What's new

Emotiva XPA-DR2 Amplifier Home Audition - Maybe This Is Enough Power (1 Viewer)

JohnRice

Bounded In a Nutshell
Supporter
Ambassador
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2000
Messages
15,288
Location
A Mile High
Real Name
John
Approximately 27 years ago I bought the speakers that I still use in my HT today. They're Thiel CS3.6, which are legendary for being hard on amps. They are incredibly hard to drive, but they sound amazing and I could never afford something of their caliber at current prices. In the time I've had them, they've sent two amps to an early grave. First was an Aragon 4004 mkII, which is no lightweight amp, and most recently is an Emotiva XPA-2, also not a lightweight, rated at 500WPC at the Thiel's 4 Ohm. Both suffered the same failure, most likely due to simply being driven to death. Remember, that's two amps in 27 years, so I hope nobody chimes in with comments of what a waste external amps are. (...you know who you are...:cool:)

So, I've been trying to decide over the last several months which way to go with a new amp. I narrowed it down to two in my price range. A Parasound Halo A23+, or another Emotiva, the XPA-DR2. In theory, the Parasound should be an ideal match to the sound of the Thiels, though it's power is lower than the two previous amps. I simply can't and won't spend the $ for the higher power Halo A21+. Where the Parasound is a classic, high bias A/B design, the Emotiva is a much higher tech, "experimental" A/B design with a highly efficient (and controversial) switching power supply. The upside is (for tech geeks) it's fully balanced from input to output, and since the rest of my system is also balanced, there's a theoretical audio benefit. It's also massively powerful, being able to send 1,000 watts to a single channel, or 800 watts to both at 4 Ohm.

Anyway, the Emotiva arrives tomorrow. I'll give it a few days to burn in before really evaluating it, but I'm looking forward to finding out if I made the right decision.
 

John Dirk

Premium
Ambassador
Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 7, 2000
Messages
5,294
Location
ATL
Real Name
JOHN
So not a true class D design, just switched power supplies used to provide linear DC voltage to the A/B circuits. I assume the Emotiva will also have built-in voltage regulation typical of this design which should do a good job of delivering consistent power to your speakers, even at 4 ohms.

Considering the hassle of sending it back let's just say you made the right decision. Congrats! :)
 

JohnRice

Bounded In a Nutshell
Supporter
Ambassador
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2000
Messages
15,288
Location
A Mile High
Real Name
John
Definitely not Class D, which is an entirely different design. It’s Class A/B Output with some razzle dazzle to the power supply to improve the efficiency.
 

JohnRice

Bounded In a Nutshell
Supporter
Ambassador
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2000
Messages
15,288
Location
A Mile High
Real Name
John
BTW, before I get started with the new amp, HERE is a great, concise explanation of amplifier classes from Paul McGowan of PS Audio. My new amp has a Class A/B output, but with some trickery with the power supply that makes it more efficient and lighter. So, as far as this video is concerned it's A/B, but I'll go into how it's different from a traditional design later.
 

Mike2001

Premium
Joined
Mar 25, 2014
Messages
938
Location
LA South Bay
Real Name
Mike
In my recent upgrade, I followed Dave Upton’s advice and got the D-Sonic M3a-5400-7 for the fronts and Atmos speakers and an M3a-800s for the surrounds in a 5.1.4 setup. I am very happy with my results, but since I also upgraded the speakers and the pre/pro at the same time, I can’t really do any A/B comparisons.
 

JohnRice

Bounded In a Nutshell
Supporter
Ambassador
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2000
Messages
15,288
Location
A Mile High
Real Name
John
I would love the opportunity to audition a D-Sonic amplifier, but they are far too expensive for me to give them a blind buy, even with a return guarantee. I just don't like buying and returning stuff. I'm not willing to drop that much money on an experiment.

I'm glad you're happy with yours. Those two amps you mentioned cost over $5,500 total. Too rich for me and far too rich as a trial.
 

JohnRice

Bounded In a Nutshell
Supporter
Ambassador
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2000
Messages
15,288
Location
A Mile High
Real Name
John
I had my first few hours with the amp last night. I've had those speakers for so long, and I've used them with so much different electronic gear, it's always interesting to find what difference a new piece of equipment makes. I was curious to hear what differences there might be as the amp burned in. I started with some music, because it'll be a lot more revealing of subtle differences than movies can.

I didn't know what to expect from a brand new amp. I decided to start with some SACDs played in my Marantz SA8004 SACD player and my Emotiva XSP-1 stereo preamp. My best music source is high res files from HDTracks, played through my Oppo BD-203, to an Emotiva DC-1 DAC and the XSP-1, but I decided to let that wait until the amp is fully burned in. I was struck by how forward and aggressive the amp was out of the box. There was a lot of depth to the soundstage, but not much width. One disc I played was "The Girl in the Other Room" by Diana Krall, and Diana's voice was almost in my face. I also played about half of Mahler's 1st Symphony on Telarc's recording of Benjamin Zander and the Philharmonia Orchestra. Again, lots of depth, but not much width and a little bit of a hole in the middle at times. I'm hoping that will change as the amp burns in.

So, I decided to watch the UHD of Sicario to give the amp a bit of a workout before I went to bed. I also watched the opening 5 minutes of La La Land, for something to show off the sound. Movies are a lot easier and less revealing than music, and both of those sounded excellent. The forwardness of the sound really lent itself to aggressive movie soundtracks.

After the movie, I listened to the SACD of Eric Clapton's 461 Ocean Boulevard and the soundstage seemed to be opening wider, but I need to let the amp burn in more and choose a better recording to really assess things. I have to say, there is an interesting air to the amp. It's very forward and effortless, and it's dead silent when nothing is playing. I put my ear right up to the speaker... nothing... completely silent.
 
Last edited:

JohnRice

Bounded In a Nutshell
Supporter
Ambassador
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2000
Messages
15,288
Location
A Mile High
Real Name
John
Lately I've been working on getting better integration between the sub and main speakers. Why would a new amp make any difference with that, other than a little volume adjustment to compensate for the lower gain of the new amp? I don't know. There must be some phase shift between the two amps. At least that's the only thing I can think of that could cause any difference. I have to get the integration between the two done without any processing, since I also use the system for music using a preamp with no calibration or phase/distance adjustments.

This is really making obvious how much more difficult two channel music audio is to get optimized as opposed to movies. Movies sound awesome.
 
Last edited:

JohnRice

Bounded In a Nutshell
Supporter
Ambassador
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2000
Messages
15,288
Location
A Mile High
Real Name
John
Nearly two months later, a lot of burning in the new amp with movies, fine tuning things, and finally going back to some very demanding music listening, and there are some extremely good things to report. I want to do more listening tomorrow, though.

At the moment, I’m actually surprised how well the XPA-DR2 amp is performing.
 
Last edited:

JohnRice

Bounded In a Nutshell
Supporter
Ambassador
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2000
Messages
15,288
Location
A Mile High
Real Name
John
I believe we have achieved Nirvana.

The imaging I’m getting with this amp and the Thiels is out of this world.
 

JohnRice

Bounded In a Nutshell
Supporter
Ambassador
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2000
Messages
15,288
Location
A Mile High
Real Name
John
Are you using DSP to integrate your subs, or are you doing it manually?
It occurs to me that I can use DSP on the sub without any detriment to the signal to the Thiels, so I’d definitely be open to trying it.
 

Dave Upton

Audiophile
Owner
Moderator
Joined
May 16, 2012
Messages
4,295
Location
Houston, TX
Real Name
Dave Upton
It occurs to me that I can use DSP on the sub without any detriment to the signal to the Thiels, so I’d definitely be open to trying it.
That's what I do. I use a miniDSP crossed over at 80hz, correcting the sub and integration only
 

JohnRice

Bounded In a Nutshell
Supporter
Ambassador
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2000
Messages
15,288
Location
A Mile High
Real Name
John
That's what I do. I use a miniDSP crossed over at 80hz, correcting the sub and integration only
You'll have to tell me more about that. I don't want the DSP to control the crossover. I'd just want to feed the sub output (which can be either balanced or single ended) to it. I currently have an SVS PB12 Plus/2, but I'm planning to get a sealed double 15 of some type. Most likely Rythmik or Seaton, but possibly PowerSound.

I currently use different crossovers for movies and music. Movies are at 80Hz and music is at 50Hz.
 

Dave Upton

Audiophile
Owner
Moderator
Joined
May 16, 2012
Messages
4,295
Location
Houston, TX
Real Name
Dave Upton
You'll have to tell me more about that. I don't want the DSP to control the crossover. I'd just want to feed the sub output (which can be either balanced or single ended) to it. I currently have an SVS PB12 Plus/2, but I'm planning to get a sealed double 15 of some type. Most likely Rythmik or Seaton, but possibly PowerSound.

I currently use different crossovers for movies and music. Movies are at 80Hz and music is at 50Hz.
You can use a 2x4 HD from miniDSP. You can route the full frequency range to your amp, and then only do 80 yards and below with a low pass filter to correct your subs. If you're concerned about that unit affecting the quality of your audio, you could also put it in line between the subs and the main with the right accessories
 

JohnRice

Bounded In a Nutshell
Supporter
Ambassador
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2000
Messages
15,288
Location
A Mile High
Real Name
John
It doesn’t need to be that complicated. I was probably confusing. I’d just feed it the sub output from my XSP-1 Preamp, which has an internal sub crossover.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Forum Sponsors

Forum statistics

Threads
349,134
Messages
4,869,609
Members
142,488
Latest member
Baenwort
Recent bookmarks
0
Top