Emotiva Raises the Bar on Affordable Preamp/Processors

Sections: 3D, Analog, Audio, Digital, Preamps, Streaming, Surround sound

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Emotiva has announced the new XMC-1 preamp/processor for Summer 2012 release.  Designed under the guidance of legendary digital systems architect Ray Dennison, the XMC-1 promises to pack features never seen in a pre/pro at this price point.

The heart of the XMC-1 is two dual-core, 32-bit, floating point processors controlled by an ARM processor, running a custom Linus build.  These provide more than enough processing power to decode all of the latest high-res, multi-channel audio formats, with true 7.2-channel decoding, including separate level, distance, and EQ controls for stereo subwoofers and summed LFE.

The XMC-1 sports seven (!) HDMI 1.4 inputs and one HDMI 1.4 output (3D and 4K compatible) in addition to four optical and four coaxial digital inputs.  There are also balanced an unbalanced stereo inputs, and a 3.5mm headphone output driven by a dedicated Texas Instruments DirectPath Stereo Headphone Amplifier.  USB Type A ports facilitate FLAC, WAV, AAC, and MP3 audio streaming, while a USB Type B port allows for high bitrate lossless audio streaming.  (Full I/O details can be found here)

The XMC-1 also features TacT TCS 3e Theater Dynamic Room Correction — a proprietary version of the software found on TacT’s TCS MkIII surround sound processor — developed exclusively for Emotiva.  The TCS 3e is a fully automated EQ system, allowing listeners to get a perfectly adjusted audio experience at the push of a button.  The listener can also adjust and customize the systems frequency response and characteristics on the fly and do A-B comparisons between settings.  The Theater Dynamic Room Correction system adjusts the  system response to a specific target curve and then applies a sophisticated loudness compensation algorithm that dynamically adjusts the balance of the system based upon volume.  This system maintains faithful sound reproduction, regardless of volume level.

For the more “DIY” crowd, an Ethernet port on the back of the XMC-1 allows connection to a computer to adjust parameters via a computer-based GUI.  Adjustable parameters include independent crossover frequencies for the center, fronts, surrounds, back, and subwoofers channels, select independent or global multi-band parametric equalization, independently variable EQ frequency and crossover slope rates by channel groupings.

The XMC-1 also has the ability to bypass all of its processing and provide pure direct audio pass-through of 2.0-, 5.1-, and 7.2-channel audio sources as well as SACDs.

Emotiva has designed the XMC-1 to not only be technologically relevant now, but for the future as well, via Ethernet updating capability.  Emotiva says it’s committed to developing and expanding on the capabilities of the XMC-1, making it an investment as well.

Customers who participate in Emotiva’s Processor Upgrade Program can buy their XMC-1 for 40% off when it goes on sale.  Those who buy an XMC-1 will also receive a new Process Upgrade Certificate good for 40% off a future generation processor.

The Emotiva XMC-1 will be available this summer for $1,499, exclusively from Emotiva.

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  • Ronaldo Franchini

    I think that a second HDMI 1.4 output port would be very usefull for high-end customers who want separate the audio and video streams to different equipment. Why Emotiva did not offer that option with two HDMI 1.4 outputs that would add value to the XMC-1?

  • Chris Schaaf

    While I don’t know the specific answer to your question, I definitely see your point. With this product being a preamp and at this price point, I think they are assuming most users are sending the balanced outs to their amplifier of choice, negating the need for a second HDMI. Do you have a particular application for this where you’d want two HDMI outputs?

  • Ronaldo Franchini

    My working table is next to my home theater system and I want to feed another 32″ HD monitor that seats on the table with the 2nd HDMI output. I do not want to use an HDMI splitter, so that is the reason of the second HDMI output.

  • Chris Schaaf

    Gotcha. I assumed you were looking to send video and audio separately for some reason. Yours is a good case for a second HDMI output.