Choice of T-amp for bookshelf speakers

brettjrob

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Aug 3, 2008
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Since early 2011, I've been running a pair of low-end bookshelf speakers (Klipsch B2) at my desktop, and I'm quite happy with the results for the price. They're sourced through a Maverick TubeMagic D1 DAC and -- here's the sketchy part -- a cheapo Dayton DTA-1 T-amp.

As I said, the setup sounds fine for my basic music-listening needs in an untreated room. The amp has some channel imbalance issues until you crank it up to listening volume, and a bit of crackling when turning the volume pot, but otherwise seems fine to me. However, I've never really experienced better. I've seen some $100-200 T-amps recommended in other threads here recently, and was wondering if some of y'all with experience in the matter think something like this make a noticeable difference for me. Note that I'm in an apartment and don't need party-filling sound; all I care about is quality at reasonable volumes.

When I chose the DTA-1, I did so with the rationale that my speakers are fairly small and efficient (and certainly not high-end audiophile grade), so would likely not be bottlenecked by any functioning amp. Am I on the right track there?
 

Impulse

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If you're looking at a $200 budget the AB amp from Audioengine is worth mentioning, the N22. It has pre amp outputs which make it very easy to add a sub. I'm sure Emotiva's mini amp is more refined too... To what extent they'd outshine a Topping or a cheaper Dayton/Lepai with those speakers, I wouldn't know. Maybe someone else can jump in here and enlighten us. :D
 

spaceman

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The emotiva is the best of the lot. Outstanding company. If you want to upgrade that is the amp.
 

King of Heroes

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The Dayton APA150 is, from what I understand, a rebranded Emotiva Class-A amp. That might be an option if you want to give their amps a try for a little less money.
 

Mabu

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Dec 15, 2009
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I'm in a similar boat as the OP, in that I'm in the market for one of these mini amps, but around the $100.00 price range. I'd be pairing it wit the a pair of Polk Monitor 40s for a few different devices in a spare room. The ones that I'm currently deciding between are the Dayton DTA-100a and a few of the Topping models in that price range.

The current forerunner for me is the Dayton, mainly because I prefer the black metal look, unified power/volume dial, a shared input on the front/back with auto-switching, and integrated headphone amp (which I may never actually use, but it's really nice to know that it's an option). The only thing that I have read so far to be a negative is that it "pops" when powered on. Not a game-breaker, but midly annoying.

On the Topping side, I'm considering the TP21 and TP22 TK2050. TP21 has a headphone amp, but the power switch is on the back (again, minor annoyance for me) and has only a single input. The TP22 doesn't have a headphone amp, but does have a second input with a manual switch + power switch on the front. I'm not sure what else the exta $60 TP22 gives you over the TP21 though, and the TP22 is just a bit more than I'm looking to spend.

Anyone have any recommendations for me, or can give me their opinions on any of those amps?

Thanks.
 

SithSolo1

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With the TP21 vs TP22 is the TP22 has a good bit more power.

At 0.03% THD the TP21 is putting out 9w per channel @ 4 ohms.
At roughly the same % THD the TP22 is putting out 22w per channel @ 4 ohm.
 

rosco

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Jun 22, 2000
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On a somewhat related note, can you hook a subwoofer to a T-amp? Or, do you need to go the receiver route if you want the flexibility to add in a subwoofer later on?
 

spaceman

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On a somewhat related note, can you hook a subwoofer to a T-amp? Or, do you need to go the receiver route if you want the flexibility to add in a subwoofer later on?

Not unless they have an rca or sub out. You can use your soundcard subwoofer out via a 1/8th to rca cable.
 

SithSolo1

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Not unless they have an rca or sub out. You can use your soundcard subwoofer out via a 1/8th to rca cable.

Not entirely true. Many subs have High Level inputs/outputs where you can wire it: Amp>Sub Hi-IN>Sub Hi-OUT>Speakers. For those that only have Hi-IN, I believe(HINT I haven't tried this) you can just double the wire pairs connected to the amp terminals and just send one pair to the speakers and one to the sub. The down side is that most subs do not have an internal High-pass filter so the speakers are still getting the full range signal which could potentially damage them at higher volumes.

The 1/8th(3.5mm) to RCA as you mentioned is the best way as some sound cards will let you set an internal crossover when the center/sub port is utilized.
 

mannyman

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Not entirely true. Many subs have High Level inputs/outputs where you can wire it: Amp>Sub Hi-IN>Sub Hi-OUT>Speakers. For those that only have Hi-IN, I believe(HINT I haven't tried this) you can just double the wire pairs connected to the amp terminals and just send one pair to the speakers and one to the sub. The down side is that most subs do not have an internal High-pass filter so the speakers are still getting the full range signal which could potentially damage them at higher volumes.

The 1/8th(3.5mm) to RCA as you mentioned is the best way as some sound cards will let you set an internal crossover when the center/sub port is utilized.

Well most subwoofers do have a crossover, Anyways high frequencys won't damage a subwoofer, It will just add distortion. In reverse playing low notes through a tweeter will harm it.

A upside of using the hi to low converter is external volume control.
 
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