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Item: One Technical Brain TB-Zero/Int (integrated amp) Location: Sunny Nanango, southern Qld Price: $14,600 (including postage within Oz) Item Condition: Very good, no obvious scratches or marks. Fully operational. Reason for selling: I'm trying to consolidate my gear. Thought I had a buyer for this amp but unfortunately that sale didn't end up happening so I thought I would list it officially and see what happens. Payment Method: Pickup - Cash, Paypal, COD Only Extra Info: I have the original box. Please note this amp does not have a remote control function. More information available in the links below. Note the Technical Brain website is in Japanese and will need translation. https://www.stereo.net.au/forums/topic/251642-technical-brain-tb-zeroint-review/ http://www.technicalbrain.co.jp/products_tb_zero_int.htmls https://www.stereo.net.au/forums/topic/263126-terry-o-and-cafads-integrated-amp-challenge/page/4/ Pics:
I thought the Technical Brain TB-Zero/int deserved its own review thread. I’ll put a copy into my “Addicts Guide” thread just for the sake of completeness but the TB has a big enough rep that it deserves a little space to itself. The asking price alone demands it, $26K US is pretty decent ask for a piece of audio gear, so it had better be special, and it is. I’m not sure if there is a fixed RRP for Oz, if you wish to find out Technical Brain are distributed in Oz by Zensati Australia, I’m sure they could supply a price if asked. http://www.zensatiaustralia.com/ First up I was a little apprehensive when I bought the TB Z from Rob, I knew it was a good piece of gear of course but the price and the fact that listening to it gave me a similar feel to when I was trying to work out how to get the best out of the Halcro DM-38 made me wonder if I was doing something that would turn out to be a difficult piece of kit to nut out. As it turns out it was a little difficult but nowhere near as complicated as the Halcro turned out to be. Difficult is not necessarily a bad thing of course, you can learn a lot from a component that sounds a little different to everything else or behaves differently. They make you think and can send you in a different direction to the one you thought you were moving in. I suppose the old saying “necessity is the mother of invention” applies here, if you have something that you know can be special and it isn’t living up to your expectations then there will be a reason why, all you have to do is find it. So far in my TBZ journey I have found that the resolution and detail retrieval of the TBZ seems to have found the capabilities of my usual source and cables wanting. I initially tried the TBZ out with my YBA cd spinner and Aurealis RC1 interconnects with Redgum Audio Pipeline speaker cables feeding into my Lenehan S2R stand mounts. I then moved to Aurealis Dragon interconnects and found a nice improvement. A change from my YBA to a Densen B420 cd player was initially confusing, the Densen was not a good match with the TBZ. (Densen has more a tubey sound while the TBZ is unashamedly solid state, they did not mix well) The second biggest change so far was when I brought in my Sansui cd917XR cd player, that was a much better match. The biggest change was moving from single ended cables to balanced. Yes, I know, many people claim balanced are infinitely superior to RCA but until last week I was among the group who could not find any differences between the two with any gear I tried them both on. I realize they are good for noise rejection but I was of the opinion that my lounge room was not that electrically noisy that they were required just for that reason. I am forced to assume then that balanced cables only make a significant difference when a certain level has been reached, or when a design requires something of the signal input that only balanced can provide. This would be when a true balanced design meets a true balanced design. (again an assumption, but I think it's a pretty safe one) The TBZ only sports balanced inputs (which really should have been a serious hint) but us audio hobbyists can be pretty thick at times so it took me a while to remember that I was working with a component that was way above the level of the gear that I play with most of the time. Anyway, the outcome of that part of the story is the TBZ will wow with true balanced designs but perform only as well as many other amps if you use an RCA/balanced adaptor and sub in an unbalanced source. The Sansui 917 and the TBZ is an excellent match, I was truly taken aback with the level of detail retrieval on display and just as taken aback with the way it was portrayed. (the fact that the cd player is 25 years old and is not any of the usually claimed "audiophile approved DAC designs" is also worthy of note I would think) The top end is so extended you can really hear all those little metallic sounds, things like strings, triangles and even brass ringing out. These sounds that are usually not present, probably because they usually sound hard and bright, but on the TBZ they can be heard easily in all their metallic character without coming across as hard or bright. Or, explained another way, they are still just as hard and bright as they should be but they are somehow just not fatiguing to listen to. Some components have a current connection that can be used instead of the usual voltage connections (Audio GD, Krell, Halcro, etc). I have tried both the Audio GD and the Halcro gear using these current inputs and found that I preferred them to the voltage alternative every time. The difference on the TBZ between true balanced and normal RCA is a bit like that voltage to current difference I heard on the Halcro gear only about 5 times as pronounced. Going back is not an option. (well, OK, maybe for TV, but only until I could get a balanced DAC) So now that I’ve got the front end sorted what about the back? Were the Redgum speaker cables up to the task? I tried out my RG213U cables and found a drop in details but an increase in vocal sweetness, the vocal improvement was nice but once the level of detail has been experienced its loss cannot be suffered so the RG213U was not an option. Next up was a pair of Aurealis UP420s, I’m not quite sure if I prefer these to the Redgums, they do drop the detail level just a touch* (I think, not completely certain on that yet) but they seem to give a lower background noise floor. This works really well with slower paced music but doesn’t work quite as well with fast paced rock and metal. My apologies to those who thought they were going to get a full review right from the word go but this is as far as I've gotten. I plan to get further this weekend and I was going to wait until I was done before posting but I had to do something while my washing machine was running this morning so I thought I'd write up my path so far. Next steps will be to investigate different speaker cables (emails have been sent) and different speakers. I did try the TBZ over at Gremrocks place a while back and I found I really liked it on the ML3s but not so much on the ML2 Ltds. Different source, cables and room of course but that's life. The ML3s are now sold so the only options I have available to me are the ML2 Ltds and the KEF LS-50s. I do like the little KEFs but I think this time they are way out of their league so I'll give the ML2s a run and see what I can hear. *Most people would probably say that the Aurealis cables were a definite step up as they cut down on the brightness and the hardness of the sound. I am not most people and the TBZ is not most amplifiers, I think it may have enough of a hold on the frequencies in the top end that we can afford to let that “nasty” sound through without it getting nasty enough to annoy. So this isn’t your typical audio situation. Notice how the TBZ looks smaller than in many of its brochure pics? I always thought it would be bigger in person. One close up. I'm listening to some Aerosmith to warm things up this morning. cd case included for scale. See, not a particularly big amp. Now, if you'll excuse me, I believe I hear a beeping sound coming from the laundry.
For our April club meeting … George Fracchia of Zensati Australia (http://www.zensatiaustralia.com/) will present a superb system based around the Prism Sound Callia DAC/Preamp, along with the Technical Brain Integrated Amplifier TB-ZERO INT and the PMC MB2 SE Speakers. The PMC speakers have been kindly supplied by Vinod and John at the LifeStyle Store in North Parramatta (visit http://www.lifestylestore.com.au/). The official representative of Prism Sound in Australia, Peter Orehov, will also be present. Peter will give a presentation highlighting the relevance of the Professional Recording (studio) to the Audiophile and Hi-Fi community. ZenSati Australia sells the Prism Sound Callia DAC/Preamp to the Hi-Fi and Audiophile community. Technical Brain products are also available through Zensati Australia. PMC products are available through the Lifestyle Store. The system will be as follows: Prism Sound Callia DAC/Preamp. Jason Kennedy at the the-ear.net said… “Prism Sound’s reputation preceded it when it finally entered the domestic hi-fi business earlier in the year . The Cambridge based company has been making converters for the studio market since 1987 and its top pro DAC is a cult product amongst those in the know. PMC founder Peter Thomas has one in his main system for instance, and he’s tried more than most in his quest for digital audio ecstasy.” Refer to http://www.prismsound.com/hifi/products_subs/dac1/dac1_home.php and http://www.the-ear.net/review-hardware/prism-sound-callia-dacpreamplifier. Technical Brain Integrated Amplifier TB-ZERO INT. Highly respected, ultra-high performance products from Japan. Refer to http://www.zensatiaustralia.com/2013/01/technical-brain-tb-zero-integrated-stereo-amplifier-now-available/, http://www.technicalbrain.co.jp/stereosound-2015spring-194.pdf and http://www.technicalbrain.co.jp/index_e.html PMC MB2 SE Speakers. From the Lifestyle Store website “…Meticulous attention has been applied to hone the designs to new standards, adding new internal bracing, computer-modelled driver dispersion surrounds, and custom-designed, specially tuned stands. All these elements contribute to the production of a purer musical signal, allowing the listener to come as close as possible to the original performance.” Refer to http://www.lifestylestore.com.au/pmc-mb2-se-three-way-high-resolution-reference-monitors.html, http://pmc-speakers.com/products/consumer/se-series/mb2-se. Our thanks again to the Lifestyle Store for graciously providing these speakers for the day. Cabling will be from the products distributed by Zensati Australia which includes Vertere, Black Cat, Trinity, Dalby and of course ZenSati. Gryphon Mikado Signature CD player. We will use the Mikado as the transport into the Callia DAC/Preamp. Note that Gryphon Audio Designs is not distributed by Zensati Australia (this player belongs to a club member). The Mikado is an excellent player with remarkable resolution, transparency and warmth. Refer to http://www.gryphon-audio.dk/m/product-information/heritage-products/mikado-signature/reviews for reviews. Note: We will also have an Oppo BDP-105D Universal player on hand to allow the playing of USB flash drives during our BYO session. We will be using the Oppo only as a transport into the Callia DAC. The second half of the music sessions will be our popular BYO. Members and guests are welcome to offer music to share with us all. So bring along your favourite music on CD or USB flash drives (sorry no vinyl). All we ask is that the music and recordings be interesting. We'll ask you to tell us a little about the artist/recording before it is played. Tracks over 6 minutes will be faded out, to give everyone a fair go. Whether you are a novice or a seasoned veteran, you will have the opportunity to listen, learn and share your experiences with others. Feel free to come and hear the capabilities of the system, or to just share the experience with like-minded music lovers in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Guests are welcome – we are a very friendly club so you don't need to know anyone to join us for an afternoon of fine music and sound. Venue: Epping Creative Centre, Dence Park Address: 26 Stanley Road, Epping When: Sunday 9th April 2017 Doors open 1pm Meeting starts at 2pm Best regards, Tom Waters President Sydney Audio Club www.sydneyaudioclub.org.au firstname.lastname@example.org