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Author Topic: Crown XLS 1500  (Read 3471 times)

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Offline raymonda

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Crown XLS 1500
« on: June 28, 2015, 09:48:08 PM »
Any experience with these amp? Read some good things and bought one for a third system to rub a pair of PSB Gold i that are know for needing current a watts, This is going to be my driveway system for the DEAD streaming shows this week.

Offline dabbler

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Re: Crown XLS 1500
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2015, 11:38:20 PM »
I like mine enough, the DSP can do highpass filtering, making it useful for protecting speakers when used with a sub (use the built-in lowpass filter on the sub).
Not the quietest amp, but the price isn't bad.

Offline raymonda

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Re: Crown XLS 1500
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2015, 09:31:08 AM »
When you say, "it is not the quietest amp", what do you mean? That can cover a lot of ground and I hope that it doesn't mean that there is audible noise, hash, buzzes etc. If so, it is useless to me and a bad purchase. I read at least 50 reviews from folks using this as a stereo amp and did not get one report indicating this. These were reports that came from good sources (Audioholics/Audiogon/AVforum etc.)  Lot's of folks were using them in critical 2 channel applications, as well as, Home Theater surround systems, too. And, further, replaced dedicated, stereo, amps that cost between $1000 and $2,000.

Please say it ain't so! I don't want to have wasted my time and money.  :(
« Last Edit: June 29, 2015, 09:35:48 AM by raymonda »

Offline dabbler

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Re: Crown XLS 1500
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2015, 02:05:13 PM »
I doubt you'd notice, but there's both fan noise and minor buzzing.

The internal fan is audible to me and comes on when nothing is playing, but moving it farther away helps.  I've been meaning to build some sort of baffle/sound absorber for years but it hasn't bothered me enough.

There's also some minor buzzing if you put your ear up close to the speaker (even bypassed my preamp and fed the ODAC directly to the amp), but I've never noticed it in my normal listening position.  I only use RCA cables, though, and the 3 foot Blue Jeans cable was definitely quieter than the 3 foot no-name cable I was using before.

Anyways, I've been drooling over the specs on the Benchmark AHB2 lately :D

Offline raymonda

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Re: Crown XLS 1500
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2015, 04:58:21 PM »
Migtht be related to your run of rca's. I bet a balance run would eliminate that issue. Thanks!

Offline dabbler

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Re: Crown XLS 1500
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2015, 11:46:23 PM »
Out of curiosity, I'd be interested to know if XLR does completely eliminate the problem.
Right now, I only hear buzz when I'm within a foot or two of a speaker, not from my normal listening position; so it doesn't bother me.

Offline Phil Zone

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Re: Crown XLS 1500
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2015, 11:51:28 PM »
I have used them And they really deliver for their price point, I love them and they are light!
Microphones: Busman BSC-1, AKG C460B/CK61/CK63, Samson CL2, CA-14 (cards), Naiant X-X
Preamps: Naiant Littlebox [X3] (OT)(OT/IT)(OT/Black), Naiant Tinyhead
Recorders: Tascam DR-680, Sony PCM-M10, Tascam DR-05
Software: Sony Sound Forge/ Vegas, TLH
Photo: Canon 7D Mark ii/70D, 70-200 f2.8, 18-135 STM, 55-250 STM, Tamron 17-50 f2.8, Tokina 11-16 f2.8

LMA Shows: http://archive.org/search.php?query=taper%3A%22Cam%20Keough%22&sort=-date

Offline raymonda

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Re: Crown XLS 1500
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2015, 07:55:10 PM »
The amp arrived the other day, or a day late for the Grateful Dead Chicago run. I had to use a self powered PA for my outside, projection, big screen system. A bit of a disappointment but in the end it worked out better as I didn't have to worry about the PSBs getting messed up. Anyway, I plugged the unit in yesterday and gave it a quick listen and cold, out of the box I was not happy but figure it needed to burn in so I kept it playing for about 30 hours and then gave it a listen. I still was not happy, feeling that it sounded rolled off in the highs, a bit muffled in the lows and somewhat canny sounding in the mids. I was starting to feel that I wasted my money and that the saying that "there is no free lunch" was true. However, I was willing to let it burn some more.

So, while cooking the amp, and casual listening, I decided to make a new run of Canare 4s11 speaker cables, which I was planning on using for the new system but felt that ultimately this might be waste of my time because it was beginning to look like a failed system. 45 minutes later my cables were done and I put them in, replacing the temporary double run of Monster XP I made, which was left over from the outdoor system. After install I turned the amp back on and then turned up the wick. Holy shit!!!!! All of a sudden everything opened up and snapped into place. I now had extended highs, articulate bass and clean and sharp midrange. What a difference. This is what I was hoping for when this straw was pulled.

I won't give a full report until I get some more time in but for $239 new I can already say this is a great deal. This amp sounds good and delivers watts without strain. It out does the Adcom 555 I owned back in the day, which could poop out when pushed hard. As to some of the reported noise, yes, if I put my ear right up to the tweeter there is some low, low level buzzing. I can not hear it from a foot away, or needless to say, from my listening seat.

Lesson learned; don't judge a component until your rule out other variables. My guess is that the Monster is high capacitance and caused all kind or uglies with the system. Ridding my self of these cables brought me from Kansas to the land of OZ! 

For those that care, I report back in a few to let you know how things develop.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, 09:11:21 PM by raymonda »

Offline Phil Zone

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Re: Crown XLS 1500
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2015, 08:43:33 PM »
reading the first half of that i was feeling very shocked and horrible for recommending it, but then i was thrilled! im glad you like it, like i said i love mine and im glad you like yours!
Microphones: Busman BSC-1, AKG C460B/CK61/CK63, Samson CL2, CA-14 (cards), Naiant X-X
Preamps: Naiant Littlebox [X3] (OT)(OT/IT)(OT/Black), Naiant Tinyhead
Recorders: Tascam DR-680, Sony PCM-M10, Tascam DR-05
Software: Sony Sound Forge/ Vegas, TLH
Photo: Canon 7D Mark ii/70D, 70-200 f2.8, 18-135 STM, 55-250 STM, Tamron 17-50 f2.8, Tokina 11-16 f2.8

LMA Shows: http://archive.org/search.php?query=taper%3A%22Cam%20Keough%22&sort=-date

Offline raymonda

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Re: Crown XLS 1500
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2015, 09:13:23 PM »
I was a bit worried at first, that is until the fog was lifted.

Thanks!

Offline raymonda

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Re: Crown XLS 1500
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2015, 05:25:45 PM »
So I've gotten a bit more time into the amp, as it has been my primary listening system over the past week, and here is what I can say; it is inexpensive and will work better than most inexpensive consumer grade amps for systems which require amps and watts. Although, it is a bit noisy if you turn up the amps output gain past noon....in my case. I do have a pre-amp that puts out a good amount of voltage, so I can get around this issue and it is not much of an problem. However, ultimately, when doing so, it appears to take some dynamics away from the amp.

Therefore, I have purchased a Henry Matchbox HD to convert the consumer voltage and impedance to the pro standard. This should eliminate all noise and allow me to operate the amp at  its maximum capacity.

I imagine that this might also change the signature of the amp, too. Therefore, final judgement on how good the amp can be must be put on hold until a later time. Note, adding the transformer to the system adds another $100.00 possibly making it less of a value. Maybe? If it can push it to the next level it might be an even better value but I'll have to wait and see.

BTW, right now I'm listening to a Marty Erhlich Trio, multi-track mix I mad and it is sounding good. Not as good as my big system but real good for a budget amp based system. Now I wait in anticipation for the Henry.


Offline raymonda

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Re: Crown XLS 1500
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2015, 01:33:29 PM »
I'm still waiting for the Henry to arrive but in the mean time I've settled on a gain structure that provides the lowest noise. Yesterday I was kicking out some Steely Dan, a few hi rez analog transfers I made, Aja and Gaucho, as well as a 24/96 version of Everything Must Go. Needless to say it sounded impressive for such an inexpensive amp. No it is not reference quality. It is a bit dry on top with some slight midrange hardness. But the lows are tight and extended and overall dynamics are good.

So, for an e-bay special BIN new price of $209.00, this seems like a great deal and I really don't think anything can touch it at that price or maybe for 3 to 4 times the price.

This is a great way to have fun without spending serious cash. Shoot, it affords everyone to put together a great garage system for practically couch change.

Anyway, I'm sure the 2000 and 2500 are cut from the same cloth as the 1500, but with more power.....not that I can imagine needing more than 300 watts into 8 ohms or 565 watts into 4 ohms, and both should also be an exceptional value.

Offline raymonda

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Re: Crown XLS 1500
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2015, 03:26:02 PM »
Below are two reports that occurred 24 hours apart but I feel that it is important to post both to give you a clear picture of ultimately what the 1500 offers.

Post 1:

Here is my next installment on this on going review. No, I didn't get the Henry yet but still a few tweaks has brought this amp to another level. I shifted the phase on my subs to better integrate the bass and give a tighter presentation. I also reconfigured how I had wired the system and finally I lifted the ground. The last, although not my favorite long term solution, did wonders to bring the noise down to where I could substantially increase the amps output gain.

The end result, so far, is astonishing, to say the least. Even if the Henry does nothing, what I currently have is a winner in spades.

Compared to my Rogue m120's the Rogue offer a bit more body and depth of soundstage. But, by golly batman, this amp is a sonic wonder for the price. $209 will get one delivered to your door and it sounds more like a $1500 to 2000 amp. Yes there is still a bit of midrange glare but hardly so. And, it is still a tiny bit dry up top but all of this is not significant and what it does right is simply incredible, honest.

I'll give one last report after receiving the Henry, but consider this review almost complete. So, buy now or cry later. It is a steal of a life time.

Post 2:

Well, the Henry has arrived and I immediately threw it in my system. Well, well, just as I thought. Gone is the noise and gone is the need for the ground lift. Also, I now have more gain than I would ever need.

Initial impressions with the Henry in place remain as before but with a very, very low noise floor, so that this is no longer an issue and on a subjective level this amp can now be called quiet and without any noise issues what so ever.

It is a dynamic amp that has an up front presentation, that gives you incredible sound for pocket change. For someone starting out and on a limited budget, this affords them to allocate more funds for source components or speakers. It is also ideal for H.T. systems, surrounds, second or third systems, or like me, to just plain have fun with trying new things that won't effect your bank account.

It does have some limitations. To perform its best it should be run balanced or you should use a consumer to pro level matcher. Right now I'm getting good results with the Henry Matchbox HD. I would suggest not using the basic Matchbox, as it might not provide a level of performances needed for critical listening.

Also, it might not be a good match with speakers that are aggressive or up front in the mid and upper mid-range.

Back in 1986, I bought an Adcom 555 for $550. This was considered a good choice as a budget reference. In today's dollar that would be around $1,200 to 1500. The Crown 1500 can be had for $209, delivered, including taxes and it clearly beats what the Adcom offered. Yes, that is almost 30 years ago but it just shows how far technology has come and what can be had for much less money.

Does it sound better that any of the fine Classe amps I've owned or nice tube amps? Well, probably not but it won't necessarily keep you up at night dreaming for that perfect amp. Well, maybe not for a while anyway. Meantime you can buy that cartridge, pre-amp, speakers or that source component that you have been wanting.

Offline 2manyrocks

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Re: Crown XLS 1500
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2015, 11:13:26 PM »
Thanks to your posts, I just spent $209.  Mostly, I can drop several pounds from my rack with the XLS 1500  instead of hauling the XLS 402. 

Offline dabbler

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Re: Crown XLS 1500
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2015, 04:22:15 AM »
Thanks for the tip on the Henry, I'll have to give that a shot.
No way I'd dream of doing a ground lift.  I'm glad you're OK and stopped doing that... I've heard horror stories from folks more informed than me.

 

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