XPA-5 listening with Klipsch RF-7 5.1 set up Dec 19, 2011 19:30:25 GMT -5
Post by dirtconvert on Dec 19, 2011 19:30:25 GMT -5
I have owned my Klipsch RF-7 complete 5.1 set for 8 going on 9 years. I auditioned everything in any price range that was not totally ridiculous. I had money from a car accident and a home theater speaker package was exactly what I wanted. I decided on the Klipsch because they gave me the best compromise between home theater and the type of music I listen to most. (heavy metal, techno, bass, ambient) The efficiency of these speakers make them an easy drive for just about any amplifier so the devil is in the details. That being said, I started off with a Harman Kardon Avr 7200. Still have that unit today and in use for now. What a wonderful sounding piece that has provided tons of raw power and very good clarity along with excellent bass control. While the 7200 doesn't have the plethora of cutting edge surround decoding features, the ones it does have are done superbly. While on vacation in Florida, I happend to wander into a BB and found a brand new Pioneer Elite Sc-27. Too good of a deal to pass up, I bought it for under 400.00. I had been listening to the HK for so many years now that I think I am spoiled by its sound. I was reluctant to hook up the Pioneer for fear of not knowing how it would sound with my RF-7's. Since Klipsch no longer makes the venerable RF-7, the new iterations are by my opinion, not as good as the originals. I hooked up the Pioneer Elite SC-27 to the Klipsch and was not as blown away as I thought I should be comparing a 5-6 yr old receiver to a new state of the art one. Amplifiers really are everything with a close second going to how the source utilizes the decoding. Regardless, after a few days of tweaking the PE 27, I was finally able to dial in the sound. (with all its new adjustability and decoding features, one hour set up is gone unless you prefer having the unit do that for you?) After a few hours of listening time I began to appreciate the subtle differences between the HK and the PE27. In summary, the Pioneer Elite SC-27 is a fantastic new machine with plenty of power to fill the room and make your surround sound come to life with its many different decoding features. Enter the Emotiva XPA-5. I had always thought about trying seperates but even "cheap" ones were a fools ransom to own. Once I read about the Emotiva XPA-5 and what great reviews it has received as well as the price, it was only a short time before the decision was made to make this very nice Pioneer Elite SC-27 a PRE amplifier. Depending of course on how the XPA 5 sounded once hooked up. Ordering was simple, waiting for the unit to arrive was not. It was less than 5 working days from the time I ordered to the time I had in my greedy little paws, the XPA-5. Heavy, did someone say heavy! All the weight of this amplifier is in the power supply, and it's all up front. If you have a bad back get help lifiting this monster, if you don't, get help before you do! I read the owners manual then hooked everything up. Turned on the amp for 10 minutes to let it "warm up" before pushing any content through it. The difference was "immediately" noticeable. Everything was bigger, cleaner and the sound almost "felt" effortless. It's something that has to be experienced to understand, but "felt" I think is appropriate. The sound stage seemed to have gained a new ceiling about 3 feet higher, the surround sound wrapped around the entire room in a more convincing envelope than using the Pioneer amplifier. Even though the Klipsch RSW-12 is a great subwoofer, it cannot correct for the amount of reverberation in the room and I believe the fronts were contributing to the amount of bass volume. By having more control on the mains, the subwoofer sounded much firmer in its presentation making the bass more soundtrack friendly and far less boomy. I ran through the usual bits that I have been using to test my system and I must admit I am impressed. If the question was to spend 2000.00 for an all in one AVR or use your existing avr as a pre amplifier and the XPA-5 for power, the answer is simple. Save some cash for other things, buy the XPA-5 and call it done. This amplifier, in my opinion is worth every penny and even some dimes. I have heard other amplifiers from other manufacturers and yes, there are plenty out there that may spec better but I believe specs are not everything and the sound is what is the most important feature. If you like Pioneer Elite, Harman Kardon or Onkyo then I believe the XPA-5 as an add on power source is ideal. The Emotiva XPA-5 sound is so indicitive of those three brands that it would be a safe buy and still be very happy with your sound. I did buy the UMC-1 and if there is interest, would be happy to post a review once I have incorporated that into my system.