See the complete review of the Emotiva TA-100 Stereo Preamp/DAC/Tuner with Integrated Amplifier

Well, this is a bit of a trip down memory lane. Back in 2008, I was looking to replace my aging Onkyo receiver when I came across an advertisement from a little-known company in Tennessee called Emotiva.

They were offering an intriguing special with their LMC-1 pre/pro and a 7-channel amplifier, the LPA-1.

Emotiva TA-100 Stereo Preamp/DAC/Tuner with Integrated Amplifier and Airmotiv B1 Bookshelf Loudspeakers

Priced at around $800, I realized that for what I was willing to spend on a receiver, I could now join the rarefied ranks of those that had separate components. This “step-up” in my audio experience was also directly tied into my employment with SECRETS… So yes, I wax nostalgic with Emotiva products.

Emotiva TA-100 Preamp Front View

The TA-100 is a bit of a Swiss Army knife product that it is a stereo pre-amp, DAC and tuner with 50-watt Class A/B amplification, all in a slim chassis. To sweeten the pot, they threw in a pair of their new Airmotiv B1 bookshelf speakers so I could review it as a combo package that weighs in at just under $500.

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The BasX TA-100 has all of the features you’d need if you were in the market for a good stereo system. The compact design is two rack-units (2RU) high and sports a heavy-duty steel chassis, solid milled aluminum faceplate and high-quality parts and construction. It has a nice complement of digital inputs, including one 24/96k USB input, a 24/192 coax and optical S/PDIF inputs and an optional Bluetooth receiver.

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They also sent along their BTM-1 Bluetooth (with Apt-X) module that allowed me to stream music from my iPhone in CD quality sound. Included is your choice of moving magnet or moving coil cartridge inputs for your favorite turn table, should you be a vinyl spinner. Headphone jack? Got it. And I would be remiss if I did not mention the included 50-station FM tuner. The small remote is very basic, but functional. Also available is the PA-100 which is basically the same unit without an amplifier section. The TA-100 I’m reviewing sells for the modest price of $399.

Emotiva TA-100 Preamp Back View

Emotiva Airmotiv B1 Bookshelf Loudspeaker

The Airmotiv B1 is a passive speaker featuring Emotiva’s AMT tweeter, which is said to deliver a flat frequency response, low distortion, minimal signal compression, smooth off-axis response, superb transparency and accurate imaging. The mid-woofer is made from woven fiber and tuned for a flat frequency response with very low coloration. The woofers include high-temperature voice coils and vented pole pieces for precise bass control at any volume. The grills are held in place magnetically and the sculpted fronts look spiffy with the grills removed. Though I felt they were a bit light in weight, I found they deliver the goods in sound quality. The TA-100 has a sub output that lets you augment the B1s on the low end, but for a desktop system, the B1s provide enough bass that you could forgo the sub altogether. Sold as a pair, the Airmotiv B1s go for $299.

In the next few weeks, I will post my review on this combination. My initial thoughts so far are very positive. How do they make these products with this kind of quality, at these kinds of prices?

See the complete review of the Emotiva TA-100 Stereo Preamp/DAC/Tuner with Integrated Amplifier