Had this amp for about 2 weeks and found it to be well built, wonderful sound quality, powerful, heavy and the service was fast and reliable (delivery was within 3 days of ordering on-line). Read several reviews on-line (Audioholics) and was persuaded to get the LMC-1/LPA-1combo which is on sale for the holiday...saved big $$$ and replaced an aging Onkyo recv. Finally stepped up to separates! Emo will give their customers 40% off any upgraded model in the pre-amps...so 40% off the LMC-2 that comes out later in '09, AND I can keep the LMC-1 with it's built in 25 watt amp for zone 2. But the amp is the keeper as you will prob. never need to upgrade on power. Sound quality was waaaaay better than the Onkyo. I love SACD and found this amp really provided an enveloping soundstage and I can heard all of the sonic details. I am very happy with this product. Check out their web site and read the reviews...you will be glad you did!
I read everything I could find on this amp, trying to decide if it was worth the time and money to try it out at home. In all the posts and reviews I read, I never found a direct comparison of this amp to any other separate amp. Even the review at Audioholics made no mention of comparison to any other amps. I decided to try it at home and compare it directly to my current amp, a Parasound HCA-1000 (125 W x 2)) and an older amp that I had retired, a Proton AA-2580 5 channel amp (80W x 5). My listening is about 80/20 2-channel/home theater, so the comparison was primarily a stereo comparison with various types of music: blues, jazz, reggae, rock, and bluegrass. The Emotiva amp is a solid performer, but it was outclassed in basically every area by the Parasound. The LPA-1 sounded a little bright in the higher frequencies and was thin through the midbass region. Male vocals lacked weight through the LPA-1 as compared to the HCA-1000. However, deep bass had more weight to it through the LPA-1, but wasn't as tight or detailed as the Parasound. Soundstaging was also superior on the Parasound. This isn't too surprising as the 2-channel Parasound, when new, retailed for $ 600, compared to $ 500 for the 5-channel Emotiva. I would estimate the performance of the Emotiva was approximately 80 % of the Parasound. Not a night and day difference, but noticeable.
The Emotiva beat the Proton by a huge margin on both music and movies. I had been using the Proton to power my center channel and surrounds, but decided that the differences between the Parasound and Proton were too big and started looking for a 5 channel amp. There is a large improvement in sound quality when using the LPA-1. Better separation, clearer highs, superior imaging and no fan noise. I remember when I bought the Proton how much better music and movies sounded when compared to my Harman Kardon AVR65. The difference between the Proton and Emotiva was just as big, so it makes sense to me that the LPA-1 is getting such strong reviews from users that have upgraded from receivers.
As mentioned everywhere, build quality and finish are excellent. Definitely a nice looking amp.
I would still recommend this amp to someone on a tight budget or someone wanting to upgrade to separates for the first time. However, if music is your first choice I would consider looking at the used market.
I recently upgraded my main speakers to a 4-ohm model (Axiom M80's). I had some concerns as to whether my receiver (Pioneer Elite VSX-43TX) would be able to power them effectively, so I went ahead and purchased this amp based purely on internet reviews and forum discussion. I had always thought that eventually I'd want to enter the realm of seperates, and would start by 'dipping my toe in' by purchasing this relatively inexpensive 7 channel amp. With their seemingly generous return policy, I thought I'd give it a try.
Both speakers and LPA-1 arrived on the same day. The UPS guy was not amused. ;-) I started by hooking the speakers up to my receiver to see how they would fair. I was somewhat dissapointed at the slightly muddy bass, very strong highs, and a generally 'closed' and 'weak' sound to the speakers. At reference volume levels, my receiver started struggling with the load and the sound quality became even worse. Really, I wasn't all that happy with them. Had I not had the LPA-1 sitting there ready to try, I really might have boxed the speakers back up.
I then hooked up the LPA-1 to the pre-outs of my AVR, and wired up my mains to it. I was stunned when I fired it up. Even at low volume levels, there was a difference in sound quality. At moderate to reference+ levels, they difference was amazing. The speakers 'opened-up' as they say. Bass became stronger, tighter, and much more defined. Midrange presence was reinforced. The Highs actually became smoother and less piercing. The soundstage became much more 3-dimensional. The speakers melted into the background, and I can pick up some 'extreme-stereo' sound coming from apparently beyond the left and right speakers. Truly amazing. I have a few really great recordings of large orchestral works that on a higher-end system have a lot of depth and spaciousness to them. On my buddy's $50k+ system, you can quite plainly hear the depth of the stage; you can tell that the drums are way in the back, the violin section right up front in front of the cellos, but the brass on the other side and slightly further back, etc. This amp brought an amazing amout of that feeling to my meager setup. A lot of that, of course, is because of the speakers and other components. Crummy speakers on the best amp in the world will still be crummy speakers. But the LPA-1 clearly made a positive difference in how my speakers were reproducing sound, and I can't ask for anything more in an amp.
I then hooked up the other channels in my system to the LPA-1, and it's powering everything with ease.
I know some folks say that amps don't make a difference. Well, in my case, it really did. I'm an objective person, I like to quantify results and see how test were done. I don't believe hype, but this amp has clearly demonstrated to me that dedicated amplification is the way to go for amazingly clear, powerful, and realistic sound reproduction. Try it for yourself and see.
So if you're considering the jump into dedicated amplification, you might want to put Emotiva on your list of contenders. While not as well known as some of the other big names (Adcom, Rotel, Outlaw, etc, etc, etc), they seem to have a strong product at an amazing price.