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the_chewtoy
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A little amplifier help . . .

Good evening, all--

I was hoping for a little advice with regards to a new amplifier. I am looking for something with good power and clean sound at both extremes of the hearing range. I'm also hopelessly out of date on current equipment, so I figured this might be a good place to start.

I'm running some old speakers that I love--the B&W Matrix 801s Series 3. They're huge, they're old, they're power hogs . . . and yet I still love the sound. I forget the exact specification, but they are something like 12-28,000 HZ at -3db, so I'd like to find an amp that will cater to the upper and lower ranges as needed.

So . . . I'm guessing at least 200+ watts, clean pass-through from a pre-amp, and nimble enough for a variety of source material--movies, classical, rock, metal, opera, etc. I know it's a lot to ask, but . . . anything under the $2k range? I'd rather not blow $25k on an amp! :)

Thank you, folks.

Chew

jackfish
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You can try the Emotiva components in your own room

with your own equipment and return them within thirty days for a full purchase price refund if you don't like them. The B&W Matrix 801 Series 3 has a frequency response of 32Hz - 20kHz ± 3dB on reference axis and a sensitivity of 87dB spl 2.87v 1m. Most Emotiva amps have a frequency response of at least 10Hz - 80kHz -3dB and will provide rated power into 20Hz - 20kHz ± 0.1dB. More than enough for "for the upper and lower ranges as needed."

You could get the USP-1 preamplifier and the XPR-2 (600 wpc), two XPA-1 (500 watts x 2), or XPA-2 (300 wpc) power amplifers delivered for $1818, $2067 and $1048, respectively

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/preamplifiers/preamplifiers-reviews/emotiva-usp-1-stereo-preamplifier.html

http://www.tonepublications.com/review/the-emotiva-usp-1-preamplifier-and-upa-1-amplifiers/

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/power-amplifiers/power-amplifiers-reviews/a-secrets-power-amplifier-review89.html

http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue58/emotiva_xpa.htm

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/power-amplifiers/power-amplifiers-reviews/a-secrets-power-amplifier-review98.html

No reviews on the new XPR amps, but the first impressions have been favorable. http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/amplifiers/emotiva-xpr-2-pre

.

the_chewtoy
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Thank you, Jackfish--I'd

Thank you, Jackfish--I'd considered the Emotiva amps, but thought I'd see what everyone here suggested.  I've seen people post here that either love or loathe Emotiva amps, so I was curious to see what the general concensus was.

Chewtoy

jackfish
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Again, why take my word for it?

you can find out for yourself and only be out return shipping as an audition charge.

 

If you can use an integrated amp, the Anthem 225 Integrated sounds good for the price.

hcsunshine
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on amplifiers...

i would also go with emotiva. except i would go with (2) XPA-100 which is 250 watts and is on sale now for $379. 

commsysman
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AMPLIFIER

To get the performance that those speakers are capable of, I would suggest a high-quality amplifier. The Emotiva amplifiers are certainly a cut above the Japanese home-theater trash, but best decribed as "so-so" when it comes to actual sound quality IMO.

I am running a Bryston 3B-SST2, and it is as good an amplifier as you can get, at least for its $4000 price tag. It will have no at all problem driving those speakers. Bryston also gives a 20-year warranty and has been known to do repairs and upgrades on even older equipment for very nominal prices. No one supports their products like Bryston.

I am using it with an Audio Research LS-26 preamp, which I think is one of the best ever made. The current model LS-27 is the same configuration, with a few upgrades, and sells for $7000.

The Vincent power amplifiers, which have plenty of power and are less expensive than Bryston, get high marks from The Absolute Sound. To stay under $2000, the SP-331 for $1300 could be about as good as it gets.

 

 

the_chewtoy wrote:

Good evening, all-- I was hoping for a little advice with regards to a new amplifier. I am looking for something with good power and clean sound at both extremes of the hearing range. I'm also hopelessly out of date on current equipment, so I figured this might be a good place to start. I'm running some old speakers that I love--the B&W Matrix 801s Series 3. They're huge, they're old, they're power hogs . . . and yet I still love the sound. I forget the exact specification, but they are something like 12-28,000 HZ at -3db, so I'd like to find an amp that will cater to the upper and lower ranges as needed. So . . . I'm guessing at least 200+ watts, clean pass-through from a pre-amp, and nimble enough for a variety of source material--movies, classical, rock, metal, opera, etc. I know it's a lot to ask, but . . . anything under the $2k range? I'd rather not blow $25k on an amp! :) Thank you, folks. Chew

the_chewtoy
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Thank you again to all of you

Thank you again to all of you for the suggestions.  I've been reading up on the amps suggested (and their relative prices), and I'm leaning towards the Emotiva right now.  As Jackfish noted, I can always ship it back if I don't like it!  The Bryston was an interesting suggestion, but after reading all the reviews I could find, and looking at the wattage, I'd have some concerns about how hard I might be driving the amp on a regular basis.

I'm in the process of registering on the Emotiva site to post in their forums, but I was wondering if anyone here had any experience or comments on the differences between the XPR-2 and XPA-2 (besides the obvious wattage variance between the two models).  The XPR-2 seems to be pretty darn new, and I haven't found a lot of literature on it. 

Hope everyone's having a great weekend!

Chewtoy

jackfish
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XPR-2 XPA-2

The XPA-2 is a ClassA/B amplifier with balanced and unbalanced inputs. The XPR-2 is a Class A/B with Class H power supply topology and dual differential balanced outputs. I would guess that peak power of the XPR series is much higher as a percentage of rated power than the XPA-2.

commsysman
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AMPLIFIER

The Bryston 3B- is conservatively rated at 250 watts per  channel at 4 ohms.

You wouldn't use half of that power if you were blowing out the windows...lol. It will loaf.

Also the 4B-SST2 is rated for 500 watts per channel and is around $5000.

But like you say, you can try the Emotiva, and if that satisfies you, you have a cheap deal.

 

 

the_chewtoy wrote:

Thank you again to all of you for the suggestions.  I've been reading up on the amps suggested (and their relative prices), and I'm leaning towards the Emotiva right now.  As Jackfish noted, I can always ship it back if I don't like it!  The Bryston was an interesting suggestion, but after reading all the reviews I could find, and looking at the wattage, I'd have some concerns about how hard I might be driving the amp on a regular basis.

I'm in the process of registering on the Emotiva site to post in their forums, but I was wondering if anyone here had any experience or comments on the differences between the XPR-2 and XPA-2 (besides the obvious wattage variance between the two models).  The XPR-2 seems to be pretty darn new, and I haven't found a lot of literature on it. 

Hope everyone's having a great weekend!

Chewtoy

hcsunshine
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hey commsysman...

just wondering exactly what it is about the emotiva sound that you don't like. i have pretty good ears, then i could listen for it with my UPA-1's. thanks again.

the_chewtoy
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Hey, Jackfish-- Just out of

Hey, Jackfish--

Just out of curiousity, sir--if I were to increase the price range up to about 4k, would you still recommend the emotiva?  Or would you be more inclined to consider the Byrston Commsysman recommends.

I'm still leaning towards the Emotiva, but I was looking into the Bryston 4B-SST2.  I can't help but think if the Emotiva and Bryston are largely equivalent, there are better upgrades I could be making with the additional cash.

Thank ya, sir!

Chew

jackfish
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In my opinion there is a marginal difference between a

Bryston 4B-SST2 and an Emotiva XPR-2. The Bryston sound is certainly not $3,500 better than the Emotiva. Just think what one would add to the cost of a piece to provide a 20 year warranty. If you want to pay for a 20 year warranty then get the Bryston. If you want a good sounding amplifier at a great price that still has a 5 year warranty then get the Emotiva.

 

I've heard the Bryston 4B-ST and Emotiva XPA-2 and thought the XPA-2 sounded every bit as good as the 4B-ST. I would expect the same comparing the 4B-SST2 to the XPR-2. Get an XPR-2 and audition it in your own home and then listen to a Bryston somewhere with comparable complementary equipment and see if you want to spend $3,500 more.

jgossman
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Another no for Emotiva

Compared to what's available at or just stretching his range, he can dust them.

I agree with Comm on this one, mostly.  If you are stuck on solid state, go with Bryston or Rotel.  If you are into tubes and patient and able to do your own repairs, my experience with a 40 WPC Golden Tube Audio SE-40 on my Matrix 3 S 2's has been remarkable.  I have heard few amps more natural and detailed through the vocal range.  In that price range, you can buy 2 of them, replace all the tubes and undervalued parts that give them a bad name for reliablity, and run them at 80 wpc in mono, and, with all respect to Comm trounce the Bryston in MOST but not EVERY respect.  And still probably have a little cash left over to upgrade the interstage and coupling caps, which take them to a furher level.

I don't know him personally, but have participated in this board long enough to ensure Jackfish is not an Emotiva employee, and his heart is definately in the right place.  I just know from experience, watts ain't watts.  And Emotiva can be beat.  The entry level (2500, I think) Vincent power amp will trounce them, and doesn't stretch your budget by much.

rob80bTO
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Emotiva, not entry level, just the price.

Thought I’d add my 2 cents worth on Emotiva as I've recently been  putting a USP-1 and an XPA-200 through their paces againt my Bryston gear.

Just a little history though, I’ve been a long time Bryston user, since the mid 80’s to be exact and a music lover/audipophile since the late sixties; for the last few years I have had a Bryston BP25P, 4BSST and a BCD-1 running my Dynaudio Special 25s (all respectable equipment) but recently got into HT so added an Emotiva UMC-1 last spring, next to follow was the Emotiva UPA1 mono amp (replaced a 3BST) to power the Contour Centre and does an admirable job matching the 4BSST.

Next, thought I’d also give Emotiva’s USP-1 pre with the HT bypass a try as I’m also employing a Velodyne SMS-1/ SPL1500R for base reinforcement, needless to say I’ve found the affordable USP-1 did a stellar job, both with line stages and vinyl, so much so that I sold the Bryston BP25P pre.

And a few weeks ago I added an Emotiva UPA-2 (125watts 8 ohm/ 185watts 4 ohms) to power the Dynaudio Contour 1.3MKIIs surrounds as my little Bryston 2BLP pro (100watts 4 ohm) would overheat and shut down with heavy soundtracks (the latest Batman for example), but in the interim tried out the UPA-2 running the mains just to see how well it faired, petty good I may add. I was so impressed with the sound quality (maybe the EMOs just handle 4 ohm loads so well) I then ordered the XPA-200 and have spent the last week running it heavily against my 4BSST.

In my 10 x 15’ the XPA-200 had no problems competing with the Bryston’s 500 watts at 4 ohms, where I felt the UPA-2 was good the XPA-200 was even better and I could easily live with it as my main amp.

Overall the UPA-1 and XPA-200 make a formidable musical pair, the UPA-1 is an excellent arbitrator between source and the amp and the combo does indeed sound sweet and dynamic matching the Bryston BP25P/4BSST combo.

Basically both systems produced a neutral and dynamic sound, the XPA-200 had plenty of reserve for demanding music and movie sound tracks and matched the 4BSST in my room no matter how loud it got, the top end of both were extended and clean with no strain.

The USP-1 paired with either the XPA-200 or 4BSST produced a credible sound stage in width, height and depth, which was a nice surprise as I always found my Bryston BP25P more 2 dimensional lacking depth with the Dyns, base was solid and well articulated with good extension, while treble had plenty of air and delicacy. The mid range showed the neutrality of both amps as they were like chameleons, each recording clearly being distinctive from the next.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a Bryston diehard and their legendary construction is hard to compete with, I’m also Canadian so quite proud of our home-grown offerings

But I’ll go out on a limb and say that the XPA-200 would compete sound wise with the Bryston 3BSST seeing that I could not hear a concern able difference between the XPA-200 (240watt/4ohm) and the 4BSST (500 watts/4ohm) after days of comparisons with different types of music or dts hd Master Audio soundtracks.

The XPA-200 for a smaller sized amp does have 90,000 uF of secondary storage capacitance though, if that indeed makes a difference.

The Emotiva gear is very well constructed and a definite step above most, its just not medical grade, nor steel toed proofed.

Problem is, Emotiva have turned my conception upside down of how much good to excellent audio gear should cost, ok it’s made in China but so is almost everything else these days.

No, I really have to applaud Dan Laufman and his team in their efforts to produce affordable high-end gear for real people and for bringing the high-end off their hobbyhorse.

Again just my 2 cents worth.

Note: I quickly sold the UPA-2 so that I could use the XPA-200 for the surrounds, otherwise the XPA-200 would have replaced my 4BSST running the Dynaudio Special 25s up front and then how could I justify a $500 amp replacing a $5000 amp running $6000 speakers, it just does not add up!!!

Robert

Toronto, Canada

jackfish
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Nice to hear from another person

who has actually heard both Bryston and Emotiva amplifiers.

rob80bTO
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It was an interesting

It was an interesting comparison, and I believe that it showed that the Emotiva gear scales quite well as the Dynaudio Special 25s are fairly revealing of anything upstream, meaning the affordable Emos can be used in a higher end system without reservations.

And, as the Bryston SST series improved on the STs with the newer and more robust output devices (transistors), the XPA-200 showed a similar improvement over the UPA-2, again most notably with the higher frequencies, although I’m not familiar enough with Emotiva’s electronics to know if there was the implementation of better (new improved) or higher grade components in their newer series amps.

But overall it is interesting that Bryston is mentioned quite often when the discussion is about Emotiva amps but in controversy; I have found them strikingly similar, both being very neutral with their handling of the input signal, extremely clean and with plenty of reserve.

Now if we can only convince Bryston to manufacture off shore and sell direct, also saves on duty and shipping from the states for us Canadians ehhh! (only joking angry) but in all seriousness, forget about the price, given Emotiva’s manufacturing and distribution model and their philosophy and comitment towards quality audio, IMHO I see them up there competing with the big boys.

But if we want to consider budget gear, what about that Pioneer 100 watt per channel 7.1 AV receiver on sale for $249yes, $499 for a 2-channel amp, relatively speaking, maybe is still too expensive.  frown

rob80bTO
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Just a short follow up. With

Just a short follow up.

With a few extra weeks of listening under my belt I still feel the Emotiva XP-200 s still excellent value but would have to concede that it does fall slightly behind the Brystons, which manage to squeeze that last bit of harmonic detail from the music adding an ounce more of realism to the overall reproduced sound.

Although, if not for the highly revealing nature of the Dynaudio Esotar tweeters in the Special 25s I’m sure most would be extremely hard pressed to differentiate between the two amps.

The Emotiva USP-1 pre-amp though is still up there with my initial observations.

 

Robert

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If I were a electrical designer..

I would take a Bryston amplifier from 7-10 years ago and replicate it, switching out the transformer for a better one or otherwise making a subtle change to keep up with whats current on the market. Of course, I would not use exacting part numbers and change things up some with reference to where I put it..but when you have a $3500 amp and need to compete with it..given 7-10 years in the ever changing electrical components market (for which I worked for Avnet for 8 years in the 1990's and saw how remarkably PCB board level components price-dropped over time) that 8-year old $3500 amp can be sold for $1500 today.

My point is that a tiroidial transformer was not really even a possibilty for a $1500 amp in 2005, but now, they are seen in just about everything over $700. Hence, take an 8-year old Bryston Amp and match it up with a brand new Emotiva Amp and you are likely talking oranges to oranges. No?

rob80bTO
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Pretty close, not to mention

Pretty close, not to mention the advancement of the output transistors and to be honest I’m not totally sure if my final observations upon further listening are not psycho-acoustic in nature.

 

Emotiva’s current offering, their XPA-1L class A amp at $699 looks very intriguing and not just for the Class A operation, construction looks up to par and I may give them a run once the bugs in the first production run are ironed out.

 

http://emotivalounge.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=amps&action=display&thread=25855&page=1

http://shop.emotiva.com/collections/amplifiers/products/xpa-1l

gStellar
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Emotiva XPR-2 rocks!!!

Hello All,

I did not see any reviews on the Emotiva XPR-2 amp, so since I just ordered one and listened to it, I'll post my own opinion.

Firs of all I have to say that in the past and present I did not select my components based on price, but simply always tried to get the best out there, -money no object...

I attended several CIS shows to listen to all the best out there, speakers, preamps, amps, subs, etc...

Currently I run probably the biggest and in my opinion the best speakers out there, and probably at an original  list price of $248,000 the most expensive ones as well, the Genesis 1.1 giant two tower beasts. The bass towers have their own Genesis amp to drive them, and uptill now I had tried Bryston 4BSST, and later on Genesis Advanced Technologies own Reference Digital Amp GR360 with Maximum Dynamic Headroom Reservoir (MDHR) connected to it. They all sounded pretty damned good to excellent. I never complained, maybe my neighbors a little bit...               Runniing these amps from my Integra DHC 80.3, and Cambridge Audio's DacMagic Plus DAC.

Recently I had a horrible power surge in my system, and had to send in the Genesis Amp, the power supply and the HDMR for repair. They told me it will take weeks or more to get the repaired stuff back. Of course I coud not wait that long withourt music, so I ordered an Emotiva XPR-2 to hold me over the waiting period. I got the 100 pound moster in a few days after ordering, I hooked it up and I was in for a big surprise!!!

I got to hear my speakers like I never heard them before. The sound was robost, clean, dynamic, and highly detailed. I could turn up the volume to levels that the roof was shaking, but the music without any distortion. I could not get up from my couch to stop listening. I enjoyed my music like never before! I believe I sat there for 5 hours before I coud move.

How can this be possible? A $1,800 amp replacing a $12,000 amp and power dynamic enhancer combo, running a +$200K speaker system, and I prefer the low cost XPR-2 over them?

OK, I'm sold. Emotiva XPR-2 knocks my socks off, and definitely my neighbors as well. Yes, I needed to install a separate 20Amp outlet for the XPR, but at a $300 extra investment it was more than worth it.

I incurage anyone who is dreaming of an amazing amp at an unbeliiavably reasonable price, to get the XPR-2 or if you think you need two monoblocks, then two XPR-1-s.

I do not know anyone at Emotiva, and I do not work for them for sure. My opinion is the great truth without any influence by anyone.

I felt I'm obligated to share it with you all.

You won't have to believe me, but those who will, they will not be sorry!!!

Enjoy your ears!

gStellar

earwaxxer
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no doubts with gStellar...

I can agree with the above comment, and, its a shame there are not any reviews of this amp out there! I have the XPA-2 - the XPR's baby brother. Flat out fantastic amp. I happened on this thread because I was fishing around to see if there were any reviews of the XPR-2. I have a much more humble set up with Maggies, iFi iDSD and laptop as the front end. I love the XPA. The XPR HAS to be a HOOT! - so come on reviewers - get on this please!

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