Published on June 2nd, 2017 | by Greg0
Emotiva BasX TA-100: An Amplified Audiophile Intro
Many people rely on speakers built into their television sets- and those folks are missing out on a wide range of sound, that the tinny, tiny speakers can’t reproduce. Explosions sound muffled, with audio lacking stereo imaging or spatial dynamics and music that lacks depth. We often suggest a quick fix with a soundbar, which improves all of the above, but still cannot offer the level of power and control that audiophiles want. For that, you’ll want discrete components- like a 2.1 system with a separate sub-woofer, and ideally an amplifier to help make it all work.
That’s the promise of the Emotiva BasX TA-100, an affordable audiophile-quality stereo preamplifier that includes an FM tuner and a solid amplifier in one package along with the ability to add Bluetooth via an extra optional dongle. For inputs, you’re treated to a pair of line-level analog ports, a 24byte/96kHz USB input, coaxial and a single optical as well- plus a phono input which can serve for either moving coil or moving magnet types for those who love vinyl (selectable via a switch). The built-in USB digital-to-analog convertor will handle just about any source, and there are line-level stereo outs as well as subwoofer outputs.
Matte black with a fairly large front and easy to read LCD panel, it looks every bit the part of a top-end piece of gear- simple and clean, with a nice blue glow around the volume knob. The TA-100 offers 50 watts per channel, which might not be enough power for some systems, but should be enough for any decent pair of smaller speakers. And it can drive just about any headphones, even tricky and demanding electrostatic models, via a front-panel jack. We tested it out as an amp primarily, driving a couple of different speaker options (and plenty of headphones), but it can also serve as a pre-amp. As you’d expect, audio is clean, with plenty of detail and a really nice balance that won’t color your music and will satisfy on even the most demanding tracks.
We’ve seen and liked Emotiva gear in the past- including their speakers and a home theater DAC. One small issue we had here was with the non-backlit remote control, and perhaps the menus- they can be a bit hard to navigate around. We loved that the LCD screen was dimmable, though, and that this system boasts smarter balance and volume control, with independent headphone audio levels. To keep the price low, it’s missing some features on higher-end amps, but most users won’t notice. The flexible BasX TA-100 offers a three-year warranty, but the best part is the surprisingly affordable price tag- expect to spend around $399 online and in stores. That’s a real bargain for anyone who needs to power up their passive speakers, allowing you to get a full home audiophile setup for under $800 or so, bringing a top-quality name to a very accessible price point.