Emotiva Updates XPA Amplifiers to Generation 3 - Page 9 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #241 of 961 Old 12-30-2015, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by audio4life View Post
For those who have results less than stellar, this is one of the common complaints, a harsh and bright sound. I had the same amp and got the same results as you and it's fair to say that the Emotiva house sound does not blend well with every speaker out there. When I replaced the XPA amp with something having superior design and budget, the SQ became more refined and accurate as well, things that have nothing to do with frequency response.
Be careful what you say because your not supposed to hear differences in amps .. Haha . I'm glad to know that I'm not alone on this one. By the way what amps did you end up using , and what gear are you using ?
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post #242 of 961 Old 12-30-2015, 10:45 AM
 
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Rather than get into yet another debate on amps with the usual suspects, I'll simply message you.
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post #243 of 961 Old 12-30-2015, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by audio4life View Post
For those who have results less than stellar, this is one of the common complaints, a harsh and bright sound. I had the same amp and got the same results as you and it's fair to say that the Emotiva house sound does not blend well with every speaker out there. When I replaced the XPA amp with something having superior design and budget, the SQ became more refined and accurate as well, things that have nothing to do with frequency response.
Got any measurements or links to explain what that means?
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post #244 of 961 Old 12-30-2015, 02:26 PM
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Most electronics operate better (and longer) when run cooler. Forced air cooling is used for many systems professional and consumer so a cabinet with fans should be fine. Just ensure there is adequate airflow and a good source of cool incoming air. In the past I have opened cabinet backs, drilled holes, cut slots, and other tricks to improve the airflow in a concealed manner.

HTH - Don
I know heat kills (and assume it *could* affect sound quality?), and I'm hard-pressed for space, so the amp needs to go into an AV cabinet that could barely accommodate the amp (would have to leave the back off) -OR- use the active cooling panel the company makes that adds an extra 3.5" to the depth of the cabinet which would more easily accommodate the amp/connections, with the cooling - but don't know if this would be better than just not having a panel on the rear. Summer might be a different story - No A/C, and interior temps can push into the 90s, so I want an amp some good inherent cooling characteristics, if that's possible!
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post #245 of 961 Old 12-30-2015, 03:11 PM
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You might want to consider a class D amplifier, consumer or professional, to minimize the heat load. A traditional class A/B amplifier wastes a lot of energy in the form of heat. The Crown XLS series is popular.
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post #246 of 961 Old 12-30-2015, 05:22 PM
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You might want to consider a class D amplifier, consumer or professional, to minimize the heat load. A traditional class A/B amplifier wastes a lot of energy in the form of heat. The Crown XLS series is popular.
I know the new pending Emotiva amps are AB with Type H power topology - what might one expect heat-wise with this type of power? From what I've read, they are more efficient - run cooler?
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post #247 of 961 Old 12-30-2015, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Jonas2 View Post
I know the new pending Emotiva amps are AB with Type H power topology - what might one expect heat-wise with this type of power? From what I've read, they are more efficient - run cooler?

Good question. I have an older design but similar AB/G Sherborn amp. It runs quite cool, and barely warm when played quite loudly. So I would think the Emotivas run just as cool?
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post #248 of 961 Old 12-30-2015, 06:13 PM
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I know the new pending Emotiva amps are AB with Type H power topology - what might one expect heat-wise with this type of power? From what I've read, they are more efficient - run cooler?
The XPR series was always class H IIRC.

Less heat but not like class D. Class H uses a "tracking" power supply to vary the power rails with the signal. More efficient than conventional class A/AB but not as much as class D. Saves power at lower levels, no savings at max power (actually slightly less efficient due to added control circuits and power devices). Without knowing their implementation I couldn't say exactly how much savings in power/heat you'd gain. Nowhere near what a class D design achieves.

Class A using complementary devices (typical these days) achieves at most (theoretical) 50 % efficiency; the other half is turned into heat. Class B achieves about 80 % theoretical max, and of course AB is someplace in between depending upon the biasing and output level. Class H (or G; same idea but switches the power rails among discrete voltages instead of continuously varying) can be applied to most any amplifier to reduce power at lower output levels with varying degrees of efficiency. The actual efficiency doesn't change at any given power level, but if you are only pushing 50 W out of a 100 W amplifier then it looks power-wise more like a 50 W amp. Class D (switching) amplifiers can achieve 90 % or better but I suspect most are in the 80 % range.

I have not read in a while but here is an old link explaining amplifiers and such (hope it still works): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amplifier

If heat is a significant concern, class D is your friend. A lot of pro amps have gone that route, along with some consumer gear (Pioneer, Mark Levinson, a growing number of others developed in-house or based upon Hypex, B&O IcePower, IR, or other modules).

HTH - Don
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post #249 of 961 Old 12-30-2015, 06:43 PM
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Thanks for all the info! Much appreciated. What though might be disadvantages to a Class D amp, if any? The Wiki article didn't really indicate any disadvantages, but I'd imagine there must be some?? And sorry, not my intention to alter course away from Emotiva specifically, so if this is getting too off track, lemme know....
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post #250 of 961 Old 12-30-2015, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by audio4life
For those who have results less than stellar, this is one of the common complaints, a harsh and bright sound. I had the same amp and got the same results as you and it's fair to say that the Emotiva house sound does not blend well with every speaker out there. When I replaced the XPA amp with something having superior design and budget, the SQ became more refined and accurate as well, things that have nothing to do with frequency response.

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Got any measurements or links to explain what that means?

I'd be keen to hear to hear you provide some details on this as well. I have a Gen1 XPA-5, it performs as expected and I think it sounds great - but to be honest, in my room and at my volumes I seriously doubt that it 'sounds' any better than the built-in amps did on the integrated receiver I'm using the pre-outs from. I've never done any blind tests to try and prove it one way or the other, but I don't see any reason to do so - neither setup had a lack of power or any trace of audible distortion.

I purchased the XPA-5 because they had a great sale a few years back and I've always wanted to try a separate power amp, rather than any perceived shortcoming on the previous receiver only setup. As I said, I'm very happy with the sound quality, and it certainly looks great in the equipment stack - so no regrets on purchasing it.

Can you describe what you mean when you say you are hearing a sound quality with a replacement amp that is more 'refined and accurate'? How do you define that? What's the 'Emotiva House Sound'?
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post #251 of 961 Old 12-30-2015, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Jonas2 View Post
Thanks for all the info! Much appreciated. What though might be disadvantages to a Class D amp, if any? The Wiki article didn't really indicate any disadvantages, but I'd imagine there must be some?? And sorry, not my intention to alter course away from Emotiva specifically, so if this is getting too off track, lemme know....
I think some of Emotiva's new amps may be class D...

The biggest disadvantages relate to a low switching rate, a problem that has been largely alleviated in recent years but not completely. They switch rail-to-rail at a high rate to create pulses that are filtered to produce a smooth output waveform. This filter often takes the form of a large output inductor and that provides a rising output impedance with frequency. All amps have that characteristic, but it is often worse with switchers. Supersonic noise and stability into capacitive loads (like ESLs) can also be an issue if not well-designed. Class D has been used in professional amplifiers for many years so most of their early quirks and problems have been resolved. Not completely, but conventional designs are not without their little issues as well...

HTH - Don
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post #252 of 961 Old 12-31-2015, 04:13 AM
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Originally Posted by WestCDA View Post
Originally Posted by audio4life
For those who have results less than stellar, this is one of the common complaints, a harsh and bright sound. I had the same amp and got the same results as you and it's fair to say that the Emotiva house sound does not blend well with every speaker out there. When I replaced the XPA amp with something having superior design and budget, the SQ became more refined and accurate as well, things that have nothing to do with frequency response.


I'd be keen to hear to hear you provide some details on this as well. I have a Gen1 XPA-5, it performs as expected and I think it sounds great - but to be honest, in my room and at my volumes I seriously doubt that it 'sounds' any better than the built-in amps did on the integrated receiver I'm using the pre-outs from. I've never done any blind tests to try and prove it one way or the other, but I don't see any reason to do so - neither setup had a lack of power or any trace of audible distortion.

I purchased the XPA-5 because they had a great sale a few years back and I've always wanted to try a separate power amp, rather than any perceived shortcoming on the previous receiver only setup. As I said, I'm very happy with the sound quality, and it certainly looks great in the equipment stack - so no regrets on purchasing it.

Can you describe what you mean when you say you are hearing a sound quality with a replacement amp that is more 'refined and accurate'? How do you define that? What's the 'Emotiva House Sound'?
There isn't one. And nor should there be. An amplifier's job is to amplify the incoming signal without changing it in any way other than its amplitude. Almost all amps of the type we are discussing can do that these days. So if an amp is somehow changing the signal it is either broken, a really poor design or being pushed beyond its rated performance parameters (into clipping).

If the amp changes the signal it is acting as a tone control (and one which cannot be defeated). There are vastly superior ways to change frequency response than by using the amp to do it.
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post #253 of 961 Old 12-31-2015, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by WestCDA View Post
Originally Posted by audio4life
For those who have results less than stellar, this is one of the common complaints, a harsh and bright sound. I had the same amp and got the same results as you and it's fair to say that the Emotiva house sound does not blend well with every speaker out there. When I replaced the XPA amp with something having superior design and budget, the SQ became more refined and accurate as well, things that have nothing to do with frequency response.


I'd be keen to hear to hear you provide some details on this as well. I have a Gen1 XPA-5, it performs as expected and I think it sounds great - but to be honest, in my room and at my volumes I seriously doubt that it 'sounds' any better than the built-in amps did on the integrated receiver I'm using the pre-outs from. I've never done any blind tests to try and prove it one way or the other, but I don't see any reason to do so - neither setup had a lack of power or any trace of audible distortion.

I purchased the XPA-5 because they had a great sale a few years back and I've always wanted to try a separate power amp, rather than any perceived shortcoming on the previous receiver only setup. As I said, I'm very happy with the sound quality, and it certainly looks great in the equipment stack - so no regrets on purchasing it.

Can you describe what you mean when you say you are hearing a sound quality with a replacement amp that is more 'refined and accurate'? How do you define that? What's the 'Emotiva House Sound'?
Nothing wrong with emotiva sound , but it's definitely not as refined for two channel music . In my opinion they are great for home theater , that have good punch , but when it comes to critical music , they just don't bring it for a warm , smooth , highly detailed sound . It's almost like going into a night club , sure the music is loud and pumping , but would you consider it to have tons of depth and imaging , and most importantly does it fatigue the ears , now bring it into your home and really listen . Do vocals and instruments seem over exposed ? Is the bass really tight , or sloppy , can you feel the plucking of a guitar . It's little stuff like that but once you have heard it , then it's obvious .like hd vs sd tv
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post #254 of 961 Old 12-31-2015, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by audio4life View Post
For those who have results less than stellar, this is one of the common complaints, a harsh and bright sound. I had the same amp and got the same results as you and it's fair to say that the Emotiva house sound does not blend well with every speaker out there. When I replaced the XPA amp with something having superior design and budget, the SQ became more refined and accurate as well, things that have nothing to do with frequency response.
I am amp-ignorant, no doubt, but trying to learn.

A few things attract me about the Emotivas - 1) recommended by somebody I know that knows a little bit about this kind of thing 2) Pricing 3) I really do like the looks of them. 4) For what they are worth, reviews have been generally quite favorable, at least the ones I've read.

5) The new generation incorporating the XPR sonics and customizability as well as "Assembled In USA" - is all appealing. GRANTED - I know nothing of the "sonics" of the XPRs, but Emotiva makes it sound like a good thing, so must be good......

That said, I have heard and read about there being sound differences among amps - especially tube vs. solid state, and all, warmth, etc., which I can't claim to understand. But you do hear - there is NO difference in real blind testing, vs. there ARE differences (psychological? It's more expensive, so it MUST be better, as in you get what you pay for?) - from users on this forum, and in professional reviews - it seems certain amps bring out "the best" that a particular speaker has to offer for music vs. HT, and so on.

Leaves guys like me really scratching our heads and wondering, WHAT exactly could cause such differences, if they do exist? I can understand things like too weak of a power supply, shoddy workmanship - but do the internal components vary so much that they can affect the sound? Is one capacitor REALLY better than another sonically?

Where is the point of diminishing returns - I mean, why would I spend tens of thousands of dollars on a European-made amp, other than to say I can spend LOTS of money on stuff?

Again, not to stray away from an EMOTIVA specific thread, but I am considering speakers that apparently like separate amplification with some juice behind them, so an amp is important to me.
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post #255 of 961 Old 12-31-2015, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by nesto719 View Post
Nothing wrong with emotiva sound , but it's definitely not as refined for two channel music . In my opinion they are great for home theater , that have good punch , but when it comes to critical music , they just don't bring it for a warm , smooth , highly detailed sound . It's almost like going into a night club , sure the music is loud and pumping , but would you consider it to have tons of depth and imaging , and most importantly does it fatigue the ears , now bring it into your home and really listen . Do vocals and instruments seem over exposed ? Is the bass really tight , or sloppy , can you feel the plucking of a guitar . It's little stuff like that but once you have heard it , then it's obvious .like hd vs sd tv

The 'music' reproduction in a nightclub has little, if anything, in common with a home listening environment - music driven at extremely high volumes to overcome massive background noise, a fixed number of speakers/drivers to cover listener positions that are literally everywhere in the room at the same time, and probably the worst room acoustics possible.

Over the years I have been through many brands, configurations and sizes of speakers (including subwoofers) - now THEY have a HUGE impact on sound quality. Along with their location and the acoustic properties of the room, they can certainly make music sound muddy, harsh, dull, bright, fatiguing, etc.

I've read that having the extra WPC or a power amplifier in reserve can add 'punch' to sudden peaks in the music - quite possible, but I can't say that I ever found that lacking, or can hear a difference there either. I listen to a pretty eclectic selection of music, but perhaps I haven't played the right tracks, or just haven't played them loud enough. Again, one of the reasons I wanted to try an external amplifier, but not something that I found that made a difference after it was installed.

I didn't change my speakers, subs or room acoustics when I added the XPA-5, and as I've said I'm aware of no audible difference when playing at the same volumes. I never drove the multi-channel receiver to clipping prior to adding the amplifier, nor do I with the amplifier added. Music sounds great, as it did before - the pre-outs on the receiver are just supplying the external amplifier channels instead of the internal ones. With no changes in the speakers, acoustics or room layout, I hear zero difference in the 'soundstage', warmth, etc. of the sound from what I heard before. That's why I'd like to hear some justification for the claims that the amplifier is somehow altering or coloring the sound.
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post #256 of 961 Old 12-31-2015, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by WestCDA View Post
The 'music' reproduction in a nightclub has little, if anything, in common with a home listening environment - music driven at extremely high volumes to overcome massive background noise, a fixed number of speakers/drivers to cover listener positions that are literally everywhere in the room at the same time, and probably the worst room acoustics possible.

Over the years I have been through many brands, configurations and sizes of speakers (including subwoofers) - now THEY have a HUGE impact on sound quality. Along with their location and the acoustic properties of the room, they can certainly make music sound muddy, harsh, dull, bright, fatiguing, etc.

I've read that having the extra WPC or a power amplifier in reserve can add 'punch' to sudden peaks in the music - quite possible, but I can't say that I ever found that lacking, or can hear a difference there either. I listen to a pretty eclectic selection of music, but perhaps I haven't played the right tracks, or just haven't played them loud enough. Again, one of the reasons I wanted to try an external amplifier, but not something that I found that made a difference after it was installed.

I didn't change my speakers, subs or room acoustics when I added the XPA-5, and as I've said I'm aware of no audible difference when playing at the same volumes. I never drove the multi-channel receiver to clipping prior to adding the amplifier, nor do I with the amplifier added. Music sounds great, as it did before - the pre-outs on the receiver are just supplying the external amplifier channels instead of the internal ones. With no changes in the speakers, acoustics or room layout, I hear zero difference in the 'soundstage', warmth, etc. of the sound from what I heard before. That's why I'd like to hear some justification for the claims that the amplifier is somehow altering or coloring the sound.
I added an XPA-5 to my setup last night. It is the first time I've ever owned a separate amp and I could tell the difference immediately. The sound was so much richer than just with my Pioneer elite. I'm a novice at this so I can't really explain the physics of it. Before the amp, it was a deeper, duller sound. Afterwards, the highs really stood out more. Anyway, YMMV. I, for one, am sold on having a separate amp.
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post #257 of 961 Old 12-31-2015, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Jonas2 View Post
I am amp-ignorant, no doubt, but trying to learn.

A few things attract me about the Emotivas - 1) recommended by somebody I know that knows a little bit about this kind of thing 2) Pricing 3) I really do like the looks of them. 4) For what they are worth, reviews have been generally quite favorable, at least the ones I've read.

5) The new generation incorporating the XPR sonics and customizability as well as "Assembled In USA" - is all appealing. GRANTED - I know nothing of the "sonics" of the XPRs, but Emotiva makes it sound like a good thing, so must be good......

That said, I have heard and read about there being sound differences among amps - especially tube vs. solid state, and all, warmth, etc., which I can't claim to understand. But you do hear - there is NO difference in real blind testing, vs. there ARE differences (psychological? It's more expensive, so it MUST be better, as in you get what you pay for?) - from users on this forum, and in professional reviews - it seems certain amps bring out "the best" that a particular speaker has to offer for music vs. HT, and so on.

Leaves guys like me really scratching our heads and wondering, WHAT exactly could cause such differences, if they do exist? I can understand things like too weak of a power supply, shoddy workmanship - but do the internal components vary so much that they can affect the sound? Is one capacitor REALLY better than another sonically?

Where is the point of diminishing returns - I mean, why would I spend tens of thousands of dollars on a European-made amp, other than to say I can spend LOTS of money on stuff?

Again, not to stray away from an EMOTIVA specific thread, but I am considering speakers that apparently like separate amplification with some juice behind them, so an amp is important to me.
I am in the same camp as you , but yes there is differences , sometimes it's subtle , and sometimes it's very noticible. In essence it should all be the same since what a amps job is to just amplify the incoming signal , but it's more complicated than that. What I notice is treble harshness with the xpa line . Again in 95% of systems people wouldn't pick up on it , but critical listening compared to other amps , in my case my marantz receiver . The emotiva doesn't have the same pure rich warm sound vs other amps . Just because an amp is expensive doesn't make it better either . There are plenty of really expensive gear that sounds horrible too. In the end emotiva is still a good choice , but there are better that's all !
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post #258 of 961 Old 12-31-2015, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by WestCDA View Post
That's why I'd like to hear some justification for the claims that the amplifier is somehow altering or coloring the sound.
Placebo... wishful thinking... audiofoolery... justification of high price...

If the amp has a sound of its own, it's either broken, a very poor amp or being pushed into clipping.
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post #259 of 961 Old 12-31-2015, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by WestCDA View Post
The 'music' reproduction in a nightclub has little, if anything, in common with a home listening environment - music driven at extremely high volumes to overcome massive background noise, a fixed number of speakers/drivers to cover listener positions that are literally everywhere in the room at the same time, and probably the worst room acoustics possible.

Over the years I have been through many brands, configurations and sizes of speakers (including subwoofers) - now THEY have a HUGE impact on sound quality. Along with their location and the acoustic properties of the room, they can certainly make music sound muddy, harsh, dull, bright, fatiguing, etc.

I've read that having the extra WPC or a power amplifier in reserve can add 'punch' to sudden peaks in the music - quite possible, but I can't say that I ever found that lacking, or can hear a difference there either. I listen to a pretty eclectic selection of music, but perhaps I haven't played the right tracks, or just haven't played them loud enough. Again, one of the reasons I wanted to try an external amplifier, but not something that I found that made a difference after it was installed.

I didn't change my speakers, subs or room acoustics when I added the XPA-5, and as I've said I'm aware of no audible difference when playing at the same volumes. I never drove the multi-channel receiver to clipping prior to adding the amplifier, nor do I with the amplifier added. Music sounds great, as it did before - the pre-outs on the receiver are just supplying the external amplifier channels instead of the internal ones. With no changes in the speakers, acoustics or room layout, I hear zero difference in the 'soundstage', warmth, etc. of the sound from what I heard before. That's why I'd like to hear some justification for the claims that the amplifier is somehow altering or coloring the sound.
Mabey you havnt noticed a difference when adding the xpa5 to your setup because it was a good match sonically to what you have , therefore just complimenting it . Nothing wrong with that . My statement about the night club , Was to use as an example of what a power amp will do , as far as power , and loudness , and that's what I feel the emotiva does and does well . But you can't compare it to everything else out there and say it's the same or better for that fact , because it's simply not . Would I own one ..... Yes and do , but is it the best ...no
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post #260 of 961 Old 12-31-2015, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post
Placebo... wishful thinking... audiofoolery... justification of high price...

If the amp has a sound of its own, it's either broken, a very poor amp or being pushed into clipping.
Would you say that garlic concentrate or powder tastes better than fresh garlic , or does it all taste like garlic ? My point is , sure it all tastes like garlic , but which one is more pure, better tasting . Use that as an audio example . sure all the sound is there , but it's still lacking that crispness and refinement
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There are a lot of issues with that analogy going both ways. There is likely to be more sample-to-sample variance among garlic powders or concentrates than among most SS amps operated below clipping into most speakers. I have been through a lot of amplifiers and speakers over the years and most of the time I have been convinced I heard some difference I was wrong. Many years ago a comparison among several amplifiers over about a 100:1 price spread was painfully revealing of how similar they really were even to the golden-eared ones who could hear every nuance (I was one of them at that time, and we had a number of local and national listeners sit through various trials). Yes, differences were heard, but often very subtle, and virtually none among mid-priced and up (the very cheapest ones had some issues driving some speakers, and their differences were easily measured, and of course tubes and transistors were pretty easy to tell apart by listening or measuring).

But, plenty of folk out there have better ears and systems than mine, more experience, and so forth to justify why amp XYZ is worth 10x ~ 100x the cost and exhibits various sonic characteristics. Of course I suspect many are fooling themselves but without being there and actually doing some valid tests (a PITA) who's to say? Speaker interaction with the amp is important, and sound preferences are at play, so a blanket statement about any given amplifier may not hold up over all systems and listeners.

Build quality and reliability is another reason to pay more, assuming you get that, and of course there is aesthetics. I have seen some very expensive amplifiers that look like they were assembled in a garage by a guy learning to solder, and some that are impeccable and just flat-out gorgeous inside. There are also cases like a fairly recently reviewed very expensive ($50k+) amplifier that was defective out of the box; anyone can have QA problems.

I have sold expensive components to folk who's main goal was to get the "best", which to them meant "the most expensive", regardless of performance. One had a nice grand piano that nobody played because it looked good in the living room; if you've got the money, what the heck.

Whatever, the subjective vs. objective debate will never end, true believers will not be convinced of the merits of the other side, and truth is somewhere in the middle. - Don

p.s. If I had the money I would have a Bryston sitting in my system, but I don't and my listening comparisons did not reveal any real difference between the Bryston and my XPA-2 so I let it go.
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There are a lot of issues with that analogy going both ways. There is likely to be more sample-to-sample variance among garlic powders or concentrates than among most SS amps operated below clipping into most speakers. I have been through a lot of amplifiers and speakers over the years and most of the time I have been convinced I heard some difference I was wrong. Many years ago a comparison among several amplifiers over about a 100:1 price spread was painfully revealing of how similar they really were even to the golden-eared ones who could hear every nuance (I was one of them at that time, and we had a number of local and national listeners sit through various trials). Yes, differences were heard, but often very subtle, and virtually none among mid-priced and up (the very cheapest ones had some issues driving some speakers, and their differences were easily measured, and of course tubes and transistors were pretty easy to tell apart by listening or measuring).

But, plenty of folk out there have better ears and systems than mine, more experience, and so forth to justify why amp XYZ is worth 10x ~ 100x the cost and exhibits various sonic characteristics. Of course I suspect many are fooling themselves but without being there and actually doing some valid tests (a PITA) who's to say? Speaker interaction with the amp is important, and sound preferences are at play, so a blanket statement about any given amplifier may not hold up over all systems and listeners.

Build quality and reliability is another reason to pay more, assuming you get that, and of course there is aesthetics. I have seen some very expensive amplifiers that look like they were assembled in a garage by a guy learning to solder, and some that are impeccable and just flat-out gorgeous inside. There are also cases like a fairly recently reviewed very expensive ($50k+) amplifier that was defective out of the box; anyone can have QA problems.

I have sold expensive components to folk who's main goal was to get the "best", which to them meant "the most expensive", regardless of performance. One had a nice grand piano that nobody played because it looked good in the living room; if you've got the money, what the heck.

Whatever, the subjective vs. objective debate will never end, true believers will not be convinced of the merits of the other side, and truth is somewhere in the middle. - Don

p.s. If I had the money I would have a Bryston sitting in my system, but I don't and my listening comparisons did not reveal any real difference between the Bryston and my XPA-2 so I let it go.
Very well said !!! i am in the camp where after a x amount of dollars , it's just pissing it away sort of speak , but there is definetly better matches for certain things , and the xpa3 gen 1 wasn't for mine . Mabey it had to do with higher gain or different circuitry vs the gen 2 . All I have to say is that it does not sound as refined as the marantz amps , but I prefer a warmer sound . I am hoping the gen 3 will be out of the park spectacular , because paying multiple thousands for an amp is not realistic to me !
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post #263 of 961 Old 12-31-2015, 05:34 PM
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I am amp-ignorant, no doubt, but trying to learn.

A few things attract me about the Emotivas - 1) recommended by somebody I know that knows a little bit about this kind of thing 2) Pricing 3) I really do like the looks of them. 4) For what they are worth, reviews have been generally quite favorable, at least the ones I've read.

5) The new generation incorporating the XPR sonics and customizability as well as "Assembled In USA" - is all appealing. GRANTED - I know nothing of the "sonics" of the XPRs, but Emotiva makes it sound like a good thing, so must be good......

That said, I have heard and read about there being sound differences among amps - especially tube vs. solid state, and all, warmth, etc., which I can't claim to understand. But you do hear - there is NO difference in real blind testing, vs. there ARE differences (psychological? It's more expensive, so it MUST be better, as in you get what you pay for?) - from users on this forum, and in professional reviews - it seems certain amps bring out "the best" that a particular speaker has to offer for music vs. HT, and so on.

Leaves guys like me really scratching our heads and wondering, WHAT exactly could cause such differences, if they do exist? I can understand things like too weak of a power supply, shoddy workmanship - but do the internal components vary so much that they can affect the sound? Is one capacitor REALLY better than another sonically?

Where is the point of diminishing returns - I mean, why would I spend tens of thousands of dollars on a European-made amp, other than to say I can spend LOTS of money on stuff?

Again, not to stray away from an EMOTIVA specific thread, but I am considering speakers that apparently like separate amplification with some juice behind them, so an amp is important to me.

The simple experiment is to set up your current speakers to an AVR and then to an Emotiva amp and see if you can discern any difference. If you can't then you shouldn't pay for it.


A lot of video/audiophiles will see and hear things than the majority of other people will not see or hear. I have been into wine for many years and have tasted lots of wines and can discern the differences and nuances in them that somebody who is a novice will not smell, taste or be able to even follow what I am describing to them. Should they buy a $200 French Burgundy when they can't tell the difference between a $20 Oregon State Pinot, a $25 Central California Pinot or a $60 Russian River Pinot? No


Spending more money for separates is for those who have the money and can appreciate the subtleties in the differences in sound. This takes years and years of experience and listening to lots of different speakers, amps, environments.


If you are a novice, try a 5 channel amp for your Home Theater from Emotiva because it will be at least as good as an equally priced AVR. It's not a big financial commitment and then listen. If you are in to 2 channel musice then try a 2 channel amp. Emotiva is a good place to start because of price. It's not like spending $3,000 plus on something and you don't know the difference.
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post #264 of 961 Old 12-31-2015, 06:18 PM
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I didn't change my speakers, subs or room acoustics when I added the XPA-5, and as I've said I'm aware of no audible difference when playing at the same volumes. I never drove the multi-channel receiver to clipping prior to adding the amplifier, nor do I with the amplifier added. Music sounds great, as it did before - the pre-outs on the receiver are just supplying the external amplifier channels instead of the internal ones. With no changes in the speakers, acoustics or room layout, I hear zero difference in the 'soundstage', warmth, etc. of the sound from what I heard before. That's why I'd like to hear some justification for the claims that the amplifier is somehow altering or coloring the sound.
So I guess this means your components are "sonically matched"?

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I added an XPA-5 to my setup last night. It is the first time I've ever owned a separate amp and I could tell the difference immediately. The sound was so much richer than just with my Pioneer elite. I'm a novice at this so I can't really explain the physics of it. Before the amp, it was a deeper, duller sound. Afterwards, the highs really stood out more. Anyway, YMMV. I, for one, am sold on having a separate amp.
Could this be that the speakers simply wanted more juice to bring them more alive? I still don't get the physics of it either. The receiver could obviously drive your speakers before the amp, but perhaps the receiver isn't a solid match for those speakers for some reason and the amp corrects this? What I'd be interested in is to see what happens to your system if you throw a different brand in there! I think this is where KBarnes is saying there will be no difference in sound quality - among amps - all else being the same. I think.

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Placebo... wishful thinking... audiofoolery... justification of high price...

If the amp has a sound of its own, it's either broken, a very poor amp or being pushed into clipping.
Is it possible though to contribute differences to the actual components being used inside - like cheap caps vs. expensive caps, or should that not even matter? I would think crappy parts vs. awesome parts (assuming there are differences among parts...?) could somehow flavor the sound? I don't know how they would do this, I'm just grasping at straws of ignorance!

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p.s. If I had the money I would have a Bryston sitting in my system, but I don't and my listening comparisons did not reveal any real difference between the Bryston and my XPA-2 so I let it go.
So, it begs the question - if you could not detect any differences, why the Bryston? Appearance, or something else? Gotta admit, that 20-year warranty looks GOOD....

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The simple experiment is to set up your current speakers to an AVR and then to an Emotiva amp and see if you can discern any difference. If you can't then you shouldn't pay for it.
Yes, as soon as I get speakers and an AVR!

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Spending more money for separates is for those who have the money and can appreciate the subtleties in the differences in sound. This takes years and years of experience and listening to lots of different speakers, amps, environments.
Based on age and income, I will be long dead before I could even make a dent in this arena...

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If you are a novice, try a 5 channel amp for your Home Theater from Emotiva because it will be at least as good as an equally priced AVR. It's not a big financial commitment and then listen. If you are in to 2 channel musice then try a 2 channel amp. Emotiva is a good place to start because of price. It's not like spending $3,000 plus on something and you don't know the difference.
Novice is an understatement. I'm whatever comes before that. Seriously, Emotiva is definitely appealing on price and that you get a 30-day guarantee to like it or not. Wish I had enough $$$ to try out several all at once (so long as they could be returned). Aesthetics is definitely a factor too - and there are a lot of good, cleaning-looking amps out there and I'd like to see what they all looked up in the system.
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post #265 of 961 Old 12-31-2015, 07:48 PM
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Yes, as soon as I get speakers and an AVR! >>>>>>


The speakers you get would also depend on whether or not you would even need a powerful amp. What speakers are you thinking about? It will also depend on what kind of system you have. 2 channel, 5.1 system, 7.1 system. What do you have?


I have Paradigm 6's for mains, Studio 20's for rears and a Paradigm Studio center channel that I never remember the model number for. You need higher end speakers to take advantage of the power of a high powered amp. So depending you might not benefit from a high powered amp.


Tell me what you are thinking about and I can let you know what direction you could go. You don't have an AVR also so that will come in to play.
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Yes, as soon as I get speakers and an AVR! >>>>>>


The speakers you get would also depend on whether or not you would even need a powerful amp. What speakers are you thinking about? It will also depend on what kind of system you have. 2 channel, 5.1 system, 7.1 system. What do you have?


I have Paradigm 6's for mains, Studio 20's for rears and a Paradigm Studio center channel that I never remember the model number for. You need higher end speakers to take advantage of the power of a high powered amp. So depending you might not benefit from a high powered amp.


Tell me what you are thinking about and I can let you know what direction you could go. You don't have an AVR also so that will come in to play.
So, thinking about one of the upcoming Anthem processor / receivers that should be coming up in January (or so I've been told). There are a few speakers I'm interested in, but the one I'm focusing on at the moment is Totem, specifically the Forest Signatures. My dealer has told me they like power. I've only ever heard them on Parasound gear (preamp/amp) - and they sounded very good. I am also interested in the Paradigm Prestige line - I know, totally different speakers from the Totems - and I've heard these on just an Anthem MX-510 and they sound pretty good - not as musical as the Totems, but I understand the Prestige is good for HT. What I want to do is get my dealer to let me compare the Totems and the Paradigms side by side on just the AVR - right now, the speakers are in different listening rooms, so just need a simple move. I'd hope they'd be willing to do that! I'd like to hear the Totems right next to the Paradigms, un-amped - and just see - then vice versa - get a listen at the Paradigms on the Parasound amp with the Totems.

Married to nothing yet - Totems are impressive musically, at least for me. The Paradigms - I know some people really don't like the Prestige line, but I LOVE the appearance, plus the center channel will fit in the cabinet I'm going with. SO I just don't know, but what I do know is that I will be starting with 3 channels. 5 channel will be in the future, and not 7 channel for sure, just don't have the accommodations for 7 channels AFA space.
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post #267 of 961 Old 12-31-2015, 08:48 PM
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So, thinking about one of the upcoming Anthem processor / receivers that should be coming up in January (or so I've been told). There are a few speakers I'm interested in, but the one I'm focusing on at the moment is Totem, specifically the Forest Signatures. My dealer has told me they like power. I've only ever heard them on Parasound gear (preamp/amp) - and they sounded very good. I am also interested in the Paradigm Prestige line - I know, totally different speakers from the Totems - and I've heard these on just an Anthem MX-510 and they sound pretty good - not as musical as the Totems, but I understand the Prestige is good for HT. What I want to do is get my dealer to let me compare the Totems and the Paradigms side by side on just the AVR - right now, the speakers are in different listening rooms, so just need a simple move. I'd hope they'd be willing to do that! I'd like to hear the Totems right next to the Paradigms, un-amped - and just see - then vice versa - get a listen at the Paradigms on the Parasound amp with the Totems.

Married to nothing yet - Totems are impressive musically, at least for me. The Paradigms - I know some people really don't like the Prestige line, but I LOVE the appearance, plus the center channel will fit in the cabinet I'm going with. SO I just don't know, but what I do know is that I will be starting with 3 channels. 5 channel will be in the future, and not 7 channel for sure, just don't have the accommodations for 7 channels AFA space.
Ok, you are on the right track and are talking about speakers who could benefit from a power amp. If you can listen to both speakers with the same amp in the same room then you will be able to decide which sounds best to you. I don't know Totem so I can't tell you. I have listened to B&W and Paradigm and they sounded similar to me so I decided on Paradigm because they were less than B&W but still not cheap.


There are lot6s of great sounding speakers. I was always a fan also of NHT. B&W sound great but you can find similar sound for less. If money is no object then you can buy high end. Again, if you can't hear the difference, don't pay for it. I like Paradigm for clean, undistorted sound but I'm sure there are many great equivalent names now. I haven't listened to any new speakers in a long time so go and listen to different brands.
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post #268 of 961 Old 12-31-2015, 09:17 PM
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Ok, you are on the right track and are talking about speakers who could benefit from a power amp. If you can listen to both speakers with the same amp in the same room then you will be able to decide which sounds best to you. I don't know Totem so I can't tell you. I have listened to B&W and Paradigm and they sounded similar to me so I decided on Paradigm because they were less than B&W but still not cheap.

There are lot6s of great sounding speakers. I was always a fan also of NHT. B&W sound great but you can find similar sound for less. If money is no object then you can buy high end. Again, if you can't hear the difference, don't pay for it. I like Paradigm for clean, undistorted sound but I'm sure there are many great equivalent names now. I haven't listened to any new speakers in a long time so go and listen to different brands.
Unfortunately (fortunately?), I've listened to the B&W Diamond D3s on hi-end Classe gear and that pretty much ruined it for me. So, yes - money is an object (if I ever want to actually have a system....). But you're right - there are other really good speakers out there for an obtainable price, and I'm happy to settle with something like that.

But that's the goal - a direct comparison of the two brands/lines, side by side, same material, and all else being equal.
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post #269 of 961 Old 01-01-2016, 03:45 AM
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Would you say that garlic concentrate or powder tastes better than fresh garlic , or does it all taste like garlic ? My point is , sure it all tastes like garlic , but which one is more pure, better tasting . Use that as an audio example . sure all the sound is there , but it's still lacking that crispness and refinement
Garlic isn't a machine. Amplifiers are fairly simple man-made machines whose design problems were resolved decades ago. In a blind test there is no way you could reliably pick out one amp from another if they are all working within their design spec (ie not being driven into clipping). If you can discern the differences you describe there's an easy 10 grand waiting for you to collect - google the Richard Clark amplifier challenge.

When you did your amp comparisons, did you level match them to 0.1dB? If not, then the results are immediately invalidated anyway. And even more so if you knew which amp was playing at any given time. And more so still if you had no means to instantaneously switch between them. Failure in any one of those areas invalidates the test. Chances are you’d hear differences, but the differences don't arise from the amps but from the way you are auditioning them.
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post #270 of 961 Old 01-01-2016, 03:52 AM
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Spending more money for separates is for those who have the money and can appreciate the subtleties in the differences in sound. This takes years and years of experience and listening to lots of different speakers, amps, environments.
It is also a total waste of money to focus on these alleged subtle differences in sound unless one has previously bought very good speakers, very good subwoofers and acoustically treated the room properly. Those things will make huge differences in sound quality which are uncontestable, while any differences between electronic components are minuscule. The idea that amps have a 'sound' of their own dates back to the 70s, when they did. And so-called high end manufacturers and their dealers have been trading on that ever since, despite the advances made in design, manufacture and componentry.
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