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Trends Audio Mini Component Combo Review  Print E-mail
Home Theater Power Amplifiers Integrated Amplifiers
Written by Andre Marc   
Wednesday, 21 April 2010
Article Index
Trends Audio Mini Component Combo Review 
Conclusion and Specs

I noticed the sound was a bit darker than when I was using the iPod as a source. It should be noted that many experts say there are several issues with Windows in the way that it processes audio, and the amount of jitter it introduces in the equation. There are several very expensive USB based Digital Audio Converters on the market that use “asynchronous” technology that claim to eliminate many of the problems with using a PC or MAC as direct source. It must also be said that a MAC seems to be more audio friendly, if one is to believe what is written in many of the computer audio internet forums.

I should note also that the DAC offers coax and optical inputs as well. (Are you kidding me, for this price?) This means, you can plug in a CD player, DVD player or a music server. The DAC sells for approximately $140. I also used the set up with an old Sharp portable minidisc player. Minidisc is a format that sadly has gone by the wayside, but one that I was quite fond of back in the day as my gym companion for several years. I still had some CD to minidisc transfers in my closet. Through the Trends set up it actually sounded even better than the Nano. But the Nano was no slouch.  As a matter of fact, I remember sitting at the dining table listening to some Norah Jones I had on the Nano, and thinking to my self how wonderful her voice sounded coming thought the Trends driving the Spendors. Not digital, not mechanical, but musical in every way.

Trends Audio Slide 2

Conclusion:

I had so much fun with the Trends combo, it almost seems to good to be true. A 15 watt amp, a tubed preamp and headphone amp, a USB DAC, and an external power supply for less than a pair of decent speaker cables? Well, this maybe the first time in a while my skepticism was unfounded. I used the word, fun, because I enjoyed the focused, distortion free, musical presentation with no downside. The Trends combo uses very little power, will fit almost anywhere, and will have budget audiophiles doing dances. Let me be clear that I don't think the Trends combo is just good enough to stick in the corner of the room, or in some dingy basement. It would work absolutely fine as a main system in a confined space with correctly matched speakers. You would not have to look hard for appropriate speakers either. My Spenders are low in sensitivity and offer an 8 ohm load. It was a breeze for the Trends amp to drive them.

I am also sure the Trends combo would even reach higher levels of performance with a few tweaks, such as a good power cord, perhaps an Ayre Myrtle Block or two, and a good solid platform to house the system. But even without such perfectionist obsessions,the Trends combo delivers. If hifi is supposed to be about fun, musical enjoyment, this system is off the charts. It also delivers what high end audio does not always bring with it, namely, value, and practicality. I wish this system was around when I was in college. I was living in a small apartment, had to make do with a cheap plastic all in one system. To say this set up beats the living hell out of that landfill fodder is the understatement of the decade. This may have been the most enjoyable review I have done, and it gives me pleasure to recommend a product that is affordable to all, saves space, electricity, and best of all, sounds great. That it allows for sources as varied as a turntable, CD player, music server, iPod, or computer makes this deal even more of a no brainer. It should be noted that any of these components can be purchased separately.

Specifications:


Amplifier:

T-Amp IC Tripath TA2024 Output Power 2 x 15W @ 4ohm
2 x 10W @ 8ohm Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) 98dB Dynamic Range 98dB IHF-IM
10% @ 15W 4ohm
10% @ 10W 8ohm Power Efficiency 81% @ 15W, 4ohm
90% @ 10W, 8ohm Input Audio IN RCA (Left/Right) x 1   Power socket (5.5mm/2.1mm) x 1 Output Speaker OUT (Left) x 1 pair (+ / -)
 Dimensions(DxWxH) 114mm x 76mm x 46mm[case only]/150mm[incl. sockets & knob] Weight 500g

Preamp/Headphone Amp:

Vacuum Tube 6DJ8/6922 series or 12AU7 series (exchangeable) Output Stage MOSFET x 2 Amplification Gain x3 (for Audio CD/DAC IN)
 Power Output: 3.0 Watts per channel on 33 Ohm Headphone Frequency response: 15 Hz - 100 kHz -1db Input Impedance: 100k
0.15% @ 33 ohm Input Audio CD/DAC IN RCA (Left/Right) x 1 [3Vpp max.]
Audio PC/iPod IN RCA (Left/Right) x 1 [0.55Vpp max.]
Dimensions(DxWxH) 114mm x 76mm x 46mm Weight 380g

DAC:

USB DAC IC: Burr Brown PCM2704 USB DAC (digital to analog converter) USB Input: USB Type B Female connector x 1 Analog Output: Headphone 3.5mm jack (Volume Controlled by PC or Mac) Signal-to-noise ratio 98dB, Dynamic Range: 98dB THD+N: 0.006% (RL > 10 k, Self-Powered) Audio Formats: Lossless Formats: APE, FLAC, WMA Lossless, Apple lossless or other Uncompressed formats: WAV, AIFF, PCM or other Compressed formats: MP3,AAC,Ogg Vorbis,MP2,MusePack,WMA or other System Requirements: All systems: 256MB RAM with 30MB hard disk space Windows OS: Windows NT/2000/XP/Vista or later Macintosh: Mac OS X 10.3 or later Linux, PC LinuxOS 2007, Fedora core 7, Ubuntu 7.04 or other Power Supply: USB Bus Power or External power(Optional): DC 4.35V - 5.25V(max)(e.g. AA size rechargeable Case: Stylish aluminium Accessories: 1.5m type A to type B cable x 1 Mini Jack to 2 Phono Sockets

Trends Audio: www.trendsaudio.com

Contact: David Ho

ITOK Media Limited (Trends Audio) Address:Unit E, 13/F, World Tech Centre 95 How Ming Street, Kwun Tong, Hong Kong
Map Phone:+852 2304 0730 (9am-6pm, HKG Time) Fax:+852 2566 5740 Email:sales@TrendsAudio.com (Sales)   support@TrendsAudio.com (Support)

Reviewers Associated Equipment:
  • Spendor speakers
  • Transparent & QED cables
  • iPod Nano
  • Sharp Minidisc player
  • Dell Laptop running Windows XP/iTunes





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