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Staff Review - Emotiva PT-100 Stereo Preamp

Staff Review - Emotiva PT-100 Stereo Preamp

Tarkan Ceviker


For those of you who were unaware, Emotiva are a brand from the USA which has built itself on a direct-to-customer sales approach.

In the past few years, they have seen exponential growth and have now expanded into additional markets via global distribution partners such as Audio Active.

The focus has always been on high performance, low margin products and the PT-100 Stereo Preamp is no exception.

Bits and Pieces

A bit of backstory; my main amplifier has been away for warranty service for a number of months, so in my hi-fi I have been relying on a combination of my Bluesound Node 2 Streamer (set to variable output mode) and Vincent Audio SP-20 power amplifier.

Additionally, this system houses my EAT B-Sharp Turntable along with a Vincent Audio PHO-701 Phono preamp.

In its existing form, digital music via the streamer sounds good, but records via the turntable feel thin and anemic.


Enter the PT-100

Looking at internal shots of the PT-100 you could be forgiven for thinking there is not much to it, however it is surprisingly hefty.

Unboxing was straightforward, power cable, remote, basic cables and an FM aerial.

Connection was a breeze, although be wary, if you have larger than average RCA connectors, you may run into problems fitting them all safely. I use WireWorld interconnects and they just squeezed in next to one another.

I connected my Bluesound streamer via both analog and digital toslink to test the mettle of the integrated DAC. My phono stage was then connected to the Auxiliary input.


Sound Quality

Admittedly, it had been some time since I had a preamp paired with my SP-20, the last one was a matching Vincent SA31MK.

One noticeable difference; the Emotiva was almost silent when no sound was coming through.

The boost in dynamics brought about the extra gain was welcome, via both the streamer but even more so by the turntable.

Gosh, I missed listening to records! 

Laura Stevenson's "The Big Freeze" is such a beautiful album and it sounded simply sublime via LP, the PT-100 providing me a good amount of gain to give this wonderful album the performance it deserved.

Prodigal rock gods, Greta van Fleet’s “Anthem of the Peaceful Army” had me tearing out some air guitar in the mancave, ok, maybe not quite, but it was great to listen to.


DAC Attack

I performed several comparisons of my Bluesound streamer's analog outputs vs the Emotiva's own DAC.

The DAC in the PT-100 performed ok, but I didn't feel as though it was as engaging as the Bluesound one. It seemed to harden more on certain tracks, for example 'Hello' by Adele.

For the remainder of my time with the Emotiva, I chose to use the analog outputs of the Bluesound.

"Piece of your Heart" by Meduza is a track that has really caught my ear recently and it had real punch and slam via the PT-100. Nice, wide stereo separation combined with solid depth to produce a very three dimensional sound.


Pros & Cons


  • Affordable, quality sound
  • Quiet, almost silent operation
  • Remote Control
  • In-Built Phono, DAC, FM Tuner and optional Bluetooth make for a versatile product


  • Remote very plasticky
  • DAC, while nice isn’t outstanding
  • Some odd colour discrepancies with blue lights



Now that I have had a dedicated preamp back in the chain, I think I'm going to struggle going back.

The improvements to sound quality having the PT-100 in my system were most obvious and certainly welcomed, and the fact that this unit retails for a meager $699 utterly shocks me.

It certainly seems like excellent value.

If you’re looking at a cost effective two channel system, you’d be hard pressed looking past the Emotiva PT-100.