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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just gave a friend a demo of my system, and he asked me to put together some recommendations for his basement. I haven't seen his area yet so I don't have a lot of the specifics, I'm just looking for a general feel for things yet. I'm wondering about a UMC-1 paired with a XPA-5. I have read good things here about the emotiva amps, and I love my Onkyo. But how does the UMC-1 compare to the 3008 preamp section?
 

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I just gave a friend a demo of my system, and he asked me to put together some recommendations for his basement. I haven't seen his area yet so I don't have a lot of the specifics, I'm just looking for a general feel for things yet. I'm wondering about a UMC-1 paired with a XPA-5. I have read good things here about the emotiva amps, and I love my Onkyo. But how does the UMC-1 compare to the 3008 preamp section?
Hello,
The 3008 offers a great deal more Features. I am using my 3008 strictly as a Preamp and could not be happier. The main advantages to the Onkyo are it having Audyssey MultEQ XT32/SubEQ HT, Audyssey DSX, THX Post Processing, HDMI 1.4, Networked Connectivity, and much more.

The XPA-5 is definitely more powerful than the amplifiers in the 3008. However, you do get 9 Channels of Amplification in the 3008 and of course it has Preamp Outputs. It really will come down to what Speakers are being used and Room Size to ascertain if the added power of the XPA-5 is needed.

Without question I prefer the 3008 over the UMC-1 for use as a Preamp. However, given the Emotiva can be had for $499, you can get an XPA-5 and UMC-1 for about the same price as a 3008.
Cheers,
JJ
 

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Emo rig is likely to have noticeably better sound quality (especially in the highs), Onkyo will obviously dominate in features. Opinion based on my comparison of the Onk 3007 and UMC-1 back in June.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
TypeA said:
Emo rig is likely to have noticeably better sound quality (especially in the highs), Onkyo will obviously dominate in features. Opinion based on my comparison of the Onk 3007 and UMC-1 back in June.
Could you post a link? I would defiantly want to read that comparison. I'm not sure what my friends cash outlay will be for immediate purchases versus stretching it out over time, but his first question was "can I recreate the big theatre experience for $20-30K". However, I'm sure his wife would raise an eyebrow with "what do you mean the first big box (3007) can make the other big boxes (speakers) loud without the other big box (XPA-5)?"
 

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I would find it hard to believe that the UMC1 would "sound better" than the Onkyo for many reasons. Most people dont like the proprietary auto room EQ that the Emotiva UMC1 uses and many people have had issues with firmware glitches and I really dont think that it has any better processing over the Onkyo. The Onkyo also has THX certification and that gives you some very useful surround modes that are not just extra useless processing like many modes available these days.
 

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I would find it hard to believe that the UMC1 would "sound better" than the Onkyo for many reasons. Most people dont like the proprietary auto room EQ that the Emotiva UMC1 uses and many people have had issues with firmware glitches and I really dont think that it has any better processing over the Onkyo. The Onkyo also has THX certification and that gives you some very useful surround modes that are not just extra useless processing like many modes available these days.
I found it hard to believe also. The sad truth is that for all the wonderful value and features Onkyo offers, it is actually easily beaten in sound quality. This was again verified when my Marantz clearly beat my Onkyo in sound quality, so Im not just basing this opinion on Emotiva. Roscoe recently experienced this Onkyo/Marantz comparison first-hand as well, it is a very enlightening experience. True, nothing really beats Audyssey for room correction and bass management, Ill give you that.

When the 3007 returns from the shop I will be doing some far more critical listening in comparison to my Marantz 8002, Ill be writing-up a full review. However just going from what I know now, and having lived with Onkyo for almost a year, I think the increase in sound quality between my existing 8002 and 3007 is obvious. Matter of fact, I notice it every time I listen to my theater...
 

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Hello,
I am definitely in agreement with Tony about the Emotiva not being a paragon of stability. For those who prefer the Onkyo, that is wonderful and is what makes this Hobby fun. However, whenever the Preamp Section of an Onkyo has been Bench Tested, the Results have been utterly fantastic and the 3008/5008 offers an almost identical Preamp Section as the 80.2 and 5508 SSP's. To the point that the 5508 shares the same Firmware Updates as the 3008/5008.

All I can say is that my HT is relatively expensive and I could have purchased something like the Classe SSP-800 and not have been relegated to eating Ramen Noodles and I still picked an Onkyo AVR as my SSP for the past 4 years. I did have a $2500 Dollar Marantz SR-19EX hooked up when my 3007 was in the shop from May until it was replaced with a 3008 in July and desperately missed the Onkyo.

While the 19EX was not HDMI, it is considered to have a top tier Preamp Section. This is actually an AVR I purchased new and used for several years until the VSX-49txi came out so I am quite familiar with it, The 19EX shared the same chassis as the 5000 Dollar plus SR-14EX. I also hooked up my brother's AV7005 as he was convinced it would wipe the floor with my AVR and we both agreed that the 3008 sounded better in my HT. I chalk this up to XT32/SubEQ HT. Last I checked, Sonnie was also using an Onkyo AVR in his fantastic HT as well. His Martin Logan Prodigies are so utterly fantastic. Especially when driven by Emotiva XPA-1 Monoblocks. I think he uses a TX-SR906 to drive his ML Ascent i's that are used as Surrounds. It has been a while since I checked out his HT so things might have changed.
Cheers,
JJ
 

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phreak, it sounds like your friend is relatively inexperienced in the hobby, or at least won't have pre-established preferences for the "feel" of sound you would get from one manufacturer over another (Denon vs Onkyo vs Marantz vs Emotiva, etrc.). I'm guessing that he would be blown away by most properly done iterations of a modern 7.1 or 9.1 system, and would be happy with either option.

In this case, I'd go with the Onkyo (or a comparable receiver from another manufacturer) for the reasons JJ listed in post #3. The Big manufacturers can simply pack more of the current features and content into their equipment and make it available sooner. Even assuming a pretty basic setup, I think having Ausyssey and the DSX and THX processing would be a huge benefit to your friend, and unless he has some big or hard-to-drive speakers, should be just fine without the additional amp. Also, that can leave him an upgrade path for later if he does decide he needs more power.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
He is completely new to the hobby. I gave him a ten minute demo on my rig and he was blown away, even though I can point out 10 obvious problems that would make an audiophile lose his lunch...ie the bare concrete floor. I love my 3008 and will recommend it to him as well. I'll need to see his basement before recommending speakers. If the room requires the extra power i've heard that the preamp outs on the 3008 can mate nicely with a XPA-5
 
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