By-passing PC Audio:Tecon
is one of several companies emerging on the High End Audio scene which take advantage of Far East manufacturing. Ignorance and ethnocentric beliefs once equated "Made in Japan" (or China) with inferior craftsmanship, we see the opposite is true. Today an influx of "Audiophile" quality hardware which can be had for a fraction of the cost of most European or American builders is giving simple Music Lovers as opposed to Audiophiles a taste of something truly musical. The Tecon Model "55"
is an integrated vacuum-tube amplifier based on SET (Single Ended Triode) technology. Interest for the PC owner is realized in a USB DAC (digital to analog converter) based on a musical Burr Brown chipset. Utilizing the included USB cable PC owner's can access an unlimited number of music files and listen on Audiophile grade hardware. Similar to Overclocking, or extreme Gaming the world of High End Audio cultivates a hobbyist's love for electronics and a music lover's dream.
Not only has Tecon designed and constructed a great sounding product, the build quality and materials are top rate. The Model 55 succeeds in both its ergonomic profile and in build quality which is exceptionally high. The housing for electronics features heavy gauge aluminum side, front and top plates. And while the amplifier's 13lb may seem light for a High End product (my Sony XA777ES
CD-player weighed 35lbs yet sold for $3k in 2001) but is on Par for a Single Ended Triode producing 4.5W ~ 5W. It's appearance does not remind one of pre solid state boxes, it is both clean and simple with just the right amount of machining to be considered Art.
In general High End Audio products have become much more appealing over the years with some designs resembling Art in both form and cost. Tecon eschewed a tube cage leaving the vacuum tube compliment exposed. This is not a product you want small children or curious cats around. The Model "55" is a sophisticated audio device without being obvious, but vacuum tube temps are to be respected. The tube compliment includes two EL84 output tubes [fitted with 6P14 "Beijing" in current production] and a single 5755 Raytheon NOS preamp driver.
The Model "55" dimensions allow it to sit on most PC cases or on your desktop nearby. Seen in the photo below Tecon includes acrylic encased copper 5-way binding posts found on products costing many times its price. The rear is simple, two gold plated RCA (analog) inputs also found on much more costly products, as well as the USB connection and AC. The USB input automatically disables RCA input. In thumbnails below I've turned the amp on its side to exemplify the spiked feet. Traditionally spiked feet have been a mainstay for heavy loudspeakers or monitor stands. Since they found out spikes have other sonic benefits for other products, Tecon smartly included them on the Model "55", this is yet another example of the attention to detail which belies this product's price.
Below I've placed the Decco side by side with the GLOW Audio
reviewed by 6moons here.
The GLOW is also a SET amplifier, in truth its a SEP (Single Ended Pentode) amp, in which the vacuum tubes are running in Pentode rather then triode mode.
Model "55" specifications next ->