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  1. #1
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    New Emotiva Reference amps

    Check out the new Emotiva reference series amps. They need a dedicated 20 amp line and only come with a 20amp power plug.

    Reference Series | Emotiva Audio | High-end audio components for audiophiles and videophiles, spanning 2-channel music systems, as well as 5.1 and 7.1 home theaters. Products include multichannel amplifiers, stereo amplifiers, and monoblock amplifier

    It seems like they are just putting out all these ultra high powered amps. Why don't they cut the power to 150-300wpc and put the money to higher qulaity and better sounding amps. It seems like they equate power with quality. It seems like they like the wow factor of 600 and 1000wpc amps. I'll still take my 250/400wpc Parasound A21 over one of those amps unless they get glowing reviews from a reputable reviewer.

    You would think that any one having difficult to drive speakers needing 600-1000wpc would want to buy a higher quality amp. I could not see buying one of these amps to power an $8k pair of Salk Veracity HTR-3's rated at 84dB. So what niche do they fill?
    Last edited by blackraven; 03-14-2013 at 10:02 PM.
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  2. #2
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    Check out the new Emotiva reference series amps. They need a dedicated 20 amp line and only come with a 20amp power plug.

    ...
    It seems like they are just putting out all these ultra high powered amps. Why don't they cut the power to 150-300wpc and put the money to higher qulaity and better sounding amps. It seems like they equate power with quality. It seems like they like the wow factor of 600 and 1000wpc amps. I'll still take my 250/400wpc Parasound A21 over one of those amps unless they get glowing reviews from a reputable reviewer.
    ...
    I'll confess despite Magneplanars' supposed power hungryness, I doubt I need more that 100 wpc in my room at my listening levels.

    One recent Emotiva amp that does intrigue me though, is their XPA-1L monoblock, HERE, which is pure class A to 35 watts. Above 35 watts, a high switch over, it becomes A/B and delivers up to 500 wpc @ 4 ohms (!!).



  3. #3
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I agree with you Feanor, I rarely need more than 100wpc for my 1.6's but what I notice with the higher powered amp is better dynamics due to the increased headroom. I think thats why a 100wpc NAD amp sounds nice with Maggies as those NAD amps can put out tremendous instantaneous power to go along with its soft clipping feature. My maggie dealer likes to pair the lower end models NAD. Of course he will also pair them with $15K amps as well.
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  4. #4
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    Check out the new Emotiva reference series amps.
    Ironically, they are essentially multi-rail power supply (class H) pro amps.

    Like Feanor, their new XA30.5 clone would be more interesting to me.

  5. #5
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    Yeah that is the one that intrigues me as well (1L) that seems like the only one that they really seem to want to improve the sound quality of and not just make more power. But with Emotiva's reliability issues with some of their stuff I would be Leary of this amp since class A runs warmer. I would wait until a few people buy it and see how it performs and how reliable it is. Being a new Pass Labs owner I doubt that it could even come close to Passes class A stuff but it might sound descent.

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  6. #6
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by harley .guy07 View Post
    But with Emotiva's reliability issues with some of their stuff I would be Leary of this amp since class A runs warmer.
    As for me, I've owned their 1kW XPA-5 amp and UMC-1 processor for almost two years with no problems. Both are used daily in the HT.

    Quote Originally Posted by harley .guy07 View Post
    I would wait until a few people buy it and see how it performs and how reliable it is. Being a new Pass Labs owner I doubt that it could even come close to Passes class A stuff but it might sound descent.
    Agreed. Having a problem-free Threshold amp that recently celebrated its 32nd birthday, I'm not convinced that the Emotiva stuff will fare as well. I took off the cover of the amp to look at its build quality and while clean and nice, it even smelled like a mid-fi product. Nevertheless, it performs well in its current duty and the value statement is quite convincing.

  7. #7
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    I enjoy having extra watts under the hood, nothing says crescendo like a hardy power supply, ample current and lots of output devices .

    E-stat, how does your set up sound when music is played? The couple pieces I have seem to be void of musical textures, that's the only way I can describe them, just missing engagement. However, for movie soundtracks this might not be a big of an issue.

  8. #8
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    E-stat, how does your set up sound when music is played? The couple pieces I have seem to be void of musical textures, that's the only way I can describe them, just missing engagement. However, for movie soundtracks this might not be a big of an issue.
    I don't use the HT system for music. The amp is clean, but not particularly dimensional.

  9. #9
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    I was poking around on the internet looking for info on the USP-1 I have and I found good reviews in Secrets of Home Theater and a Stereophile review. The Stereophile reviewer, I can't remember who it was, I didn't pay attention, used the USP-1 to drive Mac monoblocks. The SOHT used the USP-1 with UPA-1 monoblocks. Each did mention a warmth or tube character to the USP-1 but I personally have not detected that. Then again, I haven't had it in a main system in a while.

  10. #10
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    I was poking around on the internet looking for info on the USP-1 I have and I found good reviews in Secrets of Home Theater and a Stereophile review. The Stereophile reviewer, I can't remember who it was, I didn't pay attention, used the USP-1 to drive Mac monoblocks. The SOHT used the USP-1 with UPA-1 monoblocks. Each did mention a warmth or tube character to the USP-1 but I personally have not detected that. Then again, I haven't had it in a main system in a while.
    With Pass Labs pre+power I don't think you have to look back. For my part, I'd love to experiment with an amp with slightly "fuller" sound in particular with the sometimes shrill top highs I get with my Class D Audio. Cost is a big impediment otherwise I'd be all over Pass Labs.

    E-Stat described the Emotiva XPA-1L as an "X30.A clone", but very much doubt that he meant it might be as good. Speaking of class A, I see Grant Fidelity has a couple in the same price range.

    Jungson Hedo Power Amplifier ...


    Shengya PSM-100 ...


    But if I went for any these, would I just be trading one set of shortcomings for another??

  11. #11
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    I've never heard Grant Fidelity. RGA seems to like their stuff which has me wonder if it's not on the warm side of neutral. Threshold isn't on the same level as Pass Labs but Threshold is a very good amp, I actually preferred it over the Alstine 400r. If you are vigilant you could happen upon one you can afford. Did you sell your Monarchys?

  12. #12
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    I've never heard Grant Fidelity. RGA seems to like their stuff which has me wonder if it's not on the warm side of neutral. Threshold isn't on the same level as Pass Labs but Threshold is a very good amp, I actually preferred it over the Alstine 400r. If you are vigilant you could happen upon one you can afford. Did you sell your Monarchys?
    Yep, sold the Monarchys. I semi-regret it but my reasons seemed valid at the time, and I still doubt I'd trade for the Class D Audio. The Monarchys were a fuller, slightly warmer sound, but not remarkable for soundstage or resolution.

  13. #13
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    The XPA-1L does not look like it has enough heat sinks to run in class A for the first 35watts. It would like to see what the professional reviewers say about it. The price seems fairly low as well.
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  14. #14
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    I do understand that pure class A is always amps run in this way. The Emotiva amp seems to be a higher bias than the other Emo amps and that is what they are basing there main difference from their other amps. Pass always says how his amps are biased as far as how many watts they go up to before switching, and some of his even upper level amps don't switch over at all but they are very pricey designs that are way higher priced than mine. I would not be surprised if this amps sounds a little better than Emotiva's other amps at lower volumes but depending on the components and build quality would determine how much and they would by no means hang with some of the Pass or other designs that are high biased.

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  15. #15
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    E-Stat described the Emotiva XPA-1L as an "X30.A clone", but very much doubt that he meant it might be as good.
    What I meant is the designs are similar in approach with a modest class A output with higher AB output available.

    Emotiva 35/250 vs. Pass 30/150 at 8 ohms.

  16. #16
    Charm Thai™
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    So what niche do they fill?
    Emotiva markets their amps to the uneducated and those who most desperately want "separates" at the lowest cost no matter what the quality.

  17. #17
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheHills44060 View Post
    Emotiva markets their amps to the uneducated and those who most desperately want "separates" at the lowest cost no matter what the quality.
    So ... you're the perennial Emotiva basher, but we knew that.

  18. #18
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat View Post
    What I meant is the designs are similar in approach with a modest class A output with higher AB output available.

    Emotiva 35/250 vs. Pass 30/150 at 8 ohms.
    Understood.

  19. #19
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    I don't agree Emotiva markets to the "uneducated", their specs given are as thorough as any one out there and more so than most, to my knowledge they have always fulfilled their spec claimed. In the beginning Emo did give those on a budget a good value. It seems they may have lost control over their quality but even the best lines take their turn at that. I no longer recommend them to people due to the quality issues I've read about, experienced first hand, and although most rave about Emo customer service that was not my experience. I still try to remain objective. I bought an early generation ERC-1 that is still doing it's job without an issue. I had opportunity to return the player within 30 days and put it head to head with the NAD 545, I preferred the ERC-1 for better sound stage and detail. I bought a USP-1 that is fine, I did have a remote go bad but Emo replaced that well enough. I bought that just for the built in crossover features, I've never seen another preamp with that feature. That's another reason I disagree, why would a company put unique and sometimes extensive features in gear for uneducated, what would they know of crossovers, I'm talking low & high pass so if you wanted you could do a true biamp set up. People's opinions vary on validity of reviews but the one I mentioned above said the UPA-1 did a good job of driving speakers. I feel you have to compare equipment to other equipment in the same price range. So the Emo monoblocks may not be Pass but how do they compare to other amps in their price.

  20. #20
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    I feel you have to compare equipment to other equipment in the same price range. So the Emo monoblocks may not be Pass but how do they compare to other amps in their price.
    I could not agree more. they do seem to offer more for your money than most brands and while I have not tried any of their electronics I do own their erd 1 rear channel speakers and they really do mate well with my Dynaudio front channels speakers and are well make with brackets that go on the wall. They were way more than the price I paid for them and while I might not use them in my new house do to my room not working for them they did work great in my system and I think I will be buying their ceiling speakers for my rear channels.

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  21. #21
    Charm Thai™
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    So ... you're the perennial Emotiva basher, but we knew that.
    Get it right...the perennial Emotiva Amp basher ;-). I have never commented on any of their other products as I have no first hand experience with them. I really do not care for their amps.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    I don't agree Emotiva markets to the "uneducated", their specs given are as thorough as any one out there and more so than most, to my knowledge they have always fulfilled their spec claimed.
    Good point Peabody. I just think that many of their amplifier buyers don't know and don't care what the specs mean.

  22. #22
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheHills44060 View Post
    I just think that many of their amplifier buyers don't know and don't care what the specs mean.
    Given that most of them in no way relate to the audible performance, I don't care about them for the most part either. Having said that, I do look for some specs to avoid.

    1. Amps with extremely low THD (0.00x something) with correspondingly high damping factors. That clearly means the designer has taken the easy way to generate impressive numbers on test tones via NFB which sacrifices its ability to respond in the time domain. I find them amusical sounding.

    2. Amps with extremely low input impedance - say <20k ohm which makes them harder to drive, especially with tube preamps.

    One metric I do find important (usually absent) is power supply stiffness in joules. All the best amplifiers in my experience have large power supplies with nearly 1 joule per watt (or more).

  23. #23
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    TheHills4406, You are making uneducated statements about a product you know nothing about and is not helpful to others in this respect. I own many different audio equipment that cost many more times the cost of Emotiva and the brand is made of quality and well manufactured from start to end. They are infact so good that I've bought several of their top line pre-amps, amps, and CD-Player because of the sound quality surpassing some of my more expensive gear. You do sound like a perennial Emotiva Amp basher when you make such an uneducated comment when you have no first hand experience with their products. There are many educated people who have made wise decision to give Emotiva a chance with their products, you may not really care for their amps but other people do!
    Please try and be more helpful with your comments to help others learn what their products are like so they can make decisions based on educated knowledge of their products who have first hand experience using Emotiva. Thank You!

    TheHills4406 said:

    Emotiva markets their amps to the uneducated and those who most desperately want "separates" at the lowest cost no matter what the quality.

    Get it right...the perennial Emotiva Amp basher ;-). I have never commented on any of their other products as I have no first hand experience with them. I really do not care for their amps.

  24. #24
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    I would certainly be interested in knowing which "more expensive" brands Emotiva outperformed in your opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by amphandle View Post
    TheHills4406, You are making uneducated statements about a product you know nothing about and is not helpful to others in this respect. I own many different audio equipment that cost many more times the cost of Emotiva and the brand is made of quality and well manufactured from start to end. They are infact so good that I've bought several of their top line pre-amps, amps, and CD-Player because of the sound quality surpassing some of my more expensive gear. You do sound like a perennial Emotiva Amp basher when you make such an uneducated comment when you have no first hand experience with their products. There are many educated people who have made wise decision to give Emotiva a chance with their products, you may not really care for their amps but other people do!
    Please try and be more helpful with your comments to help others learn what their products are like so they can make decisions based on educated knowledge of their products who have first hand experience using Emotiva. Thank You!

    TheHills4406 said:

    Emotiva markets their amps to the uneducated and those who most desperately want "separates" at the lowest cost no matter what the quality.

    Get it right...the perennial Emotiva Amp basher ;-). I have never commented on any of their other products as I have no first hand experience with them. I really do not care for their amps.

  25. #25
    Charm Thai™
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    Quote Originally Posted by amphandle View Post
    TheHills4406, You are making uneducated statements about a product you know nothing about and is not helpful to others in this respect. I own many different audio equipment that cost many more times the cost of Emotiva and the brand is made of quality and well manufactured from start to end. They are infact so good that I've bought several of their top line pre-amps, amps, and CD-Player because of the sound quality surpassing some of my more expensive gear. You do sound like a perennial Emotiva Amp basher when you make such an uneducated comment when you have no first hand experience with their products. There are many educated people who have made wise decision to give Emotiva a chance with their products, you may not really care for their amps but other people do!
    Please try and be more helpful with your comments to help others learn what their products are like so they can make decisions based on educated knowledge of their products who have first hand experience using Emotiva. Thank You!
    Did you not read my entire post amphandle!?!? You said 3 different times that i know nothing and am uneducated about Emotiva. I clearly stated that I HAVE experience with their amps just not with any of their other products like dacs, preamps, speakers, interconnects, etc... Those other pieces of equipment may be the best on this Earth, I wouldn't know. Good lord learn how to read before you call someone out.

    I'm elated you are pleased with your Emotiva purchases however I have not had the same experience in my opinion. YES my opinion. Am I not entitled to one simply because it doesn't match your own? I know that when I am researching a product I want to hear the good and the bad completely unfiltered but my own ears are the judge and jury. People like you who get offended because someone doesn't like a piece of kit they have really needs to get out of the house some more and smell the concrete. Sure I would love to have a high quality and musical sounding piece of gear at reduced prices, who wouldn't? I hoped Emotiva was the ticket back then but for me their amps were utter disappointments no matter what price point they were at. I threw several speakers at them from PSB, Martin Logan, Vandersteen, Castle Acoustics, Cervin Vega and no dice. Not to mention they are total eyesores as well. In the end I moved on and there are others who share my point of view and others who don't which is perfectly fine and expected.

    Its a phenomenon that so many Emotiva owners (not all) consistently get bent out of shape so easily. I don' know whether to laugh or to pity those folks. Thank you!

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