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TriangleArt Ultimate TA-350M Monoblock Amplifiers

03-01-2019 | By Pete Davey | Issue 102

TriangleArt Ultimate TA-350M Monoblock Amplifiers

Tubes or Solid State? That question alone divides us audiophiles—at its most basic level it's telling a story about your preferences, as there is no doubt about the pros and cons of both technologies. I will say that solid state (Class D, especially) has come a long way, but there really is nothing more captivating than a true triode vacuum-tube based amplifier. I have to word that carefully as now there are Class D amplifiers using vacuum tubes (albeit in the solid-state realm). I guess for me one of the largest trade-offs with Tube amps are sheer power and heft. It really seems to limit one's speaker choices when it comes to tube amplifiers, to me there is always some sort of compromise.

Enter the TA-350M Monoblock amplifiers—which seem to "do it all," in the proverbial sense. Gobs of power, a tube-ish sound (more on this later) and finesse. These amps come in at a whopping 350 Watts / Channel. This is possible with a large amount of KT-88 tubes, which are barely even being stressed here (good to extend the life time of the valves) running in a push-pull configuration. Three 6SN7 driver tubes and one 6SL7 rectifier tube to compliment. This has your standard 4 Ohm and 8 Ohm transformer windings which give quite a bit of versatility (note – Tom mentioned to me to use the 8 Ohm taps for a set of 6 Ohm speakers and it did sound better, so YMMV).

To those that know me, I'm a bit of a Triangle Art cheerleader, if you will. Only because I believe in Tom as a designer, I appreciate his "Made in America" pride, and his tenacity to keep creating better products. It helps that he is somewhat local to me as well, here in So. Cal—and I did "cut my teeth" on my first real turntable which I still have to this day, the Triangle Art Signature. To me, it was one of the most expensive audio purchases I had made to date, but it was a wise investment. It continues in operation today where it never seems fail to leave anyone in awe of its sheer heft and presence. Complimented with a Gold Note PS-10 phono stage, Triplanar 12" tonearm, and the always amazing and reliable Audio Desk Systeme ultrasonic cleaner—I can't go wrong. All products reviewed by me here on PF and highly recommended.

I always enjoy reviewing tube-based amplification as, to me, it really takes a level-headed engineer to design one that is both simple, but robust and clear of outside interference. Tube-based amplifiers can be prone to microphonics, ground hum, or just about any other noise on one's power line. In my opinion, vacuum-tube amplifiers are more susceptible to this than any transistor-based amplifier—but if designed right, it can be quite an enjoyable experience. The only thing I got out of these amplifiers was pure music, although I did have one run-in with outside interference, I had some Christmas decorations up that would cause a tiny noise from the speakers during quiet passages.

I often found myself gravitating to pure instrumental music, or solo instrumental—be it cello, or piano—while listening to the TA-350Ms. Something about the pleasant harmonics at play, perhaps. Listning to Otto Totland's The Lost is quite striking here. The timbral accuracy and tonality is spot on—a pitch-perfect representation. This album contains a simple setup, with a mic close enough to hear Otto's breath as he breathes in and starts hammering away. Something that is really obvious that wasn't obvious before, extracting even more important detail.

Moving on to other fun recordings, I love to play Babatunde Olatunji's Circle of Drums. This one is DSD, so it's coming out of a Mytek DSD DAC into these amplifiers (directly, I might add and doing it quite well). If you haven't heard this one it's quite fun and revealing of low level information that some equipment may color too much. Not the case here! Virtually limitless dynamics and endless volume. Not even making these monoblocks flinch. I have auditioned other amps here that would give up over time! I usually start this one from the beginning, and before I know it, an hour has passed. Every track is recommended if you are into drums.

Completely shifting gears here, moving on to an album that usually chases people off; Autechre's elseq 1-5. No messing around here, it gets right into it. If you aren't familiar with Autechre, it's usually referred to as "glitch electronica" if you must give it some sort of label of description, but it is a really good one if you are interested in testing an amplifier's limits. I have had the pleasure of shutting down several amplifiers listening to this one at loud volumes (think 98 dB) but these monoblocks barely even blinked! I am not kidding when it comes to limitless power. 


These amplifiers seriously have it all—beauty, grace, style and lots of power. No, you won't get SET sound (to me that is really only possible with 1 or 2 certain tubes at most), but you will get the tube harmonics that are pleasing to the ears, and enough power to push any speaker to its limit. If you're the type of "go big or go home," then these are the amplifiers for you.

Retail: $59,900/Pair

TriangleArt Audio