Emotiva UMC-200 Review

Discussion in 'Write Your Own Review' started by rnatalli, May 30, 2013.

  1. rnatalli Audioholic Ninja

    rnatalli
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    Hi Folks,

    I wanted to do a quick review of the UMC-200. Please note, this unit includes the new .39 firmware and I’m reviewing the unit out-of-the-box. If you want to complain about the update process, please do so in the appropriate thread. Sources include a Verizon FIOS Box and an Oppo BDP-103 Player. My display is an Acer H6510D DLP projector connected via HDMI.

    Ordering
    I ordered the UMC-200 a couple weeks back and was notified it would ship on 5/22/13. I received notice on 5/21/13 that the units had arrived and would ship on 5/23/13 (a day later) allowing Emotiva to install the new firmware; I had no problem with this. On 5/23/13, I received an email with tracking information as promised and my credit card was charged. No real hiccups and good communication the entire time.

    Packaging
    The UMC-200 was double boxed and well enough to survive shipping. It arrived without any issues. Emotiva packs the unit in a cloth wrapping similar to Oppo, which is a nice touch, and better than the plastic you find with the UMC-1 and other electronics.

    Setup
    I pulled my UMC-1 out of the rack and put the UMC-200 in its place. Hook up was easy as I simply have three HDMI cables going into the unit and the usual items going out (trigger, preouts, HDMI out, etc.).

    The menus aren’t anything fancy, but were laid out well enough for me to find my way around. I ran Emo-Q and found it did a much better job than the version included in the UMC-1. Phase was properly detected, distances were spot on, and it even nailed the crossover of 90Hz, which no system has ever done correctly in this room. The only odd thing I noticed was the LFE channel included the same frequencies on two separate bands, but it was at a frequency I know to be problematic in this room.

    Emo-Q offers enormous flexibility. I didn’t realize that not only can you tweak levels and Q values for each band, but you can also tweak the frequency of the bands themselves. REW and UMIK-1 from MiniDSP will play nicely with this unit and represents a tweaker’s dream. One thing I will point out is that for some reason, the Manual EQ will not allow values greater than +3.0 in each band. This wasn’t an issue in my room as +3.5 was the highest value I needed; anymore and I would invest more into additional room treatments.

    Sound
    I didn’t notice huge leaps in sound quality compared to the UMC-1 using the same PEQ settings, but definitely noticed a difference with Emo-Q as the UMC-200 did a much better job of applying room correction. This version of Emo-Q had my speakers and sub rocking in about 10 minutes and it sounds fabulous! I do wish the unit had Dolby Volume; it does have a Night mode, but I haven’t tried it out yet.

    Picture
    Although the unit still overlays its menu on live video, I didn’t notice any artifacts being introduced as a result. Personally, I prefer the volume overlay the UMC-1 had as the UMC-200 one does get washed out depending on what scene the display is showing.

    Remote
    Not as nice as the metal one included with the UMC-1, but I don’t care as I use a Harmony. The Harmony database does have the codes for the UMC-200 and they appear to work fine.

    Bugs
    Trigger On – The UMC sometimes will trigger the amp on then off then on again. The forums mention a fix that appears to work which is to simply turn on Standby Video.

    Enhanced Bass – It will show as on even though you speakers are set to small. Simply toggle back and forth between large and small to fix this.

    Back EQ – The Back channels have no EQ. Not an issue if you have a 5.1 setup like I do.

    Standby LED – Not really a bug, but does annoy me. The color of the LED while in standby looks reddish orange compared to the usual amber on other Emotiva products. And why the heck did Emotiva make the button itself smaller?

    Summary
    For $419.40 ($699 less 40% certificate), I can’t complain. Sure, you can find a receiver with preouts in this price range, but none will have the flexibility of the UMC-200 when it comes to the PEQ or the build quality. Definitely a keeper for me as the UMC-1 wouldn’t pass 3D video either and the UMC-200 has no problem doing so.
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  2. j_garcia Audioholic Jedi

    j_garcia
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    I like the ability to be able to pre-assign what audio format you want for a give type of signal you have (ex: it assigns PLII to all stereo signals), however it does not work. I prefer to have it come up as stereo if it is a stereo signal! It defaults back to the factory setting every time you turn it off. Related to this - when it chooses the wrong audio, it often does not turn my sub on either and nothing will get it to turn on except turning the 200 off and back on. Fortunately, that doesn't happen every time or I would have sent it back already. I have had no issues with mine turning on/off my amps. Prior to buying the 200, I asked if you could dim the display completely, to which they answered yes, however that is not the case. You can dim it pretty far, but not all the way.

    I like that the overlay can be adjusted in intensity, and you can basically make it almost completely opaque so that you can read it even in bright scenes, but then it takes up a lot of screen real estate as well. I use mine for 5.1 also. I agree that this unit is packed with practically every feature one would need. I consider those nit-picks in terms of what it can do, annoying but not show stopping, and I am happy with the unit overall.
    Last edited: May 31, 2013
  3. rnatalli Audioholic Ninja

    rnatalli
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    I haven't observed the issue you describe with the unit forgetting the sound mode and mine is set to use PLII on stereo signals and stays that way even after a power cycle. Did you observe this with the new firmware? On a related note, it does appear those settings are universal on all inputs unlike on the UMC-1 where you could assign different sounds modes for different signal types per input. The UMC-1 also allowed you to use different EQs per input which the UMC-200 does not allow. For example, using Manual EQ 1 for TV, Manual EQ 2 for CD, etc. As for the volume overlay, I haven't tried fully opague, but I think the use of light grey is probably the issue as mine is set to 8 and still gets washed out.
  4. j_garcia Audioholic Jedi

    j_garcia
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    Didn't know there was a new version out. It would have been nice if they sent out an email letting owners know they put out the new firmware, especially since this has been going on for a while. Will most likely update tomorrow as I will have to re-run EmoQ.

    Try changing stereo to something other than PLII and see if it sticks.
  5. brijenjas Audiophyte

    brijenjas
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    The inability to remember assigned audio formats was my biggest annoyance with the UMC-200.
    With the new firmware it remembers them properly.
  6. j_garcia Audioholic Jedi

    j_garcia
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    Cannot connect to the UMC-200 via the USB port. Email sent to Emotiva.

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