Emotiva BasX TA2 Integrated Amplifier

hfncommendedBased on the slimmer, lookalike TA1, the TA2 features twice as many output transistors, a far beefier PSU and three times the output... All this, a DAC/preamp and FM radio too

You shouldn't even need to see the £1099 price tag of Emotiva's BasX TA2 to understand it's one of the American manufacturer's entry-level products: the clue is in the name. Yet this integrated amplifier is about more than just covering off the 'basics', not least as it's positioned as a step up from the £669 BasX TA1 [HFN Nov '22].

That model, also described as a 'stereo preamp/DAC/tuner with integrated amplifier', claims a 2x60W/8ohm (and 100W/4ohm) Class AB power output, and features a slender, 67mm-high chassis. The BasX TA2 is beefier both inside and out, upping the claimed power to 135W/8ohm, and growing in height to 102mm. It's still easily accommodated, of course, but will look a little more serious than the waif-like TA1 on your hi-fi furniture.

Superior Support
Just as the rated power output of this amp appears generous for the money, so too does the connectivity, which mixes analogue and digital inputs with FM radio, plus some flexible output options. Networking is absent, but there's nothing else missing that you might expect to get at this price, and plenty here that you probably wouldn't.

For physical inputs, the BasX TA2 builds on the TA1, increasing the analogue RCA options from two to four, and adding a second optical digital input. Also on the rear panel are a coaxial digital input, an MM/MC phono input (47kohm/100ohm), and a USB-B port supporting 192kHz/24-bit playback from a PC or hi-fi streamer. Built-in Bluetooth v5.0 (with aptX HD and AAC) and the aforementioned FM radio receiver are both supported by screw-in antennae.


Two pairs of power transistors (per channel) are bolted onto the TA2's fan-cooled heatsink [right], all fed from a large linear PSU [left]. A daughter board [top right] handles input switching and the AD1955 DAC-based preamp

Moving on to the outputs, adjacent to a set of speaker binding posts are analogue stereo and subwoofer pre-outs, the former with a toggle to switch in a high-pass filter, the latter offering the same for a low-pass filter. There are also 2.1-channel home theatre bypass inputs for adding the amp to a surround sound set-up, plus 12V trigger in/out. This makes Emotiva's affordable amp unusually versatile when it comes to system integration, particularly for subwoofer owners.

The initial impression of the BasX TA2 being a more muscular version of the TA1 is reinforced by its milled aluminium front panel, as except for some extra real estate, the two are identical. Above the central power on/off button is a thin black strip containing a VFD display, plus input selection buttons and a 3.5mm headphone socket. On the right is a volume rotary, backlit blue to match the VFD illumination.

It looks rather spartan, but the volume knob doubles as a push/twist controller for delving into the BasX TA2's menus, and here there's a fair amount of tweaking to uncover. For example, Emotiva provides treble, bass and balance controls, as well as the option of setting the brightness of the VFD illumination, all the way down to off. You can also use the menus to autotune or seek FM radio stations and save them to the amp's 15 memory slots.

Room And Board
The controls are reasonably intuitive, and these menu adjustments can be more easily made via the TA2's compact plastic remote control. However, if I may level some criticism at Emotiva's amp, it's that it lacks a degree of general operational slickness compared to some integrated rivals. As an example, the tuner portion of the menus are only visible if you've remembered to switch to the tuner input first. Additionally, while the VFD will show the sample rate of an incoming digital signal, it only does so briefly when playback is started, and can't be easily recalled. The volume control – a rotary encoder rather than a chunky analogue pot – feels lightweight compared to the rest of the amp and, thanks to its multiple steps, it's not easy to quickly crank up the level. That said, the BasX TA2 does handily remember the last used input and volume setting after power off/on.

Emotiva Audio Corporation
Tennessee, USA
Supplied by: Karma AV, York
01423 358846