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-   -   Emotiva Amps Not Voiced? (http://www.avsforum.com/forum/90-receivers-amps-processors/1626601-emotiva-amps-not-voiced.html)

avfanatic1 08-02-2014 09:55 AM

Emotiva Amps Not Voiced?
 
I was talking to an owner of a high end audio store recently and was asking him about some ID brands and his thoughts on their performance. When I asked about Emotiva, he said that the amps he had tested were a great value and powerful amps on paper, but were never really voiced or that musical versus other brands such as Anthem. Opinions?

Noman74656 08-02-2014 10:05 AM

Maybe I'm in the minority, but I've never heard of amps being voiced before. Speakers yes, but amps no. I would look for an amp to be transparent when amplifying the signal from the processor. I want to hear the music/movie content, not the amp.

orcrone 08-02-2014 10:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by avfanatic1 (Post 26238545)
I was talking to an owner of a high end audio store recently and was asking him about some ID brands and his thoughts on their performance. When I asked about Emotiva, he said that the amps he had tested were a great value and powerful amps on paper, but were never really voiced or that musical versus other brands such as Anthem. Opinions?

Emotiva - internet direct. Can't make a profit in Emotiva. 'Nuff Said

Cvetan1 08-02-2014 10:10 AM

Did you laugh in his face?

avfanatic1 08-02-2014 10:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cvetan1 (Post 26238777)
Did you laugh in his face?

I've had my fair share of sales pitches so nothing much surprises me any more :p Best story is this fanatic at a store who ran one of his home hi-fi rooms on batteries to prevent AC interference /noise and used a separate USB hub on his computer for his DAC (l understand a DAC can make a huge different, but a separate USB hub for the USB DAC I would say is a bit much :rolleyes:)

craig john 08-02-2014 10:25 AM

I'll bet if you asked Anthem if their amps were "voiced" they would be incensed at the question. The way you "voice" an amp is to give a non-flat frequency response, and/or add distortion of some kind. Here are Anthem's spec's for FR for the P5 amp:

FREQUENCY RESPONSE
20 Hz to 20 kHz (+0 -0.15 dB),
5 Hz to 100 kHz (+0 -2 dB)

and distortion:

THD+N (225 W into 8 Ω)
0.0007% at 1 kHz, 0.008% at 20 kHz

Clearly, they don't "voice" their amps. Nor does Emotiva.

The XPR-5:
Frequency Response:
10 Hz to 80 kHz (+ 0 / - 1 dB).

THD + noise:
< 0.015%

The "high-end audio store owner" who told you this is one that I would not be taking any advice from in the future.

Craig

avfanatic1 08-02-2014 10:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Noman74656 (Post 26238673)
Maybe I'm in the minority, but I've never heard of amps being voiced before. Speakers yes, but amps no. I would look for an amp to be transparent when amplifying the signal from the processor. I want to hear the music/movie content, not the amp.

I have definitely heard other people mention the musicality of amps, although I'm sure for many it is simply a justification for spending more $$... I agree the goal of the amp should be to simply pass the sound through to the speaker, but it is still a complex process. I'd probably rate speakers > pre-amp > amp for effect on sound, in the sense if you swap components in that order you will get the most noticeable change in sound.

avfanatic1 08-02-2014 10:33 AM

@craig great response- that's what I would expect. And slightly changing the conversation- in terms of brands (for a first budget amp) would the Emotiva be a good place to start (UPA-500) and would that definitely be powerful enough for powering a solid 5.1 system? Or better off getting a receiver and then saving up for the likes of the XPA-5?

rnatalli 08-02-2014 11:36 AM

Voiced = Coloration to me and I would not buy amp that introduces coloration so EMO amps not being voiced sounds good to me :D

MichaelJHuman 08-02-2014 01:05 PM

I have heard about voicing before. Supposedly Yamaha has voiced some of their models of receivers.

I don't understand why. Make them as accurate as possible, then call it a day. I would be curious how you voice an amplifier, as I know a bit about the circuitry and don't understand how you can make too many changes that would not amount to a tone control.

I suppose somewhere in the feedback layout or in the VAS maybe some changes effect the sound, but I would think that also would show up in the FR. Very curious how such a thing would be done.

craig john 08-02-2014 02:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by avfanatic1 (Post 26239401)
@craig great response- that's what I would expect. And slightly changing the conversation- in terms of brands (for a first budget amp) would the Emotiva be a good place to start (UPA-500) and would that definitely be powerful enough for powering a solid 5.1 system? Or better off getting a receiver and then saving up for the likes of the XPA-5?

The answer to your question will depend entirely on the speakers you select; principally the sensitivity rating and the impedance. I suggest you pick your speakers FIRST and then get the receiver/amp that can power them to the levels you desire.

That said, the UPA-500 outputs 80 watts into 8 Ohms and 120 watts into 4 Ohms. It should be powerful enough to drive reasonably sensitive speakers to very loud levels. Here's a calculator than can tell you how much SPL you can expect at a given distance based on the sensitivity of the speakers: http://myhometheater.homestead.com/splcalculator.html

Craig

Knucklehead90 08-02-2014 02:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by avfanatic1 (Post 26239401)
@craig great response- that's what I would expect. And slightly changing the conversation- in terms of brands (for a first budget amp) would the Emotiva be a good place to start (UPA-500) and would that definitely be powerful enough for powering a solid 5.1 system? Or better off getting a receiver and then saving up for the likes of the XPA-5?

I've lost count of the number of amps I've owned in the past 10 years. I'm currently using a UPA-500 for driving a 5.1 setup with a UMC-200 processor. As long as you don't drive the UPA-500 into clipping it sounds pretty much like those Acurus amps (A200 - A200x3 - A150) I really liked so much. I sold them only because there is no trigger to power them on and off. The UPA-500 is a great little amp - well - if you consider 30 pounds little. Some AVRs don't weigh that and brag about 100wpc. Not saying they can't but the UPA-500 is a solid little amp. If you like listening to very loud music/movies then I'd suggest the XPA-5 - another amp I used to own - had two of them as a matter of fact. Otherwise the UPA-500 should suit you just fine. I'll never own another 60+ pound amp - simply too hard on the old back.

I've also owned several pro amps - the XLS Crown amps are very impressive. Especially for the weight - 11 pounds for the XLS-1500. They are very transparent and have gobs of power. I never did cause the fan on the 1500 to kick on.

tvrgeek 08-02-2014 02:46 PM

"VOICED" In other words, no added distortion? The salesman is feeding you total BS he read somewhere, as he may not know any better himself.
We "voice" speakers, which is a manual subjective process tuning things we don't actually understand and can not measure objectively.

With either Emo or Outlaw, just try one. See how they sound. I know of a recording studio who uses big Emo's and finds them just fine. Personally, I favor Parasound for top end detail. ( read that as better behaved with realistic loads, hence lower actual distortion into a real load). I'll take an old HCA 1200 II over any amp I know for any price less than a new car. They were that good. They are not voiced. They amplify.

I have found almost no correlation between amplifier rated power and listening enjoyment in the home. Far more important is how the amplifier behaves into the real load ( speaker) at the listening levels that are comfortable. On paper, 10W is all you need before you cause permanent hearing damage. When you dig into amplifier design, you find why it is easier to build a 200W amp that sounds cleaner than a 50W amp that one would think would work fine. Of course, there are some very good 50W amps, and some very bad 200W amps.

I happen to have an Anthem AVR and am very happy with it. I use an iNuke ( modified) for subs. There is a basic problem with switching amps that prevents them from being suitable for high fidelity. Maybe someday they can solve these issues, but for now, they are best left as PA or subs. I heard the Crown, and a couple of others. Not high fidelity. Not even close. Of course, the DC-300 we all loved was not high fidelity either. Indestructible as a PA. Sounded like garbage. But then again, we used LaScala's for speakers so amp quality was secondary.

MichaelJHuman 08-04-2014 01:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tvrgeek (Post 26244857)
"VOICED" In other words, no added distortion? The salesman is feeding you total BS he read somewhere, as he may not know any better himself.
...
I have found almost no correlation between amplifier rated power and listening enjoyment in the home. Far more important is how the amplifier behaves into the real load ( speaker) at the listening levels that are comfortable. On paper, 10W is all you need before you cause permanent hearing damage. When you dig into amplifier design, you find why it is easier to build a 200W amp that sounds cleaner than a 50W amp that one would think would work fine. Of course, there are some very good 50W amps, and some very bad 200W amps.
...

This is a point I never fully understood. I am sure there are poor 200 watt amps, but if an amp can truly do 200 watts into 8 ohms, it should comfortably manage 10 watts into 2 ohms as the current draw is considerably less than it's capabilities.

It would seem that the audio quality issues would not be due to a lack of power even into difficult loads if we are truly keeping well within the amp's capabilities. It's certainly an interesting question.

Rodd Elliott wrote an article on factors that could effect how an amplifier sounds. Perhaps that goes some way towards explaining how an amp with more power than is needed does not sound right.

http://sound.westhost.com/amp-sound.htm

audio4life 08-04-2014 02:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by avfanatic1 (Post 26239401)
@craig great response- that's what I would expect. And slightly changing the conversation- in terms of brands (for a first budget amp) would the Emotiva be a good place to start (UPA-500) and would that definitely be powerful enough for powering a solid 5.1 system? Or better off getting a receiver and then saving up for the likes of the XPA-5?

On the voicing, a couple of years ago a vintage Sansui receiver came into my hands. It was from about 1970, rated at 35 watts per channel. I connected it to the main fronts in my theater(Paradigm Monitor 7) to see what it sounded like. It was quite jaw dropping, it was different than my flagship Onkyo, and in a good way. I compared back and forth using an Emotiva CD player and music I was quite familiar with. The tweeters weren't harsh at high volumes like they were with the Onkyo, yet the Sansui had just as much, if not more detail. I was quite surprised, to say the least, as I thought today's modern gear would trounce oldster stuff from way back. This led to an adventure by me of acquiring used amps/integrated amps, auditioning them for a while, then reselling them. Same with speakers, I really wanted to get to the bottom of this idea of "voicing", as I'd come across it from the era.

Bottom line, each brand sounded unique. It's short sited to think it was a frequency response thing, on paper any decent design will measure flat through the audio spectrum. But I think that the dynamic and changing load that a speaker presents to an amp, and the synergy or lack thereof are what has a greater influence on what we hear, and the characteristics that make us think something is"warmer" or "brighter".

Around here this idea will upset some, but it's worth keeping in mind. Of course, the greatest influence on the sound is the speakers. I don't think today's brands have as much uniqueness to them. That said, your question on Emotiva gear would depend. The UPA amps are quite small, and don't really offer any more power than a mid level receiver unless you have 4 ohm speakers. But the size of your room and model of your speakers would help determine what you might need. Emotiva is a good entry level brand, there are better, but you have to spend more.

avfanatic1 08-04-2014 05:32 PM

Some great feedback- thanks all! At this point I am learning towards the Sierra 2's for my first speakers two run 2 channel and slowly build up to a full 5.1 (right now I'm a college student so don't exactly have that much money just lying around...). I'm guessing for those speakers the UPA-500 should be fine although I didn't realize they don't have the triggers... :( ) At some point I'll probs make a new thread about my current equipment and the best way forward to upgrade and swap components, but I don't want to venture there quite yet since it would stray from the original thread.

NavyBuck 08-04-2014 06:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by avfanatic1 (Post 26294249)
Some great feedback- thanks all! At this point I am learning towards the Sierra 2's for my first speakers two run 2 channel and slowly build up to a full 5.1 (right now I'm a college student so don't exactly have that much money just lying around...). I'm guessing for those speakers the UPA-500 should be fine although I didn't realize they don't have the triggers... :( ) At some point I'll probs make a new thread about my current equipment and the best way forward to upgrade and swap components, but I don't want to venture there quite yet since it would stray from the original thread.

I think you misunderstood the prior poster. The UPA500 definitely has a trigger.

avfanatic1 08-04-2014 06:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NavyBuck (Post 26295361)
I think you misunderstood the prior poster. The UPA500 definitely has a trigger.

Haha you're right- skimmed that a little too quickly.

FMW 08-05-2014 01:15 AM

The design goal for an audio amplifier should be a "straight wire." In other words the amplifier should take a low level signal and make it larger at the other end without adding to or subtracting from content of that signal. It should add as little noise, distortion and variance from a flat frequency as possible. That allows the customer to hear what is in the recording as accurately as possible.


Voicing is a high end audio term for not following that design goal. Voicing means the designer creates an amplifier that alters the frequency response audibly to suit his own taste. It has been done before. Carver comes to mind.


Since the advent of home theater, equalization has become popular. I has been a part of high fidelity audio since the beginning but never took hold until the advent of the AV processor. What that equalizer does is "voice" the system to some standard that is built into the software. Those of us who use a room calibration routine in an AV processor are "voicing" our system to suit the room acoustics.


What we should not want is a "voiced" amplifier. The reason is that we can "voice" things to our hearts content but, if the amplifier already has a rolling hills kind of frequency response, we can never get things back to the straight line. There is no way to hear what the mastering engineer provided on the recording accurately. To be fair, "voiced" amplifiers are pretty rare. Most high end amplifiers are competent performers.


My advice is to steer clear of high end audio stores. No good will come from visiting them.

arnyk 08-05-2014 01:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by avfanatic1 (Post 26238545)
I was talking to an owner of a high end audio store recently and was asking him about some ID brands and his thoughts on their performance. When I asked about Emotiva, he said that the amps he had tested were a great value and powerful amps on paper, but were never really voiced or that musical versus other brands such as Anthem. Opinions?

One word: Audiobabble. Closely related to psychobabble.

The guy is desperate. Any prospect who is thinking seriously about ID brands is walking out the door of his overpriced boutique even if he's standing in one of his listening rooms and talking to him.

Prod him a bit, and he will probably also tell you that most subwoofers are voiced for HT, not music. ;-)

uzername 10-17-2014 07:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by audio4life (Post 26289585)
On the voicing, a couple of years ago a vintage Sansui receiver came into my hands. It was from about 1970, rated at 35 watts per channel. I connected it to the main fronts in my theater(Paradigm Monitor 7) to see what it sounded like. It was quite jaw dropping, it was different than my flagship Onkyo, and in a good way. I compared back and forth using an Emotiva CD player and music I was quite familiar with. The tweeters weren't harsh at high volumes like they were with the Onkyo, yet the Sansui had just as much, if not more detail. I was quite surprised, to say the least, as I thought today's modern gear would trounce oldster stuff from way back. This led to an adventure by me of acquiring used amps/integrated amps, auditioning them for a while, then reselling them. Same with speakers, I really wanted to get to the bottom of this idea of "voicing", as I'd come across it from the era.

Bottom line, each brand sounded unique. It's short sited to think it was a frequency response thing, on paper any decent design will measure flat through the audio spectrum. But I think that the dynamic and changing load that a speaker presents to an amp, and the synergy or lack thereof are what has a greater influence on what we hear, and the characteristics that make us think something is"warmer" or "brighter".

Around here this idea will upset some, but it's worth keeping in mind. Of course, the greatest influence on the sound is the speakers. I don't think today's brands have as much uniqueness to them. That said, your question on Emotiva gear would depend. The UPA amps are quite small, and don't really offer any more power than a mid level receiver unless you have 4 ohm speakers. But the size of your room and model of your speakers would help determine what you might need. Emotiva is a good entry level brand, there are better, but you have to spend more.

Have to agree wholeheartedly with this post. I was using an NAD amp from the 70s with my Yamaha AVR and it sounded great - rich, detailed, kind of full-bodied I guess is the way to say it.

Unfortunately the amp developed a hum and then died (might just need a recap, I'm hoping) and to replace it I thought I would try an Emotiva since I had heard so much about them. I got the UPA-200, and to say I was disappointed is an understatement. It sounded thin, hollow, lacking in any life or depth or richness whatsoever. Bass was nearly non-existent, and the entire presentation had a kind of 'hollow' echoey sound to it - basically just unlistenable. The AVR on its own actually sounds better, just slightly less powerful.

I hooked my speakers (Ascend CMT-340s) up to my Marantz receiver to make sure it wasn't a speaker issue, and lo and behold, that rich, full sound was back again. The modern gear - whether it's an AVR receiver, Emo amps, or whatever - just doesn't seem to have that. There definitely seems to be a modern voicing, and it seems to be "sterile." This stuff sure doesn't sound like the tube amps that all the vintage gear emulates. So which is the real voicing and which isn't? I'd say the modern stuff is not the real voicing, no matter how supposedly "neutral" it is, because it doesn't really sound like real life music. It sounds lifeless, flat and unengaging. Not my idea of hi-fi!

zgeneral 10-17-2014 09:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by avfanatic1 (Post 26238545)
I was talking to an owner of a high end audio store recently and was asking him about some ID brands and his thoughts on their performance. When I asked about Emotiva, he said that the amps he had tested were a great value and powerful amps on paper, but were never really voiced or that musical versus other brands such as Anthem. Opinions?

Of course an audio dealer is going to bad mouth them. Emotiva's business model costs him money. Direct from manufacturer, no need to pay the dealer tax.

In terms of how amps sound, what dealers don't ever want to say is that in blind testing, ALL amps sound the same when they're operating within their performance limits. Amps, outside of ones that have more power than another, are snake oil.

MichaelJHuman 10-17-2014 11:57 PM

Quote:

Unfortunately the amp developed a hum and then died (might just need a recap, I'm hoping) and to replace it I thought I would try an Emotiva since I had heard so much about them. I got the UPA-200, and to say I was disappointed is an understatement. It sounded thin, hollow, lacking in any life or depth or richness whatsoever. Bass was nearly non-existent, and the entire presentation had a kind of 'hollow' echoey sound to it - basically just unlistenable. The AVR on its own actually sounds better, just slightly less powerful.
Non existent bass is something I have not heard on any quality receiver or amp. Maybe on some cheapo 80s/90s receivers at friend's places who spent as little money as possible on the system, and had some cheapo Pioneer or JVC that seemed to lack any punch at all.

My Emotiva has no lack of bass. The UPC-200 is not a powerful amp, but I can't understand how it could lack bass. Makes me wonder if something was wrong of a technical nature

Gurba 10-18-2014 02:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by uzername (Post 28317682)
Have to agree wholeheartedly with this post. I was using an NAD amp from the 70s with my Yamaha AVR and it sounded great - rich, detailed, kind of full-bodied I guess is the way to say it. It just sounded "right," like the way music is supposed to sound.

Unfortunately the amp developed a hum and then died (might just need a recap, I'm hoping) and to replace it I thought I would try an Emotiva since I had heard so much about them. I got the UPA-200, and to say I was disappointed is an understatement. It sounded thin, hollow, lacking in any life or depth or richness whatsoever. Bass was nearly non-existent, and the entire presentation had a kind of 'hollow' echoey sound to it - basically just unlistenable. The AVR on its own actually sounds better, just slightly less powerful.

I hooked my speakers (Ascend CMT-340s) up to my Marantz receiver to make sure it wasn't a speaker issue, and lo and behold, that rich, full sound was back again. The modern gear - whether it's an AVR receiver, Emo amps, or whatever - just doesn't seem to have that. There definitely seems to be a modern voicing, and it seems to be "sterile." This stuff sure doesn't sound like the tube amps that all the vintage gear emulates. So which is the real voicing and which isn't? I'd say the modern stuff is not the real voicing, no matter how supposedly "neutral" it is, because it doesn't really sound like real life music. It sounds lifeless, flat and unengaging. Not my idea of hi-fi!

What you're saying here is that you prefer sound With high distortion. Because that's what makes the tubeamps sound warm. I'm not critisizing you. We all have preferances. Class D amps are often critisized for lacking bass because it's neutral compared to A/B amps that add to the bass.

67jason 10-18-2014 05:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gurba (Post 28323241)
What you're saying here is that you prefer sound With high distortion. Because that's what makes the tubeamps sound warm. I'm not critisizing you. We all have preferances. Class D amps are often critisized for lacking bass because it's neutral compared to A/B amps that add to the bass.

which A/B amps would you be referring to?

Gurba 10-18-2014 05:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 67jason (Post 28324194)
which A/B amps would you be referring to?

Any.

67jason 10-18-2014 05:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gurba (Post 28324346)
Any.


so you are saying class A/B amps add bass? I thought an amps job was to amplify the signal and not to add or subtract anything.

here is the audio precession published test data on the emotiva xpa-2. for the life of me, i cannot see where it "adds" bass. can you point it out for me?

http://emotiva.com/resources/media/x..._gen2_8ohm.pdf

uzername 10-18-2014 06:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman (Post 28322369)
Non existent bass is something I have not heard on any quality receiver or amp. Maybe on some cheapo 80s/90s receivers at friend's places who spent as little money as possible on the system, and had some cheapo Pioneer or JVC that seemed to lack any punch at all.

My Emotiva has no lack of bass. The UPC-200 is not a powerful amp, but I can't understand how it could lack bass. Makes me wonder if something was wrong of a technical nature

That's a good point. Everything seemed intact so I assumed it was working properly, but maybe not. And the build quality seems very good, and no obvious damage in shipping. But maybe there is something technically wrong - it happens. The bass is really non-existent, unless I engage my sub (which I prefer not to do for music).

I think that "richer" sound probably is a slight distortion, maybe less so on SS gear than tubes. But I definitely prefer that tube-like sound, and I'm not getting that from the Emotiva. At all. I didn't know that about differences between Class D and A/B, so maybe that's the answer, and I just need to narrow my focus down to A/B amps. Or maybe an integrated amp would suit me better? Is the pre-amp bypassed in an integrated when using it as a power amp (like through the aux input)?

Gurba 10-18-2014 08:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 67jason (Post 28324458)
so you are saying class A/B amps add bass? I thought an amps job was to amplify the signal and not to add or subtract anything.

here is the audio precession published test data on the emotiva xpa-2. for the life of me, i cannot see where it "adds" bass. can you point it out for me?

http://emotiva.com/resources/media/x..._gen2_8ohm.pdf

It's just the way A/B amps work. But feel free to be a smartass. :)

67jason 10-18-2014 08:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gurba (Post 28326514)
It's just the way A/B amps work. But feel free to be a smartass. :)

it would be nice if you actually were able to explain your meaning better, but name calling is easier then sharing knowledge, experience and ideas....i'd love to know what it is that you know about A/B amps that makes them "add bass" as you mentioned, but i guess i know i cant ask you any questions. thanks for nothin' pal.:rolleyes:


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