips can sound. The weakest link with the stock Trends is the included 12V switch-mode power supply adapter. Replace that with a 12V SLA battery and you'll freak! Check out the rave review of the TA-10.1 on, and check out the results of the digital amp shootout on the TA-10.1 did very well.The TA-10.1 is a great way to get new people into this hobby on a budget... especially younger ones. Keep in mind that his amp only outputs 6 clean watts RMS into 8-ohm per channel (or 10 clean watts into 4-ohm), but you'd be surprised how well it can do with speakers of efficiency above 90dB. Have fun,Vinnie

Dave Lincoln's picture

Great review!I actually bought 2 of of these units last November from Obad Imports and used them in a bi amp configuration. They have a handy power amp jumper setting. You can also turn them into mono blocks by using a staple believe it or not! Ask Sasha at Obad about this. These amps are a wicked bargain!- dave

Adam's picture

Glad to see you picked up the Trends amp! Been using mine since the turn of the year here in the UK and I am very impressed. Have actually liquidated my Roksan Kandy integrated after A/B tests with audiophile friends. If you have high efficiency speakers (90dbs+) and a medium sized room you might find the clarity and neutrality of the TA-10.1 humbles much more expensive and established brands. They are addictive by the way... I have two, with two modified units on the way for a bi-amp set-up... batteries following shortly after that! ENJOY!

Stephen Mejias's picture

The amp arrived yesterday in a very, very small and extraordinarily light box. I was fairly shocked to see exactly how small (and cute!) this amp is. It's the size of one of my guitar effect boxes. Judging just on looks, I already want two! Interesting stuff on bi-amping and setting them up as monoblocks, Dave. With a staple?! I'll definitely have to look into that.I'm looking forward to some listening tests, Adam. I can certainly understand how this little amp could become addictive. The flexibility alone is exciting.

David's picture

I'm very impressed with this amp. I'm now using two of them in a biamped set-up with a Dared SL-2000A tube preamp. I use my PC as the source (wav or lossless compression files), and a Trends UD-10 external soundcard to give a S/PDIF digital output into a Zhaoulu 2.5c DAC. My speakers are DALI IKON 2 which have a sensitivity of 88 dB and I have no problems filling my relatively small listening room. I started off with a single TA-10.1 used as an integrated amp - I was very impressed with the soundstaging and clarity. In my system this set-up was slightly too 'bright' for my taste but adding the preamp has given me a sound that is exactly right for me and I think it competes well with much more expensive systems.I haven't tried changing power supplies yet - maybe batteries would make it even better!

Stew G's picture

Would you believe the little Trends, with 6 watts into 8ohms, is driving a pair of LS3/5A speakers with their AB1 Subwoofer stands to respectable levels in a small room with nearfield listening? Well, it is so, and it sounds fantastic. Some of the best sound I have experienced with LS3/5A. Don't ask me how it does it. I understand a higher power amp is in the works, and if it sounds as good as the TA10, that would likely be a better match yet.