Emotiva XPA-2 and the M80's

Posted by: mrspeeed

Emotiva XPA-2 and the M80's - 12/25/11 05:52 AM

Well I am just about to receive some M80 speakers (among others) while I am constructing my home. It will still be months before they are placed in cab for my custome install.

I was looking at amps and came across this:


I will likely go Outlaw or Emotiva the latter being more likely with their xmas sale on the XPA-5. I was thinking of a XPA-2 for the fronts, XPA-5 *2 (to power surrounds, backs, center and a number of outdoor and inceling kitchen speakers).

I was just curious if anybody else has personally come across this issue and could comment.
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Emotiva XPA-2 and the M80's - 12/25/11 09:23 AM

A few years ago there was issues where the Emo amps would go into protection mode and shut down when driving various brands of 4ohm speakers. Emo blammed Axiom, saying their speaker was dipping to 1 ohm during various situations (movies, music), which is really a lame excuse.

At the time I owned their top of the line MPS-1, and it constantly shut down, during passages that were not even very loud. If an amp can't play a movie at reference, there is something wrong. After 2-3 replacement amp modules were sent, we could not resolve the issue, and Emo graciously returned all my money.

Others with Axiom m80's had similar issues, as well as other people on AVS with Rockets from AV123, and a few other brands of 4 ohm specs. Keep in mind the Axiom 80's only dip to around 4 ohm at a few frequency ranges, and much higher across most of the frequency range (more like a 6ohm speaker).

It is my understanding that the Emo amps over the last year have not had this problem, and do not include this limiter circuitry as in the older designs. I guess you would have to take your chances.

In regards to Outlaw, I have nothing but good things to say about them. I absolutely love my 7700. I do play my music fairly loud, and movies I play at reference level. Keep in mind my room is pretty large, 30ft x 31ft x 9ft. I am in the process of redesigning the area to be a more enclosed, dedicated room right now.

A few questions...how big is your room, how loud do you intend to play things. Are you using a receiver, or a pre-amp? If a receiver, have you considered trying it without an extra amp? Just curious, as most people are satisfied with the power of todays AVRs.
Posted by: mrspeeed

Re: Emotiva XPA-2 and the M80's - 12/25/11 02:42 PM

Thanks, I was hoping you would chyme in as a Denon/Outlaw user. Good to hear the newer EMO's don't have the same issues. I am leaning that way.

You have a large room. My listening space is only 14*17*9 however it is part of an open concent living/dining/kitchen which is esentially 42*17*9 however it also opens to the central staircase and hall way. It is all very open.

I will use an AVR for now and then likely as a pre/pro but need an external amp for the kitchen & outdoor speakers. The outdoors (2 pairs)are the Algonquin so I want to make sure I have enough power but I will not be holding outdoor concerts.

I might have to use my old, but still very usable, Pio VSX-94THX for now but looking at getting the Denon 3212CI or hold out for the new line of Denon since I have a Feb completion date on the build of my house.

So the XPA-2 is not needed per se - it just would be fun.

Happy Holidays.
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Emotiva XPA-2 and the M80's - 12/25/11 05:05 PM

That would be one nice setup, would love to see some pics someday. smile
Posted by: mrspeeed

Re: Emotiva XPA-2 and the M80's - 12/26/11 08:45 AM

Thanks - I will definately put up some pics.

I am getting the in-cab versions of m80, vp180 and the soon to be released ep500. The latter is still TBA but the formers are in Miami ready to be shipped to the island. I am currently having the cabinet made.

To round it out I have a QX8-'s (custom paint) for my 5.1. Since it is a new construction I have put two in ceiling speakers so I can run a 7.1 if desired. However for now a 5.1 would free up the extra channels for the two in-ceiling for the kitchen.

Like you I have an onwall M22/VP150 set up as well. My Pio is destined to power this bedroom setup.

Not to be forgotten I have a IW-M22 for the den (with some in-ceiling as well) which I have set up to be run both separately, and as a zone 2 from the living room. This can also serve as a dedicated HT room later if I wish.

While cash management is key when building I do need to get more applification and the 3312-CI is on the short list. But the point to my original question is that I like 2-channel and thinking XPA-2 might just be what the doctor ordered. I just wish I could somehow buy a big 7-ch external amp like the 7700 but then use the Denon amps for the external speakers. However I don't think I can use the pre-outs and the amp section at the same time.

When the wall was wired sent the link to the 7900 to the electrian. So he put two 20A breakers for that wall alone. But I don't think I can pull the trigger on the 7900.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Emotiva XPA-2 and the M80's - 12/26/11 08:50 AM

Accessories 4 Less has the 3312CI in a refurb model, so that might save you a few bucks.
Posted by: Tariq

Re: Emotiva XPA-2 and the M80's - 12/28/11 04:54 AM

I have a 9.2 setup:

M80 v2 fronts
VP180 center
QS8 V2 & V3 the remaining six.

I am using a Denon 4311CI, and a XPA-3 that drives the Fronts and Center.

All this is sitting in a fairly large room.

I confirm that the XPA-3 effortlessly drives the M80's and VP180 without even heating up. The Denon receiver gets hotter than the amp.

The sound improved immensely in my room, the amp is a good one and complements the M80 perfectly.

Highly recommended.
Posted by: mrspeeed

Re: Emotiva XPA-2 and the M80's - 12/28/11 06:23 PM

Much appreciated. The more I research the more it appears it the issue, if there was one, is not longer an issue.
Posted by: Nick B

Re: Emotiva XPA-2 and the M80's - 12/30/11 01:42 PM


I think that the XPA-2 should be fine for you. They reviewed it at Audioholics and it drove Gene's RBH T-30LSE towers just fine in his large room, and he has a lot of sound absorption. He said that it even gave his $7000 Denon amp a run for its money.


If you look at the impedance curve of the RBH vs the m80's, you can see that the RBH's are a tougher load to drive overall. Both speakers have three places where the impedance dips down to around 3 or 4 ohms. But, the RBH's are almost always below 6 ohms while m80's are not.


http://www.axiomaudio.com/m80.html# (click on impedance graph under specs)

I would say that if the XPA2 can drive the RBH's in Gene's room just fine, then the M80's in your room should be fine. This is especially true if you set your crossover between 50Hz and 80Hz on the m80's (THX recommends 80Hz), since that looks to be the lowest part of the impedance graph.
Posted by: mrspeeed

Re: Emotiva XPA-2 and the M80's - 12/30/11 08:18 PM

Nick B, - this is a lot of great information. Thank you very much for taking the time and putting this together. On paper I never thought there would be an issue until I came across that link. I don't have any fears putting the combo together now.
Posted by: Tariq

Re: Emotiva XPA-2 and the M80's - 12/31/11 10:00 AM

I think that you should also consider what center you are planning to get. I have the VP180, and it is a horizontal M80, sounds as sweet, and requires as much juice.

I suggest that you match the amplification of the M80 to the VP180 if possible. Listening to music using my setup is more of a pleasure than ever.
Posted by: Nick B

Re: Emotiva XPA-2 and the M80's - 01/02/12 10:59 AM

Mr Speeed,

Keep us informed of how your combination works out. Many times we only hear when amps do not work with the M80's.

Also, Tariq has a good suggestion. If you also plan on the VP180 center channel you may want to consider the XPA-3 instead of the XPA-2. If you go with the VP160, you probably wouldn't need to worry as much since it is a much easier load to drive.
Posted by: mrspeeed

Re: Emotiva XPA-2 and the M80's - 01/02/12 02:59 PM

Tariq - perhaps the xpa-3 is what the doctor ordered. I am using the vp180. However I just decided to go with a whole home audio/video distribution system so I will need to hold off on external amps for a while. But when I do decide I will consider your advice.

Posted by: mrspeeed

Re: Emotiva XPA-2 and the M80's - 01/02/12 03:02 PM

Nick B. - I will likely need to stick with my pioneer vsx94-thx for a little while now.

At least when I upgrade it with an external amp and/or a 3d receiver I will be able to compare it to the original receiver (which has performed quite nicely with my dated Mission 773e system).