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Pioneer VSX-94TXH vs Emotiva UMC-1

4430 Views 6 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Sonnie
Upgraditis is rearing its ugly head, fueled by the drop in the UMC-1's price.

I have been using a Pioneer VSX-94TXH for a number of years. Initially as my home theater receiver, but for the last few years as a sound processor. I have been using two channels for my surrounds, with my front, center and rears using an XPA-2 and an XPA-3.

I picked up a Crown K1 today which frees up an XPA-2 that had been seeing duty as a Sub amp for two of my subs. So now I have 7 channels of Emotiva power for my Fronts, Center, Surrounds and rears. This also means I can use a true processor instead of the Pioneer.

So the question comes down to, should I?

I am not unhappy with the Pioneer, it works well, and sounds good to me.

However, the UMC-1 at $499 looks real attractive. I stopped by Emotiva about a year ago and had a look/listen, and I was impressed. Two questions I just e-mailed to Emotiva will have a direct bearing on my decision, as well as feedback here. The questions are;

1) What are the details of the "upgrade certificate?"

2) Will the sub "distance" go to 35' or beyond?

The second question may sound a bit odd, but I am using a "RocketFish" wireless transmitter to send the SUB signal to an amplifer/Sub system on the opposite side of the room. My Pioneer Receiver's MCCAC has it currently set as 35' from the listening position due to the delay added by the RocketFish.

BTW the actual distance from the SUB to the listening position is 10 feet, which would indicate an additional 22 ms delay for a total of 31 ms delay if my math is correct (always suspect).

So what is does the wisdom of the HTS have to say?

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I honestly think that you are better off with something like the Onkyo TX-NR709 from Accessories4less for $479 or the Marantz SR-6005 from there as well. Both offer Audyssey MultEQ XT which is superior to the RoomEQ in the Emotiva. However, my primary concern is that the UMC-1 has had some issues with stability.

If really wanting to use an SSP and keep the price close to the UMC-1, I would look for a used Onkyo PC-SC886, Integra DTC-9.8 or any of the Onkyo/Integra SSP's that are available on Audiogon for close to the UMC's price and or what your budget can accommodate.
Are you suggesting that;

A) The Marantz/Onkyo/Audyssey is better than the MCACC I currently have? Enough to warrant spending $500?

B) Do you have experience with the UMC-1? Or just from reading about the problems from when it was introduced?

I read quite a number of posts about the problems, but am under the assumption that these have been resolved as of the latest firmware release. While I was disappointed with the problems it had, it seemed to me that they owned up to the problems, and worked hard to solve them. I am a software developer/business owner and have a certain empathy for their predicament, and it seemed like they tried to do the right thing.

I absolutely believe that Audyssey is superior to both MCACC and Emo's EQ. I have a good friend with the UMC-1 and really has been underwhelmed. I suppose you could always try it out with Emotiva's Return Policy and decide for your self. All the same, I do believe the Onkyo and Marantz would be a superior solution. I do understand the temptation of having all your gear match..
It would appear that in my correspondence with Emotiva that the UMC-1 will only allow a distance of 30' for the Sub. If there are any UMC-1 owners reading this, I would appreciate it if you would confirm this, by checking the menus in the unit, that would help me make my decision.

Regarding an Audyssey equipped receiver, while I have never listened to one, I find it a much less exciting acquisition to trade one receiver, which seems quite adequate, for another.

Based on another thread, I recommended an Onkyo 709 to a friend. I helped him set it up Wednesday, and it is OK.

It took me 6 hours to set the sucker up, of which over an hour was waiting for the install of the new firmware, and another hour or more was spent trying to make the wireless usb adapter work. I tried to install the wireless usb first using manual mode to connect via WPA2-PSK to the existing network using the proper key (I tried at least 5 times, and my friend at least 3 before giving up). It would not connect. So I thought perhaps I should try upgrading the receiver's firmware. The 1st download took maybe 5 minutes, but the install took over an hour. The amount of time it takes to write one of the sections was brutal. I began to envision little monks inside the unit doing calligraphy.

After the firmware upgrade the wireless device wouldn't even see the network. So we used a wireless access point and attached to the ethernet port. The owner of the equipment spent a half hour on the phone for Onkyo tech support before we decided to go the access point route, he never did talk to a human.

Once we got everything working there wasn't as much time as I would have liked to play with Audessey. He has some older Sony speakers, and an Infinity Subwoofer I gave him for Xmas. I did a 3 position calibration and we watched a bit of Avatar, and it sounded decent. I would have liked to have had more time to play with the options, but fighting the network adapter used up so much time.

One thing I can say is the user interface is better than the MCACC on the Pioneer that I have, of course I haven't looked at a modern Pioneer receiver, and they may have updated the UI.

At present my view of the Onkyo is ambivalence. It may be a good sounding unit, but the experience with the wireless adapter makes my objectivity suspect. Additionally, the speakers, room layout and lack of time to fully explore the calibration certainly makes it hard to compare.

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I am curious if Emotiva fixed the bass management issues of the UMC-1. I wish they could somehow get Audyssey in those units. They would be hard to beat.
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