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Dayton Audio APA1200DSP Review (DSP Amplifier)

Rate this amplifier:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 75 54.3%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 59 42.8%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 3 2.2%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 1 0.7%

  • Total voters
    138

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Dayton Audio APA1200DSP DSP analog and digital input stereo class D amplifier. It was kindly purchased new by a member and drop shipped to me. Parts Express is selling it for US $650 right now.

The APA1200DSP has nicer look than typical pro amplifiers:
Dayton Audio APA1200DSP Review Digital Class D subwoofer DSP  XLR Amplifier.jpg


The back is especially nice with the type of connectivity you need in a home system:

Dayton Audio APA1200DSP Review back panel Digital Class D subwoofer DSP  XLR Amplifier.jpg

Both analog and digital inputs are provided. Ethernet input allows a nicely done web interface to be used from anywhere:
Dayton Audio APA1200DSP web UI DSP  XLR Amplifier.png


There is a microphone I believe and ability to automatically calibrate the room response. I did not use or dive into this functionality.

There is a fan that came on when powered on but nicely powered down gradually and I did not hear it during operation. When it runs it has a lower frequency and a bit less annoying than on pro amplifiers.

There is a strange setting for 2 vs 4 ohm speaker load. I set it to 4 since I tested it at 4 and 8 ohms. Manual doesn't say exactly what this does.

APA1200DSP Amplifier Measurements
I set the gain to -10 dB which gave me the nominal 29 dB I look for and measured using XLR input:

Dayton Audio APA1200DSP Measurements XLR Amplifier.png


Switching to digital input showed essentially the same performance:

Dayton Audio APA1200DSP Measurements Digital Input SPDIF Amplifier.png


This level of noise+distortion (SINAD) puts this amp way down in our rankings:

best subwoofer amplifier review.png


Noise level was not very good either, using analog or digital input:

Dayton Audio APA1200DSP Measurements SNR DSP  XLR Amplifier.png


Dayton Audio APA1200DSP Measurements SNR DSP Digital Input Amplifier.png


Unit was stable on power up which is good:
Dayton Audio APA1200DSP Measurements Warm up Amplifier.png


Crosstalk was decent:
Dayton Audio APA1200DSP Measurements Crosstalk DSP  XLR Amplifier.png


Multitone suffered from high noise floor and sporadic distortion spikes:

Dayton Audio APA1200DSP Measurements Multitone DSP  XLR Amplifier.png


Sadly frequency response is highly load dependent due to class D amp's output filter interacting:

Dayton Audio APA1200DSP Measurements Frequency Response DSP  XLR Amplifier.png


We also see sharp cut off due to internal processing being at low sampling rate. Switching to digital input at 96 kHz sampling made no difference:

Dayton Audio APA1200DSP Measurements Frequency Response SPDIF DSP  XLR Amplifier.png


The name indicates it produces 1200 watts. Let's see what it can do into 4 om with both channels driven:

Dayton Audio APA1200DSP Measurements Power into 4 ohm DSP  XLR Amplifier.png


The curve wiggles as protection circuit kicks in. Prior to that, it produced 370 watts. Letting distortion rise to 1% didn't do much better:

Dayton Audio APA1200DSP Measurements Max and Peak Power into 4 ohm DSP  XLR Amplifier.png


Switching to 8 ohm naturally cut the power substantially:

Dayton Audio APA1200DSP Measurements Power into 8 ohm DSP  XLR Amplifier.png


Stepping through the test frequency shows a number of odd behaviors:

Dayton Audio APA1200DSP Measurements Power into 4 ohm vs frequency vs distortion and noise  DS...png


Conclusions
Typical of this class of amplifier, power specs are mostly imaginary. Objective measurement of noise and distortion are also typical with little attention paid to minimize them. So you are left with buying this for functionality not because it has any great implementation of class D amplification.

I can't recommend the Dayton Audio APA1200DSP DSP based on its pure measured performance.

Edit: teardown posted: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...udio-apa1200dsp-teardown-dsp-amplifier.28270/

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Last edited:

JSmith

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Oh snap... an epic fail here from Dayton Audio, very much unexpected and great information for the audio consumer once again from ASR.

That multitone looks horrendous!



JSmith
 

Poseidons Voice

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I think I just heard the toilet flush once again for another manufacturer. I do wonder if this is the same amp they use in their plate amplifiers.

Teardown in the future perhaps?

Best,
Anand.
 

Ata

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Promit

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Yeah, the name is very deceiving as it's only rated for nearly 1200W in bridged mode. I guess it's actually exceeding its stereo 4 ohm rating by quite a bit if it's hitting 377W at a 240W rating? Although it's falling a bit short of its 8 ohm rating. The SINAD is a big disappointment but it is actually slightly outperforming the Behringer NX3000D, albeit with somewhat less power. I think it'd actually be a pretty good sub amp at $450-500, but $650 is a big ask.
 

Walter

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It's really unfortunate that the unit does not spec out well because the idea of it and all the stuff it does is fantastic. It does a lot of stuff.
Yeah, even as lackluster as the measurements were, I was still thinking that maaaaybe they was just barely good enough, until I got to that last chart. Having the worst performance in powever vs distortion be at the two most important frequencies is just unacceptable.
 

Doodski

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Yeah, even as lackluster as the measurements were, I was still thinking that maaaaybe they was just barely good enough, until I got to that last chart. Having the worst performance in powever vs distortion be at the two most important frequencies is just unacceptable.
I can only imagine what that does to the sound. It's all over the place.
 

ROOSKIE

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No poll?
I think this is okay for the price and the DSP.
Bridged to a sub that is realky pretty decent power. The performance is fine for any sub and honestly likely fine for the mains. The wattage to 4ohm mains is pretty good. Room correction is far more valuable in many setups vs some crazy high SINAD of whatever number. I believe this is a decent product.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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XaVierDK

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I'd guess they're taking some notes from car-audio manufacturers, in that its name is based on a low-impedance peak output.
Based on its bridged mode 4 ohm rating, the best I can guess it would perhaps produce 2x600w at 2 ohm. Probably relevant for Dayton subwoofers more than hifi speakers.
 

GWolfman

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Not so great. Even with DSP I think it'd still underperform, unless your room was atrocious.
 
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