Review: APPJ PA0901A Tube amp

Category: Amplifiers

Budget esoterica review magazine
April 2013 issue

While on a shopping trip to china, larry, my senior reviewer spotted a small tube amp that caught his fancy.
The APPJ PA0901A integrated tube amp is a small amp that measures approximately 5 1/4 inch square and 5 inches high.
The fit and finish of this amp is excellent. On the front is a small volume knob that has the precision and feel of
a high end amp. On the back there are banana plug connections for 4,6, or 8 ohm speakers. There is one rca stereo input and a on/off rocker switch with a detachable iec inlet. The appj amp is available at amazon for $238. This review was done with the tara labs prism reference power cord, and the dayton B652 speakers , which made a good synergistic match with the affordable ace hardware speaker cables.

To get a good idea of what this system was capable of i tried a cd by the police , titled "regatta de blanc". This is a fairly dynamic recording and the little APPJ amp played at a pretty nice volume level, but don't expect to get blown out of the room. This amp is more about quality of sound than high volumes of sound. Track number two showed off thumpy ,rounded drums with good texture. The mid bass is strong, a trait of the most excellent dayton speakers. There is very good frequency extension in the highs. The rhythm and timing is excellent. There are good levels of transparency and the vocal clarity is pretty good.

If you are into space music, and you would like to test your system for width and depth check out the ray lynch recording titled , "deep breakfast". The last track on the cd shows off an excellent presentation of width and depth that will make the physical boundaries of your room seemingly disappear. The sound effects have a nice glassy sound with very good portrayal of tonal colors. The sound stage is airy with a pretty good sense of stability. Volume levels were pretty good considering the low power rating of the amplifier.

Last but definitely not least we have an excellent recording by lionel hampton titled, "mostly blues". This is a crisp and pretty clean recording done on the musical heritage society label. On track number 5 , i noticed a big sound with an almost true to life sized depiction of instruments. Lionel hampton's grunting is very clear and well defined. There is good upper frequency weight. The vibes are slightly rounded , with very good tonal color. The sound is crisp with a slight milky quality.


very good and solid bass response
clean and clear
very good clarity
very good tonal color
excellent sense of depth and width
effortless sound
good stability


underpowered for some users
needs strong sounding source and cables as well as efficient speakers to get decent volume levels

The APPJ is a very good amp. I like it because it is neutral and has a very stylish form factor. If you use it with efficient speakers you can put together a very nice tube system that is reasonably priced and very fun to listen too. Sue, my secretary, liked it so much she bought the review sample!

Associated gear
Denon DVD-2500
Virtue audio nirvana ic
ace hardware speaker cable
tara labs prism reference pc
Dayton B652 monitor
paradigm speaker stands

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