Emotiva BASx A-300 Power Amp, $400, 150×2 Class AB
300×2 into 4 ohms
Emotiva kicked off its BASx line in mid 2015. They said the first product was to be a power amp for $400. Yawn. Well, it’s a nice price point guys, sure.
When the A-300 arrived, we opened it up as we do all new gear. WOW! At the heart of this inexpensive power amp is an oversized, 360va toroidal transformer! Whoa!! Really?! This is the kind of transformer we see in amplifiers for a grand or more.
There are eight output transistors. Again, we typically don’t see this until about a grand. Most amps only use four. More cylinders equal more acceleration!
Filter capacitance is 30,000uF per channel. Again, this is generous at $1000. Enough nuts and bolts, time to listen.
Jazzed by what I had seen inside, I knew we didn’t have to go easy on A-300. I wanted to hear what A-300 could do with the Bryston A2s. The Brystons are $3230 per pair, 4 ohms, and medium level efficiency. Would ANYBODY buy speakers for $3k plus and only spend $400 on the amp? Probably not, but I wanted to challenge A-300 regardless.
Right out of the box, the A-300 hit hard. It drives the A2’s extremely well, which includes delivering substantial bass to these very full figured speakers. Keep in mind that A-300 produces 300×2 into a 4 ohm load. Hence for those of us who love Bryston and Magnepan speakers, $400 buys you a lotta amplifier! Further, think of all the GoldenEar models with powered subs! The amp just has to drive the mids and ribbon tweeter- piece of cake!
On Count Basie’s “Basie Jam” I love the tune “One Nighter.” The Count plays a Hammond B3 on this tune instead of piano. As usual, the Count is economical with his playing- always the cool cat. Hearing Ray Brown on bass, accompanying the organ (not that common occurrence by the way), A-300 delivered full and detailed bass. I was happily shocked that this $400 amp drove the A2s amply. In fact, if you had told me I was listening to a $1000 amp with 200×2 power, I would have had no trouble believing you.
A-300 has terrific attack and punch. It sounds open and clear. I’m embarrassed to ask, if you’re not a metal head listener, do you need more? A $400 amp that can drive really heavy, authoritative speakers like Bryston A2s well??? I’m sold.
I’m sold mostly because A-300 sounds so good. But I’m also sold because buying an A-300 amp will allow you to get into better loudspeakers- where the extra money really will garner rewards. A-300 is so good that unless you listen at very powerful volumes, you can allot $400 to the amp and go nuts on the speakers!
4h, 17w, 15.5d, 26 lbs.