Great sounding Tube Amplifier - Debatable Quality of Power Supply
*This is my first tube amp, so bear with me on this*
*This portion of the review was written with HifiMan Sundara's as the listening device.*
This amplifier has everything I would expect from a tube amplifier. The sound is definitely warmer than the solid state amps I listen through, and makes listening to music over a long range of time MUCH easier. The build quality of this is actually surprisingly good. The front plate is CNC milled, and the remainder of the chassis is quite sturdy. I poked around in the inside (when I was having issues, as noted below) and was definitely impressed by the quality of parts and layout of the board. From my very extensive history with Chinese imported electronics, this amp impressed me quite a bit. In terms of electrical design, I cannot comment as I do not have the equipment on hand to test.
On item I noticed about the tube amp was how enjoyable it made acoustic and percussion music. Much like when I first had the chance to listen to my MG-IIIA's, this tube amp brought a very 'natural' tone to acoustic and percussion instruments. Without a doubt, this will be my go-to amp when listening to many of my older soundtracks and 'non-electronic' music.
Something I was generally expecting was the mild attenuation of treble and mids, leading to an bass heavier tone. This definitely came into play, and I am in no way disappointed by it. With this I was expecting the treble to be cut in a way that left it somewhat unclear, which is not the case. The treble remains very clear, as well as the mids. The bass is not too heavy and seems just about right for general listening.
Now, there is one fairly large caveat to this product, the power supply. As soon as I opened the package, I could tell the device was a total piece of garbage. I pushed on and plugged er' in. For the first night, Listened to it quite a bit. I ran some small ML bookshelfs, HD 6XX's, and HiFiMan Sundara's, and had no issues. As a couple days went by, I noticed that the power output to speakers had gone down significantly, as well as the headphone output (though still listenable). There eventually came a point where the power output to speakers was unusable. Although the power supply showed no signs of distress, I had a very good feeling that it was the culprit. I went ahead and ordered a 12V 10A power supply and waited. Upon arrival, I plugged it an and WOW. The power output was actually significantly higher than anything I had experienced with it in the past.
The one thing to take away from this is: If your're going to buy this amp, just expect to get a 10A power supply ($18) to go with it.
Soon I will plug these into my maggies to give them a go, I'll update this once I've listened to it enough to compare it to my existing amp. Otherwise, this little guy can power a pair of bookshelfs like no other.
Overall, if you're willing to drop another $20 on a new power supply, I would definitely recommend this. I'd say even with the $20 power supply, there's still quite a large gap in price between the massdrop tube-p1 and any other competing tube amp to where I would easily say this is the best option if you're on a budget. If you're just wanting a headphone amp, The little dot may be comparable, but I do not have any experience with it.
Edit (04/2020): Welp, the amp seems to have kicked the bucket. I just contacted the manufacturer for information on the warranty. They seem to typically offer a 1-year on their equipment so I'm hoping for the best. Will update once I get some information.
Would recommend to a friend.