Transcendent Sound T16 Stereo OTL Kit Amplifiers

Transcendent Sound T16 Stereo OTL Kit Amplifiers 


15W/CH OTL Audio Amplifier Kit


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[May 13, 2003]
Xylenz Xtorm
Audio Enthusiast


It was very fun to build this thing. It looks like it would be intimidating but if youve built the grid then this isnt much more complicated. There's just more of it. The cost. Compared to other OTL amps, there's no contest. Im sure there are better amps but who wants to spend 5-10 times as much for them? Highs shimmer, lows spank, and midrange is captivating. And it looks beautiful in the dark with all of its glowing tubes. And the biggest strength... Bruce! His support is WAY beyond excellent. We discovered a flaw in the circuit and he fixed it for free even though I munged the board a bit. He has even provided for customer's requests for new products! He is very available for his customers needs, and the message board is also a great resource.


The labels on the torroidal transformers are ugly. They dont look like the pretty blue ones pictured. They look like, well... electrical components. I was going to unwrap and poly-coat them to expose the pretty copper windings but Bruce advised against it. So I painted them instead and they look very cool. I suppose that the ability to customize the look of the amp is a strength if you build it yourself. Also, the boards are extremely difficult to remove once you've installed them. You shouldnt really have to need to remove them unless you try to remove a component and pull out the solder attachment instead (speaking from experience). I strongly reccomend not bending over the leads before soldering them since it makes removal of bad components MUCH easier and safer for the unit. Needs a preamp. However, there is room to install a pot or attenuator on it if you mod the chassis. You need efficient speakers since its only 15wpc. But then, you should have efficient speakers anyway. Playing a high powered stereo with 88db speakers is like driving a porche with flat tires.

This was my first serious amp, graduating from a $400 bookshelf system (including speakers). I built it and the grounded grid as well as the speakers (Hammer Dynamics). Since this was a DIY kit effort there may be issues due to user error. Also, since I built everything at once I cant make any specific comments about sound quality of the T16 in partucular. On the whole, the system draws me deep into music and even tv ads, but that could be due to great system synergy. YMMV. That said, there is still a tiny buzz in one channel, but only at certain phases of the moon after its been on for a while (in other words, its intermittent). I think its a bad tube so thats not the fault of the circuit. The amp definitely gets loud enough for the room with 97db speakers! I could probably get my apartment neighbors to call the police on me but I keep it down most of the time. The system has LOADS of dynamics and bass sounds crisp and refined, not tubey at all. When I figure out what is causing that buzz I'll have a great system that cost around $4500 total including a hot rodded Sony DVP9000ES CD/DVD/SACD player, the amp, preamp, speakers tweaked to the max, balanced power supply AND a nifty flexy rack. My system, in an untreated room sounds better than some $15000 systems Ive heard. You can order it assembled and spare yourself the hassle, which may or may not be worth the money to you. If youve got the bux let Bruce assemble it for you. If not then dont be afraid to dive in yourself. Theres much fulfilment in a kit you built yourself.

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