Trafomatic Experience Two, 300B Integrated Amplifier
Ah… the 300B tube. Most revered by tube loving audiophiles where the use of words such as magical and mesmerising get thrown around so often you wonder if this type of amp is some sort of be all and end all in the holy grail of audio amplifiers for those seeking the magic touch of liveliness in their music.
More than the fair share of people who are interested in this type of amplifier purchase or get to hear a less than adequate version and come to the realisation that it really isn’t that flash. Why? Because the sound is as thick as syrup, slow moving and sickeningly sweet. Not to mention that the bass lacks any real control or the ability to really provide any low down dynamics. Especially if you come from the up bringing of a solid state this is going to be so hard to digest that most will never return to tubes. Which is a real pity because it really isn’t the tube that is the problem. In most cases (other than poor circuit design) it is the power supply and associated components that Trafomatic Audio refer to as the “iron” that is the problem.
So what is the “iron”? The iron is all of the mains transformers, power supply chokes and interstage and output transformers. This is quite literally the heart of any tube amplifier. In this context the tube can be considered the soul. In this specialised sector, real advances are not derived from exotic and expensive transformer core materials. Real advances come from how well the winding geometry of each transformer is adapted to its particular application and circuit juncture. Ultimately the quality of tube HiFi is a direct reflection on the circuit designer’s transformer winding craft. And that is the crux of the matter and the particular distinction for Trafomatic Audio. Most tube audio designers are not transformer experts. They rely on generic off-the-shelf iron because they can’t wind their own. Trafomatic Audio custom design each and every transformer that goes into Trafomatic Audio Audio products and wind it themselves. It’s the polar opposite to the one size fits all approach.
With this background information and many hours of critical listening I chose to become the Australian and New Zealand distributor for Trafomatic Audio. So why did I make this decision? Well it is quite simple. Trafomatic Audio produce quite possibly some of the best tube amplifiers around at prices that don’t have you remortgaging the house on. The Experience Two proves that the extra lengths that Sasa Cokic and his team put into every part of the iron, the circuit layout, the attention to detail and the impeccable finish is very well worth the asking price of this amplifier. The performance really will change experienced peoples opinion of tubes while new comers will be treated to an extraordinary musical experience that will show the tone, textures and imaging that good tube design possess.
There is a review currently out that explains the great virtues that the Experience Two has and if you are interested in this amplifier I would encourage you to read this review. The reviewer hits the nail on the head in many ways, however I do think one point was missed concerning this amplifier. One star rating was removed due to the price which in some ways was disappointing. I believe that the price for the amount of incredible design work and implementation is well worth the asking price (however I am biased and this needs to also be taken into account). If it is compared to a cheap Chinese amp then it will look expensive however this isn’t a run of the mill tube amp. This is an old world amplifier with modern thinking and implementation for people looking at having ownership for many years to come. An item that is a keeper in this swap in, swap out world of consumer audio products. A product that will still be running strong long after many others have been thrown to the scrap pile.