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Emotiva UMC-200 A/V Processor Design Overview

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The Emotiva UMC-200 is a 7.1 channel A/V processor with four HDMI inputs and one output with ARC (Audio Return Channel). It has two coaxial and two optical digital audio inputs and four pairs of RCA style analogue audio inputs. It has RCA style output connectors for your external amplifier for all 7.1 channels plus an additional XLR output for your subwoofer.

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Emotiva UMC-200 Front View

The UMC-200 doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles you’ll find in a similarly priced A/V receiver.  There is no video processing, no networking capabilities for streaming audio and no legacy video connectivity.  That’s right, you won’t find connections for any analog video, just HDMI.  Emotiva’s take on that is legacy video is quickly becoming a relic, especially with the Blu-ray Sunset rule coming in full effect in 2013 which restricts video output to HDMI only.  You won’t find analog video outputs on blu-ray players this coming year, so it’s a compelling argument to nix support for analog video.  Emotiva understands this and is banking on you making the switch to all HDMI or using your Display to connect you older Wii or, grasp, VHS player. 

For legacy gear, Emotvia has included 7.1 channel analog audio inputs. These can also be used in conjunction with a next generation Blu-ray player should a surround format come out that the UMC-200 doesn’t support.

There is a USB input on the back but it only accepts the Emotiva Bluetooth dongle (a trade-off there, but one that would have certainly raised the price). There is one 12-volt trigger input and two outputs as well as a single IR input and output. There is also a pair of RCA outputs labeled "Mix" for combining surround sound into stereo. Zone 2 and Zone 3 RCA outputs are also available. There is no RS-232 support and if that is an important missing feature, you will have to upgrade to a higher level product for that. Lastly, there are inputs for terrestrial AM/FM radio and the front has a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The Emotiva UMC-200 supports 3D and employs an AD7326 for Xpressview switching for fast transitions between HDMI sources. It supports HDMI Pass-through allowing video and audio to be sent while in standby. All current HD surround sound formats are supported (ie. Dolby True HD, DTS HD,  and even Dolby Digital ProLogic IIz) except for the new DTS Neo:X. Twin Cirrus® 32-bit dual-core fixed-point DSP’s allows the UMC-200 to handle 192kHz/24 bit signals in native format with NO down-conversion and also simultaneously applying bass management for all sampling rates.  This is unusual as many budget products either truncate down to 48kHz or won’t accept a 192kHz signal at all or won’t engage bass management on any signals with higher sampling rates than 48kHz.  The UMC-200 has some good horsepower for what it is.  The UMC-200 also has flexible quadruple bass management with 12dB or 24dB per octave crossover filters configurable in 5Hz steps below 80Hz and 10Hz above 80Hz. 

Emotiva has included their Advanced Emo-Q Gen2 automatic multi-channel room correction and loudspeaker setup with a microphone. For those who are into manual calibration and tweaking, Emotiva has included eleven user-programmable, fully parametric, equalizers per channel. There is also storage for three different configurations for advanced calibrators. You get a full color on-screen display over live video as well as the two line LED screen on the front of the unit. The UMC-200 is 17” wide by 14” deep by only 3-1/4” tall and weighs 10 pounds. 

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Back Panel View of the Emotiva UMC-200

Given the small footprint of the UMC-200, analog connections are a bit crammed but I had no issue other than I needed to use a flashlight to read the silkscreen to ensure I was properly connecting the UPA-500 to the proper analog outputs of the UMC-200.  I appreciate the balanced subwoofer output and it just goes to show you the little extra details Emotiva throws into their products, even one of such modest cost as this one. 

System Setup & Configuration

I conducted the review of the Emotiva UMC-200 in the main Audioholics showcase theater room.  The UMC-200 was paired with an Emotiva UPA-500 using ½ meter Emotiva RCA cables.  These cables are great in my opinion because they look nice and the fit the connectors just right without worrying of ripping off or damaging the equipment when disconnecting them, like some of the Monster Turbine cables are notorious for.  I used the Andrew Jones Pioneer SP-PK52FS 5.1 speaker system and Kimber 8PR speaker cables to connect up the system.  The source was the Oppo BDP-105 blu-ray player. 

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Emotiva UMC-1 Input Set-Up

Basic Configuration

Input assignments are already preset in the UMC-200, but you can alter not only the name of each input but what audio source they each play.  This is a cool feature as you can conveniently listen to a CD while watching the game on your display.  You can even reassign the input hot keys on the remote control.  There is no ability to preset a power up volume or max volume setting for either the main zone or zones 2 & 3 but upon power up the UMC-200 flashes the numerical value of the last volume setting before it scales it up to that setting.  This gives you some warning in case you were cranking your system the night before and don’t want to get blasted off your seat the next day.  I would have preferred the ability to preset a power up volume level but maybe Emotiva can offer a future firmware upgrade to make this a reality. 

Calibration

If yoEMOQ-level.jpgu’re old-fashioned (like me) and decide to bypass auto setup all together, you can manually set up all of your speaker sizes, crossover slopes, distances and levels in the setup menu of the UMC-200.  The UMC-200 has 0.5dB resolution in level step sizes, including the master volume level.  Typically you will find less precision at this price with 1dB steps being the norm.  The distance settings are in 0.3ft increments which is better than the typical .5ft or even 1ft increments found in most budget gear.

In order to manually calibrate speaker levels in the UMC-200, you have to go to the Setup > Speaker Setup > Test Tones in the units menu system.  This is a bit of a problem for those wanting to calibrate speaker levels using external tone generators since the UMC-200’s internal generator isn’t defeatable in this mode of operation.  However after you’ve got everything dialed in, you can further tweak levels with the separate “trim level” adjustments which act globally on all inputs to alter the levels of each speaker referenced to your original calibration done in the Test Tone mode.  This gives you on-the-fly trim level adjustment capability not typically found in a product at this price point.  Take note however that these settings are wiped out once you power cycle the unit.  Personally I would like to see Emotiva offer the option of defeating the internal tone generator when adjusting the permanent speaker levels or making the Trim levels permanently retain their settings even after power cycling the unit.

I was a bit reluctant to use EMO-Q simply because I’m not a huge fan of any of the auto room EQ systems since they often produce less than ideal results.  However, it’s always a good idea to keep all options on the table when calibrating your system especially if the product provides you the flexibility of altering the results like EMO-Q does.  Also Emotiva has incorporated Gen2 of this system so I was curious to see how it worked.  EMO-Q does a series of white noise bursts for each speaker to first identify the speakers, set the distance and determine phase.  The second pass of test white bursts then sets level.  EMO-Q only measures one mic position unlike some of the more elaborate multi-point systems such as Audyssey. 

Before discussing the EMO-Q calibration results, I think it’s important to mention that ALL products I’ve ever tested employing the Cirrus Logic decoder chips have inaccurate tone generators for the subwoofer outputs.  I found this to still be the case with the UMC-200.  During manual calibration, the subwoofer level appeared to be set about 6-8 dB too hot when using the internal tone generator and my trusty analog SPL meter.  This was verified by using external tone bursts from various Blu-ray calibration discs but could also be heard by ear.  Emotiva attempts to tame this problem by padding down the subwoofer channel during the EMO-Q auto setup process.

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 EMO-Q Calibration Results Screens

EMO-Q set the distance of my speaker system pretty accurately but it incorrectly identified reverse phase for the rear speakers.  It also set all of my speakers to large with a 120Hz crossover.  None of this was surprising as most auto setup systems tend to produce less than ideal calibration settings due to how the speakers interact in the room.  I set all the speakers to “small” except the main channels which I left as “large” simply because I achieved a better blend between the main speakers and the output challenged Pioneer sub trying to reproduce bass in my nearly 6,000ft3 listening space.  I also had to bump up the center channel and surround channels a few dB to get all of the speakers to level match.

The calibration result produced too much bass with EMO-Q off (for reasons I indicated earlier with the Cirrus tone generator issue) and too little bass with EMO-Q engaged. I had to manually tweak the levels and EQ trims to balance this out.

I was quite happy to discover that Emotiva gives you the opportunity to alter each of the 11 bands for all of the channels including the 3 band EQ for the subwoofer channel.  If you prefer the sound without EMO-Q, simply select “flat” (though I wish it was called “bypass” for clarity) and use one of the three manual EQ settings to tweak till your heart’s content.  The 3 band PEQ for the subwoofer channel is a very useful tool NOT found in most A/V receivers at over twice the price of the UMC-200.  My advice with EMO-Q is to run the setup as a starting point and tweak as needed. 

 

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Recent Forum Posts:

j_garcia posts on June 26, 2017 18:57
brad1138, post: 1194807, member: 37577
From the OP

“I found this to still be the case with the UMC-200. During manual calibration, the subwoofer level appeared to be set about 6-8 dB too hot when using the internal tone generator and my trusty analog SPL meter.”

I believe I have figured this out.

I recently switched from a pair of Velodyne ULD15s to a pair of SVS CS-Ultras. The Velodyne's had a built in crossover, originally set to 85Hz, but I had them modified to about 300Hz. The SVS' are just an Amp and 12“ driver, no Xover what so ever. The Velodyne's fit your 6-8 dB offset finding, I found them to be about 6 dB hot. The SVS' however were spot on. Using an external test disc, I confirmed the readings.

The problem is, the UMC-200 send a full range tone out to the subs, the test disc, only <~80Hz (what should be in the LFE channel). The test disc, with the <80Hz output, leveled the playing field. Both subs measured the same, but when then switching to the UMC-200 tone generator, with the full range output, the SVS' being ”full range“ (so to speak) had about 6dB more output than the Velo's, which were capped under about 300 Hz with internal xover. So, not knowing this issue, you would increase the Velo's output to reach the ”appropriate" dB, but they would be way to hot.

So it all seems to be related to the design of the sub.

Interesting. IMO, it does the full range tone because it is seeing where to blend the mains to the sub and EQ'ing the sub as well. I noticed the MC700 does something similar, but handles it better than the UMC did. It still comes in fairly hotter than I'd expect.
brad1138 posts on June 26, 2017 18:25
From the OP

“I found this to still be the case with the UMC-200. During manual calibration, the subwoofer level appeared to be set about 6-8 dB too hot when using the internal tone generator and my trusty analog SPL meter.”

I believe I have figured this out.

I recently switched from a pair of Velodyne ULD15s to a pair of SVS CS-Ultras. The Velodyne's had a built in crossover, originally set to 85Hz, but I had them modified to about 300Hz. The SVS' are just an Amp and 12“ driver, no Xover what so ever. The Velodyne's fit the OP's 6-8 dB offset finding, I found them to be about 6 dB hot. The SVS' however were spot on. Using an external test disc, I confirmed the readings.

The problem is, the UMC-200 send a full range tone out to the subs, the test disc, only <~80Hz (what should be in the LFE channel). The test disc, with the <80Hz output, leveled the playing field. Both subs measured the same, but when then switching to the UMC-200 tone generator, with the full range output, the SVS' being ”full range“ (so to speak) had about 6dB more output than the Velo's, which were capped under about 300 Hz with internal xover. So, not knowing this issue, you would increase the Velo's output to reach the ”appropriate" dB, but they would be way to hot.

So it all seems to be related to the design of the sub.
brad1138 posts on September 13, 2015 23:04
So, I missed it if we got a definitive answer, does enhanced bass send LFE channel to any speaker set as large or does it include bass from any speaker set as large large to the sub?
brad1138 posts on September 13, 2015 22:49
I believe so, I just got mine and noticed the same thing, I am going to change my mains to “Large” and see if it works all the way around.
swspiers posts on October 28, 2014 20:13
Steve81, post: 1057196, member: 61173
Ditto on the odd part. I was actually trying to see how my new speakers would do without subwoofer support so I switched over to direct mode and was thrown for a loop, particularly since I run with a higher than average XO point.

That is really weird! If the darn thing didn't sound so good, I would be all freaked out by the weird, strange things it does, and doesn't do.
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