Emotiva XPA HC-1 for Hifi listening??

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bomt697

Junior Audioholic
Hello, I am considering an upgrade from Schiit Vidar amp in the near future. The Emotiva XPA HC-1 mono block amps caught my eye.

I know Emotiva does wonders for HT setups, but would they be a good idea for Hifi listening?

Would be paired with bluesound node 2i, bifrost 2 / freya s -or- Mojo 2, SF Lumina V towers.

Thanks
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Why/how would an amp only be good for ht audio? What special properties does an amp need to have to qualify for "hifi" listening? Why wouldn't it be as good as a Schiit amp (aside from additional power)? Both look to be adequate. Why the additional expense of monoblocks, tho?

Only 3rd party measurements I see are:

 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
Hello, I am considering an upgrade from Schiit Vidar amp in the near future. The Emotiva XPA HC-1 mono block amps caught my eye.

I know Emotiva does wonders for HT setups, but would they be a good idea for Hifi listening?

Would be paired with bluesound node 2i, bifrost 2 / freya s -or- Mojo 2, SF Lumina V towers.

Thanks
Very good speakers for the price, but a 200 W/300 W 8/4 ohms power amp would be the minimum I would use with those 4 ohm nominal towers though depending on you listening habit and distance you can do well with even 100 W/200 W 8/4 ohms.

The dac, streamer you listed wouldn't be my choice, imo they are overrated (typically by the likes of What Hifi) at best, overpriced in the case of Bluesound's (except the Schilit stuff as they are at least made in US if that matters...).

The Emotiva amp packs a lot of power, the specs are not bad but far from being SOTA, likely would measure worse than even AVR amps such as D+M's on the bench. If your preamp has the output voltage high enough (such as 2 V or higher), I would highly recommend Hypex or Purifi based class D amps that have the so call "hi-end" specs. The Emo amp's higher THD+N is likely not an audible concern but I am not confident with their reliability based on what I read on various audio forums, though this HC-1 model appears to be quite new so there won't be many user complaints...yet...
 
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B

bomt697

Junior Audioholic
Very good speakers for the price, but a 200 W/300 W 8/4 ohms power amp would be the minimum I would use with those 4 ohm nominal towers though depending on you listening habit and distance you can do well with even 100 W/200 W 8/4 ohms.

The dac, streamer you listed wouldn't be my choice, imo they are overrated (typically by the likes of What Hifi) at best, overpriced in the case of Bluesound's (except the Schilit stuff as they are at least made in US if that matters...).

The Emotiva amp packs a lot of power, the specs are not bad but far from being SOTA, likely would measure worse than even AVR amps such as D+M's on the bench. If your preamp has the output voltage high enough (such as 2 V or higher), I would highly recommend Hypex or Purifi based class D amps that have the so call "hi-end" specs. The Emo amp's higher THD+N is likely not an audible concern but I am not confident with their reliability based on what I read on various audio forums, though this HC-1 model appears to be quite new so there won't be many user complaints...yet...
Thank you for the reply. My preamp, schiit freya S is RMS 2 volts output. What would your recommendation be for roughly $2500 total? Monoblock ($1250 ea) or a good stereo power amplifier?
 
B

bomt697

Junior Audioholic
Why/how would an amp only be good for ht audio? What special properties does an amp need to have to qualify for "hifi" listening? Why wouldn't it be as good as a Schiit amp (aside from additional power)? Both look to be adequate. Why the additional expense of monoblocks, tho?

Only 3rd party measurements I see are:

I currently have a Emotiva five channel XPA, and a buckeye for channel N502 amplifier that powers my Home Theater. I like the sound, but it does not have the slight warm lush sound that I prefer for my musical setting. However, some YouTube reviewers said good things about the HC-1, hence me asking if it was actually indeed, a good hi-fi amplifier.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
I currently have a Emotiva five channel XPA, and a buckeye for channel N502 amplifier that powers my Home Theater. I like the sound, but it does not have the slight warm lush sound that I prefer for my musical setting. However, some YouTube reviewers said good things about the HC-1, hence me asking if it was actually indeed, a good hi-fi amplifier.
Youtube reviewers such as? I don't find many beyond here at Audioholics, Audiosciencereview or Erin's Audio Corner to be worth much myself. Hi fidelity is what it is, and ht audio also benefits from hi fidelity reproduction. If an amp colors the sound, something is wrong with it IMO. Your differences are most likely simply in the room/speaker setups involved.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
Thank you for the reply. My preamp, schiit freya S is RMS 2 volts output. What would your recommendation be for roughly $2500 total? Monoblock ($1250 ea) or a good stereo power amplifier?
As I mentioned before, your Schiit gear are fine, all the others are overhyped, and/or overpriced products but that's just my opinion based on specs, measurements, and prices.

Any amps in the following chart ranked by SINAD on ASR are good candidates for your music setup, because they are transparent enough:

Buckeye 3 Channel Purifi Amp Review | Audio Science Review (ASR) Forum :

Or, for minimum spending, just grab another NC502MP ($750) from buckeyeamp, and call it a day.
2-channel Hypex NC502MP NCORE Amplifier — Buckeye Amps - Hypex NCORE and Purifi 1ET400A



1681991355726.png



The so call "warmth" of a power amp that has distortions well below the threshold of audibility such as the Emotiva amps, are bs, and will fail in properly conducted blind listening tests. Just ask Schiit if they could identify the FreyaS and Freya+ in their own double blind test better than even 75% of the time.

Even if you can truly hear a well spec'ed amp's "warmth", if would mean that the amp actually has high enough distortions that gave you that feeling, but then just to be sure it will be the kind of warmth that you like, you have to actually hear it,
amps, are bs, and will fail in properly conducted blind listening tests. Just ask Schiit if they could identify the FreyaS and Freya+ in their own double blind test better than even 75% of the time.

Even if you can truly hear a well spec'ed amp's "warmth", if would mean that the amp actually has high enough distortions that gave you that feeling, but then just to be sure it will be the kind of warmth that you like, you have to actually hear it, preferably compare it with another transparent amp in a controlled double blind listening test. Otherwise you risk spending the money, take it home and after a while you may be guessing if you actually heard the difference. Or you just buy it, use it and don't think anymore, just enjoy the music.

In my experience, you will gain a lot more by seeking out contents that are of the best recording/mastering, than to forever chasing electronics. That, of course, is only true if you already have electronics that are already transparent enough, and I think you are in that position already, except the XPA-5 may be the weak link under some conditions.

Those amps, Purifi or Hypex, will give you the warm sound anyway, if the recording/mastering was done to give that kind of sound. If not (recording/mastering), then you have to rely on preamps and/or power amps to color the sound with distortions, tone control, EQ etc., to do the same. That could work for you, or not, and is a hit or miss kind of deal.
 
D

David Harper

Audioholic Intern
In terms of sound quality there is no "upgrade" from the Vidar amp. It's sound quality is as good as it gets.
 
Bobby Bass

Bobby Bass

Audioholic Chief
Why/how would an amp only be good for ht audio? What special properties does an amp need to have to qualify for "hifi" listening? Why wouldn't it be as good as a Schiit amp (aside from additional power)? Both look to be adequate. Why the additional expense of monoblocks, tho?

Only 3rd party measurements I see are:

Good questions. Oh I forgot about if an amp is too neutral or warm or detailed. Reminds me of the conversations about wine when I lived in California. I was ok with red or white and a cork instead of a cap was a bonus. :)
 
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David Harper

Audioholic Intern
"...if an amp is too neutral or warm or detailed..."
This is audiophile nonsense. Amps do not have these kinds of sound quality differences.
 
Bobby Bass

Bobby Bass

Audioholic Chief
That’s why Erin and Amir are interesting and helpful reviewers. They combine measurements with their listening impressions. So many other reviewers sound like sommeliers. “It’s a playful little amp that pairs well with revealing speakers…”
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
That’s why Erin and Amir are interesting and helpful reviewers. They combine measurements with their listening impressions. So many other reviewers sound like sommeliers. “It’s a playful little amp that pairs well with revealing speakers…”
They do "listening impressions" of amps?
 
Bobby Bass

Bobby Bass

Audioholic Chief
Erin has started to add equipment reviews to his reviews of speakers and subs. He recently reviewed the Wiim amp. Good stuff. Check it out. Hope he doesn’t need to add a lawyer along with his new testing equipment. :)
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Erin has started to add equipment reviews to his reviews of speakers and subs. He recently reviewed the Wiim amp. Good stuff. Check it out. Hope he doesn’t need to add a lawyer along with his new testing equipment. :)
Yeah, but amp listening tests?
 
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