Review: Dayton DTA-100a Amplifier

Category: Amplifiers

Budget esoterica
December 2010

The sound of no hands clapping

In this months issue of budget esoterica i would like to discuss the dayton dta-100a integrated amp. The dayton amp is available at parts express for under $100. It is a little diminutive class t-amp that measures approximately 2 inches by 3.375 inches by 5.625 inches deep. Included with the amp is a beefy looking power supply the size of a brick. It has a power rating of 50 watts x 2 into 8 ohms.

How do you describe an amp that sounds like nothing? There is no character to the dayton dta-100a. It is transparent to the source. What an easy review! Essentially i will be telling you what my source, speakers, and cables sound like on a few selections i have picked out from my collections of cd's.

Before i begin, i would like to say that both the dayton amp, and my source were used with the stock power cords. The amp was burned in for approximately one and a half weeks and i always leave my components constantly powered on. I used penn-elcom footers underneath the cd player.

I picked out the following cd selections:

1. Blue note greatest samples from the blue note lab - track 9, howling for judy.

2 Cassandra Wilson, belly of the sun - track 6, only a dream in rio.

3. Blue Note trip jazzanova - track 4, I've had a little talk.

4. Dave Douglas , freak in - track 2, culver city park.

5. John Coltrane , a love supreme - track 1 , acknowledgement.

The sound of music

On the howling for judy selection, i heard very good seperation of instruments and very good sound stage coherence. I noticed a neutral sound with excellent highs and a good portrayal of tonal colors. There was a good dynamic shift and very good detail.

The cassandra wilson selection had excellent presence, very good clarity and cleanliness. There was good rhythm and timing and noticeable transparency.

Jazzanova is an eclectic collection of jazz tunes that you are sure to love. On this selection i note a good sense of flow to the music and a forward , full sounding vocal presentation. I noticed tube-like highs and an open, live quality to the sound. It also seems to portray a sense of stability to the sound.

The dave douglas cd is music that is sure to get your heart pounding. On this selection i noticed a slight analog quality to the sound. It had a very spacious sound, and i liked the way the amp gave the sense that the pace of the music was being slowed down, to better separate the instruments. I also noted good texture to the instruments and a big airy sound.

John coltrane, a love supreme, is the last cd i tried while auditioning the amp. On the chosen track entitled "acknowledgement", i heard smooth highs and a full sounding saxophone with good overall tone. The cymbals had a neat chromium silver sheen to them that i found quite appealing. John Coltrane's voice was deep and rich sounding. The highs also had a sense of delicacy about them.

The sound of $100 draining from your pocket book

I am going to go ahead and recommend this amp because it sounds like nothing, and i like nothing. This is an amplifier that simply amplifies the volume of your source. I am going to award the dayton dta-100a the designation of the best budget esoterica amp for the year 2010.

Associated gear
Madisound studio vifa speakers
sony DVP-SR500H
Penn-Elcom isolation feet
Atacama speaker stands

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Wait until after 200 hours to fully judge this amp. I was shocked! Dynamics, transients, resolution and best of all texture! Very similar to my SET amp. I do not need my preamp, just run it straight from my Audio Note DAC. Sensitive to cables though. Simply beautiful!
Surprisingly impressed by mine also. T-amps don't get much cred here, too inexpensive my guess. I also have a HLLY tamp-20 which I very much like. Sometimes use it with my Little Dot mkIII pre. Right now they are hooked up to my Cambridge S-30 speakers and Musical Fidelity E624, nice.
With 12wpc it can blow you out of the room when used with Klipsch Forte IIs.
I think everyone should own a t-amp for back up. When your amp goes out it can be very depressing to go without music!
Also the DTA-100a is a great cheap benchmark to compare "real" amps to.
Ok Honda6, what gives? Just read another of your threads and found that you also use a Playstation 1001 -and- Atacama stands. Are you my evil doppelganger? Maybe I'm the bad one...