I'm spending more time sitting at my PC with a variety of audio/video playing in the background (Hulu, Netflix streaming, my music library, NPR podcasts, Pandora and radio streaming, etc) while I work on other things. Using a pair of cheapish 2.1 powered PC speakers via mobo line out finally reached the threshold of not-good-enough. Iâ€™m not an audiophile and my days of buying overpriced audio gear are well behind me. However, I do enjoy listening to music and have an appreciation for decent quality sound. So, I set a target of $200-300 and went looking for an amp/speaker combo to use in this ~11' x 14' room. Speaker and amp 'wants':Passive Speakers:
Powered speakers like AudioEngine
and others don't fit my use. I need a handy volume knob as well as the easy ability to plug in headphones/mute speakers. Also, I find I cannot listen to near field audio at moderate volumes and everything sounds pretty crappy at low volumes at the moment. So, no desktop speakers. I ended up with Polk Audio Monitor 40's
($130/pr delivered) and a pair of speaker stands for $45*. I was leaning toward the Polk 30's, but the 40's went on sale and I was hoping the bass response for the 40's would be good enough for my study to keep me from getting interested in a subwoofer at a later date Amp:
I want something small with volume control I can set on the desk. In an ideal world it would also have mic/headphone jack...but not necessary - headset is for Skype and can run that via the PC case jacks. Crossover/support for a powered sub might be interesting, but also something I can probably do via the mobo audio. An on/off switch to kill idle power would be handy. But, I can deal with a wall wart. It doesn't need to be headbanging loud, but needs to sound great at low and moderate levels. Finally, it has to be low power. I make a point of always decreasing my power footprint with every upgrade. After a few months of searching/reading I settled on the Dayton DTA-100
($100). DTA-100 features:
The DTA-100 uses Tripath's 2050 IC. It claims to have 50W x2 max output into 8 Ohms and negligible distortion at 30W into the same load. It's a small form factor (great for my desktop), has an on/off switch, headphone jack, and a Line In jack on the front if you want to plug in your iPod. The power brick plugs in back along with RCA Line In and 2 pairs of speaker banana jacks. Dayton provides the banana plugs as well as a short stereo mini male to mini male patch cord, a stereo mini male to stereo RCA plug adapter cable, and a mini jack to ¼"
<the rest of this post disappeared sometime in the last few months....I didn't have a backup, so the short version is: Very clear, full sound. Can easily fill a large room. Works great with high efficiency bookshelf speakers, too. >