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Need some recommendations on 3-ch amp

8152 Views 48 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  gfong
I Would like to ad a 3ch amp to my system for my front 3 and would appreciate some recommendations. I am new to amps and don't know which brands are available to us Canadians. Most of my online pals keep recommending Emotiva but I'm uneasy about ordering something like that over the border just in case I run into warranty issues.

For those who would ask if there is something lacking currently that makes me feel I need more power, my answer is not really. I have basically had a good season and am in a position where I have some "me" cash and this is what I would like to do.

Pioneer VSX-32
Klipsch RF-82 L/R
Klipsch RC-62 C
Klipsch RS 42's Surround & Heights

Recommend away! :)

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Separates with a qualification: a good AVR is a good pre-pro. The whole purpose of a three-channel amp as contemplated by the OP is to use it to power the front soundstage (L/R/C). An AVR would be necessary to power the surround channels.

The other point I'd make is, in terms of features and value, you might be hard pressed to find a true pre-amp that's a better bet than a good AVR.
The other point I'd make is, in terms of features and value, you might be hard pressed to find a true pre-amp that's a better bet than a good AVR.
You are dealing mainly with HT people here rather than audiophile so for that reason your comment is correct however, turn this around meaning the gear is mainly used for audio/music SQ then the AVR is not the best option. Combo gear never offer as good quality as seperate would. For music, if you are expecting audiophile quality, a seperate pre-amp is a must, an AVR is a trade off which allows you to get combo options at lower pricing and of course, you get what you pay for.
TK, I am responding to the original poster and his situation. I am not arguing that a good stereo separates will outperform the configurations we're talking about, just keeping the discussion on topic as it relates to the OP.
The other point I'd make is, in terms of features and value, you might be hard pressed to find a true pre-amp that's a better bet than a good AVR.
Sorry, I must have missread you, I had the impression you were proning an AVR pre-amp processor as being a better choice than a seperate pre-processor and I was simply stating it was a good option in HT but also a compromise. Thus the reason for people that can afford it to use separate such as pre- or amps (as the OP) in conjunction with their AVR.

To go back to the OP, the quality of the separate amp is also a compromise. Usually the use of a dedicated amp for the front stage (LCR) is good solution to help mimise the compromise especially if one uses is system in a multi purpose system such as audio. Thus the reason for debating the choice of Emo to accomplish the task. I understand the fact that middle man is being avoide thus providing some savings however, I might question how low the saving would be without neglecting the quality and SQ output of such amp?
The quality and SQ of Emotiva amps has been explored through reviews at sites like audioholics and secrets of home theater. When I got my amp, I found it to be superior in sound to my Adcom, and I've read where others have found their Emotiva amp to be superior in SQ to Rotel.

But like I said before, Emotiva is not for everyone, and some like you, technokid, obviously would never buy one for the assorted concerns you've raised above. But for 2 grand or so, I'm sure a 3 channel amp can be found in Canada.
TK, he's got a Pioneer Elite VSX-32. It features HDMI 1.4, IP Control, and Marvell scaling. Setting aside nice to haves like internet radio, none of the hallmark amp manufacturers have pre-pros that measure up feature wise. Not Anthem, Parasound, Classe, or Emotiva.

It's part of a home theatre. For the marginal trade-off of two-channel audio SQ, Marvell scaling alone more than makes up for it. Unless you're suggesting that he also invest in a stand-alone scaler, it really doesn't address MikeK's fundamental question ... what is a good three-channel amp to use for his front soundstage?
Below are some Canadian manufacturers some may be pertinent others may not be however, it provides you some pointers to buy some equipment of good quality that should be painless when in need of service


Anthem - Anthem Audio
Bent Audio -
Blue Circle Audio - Blue Circle Audio
Bryston - Bryston Limited
Classé - Classé Audio
EMM Labs - EMM Labs
Linar Audio - Linar Audio
Magnum Dynalab - Magnum Dynalab Tuners
Morrison - Highend/
NAD Electronics - NAD
Oracle Audio - Oracle Audio
Rix Rax - Rix Rax...Highend Racks
Simaudio - MOON by Simaudio Ltd
Tenor Audio -
Virtual Dynamics - Virtual Dynamics
Wytech Labs - Wyetech Labs

Courtesy - AVSforum
TECHNOKID, Thank you for posting that list of Canadian manufacturers. I have been spending as much time as I can the last # of days and you have definitely made things speedier for me. Much appreciated.
Like one of our fellow members mentioned, we sure do take it hard up the you know what here in Canada. Makes it hard to over look cross-border shopping.

I have 3 pieces from Emotiva. XPA 3 in my HT set up and UPA7 and UMC 1 in bedroom system with Klipsch RF 82's. I live in the Vancouver area and have everything shipped to Point Roberts Washington. Emotiva provides free shipping within the US.
With our dollar at almost par my costs are HST (12%), no duty, and 1 and half hours travel time, The Letter Carrier charges me $4.00.

I have to say that Emotiva amps are incredible value with a 5 year transferable warranty and on the preamp a 40% discount on their next product. Hard to beat.

Back to your question. The 3 channel, 200 watt at 8 ohm XPA3 I installed in my HT improved the sound clarity, bass sound and sound stage to an astounding degree. I could not be happier. I am using a Sony STR DA 6400es receiver and Altec Lansing Velencia voice of the theatre mains and Klipsch Rf 35 Center, side and rears. The receiver pushes the side and rear speakers effortlessly.

I am setting up a third,Music only system using a Sony STR DA 5500es receiver and I will be ordering another Emotiva amp. I am sold on separate power amps.
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3 weeks ago I added an Emotiva XPA-3 to my front stage and it sounds really nice. I am very happy with the results.

Adding the XPA-3 gave me a wider soundstage, clearer fronts and center along with a crisper/clean sound. My Sony STR-DA5400ES receiver runs the rears now. Fronts are Polk Audio Rti A9's with a Polk Audio CSi A6 center.
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