Emotiva is known for offering some amazingly high-quality audio gear for very reasonable prices, but the new UMC-200 7.1 home theater preamp and surround processor is shockingly inexpensive even by the company’s usual standards. Before you think that they’ve stripped out options and features to make a price point, let’s take a quick glance at the specs.
The UMC-200 has four HDMI inputs, four pairs of stereo analog inputs, and a separate 7.1 channel set of pure analog direct inputs for connecting an SACD player or external surround source, plus a full assortment of digital audio inputs (including two Toslink and two Coax S/PDIF inputs, both with 24-bit/192- kHz decoding). Audio outputs on the UMC-200 include a full set of 7.1 main outputs, a balanced subwoofer output, a separate stereo down-mix output, and two fully assignable stereo zone outputs. There’s an optional Bluetooth module supporting the latest apt-X high-quality codecs, and even a high-quality AM/FM tuner. Emotiva also tossed in their advanced EmoQ Gen 2 multi-channel automatic room correction.
Clearly, Emotiva has thrown everything you could possibly want at the UMC-200. Digging in a little deeper shows some other great features.
The HDMI inputs feature Xpressview switching technology, allowing for input changes in under one second. A Video-On-Standby feature can send audio and video to your display even when the UMC-200 is in standby mode — a great feature for when you don’t need the full surround system. Last Video Memory lets users continue to view the last selected video input while listening to an audio-only source.
Surround processing is definitely not overlooked, as the UMC-200’s extensive 7.1 multichannel surround sound decoder capabilities include DTS- HD Master Audio, DTS Neo:6, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Pro Logic IIx, and Pro Logic IIz. For those wanting to make their own tweaks to the results of the EmoQ Gen 2 multi-channel automatic room correction, there’s many user adjustments available, including a flexible quadruple bass management system, eleven user programmable fully parametric equalizers per channel, and configurable speaker crossover points and slopes. There are outputs for both balanced and unbalanced subwoofers, and the ability to bi-amp the main front channels.
Emotiva also includes automatic enrollment in their Upgrade for Life program, in which users receive 25% off on all future Emotiva processor purchases.
In an effort to change the cost of entry into high-end home theater, Emotiva has priced this pre/pro at $699 (or $599 during the holidays). Granted, you’re still on the hook for an amplifier, this is still less than half the cost of the XMC-1, and you can get this pro/pro right now.