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Scott J
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Cambridge Audio 651a VS Emotiva Setup

Hi Guys / Gals,

 

I am in the market for a new amp, as my 20yr old Studio Standard by Fischer is showing its age.

I am looking to spend around $1250, but that is more of a guide line, as without it I will get into trouble with the misses.

The main systems I am looking at are the Cambridge Audio Azur 651A ~$880, Rotel RA-1520 ~$1150 integrated amps, or going with a full system my Emotiva ~$870.

For Emotiva it would be the USP-1 Pre amp, and the XPA-200 Amp.

I am driving a pair of Paradigm Mini Monitors with the system, most of my music is digital and I will be purchasing a DAC a few months after the initial Amp purchase.

I have heard the Cambridge Audio 651a on my speakers last year, but it has been so long that I really can't recall just how it sounded. My only local shop can order in the Rotel / Cambridge audio, but they don't stock either of them. Which means that no matter what system I choose out of the 3 I don't have a chance to audition them prior to purchase. I will have a 1 month home audition for any of the systems, but I still wont be able to test them all and then decide.

My main questions are: What are your thoughts quality wise, experience wise, and audio wise (Sound stage, warmth, audio reproduction etc) I am well aware that everyone hears sound differently, and one system will sound better for me then you but I am just looking for a baseline between the 3 options. Also, which system will be the best option for future growth?

The Paradigms I have were what hooked me on high end audio and as such I have 0 experience with the Hi-Fi market. My current Receiver is being borrowed (have been borrowing it for over a year now, so I should return it one of these days)

Thanks,

Scott

jackfish
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Well, you would be able to listen to the Emotiva stuff in your

own room with your own components and return it within 30 days for a purchase price refund if you don't like it. I'd start there, and you will likely finish there. I listened to numerous options while putting together the following system:

13.3" MacBook Air, 4GB RAM, 256GB SSD, iTunes/BitPerfect
MacBook Air SuperDrive
Western Digital My Book Essential 2TB USB HD
Schiit Bifrost USB DAC
Emotiva USP-1, ERC-1 and two UPA-1s
Pro-Ject Xpression III and AT440MLa
AKAI AT-2600 and Harman Kardon TD4400
Grado SR80i
Magnepan MMG Magnestands
Rythmik Audio F12

Scott J
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Well, it seems as though

Well, it seems as though everywhere I go with this question most people are recommending the Emotiva route. I am slightly amazed by the number of votes they are getting. The sheer price of their equipment lends to them being a rather low end product.

tmsorosk
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Azur

I've been using an Azur 650A driving Paradigm S20 V.5 's for a while now in our third ( garage ) system and think there a great match , there linked by Cardas Clear cables . No real sonic weaknesses that I can detect and no reliability problems . 

jackfish
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Emotiva is a direct marketer; they control the design,

manufacturing and distribution of their products. Anything sold by a dealer will have a markup margin for the distributor and retailer. Because of this Emotiva generally performs well above its price point. Competently designed, 30-day guarantee, a five year warranty and very good customer service. Emotiva is no more low end than Cambridge Audio, Rotel or NAD often outperforming them.

tmsorosk
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?

Don't all makers have control over there design , manufacturing and distribution ?

All makers have marketing and distribution costs whether they sell direct or threw retailers .

jackfish
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Actually, no, not all manufacturers have complete control

over design, manufacturing and distribution. Many electronics are not designed by the brand company, many companies have weak quality control/assurance over the manufacturer, and try as they may to control the flow of units all the way to the consumer, many lose control of distribution once products leave the warehouse. Marketing and distribution costs are much less for direct marketers than for products found at many brick and mortar stores or even sold by online retailers.

tmsorosk
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Cost

 No offence jack , but in my experience direct marketing is used by startup companies and is not cheaper ,  there care and control over manufactured products is most often significantly reduced . 

 

Consumers are often taken in by direct marketing claims . 

jackfish
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None meant, none taken.

But Emotiva is hardly a startup company. They have been in business for 9 years, saw 457% growth in the last three years with sales of $7.7 million in 2011. Founder Dan Laufman had been designing and manufacturing equipment for some well known hifi companies for decades before deciding to do things a different way, delivering hifi at low prices.

Here is the language Emotiva uses to "take in" consumers:

21st Century Sales Model.

In the old days, you went down to the audio store to check out gear from a number of different manufacturers. Today, that store is probably gone. When was the last time you took a trip to the computer store? When was the last time you bought one online? It's the same for Emotiva. We sell direct, online—a 21st Century sales model which allows much lower prices for you.

Efficient Design and Manufacturing.

All Emotiva products are designed and engineered at our facilities in Tennessee, and then manufactured in efficient factories worldwide. The majority of our products are made in China - just like an Apple® computer. Our close relationships with our manufacturing partners result in an exceptional quality product, for a stunningly low price.

 

I own Emotiva equiipment, it is no secret. But I listened to a lot of other stuff that cost much more in Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Chicago, and some of it auditioned at home, and in comparison found good performance and value from Emotiva. People can find out for themselves with in home auditions, and only be out return shipping for the price to audition.

And consumers aren't taken in by the claims of big name audio and the dealers that sell for them? Ha!

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