Emotiva amplifiers review/experience?

Anyone had a chance to try out the Emotiva amplifiers and compare them to some of the more well known brands? How are the sound quality of the amps and how do they compare to other brands? Are they significantly worse or by some slight margin? Please let me know as I'm very interested in their products! Thank you!
Its not that they are bad, just bright or cold sounding, if you had a tube pre and speakers of a warmer relaxed ilk they may be a good budget option IMO.
I have an XPA-2. I'd say it's a shade less transparent in the upper midrange than the very best -- it's a sweet sounding amp with immense reserves, but it has a very slight hint of fine grain. For the money, I don't think it can be touched.
'How are the sound quality of the amps and how do they compare to other brands? Are they significantly worse or by some slight margin?'

Why do you assume they will be WORSE?
I second the question. I've been researching used two-channel power amps to use with my receiver, including McCormack, Odyssey, Aragon, Acurus, B&K. The only problem is, whenever I start looking at paying $600-$1000 for one of them, I then think, I can get a brand new Emotiva with warranty for that price. I just don't know how the audio quality for music compares to some of those models. I am most interested in the quality of the mid and high frequencies. I think with Emotiva, I would go with the XPA-2.
even IF Emotiva built from the same schematic as Bryston, they wouldn't sound the same or last as long.
Parts and build quality count for something, but it is up to the buyer to decide.

The problem w/new Emotiva vs used other, is perhaps resale for the person who is a buyer/seller. I wouldn't see a problem buying a used piece only a few years old. Another story with 10yr+ gear. Support reputation counts on used, too.
'even IF Emotiva built from the same schematic as Bryston, they wouldn't sound the same or last as long.
Parts and build quality count for something, but it is up to the buyer to decide.'

How do you know they don't use the same quality parts as bryston? How is the build quality of EMOTIVA lacking? Why do you assume so-called higher quality parts affect sound quality? If they have an effect, it's very elusive, no one can ever seem to hear that effect. And exactly what is a higher quality part? OR, could it be that Emotiva is a threat because of it's value for the money.
Just asking. Happy Listening.
You can make a few 'assumptions'...dangerous, I know.

First, While even Bryston (just an example) is built to a price point, they spend time voicing and have a higher parts budget, not to mention higher labor costs. Part which effect voicing are chosen by sound, not primarily the price.

Hi MTBF or MilSpec parts are chosen for some locations. Transistors may be more closely matched for gain and threshold. All non-power resistors will be premium 1% film. Binding posts may be WBT or equiv. Caps likewise. At least Solen or Clarity SA level...or better

Bryston uses (or darn well better) hi-end glass epoxy boards with premium plating. I've done some board level repair and working on that type of board is much preferred to one that is made of some mystery material.

Bryston does a full burn-in and offers a 20 year warranty. When you buy Bryston, you are buying down that warranty, in advance.

Worth the extra money? Only you the buyer can decide. Some persons also believe in supporting 'the home team' which would include US or Canadian products. I already know nothing is 'pure' anything, but would like the labor to stay here.

I don't think Emotiva is a mistake. Good value. but I keep equipment for long time periods. I have had some stuff for 20 years. That's all gone now, but what I currently own will be with me for a while. I don't get the upgrade bug all that often.

The last amp I had which needed a fix, had been taken out by a power company ZAP, which they paid for.
My friend traded up from a B&K up to the Emotiva amp. More detail and better bass control, depth. Rest of system is a B&K Pro 10 preamp, Maggie speakers, and a Marantz 8004 sacd player. Sounds darn good for the money he's invested in this system. The Emotiva amp seems a great value and probably competes with amps sold in HiFi stores at twice the price.
Personally I would stick with the more well known brands. The biggest losses I've incurred in hifi have been from buying into the hype of the latest greatest from an unknown brand. If you stick with the well known brands like bryston you at least know if you bought it used at a decent price then you won't loose your shorts if you want to sell it and try something else a few years down the line.
9 responses and only 1 mentioned ever listening to emotiva amp. I guess that shows the bias against a company that builds a good product. I own emotiva products and have owned many high end products and in my opinion emotive offers a value and performs well above its price point. obviosly these are better products. arn.t there always?
While I do not own an Emotiva amp, I do own their XDA-1 DAC and it wounds absolutely wonderful. Build quality is first rate. One of the online reviewing magazines tested their 125wpc 2 channel amp which retails for 299.00. He summed it up by saying it sounded as good as amps costing up to 2,000.00 and if it wasn't sold factory direct, the price would be at LEAST 5 times the price due to marketing, middlemen getting their cuts, etc.

I happen to own an Odyssey amp which is a tremendous value for the money, I sold a 3,000.00 Classe power amp because the Odyssey was light years ahead of it in sound.

FYI, Emotiva gives a 30 day money back warranty if you don't like the amp. It's a no brainer to me.
I can't comment on Emotiva's 2 channel offerings but I do have an Emotiva UPA-7 HT amp. It definitely had more oomph overall than a Sony STR-DG1000 HT Integrated I was using. After making that change I haven't had the desire to get the Emotiva UPA-7 amp out of my system for any other multi-channel amps.
I have set up and used the XPA1 and the XPA2 in a friend of mines system and was quite surprised.I recommend he buy PASS LABS or KRELL but he bought the 2 XPA1monos and 2 XPA2s for the price of one high end 2 channel.All i can say is they sound pretty good lots of power not as clean of sound that you would get out of a big class A amp but a fraction of the cost.I don't know how long they will last the build quality was ok.I think you should stay away from the UPA series.
I have had 2 UPA-1 monoblocks and the USP 1 preamp for a year and half now and they all work fine, in fact I use them with my vintage Original Advents in the TV room and these speakers have never sounded better. As for build quality, they do have a 5 year transferable warranty and although I haven't had to use mine, from what I've read Emotiva seems to be very responsive on warranty issues. I would imagine that with that long (and transferable) warranty they would want to keep their costs low by doing some reasonable QC and build quality
I have owned the now discontinued Emotiva DMR-1 Receiver/Processor for the past three years. Prior to that, I owned an Arcam receiver. I'm very happy with the Emotiva DMR-1. It is a little more dynamic and detailed than the Arcam receiver. I would no hesitate to buy another Emotiva product. Great bang for the buck! The Emotiva prices are ridiculously low.
Just about any gear of this sort will last quite a while. Eventually, caps will start to go, sooner if less expensive parts are used. But caps are easy to replace and all amps need to have it done at some point, albeit it's going to happen years later in a Bryston.

Critical precision resistors can also drift, but this is true in any equipment. They too can be replaced.

All of which is to say that I wouldn't worry about longevity. I wouldn't worry about resale price, either, if they're good now, they will be good in the future, and so they'll retain reasonable value. And they're popular enough that they won't be an orphan brand that nobody has ever heard of and potential buyers don't recognize.

To me, the real question is whether you want to spend significantly more for a relatively small increase in sound quality. I don't think there's any way to answer that short of listening yourself. But I can say that the reaction to their sound quality has generally been enthusiastic. Typical would be these are amazingly good for the money, though not quite the equal of (insert super-expensive amp here). It's my personal assessment as well. Another way to put it is that if you're familiar with the sound of large, modern class AB bipolar amps of conventional design, that's pretty much it. But the big amp grain is very light and I actually find it a sweet amp, with just that very minor grain to separate them from amps that have mostly lower-order harmonic distortion.

Because they have a money-back guarantee, if you decide to return them, you'll be out only shipping cost (for a very heavy package) and the work of unpacking and packing them (these things are heavy!).
Should even consider the Spa 1 mono blocks with 1000 watts at 4 Ohms for Maggie 1.7.
I meant xpa 1 mono blocks
Josh358, on the question of longevity, other than electrolytic capacitors requiring replacement as they age (and I have some Marantz amps that are 40 years old that still sound fine to me even though they have not had a complete recap) the real question to me is whether the Emotiva designs have any proprietary unobtanium chips (for protection circuits for example) that if they fail say 10 -20 years from now, you are SOL. On the other hand, answering my own question, the amps are inexpensive enough that if they fail 10-20 years from now so what?
Utley yes like I said the XPA1 sound ok lots power .My friends system has a pair on martin Logan CLS 2z speakers and the XPA1s beat out a MCINTOSH 402 with no problem .
The mac will be fixable for at least 2 generations after the Emotiva is recycled.
That is one reason why people buy Mac ....and other 'hi priced brands'. Not that it necessarily sounds better but is hopefully built to a very high standard and will get support far into the future.

I'm not an equipment changer. I like stuff that lasts and is fixable. I know Emotiva doesn't use any (many?) proprietary parts, but I like companies with history and that I know will be there.

Bang for buck? Emotiva, no question it is a decent value and is a high %age of the 'best' at a fraction the price. They'll be around to get to the vintage category.....
I currently own an XPA-5 which replaced a Parasound HCA-1205A that I owned for more than nine years. The Emotiva has greater dynamics, more bass, is slightly more forward sounding than the Parasound. Overall, I was so impressed with the sound quality, I sold my Parasound of nine years. In regards to construction, it is built like a tank. My 46 lbs. Parasound was a lightweight to the 66 lbs. of the Emotiva. And as the other poster said, the Emotiva comes with a transferable 5 year warranty. The Emotiva also runs much cooler than my Parasound ever did. So I know that the parts in the Emotiva won't be subjected to high heat and age the electronic components as quickly as my Parasound did. Yes, I had to have my Parasound repaired twice during my ownership. No sound from two of the channels that I hardly used went out. Only time will really tell if the Emotiva can last for the long haul. I've only had my Emotiva for two years so far.
Ejman, I can't answer that since I haven't seen the circuit. I guess that sort of thing can happen with any device, no matter how good -- they might stop making an output transistor, what have you. As you say, 10-20 years from now it probably won't matter if they do. But in my experience, anyway, the caps are usually what go, and they're easily replaced. The longevity of capacitors varies dramatically and a company like Bryston is going to use very long-lived (and expensive) ones. But really, 10-20 years from now, won't there be something better along anyway? Like Magfan, I keep using stuff for many years -- I just retired the Hafler DH-220 that I bought some 30 years ago. I could refurbish it, but it isn't really worth it -- the Hafler was good for its time, but amp design has improved since then. And as you say, by then, at this price, it doesn't really matter. After 20 years, your Emotiva will have cost you $35 a year, less if you can sell it used.
Utley, yes, I'd consider the monoblocks. I doubt you'll be calling on their full power, since the 1.7's will start to sound edgy before that. But arguably, all that power reserve pays off in better regulation where they do play, and keeps them out of the range where distortion starts to increase. I haven't heard the XPA-1's, but the user reviews I've seen are raves.
Josh. Could there be such a thing as over kill? I live in apt and only rarely let thevolume go...That it might not work as well as the lower range of its power spectrum- even if the Maggies 1.7 has some minor low resolution problems ,compared to its predecessors. (or do i have it reversed) Thanks.....
The people at the Rmaf for Emotiva were very nice as are their amps. They do sound fuller than many other amps
I heard there
Utley -- Yes, there could definitely be overkill. I doubt you'll use all the power the monoblocks have. So after that, you're talking about subtleties of sound that depend on the amp model. And I don't know whether you'd hear them (or I'd hear them), or whether they'd matter to you. Also -- if you don't need the power, it might make more sense to consider a more expensive amp with the power of the XPA-2. But having heard about a zillion amps over the years, I'd say that a more expensive amp isn't going to buy you all that much.
Thanks Josh.....The reviews seem to indicate that XPA 1 can control the bass and keep it lean....
the upper register are always a gamble . They should have less distortion than my 30 year old plus Yamaha M2 or my Tandberg 3012.....I am sure they are showing their ware in from the NYC power grid and air. Would have liked to keep my purchase in North America but Bryston and Pass want big bucks......Feel like a traitor
Emotiva might be worth a try. You do get a lot for the buck. Take your time, think it through, gather information. Read current owner/user reviews. Take reviews from "golden ear" types in "audiophile" magazines for what they are. My belief is these folks tend to pander to the "higher end." The XPA 2 for example is now on holiday sale for $699. Can't beat that. Very tempting. No, I don't have a fiduciary relationship with Emotiva. Just sayin'. They come with a five year warranty. Read the warranty carefully. Most electronic devices if they are going to fail prematurely will do so within the first year of operation. My concern is quality of build coming out of China. You don't know the rep or history of the manufacturer. Quality of workmanship in Chinese factories varies WIDELY. Depending upon the parts used in manufacturing, power amps can be quite inexpensively (you'd be surprised how cheaply) or more costly. Labor and margin are bigger add-ons. There seems to be a lot of good feedback for ya from responders here. I have a Hafler 9180 purchased in 1995 and I am sitckin' with it! Good luck!
Something to consider: how often will you need/want big big watt/current output? Is it there for self-impression? "I know I have it." Will you ever use the amp's capacity? What is your typical listening level? What will drive your speakers best? I also really wonder about the quality of parts. They can surprisingly be very inexpensive. But for the price Empotiva may be worth a try.
Emotiva's response to my inquiry for more information about their XPA 2 was NO information. I am curious about Emotiva. I simply asked for some basic, non-proprietary information info about their circuit design and a few other specs. Goodness sakes you'd think I had made an attempt for a hostile take over. Audio circuit designs are pretty straight forward and KNOWN. Make of this what you want but for me this would be a no go on purchase. I will try another department of Emotiva and see if I get someone more customer friendly. There are customer friendly ways to say we can't give even simple information. Also, when you review responses from current Emotiva owners ask about thier speakers and program material. Speakers make a big difference in sound quality as well as program material, i.e., the quality of a given recording.
Ask current Emotiva owners what their preferences are in listening. Big bass, fat mid range, scintillating high's, what? Temper what you hear from current users with what they tell you about what they are enjoying from it then compare that to what you are looking for. Don't get carried away by BIG numbers, that is spec's. Bipolar transistors are known to sound a bit lean, perhaps revealing? in mid's and hi's when compared to MOSFET's. The mid's and hi's in MOSFET's normally operate in what might be termed a "softer" mode. What speakers are you using and what are their characteristics? Will the Emotiva's triple Darlington configuration make any difference to what you can hear? I am still waiting to hear from Emotiva's support personnel. Their head of sales did forward my request to the tech staff.
Emotiva was forthcoming about their circuit design adding more detail per my inquiries. All seems very reasonable. If you want more detail about bipolar audio circuit behavior check this out: www.soundwesthost.com. Go to main article index and look up amplifier basics. There's an easy to understand article about bipolar and mosfet circuits and behavior. If I needed an amp I would likely give the Emotiva XPA 2 a try. At $699 during the holiday sale it is a good buy anyway you look at it. I have seen blog entries about little problems here and there like a hum sound (transformer, ground loop or?), but that's what your 5 year warranty is for. And finally, I have a sticker in the rear window of my car that reads: "Driver carries no cash. He spent it all on audio equipment!" Good luck!
Nordic, I have a MOSFET amp here, an old Hafler, and they shake out very much as you suggest.
There was a link on the Emotiva Lounge in which several owners reported 'clicking' coming from one or both of the mono blocks. Emotiva tech said it was loose screw but none of those have the problem could fix it. I do not know what to deduce as it does interfere with the sound. But it will prevent me from buying the xPA 1's..Am I wrong? Utley
Sorry: The clicking DOES NOT interfere with sound and comes from the heat sinks. It is frequent but the owners get used to it and are still pleased with their purchase.
I'd say you're completely right. My oil-filled radiator does that, clicks as it expands and contracts. I would *not* tolerate that in an audio amplifier.
Re: sound from heat sinks. I contacted Emotiva about this. The tech said they consider this normal operating behavior in the aluminum heats sinks. My old Bryston 2B never did this and my current power amp, a Hafler 9180, doesn't either. I guess it depends on how loud this is and how long it persists once the sinks are warmed up.
I've never heard it either. My XPA-2 doesn't do it.
my xpa-2 has never clicked
Here is an idea. If Bryston has a 20 yr. warranty, are they saying their products won't last that long?
The thread was about the XPA 1 on EMotiva lounge...It being a 'differential amp' with different circuitry. Unfortunately, as much as I wanted the amps, (the warranty means little when you are shipping 90 lb amplifiers) But I have not knowledge to question their construction techniques....But it should have turned up in the check out period or they were following blindly, another company's schematic Otherwise the $1700 holiday price is a 'gift'
I've never listened to any Emotiva, but I have to wonder, at that price how would something like a McCormack DNA-1 compare? These and other reputable amps are available in that range. For me, Longevity isn't the issue, just sheer sound quality. Any comparison with some quality value price pre owned amps.
As I posted earlier in this thread, I was debating the same thing. I did end up picking up a McCormack DNA-1 Rev. A, which cost me several hundred more dollars than a XPA-2, here on Audiogon. Have not received it yet, but will report my findings.
If the MSRP was $20,000, and was put together by gurus in a garage in California, you would all be calling it the best thing since sliced bread.
Anybody else find these long threads in which the OP never reappears strange? I mean, it's the OP's prerogative as to any further participation, but just seems odd. I'm glad for the thread, because I had the same question.
Sorry Rok but your response does not address the question of quality control and thoughtful construction.. But on the other hand I do not want to pay a company 60% over their costs.....I will probably buy the bloody thing.
I'll try this again.
Quality is not a function of inspection or after the fact.
Quality is built in by design and procedure. Quality is using good parts which can cost more. Assemblers having proper training and working from proper documentation and procedure.
Reworking defective product on a line costs a lot of money. If line yield from beginning to end is in the 98% range, than somebody is still looking for 2%.

Even if emotiva and bryston used the same schematic, bryston would still be worth more. More expensive iron and PS caps. Better matched output devices and say.....5% caps not 10%. Higher spec resistors. Maybe even higher MTBF parts where appropriate. The factory burnin must be worth something, too, since it guarantees zero defect out-the-door. Add in the warranty buy-down which is part of the purchase price and there 'ya go.
12-19-11: Storym
Here is an idea. If Bryston has a 20 yr. warranty, are they saying their products won't last that long?

That makes absolutely no sense. They are confident that their products will last that long, and history has proven that out. Any company offering a 20 year warranty that builds equipment that breaks down will be out of business in no time. Bryston has been around for a while. Try to find ANY OTHER manufaturer of electronic gear that offers a 20 year transferable warranty. Good luch with that one. Some others offer a couple of years, some offer 5 years, much fewer offer more than that. BTW I don't own and have never owned any Bryston gear. I just admire the fact that they stand behind their gear for that long.
Sorry to be a bore but will go with the Bryston 4sst2c Magfan you are right.