I've been bitten by the upgrade bug and have been doing more research than I care to admit on the different multi-channel amps available today. My current setup is a Denon AVR-5800 driving a 5.1 setup consisting of Paradigm Studio 60s V.2, Studio CC, and Studio ADP side surrounds. My sub is an SVS 25-31 PC-Plus w/12.3 driver upgrade.
I purchased the Denon back in 2001 and it has served me well. I've started the slow transition to HDMI1.3, 1080p TV, etc. and have been seriously considering the Integra DTC 9.8, unless Denon decides to unveil a DTC 9.8 competitor based on the 3808 and 4308 processing architecture but w/ added support for THX post-processing, Audyssey Dynamic EQ, and auto-volume correction at the 1600.00 price point *ahem*
Anyway, while I wait for processor nirvana I have been trying to figure out how to upgrade my amp section in preparation for the new processor. During my search, I was all set to buy a used Parasound Halo A51. Then I discovered that pesky "grinning ear-to-ear" thread and was all set to go with a stack of Crown XLS-402Ds or QSC RMX-1400s, as they were compared very favorably to the HALO A51 in a blind A/B test. In the end, that seemed like a great no-nonsense budget approach, but I decided I didn't want to fool with the necessary fan mods and trigger-able power strip/sequencers that they required. Not to mention the potential level-mismatch coming out of most consumer-grade processors.
Then I discovered Emotiva. Crap. Here I go again.
After much digging (keep in mind my better half would not allow me to buy amp after amp to do in-home auditions so I'm having to average out other people's opinions to come to any sense of conclusion) I was all set to go on the MPS-2, as it also compared favorably to the Halo A51. THEN, the XPA-5 came out.
IT compared favorably to the MPS-2. So I had a linked chain between the XPA-5 at $800 vs. a used Halo A51 at $$2300. I figured I'd be happy enough with the XPA-5 and call it a day.
Then I discovered IcePower. Double-crap. The 500ASP and 100ASP amps were rated very highly by many folks, some with quite a bit of previous experience with solid class AB amps. I'm an EE by trade, so the elegant nature of this Class D design really appealed to me. That and I wouldn't get a hernia lifting it into place. I ran the gamut of reviews on these modules and most claim it is a very solid performer with no alterations. The only way it could be improved was through bumping up the input impedance (to reduce loading distortion on the pre-amp) or by taking a MASSIVE traditional toroid/coke-can cap power stage and coupling it with the ICEpower modules that do not have the switch-mode power supply included (1000A, I think). See 6moons review of H20 amp using this tech. They claimed it "smoothed" everything out and brought it close to perfection. Whatever. I'm done. I can't take it anymore.
I decided to end this internal debate and buy a Power5. I bought it from ListenUP this morning. I will post my review on this thread when it comes in. In the end though, it will be just another data point. My speakers are very revealing, neutral, and will pump out ugliness if ugliness is fed to them. My goal is that hopefully this amp will keep the neutrality intact so I can use Audyssey(in the future), room treatments, and THX post-processing to create the sound I'm most comfortable with. Thanks to psujohny and Bill Mac for posting their comments on this amp and helping me come to a conclusion, that is, if I actually like the damn thing when it shows up.