Review: PS Audio Trio a-100 Amplifier

Category: Amplifiers

After stopping by the PS Audio room at CES 2009 I was looking to come home with something. Hey what is that? The baby PS Audio Trio A-100 digital amp? Good, I might take it! The first thing I ask Paul, “Could this little thing put out 200 watts into 4 ohms?” “Yes sir, it can.” “Also, is it better than the HCA-2?” “Yes it is,” Paul replied. OK, I will take it!
The HCA-2 I got from HI FI Dave was a Reference Mod amp. The RAM HCA-2 amp sounded awesome driving my Bohlender Ribbons using the B&K REF-50 preamp. All I did was replace the HCA-2 with the Trio A-100 and everything else remained the same. Right off the bat I could tell that the Trio was a better sounding amp. The RAM HCA-2 has more power and sounds more “up-front.” The Trio has a wider soundstage and was much smoother. It was weird looking at this little amp driving my power hungry ribbons. I pushed it to see if it would clip and it did, but the music was way too loud. Not bad for a $995.00 dollar amp. Next up was the B&W 804’s, Ming-Da preamp and The AH! Tube CD player. All I could say was WOW, what in the world is this?! This combination was deadly. In this setup all I did was replace the big Krell KAV 250. The Trio driving the B&W’s with the tube front-end was almost scary. If I blindfolded you and sat you down in front of this setup, you would have sworn the system was an all tube system. The Baby PS Audio amp completely disappeared.
Also, depending on the music I preferred the Trio A-100 to the Krell. The PS Audio amp sounded more open and musical. And it should because of its new technology.
I was really stunned when I played Michael Buble singing “Fever.” From top to bottom the Trio A-100 displayed the music with a full rich and dynamic clean sound. Also, the amp gives you the best of both worlds: solid state and tubes. And at the same time it sounds like neither one, it just sounds like music.
Not once did I miss the big Krell and feel ready to put it back in the system. What else can I say? Digital amplification is here to stay. Also, let the Trio A-100 burn in about 200 hours and leave it on all the time.
Pros: Dollar for dollar and sound for sound one of the best amps on the market.
Cons: None so far.

Bill Glenn

Associated gear

B&K 505. Krell KAV-250. Classe CP-35.
Ming-Da MC-7 Preamp.
Ref-Mod Oppo 981 DVD Player.
The AH! 4000 Tube CD Player
Chang 3200 PLC. B.G. 420’s Bohlender Ribbons.
B&W-804. SPK-Cables Analysis Plus Black Oval 9
And RS Cables Interconnects.

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I have the Trio,,it replaced a Red Wine audio Sig.30.2 the result,,,I dont miss the 30.2! Very Very good amp at a very good price!
Would this amp work from a Imac to nuforce icon2 as dac/pre to some nice desktop bookshelves.
Vandertoorn,I am using the Trio with my Imac,also have a Supratek Chardonnay tube preamp in the mix,a great match!Still amazed at this amp.The quality is on par with more expensive amps ive heard and owned. Its not perfect,but what amp is.Im happy with the sound!
In fact, i had the Lavardin IT Intg. Amp, which is a 8000 USD amp. I Couldn`t afford to keep it, and returned it to my dealer, and now what..?? My dealer had a PS Audio Trio A-100 left, and gave it to me to try 2 listen at home. The amp had been "broken" in, and sounded just perfect from start, connected to my Jean Marie Reynaud: Orfeo`s, which is a par of speakers that`s really like some juice, to be at their best. With the PS Audio in place, i suddenly felt a better grip in the lower notes, and a more warm sound than the Lavardin (neutral), and in regard to the very big price different, i am now the happy owner of the little "big" Trio A-100 and is no longer in debt at my dealer..!! Win Win..!!