Hello, this was a good reveiw t read. I bought my son a Emotiva XPA 2 for a gift, site and sound unheard. I have not heard it but my son likes it, and i;m happy i picked a good choice of amp for him. He uses it with a Adcom GTP 450 pre-amp. I thought it was a good deal was on sale for 249.00. Glad you liked it.I also use Merlin TSMWe speakers, and have ordered the Dueland R/C network upgrade, it is a 3 month wait, so i don't have the R/C yet. I also use my Merlins with Odyssey UPgraded Khartago Mono Blocks, which sound good with the Merlins, also have a VTL ST85 tube amp which i use in the winter months.Whaat speaker cable are you going to use? I/c's ? Thanks for any info.
Bobby is making me a set of Merlin TSM-MXs's, which is the latest version, in ruby red. The wait is something like 15 weeks and I still have something like 12 to go!
I bought the Stingray II based on Bobby's comments along with his buddy, Rich at Signature Sound. A lot of people echoed their approval for the match.
I was not planning on spending a fortune on wires. Cardas SE9 is supposed to be very good and I'll probably buy them for starters. I've got a lot of interconnects in my house and I'll mess with those before buying something else.
Have had VSM-MM's since 04,you could get lucky like some of us with Anti-cables.They replaced Neutral-Ref in my system.Its all about the synergy,YMMV,Bob
Emotiva has to be the best bang for the buck.
I hope the prices don't head north as they become more popular. It would be interesting hear them compared to wyred 4 sound .
My money's on the Wyred 4 Sound amps for best bang for the buck. Also, the Wyred amps are a lot easier to lift than the Emotivas. After trying many very good amps I have two Wyred amps, the STI-500 and a ST-250. They replaced two other very good amplifiers in my systems, a Cary CAD 120S tube amp, and the NuForce Ref9 V2 SE's, which are both in the $5k area.
I also have a VTL ST-85, which sounds quite respectable in its low-power triode mode but not that wonderful in its high-power tetrode mode. But I'm currently using the Wyred ST-250 in its place in combo with a tube line buffer. Overall I like the Wyred setup better. It is more detailed, dynamic and has a larger more expansive soundstage. With the tube buffer, it's comparably musically sweet to the VTL in triode.
The big Cary 120S seemed to lose detail though it held up fairly well in other areas. And the NuForce amps in retrospect seemed a bit brighter and less musical than my Wyred 4 Sound amps.
One of my friends used to own the Emotiva XPA-2 amp and he liked it very much. But now he owns the older Spectron Musician II amps (one more updated than the other), and likes the Spectron amps better. Another of my friends uses an XPA-2 to power the dedicated subwoofers of his Wisdom Adrenaline speakers and uses NuForce Ref 9.02 amps on the mid/tweet ribbon panels.
Be advised that the Wyred amps do take a couple of hundred hours to start strutting their stuff, so don't expect miracles if you try them stone cold right out of the box. If you can find one that's already broken in for evaluation purposes, that would be best.
I want to close by thanking Robbob for taking the time to post his views on the amplifier comparisons he's made and for letting us know about his experience with the Emotiva amps. I would be curious to know what he thinks of the Emotiva/Merlin pairing vs his previous Odyssey/Magnepan system. :)
I've heard the Wyred gear and it's quite good, but I feel there are a lot of good amps at that kind of price point. The Emotiva gear comes in at 1/3 the price, which is more than "bang for the buck." It's practically unheard of in the industry. When I hear Bryston or many others in the 2K plus range I'm rarely impressed. My opinion is that they are really no better than quite a few less expensive amps and worse than some. Of course a big factor is taste and the vast assortment of pre-amps certainly confuses these comparisons. It's almost of no value to compare two amps unless all of the associated gear and even the rooms are the same.
I have heard good things about the wyred 4 sounds amps , just find it strange and hard to believe that 200 hrs later the amp can be so transformed. It would take me 33 weeks to make
Based on all of the hoopla , i would say wyred 4 sound and emotiva should be on everyone's list to see what is really going on .
Rob, the Wyred 4 Sound ST-250 is priced at only $995, and sounds just as good as Wyred's more expensive amps... the main differences being power output and whether or not it is an integrated model. So if the Emotiva is priced at $800 and the Wyred 4 Sound at $1000, I grant you that it is 20 percent more expensive... but not exactly 3x the price as you suggested. And the ST-500 is only $1500 for anyone who needs that much power. Many systems will need no more than the ST-250 provides...
Weseixas, yeah... I feel your pain. It did take my unit around 3 months of playing on and off for it to sound its best. Same for my speakers. I wish manufacturers would put more break-in time on products before sending them out, but I doubt that it would be very practical for them.
Plato, the unit you mention is only 125 WPC, while the Emotiva unit for 20% less offers 300 WPC.
Quite a difference, especially if you've got some tough to drive speakers or a big room.
A more reasonable comparison would be the ST-250 against the Emotiva UPA-2, which is also 125 WPC and sells for just 299.00. So as you can see Wyred is nowhere near the price point of Emotiva for comparable products.
Emotiva also sells a monoblock XPA1 for 999 where Wyred sells their slightly higher powered model for 1200. I'd say that they are in direct competition on the mono blocks only.
Wyred 4 Sound amps sound much better than Emotiva. My friend owns both, it's no comparison, the W4S is actually musical, the Emotiva is just globs of power but dull sounding.
I've also heard both and I find the Wyred too bright for my tastes. I heard the Emotiva with the Rogue pre and felt that it was a nicely balanced combo.
Unless you try a variety of pre-amps it's unlikely that you'll fully know the sound of an amp. And that goes for the Wyred as well, which I only heard with a Onkyo processor. Perhaps it has a lot more to offer.
Even an old Carver amp can sound quite musical when mated with the right pre, so I'd have to conclude that you had a pretty poor pairing with Emotiva.
When my XPA-3 is all setup I'll post a more "serious" review. I've got a new Manley Stingray II which is far more musical than either, so we'll see how they all stack up and I'll even throw an old Adcom into the mix.
I'm still shaking my head at you replacing 1.6s with TSMs......
I'm still shaking my head at you replacing 1.6s with TSMs......>>>>
The Maggies were great, but they were a drag to move around, plus I was facing too many mods with them. The Merlins are every bit as good or better right out of the box and they are easy to move around. Believe it or not the Merlins disapear every bit as well, sound smoother and have an upper midrange clarity that eluded me with the Maggies.
Still, I probably would ave kept them except that I wanted a speaker I could move around a couple of times per week. The Maggies with Mye stands were a bit much. Great speakers and I'll own another pair down the road because I did like the sense of proper scale they gave on some recordings.
I don't care what speaker you own, once you get it dialed in correctly, there should be no more "moving around" involved. I had 1.6s and 3.5s and both were easier to move around than any pair of monitors + stands I have ever owned. But, to each his own I say.....
I've also heard both and I find the Wyred too bright for my tastes. I heard the Emotiva with the Rogue pre and felt that it was a nicely balanced combo.
It must not have been broken in. Fully broken in, they're anything but bright.
Regarding "moving around" it's a way of life in my theater room. They HAD to be moved out of the way whenever we used the screen and with the filled Mye stands they were VERY heavy and tough to move...bulky as well with the stands.
Without the Mye stands it was a lot easier, but that's giving up a ton of performance without the stands.
Not only can I move the Merlins and stands easily, I can even bring them upstairs into my smaller listening room if I want. That was a project with the Maggies.
I've heard more than one of the Wyred amps, none were brand new. The Wyred is a nice enough amp, but I don't hear a major (or even minor) sonic advantages over Rotel, Emotiva or Outlaw. They are all good, but flawed in varying ways. The only amp in that price group I felt took it to a somewhat higher level was my Odyssey.
This evening we tried the Emotiva out using a Denon receiver as a processor. The movie was the Blu-ray of Avatar. The sound quality was HUGE, powerful and extremely detailed/articulate. I doubt I could tell it apart from a Rotel 1095 in the front channels.
Next we left it hooked up to the receiver and used a Verve CD of Billy Holliday as a test disc. Though these recordings are old, they image beautifully with good gear. I've really been enjoying the amazing image created by the Manley Stingray II even with my theater speakers, which are Def Tech BP7004s. The Emotiva brought out the same detail as the Stingray, but failed utterly to come close to the imaging. Using a Rogue Metis pre helped, but still fell short of the Stingray. To be fair the Stingray cost 5 times more and the Emotiva has only had 10 hours of break-in.
It was bought for HT usage and I'm already VERY impressed. I'll post a followup when it's broken in, tested with another pre-amp and run with the Merlin TSM-XMrs. My initial impression is that the Emotiva is a terrific HT amp. For music I'd probably go for something better, but amps from Wyred, Rotel and a few others, if they are better all, are simply still to low in the food chain for serious musical reproduction...at least for my tastes in the low end of high end!
Now there's a snobby statement! I've become quite the elitist with my Stingray tubes aglow....
So how many times has your Odyssey amp been shipped back to Klaus?
So how many times has your Odyssey amp been shipped back to Klaus?>>>
Never. I have a friend with a set that went back though...for conversion to higher end monoblocks.
Odyssey is a fantastic because they are superior to most in the under 2K range (that I've heard) and you're not stuck with them. You can upgrade them instead.
If something does go wrong....your have a LONG warranty and Klaus will even upgrade the amp for you making it a happy occasion.
Yeah, but it still ain't tubes......
Nope...that's why I have a brand new Manley Stingray II breaking in as I type. I'm trying to put 200 hours on it before my Merlins are delivered.
It's a wonderful amp.
Just bought an Emotiva UPA2. Day 2 and breaking it in....frequency sweeps, different recordings etc.. I have a Thorens TT, Oppo SACD/DVD player, Parasound 2100 pre-amp and listen to all formats including Lps.
Emotiva is a GREAT value for money but I think comparing them to W4S is a stretch. W4S (I have the ST 250) has a very sophisticated and delicate presentation (the late John Potis' article on W4S is the best description I've seen of it and the analysis is bang on!) Great detail, bass and sound stage with a slightly rolled-off high. I don't think these are bright at all. Very true Timbres and magical for vocals and even horns (although, IMHO, NOTHING can touch tubes on horns - I used to have a Jolida)! If you like tubes, you will like the W4S. They are indeed VERY musical...and so far, a lot more than Emotiva (remember the emotiva is not broken in yet so have to give em the benfit of doubt). All my doubts about analog switching/digital-based/voltage based amps etc. etc. vanished as soon as I HEARD the W4S. Ultimately proof of the pudding is in the eating.
On first impressions, I suspect the Emotiva (the UPA anyway, haven't heard XPA series) is a little too "muscular" and the bass comes at the expense of the all important mid-range (So have to agree with Mrkoven here). The upper end is fine again and so is instrument timbre. The vocals are flat-ish and bass just overpowers it. I can't hear things like the creaking of a double-bass bridge because again, that bass just muscles it's way in! The soundstage is not too bad actually. I do hear some of the transistor edginess which W4S just doesn't seem to have! I suspect that Emos have more of an HT application than music but will reserve final judgment till day 30. At any rate, for 299/- this is definitely a keeper...I'm still shaking my head about the build quality...unbelievable! Whatever the outcome, they are certainly built by honest, well-intentioned engineers! The question is ...will it survive on my front channels or get ultimately demoted to surrounds? With W4S, it has some big "budget audiophile" shoes to fill and then again, not really, since it's only 1/3 the price.
UPA2 is quite a ways down the food chain from a pair of UPA-1 Monoblocks or the XPA series from Emotiva. I use a UPA-1 for rear channel. I find it the least musical amp from Emotiva, though the value is insane and coupled with good associated gear it still does very well.
OK folks...wanted to take up where I last left off and make up to the Emotiva UPA-2 a little. Must say I have warmed up to the Emotiva significantly over the past month or so. Many of my initial doubts were addressed and wanted to set the record straight at least as it pertains to my experience and assessment. As a disclaimer, I must admit I have not gone back and forth between the W4S and Emo UPA-2 since I first switched it out so it is possible that I have just gotten more used to the sound but I doubt that is the case.
Surprisingly, I found the Emo more musically engaging and I was engrossed more with the music than the sound. I think there might be a reason for that -- The Emo is a more laid back amp compared to the W4S. Its the kind that has the power and doesn't break a sweat doesn't try to prove a point. The W4S is a bit of a "show-off" in that regard if you will...
The W4S has more detail and snap -- the attack of notes is sharper the certain things like the plucking of a bass or the decay of a piano note just seem to be more detailed. The Emo, on the other hand, is a little less detailed but very COHESIVE in that it feels like the music is very TOGETHER Roy Hall of music hall explains somewhere how few components do this. Could that be because too much detail makes you listen to the parts and not the whole
The mid-range has come significantly alive since I first got it. And that's really important to me. Interestingly though, low level voices seem to be presented with startling clarity -- more so than the W4S (note: voices do sound better on the W4S but in a tubey kinda way
.tubeheads will know what I mean --- warmth at the cost of detail. The best analogy I can think of is the comparison of 5751 vs. 12ax7 on Joes tube lore. It could also be a dynamic range thing
.if youve listened to Telefunken or Ei 12ax7s you will know exactly what I mean.
One cool feature is the daisy chain/pass-through taps. So I dont have to utilize bass management from my parasound 2100 preamp anymore. I just let it all through my preamp and out through the Emo amp and manage cross-overs just on the subwoofers. I find that make the music sounds more cohesive that way. The speakers are now running full range and the +/- 3db issue is addressed by judicious subwoofer levels. So essentially the same amp now drives the subs and the speakers hence the cohesiveness of the bass? Perhaps this is why REL advises that that the same amp drive both the speakers and their sub? I do not know.
Net-Net, I still think they are both superb budget amps and each has its strengths - I love them both. But, at that price the Emo is a real over-achiever. I hope this helps and that I have provided a balanced assessment of the Emotiva UPA-2 based on my experience. I think it definitely deserves that much.
"Wyred 4 Sound amps sound much better than Emotiva. My friend owns both, it's no comparison, the W4S is actually musical, the Emotiva is just globs of power but dull sounding."
I agree with your assessment of Emotiva gear. I've heard their cd player, preamp and amp at length at my parents house (don't recall model numbers but I think they are current). My father uses this gear to drive a pair of Clearfield Continentals and I'm not a fan of what I hear. He is loving where his system is going, so I don't offer him much in terms of my opinions, but having heard McIntosh and Plinius SS amplification in this rig, this sound is pretty dull.
I haven't heard the W4S gear, but interestingly I am trying to plant the idea of giving them a try in my dad's head based on reviews I've read and seemingly fair pricing.
Well, as you can read, both Emo and the W4S have fans. Two points. Not all Emo amps are great sounding. The 200 watt monoblocks are the most musical and at their best with 8 ohm speakers. A tube pre-amp works very well with them.
Amps like the XPA series are more suited for home theater, but sound surprisingly fine with the Rogue pre.
In the price range of the W4S I prefer several other amps, such as the Odyssey. In the Emo range? Forget it.
Yes, but Odyssey is as reliable as an 80's Jaguar.
Can any Odyssey owners confirm whether there are any reliability issues with their amps? I never heard that before and it is too easy to create the wrong impression about a product.
Between my friends and I we've used 4 Odyssey amps or 5 if you want to count monoblocks as two. The only issue is the blue Odyssey light blows easily!
Beyond that no problems nor have I heard of any unusual frequency of failure anywhere. That all said the Odyssey amps are quite special providing a better midrange than the W4S amps I've heard (Halo series mainly).
The Odyssey is backed by a LONG warranty so it's hardly the end of the world if something does go wrong. And Klaus is always ready to mod an amp to a higher spec. He's a great member of the audiophile community to say the least.
My Odyssey Audio Experience: About four years ago, I purchased an HT3 with cap upgrade from Klaus at HE2006 in NYC. Note that this was a one-off, which had the old circuit board for the center channel and the new boards for the L/R channels, so I got a deal. In terms of reliability, overall I am happy. I guess Face had a bad experience. When I first hooked it up, there was a hum issue. Klaus had me remove an internal grounding wire, and that improved the situation dramatically. Since then, I have also upgraded to a PS Audio AC chord and a PS Audio Quintet. There is no longer a hum issue. A few months into my ownership of the HT3, a capacitor developed a leak (manifested as white noise in one channel). It was repaired under warrenty and has been trouble-free ever since. No issues with the light on the front panel. My only complaint is that shipping this 64 pound behemoth back for a warranty repair is expensive.
I must also say that I really enjoy this amp for both music and film. It serves as the L/C/R amp for my combo HT and 2-channel system. The 2-channel sources are run through a Conrad-Johnson PV-11 all-tube preamp. I have found this to be a wonderful combination (the rest of my system is in the System link). I bought this amp to replace a Rotel RMB-1066 (run bridged for 150 watts X 3). Note that I also tried a Van Alstine Omega-line 3 channel amp prior to purchasing the Odyssey, and the Odyssey was better in every respect. Super-smooth, great soundstage, good dynamics, excellent detail and decay retrieval, and plenty of power for my purposes (I do not run it full-range, however).
I am sorry Face had such a bad experience or heard of others' bad experience, but checking the Odyssey owners' forum at the circle web site, he seems to be in the minority.
He IS in the minority. I have spoken to many owners and problems are pretty rare for a product of this type. The fact that an older amp can be upgraded or changed into a monoblock and so on also adds a lot of value when compared to most amps in this price range.
It is also a SS amp with a high end ability that rivals some very expensive company.
I was thinking of concise way to describe the W4S -- if you took the best off SS and tubes and rolled & it into one amp, one such amp would be called Wyred 4 Sound.
An afterthought: I went back and listened again to the W4S and have finally decided that the W4S is where I want to hang my hat. Its the definite winner of the 2 in my mind....
Seems like there are a lot of cheerleaders waiving around their pom poms for W4S. I hope they are happy customers and not company plants trying to build a reputation on these forums. A noticable pattern. It is interesting how the comments seem a little too similar as you read through these threads. I smell salesmen. Im going to buy a used W4$. Im going to put it up against a bunch of different amps. Good or bad the truth shall be known........
I'm no salesman and I actually prefer several amps to the W4S, including the Odyssey Stratos.
BUT....that's not to say that the W4S is a poor amp. It's excellent and my preference for other amps are not related to anything about the W4S that should be contrued as any more than a choice based on "taste."
Keep in mind that comments on amps are among the most highly suspect as it takes a variety of associated components to truly determine an amp's "quality" and "character."
very interesting comments. i have used the top of the line emotiva products for 2 years now. there are many electronics that best it obviously. my opinion is based on criteria. i wanted power, quality build and good sound. i bought the 3 pieces [amp,pre,cd] for 1300 dollars during their sales with free shipping. to buy anything better would have doubled the price in my opinion. i am on a budget and emotiva is a good company. the problem in high end audio is this hyping/presenting products to be something they are not. emotiva is good reliable gear for mid fi enthusiasts. it can work with some high end gear but it is not state of the art by any means.
It is starting to seem that the Emotiva may be one of the best products at its price range. I am considering the processor and multi ch amp for my wife's home theater.
I have only heard a couple bad things when asking about Emotiva. One is the distance between speaker terminals on the Mono. What the heck were they thinking. 13 inches? I know people who pay over a grand for their speaker cables that are useless if they were to buy this amp. Emo really needs to resolve this.
The other bad thing. A reviewer stated that the LED sensitivy was very different on his two mono amps. Hopefully not a by product of the cheap chinese outsourcing but it probably is. The chinese have even knocked PSB down a peg. Shame.
The Emotiva speakers look very well built. I would like to hear more about them too.
Emotiva has very little competition to deal with at their price point. It's products from Rotel, Parasound & Outlaw that they really compete with. As I've stated before, for home theater applications I find the Emotiva gear does very well against amps and processors costing 2-3 more. Placing them in higher end systems for music will reveal more limitations, but again this hinges heavily on associated gear. The differences in quality of musical presentation between the Emotiva XPA-2 and the Rotel 1090 was much smaller (with no clear winner) than with the tube powered Stingray.
I agree with what you say about Emotiva and competition at their price point. Very hard to beat. Also personally I think Emotiva competes well in the HT amplification category. I got a UPA-7 and love it. It is a lot better than the Sony STR-DG1000 receiver I had. For 2 channel amplification though I'm on the fence. I may have to listen to some more Emotiva 2 channel Amps and Monoblocks. One puzzling thing to me is that there always seems to be XPA-2s, UPA-2 or UPA-1 monoblocks for sale in general or on their forum. Seems like for a good amount of people they listen to it and move on quickly more so than other amps. Note this was just a quick observation. I did not dig deep an analyze the trends of other 2 channel amp makers.
i suspect most people that buy then sell emotiva amps got a taste of what better is and went to better gear . not because the emotiva gear didn,t perform as advertised. i don,t know what i would change to from my xp2/mmgs combination for the money. 1300 dollars for the system? any suggestions?
I get a lot of heat for making comments...like the one I'm about to make, but....
I've had some far more expensive SS gear in my systems and heard quite a bit of the megabuck stuff. My previous system was Odyssey Stratos, Rogue Pre and Magnepan 1.6. No other amp impressed me the way my new Manley Stingray amp does. It created a soundstage and sense of tonal reality that the SS gear could not manage.
By comparison the SS gear, ranging from 1500-5000 dollars had improvements that were hardly absolute. Yet the 20 watts coming from this set of tubes does things I would never have believed.
So I built two systems. The theater system runs on tons of power, 6 amps, multiple subs and SPL to make a clock run backwards. But it's the small amp mated to a pair of Merlin speakers that tends to impress people the most.
If you really want to take a musical step forward in your system, try tubes.
Thanks Rob for chiming in again. I've seen/read the heat and flack you have been taking on other threads yet you still keep posting. Good for you man. I swear your skin must be hardened steel by now. I know mine would.
Hotmailjbc I never thought if it that way that people selling their Emotiva gear were moving onto better gear and that Emo gear didn't perform. I have to be more positive.
no negatives meant at all. there are many options and combinations. i would love to have a nice tube integrated and some really detailed bookshelf speakers. with mmgs i just couldn,t make the budget work that way. if i could get into selling my gear like some people i would buy a new system with different types of technology every year or so. it's not that i am hard to please. just the opposite. i love music and the gear.
It's funny that a thick skin is even needed, but there are some basic truths about audio that I've learned over the years.
1) People who spend more don't like to hear that they didn't have to.
2) People rarely get anywhere near the potential from their gear nor properly understand how it differs from the competition.
3) No speaker on the planet at ANY price sounds like live music.
Sheesh. People hate hearing that stuff! Quite recently there was a fellow who actually started e-mailing me "attacks" because I found my Merlin speakers superior to his. He just could not let it go and eventually started insulting everyone who didn't agree. He got banned! Then he started the same thing at another forum.
In the end the only thing that matters is this: Do YOU like your audio system? I don't care if it's Merlin or Bose or KLH; if it makes you happy and plays music that makes you smile....who really care what some guy with 200K worth of tube gear thinks? Chances are he's listening to GEAR and not music.
Listening to Billy Joel's stubby fingers dance across his piano is amazing on my boat stereo, car stereo or Ipod, and not more so on my expensive system. Know what I mean?
i couldn,t agree with you more. i read and write opinions on audiogon to learn, have fun and communicate with enthusiasts because there are no opportunities here in the ozarks. i too have had people push buttons and then when they don,t like the answer email me personally and just carry on. i don,t always succeed but i try to be positive. just keep in mind that this hobby attracts many snobs. there,,i said it. snobs who want to put you down while elevating themselves and reinforceing their own prejudices. please stop.....this is a fun hobby and the music is great....breathe///relax. in a few years the wonderful gear you are so invested in will be gone and you will be on to more shilling about YOUR current precious choices . unbelievable....
Yup...and so it goes with everything these days. We're pushed into thinking that the latest greatest whatever is a must....or we're missing out on being the true sophisticated souls we're meant to be!