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Reisong A10 EL34 Hi-Fi Audio Stereo Tube Amplifier Single-end Class - A Review

steve-z

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Another A10 fan here, mines the uprated hand wired varian, I loved it the minute I started playing music through it.
I will admit the addition of the Aune x8 DAC has been a game changer, every aspect trounces my old +8k syste, I’m hands flat down on the table blown away by this little amp. Also it has no problems driving my ProAc Response 1SC’s.

Its a great piece of kit and ideally suited to a small study or sitting room.

Interesting to hear of someone using an A10 with a pair of speakers that some would think wouldn't be suitable, there's a guy on Youtube called Tarun who has a Youtube channel called "A British Audiophile", his primary system uses the same ProAcs, on quite a few occasions he's mentioned that they need an amp with plenty of power to get the best out of them, in his case that's probably true as his listening room is considerably larger than yours, I think that room size is the main factor in how successful the A10 works in your setup, if you want to drive a big room then speakers of 90+db/w will be needed with the A10. My Mission QX2s are 88db/w and are a good match for the A10 in my 4m x 3m bedroom, needing the 11 o'clock to12 o'clock position on the volume dial for my normal listening level. Since my last post I've also swapped from the 4ohm to the 8ohm taps on the A10, the 4ohm taps which I've been using with my Frugelhorn Lites initially and then the QX2s sounded fine but swapping to the 8ohm has been beneficial, tightening up the bass a little and giving the treble a slight lift.
 

Headchef

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Interesting to hear of someone using an A10 with a pair of speakers that some would think wouldn't be suitable, there's a guy on Youtube called Tarun who has a Youtube channel called "A British Audiophile", his primary system uses the same ProAcs, on quite a few occasions he's mentioned that they need an amp with plenty of power to get the best out of them, in his case that's probably true as his listening room is considerably larger than yours, I think that room size is the main factor in how successful the A10 works in your setup, if you want to drive a big room then speakers of 90+db/w will be needed with the A10. My Mission QX2s are 88db/w and are a good match for the A10 in my 4m x 3m bedroom, needing the 11 o'clock to12 o'clock position on the volume dial for my normal listening level. Since my last post I've also swapped from the 4ohm to the 8ohm taps on the A10, the 4ohm taps which I've been using with my Frugelhorn Lites initially and then the QX2s sounded fine but swapping to the 8ohm has been beneficial, tightening up the bass a little and giving the treble a slight lift.

I’m also using the 8ohm taps with the ProAc’s.

room size and refractive effect is a huge factor in any system, the room I have it set up in at the moment is modest to sa the least, actually it’s our kitchen/study so it’s essentially one room partially divide. The seating/listening “room” is only 7ft wide by 11ft deep with the speakers firing towards a sofa and a wall covered with oil paintings & plants. Both sides tend to “fall away” (one to a bay window on the left and the study/kitchen to the right) in line with the driver cone angles. The floor is also covered with rugs.

anything over 60% volume is considerEd to be loud, which still leaves plenty of space for plenty of “can you please turn that down I can’t hear myself think” moments from the good lady!

I’ve seen Tarun’s (very good) YouTube channel and I share his affection towards these little speakers, they are very special and well worth hunting for (if you can!). The A10 has no problems driving the ProAc’s even with complex and full range mixes such as Radiohead’s Paranoid Android or Red Snappers Keeping Pigs Together, but I cannot understate the night and day difference which the Aune x8 DAC delivered. That was a bit of a revelation!

Some new speaker cables next :)
 

steve-z

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I’m also using the 8ohm taps with the ProAc’s.

room size and refractive effect is a huge factor in any system, the room I have it set up in at the moment is modest to sa the least, actually it’s our kitchen/study so it’s essentially one room partially divide. The seating/listening “room” is only 7ft wide by 11ft deep with the speakers firing towards a sofa and a wall covered with oil paintings & plants. Both sides tend to “fall away” (one to a bay window on the left and the study/kitchen to the right) in line with the driver cone angles. The floor is also covered with rugs.

anything over 60% volume is considerEd to be loud, which still leaves plenty of space for plenty of “can you please turn that down I can’t hear myself think” moments from the good lady!

I’ve seen Tarun’s (very good) YouTube channel and I share his affection towards these little speakers, they are very special and well worth hunting for (if you can!). The A10 has no problems driving the ProAc’s even with complex and full range mixes such as Radiohead’s Paranoid Android or Red Snappers Keeping Pigs Together, but I cannot understate the night and day difference which the Aune x8 DAC delivered. That was a bit of a revelation!

Some new speaker cables next :)

I use a Topping D30 DAC with an Ifi Low Noise PSU (recommended by Tarun) taking the digital optical output from my iMac or my Sony BDP S350 used as a CD transport. Most of the time I stream Tidal via a Teufel Raumfeld Connector 2, I don't know what the internal DAC is but it sounds extremely good. As to speaker cable I've been using Audioquest cable very successfully, the FlexSlip 14/4 for biwiring and the 14/2 for single wiring, I think for performance/cost it's great value.
 

Winvieh

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HiYa,
i'm running an A12, thats the A10 wired for 12ax7 and, maybe, with better tubes. Mine have had shipped with Psvane EL34C and 12ax7 China. Not bad, but i missed some deep bass, and punch. After some travel with JJs and Electro Harmonics, and mixes i have found my harbour:
Svetlana EL34 winged - C and 12ax7AC from Tube Amp Doctor.
I have also replaced the inter stage condensor from orange MKT to Mundorf Supreme MKP.
This tooks some money, but i like every cent i spend.
Regards Winnie.
P.S. I'm running Klipsch La Scala from 1978.
 

Headchef

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HiYa,
i'm running an A12, thats the A10 wired for 12ax7 and, maybe, with better tubes. Mine have had shipped with Psvane EL34C and 12ax7 China. Not bad, but i missed some deep bass, and punch. After some travel with JJs and Electro Harmonics, and mixes i have found my harbour:
Svetlana EL34 winged - C and 12ax7AC from Tube Amp Doctor.
I have also replaced the inter stage condensor from orange MKT to Mundorf Supreme MKP.
This tooks some money, but i like every cent i spend.
Regards Winnie.
P.S. I'm running Klipsch La Scala from 1978.

adding an Aune x8 DAC completely transformed the output of my A10 (playing via qobuz)

That said my A10 has now been superseded by an EAR/Yoshino 859 this valve thing is addictive! :D
 

steve-z

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This thread seems to have gone rather quiet so I thought I'd bring everyone up to date with recent changes to my setup. Firstly my Raumfeld Connector 2 has been moved on primarily because of its non support of Amazon Music HD which is now my preferred music streaming service, but also because of the erratic function of the Raumfeld control app, it has been replaced by a second Bluesound Node 2i (I also use one in my primary setup with my Rega Brio/QA Concept 40s) and that has made my Topping D30 unnecessary so that has also been sold. The Node 2i has produced a nice boost in sound quality which was not unexpected given my use of one in the main setup.
I've so far resisted any further delving into tube rolling as the more expensive EL34 or KT77 tubes only appear to give more at the low end which is not what I'm looking for, as has been noted from the OPs tests and measurements the A10s slight deficiency is the rolloff at the treble end, to compensate for this I've taken to using some treble lift via the inbuilt switchable tone controls in the Node 2i, I've found setting the treble control to +5dbs gets the top end response to be on a par with what I get from the Brio/Concept 40s, I also have found it useful to cut the bass control by -1db which curbs the generous bass output of my Mission QX2 to good effect, unfortunately Bluesound don't give any information as to the exact frequencies the tone controls turnover at so I'm flying a little blind as they say. The only slight downside of using the tone controls is that when they're switched in the sound output level drops by 3-4dbs, not a problem when streaming AM HD which has a very healthy volume output but when replaying my own music library via memory stick into the USB input the volume is much quieter which means the A10s volume has to be advanced to 80%+ of maximum which is not ideal. I had given some consideration to perhaps adding active equalisation by something like the Schiit Loki Mini but it would be an added expense of £150 and currently they are extremely difficult to source in the UK, be interesting to hear if any other A10 users have tried something of similar effect.
 

Gorgonzola

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I looking at this thread for the first time. I'm impressed by the OP's efforts and for his subjective impressions. An astronomically high 2nd order harmonic distortion isn't surprising for a tube SET, nor are the OP's listening impressions of "richness", etc.

But what is surprising and confusing to me is the absence of the usual chorus of audible difference deniers.. I wonder why this is? Are they bereft of ready explanations of the perceived audible differences? Or are they willing to quietly admit that there are extremes of amp design where, indeed, differences can be heard?
 

SIY

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I looking at this thread for the first time. I'm impressed by the OP's efforts and for his subjective impressions. An astronomically high 2nd order harmonic distortion isn't surprising for a tube SET, nor are the OP's listening impressions of "richness", etc.

But what is surprising and confusing to me is the absence of the usual chorus of audible difference deniers.. I wonder why this is? Are they bereft of ready explanations of the perceived audible differences? Or are they willing to quietly admit that there are extremes of amp design where, indeed, differences can be heard?
Beat that strawman harder!
 

Carey J

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I recently purchased a Reisong A10 and paired it with a pair of Klipsch RB 61 II bookshelf speakers. Match made in Heaven. At 95db sensitivity, the the Reisong drives them easily, and the Klipsch have enough treble that a bit of rolloff is not necessarily a bad thing. I stream Qobuz into them for hours at a time w/o fatigue.

The Reisong paired with the Klipsch RB 61 IIs are a fantastic choice for a small room of computer sound system. Great mids, The almost whispered vocals on "Come Out and Play" by Billie Eilish are clean, with good detail. Good bass for a bookshelf speaker. The bass on "Higher Ground" by Red Hot Chili Peppers is crisp and punchy. Really nice treble. Cymbal and rim hits on "Higher Love" by Steve Winwood are right there.
 

SIY

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The Reisong paired with the Klipsch RB 61 IIs are a fantastic choice for a small room of computer sound system. Great mids, The almost whispered vocals on "Come Out and Play" by Billie Eilish are clean, with good detail. Good bass for a bookshelf speaker. The bass on "Higher Ground" by Red Hot Chili Peppers is crisp and punchy. Really nice treble. Cymbal and rim hits on "Higher Love" by Steve Winwood are right there.
Imagine how it could sound with an actual good amplifier.
 

pma

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From engineering and technical point of view, parameters of tube power amplifiers are horrible.
 

SIY

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From engineering and technical point of view, parameters of tube power amplifiers are horrible.
Tube amps can be much better than this, as you are well aware.
 

Carey J

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Imagine how it could sound with an actual good amplifie
There are, of course, much better amps out there than the A10. For God's sake, it's only $264.00 plus shipping. But if you pair a "flawed" component with another flawed component whose "flaws" cover up the first component's flaws, you can still end up with very good sound. Maybe even better than you would by pairing the flawed component with a "perfect" component that spotlights it's flaws, instead of compensating for them.

Klipsch speakers have a reputation for, let us say, strong treble response. Lots of Klipsch owners mess around with speaker placement or use EQ to tone them down. An amp that rolls off the treble the way the A10 does may sound better with them than a "better" amp with a flatter frequency response curve would

If you pair the A10 with efficient speakers with a "bright" tonal quality, you will end up with very good sound, and you won't need to mess around much with EQ or speaker placement to get it. Mine flank my computer desk about 3 feet from their respective ear, on stands that put the tweeters at ear level. That's about as simple as speaker placement gets, and I'm delighted to listen to them for hours at a time. My EQ settings are pretty much just bass boost.

Measurements are useful. Mad props to dumpingg for helping me to understand why my setup sounds as good as it does. But declaring a component "bad" because it doesn't measure up to some ideal can cause you to miss out on some very good setups.
 

SIY

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There are, of course, much better amps out there than the A10. For God's sake, it's only $264.00 plus shipping. But if you pair a "flawed" component with another flawed component whose "flaws" cover up the first component's flaws, you can still end up with very good sound. Maybe even better than you would by pairing the flawed component with a "perfect" component that spotlights it's flaws, instead of compensating for them.
Or you could use two decent components. Then you don't have to rationalize.
 

Carey J

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Or you could use two decent components. Then you don't have to rationalize.
I was attempting to explain why so many reviewers are "gushing" about the A10. It does sound good, paired with the right speakers. Which is kind of the point of putting together an audio system. Maybe you should try listening to an A10.

And using "two decent components", as you suggest, may significantly, or even prohibitively, increase the cost. The system I put together (DAC, amp, speakers and stands) ran just under $1,000, including shipping. It's easy to spend $1,000 on "decent" speakers alone. Or, if you really don't want to think about component selection, you could just go for a McIntosh MXA80 integrated system. Crutchfield has them for just $6,000. And it even includes a remote control. /s

Measurements are useful. They can alert you to problems and opportunities associated with components. At the very least, they can give you a starting point for EQ settings. But when all is said and done, they are a means to an end, not an end in themselves.
 

SIY

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I was attempting to explain why so many reviewers are "gushing" about the A10. It does sound good, paired with the right speakers. Which is kind of the point of putting together an audio system. Maybe you should try listening to an A10.

Why would I bother spending money and time on this junk? If I wanted a lousy tube amp, I’d build one. And wouldn’t try handwaving to excuse the lousy performance.

I have three inexpensive (well under $1k) systems in my house. They sound great because the people who designed and built them were skilled engineers. No need for an overlay of distortion and crap frequency response.
 

Schollaudio

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Back in the late 90s early 2000s I worked with a local company to design SE output transformers. Using EL34s I was able to easily get flat frequency response to 30Khz a decent square wave to 10Khz and THD measured with an HP analyzer to below 2%.

I think ether the outputs are poor or there's a cap that's rolling off the highs.
 

Carey J

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Why would I bother spending money and time on this junk? If I wanted a lousy tube amp, I’d build one. And wouldn’t try handwaving to excuse the lousy performance.

I have three inexpensive (well under $1k) systems in my house. They sound great because the people who designed and built them were skilled engineers. No need for an overlay of distortion and crap frequency response.
I'm glad you enjoy your systems. Enjoying your systems is really what it's all about. I know you find it hard to believe, but I and the other A10 owners, and the reviewers who "gushed" over the A10 enjoy our systems, too. I don't think I'll waste any more time arguing with someone who already knows everything. Best wishes and be well.
 

MaxBuck

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At the end of the day, it's all about whether you like the sound your system produces.

With that said, I'm bemused by the fact tube system owners persist in coming here to claim measurements don't matter. I mean, this whole site is built around the belief that measurements are all that matter.

It's like if I were to visit GoBlueWolverine and pontificate on how Buckeyes football is the crowning glory of collegiate athletics.
 

Carey J

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At the end of the day, it's all about whether you like the sound your system produces.

With that said, I'm bemused by the fact tube system owners persist in coming here to claim measurements don't matter. I mean, this whole site is built around the belief that measurements are all that matter.

It's like if I were to visit GoBlueWolverine and pontificate on how Buckeyes football is the crowning glory of collegiate athletics.
Don't recall saying that measurements didn't matter. I did observe that people who listen to the A10 seem to like it, measurements not withstanding. Indeed, I wasn't the first person on the thread to make that point. I believe that was dumpingg, the guy who did the measurements.

As to why "tube system owners persist in coming here to claim measurements don't matter", this thread is a review of a tube amp. Even the OP said the A10 sounded better than its measurements would predict. I actually found the measurements useful. I knew my A10 sounded good with my speakers (Klipsch RB 61 II), but I didn't understand why they sounded so good. The treble rolloff, paired with a bright speaker acts like EQ pulling the treble down. Duh! Would the A10 sound good with flat, neutral speakers? Probably would sound like crap. But with bright, efficient speakers, it works pretty well. Having the measurements really explained that for me. Viva measurements! They're helpful, as long as you use them as a tool to understand a component's strengths and weaknesses, and not simply as an excuse to dump on it.
 
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