I have not, but you have encountered the 'price' issue in audio. Namely, price more often then not, has little to do with the sound qualities of the product. You have broken into the 'value' club. Welcome.
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That is what was so startling. I has very low expectations for the Emotiva but I was pleasantly surprised.
I believe that the two series of amps are quite different.
I'm really interested in non-fanboy users that have placed these or demoed the amps in a higher quality system than just replacing a receiver.
I had them in a Pass X0.2, VSE modded SCD-777ES, Gallo Ref. 3.1 system.
Just a follow-up. I went ahead and picked up the Emotiva XPA-2 and it is definately a step up over the UPA-2, which is no slouch itself. I've had Krells, Levinsons, Lamms and other big amps and this Emotiva amp holds it's own. Very dynamic, powerful deep tight bass and effortless and focused soundstage.
Streetdaddy - I'm really impressed with the amp and think even with the more efficient speakers you would hear a nice improvement. A friend of mine, who is quite knowledgeable about audio, said once that it never hurts to have more power. I like the extra headroom I'm getting now with the added power (the Dynaudios are 4 ohms so the amp is putting out 500 watts per channel).
The XPA-2 amp has one major achilles heel if your thinking of using them as Bridge-mono- blocs. Emotiva Audio will tell you upfront it does not like to see a 2 ohm load. If you own low impedance speakers (4ohm -86db) or lower, the amp will go into protection mode if you crank it up loud. I owned two XPA-2's and this happen to me almost every time I turn the volume up to loud (but not ear bleeding.) I felt that a big amp this size should be able to play real loud without shutting down. One XPA-2 did not sound as good as two XPA-2's in bridge-mono in my 2 channel system. The XPA-2 is a very good amp, and tramendous value if your speakers don't drop to a 2ohm load. I guess that's why Emotiva make a XPA-1 mono-bloc. BTW I replaced the TWO XPA-2's with a modded dual-mono Adcom GFA-555MK11 that laughs at a 2ohm load and sounds great. You can't kill this amp, it won't die.
I have Hale Revelations Three's 86db 4ohm. These speaker love raw clean power(current). I played one of the XPA-2 for a month to get a Handel on the sound. It was good, but it made me miss my Belles 350A Reference that I sold (and regret). The Belles as it should be was a better amp in every way. But I did buy two XPA-2 amps. So I hooked up the other XPA-2 amp and the sound difference was in another class all together. As Bridge-Mono blocs I didn't even think about the Belles 350A Reference amp until I turn the volume up to were the Belles would play with ease and the Two XPA-2 amps went into protection mode as they were design to do when pushed into a 2ohm load. Now the Adcom I have is not your average 555Mk11. It is gutted with two bigger transformers (dual-mono) and upgraded guts and a IEC outlet. Net weight is about 60.lb. So this is not your typical Adcom 555 Mk11. Compared to the Emotiva XPA-2 as a stereo amp. It would be very hard not to pick the very musical Emotiva amp over the Adcom at anything under loud levels. But this is were the Adcom pulls ahead of the Emotiva XPA-2 amp in stereo, and Bridge Mono mode.It just can go places (volume) that the Emotiva XPA-2 can't and hold it's self together with ease. Please remember this is by design with the XPA-2 amp. So this is no knock on the amp, it is very good within it's self imposed limitations. That is why Emotiva makes the XPA-1 Mono-Blocs. Which I had my eye on before I got a Classe' amp that once again has me not missing the Belles 350A and the giant killer modded Adcom 555Mk11.
I want to make this point clear, I am on the side of those saying the Emotiva XPA-2 is a very good amp. A great amp when you factor the price verse performance aspect. And as a side note there customer service is by far the best I have encountered. If something not right they fix it period. This company has and will continue to earn praise from me. Now the Adcom is what I would call an anomaly. I clearly stated it was gutted and modded with new, bigger power supply, transformers etc... So this is "not your Grandfather's Adcom 555 Mk11" as they say. I praise the modded Adcom because to me there is something highly respectable about a amp (any amp) that sounds good and keeps on cranking no matter how loud you take it. But that's just my thinking. You might disagree. If there is one thing I've learned in Audio ED.101 is you don't trash or bash what you have not heard yourself. But again that's just my thinking as well. You might disagree.
Jejaudio - I found your comments to be very informative. I'm wondering if the Emotiva monoblocks wouldn't be a better way to go vs. two of the XPA-2s strapped. My listening room is on 13' x 21' so I'm thinking a single XPA-2 should suffice. Your modified Adcom 555 sounds really nice and I have to completely agree about the Belles 350A; I had one also and sold it.
With low impedance speakers I would go with the Mono-Blocs. In my system Two XPA-2 amps sounded better than one amp. But if one XPA-2 is doing the job, I would go that route. Remember this amp will seam like over kill to allot of the higher efficiency speaker out there. Your speaker of course will determine that. The Adcom 555-Mk11 is now my backup amp, just in-case I go to Mono-Blocs(XPA-1). But I am "happy and content" with my Classe' amp. I know that is a kiss of death statement around hear. I had a Belles 400-A amp before the 350-A REF. That was my first highend amp and it was great as well.
I own a XA-5 and compared it to a Krell FPB-660.
I was very surprised at how well it did. It is not, however a Krell FPB.
The main difference I heard, in my very short evaluation, was in the upper midrange up. Female vocals, for example were a bit more grainy and it was more difficult to distinguish individual voices when several female artists were singing in harmony. Strings such as violins were a fuzzier characteristic to them. It may be due to the mode of operation (a-b as opposed to a) or it may be due to higher odd harmonics distortion, I dont really know. On the plus side, they sound WAY better than anything at anywhere near the price Ive personally heard. They are articulate, dynamic, and just plain fun to listen to. Emotiva may be the best bargain Ive ever experienced.
Give one a try. Unless a person is completely obsessed with perfection then its hard not to like.
If a person just wants to enjoy the music, have a great time, and not be anal about the smallest of details then by all means go for it.
Ive been listening to a emotiva xpa-5 for a little while now, and I am loving it. I still think my latest amp, the Bryston 9bsst, was better, but it wasnt far off.
If you dont have $3k to spend on a used 9bsst, pick up a used $450-$550 XPA-5 and dont even worry about it.
For my money with all the budget gear Ive been playing with lately, Id choose the XPA-5 amp ($550), Anthem avm30 ($800), Oppo BD 83 blu ray/cd ($425), Magnepan 1.6 ($900 fronts), MMG's ($400 rears), and a good svs sub and have a first class home theater for under $4100, and the 2 channel would rival much more expensive setups. Why spend $3k on Bryston amp like the 9bsst, unless the money simply doesnt matter? Iwill live with this Emotiva for along time!
Id rate the XPA-5 a 8.5 /10
For comparison, a 9bsst a 10, Ayre V-5xe a 9.7, Brtston 4bst a 8.5(not the sst), and a Onkyo NR-906 receiver a 7