PC Hi-Fi: Scythe's Kama Bay Amp

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With the exception of the sleek black faceplate, the Kama Bay Amp looks decidedly unimpressive on its own. It's a small metal box about the size of a paperback, and it does a poor job of hiding the cable spaghetti that sprouts from the back of it. In fact, the weight of the cables has a habit of pulling it out of whatever position it is put in. It's dwarfed by virtually every other home theater component — game consoles, DVD players, HTPC enclosures etc.

An amplifier is a simple device, and Scythe has wisely avoided fancying it up with unnecessary buttons and displays. It has a power button, a large, centrally located volume knob, and a small mute button off to the side. There is also a headphone jack next to the mute button. This is all an amplifier should ever need.

The volume knob has some tension to it, and it clicks when turned like a mouse wheel. Volume is adjusted in discrete steps with each click, not continuously as you might expect of a volume knob. The range of adjustment goes from fully off at approximately seven o'clock to a comfortable listening volume at twelve o'clock (at least with our test speakers). The remaining half turn (twelve o'clock to five o'clock) nudged up the volume relatively little, going from comfortable to slightly-louder-than-comfortable. This suggests that the knob is aligned linearly with the amp's wattage output, not the subjective volume as you might expect..

Good things come in small packages.

The silver-gray body and the default black faceplate do not match and look a little odd, especially in combination with the bright gold-plated connectors sticking out the back. At first, it seemed that Scythe had left the exterior unfinished because of the expectation that it would be installed in a PC, but we were surprised to notice that the two sides are actually pieces of silver-colored plastic which must be removed before it will fit in a drive bay. Clearly, the silver-and-black color scheme is deliberate.

Gold-plated connectors for "luxury appearance".

Rubber feet must be removed when installed in a PC.

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