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Emotiva MC-1 Review (Home Theater Processor)

Rate this AV Processor

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 91 37.9%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 123 51.3%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 22 9.2%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 4 1.7%

  • Total voters
    240

DonH56

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I waited for about a year after the XMC-1 was introduced so got beyond the initial problem time. There was one major flaw I found after I received it, and that was very quickly fixed (I may have been lucky in the FW cycle). It worked fine after that until the HDMI 2.0 board upgrade, which I had been eagerly awaiting. It was supposed to be out a month or two after I purchased mine, but it took a about another year before the board was available. I waited about three months then did the swap, after most users seemed to indicate it was functional. It was a mess that took about six months to get more-or-less fully functional, and another while before it was really satisfactory in terms of normal use without having to play games to switch inputs and reboot once a week. It worked OK for me after that, though some users still had issues with their systems.

When the RMC rolled out, 2-3 years after it was first introduced at trade shows, it was lacking Dirac Live and had a number of issues (bugs). Emotiva offered a very generous upgrade program so my plans were for an RMC-1/RMC-1L/XMC-2 upgrade (TBD). Two-plus years later, Dirac Live is working though not at the rate they originally stated (48 kS/s vs. 96 kS/s), there are still some outstanding bugs (though far fewer), Dirac Live Bass Control is not yet available, and bass management is still not working fully (as of last night's posts on their Lounge, though may be acceptable for many). BM is a concern since I have multiple subs. The trade-in program ended Dec 31, 2021 so I missed the window. For me, the current FW would still be inadequate, and about a year after they started shipping the RMC-1 and the troubles were still piled high (a little over a year ago now), I got a great deal on a refurbished (dealer trade-in) SDP-75 (Trinnov Altitude 32, JBL Synthesis style).

My XMC-1 is in its box. I thought about selling it, but prices have plummeted, so I may see if one of the kids wants it (my usual path). I'd have to get them an amp, however.

My feeling from the Lounge thread is that the MC-1 seems less buggy overall than their "premier" processors, although there were a few big problems at release that were fixed pretty quickly. Bass management, I just don't know. Data I have seen is somewhat mixed on whether it is working as it should but I frankly have not been following that thread.

For me, Emotiva is a very mixed bag. My amps are working great and have been since ca. 2008. The XMC-1 was a mixed bag but ultimately worked fine for me. The RMC-1/1L/XMC-2 saga has been ridiculously painful to observe. My personal contact with Emotiva support has been good, albeit at times the promised FW fix was months late, but my overall impression via their Lounge posts and bug fix release schedule for the new processors is poor. I would consider another Emotiva amplifier and some of their other products, but am unlikely to ever again purchase a processor from them.

Completely IMO - Don
 
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Repdetect

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Are you sure? Do you own one and did you test the eq process? The AT 300, which is an "upgraded" version of the MC 1 (it includes XLR outputs), is setup that way. Also, the manual for the MC 1 seems to suggest it also works that way:

"The MC1 has three sets of manual EQ settings (EQ 1, EQ 2, and EQ 3.). Each of these sets offers several parametric equalizer filters for each set of speakers."

As you may note, it does not state that it offers "several parametric" eq. filters for each speaker, instead it offers it for each "set of speakers"; i.e. grouping of speakers.
Are you sure? YES.
Do you own one Yes
 

Rottmannash

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You just digitally shamed all the DSD folks. Me? I'm sticking with my high quality, nothing has ever come out better Memorex cassette tapes. Remember, "Is it real or Memorex"? Doesn't get any better than that. :)
Just heard on NPR cassettes are making a comeback...
 
D

Deleted member 19122

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My son has a Pioneer AVR that's about 4 years old. It does resample to 48kHz when using EQ. If my memory is correct, so did the first version of Audessey. Dirac is the only system that did not AFAIK I cant speak for the Yamaha gear.
Well that must be something that Onkyo did once it took over Pioneer.They must have just used their Onkyo software(with AccuEQ rebranded MCACC) for their Pioneer line.Because MCACC under Pioneer definitely did not down sample.From the Pioneer 2014 MCACC ref guide"
1644570033615.png
 

JoeWoody

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May 18, 2021
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Have had my MC1 hooked up for about 24hrs now, have demoed 2 films, Ready Player One and Prometheus. Both in 4K UHD with 7.1 mixes. Haven’t preformed any room correction yet, EMOQ or any others and it sounds great. Just a small sample and will report any issues… BOOM!!
 
D

Deleted member 19122

Guest
Have had my MC1 hooked up for about 24hrs now, have demoed 2 films, Ready Player One and Prometheus. Both in 4K UHD with 7.1 mixes. Haven’t preformed any room correction yet, EMOQ or any others and it sounds great. Just a small sample and will report any issues… BOOM!!
Glad to hear it,if I end up with a larger theater room one day this will be top of my list for a bargain pre pro.
 

Shazb0t

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I'm one of the "Fine" voters.

Honestly, I get the flack being thrown around, but if you really think about it for the price and features you get here this isn't actually a bad product. It has little to no competition for what it offers. Even if the Parametric EQ is janky to setup, you still can use it to correct for anechoic frequency response measurements or with REW, you get 13.2 channels for a cheap Atmos setup, and it also has eARC support. With ho-hum objective measurement performance at $999 and with these features it's not a bad deal in the current market.

As a community, we should support companies pushing this feature set into more affordable offerings like this.
 
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ctbarker32

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Mar 15, 2019
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I got my MC-1 this week, only paid $775 because I have bought a lot of Emotiva products over the years. I needed this because I really needed EARC support to work with my 2021 Sony A80J OLED TV. The MC-1 is a win and works without issue with my Sony. I have been suffering for better part of a year with the XMC-2 which only worked with ARC after lots of drama each time it turned on. MC-1 now just works as it should. I run all my apps on the built in Google TV and things like Atmos from Netflix are now working. I am hearing some low-end rumble sounds from the LFE sub on certain apps like YouTube TV which is still only 2.0 audio when using the Dolby Upmixer on the MC-1. I can't figure out why the LFE sounds so loud? I think this is a bug? Audio from apps using 5.1 mixes works and sounds fine.

I am not using the MC-1 for two channel listening.

Now I have setup an HT Bypass using the great Channel Islands PLC-1 passive preamp. I have an RPi Zero 2 W feeding a Khadas Toneboard as a Roon endpoint. I also have my Oppo 203 analog output connected for Roon and SACD. Finally, I have my two turntables feeding my Gold Note PH-10 phono amp hooked into the PLC-1. This sounds fantastic.

With the HT Bypass, I now have the best of both worlds in two channel and 5.1 surround audio.
 

JoeWoody

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I gotta say I'm loving my MC1. TBH this is my 1st processor dho, so take that for what it's worth...BOOM!!
 

David338

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Feb 14, 2022
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Hello, first time poster. I can see Denon AVRs were referenced several times in these thread as well as in the SINAD chart. For those who are using the Denon in full PreOut mode with amplifiers, what are the sonic differences when you switch on and off the PreOut mode? I am trying to choose between the MC1, AT300, X3700H or the X6700H.

I am using Triangle Borea towers and bookshelves which have good front stage and wide imaging already, therefore, not sure if the FW or the additional FT will add to it or confuse the front stage.

Thirdly, @amirm you have the Denon AVR results in the SINAD chart but I cannot find the reviews. Are those numbers with the PreOut on or off? Do you foresee test differences between the two modes?

Thanks in advance.
 

ctbarker32

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Mar 15, 2019
Messages
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151
I got my MC-1 this week, only paid $775 because I have bought a lot of Emotiva products over the years. I needed this because I really needed EARC support to work with my 2021 Sony A80J OLED TV. The MC-1 is a win and works without issue with my Sony. I have been suffering for better part of a year with the XMC-2 which only worked with ARC after lots of drama each time it turned on. MC-1 now just works as it should. I run all my apps on the built in Google TV and things like Atmos from Netflix are now working. I am hearing some low-end rumble sounds from the LFE sub on certain apps like YouTube TV which is still only 2.0 audio when using the Dolby Upmixer on the MC-1. I can't figure out why the LFE sounds so loud? I think this is a bug? Audio from apps using 5.1 mixes works and sounds fine.

I am not using the MC-1 for two channel listening.

Now I have setup an HT Bypass using the great Channel Islands PLC-1 passive preamp. I have an RPi Zero 2 W feeding a Khadas Toneboard as a Roon endpoint. I also have my Oppo 203 analog output connected for Roon and SACD. Finally, I have my two turntables feeding my Gold Note PH-10 phono amp hooked into the PLC-1. This sounds fantastic.

With the HT Bypass, I now have the best of both worlds in two channel and 5.1 surround audio.
I solved my low end rumble problem. My Martin Logan Grotto i subwoofer has a 25hz control that I erroneously thought was not active in LFE mode. I had it cranked up at max 10+. I dialed it back to about -3 and now things are better balanced.

Now that things are dialed in, I am starting to enjoy the MC-1. The sound quality for surround work is very good. As I mentioned, I use a passive volume control HT-Bypass for two channel listening. Best of both worlds now.
 
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Sprint

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I solved my low end rumble problem. My Martin Logan Grotto i subwoofer has a 25hz control that I erroneously thougt was not active in LFE mode. I had it cranked up at max 10+. I dialed it back to about -3 and now things are better balanced.

Now that things are dialed in, I am starting to enjoy the MC-1. The sound quality for surround work is very good. As I mentioned, I use a passive volume control HT-Bypass for two channel listening. Best of both worlds now.
How do you exactly do a passive volume control HT-Bypass for 2ch? Interested to learn.
 

ctbarker32

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How do you exactly do a passive volume control HT-Bypass for 2ch? Interested to learn.
Look at the Channel Islands PLC-1 Passive preamp as one example. One input on the box is fixed volume so anything coming in bypasses the passive pre volume control and straight out to your amp, etc. All other inputs go through the passive volume. In the case of the PLC-1 it has a microcontroller to handle input swiching and motorized volume control. There are no active electronics in the signal path.

I'll be making a video about all this on my DIY HiFi Life channel soon.
 

jtongret

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May 3, 2019
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I rarely post here, but I appreciate the $h!t out of the vast amount of data and constructive comments provided by Amir & the active community members here. I'm a long time 2 channel guy who's recently become interested in switching to a HT/surround system in my living room. But, I keep seeing these disappointing test results from almost all "affordable" AV receivers or processors with the exception of Denon. It'd be nice to be able to purchase one for under 3k that could do Movies and Music at the same level of performance as we see from so many the SOTA Dac's priced at 1k and well below. Will we ever see a pre/pro from MiniDSP, Topping, SMSL or the host of other excellent manufacturers that routinely release great measuring and sounding gear? I certainly hope so, but I won't be holding my breath! Thank you to each and every one of you who share so much useful info here guy's, I truly do appreciate you!
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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Thirdly, @amirm you have the Denon AVR results in the SINAD chart but I cannot find the reviews. Are those numbers with the PreOut on or off? Do you foresee test differences between the two modes?
You mean with the amp on or off? If so, they are with amp off. With amp on, they degrade.
 
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