Diapason / October 2023
NEODIO TMA The Minimalist Amplifier. Everything is said, let’s listen. Joking aside, it’s really minimalist this integrated. Apart from the bronze band that highlights the façade, the fittings boil down to a selector devoid of typography, a volume knob, both in solid steel, four RCA line inputs and banana plugs flush with the chassis. An on/off key under the façade too. More interesting is the way Stéphane Even, the designer, talks about his TMA: a minimalist but not simplistic amp. A rigid mechanically welded chassis, with a 6 mm PMMA (Polymethyl Methacrylate) rear side to isolate the connectors from induced currents. This chassis rests on three massive Delrin feet. The three-stage circuit advocates a high rate of feedback, determined after three years of development. The amp delivers 2×80 W into 8 ohms using special audio MOS transistors. The power supply of the driver stages is separate from that of the power stages, based on a transformer of 300 VA and a filtering capacity totalling 44000 μF. The components are selected: Vishay capacitors, Neodio Fractal 8 wiring…
Several successive listens with a Soulnote D-2 DAC preceded by a Silent Angel Rhein ZI network player have made it possible to situate this minimalist but not modest integrated in a category ranging from ultra respectful of the initial message in timbre, phase, breadth of spectrum, dynamic and depth, to a kind of champion of transparency and accuracy. Accuracy is not to be considered here as a brake on emotion, but rather as the shortest path towards the structure of the work and the interpretation given by the artists. For those who remember, this TMA seems to us to meet the exact definition of the famous “straight wire with gain” stated in the 1960s by Peter J. Walker, founder of Quad. Describing this sound with words can also be expressed by noting that it seems to fade in front of the music, seeking to impose neither rhythm nor proper color; we have a very beautiful illustration listening to the In Paradisum concluding Fauré’s Requiem (extract E). The choir unfolds as rarely in all its tessitura, the Sinfonia Varsovia bringing this support in the low that literally carries the voices to the top. Also to compare with the bandwidth of this amp, indicated as extending from 1 Hz to 400 kHz.
The +: This notion of truth often promised, rarely lavished, here kept.
The -: No muting, no phono, no headphones, no remote control – the essential in short.