Reisong A12 12AX7(ECC83) EL34 Tube Integrated Amplifier single-ended Class A Boy

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Hi, I live in Melbourne Australia. I ordered a Reisong A12 240V amplifier from in the third week of September 2021 and it arrived in the first week of October, in fact a 14-day delivery time including preparation and freight, so that’s pretty quick delivery. Communication with china-hifi-audio was excellent, as evidenced by the fact they emailed me to double check my address before dispatching.

The amp was well packed. I unpacked it, plugged in its 5 valves (make sure you get them well seated all the way down in their sockets), put the cage on and connected it to a new Marantz CD5005 CD player and, via a pair of Transparent T200 speaker cables, to a pair of Castle Conway 3 loudspeakers, these are floorstanding tower speakers of nominal impedance 8 ohms, 175W power handling, and a specified sensitivity of 91db. Well, the resulting sound is excellent, better than any system I’ve ever listened to before, with a soundstage that you could park a truck in. This is my second valve system since owning an English Quad system some decades ago, otherwise I’ve been listening to high-powered solid-state.

With regard to speaker matching, when I ordered this amp I thought I was taking a bit of a punt. I already owned my loudspeakers (the Castle Conway 3s) from my previous solid-state system and china-hifi-audio is good enough to remind us that with a maximum output of only 6W + 6W it is recommended to probably use smaller and/or only the most efficient and sensitive speakers to get sufficient listening volume with this amp, however I am finding that I get heaps of listening volume with the volume control advanced only up to about one-third-to-halfway, so there’s no sensation that this amp is underpowered with these relatively large speakers. I tried bi-wiring them to the amp and discovered that whilst the top end of the music gained clarity and fidelity, the bass response was unsatisfyingly diminished and, most disappointingly, the superb 3D soundstage produced by this amp basically vanished, so I’ve gone back to simple single-pair wiring to each speaker and I’m enjoying it thoroughly. This amp produces a ‘volume ball’ of sound which exists well in front of the speakers, so it has its own superb, very textural listening ‘signature’ independent of the source material itself. I have a substantial collection of around 850 CDs and I’m finding that listening to them with this amp is a new and very revealing experience. If you’re my age (65) you’ll simply wish you had a younger pair of ears to appreciate this amp even more fully.

The clarity and tonality of this amp is excellent. You may have heard reports that this amp favours the mid-range and vocals, and it’s essentially correct, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing because that’s where most of the music is. There is no hum or buzz, even at full volume, and the sound floor is dead quiet. I have since tried other high-end speakers with this amp but I haven’t achieved the same 3D soundstage as with the Castles, which I regard as being fairly neutral in tonality, so I would recommend trying to match this amp carefully with a selected set of speakers to achieve a noticeable ‘wow’ result.

Looking at the amp itself, it is compact (only about 12” wide) and very nicely finished with a naturally ventilated heavy gauge polished stainless steel casing, with two simple silver knobs up front, and black enamelled cage and transformer elements. The speaker connectors at the back will accept all three of spade connectors, banana plugs and bare wires. The rear mounted CD/AUX press button seems like a shortcut but it’s fine and it keeps the front panel looking and working super-minimalist. Inside the casing (upon arrival I removed the baseplate to check for any loose parts incurred by shipping) everything is very openly laid out and carefully assembled by hand using point-to-point wiring and soldering. Plenty of room inside for service work. A schematic (circuit diagram) is included and I’m certain that any reasonably competent HiFi repair engineer would have no trouble in servicing this amp here in Melbourne if required. I chose this A12 model over its A10 sibling for its greater versatility in valve selection and I’m yet to experiment with alternative valves. The supplied valves, to me, sound excellent as is. I play a wide range of CD source material from classical to blues/rock, jazz, vocals etc., and I’m not missing the tone, loudness, balance, bass, treble and mono/stereo controls of my earlier solid state amp; with this A12’s one uber-simple control - its Volume knob! - one is obviously dependent on the quality of one’s source material which, in CDs, I generally find to be excellent, and in internet streamed music, good enough or excellent too. I haven’t used this amp to play vinyl so that will be an adventure for another day. But for playing CDs, and with the right speakers, I rate this amp at an easy 5/5 and find it hard to imagine anything else sounding any better.
Date Added: 10/09/2021 by An**ew Witt**r