Review: Tube Audio Design TAD-60 Tube amp

Category: Amplifiers

I'll start by saying that I've been into higher-end audio for a few decades now, and quite a lot of equipment has been through my hands to this point (half the fun of this hobby). Somewhere around 12 years ago, I'd come to realize that I preferred tube amplification over solid state in terms of an overall involving presentation of the music, and ever since then have owned tube stuff (brief flirtations with various solid state devices only helped to enforce this notion).

Which brings me to the discovery of Tube Audio Design, the provider of components conceived by Paul Grzybek (of Bizzy Bee Audio fame), built to his specifications by a very reputable Chinese manufacturer, and then hand-finished by Paul in his shop located in Wheaton, IL. (His offerings are available exclusively online; detailed product info is found at

The TAD-60 amplifier is built like the proverbial tank; overall appearance and heft (not to mention its specifications) in my experience indeed belie the modest asking price. With its stainless steel chassis and almost 1/2"-thick black anodized face, the relatively compact package portrays a masculine but elegant stance (also included is a lift-off stainless steel tube cage). All function controls are easily accessible from the chassis top, as are the tube bias test-points and adjustment pots (a digital voltmeter is included too).

EL34-based, the TAD-60 is rated at 60wpc in UL-mode, and 30wpc in switchable-on-the-fly triode-mode. Other standard features include adjustable input sensitivity and adjustable global feedback, adding flexibility to a host of possible preamp and speaker combinations (the input sensitivity control may also be used as a volume pot in a single-source direct input configuration).

Listening to the TAD-60 after the recommended 30 hour break-in period and beyond, the music really began to open up, and along with the TAD-150 preamp, I was experiencing just about every CD I spun in a whole new manner - I'm particular to small-ensemble jazz and female vocals - there was an in-the-room conveyence of the music that I found startling at times - present is deep, tight bass, a glorious midrange, detail, depth, and an overall natural presentation that allows hour after hour of enjoyable listening. I've found that the feedback adjustment permits a fine-tuning of balance between dynamics and warmth, and was able to "lock in" the amp to my speakers for what sounds to be a perfect sonic match (just a tad of feedback along with the triode-mode setting seems to be the magic spot in my case).

Without attempting to describe every sonic attribute I'm hearing (though I'm happy to answer any particular inquiries), suffice it to say that the TAD-60/TAD-150 combination strikes a synergy and glow that is especially musical, and is among the finest I've had the pleasure of owning. The TAD-150 has already been highly praised in at least a few user and online reviews, and I bet the TAD-60 will soon be recognized as a similar standout. If you happen to be in the market for high quality, reasonably priced, excellent-sounding gear, just take a listen for yourself, and you will hear what these components can do for music. (Paul also offers a 15-day in-home trail period.)

Note: I have no financial interest or business relationship with Paul Grzybek or Tube Audio Design.

Associated gear
Magnepan 1.6QR, California Audio Labs CL-10, Music Hall MMF-5/Goldring G1012

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HI Matman...I have beening running a quad of jj kt77 in triode mode for about a month and I think these are the best yet with good tight base and mids like the el34. I also replace the ax7 with jan 5751 and with these changes, I think the amp sounds better than ever...How has your experience with the kt77 gone?....Same question for anyone elso also
Larry, would you describe the difference between the 77s from 6ca7s . I'm running two Tad-60s to VMPS RM40s.
Thanks. Stan
I've been listening to my 60 for about two months now - almost 4 hours daily. I've determined that in my setup using the Chinese 6L6GC's from Paul produce a better mid and upper midrange than the 6CA7's. Can't tell about the lower end since I use a sub and don't worry about it. If you all haven't tried that quad of tubes (set up for class A) try it. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
For those of you interested in PRaT (pace, rhythm and timing), how does this amp do in that regard?