Saturday, July 15, 2017


I've been too disparaging of Emotiva at times.  The truth is, I own and rely on many Emotiva products.  Because they work and are not stratospherically priced like many others.

I'm relying on my tiny Emotive XPS-1 moving coil phono.  It blew away my dB systems dB HG1 even with the extra large power supply.  (They both use the same excellent chip, btw, the LT 1115, basically the lowest noise audio IC in general use, and has voltage (but not current) noise slightly lower than my generally preferred OPA 211.)  The Emotiva has a sweeter sound, is quieter, and has slightly more gain.  I think it has a more sophisticated circuit as well as better parts and an on-board voltage regulator.  I true miracle of miniaturized audio design, sold at tiny price.  Plus the load selections work very well for me, I choose the 470 ohm loading for my Dynavector 17D3.

The S/N spec is 78dB for moving coil (re: 0.5mV).  This is 3dB better than a $2199 Manley Chinook (though I've often and still lust after those).

I've come to believe it might even be about as quiet as the legendary Vendetta SCP-2a.  There's nothing in the design of the Vendetta that should necessarily give it better noise performance than a LT 1115 based design.  Plus, the Vendetta actually trades away noise performance in various ways, such as putting the high frequency RIAA pole in front of everything, where it can't help noise performance.  It does that allegedly to improve IM performance, but it's not clear that is useful either, and the IM spec isn't super outstanding in comparison with the uniqueness of the design.  Though I have seen the 90dB spec for the Vendetta, I strongly believe serious specmanship was involved in creating that the more usual 0.5mV A weighted (which itself is a lie, but whatever) 20-20k spec, 78dB is actually incredibly quiet.  Cranking up the Tact level to 95.8 I still hear no noise from the XPS-1 (I lost my bid on the Vendetta...good thing as it turned out considering all the needed expenses I've had since).

Anyway, I'm also relying on 2 (!) Steath DC-1's.  Since finally dumping the Behringer DCX in favor of Behringer DEQ's for each way, I immediately adopted the Stealth for my subs because it had all the essentials, and good specs, and looked well built.  I needed AES input and XLR outputs so subs could theoretically run on a separate circuit (as, in fact, they now do) without ground look issues.  And the volume control is a big plus too.  Often in other brands you have to pay $2000 to get AES and XLR outputs.

Then, when I (following longstanding prejudices perhaps) decided to use the Denon DVD-5000 as my mid-way DAC (in preference to both the Audio GD Dac 19 and the Stealth DC-1) the DC-1 took its place as the tweeter DAC, in which role it has been outstanding, and in fact it may be quieter, but adds to the realism with its super dynamic sound (possibly my imagination too just because it is so quiet and distortion free), perfect for subs and super tweeters.

And then the Emotive Preamp, XSP-1 (gen 2 I believe) which has made all my Bedroom analog stuff including turntable work for the last few years, and is now proving invaluable as a instrumentation amplifier measuring other stuff...because it's noise and distortion is so low it can usefully measure other equipment.

Now I've devolved my Aragon 28k into a glorified selector switch in my main front end (and removing the tape output series resistors and potentiometer loadings was a big improvement)...I used to use that for instrumentation amplification but it doesn't have balanced outputs and therefore I could never exceed 110dB S/N in instrumentation use and not reliably either.  Now with balanced outputs of the Emotiva I can.  Plus, of course, I can measure true balanced all the way.

I've heard good things about the amps but I've been more interested in more esoteric options for awhile.  If I needed more generic amps (which I now have covered by almost 20 yo Parasound units) I'd consider the Emotivas.

So I love Emotiva and I use them and I'm sad to see the Stealth DC-1 be discontinued just as I'm discovering what a fine product it is.  I'd certainly have lower distortion using all 3 DC-1's instead of the other things I have and continue doing, now with 2 DC-1's.

No comments:

Post a Comment