TRAFOMATIC ARIES HPA
The EL34 Aries HPA is mellower. It's more billowy and fluffy than taut/driven. In tone it is more autumn burnished. It's not farfetched to call it a 300B-ish sound of the advanced sort, albeit with a lower noise floor than most.
by Srajan Ebaen | 2011
"a timeless classic tube sound come true"
MADE IN SERBIA
Like our custom 2A3 monos and reference white Kaivalya EL84 monos, the Aries Integrated began life as a custom commission. Unlike the two others, this time the client wasn’t a private music lover but hifi distributor who wanted an amp he could bundle with a line of single-driver speakers he imported, and whose sensitivity required little power. Their value pricing asked for an equally affordable but quality amplifier.
Thus was born the Trafomatic Audio Aries, and later the Aries HPA Integrated which was to become our dual-function version of this amplifier with a seperate circuit and output transformer windings for high quality audiophile headphones.
The Aries headphone amplifier from Trafomatic Audio is precisely and specifically this :
An accessible EL34-based headphone amp with 300B-like tonality, albeit offering a higher bandwidth and a lower noise floor.
A high quality HPA that offers an equally impressive performance via speaker binding posts for use as a multi-input integrated power source to drive mid-to-high sensitivity loudspeakers.
A "Timeless Classic" that would find a very special place in any top flight headphone or speaker system ... or both.
The ARIES is a class A single-ended triode circuit with one EL34 per channel driven by half an ECC81 / 12AT7 double triode. There are three RCA line inputs, a pre-out to support a subwoofer, a 1/4" output for headphones, a passive pot to make it an integrated solution, and a remote control for ± volume setting.
The EL34s, the favorite pentodes of Blues guitarists, are strapped in triode mode, and biased single-ended. In HPA mode, it delivers 1.5W into 50 ohms which will very effectively drive the majority of high end HPs up to a Z of 150 ohms. In loudspeaker mode, the 6wpc output rating falls right between a 2A3 and a 300B, but its wider bandwidth, lower noise floor, and its superior low frequency "grip" translates into a perceived power output equal to that of the 300B.
TRAFOMATIC ARIES HPA SPECIFICATION
Class of Operation
Single Ended / Class A
1 x EL34 and 1/2 x ECC81/12AT7 per channel
230V/50Hz or 115V/60Hz selectable
Headphone Output impedance
25 – 150 ohms
Output power on headphone output
1.5W into 50 ohms
Speaker Output impedance
Output power on speaker output
6.0W into 8 ohms
THD at 1W/1kHz
Output for headphones
¼” Neutrik connector
0.85 rms – Input impedance Line : 100Kohm
Headphone and line out 10Hz – 40KHz
W 320 x D 450 x H 195 mm
Matte Black or Gloss White ... custom RAL colors on request
Delivery Lead Time
Custom / made to order component - ~50 Days
Limited Time Opportunity - "Dealer Direct" Price : $3,990 / incl. Shipping
Srajan Ebaen | 2011
"Easing off the comparative pedal, and speaking from a singular anecdotal experience—no epiphany—the Aries provided the single most j-awe-dropping listening experience of recent months.
A Genalex Gold Lion 12AT7 dropped into the Aries and Bob Dylan's career-resurrecting Time Out Of Mind loaded into Fidelia. The result? An intimacy that caused listener paralysis. You don't drop the kettle switch in the face of such hypnosis. You just can't. And if you could, it'd be rude. 1997 Dylan has a voice that's a majestic oak tree, the gravel in his vocal chords rough bark. Such descriptors and analogies aren't conjoured from just any pairing. The Aries is two parts seduction, one part speed, one part air and two parts rectitude.
Smug pleasure is knowing that some SET purists will lift their noses at this EL34 design. As is just ... such snobbery has a payoff. Some common SET complaints such as overt lushness/romance, one-note bass aren't as pronounced with the Trafomatic Aries ... they simply just don't present themselves.
We then paired the Aries with a high sensitivity Hoyt Bedford loudspeaker.
Chochos' speaker takes you into the belly of the song, Cokic lights the match to illuminate what lies within. The Serb's southpaw stance of keen pricing and legato personality with the Hoyt Bedfords packs a serious one-two.
Get up after that !
The Aries acted like a typical single-ended triode—i.e. pentode conversion didn't factor—with what I call 'elasticity' ... One way to envision this effect is to imagine tones as horizontally oriented elongated drops. The beginning of the tone is the round bottom of the drop, the end the receding tail.
Transistors in general have a blunter sharper beginning and less tail on the finish. To remain 'visual' as a means of describing transistor sound, perhaps a standard stick-on rubber footer turned sideways (flat on one side, semi-spherical on the other) can stand in for solid-state.
In musical terms it's 'legato' versus 'staccato'. That distinction grossly exaggerates to require mellowing before it applies. But to exaggerate again, clearly the Aries is legato woman, not staccato man.
If hifi had celebrity ambassadors, bossa sensation Paula Morelenbaum would be the perfect face for a global Aries campaign"