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Budget Power Amps for Speakers from Emotiva, Outlaw and Schiit

Wooferhead

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I've been researching into good quality budget amps by reputable manufacturers for a while. I want to know what are my options out there and how much they cost. I've been checking out various brands, models and their specifications, reading reviews and watching review videos, etc. I am interested in both mono blocks and 2 channel stereo amps. I don't care much for integrated amps for I would much prefer separates. I have shortlisted four models in two groups below:

Group One: Mono Blocks
1) Outlaw Model 2220: Class AB/G, 200W RMS into 8 Ohms ($399 each or $699 a pair)

2) Emotiva BasX A1: Class AB, 200W RMS into 8 Ohms ($499 each)

mono blocks.jpg


Group Two: Stereo Power Amps
1) Schiit Vidar 2: Class AB, 100W RMS per channel into 8 Ohms ($799 each)

2) Emotiva BasX A2: Class AB, 160W RMS per channel into 8 Ohms ($499 each)

Stereo Amps.jpg

I am calling for all current and former owners of any of the four models above to share your user experience, impressions, thoughts, comments and/or rants with me or anyone in this forum who are also searching for good quality budget power amps from those manufacturers to drive the passive speakers in their HiFi system. Your inputs will be invaluable in helping some of us to make an informed decisions as to which one to purchase and/or which one to avoid.

Please also share the models of your preamps and DACs you connect to the amps and what kind of sound quality that combo produces in your setting.

I look forward to receiving your posts soon.

Thanks.


Wooferhead
 
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Everett T

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The Schit doesn't have a 4ohm rating for bridged. Emotiva CS is up and down, especially with discounted warranty products. That leaves the Outlaw, which would be the best choice IMHO. I use the 2220s to power the front 3 BMRs in one of our rooms.
 
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Wooferhead

Wooferhead

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The Schit doesn't have a 4ohm rating for bridged. Emotiva CS is up and down, especially with discounted warranty products. That leaves the Outlaw, which would be the best choice IMHO. I use the 2220s to power the front 3 BMRs in one of our rooms.
What Preamp do you use to drive the three front speakers? BMR Monitor with 86.5 dB sensitivity and 4 Ohms impedance is quite demanding to drive. How do the 2220s perform? Are you satisfied with them? How would you describe the sound quality in terms of bass, midrange and treble?

I am still trying to figure out what preamp to use to drive three front speakers without using an AV receiver or a 7.2 ch processor.
 
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Everett T

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What Preamp do you use to drive the three front speakers? BMR Monitor with 86.5 dB sensitivity and 4 Ohms impedance is quite demanding to drive. How do the 2220s perform? Are you satisfied with them? How would you describe the sound quality in terms of bass, midrange and treble?

I am still trying to figure out what preamp to use to drive three front speakers without using an AV receiver or a 9.2 ch or more processor.
A Denon x4700 as it's in a multichannel room. Many have commented positively about these amps over the years and I can't find a reason not to,. They do what's asked of them and the measurements back that up.
 
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Wooferhead

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Denon produces good quality products. I like its sound quality, especially in bypass mode.

AVR-X4700H is actually a 9.2 channel AV receiver. It's a very good one but I try not to use an AV receiver as preamp. I find it a bit of a waste not to utilize the built-in power amp portion of it. Besides, it is way too complicated inside for a preamp.

I am looking for a pure preamp with only the essential electronic components inside and nothing more. Not sure if a 3.1 ch preamp exists at all, probably not.
 

Chrispy

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Denon produces good quality products. I like its sound quality, especially in bypass mode.

AVR-X4700H is actually a 9.2 channel AV receiver. It's a very good one but I try not to use an AV receiver as preamp. I find it a bit of a waste not to utilize the built-in power amp portion of it. Besides, it is way too complicated inside for a preamp.

I am looking for a pure preamp with only the essential electronic components inside and nothing more. Not sure if a 3.1 ch preamp exists at all, probably not.
Just what "sound" does a Denon have? Have you looked at measurements of avrs vs dedicated pre-pros? The 4700 is an 11.1 avr, just doesn't have built in amp channels for two of them, just the processing capability and just gives you flexibility as pre-amp or using internal amps.
 

luxmatic

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Ask me next week... also have the same Denon, and narrowed down my front channel amps to a similar list, but also including the Rotel 1582. Check my post.

Ended up buying (really auditioning) the Outlaws and they'll arrive on Sunday. I would have preferred the Rotel, but couldn't rationalize the ~1200 difference in price.

One thing: until a few weeks ago I was trying to be "purist" about having my stereo system have its own distinct pre amp/amp setup. Once I decided to use my Denon as a pre-amp, and all of the room correction/base management that it brings, my life become much easier - could tweak things that weren't possible before. Sounds great, too.
 

Chrispy

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Auditioning an amp seems kinda weird without a very good test setup. Monobloc amps are of limited value but if reasonable cost, why not....but can't imagine anything from Rotel being particularly worthy of higher pricing in any case. I'd probably just use a Crown XLS 2502 and be done with it.
 

luxmatic

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Auditioning an amp seems kinda weird without a very good test setup. Monobloc amps are of limited value but if reasonable cost, why not....but can't imagine anything from Rotel being particularly worthy of higher pricing in any case. I'd probably just use a Crown XLS 2502 and be done with it.
Not to derail the OP... big reason I want to give them a shot is now that I'm using the Denon to drive the fronts (ESS AMT 1D Revivals), the receiver is running way too hot for my liking. Hoping (expecting) the Outlaw amps will help out. Sound-wise, I don't expect much difference at reasonable listening levels.
 

Doodski

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Chrispy

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Not to derail the OP... big reason I want to give them a shot is now that I'm using the Denon to drive the fronts (ESS AMT 1D Revivals), the receiver is running way too hot for my liking. Hoping (expecting) the Outlaw amps will help out. Sound-wise, I don't expect much difference at reasonable listening levels.
Yeah external amps with better lower impedance/current capability might be something to do. External cooling for the avr another option.
 

Everett T

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Denon produces good quality products. I like its sound quality, especially in bypass mode.

AVR-X4700H is actually a 9.2 channel AV receiver. It's a very good one but I try not to use an AV receiver as preamp. I find it a bit of a waste not to utilize the built-in power amp portion of it. Besides, it is way too complicated inside for a preamp.

I am looking for a pure preamp with only the essential electronic components inside and nothing more. Not sure if a 3.1 ch preamp exists at all, probably not.
The BMRs have a sensitivity of 84db, so I power the front 3 with the Outlaw amps. I have a Denon x3700 that I use as 2.2 channel preamp with a QSC amp, never considered using the internal amps...
 
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Wooferhead

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Just what "sound" does a Denon have? Have you looked at measurements of avrs vs dedicated pre-pros? The 4700 is an 11.1 avr, just doesn't have built in amp channels for two of them, just the processing capability and just gives you flexibility as pre-amp or using internal amps.
From what I understand, AVR-X4700H is a 9.2 ch AV receiver with preamp output and 125W per ch into 8 Ohms. I do think it is a fairly decent receiver. From experience, I find Denon's sound to be warm, smooth and natural in the bypass/Pure Direct mode. Some may disagree. It is strictly a personal impression. However, I wouldn't listen to music using any of the surround modes. Anyway, I am not looking for an AVR currently.


I did look at some preamp processors. They have far too many channels than I need. I am not really keen on home theatre. So, they are not the right products for me. I just want a good quality budget preamp to go with the power amps mentioned above for mostly music listening.
 
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Wooferhead

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Ask me next week... also have the same Denon, and narrowed down my front channel amps to a similar list, but also including the Rotel 1582. Check my post.

Ended up buying (really auditioning) the Outlaws and they'll arrive on Sunday. I would have preferred the Rotel, but couldn't rationalize the ~1200 difference in price.

One thing: until a few weeks ago I was trying to be "purist" about having my stereo system have its own distinct pre amp/amp setup. Once I decided to use my Denon as a pre-amp, and all of the room correction/base management that it brings, my life become much easier - could tweak things that weren't possible before. Sounds great, too.
Please come back and share your experience with us, luxmatic.

I know it measures quite well by Amirm. That's why I am interested in the Outlaw 2220. I am particularly interested in the sound quality it produces in terms of bass, midrange and treble. Although it is technically a Class AB amp, I suspect that its Class G feature might have slightly dampened its performance and undermined its sound quality.
 
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Wooferhead

Wooferhead

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Auditioning an amp seems kinda weird without a very good test setup. Monobloc amps are of limited value but if reasonable cost, why not....but can't imagine anything from Rotel being particularly worthy of higher pricing in any case. I'd probably just use a Crown XLS 2502 and be done with it.
Actually, I have looked at a couple of amps from Crown. They seem to have great power. However, they don't measure well. A few reviewers claim that they have quite high noise floor. That's why they don't make it to my short list.
 
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Wooferhead

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The BMRs have a sensitivity of 84db, so I power the front 3 with the Outlaw amps. I have a Denon x3700 that I use as 2.2 channel preamp with a QSC amp, never considered using the internal amps...
Purchasing an AVR with sole intention to use it as a preamp only seems to be quite common when there are more than two speakers to drive. I am trying to put together a 3.1 ch setup without using an AVR or a preamp processor with excessive number of channels. It's going to be tricky.

That will be the next step. I am just focusing on the power amps for now from the list above. One thing at a time.
 

Jim Creek

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I‘ve owned the Emotiva BasX A300 for about six years. This model predated the BasX A2. From the images of the interior of both amps they look almost identical. Specs are about the same too. The A300 is rated at 150w/ch into 8ohms, 300 into 4ohms. The A2 is rated 160W into 8 ohms, 250W into 4 ohms. Both have ‘safety fans’ that kick in when the amp gets too hot. My fans have never gone on since I’ve owned it. In fact it never got above lukewarm. My speakers are easy to drive, MA Silver 100.

It’s been a great amp, reliable, transparent and powerful. I recently replaced it with an VTV Purifi Eigentakt which is 2-1/2 times more expensive. I kept the A300 though. I just can’t part with it.
 

Everett T

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Purchasing an AVR with sole intention to use it as a preamp only seems to be quite common when there are more than two speakers to drive. I am trying to put together a 3.1 ch setup without using an AVR or a preamp processor with excessive number of channels. It's going to be tricky.

That will be the next step. I am just focusing on the power amps for now from the list above. One thing at a time.
With the x3700 in the two channel setup the reason for doing so was for bass management, HDMI inputs, USB, DAC, one box solution and the price, as the dedicated stereo preamps or integrated amps that had most of the features I wanted were very very expensive.
 
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Wooferhead

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I‘ve owned the Emotiva BasX A300 for about six years. This model predated the BasX A2. From the images of the interior of both amps they look almost identical. Specs are about the same too. The A300 is rated at 150w/ch into 8ohms, 300 into 4ohms. The A2 is rated 160W into 8 ohms, 250W into 4 ohms. Both have ‘safety fans’ that kick in when the amp gets too hot. My fans have never gone on since I’ve owned it. In fact it never got above lukewarm. My speakers are easy to drive, MA Silver 100.

It’s been a great amp, reliable, transparent and powerful. I recently replaced it with an VTV Purifi Eigentakt which is 2-1/2 times more expensive. I kept the A300 though. I just can’t part with it.
I've read some good reviews on the A2. Descriptions such as transparent, accurate, neutral and uncolored are often used to describe its sound quality. Those are precisely the quality I am looking for in a power amp. The fact that you can't part with your Emotiva seems to support the claim.

I haven't embraced Class D amps such as your VTV Purifi Eigentakt just yet, but I have read some good reviews on them as well. I will give them a try someday when opportunity arises. Currently, I am still a big fan of the traditional Class AB amps but I do appreciate the enhanced power management aspect of Class D amps.
 
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Wooferhead

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With the x3700 in the two channel setup the reason for doing so was for bass management, HDMI inputs, USB, DAC, one box solution and the price, as the dedicated stereo preamps or integrated amps that had most of the features I wanted were very very expensive.
That's certainly a big advantage of using AVRs - the convenient one box solution with a reasonable price point. A good quality dedicated preamp processor will cost so much more. There seems to be a serious lack of budget preamp processors out there.
 
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