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nimikipod
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Need help choosing the best amplification for my setup and future upgrades

Hey guys,

My name is hagay and i'm from israel. i'm a long time reader but this is my first actual post at this forum. Currently, i don't have the space for two seperate systems (one for stereo and one for my home-theater) and i need an "allrounder" system that will handle anything i throw at it with style and grace.

I'm currently using a full set of Morel speakers - Morel Octave, siganture edition (including the sub units, center channel and rears) - please bare in mind that they are all 4 ohm speakers

also,for now, i'm using an Emotiva UMC-1 as a pre/processor (as a part of an upgrade plan for the future XMC-1 processor)

for amplification, i'm using an Audio Refinement multi-5 for the center channel and all the other surround speakers and until today i was using a sunfire signature 600 for the main speakers. i had to sell the sunfire because it stays on all the time and my wife was worried about our toddler always climbing on the stand.

anyhow, i need to find a amplifier for my front speakers - with the subs, they require alot of power and they are working on 4 ohm load.

i had searched all of our local second hand market and these are my options (based on my limited budget):

1. a pair of emotiva XPA-1 (4 months old - Huge !! do i need that ?)
2. a pair of Jeff Roland 201 monoblocks (2005- edition)
3. a pair of Nuforce v9se V.2
4. an AMR AM-777 (integrated with HT bypass)
5. a perreaux audiant 80i (integrated with HT bypass)
6. parasound Halo A21

thats it for now.. What do you guys think about those amps ? which would be better for my current setup ? which would be best for future upgrade to a bigger priceier set of speakers ?

due to them being second hand and the price may vary, can you sort them out from best to worst ?

is there any other option i should consider ?

thanks you guys for all your help.

jackfish
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The Emotiva XPA-1s can control just about any

loudspeaker made. When you eventually get the XMC-1 you can also hopefully get an XSP-1 and have a very robust HT with HT bypass for your two channel listening. Obviously, some of the other pieces you list are very competent as well.

nimikipod
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so far the XPA's are my

so far the XPA's are my favorite also, just wanted to know if i actually need them or should i go for the other more "safe"/musical/known brand choices.

any other idea's ?

jgossman
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Just so you know...

Fish works for Emotiva but refuses to admit it.. :-)

jgossman
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But on a serious note..

I've heard both and lived with Rotel..  You can find a Rotel RB981 on eBay for anywhere from 50.00 to 300.00 depending on condition.  If you need 3 of them, you're looking at 900.00.  That doesn't even open the can of worms known as the Adcom GFA series.  At that price point, Musical Fidelity, Threshold, Nakamichi PA5 and PA7, Pass Labs, Hafler, or even a 5 channel Audio Refinement, Magnum, etc.. and so on.  Realizing these forums have become an Emotiva love fest, you can buy lightly used and blow Emotiva out of the water.  And that's no disrespect to them, but they weren't the first company to build killer SS equipment at a fair price, and they won't be the last.

nimikipod
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do you really think that a

do you really think that a rotel 981 is on par with the XPA-1 ? those are amps from the late 90's..

I know that every once in a while, a new company comes along with lots of promisses to bring the best value for money.. i don't really care.. as long as it is a good amp, with both build quality and sonic abilities.

if we go back to my original post, out of the 6 amps i can buy (for my 4 ohm speakers), which would you choose ? why ?

thanks ! 

jgossman
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Well...

Yeah.  I've been in the hobby quite a while now.  The people telling you there have been huge advancements in topology are amp manufacturers. Rotel amps have always been really great.  The RB series of power amps are about as good as you can get until you get in the 2k range.  There are lots of reasons to go with new equipment.  Warranty, buying a matching system, etc.  They are all good reasons.  For everyone who thinks Emotiva hung the moon because they are inexpensive, there are people using old Rotels and Krells and Haflers etc..  Not because there is anything wrong with Emotiva, but because we've listened and they simply sound better. 

Really the main thing that's happened since the 90's when I became really interested in audio are new bi-polar and hi power J-fets that behave more like valves, giving the linearity of valves and mosfets in low feedback topologies.  This is a very good thing for amp designers, especially for entry level integrateds.  But at the end of the day ohms law hasn't changed.  And aside from digital amps, analog topologies haven't changed THAT much since the Williamson PP circuit changed the way we drove the then new acoustic suspension loudspeaker systems, which required 10+ watts due to thier inefficiency.  And that was before many people in this hobby were alive.

I don't say all this to sound like Cliff Clayborn, I'm simply saying you should realize that audio is probably the most well established, well engineered hobby short of astronomy or high-end computing for Gods sake.  Don't assume based on what some poster on Stereophile says. Educate yourself and then listen.

jgossman
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The 4 Ohm load..

Doesn't scare me.  There hasn't been an amp mentioned here that scares me.

nimikipod
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But..

I had two rotel amps (971's) that drove my acoustic energy 309's  as monoblocks in a previous setup.

they were great amps with lots of gruntt but they were too neutral and boring for my taste. 

The sunfire signature 600 was a good amp and i'm very sorry that i had to replace it. i loved everything about it.. the clarity, the dynamics and the headroom. i guess thats the reason i'm looking at powerful amps such as the XPA-1.

do you have any actuall experience with Emotiva brand in general or with the XPA-1's ? any experience with the other amps that i mentioned ? (that actually available near me).

thanks. 

jgossman
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Not a lot...

I've only heard them once but I trust the ears of others who have heard them and weren't impressed.  Again, I'm not saying they aren't fine, I'm saying there are better buys out there.

nimikipod
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Can you ?

Can you please direct me to those other epinions that weren't impressed with the XPA-1's (really like to know what to look for before i go and audition them myself  in 3-4 hours)

also, is there any chance one of the amps i mentioned in the first post will be the "better buy" ? which ?

jackfish
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I don't expect an apology from jgossman, but he is being

patently unfair in his characterization of me and others who offer Emotiva as an option. By all means listen before you buy.  All of the pieces you list in the original post have their attributes. Go listen to the Emotiva XPA-1s, and then listen to the others. Then choose the amplifier that sounds the best to you, offers the features you want, and is the best value for you. Yes, there is a possiblity that one of the others offers a better value. The Parasound Halo A21 is a very nice amplifier. But you should listen and then weigh all the factors in your decision. jgossman wants you to trust the ears of someone you don't even know, but then derides people here who also make recommendations. What a hypocrite!

And no, I don't think the Rotel RB981 has anywhere near the sound quality of the Emotiva XPA-1. And to say you can buy lightly used to "blow Emotiva out of the water" is subjective blather. Go listen to the Emotiva XPA-1s, then to the others, and you decide which you prefer.

nimikipod
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I'm auditioninig the XPA's

I'm auditioninig the XPA's in a few hours. i'm a bit biased because i allready own emotiva gear but i'll try my best to be objective.

 

commsysman
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AMPLIFIER

I think that the parasound A21 is IMO by far the best-sounding amplifier on that list.

Another excellent one is the Vincent SP-331, but I don't know if you can get that there.

Emotiva is good, but IMO not anywhere near in the class of the Vincent or Parasound A21.

BTW- I don't like the sound of the Parasound A23 at all (or most of their other amps).

jgossman
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Nope

I won't apologize, because I didn't say anything unfair.  You may feel it's unfair that anyone dare assault your chosen golden calf, but the guy was looking for honest opinions.  And no, I can't say that I don't think that amps (several mentioned) that are smooth as silk, detailed, and dead neutral are both better options and better values.  I mentioned the RB981 because I lived with it for years driving several speakers of decidedly different design and it never flinched.  I wish I hadn't sold it.  But alas...

I mostly won't apologize because I never issued a criticism of the XPA.  I'm sure it's a fine amp.  The question wasn't "is this a fine amp?".  The question was "is this the best amp for the money?".  No.. it's probably not.

If you don't want a vintage Rotel, Hafler, Threshold, Krell, etc., that's fine.  Commsysman hit the nail on the head with the Vincent.  I do have several hours of experience with that and several speakers and it really is about as good as you can get - and a far bit toward as good as I've heard regardless of price.  It's just that good.

And as some should always be reminded..  Loosen up, it's just audio equipment.

nimikipod
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Hey, I got to audition the

Hey,

I got to audition the parasound, the 201 mono's and the XPA's on saturday. after a quick audition i took the 201's from the seller and left him with a check (the deal was that if i'm not returning it by next saturday in perfect condition, that means that i bought it and he can deposit/cash the check. after i left his house (with the 201's), i went to audition the XPA's and do a shootout between them.

the result ? well. the XPA won hands down almost from the start (both were used units and allready broken-in). while the 201's suprises you with a great powerful sound from such small units. it doesn't wow you like the XPA. the noise floor is to die for. it seems like they never run out of power and they kept it "together" even with the most hard/noisy/messy tracks i know (rock). the 201's are great for impression and they even sound good with simple (not to manty instruments) music, but once the music gets complicated it lost focus and went everywhere..

the parasound was actually good but the price wasn't right and the sound was a bit to "warm" for me.

i took the 201's back and bought the XPA-1. to me it was the best choice. i was a bit biased from the get go but i tried my best to be objective. the guy i bought the XPA's had a CLASSE 600 monoblocks before the xpa's and he says the allthough the classe did sound better at certain music/tracks, it wasn't worth the 5 times price that it cost. 

thanks for all your help. jgossman, Emotiva Rulles !! :-)

jackfish
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'nuff said

Congratulations nimikipod!

jgossman
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Sigh.....

I guess me and commsysman will have to be alone in not thinking they hung the moon just because they are a few quid cheaper.  BTW, do you ever give a listen to the Vincent?  Are you aware that for most speakers the Audio Refinement you already own is 90% of what it's parent company YBA does in an amplifier?  But I digress.

That said, I have no doubt they are fine amps, I've never heard a complaint.  But I've never heard a complaint about chicken noodle soup, either.

Enjoy.

nimikipod
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I bought the AR very cheap.

I bought the AR very cheap. its a very fine and clear amp and it is going to power the center channel and all the rear channels.

that said, i tried hooking all of my speakers to it but because all of my speakers are 4 ohm load, the amp got very hot after 30 minutes. i guess its not going to last very long working like that.

Emotiva didn't hung the moon. they just got it a little closer. as i said before, there are a lot of amplifiers that are better than the XPA-1, but given the small sonic diffrence, i rather invest my money in better speakers. and no, i'm not planing on emotiva speakers - even if they are good, speakers are the type of gear you buy with your ears, not on-line..

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