Review: Emotiva UMC-200 A/V Processor

Audioholics gives us a peek at this high-end home theater processor.


We’re in the middle of the post-CES haze. However, the AV geeks over at Audioholics are already hard at work, testing out new AV equipment. The site’s latest review is the Emotiva UMC-200 AV Processor.

We reported on this processor back in September. However, it looks like the company has dropped its price indefinitely, by $100. (It was supposed to be a holiday promotion.) That certainly has nothing to do with the quality of the product. “If you’re looking to break into the separates market at receiver level pricing, I can’t think of a better solution than the Emotiva UMC-200,” says writer Gene DellaSala.

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Designed as an entry-level product, the UMC-200 is a 7.1-channel home theater preamplifier and surround sound processor with Emotiva’s EmoQ Gen 2 enhanced multi-channel automatic room correction system and 7.1 multichannel surround sound decoder capabilities for DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS Neo:6, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Pro Logic IIx, and Pro Logic IIz. It also has four Xpressview-capable HDMI inputs, a Video-On-Standby feature, and outputs for both balanced and unbalanced subwoofers.

Other connection options include four pairs of stereo analog inputs and a separate 7.1-channel set of pure analog direct inputs, as well as two Toslink, two coax S/PDIF inputs and 24-bit/192-kHz decoding. The component also works with an optional Bluetooth module, if you want wireless streaming in this mix.

Here’s a little snippet of how testing went, using Grover Washington Jr.’s “Take Five” on SACD:

“When directly comparing the HDMI digital input to the analog connections using the 7.1 analog bypass, I did prefer the analog. The Oppo BDP-105 DAC portrayed greater clarity than the internal UMC-200 DAC’s. This wasn’t surprising considering the BDP-105 costs 2X the UMC-200 and utilizes some of the very best DAC’s in the industry (ESS Sabre 32 bit). Don’t get me wrong, the UMC-200 sounded just fine via HDMI but in analog bypass, it was just magical. I was hearing all of the great detail of the recording like I was listening on a high dollar separates rig. Track #6 “Summer Nights” bore a similar resemblance to “Pyramid” from another great album called Close Up by David Sanborn. I loved the ping pong effect of the percussion instruments between the speakers. The Emotiva combo was driving the Pioneer speaker system with an ease and fidelity that defies the asking price of this setup. You could hear the triangles slowly decay instead of just sharply fading away. Very nice.”

To read the entire review on, go here. You can also share your thoughts on the product and the review in the Audioholics forum.


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