|The Topping TP 20 Mark 2 - Front View|
The headline sounds about as ambitious and unrealistic as some of the spam that you receive that promises to 'enhance your manhood' in '6 weeks flat.' Audiophile amplification is meant to cost at the very least tens of thousands of rupees at the 'budget end'. When a budget minded audiophile sets out to put together a stereo setup he will be led by the 'experts' to look at either a Marantz PM5003, a Cambridge Audio 350A, an NAD C316BEE, or a Denon PMA510-AE, in the amplifier department. All these are beautifully built units with in-built linear power supplies, multiple inputs, a remote control, and they all cost in the region of Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 20,000.
They are all good performers in their own right, providing good sonic value along the traditional parameters. You would be forgiven if you believed that this is as cheap, and as good as stereo amplification gets.
This is where the Tripath chip comes in. Tripath was a company started by inventor-entrepreneur Adya Tripathi in the USA, that manufactured these revolutionary digital amplification chips that provided very high levels of efficiency and performance at a very low cost. These chips found their way into many consumer electronics products by the big-box brands, but more importantly found a passionate fan following amongst the audiophile community. Tripath, unfortunately, went out of business, with a large inventory of the chips still lying with them.
This large inventory was snapped up by various people including several Chinese companies, for peanuts.
Enter Topping. These guys evidently picked up a whole bunch of tripath chips including the celebrated TA2020 chip, that has found its way into the Topping TP20 amplifier. The TP20 is available for order on ebay, for roughly 80 USD including a 12v, 5A power supply and shipping to your doorstep anywhere in the world.
|Some size perspective|
|Note the gold plated RCA's and the smooth binding posts|