Post by paintedklown on Nov 20, 2010 3:51:12 GMT -5
I suppose I should get a report/review of the XPA-5 in here. I am a bit disappointed in myself and I must apologize in advance for this "review". I had honestly wanted to do a serious "write up" of this amplifier, doing A/B comparisons with the UPA-1 mono-blocks.
What really ended up happening is I didn't quite find the time to sit down, take notes, and do a lot of serious critical listening with (direct) comparisons to the UPA-1s. I had to work on one of my days off, I ended up going out of town on my other day off, and I was so impressed with the XPA-5 that I ended up ordering a pair of XPA-1 mono-blocks to upgrade from the UPA-1s for music/2 ch. listening.
So instead I will give a "Not-so-thorough" review of the XPA-5 amplifier.
Upon receiving the XPA-5 the first thing I noticed (like everyone) was its significant weight. After lugging it around, and getting it settled into my t.v. stand (I know), my back was literally hurting from all the grunting and straining.
Second thing I want to mention is the build quality. Owning the UPA-1s, I thought they had decent enough build quality and had no issues with the terminals or their size. They are perfectly fine IMO. Then I bought the XPA-5. WOW! Now this thing is built like a tank. Super heavy, it seems to be braced on the top or something because the sheet metal on the case felt stiffer and more durable than the UPA-1s. Also, worth noting is the binding posts. Dang! I had saw them mentioned on here prior but I had NO idea...these are a nice upgrade over the U series amps.
Sound wise...well this is where I was simply stunned. As mentioned already in this thread, the headroom on the XPA-5 is extraordinary! This amplifier is flat out phenomenal in this area. Please note that this observation was most significant while running the XPA-5 in two channel mode and at high volumes. Doing this, however, is not recommended. Having said that, I had ZERO issues doing this for extended amounts of time at HIGH volume levels while listening to music. In fact, I find myself listening so loudly that after a while I feel like I am getting an ear-ache in my ears from the sound just pounding!
As for sound QUALITY (as opposed to quantity) this amplifier seems to impart the usual EMO sonic signature on everything, I just felt as if the amplifier seemed less stressed and perhaps a bit more "open", "airy", and "full" sounding...everything had room to breathe and move about on the soundstage. This is a quality that is very difficult to describe but once you hear it, you will know what I am talking about...it makes these amplifiers sound truly wonderful to me.
Ok, movies...I only watched two movies with the XPA-5. Scott Pilgrim and Hot tub time machine. These movies aren't really films that will stretch the limits of your sound system so they weren't really a workout for the XPA-5. One major thing I (and my GF) noticed was that everything (especially dialog) was a LOT cleaner, more articulate, defined, and easier to hear and understand. We both noted that we didn't have to turn the volume as nearly as loud to be able to hear every spoken word, sound effect, and musical note with clarity, precision, and NOT once having to strain...even at fairly lower volumes (baby was in the room with us). This to me was a "WOW, THANK YOU!" moment as I am kind of hard of hearing and always seem to be telling everyone to "turn it up". Or if I am in control of the volume, I am just rocking it...I hate to miss any spoken words or whispers in a movie.
Needless to say, I have been VERY, VERY impressed with the XPA-5 and extremely pleased with my purchase. As I have stated before, I had planned on going with the UPA-5, but when I had the funds ready to go the UPA-5 was out of stock, so I went with its big brother. I am glad I did, knowing what I know now, I feel that I would have been really missing out on the true joy and pleasure I have experienced from the XPA-5 amplifier. If you (or someone you know) is on the fence about which amp to buy...I cannot recommend the XPA-5 more heartily!!!! ;D
Thanks for reading my "condensed" and not-so-thorough review of the XPA-5 amplifier. I hope it helps you to make a more informed decision.