This is my review of the Tibo SIA 75 Smart Integrated Amplifier. I’m still trying to decide if this is entry level streaming, entry level amplification with streaming, or just a really decent bit of kit. I don’t think it will knock the books off your shelf but it is certainly very flexible indeed.
Tibo SIA 75 – What is it?
The Tibo SIA 75 features WiFi (or LAN Connected) networked streaming, Bluetooth and built in compatibility with all of the main streaming platforms, including Tidal, Spotify, Napster and TuneIn radio. On the input side, the Tibo SIA 75 features a Phono input (though there is no ‘stage’), two Line In RCA style inputs; it has an optical input as well making it a very flexible little box indeed. Finally, there is the option of a pre-out if you just want to use it as a pre amplifier and there is an RCA Sub Woofer out connection too (that is very effective). The 75 is the power delivery from the amplifier, 75W RMS, plenty of juice.
Tibo SIA 75 – Look and Design
The Tibo SIA 75 is a sleek, brushed black aluminium box that is similar in width to most hifi separates, so it may not look out of place in contemporary settings. It is, however, particularly thin which is good in the anonymous sense. There are two antennae hanging out the back for bluetooth and WiFi purposes. In this case, I have connected up the anything but anonymous The Drop Podspeakers. I am reminded, since it is in the proximity of the Tibo SIA 75, of the old NAD 3020e that was, at the time an entry level into separates, lets say 30 years ago. The NAD was similarly funky looking, being ‘not black’, but it did have a great deal of analogue flexibility in its time, with no tone control, which was at the time essential (to me).
Tibo SIA 75 – Quality
The amplifier is a very sturdy box, weighing in at 5 kilos. It is very nicely finished, and ‘feels’ good to me. The volume knob (that doubles up as a mode button) is sturdy and doesn’t feel at risk of any mis-haps. The box sits on good solid rubber feet and is aesthetically comfortable to the look and touch. The rear is uncomplicated and has plenty of space. The power lead is detachable.
I have been very impressed with the Tibo Kameleon 6 previously and, this summer in particular, the Sphere 2. The Kameleon 6 is a networked speaker, the Sphere 2 is a portable garden version with a seemingly limitless battery. I’ve been very impressed with the quality of these speakers and they have been faultless performers all summer. One of the keys to the quality of delivery from Tibo is the very excellent Tibo iOS or Android App.
There is a remote control which is nice but a bit unnecessary if you use the App. It controls things like the inputs, volume and the colour of the light on the volume knob (red, blue or green)
Size W x D x H (mm): 430 x 230 x 60
Output – 2 x 75W RMS, 20Hz – 20kHz, -10dB, 4 ohms
Weight (kg): 5.0
The SIA75 is a very flexible piece of equipment with bags of power
I’m listening to this Tibo SIA 75 with the excellent ‘The Drop’ Podspeakers (reviewed favourably here), priced near £200, making them well suited to this streaming amplifier. I had found them to be lacking in bass thump, however I have been able to compensate for this using the Sub Woofer out connection. I have a Def Tech SC4000 sub woofer, which is fun and fills the gap in the Podspeaker performance. I’ve also hooked up my Rega RP3 with the matching Rega Fono Stage that is a bit of a spare part at the moment with the new Planar 6 taking up its space.
I’ve had a good play with this set-up, it is fun, simple and engaging given I’m usually involved in slightly more substantial equipment. With the sub woofer filling the low end gaps in the Podspeakers this is a really big sound with plenty of power delivered by the SIA 75. It is relatively smooth and the sound overall is comfortable and pleasant, even at moderate volumes. Dynamically, there are gaps, the amplifier is not very bouncy for me. However this is a hyper critical observation at this price level. The SIA75 is a very flexible piece of equipment with bags of power and there can be few complaints. The sub woofer out is really a bonus. I’m using a Def Tech sound cube with the simple RCA connection and it really does add that volume and depth you always need if you want to move air in the bass. A quick rip of ‘2049’ from the new Blade Runner film was very impressive indeed, with the Podspeakers in tandem with the SC4000 doing a superb job and the SIA75 seemingly breezing along.
The Tibo App is very effective…..It is their secret weapon
The Tibo App is very effective, I’ve used it with the Sphere and the Kameleon 6 and now this SIA 75. It is their secret weapon. It can control many devices at the same time and it is very intuitive in my view. With the Tibo SIA 75, the set-up was characteristically simple. I was up and connected in a short space of time. First up, I went straight to Tidal, as the SIA 75 noted I was in ‘WiFi Mode’ (the box tells you where you are all the time, ‘Power On’, Power Off’, ‘Bluetooth Mode’, etc.)! The App is great to use and flicks around Tidal (and I presume Spotify) nicely.
I have only used Android but it is available with iOS.
WiFi Mode Streaming
In ‘WiFi Mode’ Tidal is great. After you have logged on the App finds your Account playlists and you’re away in seconds. There is no NAS access (that I can find) however this is again a stretch at this price level. In this Mode I was able to play my music on the Phone through the App without any problem at all. I’m a big fan of TuneIn Radio and it seamless here as well. I was able to flick between favoured stations at will. One of the really useful features from Tibo is to be able to preset your radio stations and there are 18 presets here. I’m using four!
With a Nexus 6 smartphone and various podcasts is really good indeed. Gone are the days of dull Bluetooth and the Infinite Monkey Cage has rarely sounded better, with Brian Cox’s resonant tones accentuated by this set-up.
There are a few nice features on this system. You can adjust the colour of the light around the volume knob from red to green to blue, depending on your whim (and if you need to change the colour to match Bluetooth LED (Blue) or the WiFi LED (Red)). The remote is very good actually though, often redundant given the control you do have with the App, including volume.
As I have already mentioned the presets are really useful, especially with the test match on during testing on BBC R5LSX. It is dead easy to use but you cannot switch between stations using the presets which is a fraction annoying.
I have not tested the Optical Input, though I would be confident it would be more than suitable. The reason I have not tested is that I would only connect up a Bluesound Node to this and the SIA75 with the App does the job anyway.
The Phono In is great, though really it is a pre labelled Line In. I needed a Phono Stage and used my Rega Fono MM with the RP3. It is clear and very crisp and a very useful feature indeed if you’re wanting everything at start-up or next step level.
I am bound to say the Headphones out (3.5mm) were a bit of a surprise. With a pair of quite nice Focal Spirit headphones the output was very acceptable indeed. No complaints at all!
I would say if you’re looking to get into this game, this is a good analogue entry with streaming flexibility and other digital options.
Slimline contemporary look
Sub Woofer out!
NAS Access in WiFi Mode
More here from Tibo.