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I would concur re the xpas being good value, but with a cautionary imperative, and that is that the Elmo's are dependent an awful lot on the system in which they're being used. Obviously this applies to all components, but I would say it applies to these more than most.
They are very speaker dependent, and sound much much better with a tube preamp stage. The speaker sensitivity is also very important , since the first 60 watts are class A, and much clearer and more linear than the next 100s of watts, so the more sensitive speakers may sound better, again contingent on your desired listening db. They are not the best but may be the very best bang for the buck on the market if used in a conducive system.
I'm using all Emo gen 2 amps.I thought xpa 1 's might be bright using them with B&W 805 Diamonds,but they are not.Using balanced interconnects with the monos made a noticeable difference.i noticed more of an upgrade using monos with my 805's than I did with my Thiel 3.7 's on an upstairs system?I would have thought the opposite?Im happy with these amps but time will tell how they last in the long haul?
I can't speak of the XPA mono's, but am currently running an XPA Gen 3 two channel, and couldn't be happier. I find them to be quite neutral, with the ability to deliver smooth but powerful bass, and wonderful mids and highs; very musical overall. I also feel the build quality to be superb, and find them to be very efficient.
I've been seriously considering going to mono's, so I'm patiently holding out for the new mono module's that they are coming out with, before I make any decisions; very curious as to how it will perform?
Had a pair of the Gen 1 XPA-1 monoblocks a couple years back that I bought to drive BG Corp 520 loudspeakers. I had been using a Theta Intrepid, bi-amping with 4 channels but wanted to see how they'd sound with more power. Thought the Intrepid was better in every way except, perhaps, the extra bass warmth that the Emotivas exhibited. I then picked up a Cambridge 840W and this destroyed the Emotivas by offering much better resolution---I could clearly hear detail that the XPA-1's glossed over, a more dimensional soundstage with more clearly defined image outlines. The XPA-1's sound good but they never sound like anything other than mid-fi (albeit easy to listen to mid-fi). And the Cambridge has almost Krell-like bone crusher bass when the material offers it. The XPA-1's sound bloated and soft in comparison. And, if your system offers it, the Cambridge is MUCH more transparent. I do have a gainclone and a single-ended triode amp which are both a bit more transparent than the Cambridge but the 840w offers the kind of power you'll never get from either of those kinds of amps. I'm not trying to hype either the Theta or the Cambridge, just saying the Emotivas are way over-rated in my humble opinion. Enjoy!
As I have said before, Emotiva gen 1/2 are very competitive amps for the money. They can be somewhat bright stock (hence some opinions above that a tube preamp mates better). This can be resolved by fuse upgrade - Isoclean if you want to lean towards a warmer signature or Furutech fuses if you want additional detail and resolution and transparency. Although, running in Class A mode will remove a lot of the brightness issue.
If you like running Class A then Gen 2 is a great choice. However, if you like Class AB instead, you’re better off obtaining a XPA-1 Gen 1. The Gen 2 circuit has waveform crossover distortion when run in Class AB mode (circuit design is a compromise between Class A / AB).
Obviously, you can get a better amp for a lot more money (i.e. Cambridge / Parasound). Emotiva’s charter is to make the best equipment at a low cost. This means using cheaper components (such as electrolytic and film caps, etc.). The circuit design and implementation is generally very good, however.
I have noticed more of a difference changing preamps other than amplifiers in my systems.Some things work together and some don't!When I used xpa 1 's with my Thiel 3.7's ,I had a few friends (with real expensive systems)tell me they couldn't believe the sound I was achieving with the Emos!I cannot have the best of everything,or would I choose too!I would recommend these amps and say buy the best speakers you can afford!
I've had moments like that as well, but such moments are in isolation from any real comparison. Dealers sometimes depend on such "wow" moments to sell gear.
I had a 1st gen XAP amp and I thought it was amazing for the price. But then over time, when swapping in other gear, I discovered weaknesses. It might be better to not discover these, because if you're not careful you can get on a merry-go-round of continually upgrading.
But for me, sound quality is of utmost priority, and I have the budget to make improvements. These XPA-3 amps sound great until you compare with better amps, and then you hear the inaccurate bass, the hot highs, the lack of complete imaging. Not as critical with a home theater, but for music, not so much. They are built to a price point, just like any other brand, and have compromises to reach those price points.
I have a Emotiva XPA-2 that I purchased around 4 1/2 year ago, in my collection of Power Amps. I recently hooked it up to my Revel Ultima Studios with the sublime Vincent SA-T8 (with Psvane tubes), after it had sat idle for a couple of years. After it had settled in I was pleasantly surprised. Whilst it lacks the refinement, depth and resolution of the more costly Power Amps, it has an enjoyable "live" sound to it. A little ragged in the midrange, a bit timid in the top end, with a decent "thwack" in the bottom end, put on some raucous Rock 'N' Roll, turn the wick up to 11 and have fun!
I bought a pair of xpa-100's and being I am not terribly familiar with Emo offerings I would venture to guess that xpa-1 is a different amp. I think thats the one twice the size of my xpa-100?
My xpa-100's sound great and are pretty much my daily player although I do switch out to Pass xa30.5 and a Burgess 2a3 50lb SET. Being what my other amps are this may lead other members to consider that I am not over rating mine. They are good sounding mono's. bass, mids, and maybe not quite as sparkly in the highs as my Pass amp but I would really have to A/B to get more of a sense .
I have multiple XPA1 gen 2 and XPA 100 amps. They power two separate music systems and a five channel home theatre. For listening to music I run a pair of XPA 1's in class A mode with a Cary tube pre and an Oppo 105D as one source. Speaker are Van L Quartettes (modified). For me It is a joy to listen to everytime I fire it up. The XPA-1s have a strong attack, and reveal detail and subtleties through out the spectrum. The XPA 100s run an older set of Martin Logans and in the sweet spot they offer a powerfully detailed sound. Also Emotiva has been great on customer support.
Yes I have compared their sound, through B&Ws, using high def digital and Mac2500 tube pre, to other amps -tube Primaluna and Audio Space,; solid state Mac, Marantz and Bryson----- they hold their own and I would say lower Hi-Fi, definitely not midfi (which you hear once in awhile sadly), but not the very best, except for the price and there they really are best for the buck by a very very large margin!!