Finally, I found some time to set up the Volt+ AMP and start listening to it.
Quick listening impressions after 5 minutes of playback:
- Great detail, it reminds me of the magics of TA 2024… (somebody remember something?)
- But in comparison to TA 2024, we have way more power
- Sounds a little fatiguing, but maybe its just that I need to get used to it in my studio setup
- Very musical
What I don’t like is the placement of the connectors: I would have preferred the Audio input not next the potentiometer, however I understand this choice was made to minimize the signal path beetween input and pot
Now I will live with it for a while and report more in the next weeks, but my early impression is that this is a very good AMP (it reminds me when I fell in love with the 2024 a while back)
Well, now I’ve lived with it for about a month and I must say it has replaced my studio amp, and it will stay there…
Lets start with the good of this amp:
the price\performance ratio is the best I’ve ever found for any kit-amp. I’ve used a ton of such amplifiers in the past: from sure’s 2024 (which I modded to the extreme side of it), to TK2050, to other TPA3116 (breeze audio), to icepower 125asx2.
The Volt+ IMHO has a far better quality\cost ratio than all the aforementioned amplifiers. To me it has the same “magic” that TA2024 used to have (probably a slight bit less delicate on the higher end of the spectrum) combined with the power of TK2050.
Its best qualities are:
- Very good detail and instrumental separation
- Great 3d image (I use it in a less ideal setup, my studio-workstation with my AxiomAudio M3 monitors at the sides of the PC display), but the sound is indeed very focused.
- It seems very balanced on the whole frequency spectrum
What I like less:
- Highs are a bit too sharp, but we’re talking of something that was more noticeable in the beginning, after some burn-in it has improved dramatically. I’ve never been a believer of burn-in, but for some reason Allo products have some noticeable burn-in differences.
- The placement of connectors: I would have preferred to have speakers connectors in the same place as RCAin and the pot on the opposite side. But this will be solved once the beautiful case for Volt+ will be ready.
The conclusion is: this is not a replacement for your main amp. In comparison to my Nait 5i the Volt+ lacks power, highs reproduction and musicality. But if you’re looking for your first amplifier or one for your secondary system, the Volt+ is the amp to get.
Imagine to get almost the same magic of TA204 combined with TK2025 power, at a super reasonable price. This is what the Volt+ is more or less.
This makes me even more curious to listen to it with the new Allo’s stepped attenuator and in its case…
UPDATE 2: THE VOLT+ BOXED WITH STEPPED POTENTIOMETER
Ok, I got the Allo Volt+ with stepped attenuator in its case!!
First thing: the look. Boy I love how it looks! It vaguely reminds me of steampunk designs (which I love), and in the transparent version it simply looks gorgeus. Even my girlfriend loves it, which means its also WAF compliant!
Now comes the real deal about this package: bang for the buck. For 69 USD (when shipping from India) you get:
- The Volt+ which is a 50W TPA3116 Class D amplifier
- A stepped attenuator
- Boxed and ready to play
IMHO this provides a fantastic value for money: its not the best amp in the world, but for this money there is no best alternative when looking for a secondary amplifier (I use it in my studio) or you’re looking for your first amp (I suggested it to plenty of friends which wanted to approach high-fidelity).
Don’t expect it to be a giant-killer, don’t expect it to replace your main amp. But it does its job pretty well indeed. As I already wrote I find it extremely similar to TA2024 amps (a little less detailed than those) but with the power of TK2050. It must be noted that, as Allo suggests, this amp changes its sound signature based on Power Supply Voltage. I initially powered it with 12V and it sounded fatiguing. Then I powered it with 19V (3A) and the fatigue disappeared. Also, Allo pointed out that since it features a capacitance multiplier inside, it can be successfully used with a switching power supply (like laptops ones for example, or Allo’s 19V PSU). Just make sure the switching PSU is not shitty quality and it can provide at least 3A.
THE STEPPED POTENTIOMETER
Probably the most striking feature of this amp is its high quality stepped potentiometer. It might look like an overkill, but IMHO its definetely a nice to have, and I can perceive the difference with the default pot included in the Volt+ standalone version (bit more detail).
Since its a stepped potentiometer, turning the knob is not smooth and it takes quite a bit of effort to turn it, compared to regular potentiometer. This is actually the only defect I can find: since the potentiometer is so “hard to turn”, having a larger diameter knob would have helped (the knob is 15 mm in diameter). I am looking to upgrade it to at least 34 mm one.
As I told many times: if you’re looking for your first amp, with a budget conscious decision or for your second system, this is the amp to get.