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Budget Power Amps for Speakers from Emotiva, Outlaw and Schiit

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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.
Hey luxmatic, did you receive the 2220s last Sunday? Would you like to share your experience and comments after using them for a week?
 

poptopclk

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I wanted to offer my observations on the BAS X A1 monoblock. Specs: The BasX A1 is a monoblock power amplifier that delivers 200 watts into 8 Ohms and 325 watts into 4 Ohms, with a rated THD+N of < 0.02%, and an A-weighted S/N ratio of 112 dB. The BasX A1 features a heavy-duty linear power supply, high-quality Class A/B amplification. I prefer class A/B over class D, they sound more musical. I just got a pair of the Bas X A1 because when I upgraded my speakers my Marantz SR8400 @ 135 watt RMS 8 Ohms couldn't push the Vandersteen 3's. They are VERY inefficient BUT when you give them lots of watts in reserve they just are AMAZING. In fact, just today my Topping E50 arrived & I took the Marantz out of the mix entirely. The system is now just clean pure musical bliss. WiiM Pro optical to Topping E50 to a pair of the Emotivas, bi-wired per the instructions to the speakers. The details & imaging are the best I have ever heard. I think DAC's are fully mature tech now and the topping sounds much better than the Marantz's • 192 kHz/24 bit Crystal® DAC. Amps & DACs are now such a mature technology that there is little reason to spend more. The only true variable and it is a HUGE variable are speakers. They are the trickiest link in the hifi chain. They will sound different in every environment, so what you hear in the shop will NOT sound the same in your listening room. You will have to try, try & try again till your ears enjoy what your speakers put out. There are 100's of amps, DACs & input sources but speakers are the wild card. Now that I think about it the speakers are the ultimate DAC !
(look at that beast's internals just for one speaker)
a111.png
 
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Junkru11

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Im to looking to ad powe amp to power my fronts L/C/R . Looking Emotiva BasX A3. But i dont know will they send it to Estonia .
 
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Wooferhead

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I wanted to offer my observations on the BAS X A1 monoblock. Specs: The BasX A1 is a monoblock power amplifier that delivers 200 watts into 8 Ohms and 325 watts into 4 Ohms, with a rated THD+N of < 0.02%, and an A-weighted S/N ratio of 112 dB. The BasX A1 features a heavy-duty linear power supply, high-quality Class A/B amplification. I prefer class A/B over class D, they sound more musical. I just got a pair of the Bas X A1 because when I upgraded my speakers my Marantz SR8400 @ 135 watt RMS 8 Ohms couldn't push the Vandersteen 3's. They are VERY inefficient BUT when you give them lots of watts in reserve they just are AMAZING. In fact, just today my Topping E50 arrived & I took the Marantz out of the mix entirely. The system is now just clean pure musical bliss. WiiM Pro optical to Topping E50 to a pair of the Emotivas, bi-wired per the instructions to the speakers. The details & imaging are the best I have ever heard. I think DAC's are fully mature tech now and the topping sounds much better than the Marantz's • 192 kHz/24 bit Crystal® DAC. Amps & DACs are now such a mature technology that there is little reason to spend more. The only true variable and it is a HUGE variable are speakers. They are the trickiest link in the hifi chain. They will sound different in every environment, so what you hear in the shop will NOT sound the same in your listening room. You will have to try, try & try again till your ears enjoy what your speakers put out. There are 100's of amps, DACs & input sources but speakers are the wild card. Now that I think about it the speakers are the ultimate DAC !
(look at that beast's internals just for one speaker)
View attachment 320235
Emotiva Basx A1 is certainly on my list for consideration. It seems well built, well designed and well priced for mono-blocks.

For the same price, Basx A2 with 160 watts / channel into 8 Ohms and 250 watts / channel into 4 Ohms is also a great alternative.

Thanks for your review on the unit.
 
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Wooferhead

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Im to looking to ad powe amp to power my fronts L/C/R . Looking Emotiva BasX A3. But i dont know will they send it to Estonia .
They do have an EU Service Centre in Denmark, not sure if it is helpful to you. Check with them and find out.
 

ViperDom

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Tuning in late to this one...
Just curious why the HYPEX amps were not brought up?
I am currently considering the Outlaw2220(2) and the NC252MP as they are roughly the same price.
 
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Wooferhead

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That's because HYPEX, if I am correct, sells components only. It requires skills and knowledge, which I don't have, to put together an amplifier.
 

NoMoFoNo

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That's because HYPEX, if I am correct, sells components only. It requires skills and knowledge, which I don't have, to put together an amplifier.
Not the case. Several makers in the US/Europe/UK sell complete amps based on Hypex and/or Purifi modules. Buckeye, Nord Acoustics, VTV, XTZ, several others sell complete units that are reasonably priced and high-performing. Depending on use case, you could also consider some of the TPA-325X-based units available from China. The Fosi V3, available for $105 with 48V/5A power supply, which I use in my main system currently, tested well here at ASR, scoring a higher SINAD than any of the amps you're looking at.

If you are strictly looking at Class AB, you'd do just as well as Outlaw or Emotiva to look at a maker like Niles Audio. Niles Class AB amps like the SI-275 are dirt-cheap on the used market, built like tanks and score right around (or better) than the amps you're looking at. I've owned a Niles SI-275 and it performed beautifully and cost me very little, like $100 on ebay.
 
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Wooferhead

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Not the case. Several makers in the US/Europe/UK sell complete amps based on Hypex and/or Purifi modules. Buckeye, Nord Acoustics, VTV, XTZ, several others sell complete units that are reasonably priced and high-performing. Depending on use case, you could also consider some of the TPA-325X-based units available from China. The Fosi V3, available for $105 with 48V/5A power supply, which I use in my main system currently, tested well here at ASR, scoring a higher SINAD than any of the amps you're looking at.

If you are strictly looking at Class AB, you'd do just as well as Outlaw or Emotiva to look at a maker like Niles Audio. Niles Class AB amps like the SI-275 are dirt-cheap on the used market, built like tanks and score right around (or better) than the amps you're looking at. I've owned a Niles SI-275 and it performed beautifully and cost me very little, like $100 on ebay.
I see. Thanks for introducing those brands to me. I am not familiar with them at all.

I suppose one needs to have some knowledge on the components you've mentioned such as the TPA-325X in order to know what to look for. I don't know anything about Hypex and Purifi modules. It seems to me those companies are catering more to those who have advanced knowledge in electronics.
 

NoMoFoNo

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I see. Thanks for introducing those brands to me. I am not familiar with them at all.

I suppose one needs to have some knowledge on the components you've mentioned such as the TPA-325X in order to know what to look for. I don't know anything about Hypex and Purifi modules. It seems to me those companies are catering more to those who have advanced knowledge in electronics.
There is a class of amp-makers I call 'module-in-a-box' makers. They take Purifi or Hypex amp modules and assemble them into complete amplifiers, often with configurable aspects like auto-sense, triggering, etc. I recommend taking a look because there are more options these days than the classic Class AB amps that so many of us know.

These knew amps perform much better (objectively) than amps ever have and are smaller and tend to cost less as well. Purifi and Hypex modules are used in many of the best-performing amps ever tested. The next options are the new breed of amps based on the Texas Instruments TPA-3251 and TPA-3255 chip amps. Models like the Fosi V3 test very well but have potential issues with load-dependency. The Topping PA5II and PA7 are two models that include post-filtering that yields no load dependence and they test just about as well as amps with Hypex or Purifi modules. IMO, amps like these are the future. Small, inexpensive, great performance.

Last, I've been where you are, trying to buy Class AB amplification without spending an arm and a leg. Niles and Sonance make amps often used by sound-system installers. Niles made some under-the-radar models like the SI-275 that were Class AB with beefy Toroidal power supply, auto-on and were built rugged with great ventilation because they were built to withstand being tucked away in a closet somewhere. Niles also currently makes models based on Hypex modules that can be had on ebay for not much money. All the same for Sonance, which I've also owned and performed very well and cost little.

All this to reinforce that you have plenty of options if you're looking for good amplification without spending a fortune. Something from Niles or Sonance will give you everything the Outlaw or Emotiva models will with equal performance for much less money. Hypex or Purifi will provide much better performance yet in smaller case sizes. Last, the TPA-325X models from Fosi and AIyima are great options that cost a pittance.
 

Matias

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@Wooferhead you should definitely try an NCore based amplifier from Buckeye, Nord, Apollon.

Like this one for example.
 
OP
Wooferhead

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There is a class of amp-makers I call 'module-in-a-box' makers. They take Purifi or Hypex amp modules and assemble them into complete amplifiers, often with configurable aspects like auto-sense, triggering, etc. I recommend taking a look because there are more options these days than the classic Class AB amps that so many of us know.

These knew amps perform much better (objectively) than amps ever have and are smaller and tend to cost less as well. Purifi and Hypex modules are used in many of the best-performing amps ever tested. The next options are the new breed of amps based on the Texas Instruments TPA-3251 and TPA-3255 chip amps. Models like the Fosi V3 test very well but have potential issues with load-dependency. The Topping PA5II and PA7 are two models that include post-filtering that yields no load dependence and they test just about as well as amps with Hypex or Purifi modules. IMO, amps like these are the future. Small, inexpensive, great performance.

Last, I've been where you are, trying to buy Class AB amplification without spending an arm and a leg. Niles and Sonance make amps often used by sound-system installers. Niles made some under-the-radar models like the SI-275 that were Class AB with beefy Toroidal power supply, auto-on and were built rugged with great ventilation because they were built to withstand being tucked away in a closet somewhere. Niles also currently makes models based on Hypex modules that can be had on ebay for not much money. All the same for Sonance, which I've also owned and performed very well and cost little.

All this to reinforce that you have plenty of options if you're looking for good amplification without spending a fortune. Something from Niles or Sonance will give you everything the Outlaw or Emotiva models will with equal performance for much less money. Hypex or Purifi will provide much better performance yet in smaller case sizes. Last, the TPA-325X models from Fosi and AIyima are great options that cost a pittance.
Thanks for the info and suggestions. I will certainly take a closer look at them all. Good to know there are other options.
 
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@Wooferhead you should definitely try an NCore based amplifier from Buckeye, Nord, Apollon.

Like this one for example.
I've heard a lot of positive comments regarding Class D amp. It is something I've kept in mind when selecting amplifiers. I must admit Class AB amp is still my preference currently but that could change when I know more about Class D amp.
 

Chrispy

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I've heard a lot of positive comments regarding Class D amp. It is something I've kept in mind when selecting amplifiers. I must admit Class AB amp is still my preference currently but that could change when I know more about Class D amp.
Aside from physical form factor, do you think you could distinguish a class D amp from AB, particularly in a blind test?
 
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Wooferhead

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Aside from physical form factor, do you think you could distinguish a class D amp from AB, particularly in a blind test?
Good question. Never have a chance to A/B test them both together.

I suppose you have. What is your impression? There must be some audible differences however subtle they are. No way they are identical. Do share.

The biggest attraction of Class D amp to me at the moment is the price point and the supposedly absence of high heat. Form factor has never been a concern of mine.
 

Chrispy

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Good question. Never have a chance to A/B test them both together.

I suppose you have. What is your impression? There must be some audible differences however subtle they are. No way they are identical. Do share.

The biggest attraction of Class D amp to me at the moment is the price point and the supposedly absence of high heat. Form factor has never been a concern of mine.
Class D complaints are from very old versions for the most part. Can you tell when your AB amp transitions from A to B? I've been using class D mixed with AB models (and some class G, maybe H) for years, can't tell when one vs the other is playing (when within their limits and reasonable loads, etc). Overall design/executijon is still most important, but for me aesthetics are minimal concern. If they measure equally well where would the audible differences come from? Imagination? Reputation? As you mentioned earlier, higher noise in the XLS with very sensitive speakerrs could be a concern for audibility of some hiss. If I needed a new amp I'd be probably getting Hypex module amps from Buckeye.
 
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Class D complaints are from very old versions for the most part. Can you tell when your AB amp transitions from A to B? I've been using class D mixed with AB models (and some class G, maybe H) for years, can't tell when one vs the other is playing (when within their limits and reasonable loads, etc). Overall design/executijon is still most important, but for me aesthetics are minimal concern. If they measure equally well where would the audible differences come from? Imagination? Reputation? As you mentioned earlier, higher noise in the XLS with very sensitive speakerrs could be a concern for audibility of some hiss. If I needed a new amp I'd be probably getting Hypex module amps from Buckeye.
What is your opinion on this monoblock from Buckeye?

 

Chrispy

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What is your opinion on this monoblock from Buckeye?

I don't use mono amps, no real reason to. If that's what you want, go for it, but the 3 ch amp using this module if anything would be what I'd get.
 
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