The tec•on model “55” is an impressive sight. When you pull it out of the box you will be surprised at its weight. For a small object the model “55” is quite heavy and dense [13 Lbs, 5.89 kg]. The reason behind the weight is to help prevent vibrations from affecting performance and sound reproduction. The weight ties in with the cone shaped feet; now there are different schools of thought on this. While some will say that you need large heavy feet for audio equipment others believe that if you limit the surface area of the feet you reduce the likelihood of transferring vibrations to the equipment. By using these cone shaped feet tec•on is able to reduce the weight [although 13 Lbs is still heavy] needed and maintain a solid, stable amplifier.
Overall the tec•on model “55” is an aesthetically pleasing product. Its design and construction are both sturdy and elegant.
On the technological side tec•on has chosen to use a three tube array; two EL84 [“Beijing” 6P14 tubes are used in the current model] output tubes and one 5755 Raytheon NOS Drive tube. It is the 5755 Raytheon tube that gives the tec•on audio model “55” its name.
For connectivity the model “55” uses acrylic encased copper 5-way binding posts for you speaker cables, two [right and left stereo] gold plated RCA inputs, and a USB connection that allows you to directly connect the model “55” to your PC. The USB connection translates the digital audio through a Bur Brown PCM2707 DAC [Digital to Analog Converter] this high quality part translates the blocky digital audio stream in to a clean and powerful analog curve to send out to your speakers. The center mounted power socket is a little odd, but when you consider the design and internal layout it was the best choice and the most efficient placement.
Internally tec•on uses Rubycon capacitors, thick copper wiring, and PCBs instead of direct signal paths as most tube amplifiers do, this design has not affected audio performance tec•on has managed to find a great balance in their design that keeps costs low and performance high.
The volume dial is an Alps Attenuator that is a potentiometer instead of a more precise stepped attenuator. However the Alps is a high quality part so the normal noise that can be found in a standard potentiometer is kept to a minimum. The Bur Brown PCM2707 DAC was shoved under the transformer cover, this was an odd placement as usually you would want to keep the area around the transformers clear to reduce noise. However I did not notice this placement affecting the performance of the model “55” so I will not linger on it.
Specifications for the model “55” are
- Integrated amplifier with RCA single ended inputs and USB DAC port
- Approx. 4.5 Watts r.m.s. per channel, class A
- Zero global negative feedback
- Choke input filter
- Metal film resistors
- Total Harmonic Distortion (T.H.D.) @ 1kHz, 8 Ohm
- Less than 1% at 4.5 Watts
- Frequency Response **
- 17Hz - 27kHz (-3 dB)
- 30Hz - 17 kHz (-1 dB)
- Tube Complements
- 2 x EL84 output tubes [the model testing came with “Beijing” 6P14 tubes]
- 5755 Raytheon NOS driver tube
- Input Impedance: 47 KOhms
- Unique blue LEDs under tubes for special effect
- Power Source: 115-230VAC switchable
- Power Consumption: 80 Watts
- Dimension: 7 1/2" (W) x 10" (D) x 7" (H) / 190 x 254 x 178 mm
- Weight: 13 lbs / 5.89 kg
tec•on has done an excellent job with the construction and build of the model “55” . While it does hves some interesting design features that are departures from many of the traditional “purest” tube amp builds but does this to balance performance with cost. The outer design borders on pure art and maintains an impression of quality that does not stop at the cover.
Continued on the next page.
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