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Crown XLS1002 Pro Amplifier Review

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Crown XLS 1002 rack mounted pro amplifier. It was kindly purchased new by a member and drop shipped to me. The 1002 costs US $339 including Prime shipping from Amazon.

Note: our company, Madrona Digital, is a dealer for Harman and hence Crown products. We use fair bit of Crown amps in custom installs usually to power in-ceiling speakers and such. Member wanted to buy it through us but the margin on it was no more than a cup of coffee (relative to online sites) so I suggested he buy it elsewhere which he did.

Not sure what to say about the look other than it is made to have some style while being rugged:

Crown XLS1002 Rackmounted Pro Amplifier stereo review.jpg


The LCD with bluish backlight reminds me of displays on electronics back in 1980s. I guess at this price they had to cut every penny.

I was relieved to see binding posts besides speakon connectors:

Crown XLS1002 Rackmounted Pro Amplifier stereo review back panel speakon XLR.jpg


Now don't laugh but I could not figure out how to pull out the safety plugs they put in the darn binding posts! There is no way to grab then and I did not want to put a mark on them by using a sharp tool. The manual says only European units have it but clearly that is not correct. Anyway, I resorted to using the SpeakOn connectors for my testing. For input I focused on XLR inputs.

I set the gain to max to get the nominal 29 dB I have standardized on for testing amplifiers.

There is a fan in the back and some inside. But none came on that I could hear above the sound of my PC during testing. Nothing shut down even when the amp was pushed into clipping. Some kind of limiter would kick in after short period to keep the power level at max. Temperature of the case didn't even rise above room temp.

Amplifier Audio Measurements
Performance was stable during a 5 minute warm up time so I ran with them:

Crown XLS1002 Rackmounted Pro Amplifier Audio Measurements.png


Strange to see higher order harmonics dominating the distortion profile (FFT to the right). Ratio of noise+distortion to signal as expressed in SINAD is what I expect decent pro amps to produce:
best pro amplifier review measurements 2020.png


Slightly below the average of all amps tested.

Signal to noise ratio is in the same range:
Crown XLS1002 Rackmounted Pro Amplifier SNR Audio Measurements.png


Crosstalk is reasonable:
Crown XLS1002 Rackmounted Pro Amplifier Crosstalk Audio Measurements.png


Frequency response test shows that everything is digitized due to inclusion of DSP functionality in this amp:

Crown XLS1002 Rackmounted Pro Amplifier Frequency Response Audio Measurements.png


Power into 4 ohm is healthy as is the case with most pro amps:
Crown XLS1002 Rackmounted Pro Amplifier Power into 4 ohm Audio Measurements.png


I was disappointed to see one channel be much worse than the other though.

Letting distortion go higher we get higher power output:

Crown XLS1002 Rackmounted Pro Amplifier Peak and Burst Power into 4 ohm Audio Measurements.png


The burst/peak power is not higher because of the limiter I mentioned in the intro.

Using 8 ohm load gives a more behaved response than 4:
Crown XLS1002 Rackmounted Pro Amplifier Power into 8 ohm Audio Measurements.png


This indicates the one channel is starving for current than the other (likely longer path to the power supply).

I was unhappy to see distortion shoot up at higher frequencies:
Crown XLS1002 Rackmounted Pro Amplifier Power vs Frequency vs Distortion Audio Measurements.png


Fortunately in practice there is not much energy up there so you will be operating in low wattage area where distortion is quite a bit lower.

Finally, I removed my AES filter to get the spectrum:

Crown XLS1002 Rackmounted Pro Amplifier FFT Audio Measurements.png


Switching frequency is around 380 kHz and decently attenuated.

Conclusions
Competent pro amplifiers target for good enough noise and distortion. The Crown XLS 1002 falls in that category so if you were expecting to have anything better for so little money and so much power, you would be disappointed. But otherwise the amp does what it targets to do.

I am going to put the Crown XLS1002 on my recommended list for non-critical applications or for driving subwoofers and such.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

The job last night after helping my wife can more tomatoes was to dehydrate these beauties:

Blush Tomatoes.jpg


They are called "blush" tomatoes and were invented in San Francisco in 2011! They are oval with the most beautiful coloration as if they are peaches. Once ripe, they have an incredible sweet and slightly sour taste. Once dried, they become like slightly sour and sweet candy. The rains are attacking them right now aiming to kill what is left of the plants but I picked another 10 pounds or so today.

You came here to learn about audio but you are also learning about gardening and preserving food as well. Surely that deservers a raise for me in the form of additional donations using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

Blumlein 88

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#4
I wonder about the higher order harmonics. Is there any reason they save money letting a design end up that way? Just quick and dirty design? Same reason one channel is noisier than the other I guess.
 

MediumRare

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#5
That's tonnes of power for $339.00 :D
I actually got it for $289 including shipping. https://www.audiosavings.com/crown-...j-pa-power-amplifier-amp-only-8-lbs-dsp-54243

I will use the built-in DSP to high-pass at 30 Hz as @amirm suggested for the Revel 105s. I can't hear over 14k so pretty sure that distortion of 0.02% isn't audible.

I have two more zones (about 4,500 cu. ft. each) to amplify, also with revel M105s as speakers. Any suggestions what amps I should consider?
 

cistercian

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#6
Great review Amir! It is troubling to see the channel difference. I would exchange it if I was the owner.
I have one and upgraded to the 2502 for more power. Hard to beat for the price and mine was on sale to boot!

Perfect amps for rocking out!
 

cistercian

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#8
I wonder about the higher order harmonics. Is there any reason they save money letting a design end up that way? Just quick and dirty design? Same reason one channel is noisier than the other I guess.
It is good enough for the intended use at the targeted price point. Actually not bad considering the 3 year warranty.
I think channel imbalance could just as easily be tolerances stacking badly. Sample set is too small to say they all do it.
 

cistercian

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#9
I should add Amir a groundhog devastated my garden in only one day! The eggplant was spared as were the peppers!
But the melons...and the cherry tomatoes...so much carnage. Now the ground hog is very fat!
Next year...fencing!
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #10
Yeh, we put in fencing to start to keep the deer around. Alas, it does nothing for racoons which love our cherries, grapes, plumbs, etc. but leave the vegetables alone.
 

Doodski

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#11
Yeh, we put in fencing to start to keep the deer around. Alas, it does nothing for racoons which love our cherries, grapes, plumbs, etc. but leave the vegetables alone.
I'm surprised the bears never got to those plumbs. The black bears love ripe sweet smelling plumbs.
 

Promit

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#12
Behringer NX3000D is missing from the chart but clocked in at a SINAD of 68 dB, so this Crown kicks its teeth in pretty comfortably for clean output. SNR is kind of a wash though, little better on the NX actually.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #14
(Why is there a noise peak at 50Hz?)
You mean at 120 Hz in the FFT? If so that is the rectified noise of the power supply (it doubles the mains frequency of 60 Hz). It shows up often in amplifier tests.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #15
I'm surprised the bears never got to those plumbs. The black bears love ripe sweet smelling plumbs.
You mean at our place? If so, while there are some bear sightings around here once in a while, we have never seen one and it is rare.
 

wwenze

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#16
You mean at 120 Hz in the FFT? If so that is the rectified noise of the power supply (it doubles the mains frequency of 60 Hz). It shows up often in amplifier tests.
Yes, I meant to type 100Hz.

Which means it isn't the 120Hz we would expect when using things in USA.

And the power supply looks like SMPS which has even less reason for such noise to show up

https://www.amazon.sg/Crown-XLS1002-Two-channel-Power-Amplifier/dp/B011TI97VE

I have seen computer PSUs with less cooling on the bridge rectifier :oops:

ADD: Same 100Hz (and harmonics) is present on XLS1502 and I want to believe XLS2502, but not XLi 800. The mystery deepens.
 
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Sal1950

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#18
The job last night after helping my wife can more tomatoes was to dehydrate these beauties:
I've been totally addicted to dried figs for a while lately. Really good but damn their high in natural sugar. :eek:
If it ain't one thing it's another.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #19
I've been totally addicted to dried figs for a while lately. Really good but damn their high in natural sugar. :eek:
We have a few fig trees (really bushes) but only one had fruit this year. And I ate all of the fresh. :) Dried fig can be super sweet.

It is strange but moles love them! The dig around them every spring.
 

Sal1950

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#20
We have a few fig trees (really bushes) but only one had fruit this year.
I think I'll do some homework on how they would thrive here Central FL?
 

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