Emotiva XPA-2 or XPA-5 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 99 Old 09-16-2012, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello, I'm a new member of the forum seeking advice on the Emotiva XPA-2 vs the XPA-5 for my home theater set up. My current system consists of the following:

Receiver/Pre Pro - Yamaha RX-V765 (95 WPC/7.2/with pre-outs)
Fronts - Paradigm Monitor 7v6
Center - Definitive Technologies Pro Center 1000
Rears - Paradigm Atom Monitors V7
Subwoofer - Definitive Technologies ProSub 1000
TV - 46 Samsung LCD
Sony Blu Ray Player

I've recently acquired a case of upgradeitis, and am interested in an affordable solution to add a separate amplifier. I've been doing some research and am leaning towards an Emotiva XPA-2 as opposed to the XPA-5. My listening habits are 80% two channel music, 20% home theater (concert blu rays, blu ray movies, etc).

From what I can gather the XPA-2 will be much better than the XPA-5 for music. If I purchase the XPA-2 I plan on using it to power the LR Fronts and continue to allow the Yamaha to power the center and rears? Am I on the right track here? I don't want to cause an issue with my 20% HT usage.

The XPA-2 is rated at 300w into an 8ohm load with a total of 12 output devices per channel. The XPA-5 is rated at 200w per channel into an 8ohm load with 6 output devices per channel. Both weigh in around 75 pounds.

Thanks! Any advice would be much appreciated.
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post #2 of 99 Old 09-16-2012, 10:48 AM
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Consider going to the Emotiva website and joining the "Lounge"; similar to here, but you will find virtually all you need/want to know about Emo gear there.

Boston Acoustics Classic series L/C/R + front presence; Fluance XLBP Bipole surrounds; PSA XS15se
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post #3 of 99 Old 09-16-2012, 10:58 AM
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You might also want to consider the XPA-3 since the center channel is used a lot when watching movies. This is also cheaper than the other two, but it provides less power than the XPA-2 since it outputs 200w x 3. The MSRP on the XPA-3 is $699.00.

You may want to wait until November to buy an Emotiva amp. I noticed they had a sale during last year's Christmas season, starting in early November. They also had a summer sale this year.

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post #4 of 99 Old 09-16-2012, 11:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice guys. Most of my listening is in 2 channel and I'm wondering how much my 2channel experience will be enhanced by the extra wattage and current of the XPA-2 as opposed to the XPA-3 or XPA-5. 300 wpc vs 200 wpc.

If money wasn't an object I'd go with and XPA-2 and XPA-3 and drive all 5 channels. Since I'm on a budget I wonder what the better option would be? The XPA-2 has gotten some phenomenal reviews, but I want to avoid buyers remorse since the receiver will still powering 3channels.
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post #5 of 99 Old 09-16-2012, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeC92 View Post

Thanks for the advice guys. Most of my listening is in 2 channel and I'm wondering how much my 2channel experience will be enhanced by the extra wattage and current of the XPA-2 as opposed to the XPA-3 or XPA-5. 300 wpc vs 200 wpc.
If money wasn't an object I'd go with and XPA-2 and XPA-3 and drive all 5 channels. Since I'm on a budget I wonder what the better option would be? The XPA-2 has gotten some phenomenal reviews, but I want to avoid buyers remorse since the receiver will still powering 3channels.

I would recommend the XPA-2 as it has a better amp section, your center will be better as it will not need to share with L/R, only the surrounds.

Main Kef: Reference 205/2 & 202/2c, Surrounds: Kef XQ40, Velodyne Optimum 12, Integra DHC 80.3, Ayre K-5xeMP, Oppo BDP-103, Bryston 4Bsst2, Parasound Halo A31. Second B&W: 685 (3), CCM618, Def Tech Powerfield 1500, Onkyo TX-NR1008, Zone 2 Klipsch AW650.
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post #6 of 99 Old 09-16-2012, 12:19 PM
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Having had both the XPA-2 and XPA-5 in my home theater, I would say since you are mainly going for two channel performance the XPA-2 would be your best choice but not by much. Emotiva's, XPA series power amplifiers, more or less, have the same sound signature, but their XPA-2 and XPA-1 monoblocks take it a step further with a bit of an extra punch. The XPA-2 and XPA-5 share the same transformer, so in this instance with an XPA-2 you won't be sharing any of the power with surrounds & center, so your fronts will always have all the power.
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post #7 of 99 Old 09-16-2012, 12:42 PM
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The Paradigm Monitor 7 v6 are a VERY efficient speaker. They get pretty
Loud with only a FEW watts of power. I seriously doubt that you will gain
Any advantage using that much amplifier with those speakers.
IMHO
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post #8 of 99 Old 09-16-2012, 12:43 PM
 
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That XPA-2 will overpower the AVR when any 5 channel sources are used. If you buy it now, you'll be back later to get amplification for the rest of the channels.
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post #9 of 99 Old 09-16-2012, 01:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the info, I appreciate it. I have considered the efficiency of the monitor 7...I believe they are around 94db. If I ran the room correction auto setup this would take care of any overpowering of the center and surrounds via SL trim correct? I'm not just looking for an increase in volume...I'm interested mainly in the nuance that the extra power would bring for music listening. The yammie does a pretty decent job with movies, and I usually don"t drive the system too hard...(don't want to wake the kids up).

Since they are efficient, I haven't really experienced any problems playing them loud....I'm conservative however and view the extra headroom as a bit of insurance against speaker damage.

@LCSeminole - thanks....wish I had that setup! The XPA 2 has my attention due to my focus on mainly 2ch listening. The appeal of the XPA 5 is the fact that I won't have to reinvest in further amplification should I go with a preamp in the future. Do you think music listening in 2ch would be substantially different between the XPA2 and XPA5?
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post #10 of 99 Old 09-16-2012, 01:26 PM
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Mike, to be honest, at lower volumes you won't hear much if any difference between the XPA-2 & XPA-5. The head room that you allude to will start to make a difference at moderate and above levels. As far as the XPA-2 overpowering when you are listening to 5.1 or 7.1 tracks, as you said, your room correction takes that into account, or if you are manually setting up your speakers then an SPL meter will take care of that problem. You'll be happy which ever way you decide.
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post #11 of 99 Old 09-16-2012, 01:28 PM
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Something else to consider... I looked up the specs for the Paradigms.
They are 94dB efficient,but I also saw the maximum recommended
Watts is 130! Seems to me that a 200+ watt amp would be a waste of resources
Or possibly worse:eek:
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post #12 of 99 Old 09-16-2012, 01:34 PM
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The chances of one doing damage to speakers with too much power is much less than under-powering.
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post #13 of 99 Old 09-16-2012, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LCSeminole View Post

The chances of one doing damage to speakers with too much power is much less than under-powering.

True, but do we really need a 300 watt amp paired with speakers that can
Handle 130 watts maximum.. Seems like overkill to me and a waste of resources
For questionable return on investment.
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post #14 of 99 Old 09-16-2012, 01:58 PM
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I am considering getting the XPA-5 for my 7.3 Paradigm system. I have the Monitor 11 V.2 LR, the CC-370 V.2 Center, and 4 ADP-370 V.2 for SL, SR, SLB, and SRB. I am planning on upgrading to either a 9.3 or an 11.3 system. I was thinking of running LCR and maybe FW or FH off of the XPA-5 and then letting the receiver do the rest.

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post #15 of 99 Old 09-16-2012, 04:27 PM - Thread Starter
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After hearing all of the advice The XPA-5 is really tempting due to the obvious gains in headroom for all 5 channels. Perhaps I'm getting a little greedy on the wattage for the fronts (especially since they are so efficient). As LCSeminole has stated I'll likely be happy no matter what I decide.....
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post #16 of 99 Old 09-16-2012, 05:04 PM
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I doubt you hear much a difference with either amp in that system but if you have the money burning a hole in your wallet... The XPA-1 is a different beast than the other amps, but similar in sound, with the XPA-2/3/5 sounding very similar to each other (I have a 2, 3, and 5; a friend has 1's). Which is to say, they all sound pretty much the same at any reasonable listening volume.

From 100 W to 200 W is 3 dB more headroom, barely noticeable and only if you actually need it. IMO, you don't. From 200 W to 300 W is only 1.8 dB, not much change. If you were running inefficient 4-ohm speakers (like me) you might need an amp; in your case, I would put the money elsewhere. Another sub, room treatment, bigger TV, college fund (putting our kids through college and prices have risen ~30% in the past three years; my salary has not, to say the least!)

To answer the question, if you have to get an amp, I am not really sure what I would do. I had my fronts driven by an XPA-3, and when I moved the bulk of that sysrtem upstairs I picked up an XPA-2. I do not think I can tell the difference if I am honest with myself, and measurements show either amp (driving 83-dB sensitvity 4-ohm speakers) is coasting in my room and at my usual volumes. Given their relative prices, I would get an XPA-3 or XPA-5. The -5 would allow you to go pre-pro later if you wished.

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post #17 of 99 Old 09-16-2012, 05:29 PM
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After understanding your system a little better I retract my XPA-2 recommendation and would now go with the XPA-5. Prefer the bigger power supply in the 5 over the 3 but either would be fine.

Main Kef: Reference 205/2 & 202/2c, Surrounds: Kef XQ40, Velodyne Optimum 12, Integra DHC 80.3, Ayre K-5xeMP, Oppo BDP-103, Bryston 4Bsst2, Parasound Halo A31. Second B&W: 685 (3), CCM618, Def Tech Powerfield 1500, Onkyo TX-NR1008, Zone 2 Klipsch AW650.
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post #18 of 99 Old 09-16-2012, 05:48 PM
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I run an XPA-3, powering my B&W 703(L,R) and HTM7(C). I was running all 5 channels off of my AVR, Onkyo 707, at one point until the XPA-3 came into play. I can say I'm honestly happy that I came across a bargain on the XPA-3, because if I would have paid full price I would have been disappointed.
I noticed really no difference, I don't think... I try to really listen for differences and alias I think it's in my head.

I still have the 707 running the rears and now my front heights. So, now it's a 7.1 -- so I guess it was Ok in the long run to upgrade... but then again I have no idea when those fronts are active and when not! Haha.

Considering the efficiency of those speakers, which I know nothing about BTW, maybe spring for the Denon 4311. Prices are dropping and it's a balls out AVR. This is my next purchase, just waiting for prices to go lower... :-)
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post #19 of 99 Old 09-16-2012, 07:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the insights and advice. It is much appreciated. After hearing what everyone has had to say, I'm now leaning to the 5 due to the speaker efficiency issue and the ability to easily integrate a pre-pro separate later.

DonH50 - its funny that you mention investing my money elsewhere. One of the guys at my local hi-fi shop recommended an upgrade in source components (CD transport). He told me that a better CD player (as opposed to the blu-ray player) would make a noticeable difference in my system. Decisions, decisions, but researching and hunting for the correct gear is part of what makes this process fun....
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post #20 of 99 Old 09-16-2012, 07:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeC92 View Post

Thank you all for the insights and advice. It is much appreciated. After hearing what everyone has had to say, I'm now leaning to the 5 due to the speaker efficiency issue and the ability to easily integrate a pre-pro separate later.
DonH50 - its funny that you mention investing my money elsewhere. One of the guys at my local hi-fi shop recommended an upgrade in source components (CD transport). He told me that a better CD player (as opposed to the blu-ray player) would make a noticeable difference in my system. Decisions, decisions, but researching and hunting for the correct gear is part of what makes this process fun....
take your current system and set your MV right before it clips.(if it does) read your current wattage used. i guarantee you are under 150watts.

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post #21 of 99 Old 09-16-2012, 09:06 PM - Thread Starter
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airgas1998 - I'm not sure what you mean. Are you referring to set the Main Volume to the point prior to the receiver's amp clipping? If so, how would I measure the wattage used?
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post #22 of 99 Old 09-16-2012, 09:07 PM - Thread Starter
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airgas1998 - I'm not sure what you mean. Are you referring to set the Main Volume to the point prior to the receiver's amp clipping? If so, how would I measure the wattage used?
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post #23 of 99 Old 09-17-2012, 02:47 AM
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Wait until Thanksgiving for a sale and Emotiva just might have their XPA-7 out by then. Getting the XPA-2 or XPA-5 is going to depend on how much rack room you have too. I'd get the XPA-5 or wait for the XPA-7 if your space is at a premium. It was a huge difference for me when I went to the XPR-5 for the main five speakers capable of handling the wattage -- 400+ watts rec. amp. The other 6 speakers range from 200 to 300 watts rec. amp, so I kept them on the receiver's amp. I EQed everything to 75dB & 78dB but have plenty of headroom when I play 2-channel material.

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post #24 of 99 Old 09-17-2012, 04:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Thaks for the info jevans64. Glad to hear with the XPA 5 you are still happy with the 2 channel results.
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post #25 of 99 Old 09-17-2012, 06:22 AM
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I would all-but guarantee that you have more clean power on tap with your Yamaha AVR than you will EVER need.

With just sixty watts of input those speakers will play at 100+ dbs at 12 feet.

But I'm guessing that you- like countless others- are absolutely dead-set on buying an amp instead of making other much more meaningful, sensible (and likely, less costly) room improvements.

Horse, meet water.

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post #26 of 99 Old 09-17-2012, 06:30 AM
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And I'd put my next two paychecks up that no one here could discern (ANY) Emotiva amplifier from another in a level-matched, blind comparison.

And the "extra" 100 watts (200 vs 300)? Virtually meaningless. You're talking about 1 decibel of additional output. I would bet that EITHER would have more dynamic capability than the OP will ever use with these loudspeakers.

I'll leave now because it seems this is quickly devolving to a spec/spl/"headroom" drag race instead of what's best for the best sound.

Go figure.

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post #27 of 99 Old 09-17-2012, 07:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeC92 View Post

Hello, I'm a new member of the forum seeking advice on the Emotiva XPA-2 vs the XPA-5 for my home theater set up. My current system consists of the following:
Receiver/Pre Pro - Yamaha RX-V765 (95 WPC/7.2/with pre-outs)
Fronts - Paradigm Monitor 7v6
Center - Definitive Technologies Pro Center 1000
Rears - Paradigm Atom Monitors V7
Subwoofer - Definitive Technologies ProSub 1000
TV - 46 Samsung LCD
Sony Blu Ray Player

I would suggest first upgrading your center speaker so that it matches your other Paradigm speakers. I have had a number of different amps in my system over the years with power from 100 wpc to over 200 wpc. I can honestly say there is no way I could tell any difference between them in my room. If you feel you need an external amp I would go with the XPA-3 and let your AVR power the surrounds. But upgrading your center should be your number one priority IMO.

Bill

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post #28 of 99 Old 09-17-2012, 07:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mastermaybe View Post

I would all-but guarantee that you have more clean power on tap with your Yamaha AVR than you will EVER need.
With just sixty watts of input those speakers will play at 100+ dbs at 12 feet.
But I'm guessing that you- like countless others- are absolutely dead-set on buying an amp instead of making other much more meaningful, sensible (and likely, less costly) room improvements.
Horse, meet water.
James

exactly.....the op is already driving a vette while being limited to driving through neighborhood streets only. now he wants to add a supercharger for additional no "useful" gain.

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post #29 of 99 Old 09-17-2012, 05:17 PM
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I'll tell you my experience.

I have always been on the fence about adding an amp. And thats generous. I used to think power is power. A watt is a watt regardless of where it came from. I think I bought into the idea that unless I double the wattage of my AVR, I wont hear a noticeable difference.

Then I got an XPA-2.

Wow. Was I wrong. I understand this is an endless debate. But for me, at moderate and higher listening levels, I heard an IMMEDIATE difference. I mean, the overhead opened up the mids...on some tracks I heard not only the fingers sliding across the frets I'd never heard before, but heard the PICK on the strings of the guitar. And these are tracks I have heard probably 100 times before.

That said, addressing another issue, first I ran MCACC with the amp active. I then gain matched my subs, and finally level matched my 5.1 system with an SPL meter...all speakers to 80db. Even in 5.1 scenarios, at no time do my mains I have amped sound overpowering or stand out. Everything blends. But when listening to 2 channel music it simply sounds amazing.

Just my experience.

My hardware:
Pioneer Elite VSX52 AVR
Polk RTi10 fronts (powered by the Emo)
Polk CS3 center (powered by the AVR)
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post #30 of 99 Old 09-17-2012, 07:03 PM
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oh boy...

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