well about that transformer...the size doesnt mean anything what it pumps out..its the way its built.....i was checking their more upscale models and saw that their Emotiva XPA-3 3-Channel Power Amplifier pumps out 600watts total! and came across this very honest review of an owner who had it for 3 years....it showed me a lot about that BIGGER is not always better..and if u read the last line on this very eyeopening review it confirms me what i always said that quality in sound comes with a price and using his words: 'It turns out that there is no free lunch'.
i totally quote the owner here..and remember i am now quoting someone who has one of their medium upper scale models (799usd)..so it for sure will be a ground rule for their lower range models also!
here it goes:
Everyone is excited to get a new component, but after the excitement fades, what are you left with? How does the amp perform and how's the sound quality? It is a step up from the amps in a receiver, but is that saying much? Let's start from the beginning.
As far as options go, like turn on options, ground lift, gain knob or pass through of signal, it's pretty limited, but it is at the lower end of the price spectrum. You do get XLR vs RCA inputs and 12 volt trigger plus you can turn off some of the LED display, which glows a too bright blue. It is well built, however, and the looks, though somewhat bland, are clean.
The design reveals more. The transformer is a smallish 850va for 600 watts of output. It only has 6 output devices per channel(other brands have 12 for 200-250 watts), and only 60,000 micro farads total (check the farads total on my little weakish headphone amp downstairs..lolz)
But the bottom line is, how does it sound? You can compare stats and specs all day long, but it's the sound that counts. I ran this amp for 3 years and became very familiar with it, listening mostly to music with Paradigm Signature S6 speakers. The amp, while decent for the money, showed its limitations with music. With some recordings I had sibilance issues that wouldn't go away. I also have an Emotiva XDA-1 used as a preamp and their ERC-1 cd player. I tried swapping out the XDA-1 for a denon AVR used as pre. I tried running the amp with just an Oppo 95 as source with volume. I couldn't remove the sibilance until I removed the XPA-3.
I suspect that Emotiva's house sound, which they say is very flat, can create issues with some speakers. When I replaced the amp the sibilance was gone and I also noticed a better soundstage and more accurate bass, both things that I didn't realize I was missing until I put the new amp in. I'd say the XPA line of amps is okay for home theater only, where sibilance is not as much an issue. But for those with extended highs or brighter speakers, this amp would not work at all.
Now, which design is superior? The one that achieves rated power without increased THD, of course. And which one costs more to build? These are areas where Emotiva has cut corners to build more cheaply, and that's fine. But for some owners These XPA amps can produce sibilance and harshness at elevated volume levels. It's probably why their XPR line has bigger power supplies among other things. Lower gain too.
It turns out that there is no free lunch.
and now the piece of resistance...the figures of my eenie weenie weak amp of only 5,28Wpc per channel into 50ohm (compared to the mighty emotiva with 2x50w into 8ohm?) and comparedto the above 600!! watts monster of emotiva i just quoted about..
my new amp with only 5,28watts into 50ohm (see huge external powersupply) will have at least 400,000uF capacity (for a headphone amp!) (dont yet know how much more..but hope to know soon)
and u wont believe this but the NSL (of which my little amp is totally based on, but only has more power and is a speakeramp), with only 28Wpc into 8ohm, pumps out more than 2,000,000uF (or two 2 Farads) of power-supply capacitance..i am guessing that will give u some headroom a transformer pumping out that much costs a fortune!
my point is..again..power is not holy..but its also true that if u NEVER heard a very good amp (see the part of the quote i marked) u will always think ur amp is the best there is... quality in sound comes with a price...ALWAYS..as high quality capacitators or high end handwounded transformers as an example costs huge amounts of money! u wont find those in budget amps and so u miss out..even without u knowing...BUT..only money wont give u bliss..u have to spend ur money wisely to get that balance in ur rig..if possible let it built to the specs so all work in balance with each other...pumping 10000'sends of dollars into a rig not knowing how they will sound together is redicilus...best case scenario is getting a custommade headphone, custommade cables and a custommade amp/dac to go with it..but i also know not many can do that...but i happen to know a person who put 200euro aside of his low paid surveillance night job salary every month for almost 10 years and now has a speaker rig that give u shivers down ur spine if u listen to it..okay last part of the money he got with a better paid job he found afterwards.
.its al about priorities in life sometimes..u cant ever say one amp is the best...best is custommade (by a good builder..like BC or Glenn if u want a perfect sounding handbuilt tube amp)..PERIOD!..if u have the money for it..thats the only way u will get the max of ur he500 or any other higher end phone...as only then u will have the amp that will complement ur phone to the max...
every other amp has its shortcomings..even the expensive excellent sounding ones of cavalli etc..(by the way..dont know if the owner of cavalli actually does custom builts also..)
Edited by hifimanrookie - 2/12/14 at 7:56am