Amp for Sonus Faber Cremoma M

I am looking to upgrade my amp for the mains to improve my 2 channel sound. I currently have an Emotiva XPA5 that I will continue to use for the center and rears when listening to concert DVD's or Sacd's

I am considering Emotiva XPA1 Mono Blocks @ 500 per channel / 1000 into 4 ohms for $2000.

Would I get better sound buying a higher end amp used,for example a Pass Labs x250.5, McIntosh MC205 or Krell Kav3250 which would also run my center for SACD's?

I appreciate the input as I have found that it is very difficult to demo amps side by side with the same speakers / electronics.
Good choice of amps. i have owned/lived with SF speakers for many years. you've a great one there, too. I have heard many good things about Emotiva but not heard it myself.

i am tempted to rank in personal choice: Pass, Mc, Krell mainly from the many, many people who've spoken about Pass & Mc and SF speakers. I have heard Krell Kav...nice but not sure it is up to the level of Pass 250.5. (And i quite like the big krells with SF Cremona).

sorry not very helpful but thought i'd post as i saw there were no posts yet. good luck. Nice choices.
I've posted this several times, but here goes again. When I first got into Sonus Faber speakers, my dealer recommended Pathos. He carried other brand he could have recommended, but he felt Pathos and Sonus Faber interfaced well. Well, I mono-blocked two Pathos ones with Concertos. A year ago I upgraded to Cremora M's and am still very happy with the Pathi. I've upgraded the tubes abit and think I have a great combo. Both products are made in Italy.
good to know...i'll keep that in mind for future reference, Rudge. Local dealer does sell both.
I thank you for the responses.

They are very helpful in helping select which direction to go.

I am really unfamiliar with tubes.

Can they be incorporated with solid state when running 5.1 for sacd's, concert dvd's and movies?

You can use tubes for your 2 front speakers and a 3-channel amp for your center and rears. When you listen to 2-channel stereo...just turn on the tube amp. The key you will need to focus on is the difference in setting up your 5.1 digital process to adjust for the different amps. I do not have 5.1 and have never set one up...but imagine a 5.1 processor today should provide you with flexibility to manage the output to each channel to adjust for the power/performance of the 2 different amps.

howver, what it will NOT adjust for the fact you may find the tube amp provides a different sound from your center and rears...which might cause an imbalance...or perhaps you will not have to try it to hear for yourself. Personally, if liked tubes for my 2-channel, i would stick with that and run SS 3-channel for side/rear.

Hope that helps. good luck.
Hey Lloyd,

Thanks for taking time to respond.

What amps have you used with your SF Speakers?

What do you currently have?
A couple months ago I finally had a chance to listen to a pair of SF Cremona Ms. The experience blew me away. Although I wasn't able to source it from vinyl, the Diana Krall CD (with which I was very familiar) sounded rich, nuanced, detailed, but most of all engaging and compellingly musical. As familiar as I am with this recording (even on vinyl), I was stunned at the retrieval of recording ambience and low level detail. On "All or Nothing At All" this setup tracked Christian McBride's opening bass solo perfectly, clean, fast, harmonically rich, unfailingly musical, and yet completely neutral with no overhang, bloat, or unevenness.

What amp managed to control the Cremona Ms and convey so much dynamics, soundstage, imaging, and low level detail in complete service to the music?

It was a $999 Marantz PM8004 integrated amp. If you think I'm off my nut, check out the TAS review of this amp, which cites the same strengths I mentioned. It also became a 2011 TAS Product of the Year. I was shocked that this amp would do this with a $12.5K speaker. But good sound is where you find it. Given the amps you're considering, I know this amp is probably a little underpowered for what you want, but if the PM8004 worked this well with the Cremona Ms, then something further up Marantz's food chain might be an ideal match, such as the MA-9S2 monoblocks. For a frame of reference, check out Stereophile's review of the now discontinued Marantz SM-11s1 power amp. Particularly pay attention to this amp's square wave response, which is textbook perfect, with near vertical rise time, no overshoot, now rounding of corners, no ripple or settling in.

And that's just what I heard with the modest PM-8004--very low noise floor, excellent speed that didn't call attention to itself, neutrality without sterility, wide bandwidth and excellent dynamics.

I'm used to hearing crazy expensive electronics in demo setups to bring out the best in speakers. I would never have thought a $1K integrated could make $12.5K speakers sound so good had I not heard it for myself, was drawn into the music, and have been haunted by that sound ever since the audition.
Emotiva? hahahaha.
Hi PKelly,

I used to run SF Guarneri with CJ MV60, then SF STrad with MV60...which eventually was upgraded to Gryphon Antileon.

I have listened quite a lot to SF Ellipsa, Cremona, Grand Piano and the earlier generation. In all cases, i found they already had such a beautiful voice (that you can generally hear regardless of most amplification i've tried, to a greater or lesser extent)...that i really was looking for a transparent, powerful amp that could just deliver the signal effortlessly. I found a good quality source running thru a tube preamp and Krell amp was very, very good with the SF Cremona, one of the best times i heard the Cremona.

YMMV. Good luck!

What don't you like about Emotiva? Please explain.

That is the reason that I am asking this question.

Thanks so much for your time.
Well, Emotiva is not high end, imo, it's mid-fi. And Chinese made. It is ok for the price, though. There are better amps out there, but more expensive of course.
Emotiva is not high end, imo, it's mid-fi
What Dave72 is probably hinting at is, the amp's resolution is mediocre by hi-end standards.
If that is indeed the case, another amp is needed -- higher powered rather than lower. Any of the amps you mention should do.
The best sound I had from these was with a Soulution stereo -- but that is outrageously expensive.
OTOH, an unusual choice may be the currently trendy stereo Marantz. It's not very expensive and performs extremely well on normal, i.e. not shrill, speakers.
Exactly, Gregm. You nailed it.

Yeah, Soulution is great stuff, but as you said, very expensive.

Sure, the Marantz sounds like a good choice. Nice amp. :D
Once again, if you're doing this on a budget, I have to put in for the Marantz PM8004. This is the lowest priced Marantz amp that uses their HDAM component which puts 70 dB of extremely fast, noise-free gain into the signal path. The amp section has an s/n of 125 dB and sounds like it. You want neutral, fast, extended, controlled, and detail you never heard before for less than $1K?

Marantz PM8004. Give one a listen.
I own the Marantz 8004 bought here,for a VERY reasonable $650's sound is truly Hi End..IMO Plus an excellent phono stage for those who still spin....