PREAMP - Thoughts on Emotiva XSP-1

Seems to be a decent / well put-together unit for the money / features that are hard to beat for the price.
Looking to mate it with my Emotiva XPA-2 Gen 3 Power Amp

It's my current "front-runner" in a Pre-Amp quest for $1500-ish or less
My only reservations are:
-It's kinda' BIG
-All those Blue illuminated switches / display / power Button
-I seem to see quite a few of them, used, for sale on A-GON (makes me wonder or are people just "upgrading"?)

Anybody have one and/or heard one lately? If so:
  • What are your thoughts?
  • How would you rate it?
  • How did it compare to what it replaced?

Funny they claim its all balanced but the phono inputs aren't balanced. All phono cartridges are balanced sources.

One important reason to run balanced lines in high end audio is to avoid the colorations that are otherwise imposed by single-ended cables. If you've ever auditioned several cables and heard differences you know what I'm talking about. If you are running a phonograph, that is arguably the most important place to get the cabling right- anything the front end doesn't get right can't be corrected downstream no matter how good your amps and speakers are!
While the XSP-1 has a single fully discrete audio stage, the rest of the unit is jut littered with tons of op amps.  Emotiva likes to use the opa2134, but they could also have some lm4562 variations.  The Emotiva preamps are pretty good for the money, but they are not as high resolution as others and can sound somewhat closed in.  You are much better off going towards the PS Audio Steller Gain, which you inquired about in that separate thread.  And the Steller Gain has a pretty nice built-in DAC.  The only downside is that you would have to get an external phono preamp if you want to use a turntable.
Preamps, I’ve tried a few.  My take away is that the pre is supposed to do as little as possible to the signal or sound.

I haven’t tried the XSP, but the best sounding unit I’ve had is the Schiit Saga.  It’s magic is that it uses discrete circuitry and has few extra circuits/features to colour the sound.

its very transparent compared to the Parasound Halo P5 it replaced, which had lots of op amps apparently.

They’ve updated their line up recently bringing improvements to the line.  I’m probably going to get the Freya S, which has true balanced inputs/ outputs for my dac.  Built in the USA with foreign parts, worth a look.
Post removed