MAF 2024: Emotiva

MAF 2024: Emotiva


Prices listed in US$.

When I looked at the price sheet taped on the wall in the Emotiva room, I blinked. I couldn’t believe my eyes. An audio show doesn’t showcase entire sound systems for $4796. But that was the total cost of the system in the Emotiva room (excluding the cables). The all-Emotiva system included a pair of Airmotiv XT3 tower speakers ($1999/pr), an XPA-DR2 Differential Reference power amplifier ($1899), a XDA-3 Differential Reference preamp/DAC ($699), a CMX-6+ AC line filter ($166), and cabling ($various, but all low-priced).

If you think the system must have sounded like the price tag might suggest, think again. What I heard was sound that was powerful, massive, and crisply defined. It was detailed, but non-fatiguing. It delivered the sort of bass I’d expect from a subwoofer, but there was no subwoofer.

But I encountered a problem. I couldn’t quite locate the singer in the soundstage, which was important to me. Then I realized I was sitting too far away from the speakers. So I moved my chair closer to form a near-unilateral triangle with the two speakers. And voilà! The singer suddenly stood right in the middle. Another lesson learned: never judge a system without considering where you are sitting.

After that, I was fully immersed in the two songs they played: “The Ragpicker’s Dream” by Mark Knopfler and “Feet on the Ground” by Pernille Rosendahl. It made me realize how little money is needed to enjoy our hobby.

2024 PMA Magazine. All rights reserved.

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