Emotiva XSP-1 vs XSP-1 Gen 2


Compared to our modified Audio Research LS2B MKll, we tried the 1st iteration of the Emotiva XSP-1. Per "The Jazzmama" It was depth-less, flat, 2 dimensional and "uninvolving."

In comparison, how does the XSP-1 Gen 2 perform with respect to the depth, holographics, 3 dimensionality, and staging as compared to the Original.

The ERC-3 is incredible at any price. The XPR-1 monoblocks are Kilo-buck monster eliminators.
levchappy
I respect your opinion and would like to ask what amplifiers you compared the XPR-1's to?

I would like to try Emotiva's stuff, I just can't be bothered ordering it, listening to it only to send it back if it falls short of sounding reasonably convincing.

Kindest regards, TJF.
That's what we have virtually killed off. The few remaining brick and mortar give us a place to listen locally and establish a relationship with. We can't keep turning around and then buying off the internet to save a few dollars. Support your local dealers. No I am not one and yes I have committed that sin.
Tjassoc;

The speakers are Thiel 3.6 which we never properly heard prior to the XPR-1's. The cabling is Audio Art from Rob Fritz

The Amps which you are asking about are Mark Levinson 333.5 dual-monaural (the upgraded version $11,000), Mark Levinson ML-2 monoblocks and a Threshold T-50.

The Emotiva ERC-3 CD player ousted a very heavily modified and vastly improved Cary 303/300. The Cary ousted the Mark Levinson 3906 CD/Processor. It had better Holographic qualities. & a tube output and selectable up sampling.

If you order Emotiva products, their website guarantees "If you are not 100% satisfied with your product, we will give you a full refund of the purchase price for returns made within 30 days of purchase." you are only risking the cost of return shipping.
Lev,

A big thank you for sharing. We've had Threshold T-200 and T-400 amplifiers and they were very good, even by todays standards.

Your feedback on the XPR-1's is impressive. An endorsement for certain.

I would think the XPR-1's betters the T-50 in the lower registers, due to the difference in power output. How does it compare in the mid-range and high frequencies, with sound staging and imaging, and with it's ability to reproduce the acoustic which the recording was made?

You've mentioned reputable amplifiers, so I'm being critical - and justifiably so. These are big heavy mono-blocks. We have 3 young children and multiple businesses - I don't have the time or desire to try things. Especially considering these are big, heavy amplifiers. Rather, we try to research as much as possible before purchasing so our investment is a long term one.

The last amplifiers we were considering for our summer home was a pair of Parasound Halo JC-1's. If these Emotiva's are anything near that level of performance (and it seems like they are) - we'll be happy to make a smart investment in owning and enjoying them for years to come.

Again - thank you for your feedback.

Kindest regards, TJF.
Mechans;

"We can't keep turning around and then buying off the internet to save a few dollars. Support your local dealers."

I once worked for 2 high end A/V Salons. One in particular practically wants to see the check book prior to engaging a customer's interests. I was a buyer at the other.

The amount of dealer profit margin on Levinson, Krell, Audio Research, McIntosh, etc. is enough to pay for Emotiva products out right.

When purchasing on Audiogon, eBay and others, folks are looking for high end gear and a 30-50% discount on used gear.

These internet purchasers are hoping to cut out the brick and mortar middle man fees. No matter where internet purchases are made, they are sight unseen nor auditioned.

A lot of "high-end" manufacturers outsource to cheap labor. Those sources are suspected to substitute with counterfeit caps, etc.

I am tired of the same old American theme of sell out and go "sailing" as one of our American name-only gear "makers" did. What happened to the dream of Levinson, Proceed, Krell, etc.

Levinson is purportedly led by a Levinson/Harmon International CEO from India trying to transplant manufacturing to be shipped from India.

The CEO cut out the in-house warranty service and it's outsourced, therefore, making it much more difficult to make a claim.

It's really a smart way of saving thousands of dollars when there might be a known defect stemming from the use of under-spec'd or inferior caps or transistors.

When Audio manufacturers make warranty repair hard to get, I'm sure you'll agree that, it doesn't make it easier for brick and mortars to sell said gear.

I will save my sermon so as not to offend any audio friends.

The big box retailer can't even properly demonstrate their gear. Try to audition a subwoofer for Home Theater or 2-channel audio.

I too was an Emotiva doubter (my name is not Thomas) until a friend helped me purchase the XPR-1 monoblocks. I was a complete audio name snob.

I do support the local folks with "American named vehicle purchases and repairs. My engine was made in Germany, the transmission was made in Mexico. The Mustang was assembled in Flat Rock Michigan. I was made in Detroit.

I always try to diminish the middle man profit when making a purchase. Do you think my medical bills come cheap?

Does it bother me that my $11,000 dual monaural, 600 watt, 150 lbs., unit got trounced by a pair of monoblocks retailing for under $3,000. You bet, it's down right humiliating.

Another great disappointment stems as a direct result from terrorists. You can no longer have these over 150 lb. behemoths picked up at your home and shipped for repairs or sale. Another 9/11-related inconvenience due to the completely required (yes, you are darned right it's completely required) Homeland Security regulations.

By purchasing Emotiva, you are helping to fund future research and product development of high quality gear lovingly designed by engineers from the Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A. area.

Why should the high end hobby be exclusive to the Super rich or unmarried folks?

Everyone should be able to share in The Arts at a real world and affordable price.

Most high-end hobbyists don't necessarily live within a 50 mile drive to buy gear. That's why Audiogon and eBay have flourished. Because of the internet used price wars, brick and mortars can hardly support taking in used gear and when they do, there is a 25% consignment fee. This makes it more difficult to upgrade with the brick and mortar shops.

You want to purchase from a brick and mortar and save money? Get their email address, phone and whip out the plastic money card. You don't need to drive to the store, just pay by phone or online.

It is no longer a matter of saving dollars alone, it's now a technology & performance, warranty and service issue.
Lev,

You make several confirmed points, but there's more to consider. I don't disagree with you, I want to share our experiences.

First - American Company Products:
I support manufacturer's who maintain a financially sound company, offer products that perform well, maintain their value and offer some sort of customer loyalty / upgrade program. I look to buy American (Company) products first but sometimes I don't.

Our current system runs Pass amplifiers, Wilson and Eggleston speakers, Meridian and Oppo electronics, MIT and CH Acoustic cables, Mapleshade bases and a Sound Application power conditioner. 8 our of 9 companies are American. These American companies service their own equipment and don't substitute lesser quality parts.

Without trying to sound snobbish - we make informed, educated investments and keep and enjoy music through our equipment for years. Otherwise, this would be a poor investment which we could not justify the expenditure for the hours / years of pleasure my family and I enjoy and get from listening to music.

Ideally, buying American company products means supporting America and more jobs for Americans - but foreign cost effective parts and manufacturing is an issue.

Second Point - Brick and Mortar Building Retailers:

I've had exceptional experiences at these, both good and bad. No different from retailers in other commodities.

One NYC retailer (who had gone out of business and recently re-opened as an appointment only business) was so pushy with a Wilson Watt Puppy promotion, I discussed his high pressure, adverse, curt, offensive sales behavior with the Wilson representative and told him I would NEVER return to much less make a purchase from this store owner. Later, I purchased our first Wilson speakers from a local (~ 50 miles away) retailer whom I had developed an extended relationship with. I listened to different equipment in his store, discussed our goals, listened to his input / advise and made purchases as a long term investment.

IMHO, there's no way this could have been done via internet purchases. Before any significant purchase - we'll do as much research and listening as possible. Now, we travel just over 100 miles to visit a NYC retailer that has EXCEPTIONAL integrity. Unfortunately the retailer we used to patronize restructured their products away from higher end gear and more towards cost effective audiophile equipment. But they're still in business and I can confidently recommend them to family and friends.

I digress - my point is, before we invested in our Pass XA-200.5 mono-block amplifiers, I was prepared to travel for an extended weekend which included airfare, hotel stay and rental car - to audition these amplifiers. There's no way I would have made a purchase "to try them." I make informed purchases to enjoy music (we attend live performances regularly but not as frequently as I'd like). And this Pass retailer offers the same try and return policy as Emotiva.

The way people purchase equipment has changed. People's priority seems to be a significant discount instead of purchasing equipment that will provide years of quality, reliable enjoyment.

I don't try lots of equipment, I guess because of our limited time. Rather - my family and I want to enjoy music (and theater) without the hassle of trial and error - and the time and expensive involved in that process.

But that's just me - my wife tells me I'm not the norm. Hopefully, that's a good thing?

Only good wishes to you and yours, TJF.
Lev,

I mistakenly hit the submit button.

Product margins may seem excessive, but if you find a full service retailer who will support you in making long term investments - well I feel they've earned their profit.

Operating a retail store involves selecting optimum equipment, setting up and rotating displays, keeping inventory, operating a store whose logistics include staff & scheduling, employee benefits and taxes, business insurance, utilities, building maintenance - to name the first few that come to mind.

That doesn't mean the conventional retailer doesn't discount, it means they can offer a reasonable discount and still stay in business. But a conventional retailer will never be able to match internet retailers' discounts because they have significantly greater fixed expenses.

The high end conventional retailer educates clients where the internet retailer relies on volume.

For my family and I, it's essential to get things right instead of making repeated attempts to create a system for enjoying music.

Life it too short to not listen to music that stirs our senses and moves our souls .
I am skeptical that the ERC-3 is anything near as wild a performer as described. One, it has a noisy transport for loading, ejecting, etc. 2, it has a budget chip for DAC duties. I had the ERC-1, and it was a disappointment. Too bright sounding, which is a weakness of all three Emotiva components I purchased.

The XPA amp would produce distortion at higher volumes when the vocalist sang an "sss". Repeatable every time, and when I replaced the amp with a Parasound Halo A21, WOW, what a difference. They offer a 30 day free trial, but you gotta pay over a $100 on average to ship a heavy amp back.

At the end of the day, there's no free lunch.
Runnin,

What XPA amplifier did you have?

Anyone have the XPR-1 mono-blocks that could share their system and experiences?

I'd like to get some feedback on these XPR-1 mono's.

Sorry Lev if I inadvertently misguided this thread.
T.J.

"Sorry Lev if I inadvertently misguided this thread."

Actually, now its fun. You will need some electrical work as the XPR-1 requires a 20 AMP circuit, and preferably a dedicated circuit for each monoblock.

XPR-1's are truly a reference level product. Send them back for a refund if you don't like them-which is extremely, highly unlikely.
I have (2) XPR-2 amps in a second system that serves me as my party rocking machine system and I have nothing bad to say.I prefer the Emotiva over the Bryston I had previously on that system.Now I know "runnin" will come in shortly to say something against the Emotiva again.

I also like to thank "Levchappy" for his informative post on the XPR-1 monoblocks, in fact now I am convinced that my next move will be buying them as I long wanted to try them in my main system.
Best
George
George,

Thank you for the feedback.

I'm familiar with Bryston amplifiers. What model did you have?

Can you tell us anything else about your system?

Thanks again for sharing your experiences, TJF
I had the XPA-3 amp for 3 years running flagship Paradigm speakers.

When the XPR amps came out everyone was adding up the cost of running 20 amp circuits in their homes. On the Emotiva forum, "unofficial" Emotiva reps were saying that you don't need to do that, just get a cheater plug, you'll never trip a 15 amp breaker in most cases.

Which is rather odd advice when you think of it. They say you'll never drive the amp over the 15 amp level, so why buy it if you won't use all the power? The other thing about those XPR amps is they claim they double the power at 4 ohms and are stable at 2 ohms, just like the big manufacturers. But Emotiva will not advertise the amps as such.

They just release this info on internet back channels. How odd is that. Anyone that makes an amp that is stable at 2 ohms proudly proclaims it, same with doubling your power at 4 ohms. I actually got the owner to respond in their forum, and the reason he gave for not advertising this like everyone else does, is that some people might push or abuse the amp to test this out. What??

The other thing is, 99.9% of people will never use all the watts of at least the XPR-2 and 1. It's silly power for mostly bragging rights. If you have 90 db sensitivity speakers, they'll be doing 117 decibels at 512 watts(at one meter distance) or about 120 decibels for the XPR-1. People will be screaming, running from the room, and then your speakers will blow up. So why spend for power that you'll never use, and Emotiva themselves say you won't need a 20 amp circuit? If you really want Emotiva, get the XPA-1 and at least save some money.

I've got 250 wpc in my 2 channel rig. It gets loud at a few watts, I doubt I use peaks of more than 100 watts.
I have the XPR2 amps run in a passive vertically bi amped set up .My speakers are 90 db but Need a lot of power to really drive 4 9 inch bass divers per side . I have tried with smaller amps . These move air and in turn move me .
600 wpc at 8 ohms and 1000 wpc at 4 0hms . my speaker are 8 ohm

I have 3 dedicated 20 amp lines in my room and would recommend the same if you a going to drive them hard or your speakers are 4 ohm or less .

I will definitely recommend The XPR2 amps and would imagine the XPR1 to be as impressive if not more .

The only comparison I have is a friends system with Classe omega monoblocks at 600 wpc if memory serves me correct . It was impressive but also 90,000 dollars more than my system .
Runnin;

My question was:

In comparison, how does the XSP-1 Gen 2 perform with respect to the depth, holographics, 3 dimensionality, and staging as compared to the Original.

Can you answer that question???
Runnin;

Do you know the difference between loud and detail, staging, depth, 3D holographics, deep base detail, high hats shimmering? More power allows more headroom, and greater control over the speakers. I use a decibel meter and keep the sound level at no more than 84 dB.

Perhaps you might consider making your first Audiogon purchase and test this out?
99.9% of audiophiles do not need 500 or 600 watts to do the above, Lev, with a decent well put together system. Some guys achieve the 3D staging, detail, etc., with a small tube amp and efficient speakers. The audio world has been able to achieve excellent audio previous to the XPR amps being released, so suddenly it never happened and we must sell our amps and all buy the XPR series? I remain a sceptic.

Emotiva has as much as admitted you will never use all 600 watts when they themselves said you don't need a 20 amp circuit, which means you won't be using 16-20 amps or all of the power anyway. I think it's mostly the braggers or headbangers who will buy these silly amps of 600+ wpc and give themselves hearing damage.
Tjassoc
Please check your messages.
I just send more information regarding my impressions of XPR-2,and comparison to Bryston amp.
Thanks
George
Runin;

You seem like a very bitter person, and I do not feel that I or anyone else needs to justify anything to you. On the flip side our Thiel 3.6's are at an efficiency of 87 dB, and are rated at 500 watts into 4 ohms. When I tell you that the XPR-1's brought out never before levels of deep bass with detail, rich midrange and high frequency detail then you respond with with
"I think it's mostly the braggers or headbangers who will buy these silly amps of 600+ wpc and give themselves hearing damage."

Please comprehend this. You do not know what you are talking about and you are calling me a silly liar. You have not, do not, and never will support the Audiogon sales and purchase opportunities. As a result you have become an unnecessary irritation and burden to the rest of the Audiogon Chappies. No offense intended.

Your Silly 600+ watts Jazz. Blues Classical, Psychedelic, Motown friend

P.S. Get over your issue and leave the rest of us in peace and happiness
No Lev, I'm not bitter, I just want people to know that when it comes to Emotiva, the king has no clothes. They could make top notch gear, but choose not to, and make more profits with the entry level stuff they put out.

As for your Thiel 3.6 speakers, yes they are rated for 500 watts at 4 ohms. The XPR-1 puts out 1750 watts at 4 ohms(FYI the XPA-1 puts out 1000 wpc at 4 ohms.). You don't use half of that. I mean, it's fine, buy whatever you want and be happy with it. But you are not going to convince anyone that your 500 watt speakers need 1750 watts.

That said, what I said is 99.99% of people don't need that kind of wattage. Using math, what that means is 1 person in 1,000 might need that kind of power. A very tiny minority, and I could certainly be off, but the thrust of my point holds up I believe. Bragging rights, they can be expensive.

And as for the personal attack comments, I have not called you a liar, nor have I inferred that you are lying, you are simply mistaken. And I have indeed purchased from the Audiogon site, best amp I ever bought.
Oops, with my 99.99% comment, I meant 99.9%, I typed one too many nines!
I have no dog in this "discussion" but wanted to point out and emphasize a comment that was ignored.
I paraphrase- "a small tube amp will give you holographic ,3D,and a wide and deep soundstage." I think this is absolutely true, except it doesn't have to be a small amp, it could just as well be a large tube amp. I have heard Thiels with a large tube power amp and the sound was very very good. I realize that tube amps are not everybody's cup of tea per say and that they might not work in your situation, but it really is the fastest way to getting that 3D sound people some times call this effect "tube magic".
I love Tubes, particularly in a phono stage. As far as Tubes in an amp, great. My only issue with tube amps might be the 300b tubes and other great tubes.

It seems impossible to purchase Telefunken, and Siemens level of tubes which were recently manufactured. Too bad we can't make tubes of such performance levels here in the US or anywhere else. NOS tubes are the best but they are running out of stock, and cost a "King's Ransom."

Russia squashed an American's attempt to take over a tube manufacturing facility, where he was making hi quality tubes. They tried to extort money from him by shutting off the electricity to the plant.