You have a nice system. You pretty much like it. But you’ve got an itch to scratch. We always want to make our systems better, right?! What’s your NEXT MOVE?
Here’s my recommendation for the guy who has a nice rig, but wants to upgrade for less than Croesus money. Your speakers are good. Your receiver or integrated amp is respectable. You are happy with your source. What’s the smartest upgrade for you to make short of trading up to huge bucks in speakers?
Yep, increase your power. With very rare exception, your speakers have a lot more to give you than what you are hearing. We can prove this with even very modestly sized speakers, as long as they have good range. An example is the Elac B-6, $280 per pair. If you run the Elacs with a 50×2 receiver, they sound respectable. In fact, this is what MOST people that buy speakers like the B-6s use.
But they can sound sooooo much better! You won’t believe me, and I don’t expect you to, until you hear the difference a gutsy power amp can make. If you run the pre outs of your receiver or integrated into a forceful power amp, it will sound like you bought NEW SPEAKERS!
This holds true for the Elac B-6, a modest bookshelf speaker. It’s even more impressive on speakers that have more testosterone hiding behind that grill cloth. The more capability your speaker has, the bigger the difference you’ll hear in upgrading your horsepower!
Take, for example, the GoldenEar Triton 7 towers at $1400 per pair. They sound very nice on 50×2. But you ought to hear them on 150×2! Or why not 300×2?! Odds are your receiver or integrated
amp has pre outs. All you need is a thunderous power amp and a set of nice interlink cables to accomplish the upgrade.
While you’re at it, if you are NOT running Kimber speaker cable, please consider that upgrade too. You can get Kimber at $4 per foot or $8 per foot, that will make your sound more dynamic and impactful. Music comes alive with Kimber Kable compared to any lamp cord, regardless of gauge.
Back to power amps. Which amps should you consider to make this big aural upgrade? Emotiva!
Emotiva power amps throw thunder and lighting- and do so at affordable pricing! Further, Emo
amps have a FIVE YEAR WARRANTY!
Emotiva A-300 $400 (150×2)
A-300 is a class AB amp that weighs 32lbs. It has a 360Va transformer, 8 output transistors, and filter capacitance of 30,000uF! This amount of hardware, for this price, is unheard of!
What you will find from virtually everyone else is an amp that comes up short compared to A-300 and still sells for about $1000!
A-300 will increase your transient attack and bass impact substantially, over any receiver period, and almost every integrated amp south of $2k.
Emotiva XPA2G3$1000 (300×2)
XPA2G3 is among the best amplifier values in our biz! It delivers close to the Niagara Falls of power for under a grand. Featuring a new SMPS power supply, the amount of hardware in this sucker for under a grand is absurd! Competitors that run $1500-2000 still fall wayyyyy short of XPA2G3!
Emotiva XPA-1 MonoBlocks, $1200ea (600w Mono)
For the purist audiophile out there, monoblocks are the state of the art. Here you get an amp with virtually unlimited power. It is Class AB, 600w and weighs 73lbs. It has a 1200Va transformer. It has 24 output transistors! It has 120,000uF filter capacitance. In short, an amp with this much blood and guts typically runs about $5000! From Emotiva, it only runs $1200. Further, XPA-1 is a dual, balanced, differential power amp. This, my friends, is the real McCoy!
Think back to classic amps of the day made by Hafler, Dynaco, GAS and others. Let’s compare with the Hafler. It was the most successful of that ilk.
In 1982 the Hafler DH-200 (assembled) amp ran $440. It put out 100×2. It had a one year warranty. The transformer was 360Va. It had 8 output transistors. It had 20,000uF of filter capacitance.
Today, 33 years later, Emo’s A-300 puts out 50% more power, has much more filter capacitance, it’s apples to apples in terms of transformer and output transistors- and comes with a FIVE YEAR WARRANTY!
People were gaga over the Hafler in 1982- what a steal of a deal! And here we are 33 years later, with a much superior amp at roughly the same price as the Hafler in 1982- the last time the Brewers were in the world series for crying out loud!
The Adcom GFA-555 was quite the statement amp for its day. It ran $800 in 1989. It had 200×2 of power. It weighed 34lbs. It had a 700Va transformer, 8 output transistors, 60.000uF filter capacitance.
Today, 26 years later, the Emo XPA2G3 kills it. At close to the same price, $1000, the Emo has a third more power at 300×2 and features a new SMPS power supply design. The Emo has a FIVE YEAR WARRANTY. The Adcom had a two year warranty.
To make a long story short, adding a Tyrannosaurus Rex of a power amp will make a very big improvement to your sound, regardless of the speakers you own. You can make this move without changing any other components. The price of today’s Emo amps is about THE SAME as the top contenders 30+ years ago. Go for it!