My XPA-1's Review Mar 21, 2010 14:08:08 GMT -5
Post by ny1pr2009 on Mar 21, 2010 14:08:08 GMT -5
My two channel audio system consists of,
Parasound Halo P3 Preamplier(to be replace by the Emotiva XPA-2)
Marantz 8003 SACD/CD Player
Emotiva XPA-1 Monoblocks
Dali Helicon 800 MK1 Full Range Speakers
Acoustic Zen Silver Reference II Interconnects (RCA) from CD player to Preamp
Acoustic Zen Matrix Reference II (XLR) from preamp to Emotiva Monoblocks
Acoustic Zen Satori Shotgun 6ft. biwired per speaker from Monoblocks to Dalis Helicon 800
Acoustic Zen Tsunami Plus Power Cords 6ft. (4) for monoblocks,preamp and cd player
RGPC 400 Pro connected to the Emotiva XPA-1 monoblocks
Let me first start by saying that I have been an audiophile for more than then years. In those many years I have owned or auditioned many high end audio equipment including many high end stereo and monoblock amplifiers.
In those years I have had the privilege of owning a pair of Parasound Halo JC1 monoblocks, Shengya/Vincent SP-991 monoblocks,Odyssey Stratos Extremes,Krell FPB 350cx,Bryston 7B SST2, Treshold S/7000E monoblocks and of course currently a pair of Emotiva XPA-1 monoblocks.
I have auditioned others like the Mark Levinsons, Krells Evolution Line,Pass Labs, but not for a long period of time to make fair comparison to the XPA-1's so I am not even consider those.
After owning the Emotiva XPA-2 for a while and recognizing that for its value it is a great performer and outstanding stereo amplifier I wanted to give the XPA-1's a try.
Since I purchased mine already used from the original owner I didn't have to go thru the 200+ hours of break in period that I like to give an amplifier before making a review.
I want to make one thing clear. Every amplifier or any audio enquipment will have the tendency of sounding different from one system to another so this review is base of course from my system and from my own experience.
Here in my home I always have a specific collection of many Redbook Cds,XR24cds,SACD's and HDCD's that I used when I want to have a listening session or when testing an audio equipment so I know exactly what sounds to look for in any specific song.
I am not going to write a detail review of each song, artist or label because that will take to long. All I can say is that many of the cds that I use are from Latin(salsa,bachata,regueton,bolero,merengue), Jazz, Soft Rock,Classical,R&B and sountracks.
Let me just start by saying that the XPA-1 Monoblocks are really beautiful amps. I changed the silver trims on mines to black. I think it gives them a more professional expensier look to them.
My first listening impression was one of amaze!! The first thing I noticed was how cristal clear these amps sound. Every detail in every instrument was so clear and natural that you can close your eyes and feel that you are right in front of the instrumens.
With the XPA-1's I noticed that the highs sounded silky,with a smooth midrange and an extraordinary sense of dynamics.
The XP'1s produced a well defined,well focused image and a tremendous wide and deep soundstage. It reminds me of the Parasound Halo JC1 and the Vincent SP-991 in that respect as sounding natural but the Emotiva XPA'1' are more detailed and clear that those two I have mentioned.
The Parasound Halo JC1's and the Vincent SP-991 are very good monoblocks. No doubt about them. But they do not posses the clarity and well defined focus of the XPA-1's. I found the JC1 and the SP-991 to be more of a laid back and neutral sounding amplifiers.
See in my own experience an audio piece of equipment has to do with great balance and not neutrality.To some this may be important but to me it is more about the way an amplifier conveys the music in a way that it is not to far towards warm and rich but clear and natural and this is where the XPA-1's come in.
See when I had the Krells monoblocks, I felt that to me they had the tendency of sounding to forward and bright in a sense. I never felt that they were involving amps. I have a few friends that owned the same amps and felt the same way. Im not saying that they are not good amplifiers, I am just saying that to me they did not do anything in my system.
That is why I fine these XPA-1 monoblocks so amazing. It's their ability to throw precise images of an instrument , a singer or a passage into a wide and deep soundstage in such a transparent, natural and clear way that have not experience in other monoblocks before.
On the bass extension I can honestly say that these monoblocks produce a very well defined tight deep low frequencies. These XPA-1's provided fast deep bass with good pitch definition.The bass performance was outstanding with every recording I played. These XPA-1's reminded me of the bass of the Parasound JC1's monoblocks but the XPA-1's have more definition and are more articulate.
They make my Dalis Helicon 800 full range speakers sound their best and that is why I am so happy with these monoblocks.
I know that any amplifier whether tubed,solid state,stereo or mono is not going to be perfect because that will all depends in the system that its been used as well as the reviewer, but I can honestly say that these XPA-1's monoblocks are very close to be the perfect amplifiers due mostly in the way the music is presented to the listener.
There may be more expensive and "perhaps" slightly better sounding amplifiers and I am saying "slightly better" because in order to find a better sound you will have to spend well over $10K and I still doubt very much that it will be that much better.
I have fallen in love with their transparency ,clarity,well defined deep and wide soundstage and their deep tight bass extension.
I am not in any way bashing any of the previous amplifiers I have owned or auditiond because in their own way they are great amps and as great amps they are so its their cost. Besides it is always up to the listener to decide what is the best sounding amp to their ears.
But what I can certaintly say is that The Emotiva XPA-1 monoblocks can compete toe to toe with many high end amps offering a much better performance and sound without having to pay those "high end prices".
The XPA-1's Monoblocks are indeed a Trully High End Audiophile pair of Monoblocks. And I am very proud to own a pair!!
Best to all,