Is Emotiva Too Good To Be True?

Discussion in 'GENERAL AV Discussions' started by Cristofori, Feb 14, 2010.

  1. Cristofori Audioholic

    Cristofori
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    Forgive me for sounding stupid or out of touch, but after checking out Emotiva's offerings via Audioholics, I couldn't believe from what I saw that this company can sell what appears to be this type of fine quality gear at the prices they are asking. This is the kind of gear that I've always liked and has everything I want at the prices I'm willing to pay, circa around fifteen years ago!

    All this leads me to ask if all this is too good to be true? Absolutely nobody, not even mid-fi makes like Rotel or even NAD or any of the big, wealthy A/V giants out there are making any gear close to this level and price, even though it is all still "Made in China". There must be something going on here, like maybe this stuff is being thrown together in some God forsaken hellhole/sweatshop somewhere, or we are not getting the whole story on the parts and specs being used, or whether they are actually safe or not.

    I've also been a fairly regular reader of all things audio but have been out of the loop for a little awhile, and I've never even heard of this company before a couple of weeks ago since I checked in with Audioholics. Either this company has very recently exploded on the scene, or I have reason to be suspicious.

    I'm looking to hear from both Emotiva's supporters and detractors, and more importantly those of the moderators/leaders themselves. I've read your reviews, but they are few and recent with no long term track record, and you are mostly an HT Yamaha/Denon type dealer based website so please forgive me if I might take your "old School 2-channel" reviews with a grain of salt.

    You also have a tendency to support these underdog companies (Axiom Speakers) that I never seem to hear about or actually see in person, at least not in my part of the country. This doesn't mean they are bad or that you are wrong of course, it could mean the exact opposite. And judging from your expertise and no nonsense approach, this could be exactly the gear I've been longing for that I can actually afford.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2010
  2. JJMP50 Full Audioholic

    JJMP50
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    I just purchased a UPA5 and all I can say is from product to customer support they are excellent. The amp is better that I expected. While waiting for the Fedex guy, I called to see if a trigger wire was included or did I have to make a run to Radio Shack. The CR that answered the phone (yes, no automated system) said that it should be but if not call back and they would send one. Before I made my decision (I was waffling between a UPA5 and an XPA3) I called and talked to Lonnie (he's featured in a lot of their promo clips on the website and youtube). He took the time to understand what my current system consisted of (fairly modest) and recommended the UPA5 even though the XPA was the more expensive unit. I can assure you that when my Yamaha receiver that I'm using as a pre/pro dies, I will be getting an Emo pre/pro.
  3. Rickster71 Audioholic Spartan

    Rickster71
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    No, their not too good to be true;(not perfect either) It's simply economies of scale.

    U.S. companies are no longer investing in much new capacity at home, and the ranks of U.S. engineers are thinning. In contrast, China's army of engineers that is growing by 350,000 annually.

    Among its many assets is its cheap labor, from $120-a-month production workers to $2,000-a-month chip designers.
    (Keep in mind, those aren't slave wages, it just doesn't cost much to live there)

    Even in sophisticated electronics industries, where direct labor is less than 10% of costs, China's low wages are reflected in the entire supply chain -- components, office workers, cargo handling -- you name it.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2010
  4. ParadigmDawg Audioholic Warlord

    ParadigmDawg
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    I think it is too true to be true.
  5. zhimbo Audioholic General

    zhimbo
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    Here's one possibility. Specialty equipment - and dedicated amps are specialty items - are often simply overpriced. Then, someone comes along and undermines the whole price structure, by navigating the Chinese market until reliable high-quality suppliers are found.

    It happened in astronomy. Specialized "apochromatic refractor" telescopes used to be spectacularly expensive, and now are only modestly more expensive than more traditional designs.

    Some of the high pricing may have been due to, well, greed. But some/most of it is the delay in figuring out the supply chain. And for truly home-grown and/or hand-crafted items (the TRUE high end), the cost will always be high. (in Astronomy, the finest apo refractors still induce sticker shock).

    I don't have any specific information on Emotiva, and make no claims regarding their performance or reliability. But the pattern of pricing doesn't seem necessarily alarming to me. And it's no secret that much that is pricey in audio/home theater isn't of particularly fine quality - there's a lot of puffery. (See: Lexicon BD-30).

    I rather suspect that this is the true proper price point for good quality Chinese manufactured amps, etc.
  6. zhimbo Audioholic General

    zhimbo
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    By the way - is there a rule that says 2 months can't go by without a thread suggesting that the Emotiva Emperor has no clothes, and that Audioholics is in cahoots with them?
  7. Jeepers Audioholic

    Jeepers
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    As already mentioned in the previous posts, the gear is made in China and additionally directly offered to the customers elimitating the middlemen. (check Emotiva website). The latter will for sure reduce costs and consequently prices but I don't know to what extent.
  8. jinjuku Moderator

    jinjuku
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    You should really flip this on it's head: Why aren't niche companies like NAD/Rotel/Parasound/Lexicon/ etc bringing out high quality value priced gear?

    You only have reason of being out of the loop for a while. 10 minutes of easy searching at:

    Hometheatershack.com
    AVSForum.com
    HTGuide.com

    or any of the other numerous sites would answer your question for you.


    There is a lot of material here prior to the AH store. Again there is a search function at the top of the site. Have you been off of the internet as long as you have been out of the recent (5 years or so) audio market?

    I didn't know Axiom/Emotiva/HSU/SVS/Acsend/Aperion/ et al where 'underdog' status companies:confused:

    I don't think that is why there is a huge ground swell of good will towards these companies at all the major audio enthusiasts sites.

    BTW, I don't own any Emotiva (Just Parasound and Adcom that I purchased used). But the one XPA-3 that I a/b'd against some NAD and my now ancient Crown amp left no doubts that they make a solid product.
  9. dwayland Audioholic

    dwayland
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    The short answer? No

    The long answer? No(.) ;-)

    I have have MANY of their products, met nearly everyone in person and had the pleasure of hanging out with some of them off the clock and I can personally attest that they are in fact the real deal, real people who really care.

    Derek
  10. rnatalli Audioholic Ninja

    rnatalli
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    I'm not a fan of EMO's processors or speakers, but their amps are excellent.
  11. highfigh Audioholic Spartan

    highfigh
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    The ones who think they aren't good should state their case instead of just saying they don't like this company or their products. It's not a poll- the OP is asking for info.
  12. tonedeaf Audioholic

    tonedeaf
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    I totally agree with your assertion.
    Electronics Expo just had the Denon 4310ci(Suggested retail-1999.00)on sale for 1200 and some change with a coupon.
    Even though they were letting it go at that price,I'm sure there was still a profit margin;)
    What drives the market is supply and demand plus competition.
  13. son-yah-tive Full Audioholic

    son-yah-tive
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    After 30 years of owning Yamaha Amps and Receivers, you bet it would have to take a company that was REALLY special to drag me away from Yamaha!! Emotiva is the company that did it. I still don't believe I left Yamaha behind. I never had an issue with any equipment I bought from them. But, when I was thinking of upgrading, there was to much FLUFF, and not enough STUFF(power to price ratio to fit in the that metal case.) Emotiva's Customer 'CARE'(service) is what I call it, is second to none. Once you own a piece of Emotiva equipment, you become part of their family, not just a number on file. If I were to buy a new Yamaha Receiver in comparative terms, it would have cost me at least 2,000.00 more and may not have still matched the Emotiva XPA-5 AMP and the UMC-1 Processor separates I ordered. I'm sorry Yamaha, it's hard to say goodbye, but you have to please the uninformed masses, with all the bells and whistles people seem to want. I know you won't miss me, but Emotiva is doing it right. And it looks like China is gaining respect in this area of electronics. Besides, look at the back panel of almost all receivers and you won't believe the country of origin.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2010
  14. highfigh Audioholic Spartan

    highfigh
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    That may be a refurb or a return. I can't think of a single receiver that has a margin like that.
  15. oppman99 Senior Audioholic

    oppman99
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    I won't say Emotiva is perfect and there is always better equipment out there. What I will say is that I am a very happy Emotiva owner. I own/have owned three of their amps and will soon be adding another. Their amps perform well above their price range and have some of the best customer service in the business. To illustrate this point I ordered an XPA-5 during the holiday sale and they ran out of stock. A day later, I recieved a phone call from the owner of the company. He offered me an alternative deal or gave me the option to get the sale price when they were back in stock. I'd say that's going above and beyond.

    I could spend more on some of the big names, but for me, that would send me into the area of diminishing returns. I also really like the USP-1 preamp. Extremely low noise floor and it makes integrating a sub into the mix very easy. I've never head any of the speakers, so no opinions there.
  16. Cristofori Audioholic

    Cristofori
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    OK, great! Hey, I'm not knocking anybody here.

    This is all what I wanted to hear, and it looks like finally... there is a company that is making the stuff I want for the right prices. I will be saving up my money!

    Also, I guess we just occupy totally different audio worlds. None of these brands you've mentioned (Axiom/Emotiva/HSU/SVS/Acsend/Aperion/) or these websites (Hometheatershack.com AVSForum.com HTGuide.com) (except for HTGuide magazine) is anything I've normally seen, read or have heard of, and I don't know anyone else that does either. This is mostly HT based stuff, and not in the areas that usually interest me.

    I also don't know of any other group that has such a deep love of Yamaha. I'm sure they are all wonderful HT mass market black boxes, but to me that's mostly all they are.

    However, I'm very impressed with the Axiom/Emotiva products and their websites, and would like to try them. I'm glad there are other audio groups websites like this that are doing things differently, which is why I came here.

    Thank you!
  17. Cristofori Audioholic

    Cristofori
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    I think your giving the Chinese too much credit. Most of the high quality gear out there is NOT being designed or conceived by them, they are just doing the grunt work. While the real innovators get wealthy (or try to) off the cheap labor.

    What it all really comes done to is simple greed.
  18. highfigh Audioholic Spartan

    highfigh
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    I don't know of too many people who went into business to break even.

    Greed is relative but when money becomes the only motivating factor, everyone loses.
  19. highfigh Audioholic Spartan

    highfigh
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    I don't know of too many people who went into business to break even.

    Greed is relative but when money becomes the only motivating factor, everyone loses.

    I went to the Emotiva site this morning (couldn't sleep) and looked around. The thread about 'What would you give up to make a receiver more audio-centric' is one reason, the other is that I keep reading that it's good equipment at a fair price. The amps look like a great deal if they do what the site says and the preamps/processors look like they could be a contender, too. Add the 40% discount for previous owners to upgrade and it's a killer. The layout is done intelligently, they don't have extra stuff that will never be used and what's there seems to be useful. It looks like someone could get a lot of performance for about $1200, which is far less than most comparable receivers and that's 180 degrees from where it used to be.
  20. jinjuku Moderator

    jinjuku
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    Then it beggars one to ask: What sights have you been visiting that you haven't heard of the brands or sights I mentioned?

    I can think of only a few other sites that I didn't mention (diy audio, tweakcity, avforums).

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