Cayin A-50T: An affordable tube amplifier
The Cayin A-50T vacuum tube amplifier, at least for you guys out there, sounds so good it's like Viagra for your ears!
Vacuum tube amplifiers are the Holy Grail for a lot of audiophiles, but they tend to be a lot more expensive than solid-state amps.
Priced at $1,295, the A-50T is one of the most affordable all-tube integrated amplifiers on the market, but I wasn't thinking about that as I ran my fingers over its half-inch thick front panel and fondled the beautifully machined knobs, or admired the quality of the rear panel's RCA jacks and hefty, gold-plated speaker wire binding posts. It's beautiful and the A-50T's quality is on par with amps that sell for $2,000 or more.
I reviewed the Cayin for Playback magazine a few months ago, and you can read the full review here.
Cayin is one of China's oldest and largest high-end audio manufacturers; they're justifiably proud of the fact that they build every significant part of the A-50T in-house. Got a turntable? The A-50T can be ordered with a built-in phono preamp for an extra $250; that still leaves three line-level inputs.
I had an immediate and overwhelmingly positive reaction to the sound of this amp. It's warm and juicy, like a wet kiss, but I never felt the A-50T was soft or lacking in midrange or treble resolution. Bass is wonderfully ripe, what can I say, 35 watts never sounded this potent before.
The little amp does "space" like the high-priced spread; all of my better sounding CDs and SACDs projected huge, three-dimensional soundstages with gobs of depth and full-bodied images.