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 Post subject: Scythe Kama Kro 1100 Audio amp mini-review
PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 3:35 pm 
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I was casting around for a small footprint amp to replace my dying DTA-100. After a couple of great forum suggestions, decided to try out the Scythe Kama Kro 1100. I figured for $50, it was worth a go.

There’s a good review of the 1100 and its predecessor the 1000 at tnt-audio.com. Devon Cooke reviewed the 1000 in March 2008.

The unit has a small footprint. I have it sitting on the stand baseplate of one of my monitors with clearance to spare. This location lets me easily plug/unplug a headset for skype/teamspeak without having to reach as well as hit the mute switch. The unit is light but solidly built. The volume control pot is noiseless and has a good feel. The power switch is click in/out with an (unfortunately bright) white LED. The rear connectors are also solid. The speaker jacks are combination binding posts/banana jacks. I found the jacks to be a little larger than my other amps, so my banana plugs were a loose fit. I planned to used the binding posts in my study, so it didn't affect my use.

Power use when connected to Polk Monitor 40 speakers: Mostly reactive power as seen by the following measurements. I noticed higher power use on day one when hooked up to my SDA-1 speakers.
Off – 0W, 10mA, 1 VA displayed (~117VAC)
On and idle – 0W, 10mA, 1 VA displayed.
Background listening level - 0W, 10mA, 1VA
Moderate listening level – 0W, 20mA, 3VA
On and cranked to max – 2W, 4VA, 50mA peak viewed (70mA on day one).

I hooked the amp up to a pair of Polk SDA1’s and an iPod for 2 days and just let it run. Initial reaction was: sounds nice – but not as nice as the Tripath 2050 based DTA-100. It filled a large room with sound without any noticeable clipping or distortion. After the initial burn-in, I took the amp into my study and hooked up a pair of Polk Monitor II 40’s and used the output of my mobo audio for source.

Hum – none
Hiss (with the volume cranked up) – can only hear slight hiss with ear against speaker with no source present. It is not discernable at listening level/distance.
Pop – No noticeable pop on turn on/turn off or when plugging in or unplugging headphones.
No clipping or noticeable distortion with volume cranked up.

I’ve had the amp for a week. 2 days of burn-in followed by 5 days of a variety of music/movies/podcasts. It’s working out great - very decent sound for $55. I find that I’m EQ’ing a bit to emphasize mid-range, but that might just be what I need for my room/speaker/amp/source combination. I don’t think it has the clarity of the DTA-100, but it does the job well. I haven't noticed any RFI oddities that Devon saw with the Kama 1000.

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 Post subject: Re: Scythe Kama Kro 1100 Audio amp mini-review
PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 4:44 am 
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Thanks a lot for the review CA_Steve !! I've been looking at those small amps for a while and this one seems like a really nice pick !

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 Post subject: Re: Scythe Kama Kro 1100 Audio amp mini-review
PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:52 am 
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The Tech Report just reviewed the Asus Xense and DG audio cards vs a Realtek ALC892 based integrated solution. $30 for the DG might be a nice upgrade to my ALC889A based PC.

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 Post subject: Re: Scythe Kama Kro 1100 Audio amp mini-review
PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 3:50 pm 
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If you're using an amp I'd get a DS or D1 over the DG. They're all good, though. I wish I could justify a Xense.


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 Post subject: Re: Scythe Kama Kro 1100 Audio amp mini-review
PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:04 pm 
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Yeah - don't know if I could tell the difference in sound quality between the DG, DS, and D1 with bookshelf speakers. Also, I think the input stage of this amp is using commodity op amps rather than an audiophile quality op amp. So, that's probably the weak link after bypassing the mobo audio. Currently, if you believe in MIRs, the DG and the DS are priced the same at Newegg @ $30.

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