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#415556 - 11/20/15 03:44 PM Amp Recommendation
mrihar Offline

Registered: 12/01/13
Posts: 20
I have the following

Denon x4000
M80 front R/L
VP150 center
QS8 R/L surround
QS8 R/L rear surround

I've been thinking about an Emotiva amp but haven't made the plunge because the cost to ship is too high. However, I just found a local Emotiva dealer with decent prices. I'm going to buy either the Emotiva XPA-3 or the XPA-2 on Saturday and am looking for an informed recommendation. The main reason for the amp is to adequately power the 4ohm M80s. Although Denon drives them well I could use a little more power/headroom for my space. Also, my Denon seems to run a little hot. That and Denon doesn't really state 4ohm specs which leads me to think the receiver wasn't designed specifically for a 4ohm speaker.

Anyway, the main difference between the XPA-3 and XPA-2 (despite the monoblock option on the XPA-2)_is:

Number of channels: 2 (stereo mode), 1 (monoblock mode)
•Topology: fully discrete, highly optimized dual differential, high current, short signal path Class A/B with premium components throughout
•Power output (all channels driven):
1000 watts RMS @ 8 ohm (Mono-Block mode)
500 watts RMS per channel @ 4 ohm (0.12% THD)
300 watts RMS per channel @ 8 ohm (0.07% THD)

•Number of channels: 3
•Power output (all channels driven):
330 watts RMS @ 4 ohm (<0.1% THD)
200 watts RMS @ 8 ohm (<0.1% THD)

Based on the specs would I be better off getting a 3 channel amp to drive my VP150 + the M80s OR 2 channel amp with more power to drive my M80s.

I'm kinda weighing the XPA-2's monoblock option and higher power VS the extra channel provided by the XPA-3.

What would you choose? Completely different options are also welcome.


#415557 - 11/20/15 04:56 PM Re: Amp Recommendation [Re: mrihar]
casey01 Offline

Registered: 07/03/08
Posts: 848
Loc: Toronto
I don't think you could go wrong in either case, it would just be a matter of personal choice and your budget since audibly there would really be little if any difference between any of them.

For me personally, if the choice is three channels, then I would go with equal power across the front, however, in order to get the best use of that power and if you have the space, I would switch the 150 for either a VP160 or 180.

#415558 - 11/20/15 08:02 PM Re: Amp Recommendation [Re: mrihar]
Gr8_White_North Offline

Registered: 07/12/09
Posts: 2180
Loc: Whitehorse YT
It seems to me that the XPA 2 is geared toward a 2 channel system where the buyer may want to add a second amp at a later date to do dual mono. I started with the XPA 3 with a Denon 3311 and then added a XPA 5 to go with my XMC-1. Unfortunately I now have a extra channel doing nothing LOL. I have absolutely no complaints and to my ears they sound great. The sound now seems effortless after adding the amps. Whether the sonic improvements are real or imagined I am extremely happy with my purchase . Since the surrounds require much less power leave them to the Denon and power the front 3 with an XPA 3. In all honesty the Denon should be more than enough. Bass draws the most current from an amp and these days most people offload the bass to a sub so that really leaves a lot of power for the rest of the speakers and Axioms are very efficient speakers.

DOG is GOD spelled backwards.
What others think of me is none of my business.
M80 V3 MY GLOSS Cherry

#415560 - 11/21/15 03:02 PM Re: Amp Recommendation [Re: mrihar]
brendo Offline

Registered: 10/14/14
Posts: 348
Loc: West coast Canada
In my experience with My M80s more power the better, They go ultra loud crystal clear.
Have a Tascam pre pro was running warm with all channels driven.7.2. Found an old Crest Audio VS900 on craigs list 450watts 2 channel or 900 mono. It has cooled my amp and man the M80s sound fantastic.
I live in an old building cranked it to 82{THX} reference one night and holy I could hear it on the street crystal clear!!!
Lucky we're all younger in my building so no one really cares, as long as the kids aren't here and asleep of course.

I would go the 2 channel with the mono option. The M80 with mono's WOW!!!
Agree with casey01 bigger center,Vp160 is what I have it's only 6 or 8 Ohm so easy load for main pre/pro amp. Once you add the power the small center may not be enough.

Cheers Brendo

#415865 - 12/07/15 04:30 PM Re: Amp Recommendation [Re: brendo]
mrihar Offline

Registered: 12/01/13
Posts: 20
Just wanted to follow up on purchase and experiences.

I bought the XPA-2 and love it. From what I can tell the only difference between it and more epensive amps (Athem for example) is the signal noise floor which is really insignificant. For those of you out there who are using a Denon/Marantz (or similar) Integrated Amplifier to driver your M80s do yourself a favour and buy a separate amplifier.

I normally set my Denon to Direct mode. I find the quality of sound at high volume is the best on Direct rather than an Audyssey setting. From what I understand this sets the speakers to full spectrum (large) and negates any tone adjustments. Otherwise the Audyssey setting are all still applied to the M80s. I find that high quality recordings such as Nora Jones, Diana Krall (track: Narrow Daylight), Pink Floyd DSOTM SACD, Gilberto/Getz & John Mayor sound simply astounding on the M80s at high volume with the XPA-2 driving them. The bass response has improved incredibly. In fact I can listen to the aforementioned recordings without the EP500 engaged without noticing much difference in bass response.

Techno/Trance tracks blow the ceiling off. I've made it a rule to engage the volume limiter on my Denon to 0 (reference) to help protect my ears. On the odd occasion I'll move the volume up beyond reference while standing way back. Wow. I can't say enough good stuff about the M80s performance when driven by a sufficiently powerful amplifier.

I wonder is there any risk in damaging the M80s with XPA-2? At 4ohms the amp is rated at nearly 500W/channel while the M80s max amplifier rating is 400W. Does anyone know what that 400W rating represents. Is it the RMS power, max power or something completely different? I know paradigm speakers list two power ratings a max input power and a RMS power rating which is about half the max.

Thanks for any information on this.

I'm a very happy camper. I do agree now that I need a larger center speaker such as the VP180. Maybe some day. In the mean time I'm on the prowl for any high quality recordings I can find.


Edited by mrihar (12/07/15 04:39 PM)

#415872 - 12/07/15 08:12 PM Re: Amp Recommendation [Re: mrihar]
chesseroo Offline

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 5171
Loc: western canada
Glad to hear your purchase turned out well.
Certainly in regards to bass, power is required especially with higher SPL. Receivers 'can' run out juice depending on how loud you like to playback sound.

All that being said, no, you won't damage the M80s with that amp. The worst scenario is to be driving speakers with an underpowered amplification source.
An amp that has more power than a speaker could handle is the better of the two situations. If anything you would drive the speaker to its maximum driver excursion point and you would hear a 'thuck' or 'thump' noise. With an underpowered amp you could drive it into distortion by turning it too loud beyond its specs depending on the load provided by a speaker which commonly fries tweeters.

Just so you know, Axiom tests speakers regularly and when i was at the factory about 10 years back, Ian had some M80s hooked up to two Bryston amps and blasted them with 700W of Slayer heavy metal.
You can see the pics of the testing room here:

Edited by chesseroo (12/07/15 08:13 PM)
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."


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