Emotiva UPA-500 Five Channel Power Amplifier Review

A

admin

Audioholics Robot
Staff member
Riddle me this. What's affordable, lightweight, powerful and comes in a little black box? The UPA-500 and it's a new five channel amplifier from Emotiva with a price tag under $400. While it may NOT be a perfect amplifier, it comes as close to perfection for a product beyond its price class. The UPA-500 delivers clean, low noise, meaty amplification that will surely bring new life to a whimpering department store A/V receiver. It's honestly rated and has no issues driving low impedance loads while remaining cool in operation even under the most strenuous test conditions on the bench. If you're looking for a step up in sound quality and power on the cheap, I can't think of a better option on the market. Highly recommended!


Discuss " Emotiva UPA-500 Five Channel Power Amplifier Review" here. Read the article.
 
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avliner

avliner

Audioholic Chief
Hey Gene,

nice review, as usual ;)

Would you mind to elaborate a bit on this?

...The UPA-500 exhibited very good channel to channel crosstalk performance, much improved over the older and more expensive UPA-7...

Not that I'm willing to buy the new UPA-500, as I have the UP-7 already and so far, so pretty darn happy with it :)
 
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j_garcia

j_garcia

Audioholic Jedi
Can we expect a review of the 200 also or expect the conclusions can be drawn from this review that the 200 will perform similarly with the slightly higher output?
 
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Can we expect a review of the 200 also or expect the conclusions can be drawn from this review that the 200 will perform similarly with the slightly higher output?
The 200 and 500 have identical power supplies and power modules. No need to review the 200 and to be honest, I'd suggest to anyone shopping a 200 to just get the 500 for a little more money in case you ever need the extra channels of amplification.
 
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Hey Gene,

nice review, as usual ;)

Would you mind to elaborate a bit on this?

...The UPA-500 exhibited very good channel to channel crosstalk performance, much improved over the older and more expensive UPA-7...

Not that I'm willing to buy the new UPA-500, as I have the UP-7 already and so far, so pretty darn happy with it :)
If you have a UPA-7 and are happy with it, I'd stick with it. It's still a better amp than the UPA-500. The crosstalk performance on the UPA-7 is still acceptable (50dB @ 20kHz). At least 40dB at 20kHz would be a min requirement and the UPA-7 meets it with 10dB to spare.
 
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j_garcia

j_garcia

Audioholic Jedi
The 200 and 500 have identical power supplies and power modules. No need to review the 200 and to be honest, I'd suggest to anyone shopping a 200 to just get the 500 for a little more money in case you ever need the extra channels of amplification.
Yeah, I was only looking at it for a pair of surrounds so I don't really anticipate a need the other channels, but I did see that the price difference was quite minimal.
 
Steve81

Steve81

Audioholics Five-0
Would something like this be a worthwhile add-on to a mid-range receiver such as the SR6004 mentioned in the review, and also benched by Audioholics? Doesn't seem like the differences add up to a whole lot in my eye, but then again, I'm by no means the last word on these things.
 
j_garcia

j_garcia

Audioholic Jedi
Would something like this be a worthwhile add-on to a mid-range receiver such as the SR6004 mentioned in the review, and also benched by Audioholics? Doesn't seem like the differences add up to a whole lot in my eye, but then again, I'm by no means the last word on these things.
It depends on what you are after. If the 6004 doesn't struggle now, then no this won't be an upgrade. If it is struggling or you are looking to crank the system more, you might need something with more power than this.
 
Steve81

Steve81

Audioholics Five-0
It depends on what you are after. If the 6004 doesn't struggle now, then no this won't be an upgrade. If it is struggling or you are looking to crank the system more, you might need something with more power than this.
IOW, not really :p

That's about what I figured. Seems more like something to couple with a UMC-1 to compete with a mid-level AVR than a product meant to really provide a big boost to receivers costly enough to even have preouts.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
According to Emotiva's website, the UPA-200 weighs 1.1 lbs more than the UPA-500. Go figure...
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
Would something like this be a worthwhile add-on to a mid-range receiver such as the SR6004 mentioned in the review, and also benched by Audioholics? Doesn't seem like the differences add up to a whole lot in my eye, but then again, I'm by no means the last word on these things.
You could off load the rear/surround speakers from the AVR which would help, but you'd probably be better served buying something which packed a bit more power instead of "more of the same" (the SR6004 is pretty much in the same power category as the UPA-500, though the UPA probably is more comfortable with lower impedance speakers). Depending on your budget and perceived need for increased power, I would hold out and pay $700 for a pair of Outlaw monoblocks or pay $800 for an XPA-2.

I like Emotiva because they provide an affordable route into some high powered amps, but I have a hard time understanding this product - most AVRs with pre-amp outputs produce roughly the same power as the UPA-500 does, making it a questionable upgrade.
 
Steve81

Steve81

Audioholics Five-0
You could off load the rear/surround speakers from the AVR which would help, but you'd probably be better served buying something which packed a bit more power instead of "more of the same" (the SR6004 is pretty much in the same power category as the UPA-500, though the UPA probably is more comfortable with lower impedance speakers). Depending on your budget and perceived need for increased power, I would hold out and pay $700 for a pair of Outlaw monoblocks or pay $800 for an XPA-2.

I like Emotiva because they provide an affordable route into some high powered amps, but I have a hard time understanding this product - most AVRs with pre-amp outputs produce roughly the same power as the UPA-500 does, making it a questionable upgrade.
FYI, I'm not in the market, just asking the question. FWIW though, I run an Onkyo TX-SR707 with Klipsch RF-5s, RC-35 center, and RF-15 surrounds. I'm in a moderate sized room (~2500 cubic feet), and I don't sit more than 8' away from any of the aforementioned speakers. Suffice it to say, more power isn't at the top of my list of things to worry about at this time.
 
j_garcia

j_garcia

Audioholic Jedi
You could off load the rear/surround speakers from the AVR which would help, but you'd probably be better served buying something which packed a bit more power instead of "more of the same" (the SR6004 is pretty much in the same power category as the UPA-500, though the UPA probably is more comfortable with lower impedance speakers). Depending on your budget and perceived need for increased power, I would hold out and pay $700 for a pair of Outlaw monoblocks or pay $800 for an XPA-2.
I'd say XPA-3 or XPA-5.

I like Emotiva because they provide an affordable route into some high powered amps, but I have a hard time understanding this product - most AVRs with pre-amp outputs produce roughly the same power as the UPA-500 does, making it a questionable upgrade.
Well, like he said, it is likely geared toward use in conjunction with a pre- rather than to supplement an AVR.
 
F

FirstReflection

AV Rant Co-Host
I like Emotiva because they provide an affordable route into some high powered amps, but I have a hard time understanding this product - most AVRs with pre-amp outputs produce roughly the same power as the UPA-500 does, making it a questionable upgrade.
The big difference between an AVR's built in amps and this UPA-500 is the included capacitance. 40,000 uF is substantially more than you'll find in any mid-range AVR, and nearly double what you'll find in near-flagship level AVR's, such as Onkyo's TX-NR3010, which has 22,000 uF of capacitance.

So while the continuous, sustained power output might not be any higher, the instantaneous peak power on tap is higher, and that's going to help transients and headroom. Combine that with a lower noise floor and lower crosstalk than most AVRs, and you've got an amp that can provide quite the audible improvement over your standard AVR.

The problem for Emotiva is conveying that though. All most people see is "80 Watts/channel" and they think "heck! My AVR says 100 Watts/channel! This thing must sound dinky!" :p
 
Steve81

Steve81

Audioholics Five-0
So while the continuous, sustained power output might not be any higher, the instantaneous peak power on tap is higher, and that's going to help transients and headroom.
I'm having trouble seeing that in the measurements though.

Dynamic power with 5 channels driven for the Emo is 125wpc. Dynamic power with 7 channels driven for the Marantz SR6004 is 100wpc. Not exactly an earth shattering difference.

I guess that's my question. Where is the test that shows all this extra power?
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
The big difference between an AVR's built in amps and this UPA-500 is the included capacitance. 40,000 uF is substantially more than you'll find in any mid-range AVR, and nearly double what you'll find in near-flagship level AVR's, such as Onkyo's TX-NR3010, which has 22,000 uF of capacitance.
Wow! In that case, I guess the UPA-500 would be an upgrade.

My Marantz SR6001 has 36,000uF (2X18,000uF, 71V capacitors) - I didn't realize it was unusual in that regard.
 
GranteedEV

GranteedEV

Audioholic Ninja
In what ways was this an improvement over the SR6004. I didn't really catch it. TBQH it seems kind of redundant in that scenario.
 
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KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
I'd say XPA-3 or XPA-5.
To each his own. Maybe it is my emphasis on music, but my approach is to give the two main channels top quality power, and let the AVR handle the rest.

Well, like he said, it is likely geared toward use in conjunction with a pre- rather than to supplement an AVR.
:confused: I read quite the opposite.
The UPA-500 delivers clean, low noise, meaty amplification that will surely bring new life to a whimpering department store A/V receiver.
 
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
The UPA-500 delivers clean, low noise, meaty amplification that will surely bring new life to a whimpering department store A/V receiver.
The Marantz SR6004 isn't a wimpy department store A/V receiver. I was referring to a typical $400-500 A/V receiver. The UPA-500 would be an upgrade to that.

I only used the SR6004 as a preamp because it was the least expensive receiver/preamp I had at my disposal when testing the UPA-500.

To get a substantial upgrade in power from the SR6004 in the Emotiva line, one would have to look at the Emotiva XPA series of amps.
 
GranteedEV

GranteedEV

Audioholic Ninja
That's what I thought. Maybe that's why I can't relate to people who say separates amps are that much better than receivers :eek:

The Marantz SR6004 isn't a wimpy department store A/V receiver. I was referring to a typical $400-500 A/V receiver. The UPA-500 would be an upgrade to that.
Which of those has a full set of decent preamp outs?

Don't get me wrong though. If Emotiva can get their pre pro right, they could be the pack-leader for a separates solution :)

UMC-1 + XPA-3 + UPA-500
 

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