Appreciate the consideration and a great question. Tested with 2 channel only (no sub) and using zone 3 output on the Onkyo. Zone 3 only supports two channel so I doubt there's any bass management. Before hooking up the amps to the onkyo this weekend Ill re-do the test with no emo auto calibration. Now that you mention it that was a flaw in my testing methods. Since the Onkyo doesnt support auto calibration in its zone 3 support its only fair to by-pass the Emotiva's auto calibration also.This may sound dumb, but what are you using for a subwoofer?
Its possible that the Emotiva sounds so much better because of the way the bass management is handled. I find most AVRs to be a bit light on the bass end of things, and considering you're listening to average volume levels, chances are you're enjoying the "loudness" effect that the UMC-1 creates.
It was my understanding that the mains are EQ'd as full range as possible, and then the EQ'd signal is sent to the subwoofer, which is then EQ'd again, and then crossed out. Sonnie did a review on this that explained it quite thoroughly.
The reason i asked about the subwoofer is, if you crank the system up to high levels, does your sub audibly distort sooner? Do the towers have the ability to get as loud for the highs as before, without capping out the low end?
It seems this may all be due to the auto-eq system of the emotiva VS Audyssey's accurate calibration method.
I've done a lot of research on this, and it seems like the pre/pro market is best looked at as an AVR/PRO market right now. Nothing beats a dedicated amp, The pre amps, and AVRs are so close to identical, its not worth spending the extra $$ to have less inside.