Originally Posted by rsmt2000
I am driving my CM9/CMC2/DS3 with a marantz SR6006. All channel mode sounds ok ( actually in my ears :-) ) as I am too close the rear speakers but the 2 channel stereo mode sounds very anemic.
I am considering buying an Emotiva XPA-5 to my setup and just wanted to check if others too recommend adding this amp to enhance the soundstage and impact or am I going in the wrong direction?
It would be good to know if any one is running CM9s with Emotive XPA-3/XPA-5 amp
Well your Marantz lists it's spec's oddly on their web page, response and THD listed for 2ch, but it says 110w x7. I'll relate an experience I had auditioning rears. I was in my local AV store auditioning the CM1 and CM5 for use as rears for my CMC2/CM9's. They were using an upper mid range Denon receiver to drive a pair of CM9's, a CMC, and then the rears I was auditioning. A sub was hooked up part of the time. We used some multi channel discs (Pink Floyd's immersion DSotM and WYYWH) and a couple Blu Ray concerts. At the end of the night we A/B'd the CM9's vs. some much more expensive Pioneer speakers with a couple 2ch songs from an Evening with David Gilmour (hey we were in a Pink Floyd mood, sue us).
I ended up getting the CM5's for the rears. After setting them up at home and running Audyssey I gave them a listen. Granted the rooms are different and the CMC2 is a far better center to my ears, but I was struck with how much better the same material sounded on my Integra 9.9 paired with a Rotel RMB 1075. The mid range was more prevalent and it just had more detail overall. The soundstage was wider and seamless, but again the better center makes this a non apples to apples with the 5.1 mixes. Still DSotM in quad and the 24/96 2ch from the Gilmour DVD both sounded better for the reasons I mention.
Here's where this gets tricky. Is the difference the amp? The room? The processor? The sub? My brain? The room would favor the AV store. I've battled taming my basement and a sweetheart it isn't. As far as the processor goes the Integra is nice, but with it being a few years old I would imagine the Denon receiver is probably pretty close. Both feature Audyssey and except for engaging pure direct during the demo a few times, it was being used. Sub wise the material I can directly compare isn't terribly bass heavy (and on the 2ch I compared with the sub out of the mix) so it honestly doesn't figure much into the comparison. So we're left with the amp or my brain. I try to be honest about my own setup, but hey who knows what trick the subconscious can play. So the best I can say is that I wasn't knowingly trying to find differences in my own setups favor. I was actually surprised to find any. So my own conclusion is that at the higher listening levels the extra oomph from the Rotel was making a positive difference I could hear.
Before you spend the money on an amp have you experimented with pulling out the plugs on the CM9's? I leave them in because they tighten up the mid range and bass at the expense of low end extension. Since I am using a sub, that makes sense for my setup. However if you are listening to pure 2ch (I usually use the sub even for 2ch) you may consider removing them (if you haven't already).