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Review and Measurements of Crown XLS 1502 Amp

Sal1950

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Sorry guyz, I can't agree: PA-oriented amps are unusable on home/hifi setups, due to active cooling (fans).

Fanless (= 0db noise) amps - such as studio ones - is the RIGHT way to go.
Not a problem if they're not in the same room. ;)
 

Ron Texas

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Not a problem if they're not in the same room. ;)
To hear the fan on an XLS 1502 one must have their ear right at the air output. It's that quiet. If you have one of these amps, try turning down the input sensitivity. One click if running straight from an unbalanced DAC, more if the DAC or preamp has an output noticeably over 2V. It seems to help a little, and costs nothing to try.
 

DonH56

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If you can hear a 1 dB fan at your listening position you must have a really, really quiet room... Far better than most recording studios.
 

Willem

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I gave my son a Yamaha P2500s. Thus far the fan has never come on, so my hunch is that if and when it ever does, the sound will be so deafening that the fan noise will be completely masked. That P2500s was a bargain at 300 euros, but is sadly no longer made. A truly excellent beefy (2x250 watt rms at 8 Ohm) amplifier for almost nothing.
 

Ron Texas

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Just a question: do you use it with volume pots @ 100% ?

Anyway, to me even 1db fan is not "audiophile"...
They are not pots. Lately I have them 1 click off max. I suppose interconnects costing less than $500 are not audiophile either.
 

andreasmaaan

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I'm willing to purchase a powerful amp.

I am hesitating between the Crown XLS 1502 tested here
or the NCore-based Audiophonics PA-N125-NC : https://www.audiophonics.fr/fr/ampl...stereo-class-d-ncore-2x75w-8-ohm-p-12756.html

Both are sold at a similar price of around 370€.

What would you do?
Not familiar the pa-s125nc. Seems like the better product.
But I would not recommend a Crown XLS unless you have a balanced source to drive it. If you use the RCA inputs it may hum when the attenuator is set to zero dB. The binding posts are funky also, the Speakon connections work fine.
 

daftcombo

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Do you know your power requirement? That’s the biggest different between these two amps I reckon.
I have a full range speaker of 92dB sensibility.
I run an EQ to have a quite flat frequency reponse. It is at 0dB around 100Hz and at -20dB around 8kHz.
So I need 100 times more power at 100Hz than at 8kHz.
I was thinking that if I listen at 80dB average with peaks at 95dB, I would need 2 Watts at 8kHz then 200 Watts at 100Hz.
 

daftcombo

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Not familiar the pa-s125nc. Seems like the better product.
But I would not recommend a Crown XLS unless you have a balanced source to drive it. If you use the RCA inputs it may hum when the attenuator is set to zero dB. The binding posts are funky also, the Speakon connections work fine.
I've read here & there on forums that the Crown XLS was very quiet. I think nobody complained about hum, even on RCA.
 
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I've read here & there on forums that the Crown XLS was very quiet. I think nobody complained about hum, even on RCA.
Hum on rca isn't bad. If you simply remove the ground (ya ya I know) it can lessen or go away. I don't use the balanced and I don't mind.

Like another user said, power will be the biggest difference. I doubt you would hear a difference in a blind test.
I have the crown XLS because I know I want to throw parties with my speakers and I need power.

I got a bigger amp than necessary for headroom for the low end. I knew I'd upgrade my speakers though. Once I get time and space to build some speakers, I'll build some from diy sound group. My subwoofer I built myself uses the inukes.
Those speakers are high sensitivity since I like high volumes, clarity, and building myself so I get exactly what I need.

Not sure I understand the binding post comment but I have the 1500 and it's not weird at all. Just plug and unplug banana plug speaker wire.
I have a mis mash of connectors and don't notice a difference between any of them.
 

sac

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To hear the fan on an XLS 1502 one must have their ear right at the air output. It's that quiet. If you have one of these amps, try turning down the input sensitivity. One click if running straight from an unbalanced DAC, more if the DAC or preamp has an output noticeably over 2V. It seems to help a little, and costs nothing to try.
I can hear mine from another room, initially thought a helicopter was landing on my roof, (okay, a slight exaggeration, but claiming the fan is silent is just not on and certainly if you were listening to quite music it would be very distracting)! Granted mine possibly only was activated because currently it sits only a few cm above my receiver and was most likely just getting hot from the heat from the receiver, and was able to hear it because the system wasn't pumping out great levels of sound, whereas the receiver still puts out quite a lot of heat just powering itself.
 

sac

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I'm willing to purchase a powerful amp.

I am hesitating between the Crown XLS 1502 tested here
or the NCore-based Audiophonics PA-N125-NC : https://www.audiophonics.fr/fr/ampl...stereo-class-d-ncore-2x75w-8-ohm-p-12756.html

Both are sold at a similar price of around 370€.

What would you do?
Why are you choosing between two amps with vastly different power outputs? comparing apples with bananas? If the 2 x 75W has enough power for you, why not get a cheaper 2 x 75 W amp?
 

sac

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I've read here & there on forums that the Crown XLS was very quiet. I think nobody complained about hum, even on RCA.
I have my input controls on 0 dB and can hear nothing from my speakers, sort of to be expected for speakers with 80 dB sensitivity.

I'm using mine only currently to biamp the low end on my speakers, so not going to hear any real effects from higher end harmonic distortion or noise issues. I have reversed which amp is doing the highs and lows(with my rotel 1080) and can't really pick any difference, but leave the rotel doing the top end as the crown has more power at 3 ohms to do the lows and part of me says if I can really hear the difference in the lower distortion and noise of the rotel, then its better on the top end.

Just using the crown to power the whole speaker sounds fine too, but its hard to know whether its getting to clipping, doesn't get real hot like the rotel when it was driving the whole speaker. I like the ability to able to use the band/crossovers and only send the signal to the drivers that they need, whether this enhances the life of the actual speaker crossovers, don't know.
 

daftcombo

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Why are you choosing between two amps with vastly different power outputs? comparing apples with bananas? If the 2 x 75W has enough power for you, why not get a cheaper 2 x 75 W amp?
If you know one, link me to a clean sounding 2x75 W cheaper amp please.!
 

sac

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I'm possibly not the most discriminating audiophile and really struggle to hear differences between amps/CD players, audio cables etc, unless of course they are driving a load that is too difficult for them. You may be able to pick the difference between amps in quick comparator blind testing, but at the end of the day, the differences are minute compared to what one hears in swapping speakers where distortion levels/frequency response differences are orders of magnitude greater than seen in even the cheapest power amps.

Sure if you have the best pair of speakers that money can buy, upgrade amps in search of the sonic perfection, but otherwise, my opinion spend your extra cash on upgrading your speakers, that is where your sound quality for $ has always been.

$20000 speakers that dont present a difficult load will sound like $20000 speakers with a $200 2 x 75 W amp that has reasonable specs, whereas $400 speakers driven by a $20 000 amp will still sound like $400 speakers.

For what its worth, here's an analogy with car tyres. Ultimately the level of grip for a car in the wet depends on the tyres. Put the best tyres on the worst car and its going to have a high level of grip in the wet. Put average tyres on a ferrari and it will still slide off the road with all the other cars with the same tyres.

Just my opinion/experience, others are welcome to highlight the shortcomings in my findings.
 
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sac

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I have a full range speaker of 92dB sensibility.
I run an EQ to have a quite flat frequency reponse. It is at 0dB around 100Hz and at -20dB around 8kHz.
So I need 100 times more power at 100Hz than at 8kHz.
I was thinking that if I listen at 80dB average with peaks at 95dB, I would need 2 Watts at 8kHz then 200 Watts at 100Hz.
Can't be calculated unless we know the distance you are from the speaker.

A 3dB increase represents a doubling of the power. The power required varies as the distance squared from the speaker.

Hence a 20dB difference is as you say close to 100 times the power difference, yet how much power is in the music signal at 8 kHz or beyond, well it depends on your music, but most likely less than a few %, frequencies less than 1 kHz is where most of the power for music goes.

92 dB figure you give is for [email protected] m(possibly for 1 kHz) Your frequency response sounds interesting, either the bass is down or the high end is up, but Im guessing the 100 Hz sensitivity wont be too far off the quoted value) you dont state how you got these values(doesnt sound like one of those autoanalyses as they wouldnt be quoting at 100 Hz) is this a number just generated from a 100 Hz tone? could be just a dip due to room dimensions if done at singular frequency.

So if you listen 3m from the speakers, you will need 9 times as much power as from 1m to create the same SPL, or 9W to produce 92 dB at 3m

of 18 W to produce 95 dB at 3m. (would only need 9W channel given/assuming you are using two such speakers)

200W would put you at about 10m from the speakers to produce 95 dB

for my own speakers which have a 80 dB rating, 12 dB less than yours effectively means I need 16 times as much power for the same volume. I need about 300 W at 3m for 95dB, hence why the lost cost and high power output of the crown makes sense for me.
 
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daftcombo

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Your frequency response sounds interesting, either the bass is down or the high end is up, but Im guessing the 100 Hz sensitivity wont be too far off the quoted value) you dont state how you got these values(doesnt sound like one of those autoanalyses as they wouldnt be quoting at 100 Hz) is this a number just generated from a 100 Hz tone? could be just a dip due to room dimensions if done at singular frequency.
Thanks for all your writing.

It is a full range speaker, and there is a lot more energy between 1 kHz and 10 kHz than under 1kHz and above 10kHz so I have to tame that middle region a lot. A sweep in REW confirms all that.

Add to that a descending curve to reduce the impact of wall reflections.

Hence 20dB for the biggest difference at the end of the day.

I don't fill the dips of the room.

For the moment I use them in a small room where they are 2 meters a away but I plan to set them soon in a much larger room where there will be 4 meters away.

I don't really plan to have them deliver more than 95dB near-field at peaks not to annoy the neighbourhood too much.
 

Ron Texas

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I can hear mine from another room, initially thought a helicopter was landing on my roof, (okay, a slight exaggeration, but claiming the fan is silent is just not on and certainly if you were listening to quite music it would be very distracting)! Granted mine possibly only was activated because currently it sits only a few cm above my receiver and was most likely just getting hot from the heat from the receiver, and was able to hear it because the system wasn't pumping out great levels of sound, whereas the receiver still puts out quite a lot of heat just powering itself.
If that's the case, something is wrong. Take it to be repaired.
 
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