Emotiva might be a relatively new name in the world of value-oriented audio. However, ask any high-end audio manufacturer executive what the company is and they will be able to tell you all about it. Emotiva is the Internet-direct house brand of an U.S.-based OEM company that designs and makes many of the best AV preamps in the world for brands that I am not really allowed to talk about. Take it from me, they are some of the biggies and the products are notably feature-laden and, more specifically, very reliable.
Emotiva offers a pretty swanky AV preamp, but they also have a $1,699 (including free shipping in the United States, which is no small added value, considering this beast of an amp weighs over 100 pounds) Class-H seven-channel amp that is a game-changer. Class-H amps are used primarily in professional audio applications, such as sound reinforcement, and, as far as I know, the Emotiva is one of the few consumer amps that use the technology, although Class-D amps have become popular with some manufacturers in recent years. The Emotiva MPS-2 packs 200 watts per channel into eight-ohm speaker loads and can put out upwards of 400 watts into two-ohm loads. The Emotiva is dressed mostly in black, with a number of blue lights on the front, which give it the hue of a Krell amp. Sonically, the amp is all business, which is just what you want from an amplifier. There is practically no coloration, yet there are tons of power, giving you authoritative control over your speakers. The idea that you could have too much power for your system is a fraud. You don't blow speakers from having too much power. You get into trouble because you don't have enough power. With the Emotiva MPS-2 in your rig, trust me, you will not have that problem.
• The Emotiva MPS-2 has tons of power and a tremendously low signal to noise ratio, so it can drive practically any speaker on the market with ease.
• The Emotiva, for a large seven-channel amp, runs relatively cool. There are fans for each channel, but they only come on when needed, so the MPS-2 doesn't create much ambient noise when sitting in your rack.
• Free shipping and great customer service never go out of style and, honestly, were unexpected at this low price.
• A silver faceplate would have been a nice option to offer to consumers, as the MPS-2 could fairly be considered a showpiece.
• 115 pounds of amp requires careful consideration for placement and likely someone to help you lift the amp into place, unless you are in training for a Mr. Olympia contest. Unlike every other amp that gets the same ding on the low points, the Emotiva MPS-2 won't make you worry about heat.
If there were an industry contest voted on by consumers and reviewers alike as to the best bang-for-the-buck multi-channel amplifier, I am confident that, at $1,699 with free shipping, the Emotiva MPS-2 would win. It has an amazing reserve of power that can make even the toughest-load loudspeakers get up and dance. The amp, despite its huge size, runs cool and quiet, with a signal to noise ratio that you'd expect from a Halcro or Krell, at a quarter (or less) of the price. The amp's fit and finish is gorgeous and its sound never gets in the way of your music or movies, which is exactly the way an audiophile power amp should be.
Consider this at the top of your list to audition when looking for a seven-channel power amp below $3,000 or perhaps even higher.