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Review and Measurements of Crown XLS 1502 Amp

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Once I have all of the other noise and hum out of the system, my XLS 1002 sounds phenomenal with full range speakers. I've used it with a pair of SEAS Idunns both in my living room and in a nearfield setup, and a pair of BIC America RTR-EV15s. With the latter, I was pushing them to thunderous volumes in a large room for a 50 person wedding dance party and everything sounded remarkably clean to me (awesome speakers, btw).

That said, I've never owned another high-powered amp. My basis for comparison is home theater receivers.
 

RayDunzl

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It is always surpising how much power is really needed on dynamic peaks.
With digital sources there shouldn't be any surprises, limited as it is by full-scale (and a little inter-sample over if accomodated).

With a turntable though, who knows where the limit lies...
 

DonH56

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The ancient AES guidance I recall is 17 dB (a power factor of 50) for music based upon studies of live music long ago. That is, if you need 1 W average, expect to need 50 W to prevent peaks from clipping. More recent anecdotal data is more like 30 dB for movies, a factor of 1000, but I expect that is mostly for explosions and such where a little clipping will go unnoticed. For studio work, again my experience (pretty dated), the pro standard was +4 dBu with 24 dBu max so 20 dB headroom required (a power factor of 100).

From there the power you need depends upon how loudly you want to listen and at what frequency, the sensitivity and dispersion (radiation pattern) of your speakers, your distance from them, and the room's characteristics. And probably a few other things I've forgotten. And don't forget that if the numbers say 1000 W but that fries the voice coil or whatever in your speakers then having a 1000 W amp may not be your best choice.

FWIWFM - Don
 

RayDunzl

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My speakers say 200W power handling, they have 700W available (theoretically).

The only driver I've ever fired was a Peavy compression driver on top of the PA stack. Might have done that twice, live and learn.

Whoa...

1547669717718.png


That's a bold claim.

I've verified my limit... 116.9dB measured for a moment on a calibrated drum solo experiment. Sounded a bit like someone was taking a baseball bat to them.

1547669857317.png
 
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I would not, personally, expect the measured imperfections to be audible listening to music
Agreed. I have been using this amp as my main for both music/movies and subjectively it sounds very good to me. As my system does double-duty for movies, the extra power makes home theater fun, even without a sub (Vandersteen 2s). Also, the unit has performed reliably and just goes "meh" when I do stupid things while in tinker-mode, like forget to turn the amp off when swapping cables, etc: No loud pops, no fearing for my speakers.
 

Ron Texas

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In another thread I asked if members could find amplifiers with great measurements for under $1,000. I only received one reply. There aren't many around. Most of what I could find at https://audio.com.pl/testy/stereo/wzmacniacze-stereo had distortion vs power graphs worse than the XLS 1502. In particular there was much more distortion/noise in the lower power range. The Peachtree Nova 150 was a lot worse than the XLS 1502 never getting as low as .1%. It sells for $1,500 in the US.

The stand out performer that I could find were some pricey units from Accuphase. Numbers for Hegel, Krell and Pass were very good, but not as amazing as the Ncore.

The takeaway is owners of XLS 1502 aren't complaining because because it has tons of power and most of what is out there isn't a lot better and sometimes it is worse. Amps with stunningly low distortion numbers are a select few and usually expensive. That makes some of the bare bones Ncore amplifiers a screaming deal, even if they have power supply heat issues and will probably need a preamp.

If anyone has been combing through those tests and found something with very low distortion for under UD $2,000 let us know about it.
 

amirm

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If anyone has been combing through those tests and found something with very low distortion for under UD $2,000 let us know about it.
I am testing one such amplifier. For now, the Hypex based NC400s fall in that category also.
 

jhaider

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I’m currently using the XLS 1502 in mono mode to for a JBL B460 which is a ported sub using the JBL 2245H driver. Is this amp appropriate for a sub amplifier? Sub needs 600-800W. Any other ideas for alternatives?
I would not worry about an XLS1502 not being able to drive a medium-excursion woofer in a 9 cubic foot cabinet! You'll be fine.
 

Pillars

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The XLS series is amazing for sub duty. It also has done very well on full range in my setup. Heck, with up to 775W into 4Ω per channel you'd best brace yourself.. Very clean, too.
 
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I have the older xls1500 , subjectivity its a clean sounding neutral amp , the distortion may look bad on a scope but its far from audible in the real world, driving some floor standers or a sub the crown xls is a good choice. Would be interesting to see how the slightly cheaper class d Behringer A800 compares.
 

sergeauckland

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I have the older xls1500 , subjectivity its a clean sounding neutral amp , the distortion may look bad on a scope but its far from audible in the real world, driving some floor standers or a sub the crown xls is a good choice. Would be interesting to see how the slightly cheaper class d Behringer A800 compares.
I too am very interested in the Behringer A800. I have three A500s driving my active 'speakers and the A800 could be an interesting alternative.

S
 
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I have the older xls1500 , subjectivity its a clean sounding neutral amp , the distortion may look bad on a scope but its far from audible in the real world, driving some floor standers or a sub the crown xls is a good choice. Would be interesting to see how the slightly cheaper class d Behringer A800 compares.
An XLS...0 might be cleaner. It doesn't do A/D/A & DSP, right?
 
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I'm not sure how the older model compares, specs are the same, I think the xls1502 just has a more featured dsp. The xls1500 has a setting called stereo bypass i'm not sure if this bypasses the dsp, on the new model its just called stereo.
 

Ron Texas

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I'm not sure how the older model compares, specs are the same, I think the xls1502 just has a more featured dsp. The xls1500 has a setting called stereo bypass i'm not sure if this bypasses the dsp, on the new model its just called stereo.
The new one is said to have a quieter fan. The blue lights can be turned off.
 

DonH56

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We've been so taken by the incredibly low distortion of (most) all the DACs Amir has measured that we forget how much distortion speakers add and how much distortion it takes for us to hear it. We cringe at 75 dB SINAD but that is still less than 0.02% distortion (and noise)! Not really audible, and less than a lot of much more expensive audiophile amps... The Crown is a solid pro amp they've tweaked a bit for consumer use. Many consumers like them just fine, sub or full-range.

IMO! - Don
 
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sergeauckland

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We've been so taken by the incredibly low distortion of (most) all the DACs Amir has measured that we forget how much distortion speakers add and how much distortion it takes for us to hear it. We cringe at 75 dB SINAD but that is still less than 0.02% distortion! Not really audible... The Crown is a solid pro amp they've tweaked a bit for consumer use. Many consumers like them just fine, sub or full-range.

IMO! - Don
Not so long ago, 0.1% distortion (at all frequencies, levels and permitted loads) was considered perfectly satisfactory for amplifiers, so I'm surprised at the sniffy attitude to equipment measuring (only) 20dB better. 0.1% (-60dB) was chosen as it was 20dB better than could be normally discerned, so thought to be perfectly innocuous.

We can now do a lot better than 0.1%, but so what? Has there been any serious research done into just how much distortion is audible? I accept that it's difficult to do if the distortion one's trying to measure is swamped by the distortion of the loudspeakers or headphones, but nevertheless, have thresholds changed so much that something with 0.01% (-80dB) distortion is now justifiably thought poor?

S.
 

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