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  • Emotiva UMC 200 pre-amp/ processor

    Anyone have the Emo UMC 200? I am going to place my order in the next day or two, to relieve my 13 yr. old Yamaha Rx-v596 from pre-amp duties. This is running to my Emo UPA700 which I bought last year. Just wondering if anyone has had any major issues with the UMC 200 before I place my order. Thanks, Doug

  • #2
    Re: Emotiva UMC 200 pre-amp/ processor

    I recently got one and I like it a lot but I did notice a lot of bad press across a few forums. While it seems like a fairly simple device, it's actually quite complicated and has a ton of bells and whistles. I chose to take a simple approach and use it only for HDMI-sourced components (HDMI audio+video). I also ran EMO-Q and it was impossible to remain in the room while that was running. It was insanely loud. The end result is very good however. I also use the video-on-standby feature which is nice for when the wife uses the TV and does not want the surround sound. Oh and I also use the triggers for switching a power bank on my line conditioner on for my amps. The trigger settings need to be set for each input- FYI. Overall, I’m very satisfied with the component (which replaced a 15-year-old Yamaha) and I look forward to digging into some of the advanced features in the future. I’ve only had mine for around one month.
    Bryan K.

    Midwest Audio Club

    Speedster | Sub Attachť | The Wildeman | Sean's NLA Towers | CO‹GAR, COUGAR II and CO‹GAR JR | Triton | Lithium | J-Boom | Trym MLTL | Docere MLTL

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    • #3
      Re: Emotiva UMC 200 pre-amp/ processor

      I am also interested in opinions. Specifically from UMC-1 users as that is what I currently have and have been thinking of using my upgrade card.

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      • #4
        Re: Emotiva UMC 200 pre-amp/ processor

        I also have the UMC-200 and it is a perfectly fine and functional device. If you're definitely going to run external amps its a no-brainer. Its interface is simple and the EQ is powerful. IMO EMO-Q, like most auto-eq-room-correction-things is not that useful. It's quite disappointing after listening to all the obnoxious noises it makes to determine the EQ curve, but I've yet to try any auto-EQ system that made my speakers sound better. They all have resulted in a muffled midrange.

        I used to have the older UMC-1 which is functionally about the same as the UMC-200 with a less powerful EQ, and a few functional quirks.
        "I just use off the shelf textbook filters designed for a resistor of 8 ohms with
        exactly a Fc 3K for both drivers, anybody can do it." -Xmax

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        • #5
          Re: Emotiva UMC 200 pre-amp/ processor

          Hmmmm....I found the EMO-Q to actually work very well. I'm running different types of amps and I do have a CC that is different from my mains, so perhaps the auto-eq is good for me in this particular case. When I viewed the EQ curve after the "obnoxious noises" the settings actually made sense to me.
          Bryan K.

          Midwest Audio Club

          Speedster | Sub Attachť | The Wildeman | Sean's NLA Towers | CO‹GAR, COUGAR II and CO‹GAR JR | Triton | Lithium | J-Boom | Trym MLTL | Docere MLTL

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Emotiva UMC 200 pre-amp/ processor

            I had some annoying issues with the ordering process on a warehouse sale unit:
            http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...e-with-Emotiva

            However, when their head of sales got back to me the evening of that post, he had everything cleared up and my unit shipped out within about an hour. I couldn't update the previous thread with this resolution for obvious reasons, but once I got the right person on the phone it was a complete 180 in my experience. I should also point out that after doing some digging and asking around I found that my experience seems to be an unusual one. At this point I'm just looking forward to when it gets here on Friday. If you have any specific requests for pictures or something just say so and I'll try to get them while I'm unboxing it.

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            • #7
              Re: Emotiva UMC 200 pre-amp/ processor

              So I'm kinda getting from a general consensus, so far, to get it??

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              • #8
                Re: Emotiva UMC 200 pre-amp/ processor

                Yes!

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                • #9
                  Re: Emotiva UMC 200 pre-amp/ processor

                  Hope all you have is HDMI sources. That was a deal-breaker for me.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Emotiva UMC 200 pre-amp/ processor

                    Originally posted by SirNickity View Post
                    Hope all you have is HDMI sources. That was a deal-breaker for me.
                    Yes, keep that in mind. I only have one legacy component hooked up to it and it has to go thru a composite-to-HDMI converter. If you have old equipment with legacy video connectors (composite, S-video, or component) you will NOT be able to directly connect it to the UMC-200.
                    Bryan K.

                    Midwest Audio Club

                    Speedster | Sub Attachť | The Wildeman | Sean's NLA Towers | CO‹GAR, COUGAR II and CO‹GAR JR | Triton | Lithium | J-Boom | Trym MLTL | Docere MLTL

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Emotiva UMC 200 pre-amp/ processor

                      Yea the lack of vintage hook-ups discouraged me at first. I almost went with the Outlaw. But I figured out how to make it all work. Just all the different drop out problems concern me at this point. I am not a salesman by any means. But I have had to be, to sell the idea that I need this to my wife.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Emotiva UMC 200 pre-amp/ processor

                        I have one, which I use with audio only. I first tried it with my Squeezebox Touch using S/PDIF. The S/PDIF input has several problems.

                        First, the beginnings of songs are cut off. This may not be noticeable on all songs, because if there's enough silence at the beginning of the song, it will play okay. But some albums, such as my favorite Sonny Rollins album Plus Four, have songs with only a tenth of a second or so of silence at the beginning (checked with Audacity). For this album, every song cuts in after part of the music has already played. It's obnoxious and completely unacceptable.

                        Second, using S/PDIF, when a playlist is playing that consists of songs having mixed resolutions and sample rates, when these parameters change from one song to the next, there are big audible hiccups in the transition, with multiple periods of silence, followed by garbled sound, then finally good sound.

                        As an experiment, I tried it with my laptop using HDMI for the audio. It worked fine in all cases, so it's an S/PDIF problem only. I ended up getting an HTPC and using its HDMI output for sound, and also the computer video display. It's been flawless in that role so far.

                        There are also problems with the headphone output, originally reported by Roger Dressler and which I've also confirmed with REW measurements at the headphone out. The headphone output is taken after all kinds of digital processing, like speaker distance, parametric EQ and the like. So unless you're using it in a bare-bones manner without any of these features, the headphone output will be pretty messed up. Emotiva's response to this report was essentially that it had to be this way for a proper design. That response only made people who know better realize that they have no idea what they are talking about.

                        If you know its limitations, and you're sure they don't apply to you, then it can be a good choice, especially as a nice alternative to other pre-pros that are bloated with features and/or consume high power. It's hard to find a reasonably priced pre-pro, and generally easier to find reasonably priced AVRs with preamp outs. But I hate the idea of wasting all that power consumption on amplifiers I don't even use, especially in the Texas summers. So for me it's a good deal, but I was going nuts when using S/PDIF with the SB Touch.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Emotiva UMC 200 pre-amp/ processor

                          The SPDIF thing can't be prevented on the receiving device -- at least, not entirely. The problem is, SPDIF transmits serial data in a way that combines the clock and data into one signal, so the clock has to be extracted from the data stream, and therefore there has to be a data stream for there to be a clock. All digital receivers require a certain number of clock cycles while they synchronize and prepare to decode data. If the clock starts when the data starts, there's going to be a delay while the receiver synchronizes and configures itself for the specific format of digital audio being sent, and then un-mutes the outputs, and so on so forth.

                          This isn't an Emotiva problem, it's an inherent problem with every SPDIF receiver -- although to what extent is a different question. Unfortunately, there is no proper answer for how long is long enough. Longer delays ensure a more solid clock recovery, and less chance of incorrect rate detection, while short delays respond to changes more quickly at the expense of having to chase a potentially unstable clock. It's also quite common for a DAC to ground its audio outputs during reconfiguration to prevent spurious noise while the converter is in a transitory state. Since many analog outputs are single-supply, there may also be a delay while the output caps charge up, to prevent audible clicks and thumps.

                          For this reason, a particularly well-designed transmitter will pad the first few frames with zeros before sending real data. Alternatively, if it knows the format WILL not change (e.g., CD player) or HAS not changed (media player that buffers the next stream before the last one has ended), it can keep the data flowing seamlessly between "tracks" or whatever, thus gapless playback.

                          Things are more complicated with media streamers, digital cable / satellite receivers, etc. For example, one program may be 44kHz, 16-bit, stereo PCM, and the next is Dolby Digital, and the next is DTS. There WILL be gaps while the SPDIF receiver re-synchronizes and re-configures itself between format changes. In the case of a real-time stream (e.g. TV), there's nothing the transmitter can do. Data in = data out. But, a streamer that is controlling playback has the potential option to insert zero samples of the proper format with PCM, or equivalent null frames of DD and DTS -- although, I don't know how many do the latter.

                          This is mitigated with i2s connections (which HDMI uses) because there is a separate clock signal that can (and should) be running before the data starts transmitting. This gives the receiver a chance to latch on before the audio starts.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Emotiva UMC 200 pre-amp/ processor

                            Originally posted by andy_c View Post
                            I have one, which I use with audio only. I first tried it with my Squeezebox Touch using S/PDIF. The S/PDIF input has several problems.

                            First, the beginnings of songs are cut off. This may not be noticeable on all songs, because if there's enough silence at the beginning of the song, it will play okay. But some albums, such as my favorite Sonny Rollins album Plus Four, have songs with only a tenth of a second or so of silence at the beginning (checked with Audacity). For this album, every song cuts in after part of the music has already played. It's obnoxious and completely unacceptable.
                            I had a similar problem with my UMC-1. The UMC-1 played CDs (analog input) just fine from both a SONY CD player and an OPPO DVD player. It has been a few years, but IIRC, when I tried the digital output, it had that annoying delay where the first chord or two of the song were omitted. Once it "caught up" you could jump back to the beginning and hear the entire track from the beginning, but the initial start was indeed unacceptable.

                            I do use the optical input (S/PDIF) from my Squeezebox Duet and experience absolutely no delay with that, even when changing between file formats streaming from the computer. Maybe the interface between the pre-pro and the Duet and Touch are different?

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                            • #15
                              Re: Emotiva UMC 200 pre-amp/ processor

                              Originally posted by SirNickity View Post
                              This isn't an Emotiva problem, it's an inherent problem with every SPDIF receiver -- although to what extent is a different question.
                              Okay, but the UMC-200 does a particularly poor job at it. I've previously used a Benchmark DAC1 and Denon 3312CI with the SB Touch S/PDIF. The Benchmark was flawless in all scenarios. The Denon was also flawless when the stream stayed at 16/44.1 and had a very minor click when switching from Redbook to high res or vice versa. In the high res / Redbook scenario with the Emotiva, the glitch was so bad and of such a long duration that when I first heard it, I thought my network had gone down.

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