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Emotiva UPA-500 Five Channel Power Amplifier Conclusion


upa500_front.jpgThe Emotiva UPA-500 is NOT a perfect amplifier. It doesn’t turn milk chocolate to dark. It won’t part the Red Sea, nor will it reverse climate change. It will, however, redefine the quality one comes to expect from a budget amplifier. The UPA-500 delivers clean, low noise, meaty amplification that will surely bring new life to a whimpering department store A/V receiver. It’s honestly rated and has no issues driving low impedance loads while remaining cool in operation even under the most strenuous test conditions on the bench. If you’re looking for a step up in sound quality and power on the cheap, I can’t think of a better option on the market. Highly recommended!

Emotiva Audio Corporation
135 Southeast Parkway Court
Franklin, TN 37064

615-790-6754 | 877-EMO-TECH (877-366-8324)

UPA-500 Review
MSRP: $399

The Score Card

The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:

Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating

Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.

Audioholics Rating Scale

  • StarStarStarStarStar — Excellent
  • StarStarStarStar — Very Good
  • StarStarStar — Good
  • StarStar — Fair
  • Star — Poor
Frequency Response LinearityStarStarStarStarStar
Measured Power (8-ohms)StarStarStarStar
Measured Power (4-ohms)StarStarStarStar
Multi-channel Audio PerformanceStarStarStarStar
Build QualityStarStarStarStar
Fit and FinishStarStarStarStar
Ergonomics & UsabilityStarStarStarStarStar
About the author:
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Gene manages this organization, establishes relations with manufacturers and keeps Audioholics a well oiled machine. His goal is to educate about home theater and develop more standards in the industry to eliminate consumer confusion clouded by industry snake oil.

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Recent Forum Posts:

Gmoney posts on April 24, 2021 23:27
gene, post: 899749, member: 4348
The Marantz SR6004 isn't a wimpy department store A/V receiver. I was referring to a typical $400-500 A/V receiver. The UPA-500 would be an upgrade to that.

I only used the SR6004 as a preamp because it was the least expensive receiver/preamp I had at my disposal when testing the UPA-500.

To get a substantial upgrade in power from the SR6004 in the Emotiva line, one would have to look at the Emotiva XPA series of amps.
@gene ( Isn't a Wimpy department store AV receiver) Lolo, Them was some good days back in 2012. To bad I was rehabbing my knee. @PENG ( I know no one can read my mind) Gene, using (Wimpy) lolo Good stuff guys!! lol
Gmoney posts on April 24, 2021 23:17
PENG, post: 908928, member: 6097
Actually there is no disagreement in this regard because when I mention AVRs, in my mind (I know no one can read my mind) I am thinking mid range ones such as the Yamaha RX-A or V 2XXX, Denon AVR-3XXX and up. Also I said I had not seen many, but I have certainly seen some, just not too many, that advertise in ways that people could be misled.. And I always refer to the manufacturer's ads, not resellers.

You are so right about it is not the manufacturer who does this, not in this case but again I have seen some who does though.

The following is copied from yamaha.ca for the RX-V373:

Amplifier Section

Channel 5.1
Rated Output Power (1kHz, 1ch driven)
100W (8ohms, 0.9% THD)

Rated Output Power (1kHz, 2ch driven)
85W (8ohms, 0.9% THD)

Dynamic Power per Channel (8/6/4/2 ohms)

Never said anything about ACD.
@PENG (I know no one can read my mind) that right there some funny Sh$t! after all these year's lolo. Still slamming them.
PENG posts on August 07, 2017 16:28
nickwin, post: 1202703, member: 76936
PENG, to me its pretty clear that all those quotes on THX spec are saying IF you calibrate an individual channel to 85db @ -20DBSF, that channel will be asked to produce up to 105db (peak, whatever that means in this case) in playback. I certainly don't see anything to the contrary. We may have to agree to disagree on this one. I say again though, if you make the assumption your making, and your wrong, your in for a world of hurt because that makes a massive difference on wattage needs.

As far as being derailed I just mean that this thread has gone far from being about the UPA500. ill start a more general thread and send you a link

Seriously, last post this time haha.

Before you leave, let me try to make my point clear one more time.

I am saying, in fact have been saying, that during calibration setup (Audyssey, YPAO, MCACC or manually for that matter), each speaker/channel will be set up to produce 85 dB average and 105 dB peak at the main mic position.

THX will likely, and logic tells me they do, test each individual channel during the certification process for the same reason that the calibration/set up does. So what exactly are we to agree to disagree?

I am also saying that just because calibration and testing are done on each channel, does not mean in real world movie playback each individual channel has to produce 105 dB peak on their own. I own quite a few movies, and watch a lot on Netflix. I just don't recall a single movie that has contents demanding 105 dB peak all produced by one single channel. In fact, during such high peak spl moments, not only more than one channel would be peaking, the LFE channel does too, and often contribute the lion's share of those peaks. So I suppose this is the point, and probably the only point, that we can agree to disagree.

Even if I am wrong, I won't be in a world of hurt because I run separates and have much more power reserve than I would ever need in my 2000 cu ft room. I also can't stand reference level as I find it much too loud for enjoyment. Even if I can tolerate the level, I won't because I don't want to risk hearing loss but that's just me.
Steve81 posts on August 07, 2017 10:57
nickwin, post: 1202710, member: 76936
So your saying the 105db is peak as in the peak of the waveform? This would be equivalent to 102db RMS, right?

That's my understanding of it. THX doesn't exactly go out of their way to release technical documentation, but looking at how AH does its room rating protocol for subwoofers, that also ties into 105dB (or 115dB for LFE as the case may be) being an instantaneous peak figure, as opposed to a short term RMS number.
nickwin posts on August 07, 2017 10:48
Steve81, post: 1202707, member: 61173
AFAIK, that's the commonly accepted understanding of how it works, i.e. 0dBFS = 105dB peak, not RMS. Indeed, the example given here:
lines up almost perfectly with a simple mix and match of other THX Ultra 2 hardware:
90dB sensitive, 6 ohm nominal
155W into 2 ch @ 8 ohms w/ 0.1% THD+N / 230W into 2 ch @ 4 ohms w/ 0.1% THD+N

Even if you bump up to the 1% numbers for the amp, you're not getting another 3dB worth of headroom out of it.

Just when I think I'm out… They pull me right back in hahaha

So your saying the 105db is peak as in the peak of the waveform? This would be equivalent to 102db RMS, right?
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