Lab.gruppen FAD2402 — AV.technology
Nothing faddish about this 2 x 240W Dante-equipped installation amp.
Review:/ Christopher Holder
It’s a product like the Lab.gruppen FAD2402 that makes good on the Dante promise. The FAD2402 two-channel amp doesn’t have any analogue inputs — the only way of sending it audio is via Dante. But such is the reach and success of Dante IP audio that the FAD2402 is fast becoming a go-to power amp for all manner of background music scenarios, especially in distributed systems where the amp happily sits out of the rack room and in the space with the attendant loudspeakers — just pop the amp on the network.
Once in position, the FAD2402 requires mains power (it’d be nice to think PoE+ could power a 2 x 240W amp but sadly no, PoE+ maxes out at around 30W per port). The loudspeaker terminals are on a Euroblock connector, while DIP switches select low impedance, constant voltage settings, and activate the high pass filter — there are an independent set of switches for each channel. There’s an RJ45 port per channel for running cable to a remote volume wall controller (rather than a RS232 port) and there are two gain setting taps for fine tuning levels. The amp is convection cooled — so there’s no need to worry about fan noise. What’s more, the fanless design means you can mount the amp any which way and keep its cool.
The FAD2402 ships with rack mounting and wall mounting brackets — which is a very welcome addition and brings your costs down.
As the name suggests, the FAD2402 is a 2 x 240W Class-D amp (max output power). There’s not much that needs to be said about the quality of the audio. This is Lab.gruppen amp after all, and its credentials are well recognised. It’s clean, virtually silent (>101dBa signal-to-noise), with low cross talk (>72dB) and low distortion.
The FAD2402 is Energy Star certified which means there are power savings to be had — a significant consideration when you’re potentially running dozens of these units at a time.
FAD602 (2 x 60W) A$895 (RRP)
FAD1202 (2 x 120W) A$985 (RRP)
FAD2402 (2 x 240W) A$1045 (RRP)
Australis Music: (02) 9698 4444 or www.australismusic.com.au
Just to return to the Dante promise and why it’s especially potent in multi-zone installations: if you lasso the Lab.gruppen FAD amp into a network managed by the Dante Domain Manager software, you have granular control of which amp channel receives what audio, as well as a bunch of features IT managers are so fond of like user authentication, role-based security and audit capabilities.
The FAD 2402 doesn’t have any onboard DSP — it’s not a smart amp in this respect. think of it as a half-rack Dante network end point; an energy smart and hassle-free amplifier, designed for set ’n’ forget operation.
It’s hardly the first power amp with Dante onboard but it’s a particularly good fit when it comes to driving a decently hefty in-ceiling or surfacemount speaker system in restaurants, retail, hotels, corporate or education applications.
Finally, the price (around A$1000 — and even less for non-Dante CA and FA models) is a compelling factor. What’s more, being a half rack unit, you can ‘strap’ two 2402s side by side and you’ve got four channels of 240 Watts of Lab.gruppen power in a single rack space for around A$2000RRP. Think about that for a minute.
The RJ45 socket on the rear panel opens up a range of remote control options, including Lab.gruppen’s own CRC-V Series of wall controllers and a tabletop controller called the Lab.Level. Or you can connect another potentiometer easily enough, the pinout info is in the FAD2402 user manual. All can be interconnected via inexpensive and readily-available network cabling.