Review: APPJ 6F3 Tube amp
Budget esoterica review magazine
November 2012 issue
Today i will be reviewing a small 2.5 watt per channel Chinese tube amp. The APPJ-6F3 measures 5 inches wide by 4 inches deep and has a height of 4 inches, not including the protruding tubes. The APPJ company also makes an amp that is similar to the famed miniwatt 3.5 watt tube amp. The APPJ-6F3 amp is very well built , if you pick it up it feels as solid as a rock. Fit and finish is excellent. The front of the amp sports a small volume knob. The rear of the amp has an on/off rocker switch as well as provisions for banana terminated speaker cables and a single stereo input. The power inlet allows for your choice of audiophile power cable. In this case i chose the tara labs prism reference power cord to help give the amp a beefier sound.
The amp retails for $249 , but it is currently on sale at ALO audio for $159. The amp is available in several different colors. The review sample that i purchased has a lovely silver finish. To test out the capabilities of the amp i picked out 3 reference cd's that i would like to share with you.
David Bowie space oddity is an excellent classic rock disc. I chose selection number ten, titled "memory of a free festival". I turned the volume knob to 3:00 and it played at a reasonably low listening level. The vocals were slightly edgy , but this was remedied by turning down the volume a bit. Tonal balance and neutrality are very good. The accordion has good detail and realism with good tonal color shifts. The highs sound glassy and full with a slightly silvery and metallic sound.
St Germain tourist is an excellent jazz cd from the blue note label. I listened to track number eight. The drums from the rear showed very good placement with a good amount of width and depth. The drums at the front of the sound stage sound deep and visceral. I was surprised that i could get so much bass from only a measly 2.5 watt amplifier. The trumpet is sharp and tonally accurate. Mid-bass is excellent. The flute sounds textural and open. I also noted a very "airy" sound.
The third reference disc i tried was kenny dorham 'round about midnight at the cafe bohemia. This is a double cd live recording issued on blue note and recorded in 1956. The third song on the first disc is titled, "monaco". On this selection there was good sound stage width and good levels of detail and resolution. The highs were solid and thick with a slightly glassy and polished sound. The piano shows slight depth and there is good mid-bass energy. The clapping at the end of the song has a good sense of presence and depth as well as an accurate sound. I also noticed that the horns have very good tonal color.
better lyrical interpretation
very good mid-bass
very good detail retrieval
very good resolution
slightly punchy sound
brass instruments are more life-like
excellent build quality
needs very efficient speakers
mid-range can sound edgy at higher volumes
The APPJ-6F3 is a very stylish and fun amp. It is neutral and musical. It must be partnered with strong sources, beefy sounding ancillaries and very efficient speakers in order to get an appreciable volume level. At the sale price of $159 at ALO audio , i feel it is a pretty good deal.
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