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Emotiva BasX A-300 Amp: Give Me a Kiss

This Emotiva BasX A-300 Amp in the photo is turned on and looks like it wants a kiss! For the price and performance, we’ll pucker up any time.

For the Lack of an Amp

We’ve been having some bad luck with our amps, recently. We’ve gone through a few of our long-time amps in our main solid state system. And, by the way, we all keep a few extra around, just in case, don’t we? 😉 Anyway, while our vintage pieces could probably be fixed, we now live in an area where it’s hard to find someone to do that and to get on their schedule. As such, we decided to let the moths out of our wallets and buy a new amp.

Some years ago, we bought an Emotiva pre-amp that we used for quite some time. Eventually, our system changed where we wanted something with the latest and greatest connections and a built-in DAC. At that time, we did swap it out for a Parasound unit. However, we did like the Emotiva brand. We thought it was a modest cost and good performance. Thus, in looking for a new amp, the Emotiva brand was still an easy choice to consider.

In addition, when any family members attend Axpona, they have a requirement to return with some type of souvenir besides just a stack of magazines. This was the souvenir, although, technically, it was only ordered at Axpona, not carried home from the exposition.

Definition: DAC

“DAC” stands for “digital-to-analog converter.” It takes digital signals and converts them to analog waves – we listen to sound in our ears as analog. DACs can be internal, we have them in almost anything we own, such as CD or DVD players, just as a couple examples. DACs can be built-in (internal) or external. Yes, you can have just a DAC in your audio system all just plugged-in by itself. To complicate this, some DACs are better than others. And, while some of the built-in DACs merely do their minimum job of conversion, there are many reasons to buy either an external DAC or a piece of equipment with some specific DAC built-into it.

Some Thoughts

First of all, we put the Emotiva BasX A-300 amp right into our system and it worked fine, right away. I can’t remember having to do any real break-in period, but I’ll admit I was so happy to have a working amp that I didn’t pay attention.

We’re running a pair of Royd Doublet loudspeakers (6 ohm). This is our stereo system not our surround system, by the way. We don’t run both stereo and surround off the same amp. In addition, our systems tend to be 100% solid state. Currently, we’re not trying out any tube equipment in the systems.

Then, whether it sounds better or worse than the Denon, Sony or Pioneer Elite units it replaced is probably a question to consider. Since each of the previous units lost a channel and we lived with spotty performance in one channel for some amount of time with each of those units, it’s hard to compare. Anything sounds better, basically.

But in doing a semi-serious listening exercise, can say we currently feel satisfied.

The BasX Series

According to Emotiva, this series is meant for “excellence + affordability.” While that’s relative, for our modest system, it does work. We don’t have huge power requirements, for starters. If we tried to turn any of our equipment to “11” it would blow out our ear drums. We have what you could refer to as an “audiophile” system but we’re not running the top-of-the-line equipment. We have typically had small rooms with many challenges, such as doorways or windows, and not easily addressed by room treatment in a practical manner.

As such, with the Emotiva BasX A-300 amp rated at 150 Watts RMS and current speakers suggested to use 50-150, it seems an appropriate choice.

Watts Per Channel

RMS vs. Peak

RMS watts stands for “root mean square.” This is the continuous power you get per channel. This is as opposed to the peak watts, which is what you get when the power surges to its max. One can be calculated from the other. Here’s why you care: it’s because you need enough power to drive your speakers so you don’t get clipping from overdriving your amp. At the same time, if you push too much power to a speaker, it can get damaged.

The bottom line is that this appears to be a sturdy unit that can drive any of the speakers of the specifications that we happen to run in our systems.

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