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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

Mart68

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I gave it a 'not terrible'. It's cheap, it looks good, it has DSP and reasonably high power output, noise and distortion are not unacceptably bad and the teardown shows no build quality issues.
 

Harmonie

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A pity.
On the paper it looks promising.
Neutral design, cheap, very handy with many options, connectivity.
It could be all in one box with streamer and dac, but sadly it's not performing.
Just wondering if DIY changing the amp/power supply/Dac modules, in clear keeping just the board with the DSP functionality, codecs couldn't be an answer.
 

beagleman

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I can only imagine what that does to the sound. It's all over the place.

Was there any actual listening done?

I get the measurements are not great, but, how does it actually sound?
 

wwenze

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I'd pay money for the DSP, but even then it is a pretty unique use case since it calls for high power with just-acceptable SINAD. So like useful for one type of customer, but I fathom that customer can be a pretty big group (commercial installations).
 

sam_adams

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So, after measurements and teardown this is just another fair-to-middlin' product with a slightly above average price. Good for the basement or garage but not the listening salon. @amirm, thanks for reviewing this.
 

Newman

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Thanks @amirm

I suggest you test it into 2 ohms (rated 410W RMS both channels driven) and bridged into 4 ohms (rated 1160W - hence the 1200W designation).

Without that, I don’t think you are reviewing the amp against the design case.

BTW, your both-channels-driven power of 177W into 8 ohms and 370W into 4 ohms should be assessed against the manufacturer’s ratings of 200W and 240W respectively.

cheers
 
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mhardy6647

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bridged into 4 ohms (rated 1160W - hence the 1200W designation).
I mean... marketing... :rolleyes:

There was even a time (no longer the case, I reckon) that part of the US FTC regulations for domestic two-channel hifi stereo included a regulation that stated (and, obviously, I am paraphrasing) that the model number of a component could not make implied or direct reference to its claimed output power. Thus, e.g., did "Sideshow Bob" Carver spec his M-400t "cube"power amp at 201 watts per channel.



1637443325606.png

source: https://worldradiohistory.com/Archive-All-Audio/Stereophile/80s/Stereophile-Vol-8-No-3.pdf
 

dougi

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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.
Yeah I reckon really for subs as they auto-eq only works in sub mode, and only a HPF is avaiable on the line-outs, not a LPF (if you wanted cross over to a sub).
 

JDS

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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:
View attachment 166728

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

View attachment 166729

Both analog and digital inputs are provided. Ethernet input allows a nicely done web interface to be used from anywhere:
View attachment 166730

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:

View attachment 166731

Switching to digital input showed essentially the same performance:

View attachment 166732

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

View attachment 166733

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

View attachment 166734

View attachment 166735

Unit was stable on power up which is good:
View attachment 166737

Crosstalk was decent:
View attachment 166738

Multitone suffered from high noise floor and sporadic distortion spikes:

View attachment 166739

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

View attachment 166740

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:

View attachment 166741

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

View attachment 166742

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:

View attachment 166743

Switching to 8 ohm naturally cut the power substantially:

View attachment 166744

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

View attachment 166745

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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As a full-range main channel amp, I agree this is a bit shy of the mark, at least at the price. For driving a sub in bridged mode, it would be great if it cost $300 or so.

I'm kind of surprised that I can't find a class D one-channel amp from a reputable vendor that meets these minimal specs: at least 150 real watts at 8 ohms, $2-300; state of the art distortion figures not really required. It seems like the tech exists to do that cheaply, but maybe the market for such a product is smaller than I think...
 

Weeb Labs

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At $650, there is simply no excuse for such poor performance. With a cheap ADAU1467 board, a couple of AD1939s, a pair of 3255 boards and an enclosure, one could easily build something that is far more flexible and delivers immensely greater performance for about $150.
 

pseudoid

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Thank you,
I wished it to perform better before the review and saddened that it didn't after!:(
 

mhardy6647

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Realizing that I can answer my own question with a little searching :facepalm:
Did "you" (i.e., ASR) ever test any of the (presumably) Class D subwoofer plate amps with DSP from PartsExpress?
I ask because -- for better or worse -- I was an early adopter. :)

I fell into this interesting dual-woofered prototype powered subwoofer* sans electronics, so the "250 watt"PE plate subwoofer amp, then just introduced, seemed like just the ticket. Please ignore/overlook the fine craftsmanship of the temporary enclosure I made for the plate amp.**






The high-level analog XO on the left side of the image belongs to one of the Frankenaltecs. :)

______________
* the precise provenance of which I should not disclose :( The second driver is on the underside (not visible in the photos above).
** "Temporary" is relative -- it's probably been four years or so now... :rolleyes:
 
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Joe Bloggs

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

And so this review misses the point of this amp completely. Nobody should have read a word of this review past this point.
 

Hemi-Demon

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And so this review misses the point of this amp completely. Nobody should have read a word of this review past this point.

Whoa the Hiby rep is coming in hot :eek::eek::eek:

At minimum, shouldn't the amp perform at base of engineering performance (16 -bit), pre DSP.
 
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Xyrium

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So, 16 bit audio but only at 370W...sounds like a great deal. <Sigh>

Shame, every time I see XLR's, my hopes are raised.
 

prerich

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Isn't this amp designed for subwoofer use alone? Just wondering if it would get a recommendation as that's the amps purpose.
 

staticV3

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Isn't this amp designed for subwoofer use alone? Just wondering if it would get a recommendation as that's the amps purpose.
Screenshot_20220303-195438_Chrome.jpg
I wonder where these myths come from and why people can't spare the 20 seconds it takes to look this stuff up
 

prerich

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View attachment 190202
I wonder where these myths come from and why people can't spare the 20 seconds it takes to look this stuff up
That happens when you search for "outboard subwoofer amp" and that's what you get (I didn't even go to the Dayton page). Some retailers are selling it as a subwoofer amp alone. After seeing your response - I went to Dayton's page and saw exactly what you referenced ,lesson learned. I'd never use this type of amp for full-range duty (especially after the review). If you notice a few of my recent post - I'm in the market for something high powered (as my Acoustic Elegance subs require it), but something that doesn't cost as much as my McIntosh or even my B&K. What's the acceptable measurements for an amp that's pulling duty only at 80hz and below?
 
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