Small is the new big. In today’s world of microchips and ultra-thin cellular phones, everything seems to be veering away from being big and grandeur to being small and multi-functional. The same can be said to the music industry, especially in the amplifier segment.
While most amps are still bulky and heavy, manufacturers are on the move to make their amplifier smaller. One such case was that of the APPJ PA0901A Mini Tube Amplifier.
Most people relate big to loud, and that may be so in most amps. Ultimately, power or output determines how much a sound can be amplified. So I was first doubtful if this mini tube amplifier can deliver. But my doubts were swept away the moment it first played its first few notes.
For the unacquainted, tube amps amplify sounds using a vacuum tube which causes euphonic distortions. This leads to subtle effects and makes the sound more natural.
Weighing only 5.2 pounds and with dimensions of 9.1 inches x 8.2 inches x 8 inches, this instrument is one of the smallest amps in its category. The tube amp also has a minimalist design which speaks volumes about its simplistic nature.
Because of its small size, this amp can fit perfectly on your report cupboard or in any free space of your living room or study room.
The APPJ PA0901A Mini Tube Amplifier sports a pair of RCA inputs integrated in its amplifier. It comes with an advanced switching feature that delivers a 3.5 watts power supply per channel.
While you may be asking yourself if a 3.5 watt amp can really rock your world, you would be surprised on what this small firecracker can do.
The device has a passive volume control that manages the output of its classical tube circuit made up of 6N4 and has twin triode supplying a 6P14 tube per channel. This translates to a signal-to-noise ration of 80dB over 3.5 watts. Even with a low output, it can efficiently power a pair of bookshelf speakers.
The sound quality is not sketchy at all. It does not have any hum or background noise. The device can easily fill a room with music from your favorite tracks without missing a beat.
Listening to midrange recordings really brings out the best sounds from voices, pianos and guitars. You can also hear the bass plumb through the depths and the soundstage to be wide and big on classical recordings.
Below is a summary of the unique features of the APPJ PA01901A:
- Minimalist design with black painting and clean metallic knob
- Exposed 6N4 twin triode which feeds a single 6P14 per channel
- Passive volume control that manages the classical tube circuit
- RCA jacks for input and banana jacks for output
One important issue, however, is to pair the device with compatible and highly efficient speakers. Because of its small output, the device has some power limitations.
Another weakness of this instrument is when it comes to high range sounds. When the pitch of the music or recording is on high, you can hear the sound quality to drop significantly. Better stay playing recordings that are only on mid and low range.
The manufacturer also suggests not connecting the regular headphone jack to the amp and instead recommends using the lineout jack.
The APPJ PA series can be confusing since it uses alpha-numeric system to identify their products instead of using simple names. Many of the products actually are packaged with added or lesser components such as speakers, cables and other accessories.
Despite all these positive things about the APPJ PA0901A, it also has its downfalls like most of its competitors on the segment. Other than being underpowered, it also has some critical issues.
Here are this product’s pros and cons:
- Its small size works on its advantage because it can be installed anywhere and saves up on space
- Small wattage means it’s easy on the electric bill but still delivers a hi fi-esque sound.
- Very light and weighs only 2.6 kilograms which means you can move it around your house or transfer from one of your players or system to another
- Very affordable price and one of the best products that can be truly named an alternative to the more expensive amps
- Sound quality drops down when it is playing high-frequency sounds.
- Not as reliable as its competitors. Require maintenance from time to time.
Who Should Buy the APPJ PA0901A Mini Tube Amplifier?
Anyone who aspires to have an inexpensive amp system that can give them a hi fi-esque music experience needs to add this mini tube amplifier to their collection. This device was made with classical music lovers in mind.
Its retro look and technology will definitely resound to those who love the old school. The product is very minimalistic and will certainly mirror the preference of people who likes simplicity. It’s a good addition to your living room or study room.
The device is perfect for playing low to medium frequency music, especially instrumentals and songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s. It delivers a very pleasant feeling especially when playing old tracks during the chill moments of weekends.
The manufacturer of the APPJ PA0901A knows what they were doing in building this small wonder of a device. Although only producing 35-watts output, the sound quality and volume was enough to awaken your musical senses and get you in the groove of the song.
One of the pressing issues that you need to resolve first when buying this item knows if it matches the sensibility rating of your speakers. Some speakers may not be compatible, which will lead to a drop in its sound quality.
Overall, the APPJ PA0901A Mini Tube Amplifier is a great product to get you introduced into listening sounds with a tube amplifier. We recommend it not only because of its affordable price, but also because of its underlying value.