cayinA100 T tube amp

i recently purchased this amp and became interested in the fact that there is the ability to add a preamp, bypassing the factory amp......i was pursuaded to buy a solid state preamp with assurances that this combination would significantly inhance the sound.......turns out this was a very bad mistake,and the combination was much worse than just using the cayin alone.....still, the idea of adding perhaps a high end tube preamp still intrigues me and and i wonder if anyone has any sugestions on any products that would "significantly" upgrade the cayin as a stand alone integrated amp......thanks
It sounds like you are still getting to know your amp? You may want to give it a little time first and then roll some NOS or new tubes first and see what you think.

Some integrated amps can be enhanced by using a nice preamp. The Jolida's are a good example of that. They are basically an amp with a volume control. I'm not sure if that is how the Cayin is set-up? Anyway even if you add a preamp you will be using most if not all of your tubes anyway in your amp anyway. In my experience tubes will make a big difference.

I truly don't think you should give-up on your amp before seeing what it can do with some nice tubes. If you do add a preamp stay with tubes. Just my two cents
From what I have read in reviews, the amp in the 88T and 100T are very very good. I recommend what Detredwings said and roll some tubes 1st. If you still are not satisfied then go with a preamp.
It is easy to change the amp's tone by making changes in the power tubes and the small tubes if what you want is a different tone. I did. You can start with different KT88's or 6550's. But you've got to have a goal in mind.

You can increase clarity some by using a high quality preamp but I wouldn't spend my money on a new preamp just to get a different tone.
I have an A100 and drive it with a preamp connection. The preamp I use is the VAS Citation I, made by Cayin's parent. I also use the VAS Citation to drive VAS mono blocks, in a three channel configuration. Very happy with the 'Cayin' sound. I do notice a significant difference when I use the preamp to drive the A100, even beyond the Phono inputs which was the main reason I acquired the Citation. When I drive the amp with cd input, there is less of a difference, but still noticeable. Tubes make all the difference. I have not done any tube rolling, yet. I also have a Cayin T88, which is not in use. I moved up to the 100 for more power and it made a significant difference. I drive different sets of ProAC speakers.
Are you unhappy with the performance or your Cayin or just looking to get the most out of it you can?

I have a Cayin A-300P which appears to have the same configuration. There is no active preamplifier stage, only a volume pot and input selector with the power amp stage. So it is not a true "integrated" amp.

If you read much about "passive preamps" (what an unfortunate term!) you will learn that many hobbyists prefer them, while others are satisfied only with an "active" preamp. Advantages can be listed for each design. I think it boils down to system compatibility and personal taste. See if you can borrow a couple of different tube-based active preamps from dealers or friends and decide for yourself.
swap out the preamp tubes for some NOS makes a big difference you wont even have to think about a separate preamp.. thats what i did and it made a big difference in the sound
Out of interest did you try the Cayin A88 before buying the A100? The reason I ask is I've heard both side by side and despite the A100 being more powerful the A88 was a far more engaging and musically pleasing listen, particularly in triode mode. If an integrated is a good match for the rest of your system then a separate pre-amp should not be needed
Kiwi, You should have listened to these integrated amps with your excellent pre-amp before you made your observations. You might be surprised.

BTW, do you think your preferences may have been more the result of speaker matching than any anything else? Or, a difference in the tubes used in either amp? A cooler tube in the A88 and a warmer tube in the A100T might have resulted in comparable tone, if not power.
Hi Newbee,

I listened to the A88 and A100 in the same system which used Monitor Audio GS20 speakers. In that system I would have bought the A88 over the A100 in a heart beat.

To the OP's question a decent power cable (I used Nordost Vishnu), a set of Sort Kones and entry level Nordost IC's really opened up both amplifiers.
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