Power Amplifiers

Emotiva UPA-5 Five-Channel Power Amplifier



The UPA-5 is not a tiny amplifier. In fact, it's so large that it wouldn't fit in my current AV rack and finally led me to upgrade to a different one that would be able to easily hold it and all of my other gear. It's also much heavier than your receiver most likely is, weighing 58 pounds out of the box, and continuing FedEx's love-hate relationship with me. All of Emotiva's amplifiers come in the same size case, which helps them to keep their prices lower, as it's much simpler to manufacturer a single case for the whole product line. That also means that the UPA-5 will run cooler than some other amplifiers as it's case is designed to hold even more powerful amps, though you should still provide it plenty of ventilation.

The front of the UPA-5 has a single power button, and two rows of LED's to indicate power to the 5 channels. The rear panel has the main power switch, five RCA inputs, 5 sets of binding posts that will accept bare wire, banana plugs, or spades, and a set of 12V triggers. As this case can also be used for a 7 channel amp, there is plenty of space between the binding posts to allow for even the most inflexible speaker wire. The binding posts are nice and sturdy, though not as fancy as you might see on their X series amplifiers, but I had no issues tightening them onto spade lugs, or using banana plugs. Perhaps they could be spaced a bit further apart if you were running a pair of shotgun biwire cables with spades, but I was able to make even that setup work.

Overall, the Emotiva feels incredibly well built, very sturdy, and is a very heavy piece of equipment. The UPA-5 has a large 600VA transformer in addition to 90,000µF of secondary capacitance so it will always have the power to drive all 5 channels at the rates 125 watts (into 8 ohm, 185 WPC at 4 ohm). Given that this weighed twice as much as my whole receiver, I was starting to wonder just how underpowered the amplifier section in my receiver might be.

The UPA-5's modular construction makes it easy to replace a channel if it becomes defective.