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Crown XLS1002 Amplifier Teardown

MediumRare

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dfuller

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Teapo as a brand were arguably the worst capacitor in terms of failure rate I have ever seen. Perhaps they have improved, but everything from small SMPS supplies, to CFL/LED supplies, laptop, PC ATX, and network hardware used them and paid the price in dead equipment.
Yes, they were among the worst offenders during the Capacitor Plague - but, they're generally solid if unremarkable parts now. 85C is still far less than ideal in an amplifier, especially near heat sinks. I should note, though, that Jamicon and Teapo were merged together by their parent company, Kaimei - the Teapo LH series is the same caps as the Jamicon LS series according to the datasheet.

Well, when decent and great capacitors are available dirt cheap nowadays I don’t really see any justification on using some 85 degrees rated famous crap caps I don’t expect very expensive audiophile ones but in any device which will get anywhere near hot shouldn’t use those crap branded caps anyway
The cheapest comparable "reputable" cap is $3ish at quantity. I can't find pricing on Teapo LH series caps, however, but Jamicon LS series are the same parts - and in Poland (the only place I could find a site selling them that isn't Alibaba), they're under $2 each in quantity. These are almost definitely good enough to get through the warranty period, which realistically is all that Crown/Harman/Samsung cares about.
 
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YSC

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Alice of Old Vincennes

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You get what you pay for.
Crown is reliable with three year warranty. Sweetwater repairs the brand. You don't need to call 1-800 overseas for warranty repairs. Who really needs a 3 year out of warranty repair at this price? Crown deals with pros. Pros won't buy this model but know Crown's reputation. LG OLED have pathetic warranty. I would rather have a root canal than deal with LG "repair."
 

PeteL

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Crown is reliable with three year warranty. Sweetwater repairs the brand. You don't need to call 1-800 overseas for warranty repairs. Who really needs a 3 year out of warranty repair at this price? Crown deals with pros. Pros won't buy this model but know Crown's reputation. LG OLED have pathetic warranty. I would rather have a root canal than deal with LG "repair."
When I see some sort of plastic Ice scraper or plastic bits of the like that I know literally cost 5 cents and go for 25$, yes, I'm slightly upset but is still impressed by the team that went ahead and found such a milking cow. Now when I see people complaining about the choice of caps on a dsp capable 300$ 300W Amp, I tell myself, who on earth with it's right mind would want to get in this business with these kind of expectations for such a cheap price. Really.
 
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tomtoo

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I know the beauty of electronics is not realy importend. But a beauty prize for the electronic this amp not would win.
 

kn0ppers

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That’s exactly what I wanna say about price, I am pretty sure consumers especially pro usage in a rack will happily pay the extra $20 for that $4 cost in good caps

Uhmm, @PeteL answered this exact question on the last page already, so I am just going to quote:

"Crown have a series in many price brackets. They also don't have a history of being unreliable. The goal here was to be cheap, but yes, if someone is willing to pay more for a better amp, they are able to satisfy your will."

If you are still confused, google is your friend. Market segmentation, product differentiation, ... it's not rocket science, it's economics and business administration.
 

PeteL

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The Crown 2502 was measured relatively recently and had similar mediocre noise and distortion performance.
Yes, same low cost serie of amps, just more powerful. You should expect similar performance and construction. I was talking more like xti, cdi, and dsi series
 

cistercian

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85 C caps...bummer. But the amps do not get hot...I guess I could upgrade them. On second thought, why bother.
If the amp explodes out of warranty I will just replace it. DJ's report these amps as solid and reliable. In the world of
ROHS we are all a single tin whisker away from the apocalypse anyhow. Even "worthy" high end gear. I like 60/40 lead based solder.
Leaving it materially shortens the life of modern equipment. I seriously deplore this but understand the evils lead brings with it
to the environment.
 

Francis Vaughan

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\begin{rant}
Seriously. Does anyone think they are smarter than the guy who designed this device? Everyone is basically focussing on the one thing in the design they understand. The temperature rating of the caps. With no knowledge about how hot the capacitors actually get in practice. Sure they are "near" a heatsink. But there is no evidence the heatsink gets particularly hot. There is clearly lots of airflow, and in practice, the amp does not get hot. Yet of all the parts on the amp, it is these that are focussed on for an upgrade that clearly every buyer would, ab-initio, be pleased to pay more for, despite any proven benefit.
An amplifier with this pedigree will have been carefully designed and tested. It isn't some cheap hacked together POS built up from crap parts you see on Alibaba or Bangood. You can be sure Crown know exactly how hot the caps get. It is quite possible they never see temperatures much above, say, 60 degrees. Crown know. Nobody here does.
I'm sure you could come up with an argument about how every single component in the amp could be upgraded with a higher spec part to improve reliability. It would be trivial to double the price of the amp, and leave it, maybe slightly more reliable, and otherwise identical in use. The only outcome would be an amplifier that won't sell. Which defeats the purpose for everyone.
If the real world experience, from owners of these amps, is that they are reliable, wittering on about capacitor upgrades takes on a depressingly familiar audiophile tone.
\end{rant}
 

kn0ppers

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Not a fan of rants and not a fan of over-generalisation either. It was pointed out by some that the caps are probably a non-issue and are to be expected at this very competitive price point. It's just all so obvious and trivial I would never bother ranting about it....
 

Jdunk54nl

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Right now you can
Crown is reliable with three year warranty. Sweetwater repairs the brand. You don't need to call 1-800 overseas for warranty repairs. Who really needs a 3 year out of warranty repair at this price? Crown deals with pros. Pros won't buy this model but know Crown's reputation. LG OLED have pathetic warranty. I would rather have a root canal than deal with LG "repair."
If you are in the US, you can actually get 6 years right now.

https://www.crownaudio.com/warranty?locale=en-US

Screen Shot 2020-09-29 at 09.50.00.png
 

restorer-john

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Not a fan of rants and not a fan of over-generalisation either.

Neither am I. It was rather over the top.

The temperature rating of the caps. With no knowledge about how hot the capacitors actually get in practice. Sure they are "near" a heatsink. But there is no evidence the heatsink gets particularly hot.

The capacitors on the secondary side themselves get hot in many high frequency SMPSs. The electrolyte heats up and they vent. Run that amp hard and those caps will self heat. Radiated heat from a nearby heat producing device is rarely the cause of overheating failures.

105 degree capacitors are virtually de-riguer in any SMPS and you know that to be true. It's penny pinching at its worst as the cost difference between a 105 and an 85 is marginal on an already (hopefully) specified low ESR cap in the first place.
 
OP
amirm

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Seriously. Does anyone think they are smarter than the guy who designed this device? Everyone is basically focussing on the one thing in the design they understand. The temperature rating of the caps. With no knowledge about how hot the capacitors actually get in practice. Sure they are "near" a heatsink. But there is no evidence the heatsink gets particularly hot. There is clearly lots of airflow, and in practice, the amp does not get hot. Yet of all the parts on the amp, it is these that are focussed on for an upgrade that clearly every buyer would, ab-initio, be pleased to pay more for, despite any proven benefit.
I noted the temperature dependency in the original write-up. Gave a pass to one set of caps for that reason. But not the other.

An amplifier with this pedigree will have been carefully designed and tested.
Well, anecdotally, my chief designer who installs more Crowns than everybody else combined, says these are unreliable.

Let's remember that these are rackmountable amps and can go into very unfriendly environments. We have been in equipment rooms that had dedicated air conditioning (in large estates) but they had crammed so much gear in them that you could not stand the heat! You lose a ton of margin when ambient temp goes from 71 to 91 degrees.
 

Chrispy

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Well, anecdotally, my chief designer who installs more Crowns than everybody else combined, says these are unreliable.

.

How many XLS amps has he installed?
 

Robh3606

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These are inexpensive PA amps? So they have a 6 year warranty and are expected to be abused. Do you really think in a home environment they won't last? I use a Crown XTi 2002 for my HT subs and its not all that easy to get the fan to even turn on.

Rob :)
 

sonci99

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Class D may sound great at low cost, but the inside looks really cheap crap.

I know sound quality is all it matters, but once you look inside a big heavy AB amp your heart beats faster, like owning an old car that consume too much, but drives and looks great.
 
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