Published on July 15th, 2012 | by Kira0
Dayton: Great Things Come In Small Packages
I am a girl who lives by her music. It is rare to find me without my iPod or near a computer not playing Pandora. I am that girl who has a bounce in her step as she dances down the street. As one may assume, on top of just wanting music, I care about my quality of music. Since we have quite a few decent headphones and speakers around to test, I’ve been lucky to get some serious cans from brands like Sennheiser and beyerdynamic and Grado that have really improved the quality.
The Dayton Audio DTA-100a Class-T Digital Amp has helped even further. It is not battery powered, so it isn’t much assistance on the go (maybe an improvement for the next upgrade), but it is small enough to take with me if I have a pair of decent small speakers as well. This is handy for my photography work. If I want to keep my stereo set up at my studio I can, but if I want to take it on location it is not a big deal. The amp is so small it can easily fit in a purse or even a big pocket. And the matte black finish is sleek and fits well with most any system or on any desktop.
I am very happy with the quality of the sound that comes from the Dayton DTA-100a, but it should be noted that the amp only reaches 60 watts (30 for each speaker), anything above this will give you some distortion. A child could do the set up, all the basic wires. In addition to speakers, you can plug in 1/4″ headphones, which is how we ended up doing a lot of listening. The amp can be a part of most stereo set ups, or just play music off a phone or iPod (which is mostly how I use it). The only annoyance is how bright the blue light in the front is. It can be a little distracting in a dark room, and it didn’t seem to be adjustable or dimmable.
This might not be the best amp for more serious speaker setups- and sometimes, you’re best off finding a preset pair, like the CEntrance set we checked out a bit ago. We’ve been doing a fair bit of audio testing of several headphones in the recent trio, and this amp can warm up the sound a bit, but probably isn’t worth it unless you’re dealing with speakers or monitor-quality headphones over the $200-250 range (in general, it’s best to spend more on the headphones or speakers and save money for an amp when the manufacturer recommends it). Also, those looking to spend a bit more and get portability should check out the Voyager, which sacrifices a bit of quality/power for battery power.
This is one of those times that you can get a great item that’s a solid value. For only $89, the Dayton Audio DTA-100a Class-T Digital Amp is the perfect addition to your stereo. One of the least expensive amps that we’ve tried, it doesn’t quite offer the warmth of a tube amp, but does make a significant improvement at a reasonable price.