But is it HiFi? (Crown)

Possible amplifier for my Magnepan LRS?

Today's Score! I've been intrigued by the Crown professional Class D amplifiers. I kept waiting for the XLS1502 to go on sale or maybe I could find a used one reasonably priced. New they are currently $535. Which still seems like a value. Scanning Facebook Marketplace for "Crown Amplifier" I see a photo of what looks like a Crown XLS....But it is listed as a Crown "SLC" 1502.....Fortunately there was a picture of the rear and it clearly stated on the ID tag, XLS1502.........Buyer wasn't getting much action and had it down to $200!  And only a 15 minute drive away! Interesting amplifier with huge power and built in crossover and a few other features. Although not a true HIFI product, it is getting good reviews by the YouTube review crowd. Something to play with when I get back from an extended trip I leave on this Friday.


Power: 775W at 2ω, 525W at 4Ω, 300W at 8Ω

  • Class D amp with Crown's ultra-efficient DriveCore technology weighs less than 11 lb

  • Higher DSP capabilities: More control; has band pass filter per channel

  • Increased lighting functionality; turn off all LED indicators except clip and thermal to reduce distraction in dark venues

  • Selectable input sensitivity; 1.4Vrms and .775Vrms options so that amp can be driven at full power

  • Set sleep mode after specified time without having to press a button

  • Security setting disables menu buttons; menu locked/unlocked by entering combination

  • System reset allows factory settings to be restored

  • Remote power trigger

  • Peakx™ Limiters provide maximum output while protecting your speakers

  • XLR, 1/4", RCA inputs provide flexibility

  • Integrated PureBand™ Crossover System for better performance and control

  • Efficient forced-air fans prevent excessive thermal buildup



Sounds like a steal of a deal!  Best thing is, if you don't like it, the odds are you can sell it for what you paid!

That's why I almost always buy used.....If you wait long enough and CONSTANTLY search the classifieds, whatever you are looking for will eventually turn up....At a great price!

Although I’m not familiar with that model, I sold Crown and most models sounded great for stereo systems, you got a great deal and yes, you can basically get what you paid for them even years from now. 

No. Leave the pro amps for the sound reinforcement jobs. Plus it's got a fan...it's a no for me dog. 

The fan caused me pause...But I've been playing it all afternoon at pretty good volume into Magnepan LRS and the fan has not turned on yet. (Hope it works!)....So far, not listening long enough, but these 70 year old ears are saying it sounds pretty darn good. GREAT bass response, like all the other Class D amplifiers I have. We shall see with more listening....


I have been running a Crown XLS 1502 amp into the Magnepan LRS for a few years now. The combination works very well. Some folks will cringe at the idea of a pro amp being used for Maggies but I’m here to tell you it works especially if you are on a budget. 

I have s number of amps. First Watt F5v2, VTA ST120, Buchardt i150, ICE class D, Sound Artist 200ia….and a fee others…I need a 12 step program! 😁

They can be great for certain speaker topologies!

As with all things audio, there are no absolutes.


I use them mostly for my subs, but they work great for a pair of floor to ceiling line arrays I use (albeit using a tube preamp there).

I've been using Crown amps off and on in my systems since the days of the old DC-300A. Well built and bullet-proof into just about any load. Many are as audibly transparent as anything else around, so perfectly suitable for use in home systems.

OP, if the fan in your XLS ever becomes an issue, you can always pick up a K1 or K2 on the used market. The K Series amps employ convection cooling, rather than fans. I'm running a K2 that I bought on closeout back in 2000, and it has been outstanding. Quiet, and dependable as sunrise, with massive power on tap for any load.

Pro amplfiiers like those from Crown are best paired with Yorkville speakers and other speakers that are more suitable for convention center/wedding events, live sound, DJing etc.

Such a power reserve is possible due to its Class D design topology.

Perhaps not a wire-with-gain, but it can still drive 2 channel hifi speakers. Although the movement of woofer(s), midrange cones, tweeters etc. or even a concentric design is better served by power amplifiers or a decent integrated amp. Think large filter capacitors and a big power transformer in Class A or Class A/B for 2 channel audio at home.

An all honesty, you can use any amplifier to drive any speaker IF with the proper gain structure is used properly. Currently using but temporary a QSC powerlight 6.0 to drive the Vandersteen 2ci just for runtime. Keep in mind most hifi amplifier have a fixed gain so matching power to a particular speaker can be some what of a task.

on Crown and similar amps, many disconnect the fan and lights and the volume control if not needed...I bought my ART SLA-2 that way and it did sound better than stock...Crown and ART are fun amps, but I never found them to be good home stereo amps, though some love them...


@rbertalotto Wrote:

But is it HiFi? (Crown)

If you like the way it sounds that's all that matters.

In my opinion. The Crown Studio Reference 1 amp is the best sounding amp Crown made for reproducing audio playback. All the power you will ever need in a home hi fi rig 780 watts per channel @ 8 Ohms class AB. The Crown amplifier, is below the floor of my listening room so, the fan noise is a non issue for me. I would say the Crown Studio Reference 1 amp is, high fidelity. FWIW: I run the Crown Amp on a dedicated AC 240 volt 20 amp circuit. 😎



Built three systems around serviced Crown PS-200 solid state analog workhorses. No fans, brilliant chassis, great specs (especially damping) and clever multi mode Class A/AB/AB+B output stages. Sinister rack mount look and lots of high current overhead. Dissed by the elites, loved by budget hobbyists :)

I have 4 crown xls amps - one I use in my living room system driving totem Sttaf speakers. I chose it because it’s in a cabinet with only ventilation from the back, and it’s a tight fit thru the door for a large chassis A/B amp.  It sounds great, runs cool, and the fan has never come on. Another I use to drive the PA system in a jam studio. We play loud - and drums, keys, and guitars all play through it. If the fan has ever come on, I haven’t noticed it.

I once had a Crown CE4000 powering small ProAc speakers and the sound had all the attributes of a very good hifi amplifier. The fan was annoying at low volume so I replaced it with a K2 but the latter didn't sound as good. I guess you have to try the amplifier within your system if you want to know.

What’s the preamp? I’ve found they are kinda sterile but with a tube preamp or something with meat on the bones they sound pretty good. 

Crown makes terrific amplifiers. They have the advantage of being bulletproof, like QSC, but they sound better. I'd jump on this were I not a tube addict.


Preamp is one of three....Buchardt i150, Schiit Freya or Zero Zone Conrad Johnson clone........

No need to apolgize for resorting to pro gear....If it's made with it, mastered with it, what the diff?

I've played about with them for quite awhile, as long as they do what they're supposed to without being annoying about it....wtf.... ;)

Have considered Crowns', but I'd have to start a whole new topology so later for that.  I keep options open, tho'... ;)

@ditusa wrote:

If you like the way it sounds that’s all that matters.


In my opinion. The Crown Studio Reference 1 amp is the best sounding amp Crown made for reproducing audio playback. All the power you will ever need in a home hi fi rig 780 watts per channel @ 8 Ohms class AB. The Crown amplifier, is below the floor of my listening room so, the fan noise is a non issue for me. I would say the Crown Studio Reference 1 amp is, high fidelity. FWIW: I run the Crown Amp on a dedicated AC 240 volt 20 amp circuit. 😎


Definitely, the Studio Reference I/II from Crown is the best series of theirs I’ve heard, and just great solid state amps by any standard and meaningful comparison to me - be that against a Mark Levinson, Krell, Audio Research, Luxman, McIntosh or whatever.

If given efficient enough and easy-load speakers those fans don’t come to life within sane SPL’s, but when they do, however - you know they’re there for sure. One would be surprised to learn how much power low eff. and heavy (passive) filter-load speakers can suck up. A friend of mine used two bridged Ref. II’s over a pair of S.P. Tech Revelations (passively), and during fairly lengthy and SPL-intensive sessions the fans spun eagerly and very audibly.

Btw., aren’t you running your 4435’s actively, which would necessitate two stereo amps?

@phusis Wrote:

Btw., aren't you running your 4435's actively, which would necessitate two stereo amps?

Yes. I have the the Crown Studio Reference 1 amp on the woofers and a pair of Quicksilver silver 60 monoblock tube amps on the horns. The active crossover is a JBL 5235 with special plug in JBL crossover cards # 52-5130 designed for the JBL 4430, 4435 monitors. 😎

If given efficient enough and easy-load speakers those fans don't come to life within sane SPL's,

I agree!