Ayon Triton-PA KT150 tube P120w/T70w class-A Stereo power amp NFB AFBias

AY 19 AS TRI PA
NZ$ 16,495.00 ea (incl. GST)
Ayon Audio

"The Bugatti of Audio" - according to respected TAS: The Absolute Sound magazine

New

THE SHOW NEWPORT WINNER 
TAS EDITORS' CHOICE AWARD 
AYON AUDIO "BEST OF SHOW" WINNER AT RMAF - CES LAS VEGAS & SALON SON IMAGE SHOW MONTREAL CANADA!! NEWPORT SHOW CALIFORNIA, NEW YORK AUDIO SHOW! SF AUDIO SHOW!

Because of its superlative build quality, ultra high level of performance and its level of power including the variety of two different sounding output modes, we award the Ayon Triton amp our Maximum Mojo Award. Congratulations to the folks at Ayon.... James L. Darby - Stereo Mojo

The Triton III is a most powerful stereo amplifier featuring pentode or triode operation, supplied standard with new model KT-150 and accepts KT-88, KT-120, power tubes.

The Ayon Audio Triton-PA will outperform the competition and will impress the world over! Running in Pure Class A, this is the Mother of all stereo amplifiers.

Whatever kind of music you play on the Triton III, this Tube Amplifier will keep up regardless, we guarantee this to you. The resolution is simply world class, the Triton-PA lets you hear all of the transient details of the music, it doesn’t stop there, because you can also hear the full harmonic bloom of the instruments and their VERY long decay. What is more, these elements emerge within a truly natural perspective—they never run over each other and smear the sound. This amplifier delivers all the speed, resolution, dynamic energy and bass control of the best solid state amplifiers, but retains the tonal and spatial sweet sound of a world class tube amplifier. This is a keeper!

Musical finesse, rock solid dynamics and superb powerful performance has been combined without compromise into one convenient chassis with affordable pricing.

We are proud to introduce our latest generation stereo power amplifier, the Triton PA.

This design presents a substantial upgrade to our very popular Triton II stereo integrated amplifiers, highly-regarded for providing world class performance in a beautiful-engineered, compact, and elegant package. The new Triton PA is a fully balanced designed KT88 / KT120 / KT150 stereo power amplifier.  The result is a significant advance in sonic performance, wider and deeper soundstage with greatly improved powerful bass punch and dynamics. Musical finesse with very fine details and superb powerful performance has been combined without compromise into one convenient chassis and affordable pricing. 

All the gain stages have been re-designed and optimised as well to provide for the shortest signal path and the most direct signal flow. The result is a significant advance in sonic performance, wider and deeper airy soundstage with greatly improved powerful bass punch and dynamics. Musical finesse and superb powerful performance has been combined without compromise into one convenient chassis and affordable pricing. 

Compared with many top grade integrated amplifiers, the Triton PA is a mid-priced unit, but we are confident that value and musical performance is approached maybe by few KT88 / KT120 / KT150 designs only, regardless of cost

Features

Specifications

Reviews

Testimonials

Videos

Features

Full-featured balanced class-A vacuum tube mono power amplifier
Switchable between pentode and triode mode
Automatic and manual bias adjustment
Vaccum tube options: KT150 standard (KT88 / KT120 optional)
Ideal also for more difficult loudspeaker loads
The choice of signal and power tubes have a significant influence on the sound and hence on the inspiration and joy of listening.
This is not only the decision between good and bad tubes but finally the interaction of the different types of tubes and their combination that are used in the various Ayon amplifiers.

Signal Path

We believe that the simplest circuits work best together with the shortest signal path. The shorter the signal path is, the less possibility of sonic degradation from various sources, including the wire itself. Even on the circuit boards, the copper traces are kept to a very minimum length. The completely redesigned circuit board provides a more straightforward and direct approach to the signal paths. 

•Logical sequenced soft-start power up for extended tube life
•Power tube and electronic protection circuit system
•0dB negative feedback (of any kind ) 
•Ultra short signal path
•Simplest direct circuit path for purest musical sound and high reliability
•No solid state devices in the signal path
•High current and low impedance design that operates tubes in the best areas their curves
•Minimal discrete wiring for optimum signal propagation
•Automatic and manual bias adjustment 
•No followers or buffers in the signal path
•High quality parts throughout

Power Supply

The power supplies have been further refined with new components and enhanced AC line noise filtration. Separate power transformers, chokes and filters provide total isolation between the input and output stages which makes this a pure power source. We also use electrolytic capacitors with much larger storage capacity to make up for the loss in filtering when using resistors in lieu of inductors.

 
•Low noise –insulated power transformers 
•Power transformer is encased, excellent damped and RFI/EMI shielded
•Innovative power supply provides a high speed energy delivery on transients
•Dual choke filtered power supply for power tubes
•Choke for pre and driver stage 
•Separate and isolated power supplies over each stage of amplification
•Regulated DC filament supplies with soft start
•AC power line filter to avoid noise and hash from entering into the unit.
•High capacitance energy storage. 
•Current in-rush limiting
•Auto sequencing - Power on cycle completes in 1 minute
Dual Grounding System
The modification of the grounding topology leads to increased rejection of noise from the power supply and other areas. The dual grounding topology used in all of our amplifiers is quite unique to the whole hi-end tube amplification industry. Such extensive topology provides for quieter backdrop for which the music can unfold in its entirety. It further establishes the quick and controlled bass response and the full bodied expression of the high frequency. The ground leg of the signal has not been neglected and given meticulous attention in its implementation. The importance of proper grounding cannot be over emphasized. 
 
•Ground switch
•Central one-point star earth grounding
•Dual grounding system (switchable)
Output Transformer
The super-wide bandwidth output transformer’s major strength is that it can deliver the current in the bass, while at the same time maintaining the speed in the high frequencies, dramatically improving the square wave response of the amplifier. The effect is a much more natural and relaxed sound with much better clarity, resolution and fluidity.
 
•Super-wide bandwidth high performance output transformer
•High efficiency with low insertion loss for optimal current and voltage transfer 
•Multiple tight layering and coupling for extended frequency response        
•Output transformers are sealed with an anti-resonance compound material

Components

The type of parts used therefore must have a synergistic relationship to the circuit they are placed in. It is this relationship of which type of part to use where, that ranks our products apart from the mass.

 
•Selected, premium quality passive components used in all applications
•High speed  & high quality audiophile grade coupling capacitors 
•Special tube sockets with beryllium- copper spring pins, custom made by Ayon 
•Ayon high quality – binding posts
•High quality – RCA input jack
•Neutrik/Swiss - XLR chassis connectors
•Special isolated - internal wiring
•Silver-copper matrix - internal signal cable
•Gold-plated industrial grade PCB 
•All wiring to the circuit boards is done with the use of special pluggable pin-connectors. 
•This is done for easy of repair should ever the need arise.
High Grade Speaker Binding Posts
The new ayon gold plated solid body speaker binding posts provide performance levels that are truly in the very High End. The solid body construction ensures that there is no gap or breach in the flow of electrons. The gold plating provides for superior contact and resistance to oxidation. These binding posts are chosen primarily for their sonic performance, edging out even more expensive counterparts.

Mechanical Construction

The high grade aluminum chassis impart a richer, more lustrous tonality with a cleaner background and less hash and grain. All brushed anodized anti-vibration-resonance and non-magnetic chassis’s are fully hand assembled to insure the highest level of craftsmanship.

 
•Improved heat ventilation chassis
•The aluminium feet are resonance absorbing types
•Backlit “ayon” logo 
•All front & rear panel descriptions are engraved
•Ground switch
•AC phase polarity control indicator   
•Chassis finish: black / chrome

Specifications

Class of Operation:  Triode* or Pentode mode, Class-A*
Tube Complement: 8 x KT150
Load Impedance;  4 & 8 Ohms
Bandwidth:  8Hz-70kHz
Output Power:Pentode mode:  2x 120 W
Output Power:Triode mode:  2x 70 W
Frequency Response:  10 Hz - 60 kHz
Input Impedance at 1 kHz:  100 KΩ
Input sensitivity (full power):  1V
NFB: dB
Inputs:  3 x Line IN, 1 x XLR IN, 1 x Direct IN,
Dimensions 510W x 420D x 250H mm
Weight:  45 kg

Specifications subject to change without notice  

Reviews

Because of its superlative build quality, ultra high level of performance and its level of power including the variety of two different sounding output modes, we award the Ayon Triton integrated amp our Maximum Mojo Award. Congratulations
James L. Darby

REVIEW SUMMARY: The Ayon Triton an all-tube class A operation, has few peers with its 120/80 watts per side. Most of its competitors use a hybrid design that incorporates a solid state output section. McIntosh makes the MA2275 but it only delivers 75 wpc and lacks the Triton’s dual modes,  the Jungson JA-99D that is all tube delivering 100 Wpc it too lacks the Triton's wonderful dual modes, but it does include balanced circuitry that the Triton does not (Note - the new Triton model is now fully balanced and also includes auto fixed biased).

Often we found that muscle amps deprive us of the micro qualities that breathe life into recorded music. The Triton hunts them down like a blue tick hound that's got the scent of a squirrel and delivers them like Tom Brady throwing a quick slant to Wes Welker.

With its highly polished, massive chrome transformers and brushed black aluminum chassis with the classy illuminated red logo on the front, the Triton definitely looks as if it costs a lot more than it does. Here is that it also sounds a lot more expensive than it is. Ayon has apparently spared little expense in the design and execution of this amplifier, as it's 125 pounds attests. They paid special attention to anti-resonance and isolation techniques that paid off handsomely. 

EXTENDED REVIEW: The first time I encountered the Ayon product line at an audio show, I had just walked into a large room filled with gleaming tube amplifiers and CD players sitting on about a dozen different racks. I vividly remember the initial impressions that Linda and I had. Everything looked immaculately made, beautifully designed and very expensive. As we began to look closer and inspect the individual products, we discovered that two of our impressions had been correct. However, we'd been wrong about the "very expensive" part, compared to what we had seen at that show and many previous audio events, the prices were not only reasonable, but appeared to be downright bargains. Seeing that, experience led us to believe that these products were made in China, wouldn't you assume the same?

A tall, silver haired gentleman came over and introduced himself as Charlie Harrison. (We later met his wife Susan who is much better looking...) He said he'd been following Stereomojo and was impressed with our honest reviews, something we hear quite often. He began telling us about the features of the different products and it didn't take long to conclude that he was very knowledgeable and genuinely excited about the products. We have written at length about how impossible it is to accurately judge the sonic qualities of the various demos under show conditions where you are listening to unfamiliar components, in unfamiliar rooms, that are usually acoustically awful at best, but when I handed him the Stereomojo Ultimate Evaluation Disk and he stuck it in one of the impressive

looking CD players, it was easy to determine that these Ayon products were not your run-of-the-mill components. We ended up staying in that room far too long, but that's what happens when you find something out of the ordinary, and here was a whole room filled with components that seem to be extraordinary. It was only in parting that I asked Charlie, "These ARE made in China, right?” Well, Mr. Harrison looked at me like I had just shot his dog. "No", he calmly replied, "Ayon is designed and built in Austria, not China." Linda and I looked at each other as if we were just told that O.J. Simpson confessed. Talk about surprise.

Not long after that we were sent the Ayon CD 2 that not only ended up receiving our Maximum Mojo Award, but also ended up being a Product of the Year. So it was with great anticipation that we received the Ayon Triton integrated tube amp. Would it be anywhere near the quality of the CD2? Let's find out.

THE BEAST

The Triton arrived in a huge box several times the size of the amplifier, which told me that Ayon cares about their products and their customers enough to go to the expense of triple boxing their amplifiers. When I finally laid down the box cutter, I found that Ayon had not only packed everything carefully, but had even dressed everything in red velvet, reminding me of the movie set of Gone with the Wind. I knew the amp was going to be heavy, but this thing weighs 125 pounds, that's why it affectionately became known as THE BEAST. It weighs more than my wife!

The Triton oozes power and quality and there's even more than meets the eye. We've said many times that vibration and resonance are The Great Enemy of sound quality; Ayon knows that too because the two separate power transformers, one for high-voltage and one for low voltage which is rather unique, are highly damped and RFI/EMI shielded and sealed with an anti-resonance compound. Even the ceramic tube sockets have beryllium spring contacts. The internal wiring is silver matrix and Teflon isolated. The whole aluminum anodized chassis is anti-vibration, anti-resonance and nonmagnetic. All these little details make a difference.

The amp also features zero negative feedback, delayed warm-up circuit that extends tube life as well as a automatic power protection circuit. Speaking of tubes, there are eight KT88 power tubes and six 12AU7 drivers. The 88s are Genelex Gold Lions made in Russia, carefully selected and matched by hand. In fact, the whole amplifier is hand assembled. The front panel is pretty simple with a volume knob on the left and a source selection knob on the right indicating four line ins and one "direct" which allows you to connect an external preamplifier and use the Triton as a power amp. When the amp is switched on, the red Ayon logo glows softly. Nice touch. I should mention that all of the switch craft has a very heavy duty, ultrahigh quality feel. When you felt as many knobs as I have, you get to know the difference. Wait... that didn't quite sound right did it. Oh well.

Yet another great feature is the amp's ability to play in either of two modes; triode or pentode. The latter gives you the most power at a muscular 125 W per channel while the triode mode reduces output to 80 W per channel. The two modes sound substantially different which we will describe in a minute, but it certainly is nice to have the equivalent of two different amplifiers to choose from without switching big, heavy components and tons of cables!

The Triton is designed and built for maximum sound quality, so it does not incorporate an auto biasing circuit -- you have to bias the tubes manually, so you will need to have or borrow a multi-tester. If you're a real audiophile, you should have one anyway and know how to use it. They are cheap with lots of them under $20. There are contacts and bias adjustments on the back; it's easy so don't sweat it. Also on the back you have gold plated RCA's for inputs and six gold-plated, very sturdy speaker posts so you can choose between 4 and 8-ohm operation. While the Triton comes with a high quality power cable, you can upgrade if you like. Rounding things out on the back side is the rocker style power switch and chrome ground lift.

The Ayon does come with a remote control that does volume and mute, but you can't switch between inputs. Though it only does the basics, the remote reflects the overall quality of the amp since it's constructed of matching black metal. You'd be surprised how many expensive components we've seen that have cheap plastic remotes. Kudos to Ayon for doing it right.

NO A-YAWNS HERE

After about 100 hours of burn in, we got down to business. We started out in the more powerful pentode mode. Right away you can't help but notice how grain free and midnight black the soundstage is, indicative of all the attention paid to the anti-resonance and isolation. Listening to our 2009 Recording of the Year, Winston Ma's FIM reissue of Oscar Peterson's classic "We Get Requests", the soundstage was very deep and wide without being exaggerated and again, exceptionally clean and beautifully detailed. As I've told you before, ever since I reviewed the Sanders electrostatics I have become acutely aware of speed, not only in speakers but in different components as well. Tube amps can sometimes sound a little dull and slow (so can solid state for that matter), but the Triton handles percussive attacks like piano and guitar and lightning transients very well. Nothing sounded sodden or like the musicians were covered in mud.

Oscar Peterson was a big man who played with great power and authority. I recently had the privilege of playing his personal Steinway that he used in his Toronto home. It was signed by both Mr. Peterson and Mr. Steinway. When I say Oscar played hard, we could see just below the keyboard long, gray trails where rivers of sweat had dripped from his hands and wrists. The action was also beaten to death, very uneven from the major pounding it taken and needed a technician's attention, but hey, it was Oscar's piano! On this and all subsequent recordings, running out of gas when the recordings went down loud and low was non-existent, whether something like orchestral timpani or synthesized sub-bass.

In fact, the bass was so stentorian that I just had to plumb its depths a bit more with a few more bass enhanced tracks. These days that's pretty easy using my new Qsonix music management system, Stereomojo's Product of the Year For 2009. I can sit in my listening position and queue up any track on any CD in my collection (about 1,600) instantly via my iPhone. As “The Hammer” would say, "U can't touch this!"

Perhaps my most torturous track for low bass and clarity is "The Kraken” from the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack. You have to hear this to believe it. I employed three different pairs of speakers during my time with the Triton, all of which have exemplary low bass extension, particularly another Stereomojo 2009 Product of the Year, The Vaughn Cabernet. I also got in a new speaker from Carl Marchisotto, the new Nola Micro Grand - it's rather small, sits on a stand and only has two 4-inch drivers in each cabinet, yet it puts out low bass that's just unbelievable. The Triton drove all three pairs to levels that were way too loud without breaking a sweat.

But it wasn't just the muscular qualities that were impressive, the Triton also did an outstanding job of retrieving the all important low end texture of the heavily bowed bass viols as well as the skin and mallet texture of the timpani. After the "Pirates" torture test, I guess I was feeling a bit diabolical, because I then queued up some of my favorite pipe organ recordings, a couple I recorded myself. The weight and texture of 32 foot organ pipes is difficult for most amps and impossible for others. Here the Triton really strutted its stuff and produced thundering yet impeccably controlled deep, deep bass without the rolloff usually found with tube amps.

But what about the high end? Would treble give it trouble? Since the new Qsonix natively plays back high resolution files up to 24/192, I dialed up another Stereomojo Recording of the Year, Reference Recordings HRx version of Percy Grainger's "Lincolnshire Posy” performed by the Dallas Wind Symphony. This immaculate Prof. Johnson production features room shaking dynamic range and amazing timbrel texture and accuracy throughout the frequency spectrum, including the upper high-end. Here again, the Triton exhibited outstanding dynamics, especially in the pentode mode and its uncanny spatial qualities in both modes but more apparent in triode. The triode mode consistently added more old-school tube warmth - that famous golden glow and added airiness - to the festivities on every recording. But then, that's what it's supposed to do.

One thing that's important to note is that switching from one mode to the other requires you to turn off the amp. Not doing so could cause damage. We have reviewed dual-mode tube amps that can switch modes on-the-fly, even via the remote control, but again Ayon avoids extra circuitry and conveniences in favor of superior sound reproduction. That seems to have paid dividends in the high-end because piccolos, triangles, bells and cymbals all came through with the appropriate shimmer and sparkle as well as those extra degrees of texture and detail noted in the bass.

So, we've examined the frequency extremes, but how about the midrange where about 80% of the music lives? I don't know about you, but I have a passion for female vocals and since I'm putting together a special article on female vocalists about whom you may not be aware, I've been listening to a lot of them. Gwen Hughes, Katherine Jenkins, Lisbeth Scott and Beth Hirsch just to name a few, all ended up singing through the Triton. While both modes did an exemplary job of placing the girls in the room right in front of me, the triode mode with its extra spaciousness, 3-D presentation and added warmth really enhanced to the listening experience. Simply captivating. Some of these girls can rock baby, and the Triton rocked on right with them! The Triton does not discriminate among genres, it's equally at home with Black Sabbath as it is with a string or jazz quartet.

REFERENCE SHOOTOUT

Believe it or not, there are not a lot of pure-class-a tube integrated amps out there with this level of power output at this price or more. The only integrated in my arsenal is the LSA Statement which puts out 150 W per channel, but it is a hybrid type so only the preamp section has tubes, the power comes from solid state. Still, at $12,000, it's an amazing reference quality amplifier. It has more amenities than the Triton with its built-in phono section and balanced inputs, but then it costs considerably more, too. The Statement does not offer dual output modes, but the one mode it does have is exceptional. If we compare the Statement’s output to the Triton's pentode, the big LSA is even a bit more pristine with a more expansive soundstage and midrange definition, perhaps more extended in the high end. I think if I rolled in some NOS 6922 tubes, the LSA might sound even more like the Triton, but the Triton definitely has more of a tube quality, for better or worse depending on your tastes. In short, the LSA may be a bit more accurate, but the Triton is a bit more musical. Does that makes sense? A reminder; while we often pick what we like best, that really shouldn't matter to you that much. It is our job to report to you how something sounds and performs in order to give YOU the honest information you need to make decisions, never to make them for you. We don't sell stuff at Stereomojo like many others do.

The Triton's triode mode is more delicate, spacious and honey colored than the LSA, and I can't deny that the Ayon's triode mode is very attractive and seductive. I ended up preferring that mode about half the time, mostly on content that has a wide dynamic range and a limited soundstage. Also, if the recording has a cool, harsh or cold character, the triode mode makes things much more listenable, especially for extended periods. Many recordings that feature lead vocals such as those from the 70's and 80's or any recording that sounds too digital benefits from the triode mode. I really can't choose a clear winner here, anymore then I could choose the best marinara sauce for your spaghetti, but it is extremely nice to be able to choose between the two modes. I just wish you didn't have to power down the amp to switch between them.

I recently went to a new audio show in Jacksonville, Florida and while it was nowhere as large as the Denver show, much less CES, there were about 30 or so rooms to visit. By far, the best sound at the show was the combination of the Ayon Triton driving the huge Legacy Whispers, an opinion shared by almost everyone. I currently have the Whisper XD’s here and just wish I had the Triton back to which to marry them. The combo at that show attracted large crowds all the time, the sound was mesmerizing and i ended up returning there several times just to relax and listen to more music.

An added observation: since I live in South Florida, heat output is very important. The Triton surprised me with its very moderate heat output, not bad at all, and it sure does look gorgeous in the dark with the tubes reflecting off those four chrome silos! On another note, my demo unit did not ship nor are there any pictures of the Triton with tube guards for those of you that have curious little ones, whether of the toddler or furry kind. (if your toddler is furry, you have other issues...) Charlie assures me that there are tube guards/cages available for those of you who need them.

The Ayon Triton an all-tube class A operation, has few peers with its 120/80 watts per side. Most of its competitors use a hybrid design that incorporates a solid state output section. McIntosh makes the MA2275 but it only delivers 75 wpc and lacks the Triton’s dual modes. Our friends at Grant Audio sell the Jungson JA-99D that is all tube delivering 100 Wpc it too lacks the Triton's wonderful dual modes, but it does include balanced circuitry that the Triton does not (the new model is now filly balanced and auto fixed biased). If you like to actually see the tubes in action, both the Mac and the Grant hide them out of sight.

With its highly polished, massive chrome transformers and brushed black aluminum chassis with the classy illuminated red logo on the front, the Triton definitely looks as if it costs a lot more than it does. Here is that it also sounds a lot more expensive than it is. Ayon has apparently spared little expense in the design and execution of this amplifier, as it's 125 pounds attests. They paid special attention to anti-resonance and isolation techniques that paid off handsomely. Obviously, if you have very efficient, sensitive speakers at 96 dB or above, you may not need this much power. Anything less than that, depending on the size of your room and how loud you listen, you may be asking more of your 60 W or so amp then it can give. Often we found that muscle amps deprive us of the micro qualities that breathe life into recorded music. The Triton hunts them down like a blue tick hound that's got the scent of a squirrel and delivers them like Tom Brady throwing a quick slant to Wes Welker.

Its price is remarkable in that it is not sold direct but rather through a dealer network and still maintains a pricepoint that is more than reasonable.

All it takes is one trip to a high-end audio show and you will quickly discover that most of the amplifiers being sold are pure class-A tubes and there is a reason for that. It has nothing to do with nostalgia, it's just that at this point in time, tubes are more musical than pure solid state and the Triton is an outstanding example of why.

Because of its superlative build quality, ultra high level of performance and its level of power including the variety of two different sounding output modes, we award the Ayon Triton integrated amp our Maximum Mojo Award. Congratulations to the folks at Ayon.

This wonderful integrated amp could anchor a rather long term and totally satisfying system that would leave you wanting precious little in addition. Pairing it with equal quality components could make for one happy audiophile for a lifetime.

SUMMARY: with female voices, always a benchmark test in my opinion, the amp came through with such fine and delicate delivery. Eva Cassidy's, 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow", from the album The Other Side with Chuck Brown (Liason Records 1992) is easily the best version of this song that I have ever heard. Stark in its arrangement but so rich in the depth and breadth of the emotional impact from her voice it is always part of any review I do. As with the best systems the Ayon helped deliver a soaring and detailed rendition of this recording. Tunefulness is something most any reproduction system can provide these days. The difference between an adequate system and one that is truly exceptional is the ability to deliver the emotion in the song unbridled and unrestrained. Here the Ayon delivered everything I have come to expect from the marque. Just brilliant. No strain, no distortion, the Ayon simply removed itself from the music and left it all there bare and naked.  For sheer slam I moved to a track off Joe Bonamassa's new Blues of Desperation album (JR.  Records 2016). the title track is a very deep and throbbing blues rock number featuring the rock solid drumming of Anton Fig. This track is heavy in the bass region and kick drum, tom tom action. It comes through with the exact right amount of slam. You van feel the bloom from the kick drum and it drives your gut right into the depths of the song. What is great about the delivery is that it supports, rather than dominates the rest of the band on the track. It brings the rhythm and pace right straight to your face and lets the rest of the band riff and build off of it. That is what I am talking about.

EXTENDED REVIEW: I have always been a fan of Ayon products. While many of their offerings are not for the faint of heart from a cost perspective you can generally count on the company to produce some of the finest gear around and you could spend a lifetime listening to an Ayon based system without complaint for a very long time indeed.

The Triton III integrated amplifier represents a financially effective way to jump into the benefits of Ayon ownership without going into negative income crisis and pairing it with the right components could create a great lifetime system and the perfect springboard to some of their heftier offerings which I have reviewed in the past. It is a full-featured pure class-A tube stereo integrated amp switchable between pentode and triode mode making it ideal also for more difficult loudspeaker loads. Say, who does NOT like that? As always it does not hurt to have a friend to help you lift and place this amp. Ayon makes no lightweight gear that I have seen!

Ayon combines incredible build quality with a classic understated yet elegant beauty that never ceases to deliver an aesthetically pleasing experience to both ears and to the eyes. Suffice it to say the WAF is always high. Paula always takes note when we have an Ayon piece in the house from both the visual and audible perspectives. That is saying a lot since she is not so much the dedicated listener like her husband.

I do have one nitpicking, no, make that two nitpicking little things to complain about and I would prefer to get them out of the way now.

First nit to pick... If you are not familiar with the brand and you are a normal guy who reads the instructions only when it is a last resort, then you may spend days figuring out how to turn these things on! The placement of the power switches is on the bottom of the chassis and depending on unit can range from right at the lower left corner to somewhere east of that. A little visual clue as to location, say a dot on the front of the chassis directly above it would be nice, (its a great childproof switch location).

Okay I have that off my chest. Now for the more important and more positive things.

Let's take a look at the basics as described by the manufacturer:

  • Class of Operation is switchable between Triode or Pentode mode, Class-A. Power tube complement consists of 8 x KT150s. Load Impedance is either 4 & 8 Ohms. Bandwidth is stated at 8Hz-70kHz. That set of power tubes mentioned above with give you an output of 120 watts per channel in Pentode mode and 70 watts per channel in Triode mode. This integrated amp is no fly weight. Even in Triode you can push some serious air volume around the room.
  • Frequency Response is rated at 10Hz - 60kHz, with an Input Impedance at 1kHz 100KΩ.
  • The Input sensitivity (full power)is 1V NFB .0dB
  • It boasts a Volume Control that is MCU based with analog resistor switching circuit (1,5dB per step) operable with Remote Control! Love those remote controls more and more everyday as I climb into my 60s!
  • Input Compliment is 3 x Line IN, 1 x XLR IN, 1 x Direct IN, with Outputs being one 1 x Pre Out
  • Chassis dimensions (WxDxH) 21 x 17.25 x 10.25 inches
  • Weight 100 pounds.

Let me tell you it is every bit of that 100 pounds. The part I like less and less as I climb into said 60s. Find a good home for it and leave it there!

As is always the case with Ayon products they come with top notch packaging. Two boxes and incredible inner packing. All tubes have been pre matched to the unit and are clearly marked. Once you locate the amplifier where you want it the tube install is quick and easy! The operator's manual (for those inclined to use them) is very straightforward and simple just like I need in my golden years. Yay for the AARP crowd.

Once up and running I let it run in for at least 50 hours or so. I have found that with Ayon products letting them run in for sufficient time leads to a far more enjoyable listening experience. The Triton III was no exception.

As I always do I provide a space for the manufacturers description of pertinent facts and this piece is no exception. So without further delay here are a few words directly from Ayon:

Triton III Features and Specifications

Vacuum Tubes

  • The choice of signal and power tubes have a significant influence on the sound and hence on the inspiration and joy of listening. This is not only the decision between good and bad tubes but finally the interaction of the different types of tubes and their combination that are used in the various Ayon amplifiers.

Signal Path

  • We believe that the simplest circuits work best together with the shortest signal path. The shorter the signal path is, the less possibility of sonic degradation from various sources, including the wire itself. Even on the circuit boards, the copper traces are kept to a very minimum length. The completely redesigned circuit board provides a more straightforward and direct approach to the signal paths.
  • Logical sequenced soft-start power up for extended tube life
  • Power tube and electronic protection circuit system
  • 0dB negative feedback  (of any kind )
  • Ultra short signal path
  • Simplest direct circuit path for purest musical sound and high reliability
  • No solid state devices in the signal path
  • High current and low impedance design that operates tubes in the best areas their curves
  • Minimal discrete wiring for optimum signal propagation
  • Automatic and manual bias adjustment
  • No followers or buffers in the signal path
  • High quality parts throughout
  • Selector switch engages relays located near RCA jacks to switch all inputs

Power Supply

  • The power supplies have been further refined with new components and enhanced AC line noise filtration. Separate power transformers, chokes and filters provide total isolation between the input and output stages which makes this a pure power source. We also use electrolytic capacitors with much larger storage capacity to make up for the loss in filtering when using resistors in lieu of inductors.
  • 2 separate low noise - insulated power transformers
  • Power transformers are encased, excellent damped and RFI/EMI shielded
  • Innovative power supply provides a high speed energy delivery on transients
  • Dual choke filtered power supply for power tubes
  • Choke for pre and driver stage
  • Separate and isolated power supplies over each stage of amplification
  • Regulated DC filament supplies with soft start
  • AC power line filter to avoid noise and hash from entering into the unit.
  • High capacitance energy storage.
  • Current in-rush limiting
  • Auto sequencing - Power on cycle completes in 1 minute

Dual Grounding System

  • The modification of the grounding topology leads to increased rejection of noise from the power supply and other areas. The dual grounding topology used in all of our amplifiers is quite unique to the whole hi-end tube amplification industry. Such extensive topology provides for quieter backdrop for which the music can unfold in its entirety. It further establishes the quick and controlled bass response and the full bodied expression of the high frequency. The ground leg of the signal has not been neglected and given meticulous attention in its implementation. The importance of proper grounding cannot be over emphasized.
  • Ground switch
  • Central one-point star earth grounding
  • Dual grounding system (switchable)

Output Transformer

  • The super-wide bandwidth output transformer’s major strength is that it can deliver the current in the bass, while at the same time maintaining the speed in the high frequencies, dramatically improving the square wave response of the amplifier. The effect is a much more natural and relaxed sound with much better clarity, resolution and fluidity.
  • Super-wide bandwidth high performance output transformer
  • High efficiency with low insertion loss for optimal current and voltage transfer
  • Multiple tight layering and coupling for extended frequency response
  • Output transformers are sealed with an anti-resonance compound material

Components

  • The type of parts used therefore must have a synergistic relationship to the circuit they are placed in. It is this relationship of which type of part to use where, that ranks our products apart from the mass.
  • Selected, premium quality passive components used in all applications
  • High speed  & high quality audiophile grade coupling capacitors
  • Special tube sockets with beryllium- copper spring pins, custom made by Ayon
  • Ayon high quality - binding posts
  • High quality - RCA input jack
  • Neutrik/Swiss - XLR chassis connectors
  • Special isolated - internal wiring
  • Silver-copper matrix - internal signal cable
  • Gold-plated industrial grade PCB
  • All wiring to the circuit boards is done with the use of special pluggable pin- connectors.
  • This is done for easy of repair should ever the need arise.

High Grade Speaker Binding Posts

  • The new ayon gold plated solid body speaker binding posts provide performance levels that are truly in the very High End. The solid body construction ensures that there is no gap or breach in the flow of electrons. The gold plating provides for superior contact and resistance to oxidation. These binding posts are chosen primarily for their sonic performance, edging out even more expensive counterparts.

Mechanical Construction

  • The high grade aluminum chassis impart a richer, more lustrous tonality with a cleaner background and less hash and grain. All brushed anodized anti-vibration-resonance and non-magnetic chassis’s are fully hand assembled to insure the highest level of craftsmanship.
  • Improved heat ventilation chassis
  • Custom-made machined control knobs
  • The aluminium feet are resonance absorbing types
  • Backlit "ayon" logo
  • All front & rear panel descriptions are engraved
  • 4 line inputs & 1 direct input - for pure power amp operation
  • Ground switch
  • AC phase polarity control indicator
  • Volume & Mute function - RC
  • Metal remote commander
  • Chassis finish: black / chrome

Well what does all that actually add up to in the way of sonic satisfaction? Quite a bit actually! Once sufficiently run in the Ayon Triton III acquitted itself right smartly. This is one very refined sounding amplifier with the ability to move your homes foundation at full throttle. At more sane listening levels it is capable of providing punch in the bottom end, very accurately I might add and delicacy to the mid range finishing with suitable sparkle on the top end. That is a very nice hat trick to witness from an integrated amp.

At the same time I had the Triton in my listening room I also had the privilege of having the Ayon CD - 3SX (replaced by new CD-35 CD/SACD player). This combination was the prevailing setup during the visit but I also ran my Cary Audio CD player through the Ayon with outstanding results. There is a symbiosis between components from a singular manufacturer and this duo was no exception but I would mate any number of CD front ends with the Ayon with the full expectation of some serious audio bliss. That is always a matter of personal taste and some may want to mate a full digital CD with the tube amp for balance. What I can say is the amplifier handled everything I threw at it including my vinyl rig without so much as a hiccup, burp, fart or complaint.

Out of the box it sounded a bit lean in the bottom end which was not what I expected considering the tube compliment. After a good 80 hours of run in and some tweaking the bottom end came out in full bloom. I have always found that Ayon products benefit from a serious run in protocol to get the most out of them. Once they are sufficiently burned in they just come to life. This amp was no different than previous Ayon products I have reviewed.

Strong suits of the Titan III include, but are not limited to delicate highs, creamy smooth mids, and more than adequate bass at moderate listening levels. Want a bit more? Well much like a turbo charged car at moderate revs the thing performs admirably, but never sets your ears on fire. Kick up the revs (aka volume) and it becomes a monster capable of realistically replicating a live event with all the staging depth, width, height and slam you expect. I am not talking about a Jeckyl and Hyde comparison but rather something a little more refined. As the volume ramps up so do all the best things about this amp, but they come in a very nice linear progression to a point, and then it is like turning on the audible light switch and you can hear many, many more details.

I have recently changed up my standard listening selections to accommodate more diverse musical genre. When I sat down to do seriously focused listening I went to some newer stuff. Jack Thammarat is a up coming guitarist from Thailand. Jack is a phenomenal player and great tune writer. His compositions have a great balance between searing guitar pyrotechnics and lilting melody lines. The tune "Never Again" (direct download from iTunes) is a fine example. Jack does a great job of mixing up his picking technique between picking each note, sweep picking, finger picking and hammer on/pull off and often in the same run. Good systems will give you a smooth seamless presentation with plenty of bloom. A top tier system will allow you to instantly tell when the guitarist switches between techniques mid lick and that just always brings a smile to my face. Here is where the Titan elevates itself above good and straight into the realm of outstanding. The detail it is able to deliver at all levels caused me to sit up and take very serious notice and begin to look for tracks that could challenge this phenomenon to be sure it wasn't just one particular track.

The late and rather great Jimmie Spheeris' track, "For Roach", from the album Isle of View, (Columbia Records 1971) was so intimate that I felt like Jimmie had returned from the other side to sit in my listening room and perform this perennial favorite of mine. The light touch to the acoustic guitar and his almost whisper like voice were so real and delivered with a breathiness that is often lacking in recorder tracks versus intimate live tracks. This is a great track to tell if a system or a new addition to your existing system is going to measure up or not. The Ayon did NOT measure up! Oh no it did NOT. What it did was way exceed my expectation of delivering that intimate, up close experience. Quite honestly it did this better than most amps I have listened to that were not low power, single ended 300B based amplification sources.

With female voices, always a benchmark test in my opinion, the amp came through with such fine and delicate delivery. Eva Cassidy's, 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow", from the album The Other Side with Chuck Brown (Liason Records 1992) is easily the best version of this song that I have ever heard. Stark in its arrangement but so rich in the depth and breadth of the emotional impact from her voice it is always part of any review I do. As with the best systems the Ayon helped deliver a soaring and detailed rendition of this recording. Tunefulness is something most any reproduction system can provide these days. The difference between an adequate system and one that is truly exceptional is the ability to deliver the emotion in the song unbridled and unrestrained. Here the Ayon delivered everything I have come to expect from the marque. Just brilliant. No strain, no distortion, the Ayon simply removed itself from the music and left it all there bare and naked.

For sheer slam I moved to a track off Joe Bonamassa's new Blues of Desperation album (JR.  Records 2016). the title track is a very deep and throbbing blues rock number featuring the rock solid drumming of Anton Fig. This track is heavy in the bass region and kick drum, tom tom action. It comes through with the exact right amount of slam. You van feel the bloom from the kick drum and it drives your gut right into the depths of the song. What is great about the delivery is that it supports, rather than dominates the rest of the band on the track. It brings the rhythm and pace right straight to your face and lets the rest of the band riff and build off of it. That is what I am talking about.

On violinist Nicola Benedetti's performance of "The Four Seasons, Op. 8, Concerto No.2 in G Minor, with The Scottish Chambers Orchestra her playing is almost savage in the intensity that she brings to the performance. There is no doubt about her confidence in this piece and her ability to deliver it with pure fire and explosive playing. The ability to isolate her performance within the orchestra without diminishing the overall performance of the other musicians is a hat trick. No doubt she is the star of the show but she is the featured musician in a all star type performance which is lifted by the rest of the musical cast. So balanced in the recording and equally so in the delivery by the Ayon.

In the end every single piece of gear that gets reviewed is subject to the personal bias of the reviewer and how neutral that writer can remain in their evaluation of the item in question. Ayon makes it relatively easy to maintain a neutrality because the gear delivers very neutral and balanced performance. In essence it removes itself and colors nothing but rather delivers the source material as close to the way it originally sounded without additions or subtractions.

As I stated at the beginning this wonderful integrated amp could anchor a rather long term and totally satisfying system that would leave you wanting precious little in addition. Pairing it with equal quality components could make for one happy audiophile for a lifetime. In particular a good match up is the Ayon CD-CD3sx (replaced by new CD-35 CD/SACD player), which I am also reviewing. I could live with the Ayon Triton III /CD3sx indefinitely in my system. This is a highly recommended unit for your auditioning. I am sure you will find it to be a great overall performer and at the price a real bargain in the land of high end audio! 
…… Gary Lea

Testimonials

Kind Regards from a very satisfied customer
Good evening Terry,
Hope you both got home safely and thank you so much for all your advice and work , I couldn't be happier you really have gone the extra distance for me, literally , and rest assured all future purchases will go your way it's been a privilege dealing with you and meeting you both.
If you ever fancy a break in Northland don't hesitate to contact me there is always a room here for you both, thanks again 
Kind Regards from a very satisfied customer
......Mike 

THE NEXT DAY....

Terry,
Truth is I never woke up this morning as I never went to bed, I stayed up playing records and rearranging the lounge, I took your advice and covered floor in carpets , got rid of all the furniture apart from one seat which I plan to be parked on all weekend. 
The sound quality is breath taking and I swear as the amp got warmer so did the sound, absolutely stunning , a wise old man once told me – you have to know what you know and you certainly know audio so many thanks again, have a good weekend .

Kind Regards
.....Mike 

Videos

Ayon Audio, Ayon S3, Ayon Triton II at show