MYST: TMA3 – a few observations by Howard Popeck

Way back in the early 1980s at Subjective Audio I sold quite a few of these. They retailed at around £290 inc vat. It was then, and even by today’s standards a minimalist design. The case was nothing special. In fact somewhat uninspiring. The inside though was, as was the buzz-word of that era "something else” A text book example of well-built design with excellent attention to detail. Frankly, extraordinary for both the time and the price.

Mine had a tuner input, vinyl (with a plug-in MC board) a tape input and a CD input. I can’t remember if there was an MM option and my notes from the time don’t indicate if there was a tape monitor facility. Only a tape input ll the line inputs were/are DIN as was the fashion with NAIM and for a while with BS Meridian. My notes, being not particularly well written by me indicate some confusion in my mind (and of users) where in someway the tape monitor loop (yes, I’m typing this direct from my notes and so please disregard my earlier comment) was in some odd (frustrating?) way connected to the CD input with what I felt at the time was a counter-intuitive operation via the front panel.

I loved the sound quality. Look at the only-average casework and the diminutive size you’d expect a first sight that it might be a dismal performer. It wasn’t!  I was able to drive all manner of speakers with considerable ease including the Quad ESL-63. Brilliant.

Thinking back now and comparing my written impression with my audio memory impressions from the time I’m convinced now (although my guess is that I wasn’t so at the time) that the TMA3 is not only a bona-fide minor classic but a sorely overlooked one. Would I buy a working version today? Yes, without any hesitation whatsoever.