EMOTIVA BasX TA-100

PW24.06.2020

Integrated amplifiers

Do you remember all-in-one systems? I thought this type of devices already vanished years ago but behold – Emotiva takes the risk and comes with a one box solution that employs everything except a turntable.

Function and form

98%
Ease of use
32%
Sound
72%
Appearance

The BasX TA-100 is one of the entry level amplifiers that Emotiva offers (hence the BasX that can be transcripted as “basic”). It combines the capabilities of a stereo preamplifier, an FM tuner (!), a power amplifier, a USB DAC, an MM/MC phono preamplifier, and a headphone preamplifier. It however can’t cook meals and play vinyl records. All these features are packed in a rather flat and surprisingly empty steel chassis, fronted by aluminum faceplate. Heatsinks are hidden in the chassis for its perforated plates are neither thick nor the amp does not produce any massive heat output during operation. The continuous power output of the Class AB amplifier is rated 50W into 8 ohms and 90W into 4 ohms, and provides quite modest 85dB signal-to-noise ratio.

The analogue connectivity includes 2 pairs of RCA line inputs, 1 tuner, and 1 phono input. Output section offers line level output for an external power amplifier, two mono outputs for subwoofers, and a headphone jack. The digital part of the Emotiva is built around 24bit/192kHz Analog Devices AD1955A DAC chip which the manual claims is “legendary”. The DAC can process signals via S/PDIF coax and optical Toslink (both up to 192kHz), and the USB-B port (24/96, no driver is needed for either Mac or PC). The BasX TA-100 also features an asynchronous USB-A inlet for AptX Bluetooth dongle that must be purchased separately – this way you can send your music files directly from a smartphone or a tablet.

Bass management

Weight
80
Slam
54
Articulation
44

The Emotiva BasX TA-100 is all about comfort and I have to say that going back from the “everything is possible to control from your seat” attitude of Emotiva to a more traditional audio set-up left me craving for more comfort with my own equipment.

I am not a tuner freak but the tuner in the BasX offers full digital control and 50 station presets. With buttons on the faceplate (or with the BasX’s fantastic remote control with a very intuitive central control ring) I could go through many user settings – blue display brightness, tone controls, balance settings (that also automatically adjust loudness of each channel for overall volume in the room), and mute and headphone level controls that remember your last setting when activated again. The volume knob is backlit in blue during playback modes, or in yellow when in stand-by. The main mains rocker switch is at the rear of the unit. 

Clarity & delicacy

Detail
42
Air
38
Transparency
38

The Emotiva BasX TA-100 is not designed for audiophiles – if it was a book it would be sold at airports. It was designed in the U.S. (hence the rather rough and simple industrial look with blue lights all around) and is produced in China.

Tonal accuracy

Timbre
31
Dynamics
30
Temporal resolution
30

This is my first review – and most likely the last one – when I have almost nothing to say about the sound. It is good, but good is not enough to make an impression. When I listened to jazz albums, I was missing tonality desperately, the instruments were about their fundamentals with their harmonic structures dumped. The bass, though quite prominent, lacked control and articulation, and although it managed to create an illusion of a great macrodynamic scale, it failed on nuances and resolution. When I started to fiddle with tone controls I could get decent sound from the Emotiva, but still it was more like a sketch of painting than a finished work of art.

The picture improved with rock music where I actually liked the way the BasX TA-100 conveyed the sound, with springy bass and sparkling top end, yet somewhat homogenous delivery.

Spatial resolution

Holography
68
Soundstage width
66
Soundstage depth
68

It’s all about playing the music. It isn’t about spending a lot of money, or solid gold knobs or jewel encrusted remote controls. That said (by Emotiva in the manual) is only a half of truth. Today’s world is extremely competitive and the sound, though at a very low price, should be better than the absolutely necessary standard. If you want better performing combos then check Vincent, NAD, Yamaha, or Denon, to name a few.

Price as reviewed:16 900,- Kč

Recommended resellers

WDQ s.r.o., Praha, +420 241 406 375

Associated components

  • Sources: CD/SACD/DVD-A Linn Unidisk 1.1, TW-Acustic Raven One s Graham Phantom raménkem a přenoskou Transfiguration Orpheus
  • Amplifiers: Spectral DMA-150, phono Gruensch Reference Phonostage MCS
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: MIT MA, MIT MA-X XLR, MIT V2.1 Oracle, Stealth Audio Hyperphono, Jorma Prime
  • Loudspeakers: Wilson Audio Sasha W/P, Canton Chrono 518 DC, Nubert NuVero 110,
  • Power conditioning: Furutech Daytona, Oyaide, Nordost Valhalla V2

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