This review page is supported in part by the sponsors whose ad banners are displayed below

This review first appeared in the April 2013 issue of hi-end hifi magazine High Fidelity of Poland. You can also read it in its original Polish version here. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with publisher Wojciech Pacula. As is customary for our own articles, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of High Fidelity or Audiomatus - Ed

Reviewer: Marek Dyba
Sources: CEC 51XR, Michell Gyro SE, Technoarm, AT33PTG cartridge, ESELabs Nibiru phono stage
Integrated amplifier: Art Audio Symphony II
Preamplifier: ModWright LS100
Amplifier: ModWright KWA-100SE
Loudspeakers: Modified Jerycho project with FSAC-2B
Cables: Gabriel Gold Extreme MkII & Gold Revelation MkI, Binaural Focus Monolith AG, DIY Acrolink 6N-PC4300
Review component retail in Poland:

Final production adds remote control...

Audiomatus is a Polish manufacturer which to me—and I suspect most observers— is nearly synonymous with class D power amplifiers. It really is the most legitimate association as it's been exactly such machines that have formed the basis of this make's lineup since inception. It's worth noting that the company will soon celebrate its tenth anniversary. Audiomatus power amplifiers are based on ICEpower modules whose special merit for our 21st century is their low power consumption compared to class A or even A/B circuits. They still offer high power output and can drive most speakers. And they have another advantage. Against their competition of tube or solid-state amplifiers, Audiomatus products are inexpensive not to say downright cheap. I will not comment on their sound as it’s not the subject of today's review. Nor do I have much experience with Audiomatus amps. Class D amplifiers simply have their own supporters and opponents and I don’t intend to start a discussion about the superiority of Christmas over Easter.

Power amplifiers, whether stereo or mono, need to be driven. One option is a source with adjustable output level, the other a separate preamplifier. I will pass on the first ,because only high-end sources implement their volume control with sufficient quality to not have negative sonic effects. Let's then discuss the second option because a preamplifier is the subject of today's review. Audiomatus at one time offered their passive PP03 preamp but it no longer seems to be offered. From my experience with class D amplifiers (rather negligible with Audiomatus and not much better with other designs), best results are achieved by combining them with high-end vacuum tube preamps.

Given that I received from Mr. Andrzej Matusiak, owner and designer of Audiomatus, his newest product the TP-01 tube preamplifier, I assume I'm not alone in this belief. This model is even more interesting because there aren't too many Polish tube preamps to market. Since this one just appeared, it merits attention. It’s also worth noting that upon receiving the unit and for a large part of the review, I did not know its price. This was perfect because despite the fact that I always try to be objective, price at the back of my mind may influence a verdict. Here there was no such risk. I asked about the price at the end of the review during which I compared the TP-01 against my ModWright LS100 so most of my notes and remarks were in no way contaminated by assumptions based on cost.

The Audiomatus TP-01 preamp is styled to match its stable's power amplifiers. The front is a solid aluminium plate anodized clear whilst the enclosure is black and solid. This obviously doesn't compete with Accuphase on physical beauty but fit 'n' finish are impossible to fault. There are four knobs, the outer input selector and volume control slightly larger, the inner ones the mains switch and balance control. The center has the model name and company logo with a single LED underneath as power indicator. On the rear we have 5 line-level inputs on RCA and two matching outputs. All the RCA connectors are gold-plated, very solid and importantly placed at a reasonable distances so even oversized plugs should cause no problem. The production version will have a remote control but my early review sample still lacked it. The interior houses two 6N30Pi dual triodes, one per channel in a zero feedback circuit of apparently simple design except that in the case of tube devices, simplicity is most desirable and generally gives better results than complex designs.