Trends Audio PA-10 Tube Headphone Amp [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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05-06-2010, 01:13 PM
(please forgive the G1 phone photo quality)

Well, finally, after a long ordeal and a month or so of breaking at the wife's desk, I've finally got my ears in my K701 and listening to the Trends Audio PA-10 Tube Headphone Amp.

Initial impressions with a crappy source: my laptop and VBR mp3s is very positive.

Bass is present, can be punchy, doesn't hang around, and so far seems slightly quieter than balanced.
Mids, like a violins, vocals, for instance, sound complete w/o being thick.
Highs are very open, and so thus is the sound stage.

Detail is probably as good as it can be considering the current source.

It sounds a lot better than just straight out of the headphone jack on the laptop, obviously. What I like about it, say, in contrast to the KingRex HQ-1, is that the music sounds more open. It has a similar clean sound that the AVA Omega III pre-amp (using the headphone jack) does. Good dynamics and gives the sound room to breath.

Cons, so far, I hate the 1/4inch headphone jack. Those just break so easily. When using the PA-10 as a pre-amp the volume adjust seems to becomes a left/right balance adjustment knob and it is very crackly. I suppose it doesn't matter, cause once set center....but it is supposed to be a volume knob...I don't know. Maybe it was just being weird because the Trends Audio TA-10 also has a volume knob.

Anyways, more to come...

05-07-2010, 05:07 PM
Very cool, Adam! You are my kinda audio guy.

I've been looking for a tube headphone amp for my upcoming L/T Business trips.
I've been considering for a cheap Ebay unit made by Indeed, but this looks to be more legit. Thanks to Chinese, we have more tube gear than we will ever need. I look forward to your L/T review.

Keep them coming,

05-08-2010, 10:08 PM
Most of these devices have a step volume pot that will crackle with each turn. My Total Bithead does the same thing as the Trend headphone amp that I reviewed.

If people want a pure travel device for their laptop I would probably take the Total Bithead over the PA10 because while the PA 10 is a better headphone amp than the Bithead the Bithead has a built in DAC and does not require AC plug in. The Bithead is also cheaper and smaller. Trends has a dac but then the price and additional size has to be factored in. I prefer the PA 10 and Dac lite unit if you are traveling somewhere for an extended stay but short trips the Bithead is probably the king of the field. They were going to get rid of it years ago but it has remained quite popular - and the price has gone down $50 to $159.00 which is pretty impressive.

Here are some reviews - I bought the white version

I agree with you that I would like to see the bigger plug but then they would probably have to have both because many people use headphones with the smaller 1/8 jack while the bigger headphones have both plugs.

I reviewed this little PA 10 while living in China - it was nice to listen to something other than fireworks out my window at all hours and the endless horn honking.

05-13-2010, 07:17 PM
Hey RGA -

Did you try changing out the tube for any others?


05-15-2010, 09:03 AM
No i don't believe I did - I mostly had this unit in China and not long after I got back I shipped it to a magazine that wanted to try it out.