Emotiva UPA-7 Seven Channel Power Amplifier Review

Discussion in 'Amps, Pre-Pros & Receivers' started by admin, Sep 15, 2010.

  1. admin Audioholics Robot Staff Member

    admin
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    The Emotiva UPA-7 in my mind is an embarrassment - not to itself, mind you, but to the industry. What I mean by this bold statement is, it's built too robustly, measures too pristinely and performs too well for a seven channel amplifier selling for even twice its price. Whether you're looking for a new multi-channel amplifier to update your system or to cure the common receiver with a power boost, the UPA-7 will do so exceedingly well in all but the largest most power hungry installations. In the meantime, you can rest assured that dollar for dollar, pound for pound, a better multi-channel amplifier does NOT exist on the market. This is a safe purchase and a highly recommended one!


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    Discuss " Emotiva UPA-7 Seven Channel Power Amplifier Review" here. Read the article.
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  2. scattershot Audioholic

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    Thank you so much for the review!

    This is exactly the type of amplifier that I have been looking for (e.g. something under $1000 that delivers the power I need). That is why I love this site ... accurate and honest reviews that cut out the bull....

    I notice that the same company's processor's haven't been refreshed to include HDMI 1.4a compatibility (including Arc and Ethernet over HDMI).

    Are there any processors you would recommend for under $700 US that would?

    OR should I perhaps look for a known receiver (like an Onkyo 808) and use it as a pre-amp?

    Thanks.
  3. JJMP50 Full Audioholic

    JJMP50
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    Great review Gene, although, in my case you were talking to the already converted. Went over to Emo's Lounge to see if they were talking about your review yet and came across this link to their up an coming pro line..Wow!

    http://emotivapro.com/products.html

    Looks like these may be headed to a B/M store. They are asking for dealer interest.
  4. avliner Audioholic Chief

    avliner
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    As usual, a very nice review Gene!

    One question, though: you said the owners manual is very well written and so, but IMO there's a lot to be desired, at least with mine.
    Guess they've updated it (even the printing is second class, IMO).

    Other than that, what a nice piece af an amp though.
    I'm completely satisfied with mine, so far :)
  5. KEW Audioholic Ninja

    KEW
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    pdf for current manual can be downloaded (link just above the pics at bottom of page). Let us know if it is revised!

    http://emotiva.com/upa7.shtm
    KEW,
  6. Sugarbear Audioholic Intern

    Sugarbear
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    Gene,

    You mentioned that, due to it's design, the UPA-7 has more power available in certain circumstances than all of the XPA models. Is this true also of the UPA-5?

    Great review.
  7. Seth=L Audioholic Overlord

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    He may have been referring to the previous MPA models, and other amplifiers that have dedicated power supplies to each channel. Such a design has it's benefits (on paper at least) and certainly has downsides as well. As Gene says, as long as the output devices are up to the task, they can call on all the power needed from a centralized power supply. This is why multichannel amplifiers and receivers with a centralized power supply usually far exceed their watts per channel rating when operating in stereo, because the other channels are demanding power from the power supply the two channels in operation can use it all. Ones with individual power supplies for each channel may have less noise, but less power is available to any single channel.

    Look at it this way. Let's assume you can eat half an extra large pizza on your own. Four other people are having dinner with you. Now if all 5 people are eating the pizza you won't get half, but that doesn't mean you couldn't potentially eat half. Assume that 3 of the people aren't hungry, and they're just there to socialize (surround mode off, stereo only) so you and 1 other person can chow down and each can have half of the pizza. As long as it's within the capacity of both people, the pizza (power supply) will be consumed completely. The alternative is you could all get personal pan pizzas. While you could eat more than a personal pan pizza, too bad, that's all you get. Even if 3 of the people aren't hungry, they'll take their personal pan pizza home and eat it later when they are hungry. The benefit is you don't have to worry about anyone else touching or interfering with your pizza.

    He may have also been referring to capacitance. The secondary capacitance on the XPA-2 is 45,000uF 100v and the XPA-5 has 60,000uF which I'm assuming is again 100v. The higher voltage allows energy to be transferred in and out of the capacitor bank faster than it does in the UPA series amplifiers, in which the capacitors are configured in parallel and the specified voltage on the capacitors is what they do (50v?). Even though the actual energy storage is higher on the UPA amplifiers the rate of energy transfer in the XPA amplifiers is much higher. I would think the arrangement in the XPA amplifiers would allow for an improved damping factor, however it's feasible the the UPA amplifiers (both the UPA-5 and UPA-7) could deliver a larger quantity of power to a specific channel at once than the XPA amplifiers.

    You also have to keep in mind the power supply differences here though. The XPA-5, for example, has a 1200va toroidal transformer compared to the 600va of the toroidal transformer in your UPA-5. The XPA-5 has 60,000uF to your 90,000uF, but at a significantly higher voltage. Also compare 4 output devices to 12 in the XPA series amplifiers.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2010
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  8. KEW Audioholic Ninja

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    Since the UPA-5 has the same 90,000uF as the UPA-7 to supply only 5 channels, it is actually more powerful in this regard - the UPA-5 has 18,000uF/channel while the UPA-7 has 12,860 per channel (which is still a heck of a lot!).
    The UPA-5 has a 600VA transformer (or 120VA/channel), while the UPA-7 has a 850VA (or 121.4VA/channel) - Not enough difference to get excited about.
    Understand that the "per channel" calculations are done as a basis for comparison of capabilities. In truth, these capabilities are not assigned to specific channels and are free to go to whichever channel(s) needs them. So typically, if you were actually pushing this amp to it's limits, the lions share would be feeding the front channels which (typically) have greater content.

    So, as good as the UPA-7 is, I believe the UPA-5 is somewhat more capable!!!:)
    KEW,
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  9. Seth=L Audioholic Overlord

    Seth=L
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    Meh, not really.;)

    The capacitance division is greater, but in the end, the surround channels will rarely need more than a few watts anyway. In stereo operation the UPA-7 has it because of the larger power supply.
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  10. KEW Audioholic Ninja

    KEW
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    Thanks for the correction, Seth!

    But let me check my understanding.
    1) If you only used 2 (or 5) channels on both the UPA-7 and the UPA-5, the UPA-7 definitely has the edge, correct?

    2) If you actually were powering all channels equally (which, as you point out, is not a realistic scenario) would the UPA-5 have more capability into 5 channels than the UPA-7 into 7 channels?

    Your answers will let me know if I have a fundamentally incorrect understanding, or if I misapplied a correct understanding!:confused:
    Thanks!:)
    KEW,
  11. gene Audioholics Master Chief Administrator

    gene
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    No that's not entirely correct. The bigger Xformer of the UPA-7 plays a more vital role than more PS capacitance. The UPA-7 likely still has more available output power on a per channel basis and even up to 5 channels driven b/c of the larger supply.

    I spoke with Emotiva about both amps and they do claim the UPA-5 does have about a -3dB better noise floor which is a moot point since the UPA-7 is dead silent, one of the quietest amps, I've measured.
    gene,
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  12. Sugarbear Audioholic Intern

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    The reason why I'm so interested in this is because I'm currently deciding between an XPA-3 and a UPA-5. I only need three channels of amplification - LCR. With two channels going unused on the UPA-5, I wonder which is best.

    What do you guys think?
  13. ratm Audioholic

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    Plus 1 as I would like to know as well
    ratm,
  14. Seth=L Audioholic Overlord

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    Gene pretty much took care of that.
  15. gholt Full Audioholic

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    Great review. I have been considering these as an upgrade to my AVR.
  16. ratm Audioholic

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    Well since I really don't comprehend the INS and outs of amps like some on here, I just wanted to see if that was a correct interpretation of what I read.
    ratm,
  17. Seth=L Audioholic Overlord

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    I think I was a little off myself. Gene knows far more about amplification than I do. What he says makes sense to me. The larger transformer has a lot to do with the output on any given channel, or all channels. However, as has been previously discussed, ACD is by no means a great way to determine real performance. The chances of each channel being utilized to a equal or close to equal level at high output are one in a million. Because of this, it is unimportant.

    If you only need 5 channels and you don't want to spend the extra coin for the UPA-7, it's a safe bet. It's still a very powerful amplifier with excellent performance on the dollar.
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  18. 3db Audioholic Overlord

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    $800. US for all that clean power? Dam, thats a bargain. Thats definately 1 to keep should I fall into money accidently. :D
    3db,
  19. ratm Audioholic

    ratm
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    That's what I am thinking. I'd love for them to make a UPA-3 for about $399. I'd jump all over that.
    ratm,
  20. GlocksRock Audioholic Spartan

    GlocksRock
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    If your speakers are bi-amp capable, then get the UPA-5.

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