No one brand rocked AXPONA 2017 quite like Emotiva. The ambitious maker of high-performance but affordable audio gear demoed its entry-level yet audiophile-quality BasX line at the show, including a demo of a 5.1 surround system.
I first heard BasX gear at CES 2017 and it left an immediate positive impression. Truth be told, CES was the superior environment for such a demo because the BasX gear got its own room. At AXPONA 2017, it was overshadowed by the much larger XPA Gen3 & Airmotiv Atmos & DTS:X compatible system that was the star of the show.
Here’s a brief video pan of Emotiva’s BasX spread at AXPONA 2017:
BasX encompasses electronics, subwoofers, and speakers. The line offers a CD player, the BasX CD-100 ($299) that is “designed for music lovers who want a simple, rock-solid, and most important, great sounding CD player for their home or office.”
The line includes the MC-700 ($599) Home Theater Processor that supports 4K video, has 6 HDMI inputs and two HDMI outputs. Plus it sports a balanced XLR subwoofer output, and handles surround-sound decoding up to 7.1 channels.
The BasX MC-700 also has a USB connection that allows you to connect directly to a PC, an optical-digital input, and a coaxial-digital input. Furthermore, it offers an RS-232 port, a voltage trigger out, IR in/out. and a separate USB connection for updates. I have this unit in for review, unboxing will occur very soon.
The TA-100 ($399) is a stereo preamp/DAC/tuner with an integrated amplifier. You get 50 watts RMS per channel output into an 8 ohm load (with 0.02% THD) and up to 90 watts RMS per channel into 4 ohms (with <1% THD). As long as your power needs are modest, this unit can serve as a complete 2-channel solution. You even get a couple of summed outputs, in case you want to connect a subwoofer or two.
A phono input makes the TA-100 vinyl-friendly. And it includes a headphone jack for private listening. The digital side offers specs that banish distortion and noise into the realm of the imperceptible. Digital inputs include digital optical, digital coaxial, USB (you can connect directly to a PC) and another USB port that you can use with a Bluetooth adapter. There are also three pairs of stereo RCA analog inputs.
The PT-100 ($299) is similar to the TA-100 but leaves out the amplification. And speaking of amplification, BasX has quite a few options in that department and they all feature toroidal transformers and quality components.
The point of entry for amps is the BasX A-100 Stereo Flex amplifier ($229). This 50 watt per channel amp is pretty cool if you’re into headphones, it lets you choose to use the built-in amplifier with a series of resistors for “classic style headphone output.”
The A-100 also lets you bypass those resistors and use the full amplifier’s power through the headphone jack. This is great for powering low efficiency planar magnetic models! Of course it can also power speakers, including 4-ohm models. Frequency response is 20Hz to 20kHz +/- 0.08 dB at 1 watt, and S/N ratio is > 110 dB (A-weighted; ref full output) – this little amp is no joke.
Emotiva’s BasX A-150 stereo amp ($299) skips the headphone jack but ups the power output to 75 watts per channel, and the S/N ratio to 120 dB. Emotiva lists a damping factor of >500 for this model.
With the A-300 ($399) amp, the line gets a heftier stereo power amplifier. Overall, the specifications are a carbon copy of the A-150, except we’re looking at 150 watts RMS per channel into 8 ohms for double the power.
The A-500 ($499) is a 5-channel amp that can deliver 110 watts RMS per channel, (2-channels driven) into 8 ohms. When all channels are driven concurrently into an 8 ohm load, power output is 80 watts per channel. This amp has a >120 dB signal-to-noise ratio. This is clearly a useful amp for surround-sound applications.
The BasX A-700 ($599) is the priciest amp in the line. I have this model in for review. it offers essentially the same specifications as the A500, except over 7 channels. I look forward to unboxing it and checking it out shortly.
Finally among the amps, there’s the BasX A-800 ($499) multi-zone power amp, which is an 8-channel model for whole home audio applications. Each channel offers up to 50 watts RMS output into 8 ohms. Other specs are not as spectacular as the other amps, but the idea is that lifestyle audio is not critical listening. You get a lot of channels for modest cost, and that keeps with the BasX theme.
The lineup includes a couple of speaker models. The BasX Sat ($198/pair) is a 2-way satellite speaker that combine a 1″ silk-dome tweeter with a 4″ long-throw mid/woofer. Sensitivity is 87 dB/W/m, frequency response is 80 Hz to 25 kHz +/- 3 dB, power handling is 50 watts RMS (100 watts peak), and nominal impedance is 4 ohms.
Emotiva’s BasX LCR ($149 each) is a flexible speaker that can be used horizontally or vertically. It pairs a 1″ silk dome treated with dual 4″ mid/woofers. Specs are identical to the BasX Sat except they can handle exactly twice the power.
And that’s not all! The BasX lineup also includes subs. There’s the S12 ($399) 12-incher, the S10 ($299) 10-incher, and S8 ($199). I have dual S12 subs to go with the BasX electronics in the 7.2 review system. However, I will be using Airmotiv speakers with these subs, not BasX LCRs.
The BasX S12 sub offers the 300-watt class-D amplifier, and frequency response of 25 Hz to 150 Hz (+/-3 dB). The S10 sub has a 200-watt amp and covers 27 Hz to 150 Hz (+/-3 dB). And the S8 sub takes a bow as the least expensive subwoofer option yet still offers a 150-watt amp and promises to cover 28 Hz to 150 Hz (+/- 3dB).
That’s all for now, but as far as Emotiva goes this is just the beginning. For 2017, the company has so much new product in the pipeline that it’s overwhelming. But it’s also exactly what Hi-Fi and home theater need: An affordable point of entry to scoring some great-sounding high-performance audio gear.