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Emotiva RPA-1 Build Quality and Setup


Build Quality

RPA-1_logo.JPGTopping 50 pounds, the RPA-1 is no lightweight in the amplifier world. Emotiva suggests (and I concur) that you set the amp on the lowest shelf of your rack. My homemade flexy rack needed a little stability and the RPA-1 was the perfect fit. The piano finished lacquered wood panel sides of the amp are simply gorgeous and contrast nicely with the industrial front panel. Those of you in love with blue lights and analogue voltage meters will have a lot to like about the front of the RPA-1. Little blue needles jump as the amp pumps power to your speakers. They are a little small to see from a distance but just the fact that they are there is enough for some of us. If simplicity in design is a hallmark of an audiophile product, the faceplate is a model for others to follow. Two buttons, power and dimmer, run the centerline flanked on either side by two raised milled aluminum plates with blue light seeping from underneath when powered up. The light will turn red under a fault of clipping condition. Industrial looking? Yes. But it looks mean. And I like that in an amp.

RPA-1_io.JPGWhile the RPA-1 is attractive enough to be displayed out in the open (under a little spot light as far as I'm concerned), it is rack mountable with the supplied hardware. The back of the unit sports an RCA in, a XLR in, and high quality five way binding posts for output to speakers. There is a 12 volt trigger input, a master power switch, access to the fuse, and a voltage selection switch. The unit can be configured ala the Turn On Selector switch for manual power on/off, 12 volt trigger on/off, and signal on/off. When in the signal configuration, the unit shuts itself down after 30 minutes and will power back on when it senses an incoming signal. It usually takes a second to sense the signal so you may lose the first beat or two of music. While the 30 minute shut down time should eliminate any inadvertent shutdowns doing playback, it is still possible during "talkie" movies that the amp could go into sleep mode. Personally, I used the supplied 12 volt trigger.

With a dual-mono design, each channel has its own massive toroidal power supply and electronics. In fact, if you could slice the amp down the center, you'd basically have to mono amplifiers. This design has its advantages in that each channel is fully isolated from each other yielding the absolute best channel to channel isolation for stereo separation. Stereo separation is an important aspect often overlooked in amplifier design. An amplifier with poor stereo separation will lend itself audibly as one that just doesn’t seem to make your speakers disappear into the room while instead sounding more like a wall of sound.

Just like all of the previous Emotiva amplifiers, the RPA-1 utilizes a Class H design which is similar to Class G and modulates the power supply rail voltage a bit higher than the output signal. It keeps the voltage across the transistors small and the output transistors cool. Overall, this provides for a cool running amp which explains how Emotiva Audio could cover up the side vents with the lacquered wood panels. The Class H is a fairly efficient design in comparison to an A/B design. The main difference of this amplifier compared to their flagship 7CH MPS-1 amplifier, is the former has about double the power supply for each channel of the latter. The transformer is much juicier allowing the amp to really belt out power into low impedance loads as you will see from our measurements later in this review.


Setting up an amp isn't exactly brain surgery so I'll be brief. Running RCA's from the receiver to the amp's inputs and speaker wire to the speakers should take all of seconds for most Audioholics. Since the 12 volt trigger doesn't have a 1/8th" jack, you'll need to connect the wires manually. All you need to do is loosen the screws on the green connector (I would think I don't have to say this but remove the connector from the back of the unit first) and insert the wires as indicated in the user manual. I found that the amp turned on and off instantly without any annoying pops or clicks with the 12 volt trigger and there was only a few millisecond delay on the "signal" setting. Basically, you'd miss the first note or two of a song waiting for the amp to turn on.

RPA-1_internal.JPG     RPA-1_powersupply.JPG


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Recent Forum Posts:

ImcLoud posts on November 25, 2012 01:09
stanley77, post: 926199

Hi Phaze,

Can I know the specifications of RSP-1 & RPA-1?? And all the details of it ex. price etc.

WOW, a 5 year old thread resurrected on post 1, good job, and welcome… I don't think this unit is available anymore, lol…
Adam posts on November 24, 2012 19:08
Welcome to the forum, Stanley!

Unfortunately, Phaze hasn't been on the forum in over five years, so you probably won't get a response unless he has it set up to e-mail him when people post in this thread.
stanley77 posts on November 24, 2012 19:01


Hi Phaze,

Can I know the specifications of RSP-1 & RPA-1?? And all the details of it ex. price etc.
etpfonehome posts on November 26, 2007 21:50
what happened to the upply of RPA 1's

Right when I get the OK from the wife to buy the RPA 1 noticed it was out of stock and now it does not even show up when you click on the “buy” link.
Any one have one to sell?
snapper62 posts on October 09, 2007 22:54
RSP! update

Lonnie at Emotiva and I have exchanged emails trying to sort out the problem with the volume and we tracked it down to an aggressively tightened clamp on the volume stem itself; the little things will get you every time. Problem solved, backup unit returned, and yes, it still sounds great.

A note about working with Emotiva: when we connected, we worked very well together and it is a rare manufacturer that will not freak out when you mention cracking the case; indeed I solved the issue with their support and a screwdriver….
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