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Review and Measurements of Crown XLS 1502 Amp

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Simple Analysis:

The voltage supplied to the speaker for a given volume setting and input level will double with bridging.

The difference in SPL at the speaker should be a 6dB increase.

Doubling the voltage applied will cause the speaker to dissipate 4 times the power, as the current flow doubles.

Reduce the input level (or volume control) by 6db and you're back where you started, from the viewpoint of the speaker.
This is exactly what I was looking for. So essentially the watts available are still there but the speakers will be "pushed" with less effort from the amp. Thanks for the data approach
 
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Update: Just completed the bridge to each speaker. After a few calibrations there is a quite noticeable kick to midbass and lower frequencies. With any type of super dynamic music (ants marching live by Dave Matthews) everything seems much more full and balanced.

This is in pure direct mode from the Yamaha. I would say there is enough impact to warrant the purchase. Now if this would be substantial enough vs a 2502 bridged (440w) I don't know.

Thanks for all the feedback everyone! These speakers are HUNGRY at strong volume.
 

maxxevv

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Hello, I'm new to ASR (this is my first comment).

Amir, could you run a few tests in bridged mono for me? My speakers have a peak handling of 600W and are 86db efficient; I wish to know if a pair of 1502s will be able to handle them without issue or if I need to step up to the 2002/2502.

I see that their thd shoots up well before 500W and I'm hoping that running them in bridged will eliminate that.

In bridged the 1502 is rated for 1050 W. How about we see how close it gets to that?
Its been a year since the original review.
Guess you missed out the second sentence in the review... The set was a member's loan.
 
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Its been a year since the original review.
Guess you missed out the second sentence in the review... The set was a member's loan.
Ah, I see.
Hmm, I see there is a review for the 2502 up here as well. I'll go read that and make a decision.

Either way I'll end up with 2 crowns in bridged-mono. Once I have everything setup I'll come back with my thoughts.
 

bigbag34

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Hi I am new to the forum. I have browsed for a while and the info here is super interesting. I have a subjective opinion to share, even though this site is scientific. I like the science of this site and was curious how something that measure poorly compares to something that measures OK. Again all of this is subjective and certainly influenced by my room, my past experiences and other factors.

Current system is Emotiva PT-100 preamp, Nuforce STA 200 power amp, JBL Studio 580 speakers and Klipsch Gate as my streamer from Spotify Premium or my Sony ES CD player from the 90's. I'm young, married for less than a few years and two little daughters so my budget is tight.

Based on this forum I purchased a Crown XLS 1502 to swap into my system. Just purchased it last night from Guitar Center, only have about 2 hours on it. I know the STA200 measured poorly, but I really enjoy it. It replaced a Harman Kardon HK3490 stereo receiver, Marantz PM6005 integrated amp, an Emotiva Basx A300 stereo power amp, and a NAD D7050. To my ears the STA200 sounded better than all those other amps.

1.) Even with nothing hooked into the RCA inputs on the Crown there is a hiss from the JBL's. I tired plugging it into a different outlet on a different circuit, hiss was exact same. Not sure if this hiss matters or not. The Nuforce STA200 by comparison is silent at idle, even with the preamp on. Again, the hiss might not matter at idle and might be "drown out" once the music starts playing.

2.) WOW, power! The bass response of the JBL's is much improved with the XLS 1502. Tighter, deeper, more, better :)

3.) Soundstage and separation of instruments seems to compare well to the STA200. I don't really notice too much difference between the two.

4.) At louder listening levels the XLS 1502 separates itself IMHO from the STA200. The XLS 1502 stays completely composed and doesn't sounds compressed compared to the STA200 which runs out of gas.

5.) The XLS 1502 is a lot "brighter" than the STA200. I have the treble on the PT100 down -3 for the 1502. I have to tweak my speaker position and maybe the XLS 1502 will benefit from some break-in, but initial impression is a little bright and fatiguing.

6.) The STA200 being class AB and using Exicon Mosfets in the output certainly measures a lot worse than the Crown, but so my ears prefer the sound of the STA200. I will be giving the XLS 1502 more time, and tweak my speaker position.

I posted some Youtube videos on my channel if anyone wants to see my set up.
 

Panelhead

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I have a XLS-1500 and XLS-2000. Do not use the attenuators, feed from a dac with volume control. Both are silent if connected up balanced. Both have the hiss when connected using the RCA inputs.
I have heard that really well shielded cables are immune to noise pickup using the RCA inputs. All the balanced cables tried were silent.
Try this if possible to see if balanced connection eliminates the hiss.
Also try the Speakon connectors. They are more work. But ease of use is light years ahead of bare wire, spades, or bananas.
 

bigbag34

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I have a XLS-1500 and XLS-2000. Do not use the attenuators, feed from a dac with volume control. Both are silent if connected up balanced. Both have the hiss when connected using the RCA inputs.
I have heard that really well shielded cables are immune to noise pickup using the RCA inputs. All the balanced cables tried were silent.
Try this if possible to see if balanced connection eliminates the hiss.
Also try the Speakon connectors. They are more work. But ease of use is light years ahead of bare wire, spades, or bananas.

I'm getting hiss with nothing hooked into the RCA's. I have the amp on and speakers hooked up, nothing going into the RCA's. As I turn the level knobs on the XLS 1502 the hiss changes in intensity. Maybe with no inputs hooked up, it's trying to pull from the RCA's (if that makes any sense)?

Hooking up the Emotiva PT100 preamp via RCA's doesn't change the hiss at all, even while adjusting the volume on the PT-100.
 

DonH56

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All amps have a noise floor and the volume control often modulates it. High-sensitivity speakers, close seating, and high-power amps is a combination almost guaranteed to exhibit hiss. (Not saying that is your situation; I do not know.) Pro amps, particularly lower-end models, are designed to provide lots of power for the dollar so have fairly high gain and SNR is usually not stellar. The result is hiss. If the hiss is not objectionable at the listening position, ignore it. If it is, you'll likely need a different amplifier.
 

Panelhead

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It definitely is not a high end product. But can be fine for listening.
The fact the hiss is constant whether the preamp is connected not not does not sound right. The reason is;
When testing an amplifier for noise floor the input should be shorted to ground. Usually a component plugged in does this also. Same when a test device like Amir’s AP.
The fact that is has no effect may be the output of your preamp. Do you know if it is AC or DC coupled? The presence of a coupling cap on the output of the preamp would prevent the low output impedance of the preamp from shunting this input.
This amplifier was made for the professional market. The low cost pro market. All pro gear is balanced. Mostly balanced only.
The RCA inputs were added for consumer use. But seem to be less than optimal. Every comment I have seen about hiss or other noise was from users connecting to the RCA inputs.
I have never hooked up the speakers to a Crown XLS without a source connected. Mine may have the same hiss.
 

DonH56

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If the input goes straight into the volume control the hiss might not change much. At max gain the Crown probably has the highest noise, but connecting a source at that level means the source noise also sees max gain so that might wash out the lower source driving impedance.
 

bigbag34

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My main concern was whether or not that idle hiss was affecting fidelity or sound quality. I'm choosing to ignore it since it seems like once source material is playing, it's above the noise floor and has no effect on the sound quality at my listening position which is 10 feet away.

The XLS 1502 100% seems to bring out more fidelity and texture to the sound than the STA200. The only trade off I'm experiencing so far is that the center image of the XLS 1502 isn't as pronounced as it was in my set-up compared to the STA200 or my Marantz PM6005. I know I'm playing with budget gear but obviously I'd like to optimize my cheap gear and sometimes that means turning a blind eye to the shortcomings. Thanks All!!!
 

Panelhead

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The “hiss” would be a deal killer for me.
One idea, try plugging the digital player into one channel and the preamp into the other. See if this effects the noise level with no music playing.
 

bigbag34

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Hiss still present with Klipsch gate analog out directly into crown analog inputs. I guess between the hiss and the difference in center image I’m going to box it up and return it. I know it measures worse and has less power but in my system the STA200 is the clear winner - no hiss, holographic sound stage and very locked in center image. I wonder why the measurements were so poor for the STA200? Maybe I prefer crummy gear? Wish I had never seen measurements for the STA200 I probably would have been happy with it for a long time.

Maybe my xls 1502 is defective. With the amp on I put my ear right to the chassis and the amp itself has a slight hiss almost a sizzling sound coming from somewhere inside. I’m not surprised that that is manifesting itself through my 90db efficient JBL 580’s.
 
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