Has anyone compared Emotiva amps to high end amps?

I was using an Aragon 8008BB and 8008x3B for a 5.1 system. The speakers are 95dB efficient. On a lark I purchased an Emotiva XPA-5. The ridiculously low price and 30 day return period was just too tempting.

To say that I was surprised by the sound quality is an understatement. This amp handily outperformed my Aragons with both my HT speakers and a set of Gallo Reference 3.1 speakers.

I am thinking about replacing the Aragon 8008BB that I am using along with a Crown K-2 that I use for the second voice coil with the Gallos. I would either keep the crown and go with a pair of XPA-1 amps or use an XPA-2. The other option is an XPA-5 instead of using 2 amps.

Has anyone compared these amps with the more upscale amps such as Theta, Simaudio, Halcro, etc? I'm wondering if the Emotiva amps are already approaching the diminishing returns point or if the other amps are a quantum leap in sound quality?
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.
I was very disappointed in the Emotiva UPA-2... while it provided great bass, it sounded dull and lifeless. Not very musical at all. Not sure if XPA's are the same case... but I would definitely not consider them high end. More like a good step up from HTIB receivers.
I am comparing an xpa-2 to a pair of Butler 2250's run mono . Can let you know soon
I have not heard the Emotiva,but the Aragon 8008BB is one of the finest amps I have heard/owned.Th 8008x3 is also a fine amp.Of course system matching and the amp/speaker interface can yield different results.
Different amps work with different speakers. If you found synergy, keep it. Pro amps arent junk. If you can deal with there rugged look, and noisey fans, then I d stick with them. The Crowns and QSC's are solid pro amps.

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.
I just picked up the smaller Emotiva UPA-2 amp and am really impressed with it. It's very open and transparent with nice soundstage width and depth and easily holds it's own against more expensive amps I've heard. The sound is quite refined and reminds me a lot of the newer Krell amps.
bobgates, what were you using before? and whta speakers are you using?

i also loved the bass/soundstage but could not stand the mids.. vocals were very weak/thin
Koven - I've had a number of high end power amps and preamps over the years. Presently I'm using Dynaudio Audience 82 speakers. I don't hear any of the problems with the midrange that you've described.
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.
I was thinking of picking one up to go with the new UMC processor i'm getting. Is it worth the $450 for the upgrade? My speakers are 94 db efficient. Only for ht duty.
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.
Jejaudio - my speakers are the Dynaudio Audience 82 (rated at 87db, 4 ohms) and the XPA-2 drives them with ease; have never had any issues. I had a Adcom GFA-555 years ago and can't believe it would outdo a XPA-2.
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.
"Adcom GFA-555MK11 that laughs at a 2ohm load and sounds great."

If the Emotiva amps can't manage to sound better than an Adcom, they aren't even worth investigating.........

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.
Has anyone ever compared the XA-1 to a Krell FPB amp?
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 don’t really know. On the plus side, they sound WAY better than anything at anywhere near the price I’ve personally heard. They are articulate, dynamic, and just plain fun to listen to. Emotiva may be the best bargain I’ve ever experienced.
Give one a try. Unless a person is completely obsessed with perfection then it’s 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
I have a Sunfire Cinema Grand, too me the Sunfire sounds a little more musical, but the XPA-5 is no slouch either. Both good amps.