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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a newby and am building my HT and in the market for a AVR and have been been fairly set on the Denon 4308CI and just read another post (I didn't want to hijack) about the using separates of the Emotiva XPA-5 and UMC-1 together. I have never considered using separates thinking that it would be much more expensive. This would be cheaper and more powerful. What would I be missing by not going with the Denon?
Thanks for the help.
 

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Hello,
For some time, Surround Sound Processors (SSP's) were far more expensive than AV Receivers.
When Onkyo released the Integra DTC 9.8 and PR-SC885, it established full featured processors at prices comparable to upper mid priced AV Receivers being priced around 1,600 Dollars initially.

These Onkyo's models offered virtually every feature and many more than SSP's which cost 4 thousand Dollars plus. In truth, many SSP's were behind in having the newest technologies compared to Receivers. Much of this was due to the incredible amount of competition between Consumer Electronics manufacturers in the realm of AV Receivers.

SSP's were primarily the domain of boutique specialist high end companies (Lexicon, Theta, Mark Levinson, Lexicon, et al) The prices for some of these SSP's were 20 thousand Dollars plus.

While sporting often amazing build quality and sound quality, they have often been behind on having the newest technology. This has been especially acute with the advent and adoption of HDMI becoming the de facto standard. With now 4 coming up on 5 revisions, these smaller companies have been lagging behind the larger mainstream companies. A good example of this is Theta's Casablanca Processor which can cost 20K plus, still has yet to come out with an HDMI 1.3 module. Room Correction software (Audyssey, MCACC, Trinnov, etc) is another area where many of these SSP's have lagged behind.

The Onkyo's really were a paradigm shift and nightmare for these high end companies. For the price of a quality receiver, they offer THX Ultra2 Certification, Audyssey MultEQ, XLR Connectors, HDMI 1.3, True HD, DTS-MA, HD Radio, Reon Video Processing, Internet Radio and much more. And measured performance comparable to units costing multiples of the high end SSP's.

Emotiva's SSP looks like it will be an excellent value and another competitor in what was a market of one. Denon is about to release an SSP based of the AVR-4310 for around 2500 Dollars as well. However, it will lack THX Certification and XLR Connectors compared to the Onkyo's.

The major advantage to using separates is in amplification. A well built 5 channel power amplifier offers power and current capabilities that simply trounce 99% of AV Receivers. In addition, there is less heat and interference when amplification stages are separated from sound and video processing.
But to me, the major advantage is in the amount of power and current from the amplifier.

Furthermore, as technology advances, you can use the same amplifier for years and perhaps decades and simply upgrade the SSP.

So to answer your question, at least with the Onkyo, you would only benefit by going with separates.
As the Emotiva SSP has not been released, I hold judgement of whether you would gain or lose. I will say it looks promising.
Cheers,
JJ
 

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I would tend to agree with Jeff's recommendation. I've had the Denon 4308 and it was a fantastic unit. After I was ready to make the jump to separates for the first time I paired an Emotiva MPS-2 Amplifier with the Denon receiver as a pre/pro using standard RCA cables. That's another thing you might want to think about. The Denon as a receiver I think will have a lot more flexibility and customizability over the Emotiva. The UMC-1 is still in "production" and has delay after delay, too. So there's still no telling when that unit will come out.
 

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Also until someone has heard and tested the UMC1 then I would be hesitant, but saying that by all the feedback on other products from Emotiva they certainly seem to deliver on VFM...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the all the feedback.

JJ-I appreciate the background as I am new to all of this. I hope that Emotiva and other companies like them keep putting price pressure on the bigger companies for the benefit of the consumer. Those at the Shack that have their products speak highly of Emotiva which peaked my interest.
The only thing that I am hesitant about is the Emotiva not having Audyssey MultEQ or Reon Video Processing. From my research many have said these are extremely good. If I get the Oppo-83 that does the video porcessing does it mater on the receiver end?

Jon-Did you add the amplifier for more power? Did you feel the Denon was under powered? If so what speakers are you running?
I have Kplisch FR-63, RC-64, and RS-52. Not the best for for the Ebay/Craigslist price I got them for I am very happy. Now I have a Denon 19?? with only 75w per channel and they sound good but I think they can be better.


I am in a position of just starting to build my room so I have some time to see what Emotiva does with their release.

I know I have lots of questions, thanks for your assistance.

Brian
 

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Brian, if you got the Oppo-83, the video processing is (in my opinion) better than the Reon, so yes it won't really matter having it on your receiver.

I got the amplifier for more power. I didn't necessarily feel it was underpowered, rather it was just a thirst for more power personally. At the time I was running AV123 Rocket RS850's, RSC200, and RSS300's. The 850's were known to "love more power" though running them on the receiver was just fine as well. I also just simply wanted to make a jump (affordably) into separates for my first set and the Emotiva MPS-2 seemed like a great bet.

No problem about the questions! Keep sending them our way and we'll help you as much as we can!
 

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Hello,
Given that you are driving Klipsch's, I would have no hesitations in purchasing the Emotiva XPA-5 as opposed to a more powerful used amplifier. Klipsch's are extremely efficient and really do not need very much power to put out ear bleeding SPL's. Might as well have a warranty, zero chance of needing repair, and far more power than your Denon.

The Anchor Bay Video Processor in the OPPO is top notch. You must set your receiver to passthrough to benefit from the OPPO's processing. Otherwise, the Denon will transcode and alter the signal.

If you have a processor/receiver equipped with Reon, the OPPO and Denon's Flagship BDP would probably be the only players that I would set the Reon to passthrough. The Denon features the Realta processor which is the flagship processor on which Reon is based.

In all honesty, I find the Reon good enough that even with the OPPO, I would at least try passthrough and 1080P processing when watching DVD's through the OPPO. In theory 1080p/24 Blu Ray images should look identical.
Cheers,
AD
 

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I just wish Emotiva would hurry up and release the UMC-1, people in the UK are also interested in this processor, so it is certainly getting interest from a lot of people in the US and abroad...
 

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I like using a pre-pro, but consumer level amps are not the greatest value. I prefer to use pro level amps for my setup. These tend to give more bang per buck.

I get limitless power for only 250 for 2 channels on average. Though one doesn't need amp power for the surrounds if you use a receiver. I've found amping them to be worthless in most setups. You don't need to eq them really.

So if you want more power I suggest you pick up a nice 2 channel pro-amp and have fun. It will give you some extra power for the center and the ability to eq the speakers later down the line.
 

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Hello,
Behringer, Crown, Mackie, et al do offer excellent value. Moreover, they are designed to be run 24/7 for years in difficult environments. All the same, ID (Internet Direct) companies have really closed the gap in the price to performance ratio.

Other issues are that many pro amps use cooling fans that can be intrusive, possibilities of input level mismatches, and ground loops and hum owing to almost all of them designed to be used with XLR's and not single ended (RCA) I/O's. Regardless, the value proposition is difficult to ignore. I do find that having identical power to the front three channels to be of paramount importance. Depending on the mix, the Center Channel can really be handling the lion's share of information from a soundtrack.

There is also the never ending debate regarding "musicality" lacking in pro gear. Needless to say 99.99999% of those who purchase pro amps believe, when level matched, all amplifiers sound the same.
However, for me the biggest consideration/issue is fan noise. If your gear is setup away from the listening area, this is a non issue and makes pro amps a more appealing option.
Cheers,
JJ
 

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What pro amps do you recommend? Do you use anything to overcome low-output levels from you pre (though a dedicated pre probably wouldn't have a problem with low outputs in the same way an AVR might)?
 

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Hello,
Off the top of my head, Manley Labs is the one company that is used by both Professional Studios and amongst Audiophiles. Unfortunately, they are fairly expensive negating the value equation somewhat.

Crown-Studio Reference is also a major step above mainstream Crown. There are definitely segments in the pro audio hierarchy. Studio gear and equipment shares more in common with high end audio than PA and the majority of gear sold at "MI" (Musical Instrument) stores which is more value orientated.
Cheers,
JJ
 
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