Emotiva XPA-1 Monoblock Amplifiers

XPA-1 Monoblock

XPA-1 Differential Referenceâ„¢ Mono-block Power Amplifier
500 watts RMS x 1 into 8 ohms, 1,000 watts RMS x 1 into 4 ohms.
It's all about control, and the XPA-1 is a control freak. 500 watts RMS into 8 ohms, 1,000 watts RMS into 4 ohms. All the performance you'd expect to see from an audiophile reference level amplifier. But what about the sound? Big...expansive...powerful...and yet very refined...and defined. This is what you get when you have control.
Mono-block amplifiers have typically been company flagships. They define the ultimate expression of a company's approach to design and construction. The XPA-1 amplifier puts our ultimate expression within your reach at market-shattering prices.

User Reviews (11)

Showing 1-10 of 11  
boxand1   AudioPhile [Mar 18, 2017]

What to say? These are fantastic monoblocks. Seemingly limitless power, pretty darn clean and clear sound, but certainly not the best I have heard - nor should they be, considering the share of the market they were meant to serve; this is not a critique - these are purpose-built amplifiers, after all - they are meant to give people a taste of separates, Emotiva says as much.

I have had separates for home theater and stereo now for well over two decades (surprising, now I say it). I've had the Sherbourn 7/2100a (class H - had a bit of a low-level hum, but a good amp!), upgraded BGW (kind of a joke if you know these amps) and a recapped Hafler (lovely sound), a Sonic Frontiers SFS-80 tube amp (this is an enjoyable amplifier!), as well as the full line of Emotiva products, but I have landed on and will remain with McIntosh. Before you say they are different price categories all together and should not be compared, allow me to first explain because I believe this is only partially true and will explain why.

Since we're discussing Emotiva here, allow me to share my experience with their products. I enjoy trading pieces in and out of my system on a regular basis for no other reason than to hear the differences in sound, and I did this with particular intention when it came to purchasing Emotiva products. I started with the UPA (entry-level) line and worked my way up to the XPA-1's.

I first played with the UPA-5. I would not recommend it for critical stereo listening - no surprise there, I would hope. It produced a cleaner but less clear sound than the Sherbourn did - I think I may just not have been a fan of the class H sound, but the Sherbourn offered considerably more power output. The UPA-5 did a fine job for home theater - a good entry-level amplifier if you're getting into separates. If you listened to no other mult-channel amps and this was your first foray into separates, you'd likely be very happy.

I next purchased an XPA-5. This was a different level of performance from both the Sherbourn and UPA-5; it combined the power of the Sherbourn and the slightly enhanced clarity of the UPA-5 - a great balance. It is a more than serviceable multi-channel amplifier and a difficult-to-beat value for home theater. It did all right with stereo - not to be used for critical listening I would say, but you certainly wouldn't receive complaints if you're listening to it with friends. I enjoyed the XPA-5 immensely and had it for four years, which was a long time for me.

Next I purchased the XPA-1's. I'll say out front, I really enjoyed these. They are extremely clear and offer way more power than the average buyer will ever need (it was far more than I needed, to be sure). I never thought I would give these up, to be honest. The connections are solid, the build is solid, they are relatively flexible in that they offer two sets of binding posts. They were the first time I really felt like I was able to listen to music a bit more closely without having to wonder how much I was really missing, which was a neat feeling. Honestly, all would have been well with the world and I would have kept the XPA-1's and XPA-5 for a home theater - stereo hybrid system, but then I purchased a serviced McIntosh MC2125 and my mind exploded. I have since, and over a short period, purchased two additional McIntosh amplifiers (MC7106 and MC58) and continue to be blown away.

So to my justification as to why these amplifiers should be rated within the same class. To be fair, you can purchase a pair of XPA-1's in the $1100 range used. I purchased all three of my McIntosh amplifiers for barely over or well under that price ($1240, $1100 and $950 - all shipped to my door). The used prices of these pieces all reside within the same neighborhood.

I can say without reservation, all three McIntosh amplifiers create cleaner, more robust, clearer, surprisingly more transparent sound than the XPA-1's and with less power - at the same or lower price. They are bottomless - I hear things in music I never even knew were there with the XPA-1's, which was shocking... because I loved their sound. To be honest, I teared up a little when I first listened to the MC2125. It's just that good.

All this is to say, I gave the XPA-1's a 4 for value and a 5 for performance. They sound really good for the money, but the money's pretty similar to what you'd have to lay out for a used McIntosh amplifier, and at the end of the day there's little or no comparison between them when it comes to quality. The McIntosh play clearer at volume lower levels, offer better build quality (this is a virtually irrebuttable presumption), far better resale value (again - irrebuttable), you gain the 'wow' and pedigree of McIntosh with them in your rack, and they're made in the United States from tip to tail. I just don't see how you could go wrong.

Before you assail me with hate mail because you love Emotiva, please keep in mind I have very little to complain about with the Emotiva products - if you insist on buying new, there's no comparison. McIntosh is way more expensive and Emotiva represents an attractive value. If you're willing to buy used however, the difference in price evaporates and the quality remains, so there's little to discuss from that point forward - McIntosh is the clear standard.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Harris   AudioPhile [Dec 12, 2016]

I have been constantly upgrading my system for about 30 years now. For the longest time I used various high end integrated AVRs (100-150 wpc), For most people those would suffice. At the time I was running various KEF Reference speakers (104/2 and 105/3). They always sounded good but I always felt that the AVR amp was just holding them back a little. I should note that the KEFs are 4 ohm speakers and are VERY power hungry. And I also have a large home theater room, so I realyl do "need" a lot of power.

I acquired an Emotiva XPA-3 (Gen 1) which definitely improved the experience. SO much so that I then purchased 2 XPA-1 (Gen 1) monoblocks. These helped even more. The final step was to do a bi-amp set up and that has been the best so far.

I have recently upgraded my speakers to some newer KEF Reference 4 models. With the bi-amp set up I am just blown away and how good these amps sound.


I am sure you can spend many thousands of $$$ on high end tube amps which may sound different (Not saying better) but for the money you can not bear the Emotiva XPA series amps. They are powerful and will provide every nuance of sound. There is nothing lacking in these amps.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Gordon   AudioPhile [Nov 21, 2015]

OK, Here it is. I have been in this game longer than most, Played, Recorded, Produced and analysed recordings and every instrument in a recording all my life. I like many styles of music and in the styles of music I listen to, it covers every nuance of virtually instrument. I have read opinionated clueless numpties comments on how other amps sounds much better than Emotivas equipment. I can only speak for XPA1 Monos MK1. I have owned more amps than I would like to admit and even more speakers in my 30 years listening to hifi equipment. Are the xpa 1's the last amps I will own ? Probably not, I'm addicted to every aspect of audio and hifi, and love listening to new gear and it doesn't go away. The xpa1's however are totally outstanding in every way. They produce every last tiny detail and dynamic in the most musical sounding way you will hear at any price. I don't care what anyone else says, your just plain wrong and want to justify your expenditure. Other amps may sound different, but the XPA1's will even produce the grain on a recoding (if it's there) with its full resolution. They score top marks in every imaginable area of sound reproduction. Transparency, Stereo imaging, depth, Focus, Image stability, Speed, Resolution, Dynamics, Micro-dynamics, Bass Control, Bass weight, Warmth (if its there). Image size, Focus, Extension at both frequency extremes and finally delicacy and accuracy throughout the range. I'm fed up reading about folk saying they don't do this or that, and your better spending you money on a Musical Fidelity, Krell, Levinson, Moon or Bryston, It's not true and your just def or stupid or both. I've owned many models from all these manufacturers. These are great amps at any price and definitely worth considering a listening to. They are precise in every aspect of the audio spectrum, in absolute control and a complete bargain. They can produce a sound so realistic you could easily believe you are there and that's what it's all about.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
MICHAEL kLEMENTOVICH   AudioPhile [Nov 22, 2014]

review is actually of a 2014 pair but this site would not let me into anything past 2010 probably because this is the Gen 2 model...well well well gotta understand I have 1/4 million dollars plus of audio equipment and upgraded up to the this model from the XPA2 stereo for my highly modded Maggie 1.7's just to see if that Class A feature was for real and see if it was really gonna be an upgrade as I loved the 2 model very much(read my review) but I was not prepared for this significant of an upgrade it was like night and day. I HATE anything Solid State but this EMOTIVA stuff is the real deal I have had time with $10,000.00 Krell this stuff actually blows away!!!!!! Can you believe they actually traded my 2 in after owning it for a year and I paid 800 for it and they gave me 500+ on trade in!!!! Are you kidding...look out every other high end solid state company in the USA EMOTIVA is taking over big time....Rumor has it they are even going to start making a tube amp in the good ol' USA in the future
Anyway the low end is incredible the mids and highs are smmmmmoth the amps run warm not hot even in Class A and are dead dead dead silent. Cost me 1411.00 to my doorstep + my 2 and I only paid 25 to ship it back to them as they issued the tag for return these weigh 73lbs each so be prepared !!!!!!!!! Cannot say enough about this company except they blow the doors off of any solid state amps made regardless of price ...just like Positive Feedback review says............if you do not like them you have 30 days ARE YOU KIDDING!!!!!!!!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Shake777   AudioPhile [Aug 25, 2012]

You can tell from the vocabulary and the experience from the previous writers that they know what they are talking about. The comments are consistent...all superlative...so take heed. I have five XPA1 with two of the 350w Emo amps to round out my 7.2 Klipsch Palladium system and the results are crazy good top to bottom, left to right. Service? I broke one of my amps through my own obvious fault and they fixed it pronto for no charge. Performance again, as others have noted, your ears will bleed way before you hear a hint of distortion and these are capable of 1000w at 4 ohms which is how I'm running them. Emotiva ran two sales this year and I think I got the five for about $4300.00 if my foggy memory is not fooling me...regardless, I saved a hunk of cash. These are a bargain and a giant killer.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
greg hanson   AudioPhile [Jul 10, 2012]

After researching the web for 2 months, I decided on Emotiva to upgrade my home theater system. I purchased the umc 1 pre/pro, a pair of xpa 1's, and a xpa 5. YOW!! The difference from my Yamaha htr 6090, and Makie pro audio amps was staggering. Certainly the best audio value out there, and more importantly fantastic sound quality! HOWEVER replace the factory power cords with a high quality after market power cord!!!!!! I purchased ZU audio BOK power cords for all the Emotiva gearand could not believe my ears,as it sounded as th ough I had gotten even bigger amps. I was skeptical about power cords making a difference, but now my ears tell me I made a wise choice. Great amps , but if you want to hear them at their true potential replace those power cords!!!!! Highly recommended !

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
James   Audio Enthusiast [May 14, 2012]

Thought I would share my thoughts on the XPA-1. I have recently auditioned various amps includng McIntosh, Audio Research, Esoteric and 2-3 other high-end amps. The cheapest among those amps was $4k per mono block. Each of those brands sounded and performed extremely well, which you would expect given the price.But guess what, my XPA-1s are right up there with them. To be clear (and fair) those amps ranged from slightly better to much better than the XPA-1. However, they DID NOT sound anywhere near 4x - 30x the cost of my 1s! While they sounded better, they didn't sound that much better to me.

What I like about the 1s is the transparency, endless power and purity of sound they produce. I immediately noticed that I could turn my volume up higher and experience far less fatigue. The sound is just so pure when I listen to classical and jazz. It is simply awesome to get something this good at this price. The other manufacturers should be ashamed of themselves. This product would retail for a minimum of $8k - $16k in name-brand models.

I own a pair of Paradigm Studio 100s and a pair of Def Tech Mythos ST towers. I also own a Def Tech Supercube and Trinity sub. The XPA-1s power the paradigms. I have a XPA-2 that powers my Def Tech loudspeakers. I also own a XPA-3 that powers a Mythos 10 center and two cheap Atlantic Tech ceiling speakers for rears.

For anyone interested, there is a noticable difference between the XPA-3, XPA-2 and XPA-1 models. With each step up you get a noticable difference. The XPA-3 produces very solid, respectable sound. The XPA-2 delivers very good sound with deep bass ... I mean really deep bass. I love that amp. The XPA-1 borrows the bass from the 2 but gives you an overall purer, more transparent sound. Again, each is a noticable step up from each other, which makes the extra $$$ seem worth it. Each of them also run fairly cool unless I push them with some of my basshead tracks for long periods (like Bass Mekanik or DJ Billy E.)

All I can say is that if you can spring the $2k for a pair of these puppies, you will be getting a product that performs a minimum of 4x its price. Pair these with nice speakers and you will be quite pleased. I know someone that paired these with a pair of reference speakers from Canton. He was a former dealer and swore that these outperformed anything he sold for under $10k a pair in his former store. That should tell you something.

I am saving up to upgrade my Paradigms to the S8 model. I will update this if/when I get the cash to make the next leap. Something tells me these will make the S8s shine.

Last, I own the USP-1 as a pre-amp. Again, for the price the device is unreal. It too performs like something 4x - 5x its price. Thank you Emotiva for giving the budget conscious folks like me a shot at owning stuff that performs well at a price within reach!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Roger Crane   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 21, 2012]

I've decided to write what I find the truth. Every once in a while, a product comes out that is so wonderful, it's destined for grand memories. Some call this "Classic." I've owned a few. One was the "Grandson of Ampzilla", that's right, the Grandson. A 40 watt at 8 ohms, and 80 watt at 4 ohms. Sonically, it was outstanding. James Bongourno I believe, was the designer. Thankyou James for the splendor of owning a great amplifier. Several months ago, I was looking for a new amp. I read about the XPA-1 Monoblocks. Upon receiving them, hooking them up, I immediately knew, these were something very special. Is it the best amp of all time? No. Is it close? Yes. Very close. They are very open, quiet, neutral and overall disappear. Very few amps at any price, are going to embarass these amplifiers. I didn't buy these because they were a bargain. I bought them hoping that they were half as good as they are. Of course, now I'm glad they were a bargain. Today, $2,000 dollars is still alot of money. But not for what you're getting in return. For anyone thinking about buying a new amplifier, purchase these. You'll never forget them. If you settle for less, you'll regret it. I would like to thank everyone at Emotiva, from the floorsweeper on up, for your work that helped produce such musical amplifiers.They are the Strativarius of audio amplification! Job well done. With Fondest Regards, R. Crane (5 STARS)

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
patmacav   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 04, 2011]

The EMOTIVA XPA-1 Differential Referenceâ„¢ Mono-block Power Amplifier!
What an amp!

I wouldn't presume to tell anyone what they should or shouldn't listen to, but I know what I'll be listening to.. for hopefully, a very long time. These XPA-1 Monos make my Magnepan IIIAs sing as they were designed to sing. I've been driving these Maggies with a Pioneer Elite 59TXi A/V Receiver, for sometime now and although this was their flagship A/V receiver just a few years back, at mid volume they performed ok, but if I wanted to listen at higher volumes, the music would sound stressed, bright, harsh, blurred, smudged, and just plain.. well, I'm sure you get the picture. I knew I had an insufficient power problem, as these Maggies are knowned to be power hungry and might be considered bright and hard to drive by some..

But not any more.:-)

They have been fed, stuffed and they are happy. ;^)

I can crank the volume until your ears bleed and the sound quality just gets.. louder!! And just stays.. Detailed.. and Musical! And I've only used a small amount of the total power available. Now I know what some mean, when they say, "it's all about the power", with these speakers.

These monos are big and heavy, but they perform effortlessly and the music is.. musical!

Are you blown away yet by my amazing lack of sufficiently descriptive adjectives? Have I grown verbose in my verbage? Okay then, try this; detailed, hard hitting, gentle, fluid and REAL! It's music to my ears.

If you're concerned about hooking them up and the impact they'll have on your 15 amp circuit, as I was, don't be. I run two of these bad boys and the 59TXi and all my other gear except the TV through a Panamax M5400-PM, which displays the amount of amperage and voltage running through the unit and used by all the equipment connected to it. I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw; it usually hangs in the 2.2 amp range and sometimes reaches the 4.+ range for some very dynamic material when pushed hard with everything I listed above connected and powered. I'm sure that if I cranked things loud enough, I could probably blow something up, but I'd have to be wearing earplugs and I'd wonder what all those sound waves might be doing to my internal organs.

One last note; this is one of those amps that make you want to play through all your audio favorites again and again, just to hear them as they were meant to be listened to. And, I assure you, you'll enjoy every minute of it.

I am in no way affiliated with EMOTIVA or the manufacturer of these fine amps and I gain nothing by posting this review; only the satisfaction of sharing my experience with each of you.

Strengths:
Great power - Headroom-Headroom-Headroom - dynamics and finesse.
Crystalline sound envelops you in a omni-directional soundwave which is everywhere!

Weaknesses:
Eat your wheaties folks; these are big and heavy! You get what you pay for (and more) with these bad boys, no doubt about it!

Similar Products Used:
Mcintosh - MC240 & MC7200
Pioneer Elite - 53TX, 56TXi, 49TXi & 59TXi

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
No-Bob   AudioPhile [Feb 14, 2009]

Not a whole lot I can add after "arctikdeth" review. Mostly I can say I agree with him 100%.

Recently my Luxman M-117 amp died so I needed a replacement. The Luxman was an excellent amp and it combined well with my Dalhquist Dq-20 speakers. I was VERY skeptical and honesty thought there would be no way the XPA-1 would compare with the Luxman. The amp cost $1200 in 1992 and I still believe that was a great valve.

Well folks the XPA-1s deliver in anyway. I can't tell you how many times I said WOW listening to my collection of CD or watching some HD music videos.

The vocals on my Dalhquist have always been great(Of course the recording of the material is a major limiting factor) but now when I listen to a good recording it sounds like I'm "IN THE STUDIO" when there recording the track. Clarity is just amazing.

I like to listen to music a little loud at times and this is another area where the XPA-1s out shine the Luxman. I would hear harshness if I pushed the Luxman to hard. It was rated at 200W and this would only happen when I pushed the amp to it's limit. Because Emotiva over engineered this amp I have never heard to amp stress at all. Every detail remains sharp even at high levels. The over engineering thing makes a lot of sense because distortion levels automatically stay low when the amp is only using a low portion of it's capabilities. Transients have plenty of room.

The one negative comment I have would be the LED meter. It's not accurate but I fix that by turning it off.

In the end I highly recommend this amp, it is outstanding in musical quality and off the charts on value.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 11  

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