Emotiva XPA - 1 mono blocks.

So before all the audiophiles burn me at the stake please here me out! I pulled the trigger on a set of these mono's due to a couple of factors.

1. While I throughly enjoyed hoppy as much as the next person. I do have a wife and childeren so my budget restricts me from buying $5k plus amps.

2. I had $2k to spend on amplification up grade. Everything I found by the big names for 2k was 15 to 20 yrs. old and i was scared to pick up someting that would be an expensive repair/update within a year of buying due to the age of the unit.

So my question is arethere any real world experiance with the XPA 1's out there that can give an unbiased/fair review of the amps? Again I don't expectthem to compete with mcintosh or krell amps at their price point. But I would expect them to compete with say Rotel/parasound units that are in the same price range.
Emotiva is very good value for the $$$. The components are manufactured in China to keep the costs down. I have never heard their amps, but I did own one of their dac's for a year and enjoyed it very much. My only gripe is they put too much money into the fancy blue lights and looks where they could have spent it on better internal parts.

I would put Emotiva in the same category as Adcom which isn't a bad thing at all. I am sure the amps will sound wonderful, and don't worry about what the haters will say. You will probably get 90% of good high end sound for your cash outlay.
Thanks Stereo5
Junkie, go to the member's system page here on Audiogon and search 'XPA'. You will find a few members of Audiogon that have the amps. I'm sure they will share their experiences with you.
I bought a pair of the generation 1 XPA-1's last year to drive a pair of BG Corp 520DX ribbon/hybrid loudspeakers. I'd been using a Theta Intrepid and biamping the speakers with 200 watts/channel into the speakers' 4 ohm load. The sound was smooth and detailed, quite open and transparent, but also slightly lacking in upper bass slam and weight. The speakers are rolled off prematurely so the bass performance wasn't a surprise. I wasn't necessarily looking to upgrade the amp as I'd also been using a pair of Def Tech subs to good effect. However, I saw a pair of the XPA-1 at a good price and thought I'd try them out, after all, I could always resell at about the same price I'd paid.

My source is an Upgrade Company modded Oppo BDP-83SE, which I drive the amp(s) directly from, and the cables are all sourced from a very good silver plated copper solid core wire. I use the Oyaide 046 plugs on my power cords and have a Maestro outlet in the wall. My system is hi-rez on a budget but I'd put it up against anything in stereophile's Class B. I bet it could even challenge some of the Class A contenders.

Having said that, I want to stress that my conclusions are based on my personal feelings of the importance of resolution, transparency, and PRAT or boogie factor. Installing the XPA-1's into my system and using the same power cords and interconnects, I was immediately aware that the top end had lost some sparkle, that it seemed closed in, perhaps even opaque. Detail was good across the spectrum from upper bass on up but I just wasn't as engaged. The Emotiva amps were more bass prominent, not necessarily tighter or more detailed though. So, if you need the extra wattage, the Emotiva amps are pretty good for the money but really the Theta outclassed them easily.

While still in possession of both the Theta and Emotiva amps, I picked up a Cambridge Audio 840W. I had to wait a week for a 20amp Oyaide 046 plug to arrive before I could do a fair comparison but, even hampered by the stock power cord, the Cambridge seemed special. Another week gone by to let the new plug burn in, I compared the Cambridge to the others. I felt the Cambridge to at least equal the Theta in detail and smoothness but it was obviously the more transparent amp and the 840W has a killer bottom end. I found myself turning off the subs (which were set at lowish levels anyway) because their input wasn't needed and it muddied up the sound. I've since pulled them from the system entirely and never miss them.

Now compared to the XPA-1's, the Cambridge was in an entirely different league. There was NO area where the Emotiva amps bettered the Cambridge. Actually, they weren't even competitive. If you like a warmer, fatter bass, then perhaps you might prefer the Emotivas in this area, but otherwise, I can't even imagine anyone preferring the XPA-1's on sound. The do look like a lot of amp(s) for the money but you can do MUCH better in this price range. Sorry if that disappoints but you shouldn't have any trouble reselling them. Good luck!
Mitch 4t where do I find the member system page?
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Thanks Lcherepkai I hear so many different reviews of these amps! I haven't seen a lot in my price range 1,200.00 mostly very old amps that mostly are due for new caps and etc to sound their best again when it comes to the big name amps.

While at the price of the XPA 1's I wouldn't be looking for them to sound like the omega buck amps none of which I have ever owned. I been more in the Rotel, Adcom, Parasound leauge of amps and many say the XPA 1's are on par with this group and better than a lot of them?

I have also read many write ups where the folks who have owned the mega bucks amps have said that while the mega buck amps do out class the XPA 1's they don't outclass them to the point of justifying the sometimes 4k and higher price differences.

I have also read where many audiophiles believe the philosophy that it's all about the front end and that the amp only amplifies what it's feed?

Either way buying amps is a difficult process here in Columbus Ohio as all the dedicated audio stores have closed up or have went the way of home theater! The closet audio stores are about 2hrs. away in Cleveland and Indiana. So theres not a lot of room to demo an amp in my set up which leaves me to online reviews and a huge guessing game of trial and error and hoping if i don't like a piece i can resale without taking a loss!
I have no experience with the XPA-1, I had the XPA-3, which is a different animal and on par with the XPA-5. I owned it for 3 years paired with their XDA-1 as preamp. I was never completely happy and couldn't figure out why, mind you it was my first serious attempt at a dedicated 2 channel system and I did a lot of reading on the internet which can actually be a bad thing, because there is bad advice out there.

I found the XPA-3 on par with the Adcom amp it replaced, which disappointed me since it was a later entry level model Adcom(5300). The sound got harsh at higher volume levels and there was distortion in the vocals when an "s" was pronounced with some tracks. I couldn't really tell if anything else was wrong, as my recent experience was mostly my home theater.

So I finally bought a different amp, a Parasound A21. The distortion disappeared, but I also got improved imaging and more accurate bass, which I didn't know was missing. I got rid of the XDA-1 and finally replaced it with a Parasound preamp, the P7. Another improvement, more analog in the room sound was achieved

The XPA-1 is a different animal though, it should be better than their multi-channel amps. I'll make a suggestion that gave me a good improvement also. Audioquest Type 4 speaker cables, if you're using the typical 10 or 12 gauge stranded copper, I was surprised to find a more focused clear sound from the solid core cabling. Well recorded music will reward you as well, everything can have an effect!
Junkie, the ultimate test is how the amps will sound in your room with your equipment. Every opinion out there is using totally different equipment than you...in a totally different room. The only way to see is to try the amps yourself. Opinions are all over the place. Some love the amps and some don't think much of them. Let your own ears be the judge.

Be sure and get back to us with your review when you get your amps. If you like the amps...don't be afraid to say so. No one can tell you what you hear. Ignore the highbrow audio snobs and the Emotiva fanboys and be honest with yourself. Are you buying new or used?
Mitch a set of used ones. The will be combined with a Musical fidelity cdpre 24 and Dunlavy SC 4 speakers with MIT MH-750 big wire speaker cables.
Junkie, the Emotiva amps should be a pretty good match for your speakers. The XPA-1 has quite a bit of capacitance and current capability. This should result in a fairly "authoritative" bottom end.

The X series of Emo amps do exhibit a bit of sibilance when new, but this diminishes with use. And since you are buying used this should not be an issue.

The best advice we can give you is to get 'em into your room/system and give them a fair listen. For the money you spent, I doubt you could do much better. And since you bought used, the depreciation has already occurred. You should be able to sell them for about what you paid should the need arise....

Thanks RW
OK so I got to play with the XPA mono's for just a little while today and must say that I wasn't disappointed with what I herd. I will have more time tommorow to evaluate them and will update at that time...
Hopefully it turned out good for you, I'm certain you'll never need more power!
Runnin. Yes they turned out very well for me and my currentr set up: Dunlavy SC4 speakers, Musical Fidelity CD Pre 24, and now the Emotiva XPA 1's very simple set but very musical and very dynamic. While I havent herd many of the mega buck amps which I am sure sound better than the Emo's. Now having the EMO's I deffiently understand why so many folks point out the law of diminishing returns. I have owned Macintosh amps and must say while the Mac's are a little warmer which is to my taste. I must say the EMO's are not far behind the Mac's I have owned. These will be with me for a long time. Even if I get a chance to up grade to some of the mega mono blocks the EMO's will always have a place in the man cave!