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Old 11th January 2008, 01:37 PM   #1
jkeny is offline jkeny  Ireland
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Dublin
Default Panasonic class D amps

How come there is nothing of note posted here about these amps (SA-XR55,57,59) - the sound, mods, etc? In the US they are very inexpensive & seem to sound good out of the box (with a bit of burn in) with potential for tweaks - so why no DIYA users?

I know there are lots of posts over on AVS forum but a most of these posters are interested in home theatre sound and are not DIY types. They talk about crystal clear sound which is important for movies but is it tiring for music listening? I would be happier with a sonic evaluation from posters here as I know you guys and where you're coming from.

I'm interested in one for stereo use (fed digitally from a music server) with future potential for surround sound or digital crossover use. My current speakers are Rogers LS3/5as & Jordan JX92s (to be boxed)

I'm tempted to spring for an SA-XR57 but all stockists, here in Ireland, would have to order one in (stockists eh!) so I can't get one for home trial and the price is €500 ($740), not something just to take a punt on.

Any of you guys listen to one of these and have an opinion about sonics for stereo music listening & any mods?
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Old 11th January 2008, 05:52 PM   #2
jkeny is offline jkeny  Ireland
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Dublin
The other question I have is - is it possible to use a US model (120V) in Europe (240V) by using a suitable step down method which could also have the side benefit of cleaning up the mains feed to the amp?

I'm tempted by the price in the US of $250

compared to the $750 being charged over here, gives me $500 for shipping & step down trafo - seems like it could be done!
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Old 11th January 2008, 09:03 PM   #3
jkeny is offline jkeny  Ireland
Join Date: Feb 2007
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OK, I'm probably being impatient but seeing as there are no replies, I reckon a punt is in order at the US price.

So, now I have a number of other questions
- has anybody imported electrical equipment into EU from US? What is the best way to do this to avoid crippling duties?
- Apart from the voltage difference & the AM/FM radio diferrences is there anything else I'm missing? What about freq of internal clock being affected?
- What is the best solution for down-conversion from 240V to 120V for a 7*100Watt amplifier?
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Old 12th January 2008, 05:30 PM   #4
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I haven't heard these but they look like nice units. If I was looking for a receiver I would seriously be taking a look. It's hard to believe the features to price.

The life of a receiver for me is years and years. For me it's best to try something for a few weeks in my home before I make a hard decision. The shopping for price isn't so important as being able to return it and try something else.

Warranty may not be valid in a different country.
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Old 12th January 2008, 08:14 PM   #5
jkeny is offline jkeny  Ireland
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Dublin
Thanks for replying Raintalk, I think the warranty would be an issue also but at these prices $250 it's probably worth a risk.

Ok, here's my final attempt at getting some feedback - I'm wondering what some of the inmates here think of Panasonic's implementation of TI's TAS5076 and TAS5182 chips?

I know BWRX & STEngineering have designed pcbs for these chips, but I don't think there are any boards left? Maybe you guys have an opinion of the Panny amps?
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Old 12th January 2008, 08:29 PM   #6
t-head is offline t-head  United States
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I have 2 SA XR55s. I am using Jordan XR92s in a slim 6"x6"x36" transmission line enclosure. I paid USD$170 each.

The sound is very clear. On certain recordings where there is a bit of sibilence, it is...sibilent. It can be harsh at times. With the Jordans it makes a great 2.1 system for TV. I stream internet radio thru a USB DAC from Peter Daniels ( and it sounds better than other DACs I have used. Running a CDP via coax digital to the panny, the sound is very good.

Check out Audio Circle ( and search fot the Panasonic - there are threads for mods. Mostly cap changes, cutting traces for unused stuff, replacing connectors and internal wiring swaps.


Boulder Cable used to do mods on the pannys...if you mod warranty is gone...
trust, but verify...
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Old 12th January 2008, 09:17 PM   #7
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There is no shortage of reviews and opinions on these units. Many, many people are thrilled with them, but there is a dissenting group and I think I'm in it. I was intrigued a few months ago by the chatter (latecomer, they have been around awhile) and went ahead and got an SA-XR55 from It was around $200 shipped. I did only spend a couple of hours running familiar material through it on Paradigm Titans-- the unit failed in less than 24 hours. The clarity and detail is quite stunning and initially very captivating, but voices were not natural in my opinion. I've been listening to Mark Knopfler for 25 years on a number of different systems and I just did not like how he sounded with this amp, but maybe I was looking for something not to like. I typically make my mind up very quickly when I hear a new amp and, for two channel listening as I was doing, I concluded it was not up to par. I left the unit on overnight for burn-in and the following day after work it was off and refused to come back on, broadcasting an "overload" message then immediately switching off. There are some posts on this failure mode, it was not an isolated incident. I packed the unit, shipped it out, and haven't thought about it much til now. I do think its clarity and detail qualities would make it a great surround sound amp, but I think I would not have been happy with it as a main two channel system for critical listening. But we all have different tastes and expectations, your conclusions may very well differ.
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Old 12th January 2008, 10:02 PM   #8
john65b is offline john65b  United States
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I too had got wrapped up in the hype a few years back and have had a XR25, XR50, XR45, and the XR55 in my possession.

I recently put the XR45 in place of my homebuilt - UCD400 and a modded ESP-101 amp on my Magnepan MGIIIa and there really was no contest. Power may have had something to do with it...

I still have an XR50 upstairs that's my everyday Plasma TV, the XR45 in the basement (with old B&W220) in a home theater. They work fantastic in my theater and daily setup, and never really mess with it, but just didn't cut it on two channel with the maggies.

Never really tried biamping the MGIIIa's with the panny, maybe someday... It is very clear and quiet (great for HT dialogue), but juts didn't sound as nice as the P101 or UCD400 on the maggies.

Of course I didn't mod it - all stock. Also the speakers may have been a bit tough for the XR45...
I Speak Spanish to God, Italian to Women, French to Men, and German to My Horse. Charles V
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Old 12th January 2008, 10:13 PM   #9
jkeny is offline jkeny  Ireland
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Dublin
Thanks guys,
Differing opinions - I guess what I need is a home audition of this amp or one of the pcbs mentioned above to build!

If the price was $170 over here I'd probably take a chance.
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Old 12th January 2008, 10:23 PM   #10
Daveis is offline Daveis  United States
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My experience was that Tripath and UCD were both much better than the Panny XR45/50 etc.

My current main system has UCD180.
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