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Is a relatively inexpensive 2 channel amp worth it?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I'm specifically zeroing in on the Emotiva UPA-2 for $299. While I am unsure if this is really that much of a "deal", it seems like a fair price for 125 watts per channel from a brand that gets some respect.

My thoughts were it would be nice to drive my Monitor Audio Bx6 towers off the Emotiva and leave the Yamaha 867 to push the center and surrounds (when I buy them). I still need to buy surrounds (that is another question on another day) and a sub (same), but noticed this Emotiva sale and wondered if it was worth jumping on.
post #2 of 26
I purchased 3 UPA-2's for my surrounds & Heights.

My Main 5 (DSX Wide) are being driven by an XPA-5.

For the price (since they are discontinued) it's worth it.

You won't be sorry, but you might decide you need more power later, and can move that UPA-2 to your surrounds.
post #3 of 26
It wouldn't hurt anything (it could only benefit you, is basically my point, but that benefit may be un-noticed or otherwise small), but you can probably get a similar amplifier for less money - the Onkyo M-282 and Behringer A-500 both come to mind. That said, any of the three will be quite suitable. I'm skeptical that you'll hear an improvement over the V867, but you may be relieving enough load from the receiver to some benefit (I don't know what the V867 does on a test bench, it may have a robust enough power supply, it may not).

I'd probably put the money into surrounds and a subwoofer first, then revisit the question. $300 for 2x125W isn't the end of the world, so if you let this one pass rest assured you can find something else in the future.
post #4 of 26
I own the Emotiva LPA-1 which is basically a 6-channel version of this amp. I have had it for over 3 years and have been very pleased. I own several receivers: an HK 245, Sony STR-DG1000, Denon 3311, and I briefly had an Onkyo 709. Perhaps it's all in my head but to me the LPA-1 sounded better than all of the receivers when driving my Polk RTi speakers. The bass response seemed tighter (more accurate) yet more powerful at the same time. Vocals sounded clearer. For the record I used the same settings on every receiver and ran auto-setup separately for the receiver alone vs receiver + amp. Plus I calibrated the volume based on a test tone and my radio shack spl meter.

I also own an Onkyo M282. I did not feel the M282 made a huge difference when added to my HK or Sony receivers. Gave it to my brother so haven't had a chance to test it with the Denon.

The only issue I've had with my LPA-1 was that the fuses blew a few days ago. Replaced them and it's performing beautifully. I really think Emotiva makes a good amp and the UPA may well make your speakers sound better.

Cheers,
NM
post #5 of 26
Put the money towards subwoofer/ room treatments. After that, buy amplification.
post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by mannoiaj View Post

Put the money towards subwoofer/ room treatments. After that, buy amplification.

+1

The most neglected piece of the puzzle is room treatments. Not as sexy as an amp but probably more effective.
post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Knucklehead90 View Post

+1

The most neglected piece of the puzzle is room treatments. Not as sexy as an amp but probably more effective.

And I would say before we even get into room treatments, lets at least get all five speakers and the subwoofer (from the original post, I get the sense that we're talking about an incomplete 5.1 system).
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by walbert View Post

And I would say before we even get into room treatments, lets at least get all five speakers and the subwoofer (from the original post, I get the sense that we're talking about an incomplete 5.1 system).

The speakers and sub were first on the list (my project got held up by having to pay for a wedding..so I bought the AVR and front 3, but cut my spending off there), but I was going to grab this if it was a good price since it is "clearance". From some of the posts, it seems like I can do just as well for around the same price at any given time during the year, so I'll probably pass and go back to figuring out if I want dipole surrounds or not and what sub to get. Still got some research to do. Thanks for the thoughts though.
post #9 of 26
If you are not clipping your AVR with your current listening levels then there is no reason to get an external amp. Spend the money on other components.

If you are clipping, it's a good value amp.
post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by BurtReynolds View Post

The speakers and sub were first on the list (my project got held up by having to pay for a wedding..so I bought the AVR and front 3, but cut my spending off there), but I was going to grab this if it was a good price since it is "clearance". From some of the posts, it seems like I can do just as well for around the same price at any given time during the year, so I'll probably pass and go back to figuring out if I want dipole surrounds or not and what sub to get. Still got some research to do. Thanks for the thoughts though.

Ah, understood now.

I wouldn't think this is something worth jumping on, unless, as rick240 said, you're running into clipping or putting the AVR into protection mode.

I'd say stay on course, revisit the amplifier sometime down the road (if ever).
post #11 of 26
The amp would probably be worth getting for listening in stereo mode, but for home theater, I would advise against the center being on a different amp than the fronts (unless you have identical monoblocks). You'd be better off getting a 3 channel amp and driving the surrounds with the receiver. I don't think there are any decent 3 channel amps for anywhere near $299 right now, but if you're patient, you may find a good deal in the future.
post #12 of 26
Don't pay any attention to what ANY of what these guys have said. Buy the Emotiva UPA-2, it will blow the pants off any of the brand names mentioned including the Yamaha, and bring your home theater fronts to life. You CAN NOT buy a better amp for $299, period.
post #13 of 26
Wow - what a great first post. rolleyes.gif
I totally disagree with waxwaves and totally agree with the above posts.
I went through a similar process about 3 years ago and added an Emotiva XPA-3 200 watt amp to my Pioneer Elite receiver. Had the exact same thoughts as you in unloading the front speakers off the receiver and letting it take care of the surrounds. The amp is very nice for the price - no complaints with it at all. Good quality for the price. The issue is that it did virtually nothing to improve my sound other than at very high levels - (at levels the wife hates!). I agree you need to get all your speakers first as you have amplification already. Later you can focus on making incremental steps in improving your system. If you really needed an amp right now and 125 watts met your needs yes I would say absolutely jump on this deal but I agree with the others that your best investment right now is in getting all your speakers sorted out so you can get full enjoyment out of your surround system. Nothing improves the quality of your sound like the investment into quality speakers - well room treatments may be up there too but I have not tried that yet. Good luck and enjoy this hobby.
Pete
post #14 of 26
Have any of the fellows that make these suggestions had the pleasure of living with a good surround processor and separate amplification in a home theater setup?? or are comments based on what they have heard from their surround receivers... with everything tightly packed into one chassis? What do you think would be better?? Do you think the amps embedded in these home theater receivers produce the same quality power as a separate UPA-2 or a good 5 or 7 channel amplifier from Emotiva or B&K?? I think not... my Polk LCI RTS 105s know the difference too. Then there are the people that visit my home to watch a movie or listen to music. They hear the difference immediately and tell me so. YES.. it is worth it!! cool.gif
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by waxwaves View Post

Have any of the fellows that make these suggestions had the pleasure of living with a good surround processor and separate amplification in a home theater setup?? or are comments based on what they have heard from their surround receivers... with everything tightly packed into one chassis? What do you think would be better?? Do you think the amps embedded in these home theater receivers produce the same quality power as a separate UPA-2 or a good 5 or 7 channel amplifier from Emotiva or B&K?? I think not... my Polk LCI RTS 105s know the difference too. Then there are the people that visit my home to watch a movie or listen to music. They hear the difference immediately and tell me so. YES.. it is worth it!! cool.gif

There are at least 100 threads you can search on AVS that will explain why you are wrong - please do so. As a newb who's first two posts insult a community you just joined, one where many of us do have the experience you suggest doesn't exist, you aren't off to a very good start here.

What's next, your view on exotic power cords and cables and their night and day improvement in audio reproduction?
post #16 of 26
^^^

i'm hoping so... i could use a little amusement... tongue.gif

@ww... nah, i just manage to get by with my pile of junk...
post #17 of 26
Admittedly you don't need much power for a lot of sound. But (and this is repeated countless times here,) there are many variables. It's hard to say what's going to work for any particular person.

In my bedroom system, I manage with a Yamaha series 800 receiver (never remember exact model.) It lacks power IMO, IF you want to crank some music. I feel like higher end Yamaha receivers do music better, because you don't hear that harshness at the higher volumes I might (occaionally use) when cranking music while cleaning or some such.

With efficient speakers, and if you don't need a lot of SPL, you will hear people getting by just fine with a 5 watt tube amp. Admittedly tube amps are reputed to clip more pleasantly (probably why they make good guitar amps right?)

100 honest watts seem good for almost any reasonable needs based on years of me reading up on audio. But you will find a lot of people coming into these forums are not reasonable. They want near reference level or reference level SPL. That's in a different ballpark than reasonable. You need to double power for each 3 SPL sound level gain, which quickly raises the money you will have to spend (and not just for your amps, you really need speakers and sub(s) that can hack it. (NOTE : I am not putting the reference level people down, just saying they would not fit into my catefory of "reasonable" needs ... high performance fans in all areas are always a fringe element, such as auto hot rodders/tuners, PC overclockers, etc...I am one of those unreasonable people myself sometimes.)

So like I say, it varies a lot and answering the question 'worth it', one of the most ambiguous questions asked in forums, is not easy.

Based purely on my own experience, I like high end Yamaha receivers. Like $1500 MSRP or more. Seems like they don't run out of power like the lower systems. When I added amps to my system, I did not notice a big improvement (note I run my volume at least 10 dB below reference, so again, your milage may vary.) This flies in the face of people saying you only need a few watts of power. I can only speak from my own experience, other people may have different experiences.
post #18 of 26
I'm not sure why this thread was picked up after 7 months, but the UPA-2 no longer exists.
post #19 of 26
The deuce you say! smile.gif I just posted without reading the whole thing smile.gif
post #20 of 26
Sounds like member goros has got it figured out correctly. But, some people are obviously very serious about owning a surround sound receiver...lol! Not this "newb"! I'll take a good processor and some of those great sounding Emotiva amps instead. Oh yeah... my Analysis Plus cables are great! Also, I love my single ended 6bq5 tube amp and Spica speakers for that low wattage thrill, just not in my home theater.
post #21 of 26
dear me...
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by runnin' View Post

I'm not sure why this thread was picked up after 7 months, but the UPA-2 no longer exists.

because someone felt the need to join and "educate" us... wink.gif
post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by waxwaves View Post

Have any of the fellows that make these suggestions had the pleasure of living with a good surround processor and separate amplification in a home theater setup?? or are comments based on what they have heard from their surround receivers... with everything tightly packed into one chassis? What do you think would be better?? Do you think the amps embedded in these home theater receivers produce the same quality power as a separate UPA-2 or a good 5 or 7 channel amplifier from Emotiva or B&K?? I think not... my Polk LCI RTS 105s know the difference too. Then there are the people that visit my home to watch a movie or listen to music. They hear the difference immediately and tell me so. YES.. it is worth it!! cool.gif

I am sorry, but I don't agree with you at all. The only time the extra power is needed is when the power from the AVR is not enough to power the speakers properly. Watts is watts. I own a very expensive amp right now which I got cheap, but I only have it because I need stable to 4 ohms at reference levels. The AVR I had did just fine except on four movies at reference. I would have kept it if it could handle all movies. You might want to try blind testing on yourself and see the light. It sure helped me.
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by waxwaves View Post

Don't pay any attention to what ANY of what these guys have said. Buy the Emotiva UPA-2, it will blow the pants off any of the brand names mentioned including the Yamaha, and bring your home theater fronts to life. You CAN NOT buy a better amp for $299, period.

Ha I'll throw down my Onkyo TX-NR1007 against an Emotiva UPA-2 any day of the week, and wager you can't tell the difference if your life depended on it -- assuming no EQ is applied to either setup. Judging by several major players reviewing the Onkyo amps -- the Onkyo THX Ultra 2 AVR amp section is putting out over 170watts per channel in stereo. That's actually more than the Emotiva, and it's in an AVR.

as mktheater says --- as long as you get to a certain quality threshold -- say ~ $400 + AVRs (meaning discounting cheap no name electronics) -- amps is amps and watts is watts.
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by waxwaves View Post

Sounds like member goros has got it figured out correctly. But, some people are obviously very serious about owning a surround sound receiver...lol! Not this "newb"! I'll take a good processor and some of those great sounding Emotiva amps instead. Oh yeah... my Analysis Plus cables are great! Also, I love my single ended 6bq5 tube amp and Spica speakers for that low wattage thrill, just not in my home theater.

You tout a company that makes $1000 a meter interconnects, why am I not surprised. No mention of room treatments or EQ however. rolleyes.gif

And some people say marketing isn't effective.....

BTW, you must have a defective Emo amp, because mine doesn't have a "sound"
post #26 of 26
We need a sign: "Please don't feed the trolls."
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