Emotiva BasX TA2 Integrated Amplifier Page 2

Meanwhile, the lid off shot reveals what Emotiva describes as a 'highly optimised circuit layout,' where the amp board (with heatsink and cooling fans), toroidal transformer and power supply circuitry are isolated from the analogue input and DAC stage (the latter based around an Analog Devices AD1955 chip). Note that analogue signals bypass the amp's digital circuitry, and the bass management, tone and volume controls all operate in the analogue domain.

sqnote Power Play
Any prospective buyer of the BasX TA2 may consider some of its functions – specifically the HT bypass and bass management features – unnecessary, so it's worth stressing that the upgrade in power over the TA1 makes a tangible difference to the listening experience. From recollection, this amplifier sounds more purposeful but also more at ease; it attacks the dynamics of music with greater gusto and with tighter control of its well-extended lows. Elements of the TA1's sonic signature do remain, however, which is not surprising because much of the underlying technology is the same. The DAC stage isn't one to completely uncover the tiniest of musical details, and with some pieces there's a congested feeling to the soundstage, a lack of air. Nevertheless, for the most part the BasX TA2 had me listening with a grin on my face.

Mercury Rev's Deserter Songs [V2 Music VVR1002772] isn't an obvious album with which to audition a power-pushing American amp, as its collection of psychedelic, Beatles-esque tracks is dying for a deft touch presentation. Yet the TA2 acquitted itself well with the full-bodied tone of the brass on 'Holes' and the wispy strings on 'Endlessly'. It also spread the band's instruments across a soundstage that, while lacking an expansive sense of depth, had sufficient space.


Four line, MM/MC and HT/sub ins sit alongside filtered low-pass (sub) and high-pass line outs, all on RCAs. Two optical, one coax and USB-B digital ins (192kHz/24-bit) are joined by FM and BT antenna(s). Speaker outs are via 4mm binding posts

Florence + The Machine's cover of Candi Staton's 'You Got The Love' [Lungs; Universal Music 44.1kHz/16-bit] is an even more polished production, with a mix that puts the singer front and centre. The TA2 zeroed in on the vocals, revealing the cracks, breaths and distinctive tone of Florence Welch's voice, while bass guitar and piano churned away behind. On this piece the weight of the low frequencies felt a bit overbearing, leading me to the amp's trim controls to dial the bass down a mark. This isn't something I'd usually do, but I welcomed the option.

Stack Attack
There were no such problems with Alice In Chains' early-'90s grunge masterpiece Dirt [Columbia 472330 2], as the BasX TA2 sounded spot-on in its rendition of the ferocious riffs and pounding drums. The dynamic surges in the chorus of 'Rooster', and the sludgy guitar lines of 'Junkhead', created the impression of the group standing in front of a stack of amps, the raw energy of their playing apparent.

When these songs became more layered, the amplifier's affordable nature shone through as it became harder to really focus on individual elements. Yet this wasn't a constant concern. A runout of The Eagles' Hell Freezes Over live set [2018 remaster; Geffen Records 44.1kHz/24-bit], and the majestic acoustic version of 'Hotel California' (when you can hear it above the whooping and clapping crowd), found the TA2 on top form. The sound came together with clean acoustic guitar and crisp percussion, well focused on the stereo stage. Bass notes were plump, the kick drum resonant, and the vocal harmonies sweetly layered.

Jennifer Warnes' 'Bird On A Wire' [Famous Blue Raincoat; Porch Light 44.1kHz/16-bit] was similarly exciting, with its drum and palm-muted guitar forming a large, buoyant sounding-board for her smooth, heaven-sent vocals.

Spine Tingling
Listening via the BasX TA2's USB-B input, and through its analogue input from sources including Hegel's Viking CD player [HFN Sep '23], it became clear that this integrated is at its best with well-recorded music. It will not 'sweeten' tougher, rougher albums but what it does do, brilliantly for the price, is present any genre with plenty of power. Indeed, part of the thrill of listening to the BasX TA2 is simply turning the music up loud.


Emotiva's BPR-2 remote offers access to the TA2's 'menu tree' plus input select, volume, mute and display dimming

Playing 'The Pusher' from Steppenwolf's self-titled debut album [Geffen Records; 192kHz/24-bit], through some Perlisten R7t floorstanders [HFN Aug '22], I didn't get much beyond the TA2's 60 volume setting (out of 80) before putting down the remote and soaking up the largescale portrayal of this languid stoner rock classic. The amp's neutral intonation laid bare the various flavours of guitar tone and piano, just as it served up the trumpets of The Rolling Stones' 'Bitch' [Sticky Fingers; Polydor 376 483-9] with both considerable force and impressive detail.

The title track of Simon & Garfunkel's Bridge Over Trouble Water [Columbia; 192kHz/24-bit] is certainly more sedate, but the power of the amp's performance was still apparent in the strong, spine-tingling rendition of the two vocalists and the deep, gospel-like piano backing.

And what about some hip-hop? Eminem's 'Lose Yourself' [Curtain Call: The Hits; Interscope Records 0602498890844] is built upon a repetitive bassline that thumps out from the BasX TA2 like a heartbeat, while the rapid-fire lyrics hit with clarity and snap. 'Lose yourself in the music', commands the Detroit rapper – something that's easily done with this Emotiva amp...

Hi-Fi News Verdict
This feature-packed integrated amp makes quite the impression. Outrageously powerful for a model at the price, the BasX TA2 paints largescale, dynamic images with plenty of bass heft and midrange presence – attributes that make up for a lack of top-end smoothness and insight. Excellent connectivity, including FM radio, asynchronous USB, and some useful tricks, further cement the value-for-money status.

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