Q: I just received the $100 Cambridge Audio Topaz AM5 amplifier to use with my Emotiva T-Zero speakers. All is well, except it will only power one pair of speakers.
I have a pair of outdoor speakers that we enjoy when outside on the patio. Unfortunately, I assumed that the AM5 would have connections for two pairs of speakers. Is there an alternative to returning the AM5 and getting a different integrated amp that will power two pairs of speakers?
A: There is an easy solution that offers more control and convenience than powering two pairs of speakers from the same amplifier. You can buy the Dayton Audio DTA-1 amplifier for only $29 and connect it to the AM5's record outputs with a stereo-to-miniplug cable. This will give you a separate amp for the outdoor speakers, complete with its own volume control, playing whatever source you are playing with the AM5.
You can use this trick with any receiver or amplifier with a record or tape output.
Don't let the 15-watt output, tiny size and low price of the DTA-1 fool you. It is quite competent and absolutely up to the task of driving your outdoor speakers to reasonable listening levels.
Try older model
Q: I love the idea of the $897 Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000 MK II camera, but no matter how good you say it is, it is almost $1,000 and that is too much for me. What would you recommend for $500?
A: Some cameras have proven to have enduring appeal and spawn new models while staying in production. For example, the Sony RX100, first introduced in 2012, is now up to the RX100 MK VII, which sells for $1,200. The original RX100 is still available and can be purchased for $369, a far cry from the $649 price at its 2012 introduction. Although an older design, it has a large 1-inch sensor and is capable of making great images. It is pocketable, too.
For those who like the idea of the Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000 MK II but are held back by the $897 price, consider the original FZ1000. It is still available for $498 and shares the same great lens, image stabilization system, sensor and image processor as the MK II version. The downside is it does not offer quite as many 4K features, and the rear screen has lower resolution and is not touch-sensitive.
Send questions to Don Lindich at email@example.com. Get recommendations and read past columns at soundadvicenews.com.