I own a pair, but I believe the last monoblocks I owned was back in the 90's with the Adcom's powering a pair of Snell B-Minors.
Unfortunately I have nothing to compare them to other than my receiver, but I would think the sound would be equivalent and hard to differentiate from other quality monoblocks. The comparison will mostly come in the form of build quality, features, warranty and price.
I have previously owned a Classe CA-200 + CAV-75, a Pass Labs X-150, Acurus A150's (worst), Anthem MCA20 + MCA50 and my first seperate amp was a Sony TA-N55ES. I have also done an in home demo of a Bryston 4B-SST that I kept in house for 3 days.
I now have (2) Emotiva XPA-1's and an XPA-5. As far as sound quality, soundstaging and dynamics I can say that the Emotiva sounds better than most of my previous amps. I always loved my Classe amps and was always sorry that I sold them. I also thought the Anthem amplifiers were excellent.
I did have a hiccup in my system this evening. During the opening THX segment to Star Wars I, both of my Emotiva monoblocks shut down and the red led's began flashing acrossed the front panel. This has never happened with any previos amp that I have owned. I have Dunlavy SC-IV loudspeaker and I like to have my crossover set at 60hz. I re-started the amps, adjusted the xover to 80hz and watched the entire movie with no problems. After the movie ended I decided to go back to the beginning and watch the THX segment. With the xover set at 80hz there was no problem.
I just found it odd as the Emotiva is rated at 500w and all my previous amps are at least half of the power rating of the Emotiva's and this has never happened to them. I can't attribute it to a problem with one of the amps because both of them shut down.
As far as sound quality to cost ratio I don't think you can top these Emotiva amps. Music listening has been stellar. This is the second movie I have watched with tese amps in my system. I had no troubles the first night watching "Rundown" and no problems during the Star Wars movie, just the opening THX effect segment. I am just hoping that the amp shutting down doesn't continue to happen. These amps should have power to spare.
Have you tried that sequence on Star Wars again with the crossover at 60hz? That seems a little strange that you would have a problem at a 60hz crossover and not at 80hz. There shouldn't be that big of a difference with those amps.
No, I haven't had the time. Hopefully I will give it a try this weekend. I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my new subwoofer and I will be playing around with the settings this weekend.
I can say that the XPA-1 sounds wonderful. Approx. 80% of my listening is with music and I am more than happy with waht I have been hearing.
I re-ran the THX intro to Star Wars I today with my processor crossover set to 60hz and had no problems this time with my Emotiva XPA-1 monoblocks. A couple of weeks ago both of them shut down during the THX intro to the movie with the xover at 60hz.
The Emotiva amps sound great, my only other minor issue is a clicking sound I am hearing from one of the amps during quiet passages. I contacted Emotiva about this and they said if the line voltage coming into the amp is spiking above 130 volts, the auto voltage detection is momentarily switching over to 220 and then back to 110 could be making the sound. I checked the voltage in the outlet with the receptacle directly above the Emotiva amp and the clicking sound came with it reading 120. It is not happening with the other amp at all. I also sat behind the amp for a while to see if the led would switch from 120 to 220 and it did not happen. It doesn't happen often, maybe once every 1/2 to 1 hour.
I had previously owned a Pass Labs X-150 that would also do this. Never happened with my Classe or Anthem amplifiers.
I am in the process of rebuilding my home theater which has pretty much been out of comission for about 5 years. I recently picked up (2) Emotiva XPA-1 monoblocks, (1) Emotiva XPA-5, a Cambridge Audio DVD99 (DVD/SACD) player, Emotiva ERC-1 cd player, and a SVS PB13 Ultra Subwoofer. I still have my Dunlavy SC-IV speakers and a Runco CP760W projector with a Stewart filmscreen. Hopefully I will be switching to HD in the next couple years. I will also need a new processor as I am using my Outlaw 1050 as a preamp which was pulled out of my basement. I am very interested in the Anthem D2V and am also waiting to see what Emotiva and Outlaw come out with in the way of a balanced processor. I had previously owned a Sony TA-E1000ESD then a Citation 7.0, then a Lexicon MC-1, and finally an Anthem AVM20 before the theater had to be used for something else for the past 4+ years.
Let us know what you find out about the amp issue you're having.
Congrats on the rebuild of your home theater! I can't imagine going that long without a home theater!
I really suggest you consider coming into the HD age. Blu-ray is a fantastic technology that implements much better video quality and audio quality, as well. The Lossless audio codecs are really something to behold especially with a system of your caliber!
I have a blue-ray player in my living room on my 42 inch and am getting my DirecTv switched over to HD tomorrow. I just don't have the funds at this time for the HD switch in my theatre room.
I can't complain about my Runco projector though. I had it installed in Jan. 1996 and it has performed flawlessly for over 13 years. The screen is approx 100"w x 54"h, and from my seating position approx 15.5 feet away it gives a very good picture.
I want to get a new processor first, then (2) Vandersteen 2WQ subwoofers (stereo), and finally an HD projector.
I wish I would have never sold the Vandersteen 2Wq's that I previously owned.
Today I noticed that the amps pinging sound also occurs after the amp has been turned off for about a half hour. Emotiva states it's the normal heat expansion of the heat-sinks.
My Pass Labs X150 made the same type of sound.
Just my opinion, but I've had these for a month now, and as far as the quality of the sound, soundstaging etc.. these amps are as good as any amp I have listened to. I also really liked my Classe CA-200 and CAV-75, and my Anthem amplifiers. When I owned my Anthem amps my system was run with balanced cables and all plugged into a balanced power supply.
I could never get rid of the pinging sound that was coming from the Emotiva mono blocks. I returned the one that was doing it more often to have Emotiva take a look at it. They said it was the normal expansion and contraction of the heat sinks. I asked them if they would let me exchange it for another one as the one I returned was doing it a lot more often than the other one. Emotiva was nice enough to replace the amp.
The new XPA-1 amp I received as a replacement was better than the one I returned but about the same as the other one that I owned. It still made the pinging sound that really bothered me while listening at low levels but hearing it about every 40 seconds or so was better than every 15-20 seconds.
Over the next year the protection circuitry kicked in multiple times while either listening to music or watching movies. The amp would just shut down on me. I never listen at extremely high levels, the loudest is at THX reference for movies and much lower for music. The fuses also blew multiple times in both mono blocks. I should note that none of the problems I experienced with the XPA-1's (3 of them) ever happened with the XPA-5's. I have also never had these problems with any amp prior to or since the Emotiva XPA-1's. I did have an occasional pinging sound from my Pass Labs X-150 back back around 2002, it may have been the heat sinks but I couldn't figure it out at the time. The Pass Labs did run hot.
Over the past few years I have picked up an ATI-3007 and a Parasound A21 with none of the problems that I had with the Emotiva mono blocks.
I just figured I would follow up since I remembered posting on the XPA-1's a few years back. Again, I had no problems with the XPA-5, though my ERC-1 CD player only worked for about a month before it stopped ejecting CD's.