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Go Back   Blu-ray Forum > Audio > Pre/Pro, Amplifiers and Separate Systems


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Old 08-18-2017, 03:04 AM   #1
28BlusLater 28BlusLater is offline
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Default Emotiva XPA-5 Scare

Hello All,

It's been quite some time since I have been on the forums, and I wish that I was returning on better news. I was in the middle of watching a movie today, when suddenly all of my speakers went quiet. The front of my Emotiva XPA-5 was flashing red across all channels. I have had times where one channel would give me a red flashing light, but just turning the amp off and back on would immediately fix the issue.

I turned off the amp, unplugged it, ensured that all of the connections were properly secured, and then plugged it back in. Everything appeared to be fine in standby mode, so I turned it on. Suddenly, I heard a giant POP, and smoke began to come out from the top of the amplifier. Some sparks came out, as well. My room filled with an electrical burning smell. I quickly unplugged the amplifier, and have left it so ever since earlier this afternoon.

I purchased this amp back in 2010, so it's out of warranty. Regardless, I called Emotiva, where I couldn't get much help without spending the $100 out-of-warranty fee and shipping this massive amplifier to them. I found a repair shop that was recommended nearby my house that said they work on Emotiva products. They are willing to look at it for a $75 out-of-warranty fee, and it's driving distance from my house.

I have yet to open the amplifier, but hours later, I did notice that one section of the amplifier has a particularly strong burnt smell. If you're facing the amplifier, it's on the bottom right corner. I'm not very knowledgeable about the hardware of amplifiers, but it's where there are silver cylinders. I'm not sure what part this is, but I wanted to consult you great people, who have been of great help in the past.

Would you recommend me to take it to the shop and just eat the $75 fee, or do you guys already have an idea of what this could be? I sure hope that this is fixable, as I have loved this amp for the seven years that I've owned it.

Any help would be very much appreciated.
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Old 08-18-2017, 03:14 AM   #2
solarrdadd solarrdadd is offline
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eat the $75, I would and I own that amp. on a rare, extremely rare occasion I have gotten the red flashing lights on different channels, turn it off and it works fine after. I don't worry about it too much, it's been a very good amp to and for me for a good long while and I expect it to continue.

put your bib on and eat that $75, get an actual answer from the people who designed it, not us. I wish there was an emotive place so close to me I could drive to for when I finally do get a serious enough issue with any of my 5 emotiva amps.

good luck and keep us posted whatever you decide.
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Old 08-26-2017, 08:58 PM   #3
28BlusLater 28BlusLater is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solarrdadd View Post
eat the $75, I would and I own that amp. on a rare, extremely rare occasion I have gotten the red flashing lights on different channels, turn it off and it works fine after. I don't worry about it too much, it's been a very good amp to and for me for a good long while and I expect it to continue.

put your bib on and eat that $75, get an actual answer from the people who designed it, not us. I wish there was an emotive place so close to me I could drive to for when I finally do get a serious enough issue with any of my 5 emotiva amps.

good luck and keep us posted whatever you decide.
Thanks for the advice! I was finally able to drop off my amp at the store. The employees there seemed very nice and knowledgeable. I spent the $75, and that applies to the repair costs.

He mentioned that I should check my speakers, but then noticed that all of my channels were set to Unbalanced on the back of the amp, and said, "Oh, okay. You had it set to Unbalanced." I didn't pay much attention to it in the moment, but does that mean that my speakers should be fine? I don't remember what the difference was between balanced and unbalanced. My speakers made no sound when the amp popped; they just stopped playing sound.

Fingers crossed that this is a semi-affordable fix.
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Old 08-26-2017, 09:59 PM   #4
solarrdadd solarrdadd is offline
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unbalanced means your using the RCA interconnects.
balanced means your using the XLR interconnects.

those are the simple answers. Since you have a UMC-1 listed, I know your using RCA interconnects because that pre-amp doesn't have XLR interconnects for the standard 7 channel output.
if you had the amps unbalanced/balanced switched correctly you would either get or not get audio depending on the cable used. that wouldn't have anything to do with the burning smell you had.

you should check your speakers because yes, bad speaker crossovers/drivers can damage receivers or amps. with the sparks and smoke you mentioned, they should easily be able to at least repair the amp and determine possibly if the issue is the amp or something external to it.

best of luck, keep us posted.

Last edited by solarrdadd; 08-26-2017 at 10:10 PM.
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Old 09-02-2017, 06:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solarrdadd View Post
unbalanced means your using the RCA interconnects.
balanced means your using the XLR interconnects.

those are the simple answers. Since you have a UMC-1 listed, I know your using RCA interconnects because that pre-amp doesn't have XLR interconnects for the standard 7 channel output.
if you had the amps unbalanced/balanced switched correctly you would either get or not get audio depending on the cable used. that wouldn't have anything to do with the burning smell you had.

you should check your speakers because yes, bad speaker crossovers/drivers can damage receivers or amps. with the sparks and smoke you mentioned, they should easily be able to at least repair the amp and determine possibly if the issue is the amp or something external to it.

best of luck, keep us posted.
I just received word on the amp from the shop. It's definitely not a cheap fix. They said that they need to replace the main filter caps, a bridge rectifier, and a few resistors. I took a screenshot, so please see below for the breakdown:

https://imgur.com/a/lgiNX

Thoughts?
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Old 09-02-2017, 06:21 PM   #6
solarrdadd solarrdadd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 28BlusLater View Post
I just received word on the amp from the shop. It's definitely not a cheap fix. They said that they need to replace the main filter caps, a bridge rectifier, and a few resistors. I took a screenshot, so please see below for the breakdown:

https://imgur.com/a/lgiNX

Thoughts?
wow, that's a tough break and an even tougher call. I'd say first, since emofest is this weekend and your relatively close, go there you can get special show prices that won't be available anywhere else. at the show, lots of times they have old b stock of amps, they also have refurbished amps that are sold at dirt cheap show prices and they may even offer you a couple more dollars off for your "trade in" as a way of saving face. that is your best option. next see if any are available at the emolounge, next, I'd hit up ebay or craigs.

keep in mind, you will be hard pressed to find one at that price online, though you might. i think yours is a gen1 so, that's like hens teeth to find. if you have like a grand or so to spare, I'd say, go to the show and see what they can do for you. if your lucky, you can run into "Big Dan" at the show, he's the owner (I've been to a couple of emofests in the past and i met him and talked to him each time) let him know your issue, he may pull you aside and hook you up with a good deal.

bottom line is, there are no good answers for you, all will involve you spending money.

dare i say, yes, you could always go with a less powerful amp like the BasX A-700 listing for $600 but, i guarantee you the show price will beat that probably by more than 50-75 bucks and even bigger savings would be to accept "b" stock say something that has a scratch or ding say on the back or top where once it's in your rack no one will see it.

you have got a lot of thinking to do and not a lot of time to do it if you want to get in on any deals during the labor day emofest event at Emotiva headquarters.

if i were you, I'd go to the show and see what if anything could be worked out for me. i don't know what kind of speakers your driving, but, if they are high efficiency speakers, you might think about saving money and going with a lower powered amp; your call.

best of luck, keep us posted.
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Old 09-02-2017, 06:23 PM   #7
solarrdadd solarrdadd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 28BlusLater View Post
I just received word on the amp from the shop. It's definitely not a cheap fix. They said that they need to replace the main filter caps, a bridge rectifier, and a few resistors. I took a screenshot, so please see below for the breakdown:

https://imgur.com/a/lgiNX

Thoughts?
wow, that's a tough break and an even tougher call. I'd say first, since emofest is this weekend and your relatively close, go there you can get special show prices that won't be available anywhere else. at the show, lots of times they have old b stock of amps, they also have refurbished amps that are sold at dirt cheap show prices and they may even offer you a couple more dollars off for your "trade in" as a way of saving face. that is your best option. next see if any are available at the emolounge, next, I'd hit up ebay or craigs.

keep in mind, you will be hard pressed to find one at that price online, though you might. i think yours is a gen1 so, that's like hens teeth to find. if you have like a grand or so to spare, I'd say, go to the show and see what they can do for you. if your lucky, you can run into "Big Dan" at the show, he's the owner (I've been to a couple of emofests in the past and i met him and talked to him each time) let him know your issue, he may pull you aside and hook you up with a good deal.

bottom line is, there are no good answers for you, all will involve you spending money. a brand new XPA-5 G3 is $1600 (it will be cheaper during this weekend at emofest and that is an at show price, you can't get it online)

dare i say, yes, you could always go with a less powerful amp like the BasX A-700 listing for $600 but, i guarantee you the show price will beat that probably by more than 50-75 bucks and even bigger savings would be to accept "b" stock say something that has a scratch or ding say on the back or top where once it's in your rack no one will see it.

you have got a lot of thinking to do and not a lot of time to do it if you want to get in on any deals during the labor day emofest event at Emotiva headquarters.

if i were you, I'd go to the show and see what if anything could be worked out for me. if the speakers you have are high efficiency types and if you have them crossed over at say 80hz or higher to your sub and if you listen at moderate volumes and don't have a gigantic room, I'd say you might think about saving money and going with a lower powered amp; your call.

best of luck, keep us posted.
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Old 09-02-2017, 06:28 PM   #8
28BlusLater 28BlusLater is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solarrdadd View Post
wow, that's a tough break and an even tougher call. I'd say first, since emofest is this weekend and your relatively close, go there you can get special show prices that won't be available anywhere else. at the show, lots of times they have old b stock of amps, they also have refurbished amps that are sold at dirt cheap show prices and they may even offer you a couple more dollars off for your "trade in" as a way of saving face. that is your best option. next see if any are available at the emolounge, next, I'd hit up ebay or craigs.

keep in mind, you will be hard pressed to find one at that price online, though you might. i think yours is a gen1 so, that's like hens teeth to find. if you have like a grand or so to spare, I'd say, go to the show and see what they can do for you. if your lucky, you can run into "Big Dan" at the show, he's the owner (I've been to a couple of emofests in the past and i met him and talked to him each time) let him know your issue, he may pull you aside and hook you up with a good deal.

bottom line is, there are no good answers for you, all will involve you spending money.

dare i say, yes, you could always go with a less powerful amp like the BasX A-700 listing for $600 but, i guarantee you the show price will beat that probably by more than 50-75 bucks and even bigger savings would be to accept "b" stock say something that has a scratch or ding say on the back or top where once it's in your rack no one will see it.

you have got a lot of thinking to do and not a lot of time to do it if you want to get in on any deals during the labor day emofest event at Emotiva headquarters.

if i were you, I'd go to the show and see what if anything could be worked out for me. i don't know what kind of speakers your driving, but, if they are high efficiency speakers, you might think about saving money and going with a lower powered amp; your call.

best of luck, keep us posted.
I'm going to think on it for the weekend, and get back to the shop with an answer by then. I'm in graduate school at the moment, so I don't have a ton of spare cash.

Also, I'm not near Emofest. The shop that I went to wasn't directly Emotiva, but a shop that works on high-end audio equipment, including Emotivas. I'm in Los Angeles.

Thank you for all of your help, and the quick responses. No matter what I decide to do, this is going to be a really tough decision.
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Old 09-02-2017, 06:36 PM   #9
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by the way, emofest is today and tomorrow, it's free and you can register online. since your within driving distance, I'd go and at least see what's there and if there is anything or anyway i could afford to leave with something.

again, there are no simple or cheap answers for you.

this amp by monoprice has good reviews and it's cheaper than the G3 from emo same power specs too and i believe you get 15% off for labor day sale, so, that's something to check into as an option if you want new with a 5 year warranty.

again, good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 09-02-2017, 06:41 PM   #10
solarrdadd solarrdadd is offline
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im sorry, when you said, you dropped your amp off at the store, i thought you meant at emotiva itself.

that's a lot of money, and you have to rely on the store not trying to hustle you; i bet it would have been cheaper at emotiva for the repair. but, that's another story.

if your strapped for cash, your options are pay the price and get it fixed, go without the amp & your HT audio system until you can afford to get it fixed or get a new one.

take your pick. that monoprice amp would be like $1275 with the 15% discount and they are in CA)
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Old 09-05-2017, 08:58 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by solarrdadd View Post
im sorry, when you said, you dropped your amp off at the store, i thought you meant at emotiva itself.

that's a lot of money, and you have to rely on the store not trying to hustle you; i bet it would have been cheaper at emotiva for the repair. but, that's another story.

if your strapped for cash, your options are pay the price and get it fixed, go without the amp & your HT audio system until you can afford to get it fixed or get a new one.

take your pick. that monoprice amp would be like $1275 with the 15% discount and they are in CA)
Well, I decided to bite the bullet and get it repaired. I don't think I'll be able to get anything comparable for what I'm willing to spend, and if I'm able to keep the Emotiva running, it's a fantastic amplifier that delivers great sound.

When I spoke to the tech, he said that the loud pop that I heard when it exploded was from the filter caps. The rectifier also went bad, and 2 resistors had to be replaced. I asked what caused it, he said that it appears that it was a hardware failure, and that this stuff can sometimes just happen (very rarely, but they do happen).

I asked what I can do to make sure that it doesn't happen again, and he asked how much ventilation I have. As you can see in my Home Theater Gallery, I have about 3 inches above it, and it's completely open on the sides and in the back. The tech said I need at least 6 inches, and that while it may not be what directly caused it to explode, he said that it may have contributed to it. He said no matter what I need to do, I need to get 6 inches or more of clearance on top, because it's going to run warm.

I'm thinking of rearranging my audio rack, and putting it in an order similar to this, from top to bottom:

Shelf 1: Amplifier
Shelf 2: Center Speaker
Shelf 3: Pre/Pro
Shelf 4: Blu-Ray Player + Cable Box
Shelf 5: PS4

This way, the amplifier will be completely open on top with nothing over it. I e-mailed the audio rack company, and they said that putting the 70 pound amp on top would be fine, as long as I have things on the rest of the shelves, so that it's not too top heavy, but that these racks used to have 27" tube TVs on top.

Last edited by 28BlusLater; 09-05-2017 at 09:11 PM.
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Old 09-09-2017, 10:54 PM   #12
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Just wanted to offer an additional thank you to solarrdadd. I ended up getting it repaired, and just picked it up today. It works great!
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Old 09-09-2017, 11:34 PM   #13
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Just wanted to offer an additional thank you to solarrdadd. I ended up getting it repaired, and just picked it up today. It works great!
outstanding, I'm very happy for you and glad the shop was reputable and got your amp working. now you have a place to go in the future that you feel good about taking gear too! I know it's not fun when your HT is down especially when it's the amp or the tv/projector because being able to see it and not hear it is as bad as being able to hear it and not see it!

be sure to post back here in a couple of days after you have used it for movies and such and let us know how it is. also, since it was not an emotiva repair, let us know if the sound signature or volume levels have been affected since the repair that you notice.
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Old 09-09-2017, 11:50 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by 28BlusLater View Post
Well, I decided to bite the bullet and get it repaired. I don't think I'll be able to get anything comparable for what I'm willing to spend, and if I'm able to keep the Emotiva running, it's a fantastic amplifier that delivers great sound.

When I spoke to the tech, he said that the loud pop that I heard when it exploded was from the filter caps. The rectifier also went bad, and 2 resistors had to be replaced. I asked what caused it, he said that it appears that it was a hardware failure, and that this stuff can sometimes just happen (very rarely, but they do happen).

I asked what I can do to make sure that it doesn't happen again, and he asked how much ventilation I have. As you can see in my Home Theater Gallery, I have about 3 inches above it, and it's completely open on the sides and in the back. The tech said I need at least 6 inches, and that while it may not be what directly caused it to explode, he said that it may have contributed to it. He said no matter what I need to do, I need to get 6 inches or more of clearance on top, because it's going to run warm.

I'm thinking of rearranging my audio rack, and putting it in an order similar to this, from top to bottom:

Shelf 1: Amplifier
Shelf 2: Center Speaker
Shelf 3: Pre/Pro
Shelf 4: Blu-Ray Player + Cable Box
Shelf 5: PS4

This way, the amplifier will be completely open on top with nothing over it. I e-mailed the audio rack company, and they said that putting the 70 pound amp on top would be fine, as long as I have things on the rest of the shelves, so that it's not too top heavy, but that these racks used to have 27" tube TVs on top.
if your using the rack that's in your HT setup, I'd say leave the amp at the bottom. there is plenty of ventilation for it, I have a similar rack and the coolest air is on the floor (cold air is heavy and falls) inversely, at the top of the rack would actually be the warmest place because all the warm/hot air from everything under the top rack potentially gets some of that warm air (warm air is light and rises). don't get me wrong, make the changes you need to keep you happy and sleeping well at night.

all the shelves on my rack have 9" between shelves, my XPA-5 sits on the second from the bottom, I've had it there for years and it's fine. it never really gets hot, it does get warm depending on the movie and sound level I'm playing it at, but, never hot. also remember, your rack and mine are open on all 4 sides. the issue many folks have with overheating is when they have enclosed furniture that is closed on all sides with a back and a front door that's an a/v deathtrap for some equipment that runs hot because the heat is trapped inside with the gear and cool air is hard to come by.

again, put that big boy where you feel you need it to be. I will say, plenty of my friends have emo amps, many XPA-1's and XPA-2's UPA-1's and they have multiple amps stacked on top of each other and have had them like that for years with no problem. again, do what you gotta do for you.

keep us posted buddy!
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