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Emotiva UPA-500 Five Channel Power Amplifier Overview and Setup




Emotiva UPA-500 Back view                                              

The back view of the UPA-500 is a bit pedestrian, but the connector spacing is well laid out. The speaker 5-way binding posts and analog RCA connections are all spaced apart 1.5". Try tugging on any of the connectors and you will notice how firmly planted they are into the back panel. Emotiva really knows how to build a durable amp. The UPA-500 doesn’t have balanced inputs, but would you expect otherwise at this price? Most users considering this amp are mating it with a budget A/V receiver or pre/pro that also doesn’t feature balanced connectors. There is a 3.5mm mini-plug trigger input compatible for 5-12V systems and the UPA-500 comes with a detachable two-prong 18AWG power cord.

Emotiva UPA-500 front panel View

The front panel sports Emotiva's same industrial look found in all of their current products. It includes their infamous silver power switch embroidered backlit with their logo (yellow for 'off' state, blue for 'on' state). There are five defeatable LED indicators (one for each channel) that illuminate blue when the amplifier is operating under normal conditions and flash red when all hell breaks loose. I was unable to create such a fault condition in my testing until I accidentally shorted the amp to the ground plate of my lab's 8-ohm test resistors and attempted to conduct a power sweep. Emotiva states that this amplifier is protected from all fault conditions which, to me, is very important and often overlooked by product engineers. I can't tell you how many times I've swapped cables during comparative listening tests where I accidentally shorted the leads. On competently designed amplifiers such as the UPA-500, the amplifier will simply shut down and protect itself and the foolish consumer (or in my case, reviewer) who forget to shut it off before swapping speaker connections. On poorly designed amplifiers, they will either blow output devices or... um, catch fire. In the 12+ years of reviewing amplifiers, I am proud to say I've only blown up one not so well engineered amplifier, which is a testament to all of other brands engineering their products correctly with consumer safety being of utmost importance. Of course, I blew up three samples of that one particular amp, but, moving on...


The UPA-500 was as easy as pie to move around. In fact, I consider it a one-hander amp - even for users ridden with back issues like myself. I connected the UPA-500 to my Marantz SR6004 A/V receiver and Yamaha MCX-2000 MusicCAST and tried it out on a pair of Infinity P363’s I had in for review along with a set of older JBL Pro III surround speakers. This represented a pretty tough load for the UPA-500, since all four speakers are rated at 4-ohms. All speaker cables were Kimber 8PR's along with Impact Acoustics Sonicwave interconnects. The listening tests were conducted in the Audioholics Showcase Theater Room which is a moderately acoustically treated 6,000 ft^3 room courtesy of Auralex Acoustics.


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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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