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Emotiva XMC-2 AVP Review (Sample 2)

Rate This AV Processor

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 140 78.7%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 29 16.3%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 3 1.7%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 6 3.4%

  • Total voters
    178

FBCZAR

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I would appreciate a little help relative to the SINAD rating chart posted above. Is it supposed to relate to overall sound quality of each processor? Am I correct that Audio Science Review bases all ratings exclusively on measurements?
 

juliangst

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You give up Atmos to do that which ruins the whole idea. There are some workarounds like using a Mac and getting all your content from Apple only but there is no way to get general Atmos decoding on a PC.

Realistically the measured performance of a Denon X3700H is more than good enough for speakers in a domestic room. The embarrassment here is charging almost 3x more and delivering far less.

Emotiva also has a history of serious software problems. But so do many processors in this price range including the even more expensive JBL ones.
That’s what I thought of doing.
MacOS makes it really easy to use an interface with atmos content.
You can simply select the channels in the midi control program and play atmos music or movies with your preferred setup
 

DonH56

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Puzzling as the RMC-1 you tested measured much much better than the XMC-2 but both have the exact same circuitry (for all practical purposes).

Russ
I wondered about that as well. I thought circuit boards were different but am not sure. The RMC-1 supposedly uses better DAC technology but that may be just other than the main LR(C?) channels. My concern would be some FW update since the RMC-1 was measured "broke" the performance so a current RMC-1 exhibits similar (degraded) performance. I have lost track since deciding to not upgrade my XMC-1; they cancelled the upgrade program before DLBC was released, and folk on the Emotiva Lounge are still awaiting bug fixes and the next long-promised FW update.
 

Blumlein 88

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I hate to say it, but Emotiva is probably a company you should avoid. Their marketing plan seems to hint at supplying the real deal at better prices while making mediocre gear. Then change models often enough they can divorce themselves from the shortcomings of their products quickly. Their track record on fixing software issues is not good at all. Some of their past gear made promises it never kept. Their product support does not have the greatest reputation. Or at the very least, don't buy their more expensive products. At lower prices some of this is perhaps something you can overlook to some extent.
 

DonH56

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I would appreciate a little help relative to the SINAD rating chart posted above. Is it supposed to relate to overall sound quality of each processor? Am I correct that Audio Science Review bases all ratings exclusively on measurements?
SINAD, signal to noise and distortion ratio, is a single number for performance comparisons and is essentially the same as THD+N used by some other reviewers. As a single number, it can hide both the good and the bad, so is useful mainly as a starting point. A device with very poor SINAD may be ruled out but even then some folk may want to look beyond the SINAD (e.g. a tube amp may have low SINAD but people like their distortion characteristics). Often the type of noise and distortion is important, so looking at the FFT (distortion and noise) plots is very useful. A device with very low distortion and high noise floor may have the same SINAD as a device with higher distortion and very low noise; which you prefer is up to you and somewhat depends upon your system. A system with highly-sensitive speakers may have more noise ("hiss") with a component having poor SNR so you (anyone) may prefer a component with lower noise even if distortion is a little higher. Like any single figure of merit, it will not tell all, you must look deeper and weigh your system and preferences.

As for the ratings, they are more subjective, and lately based upon user polling so encompass more than just SINAD or even raw performance (measurements). Price, ease of use, appearance, etc. can play into how people vote on the ratings.

I doubt anyone chooses a component based solely upon SINAD, but then again back in the late 1970's/1980's THD was the only criteria some folk used, and there are those then and now who may look only at power output and such. It is important to have a full set of measurements to help decide the best component for any given system and person, at least IMO.

HTH - Don
 

FBCZAR

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SINAD, signal to noise and distortion ratio, is a single number for performance comparisons and is essentially the same as THD+N used by some other reviewers. As a single number, it can hide both the good and the bad, so is useful mainly as a starting point. A device with very poor SINAD may be ruled out but even then some folk may want to look beyond the SINAD (e.g. a tube amp may have low SINAD but people like their distortion characteristics). Often the type of noise and distortion is important, so looking at the FFT (distortion and noise) plots is very useful. A device with very low distortion and high noise floor may have the same SINAD as a device with higher distortion and very low noise; which you prefer is up to you and somewhat depends upon your system. A system with highly-sensitive speakers may have more noise ("hiss") with a component having poor SNR so you (anyone) may prefer a component with lower noise even if distortion is a little higher. Like any single figure of merit, it will not tell all, you must look deeper and weigh your system and preferences.

As for the ratings, they are more subjective, and lately based upon user polling so encompass more than just SINAD or even raw performance (measurements). Price, ease of use, appearance, etc. can play into how people vote on the ratings.

I doubt anyone chooses a component based solely upon SINAD, but then again back in the late 1970's/1980's THD was the only criteria some folk used, and there are those then and now who may look only at power output and such. It is important to have a full set of measurements to help decide the best component for any given system and person, at least IMO.

HTH - Don
Thanks for the explanation. I own an XMC-2 and have listened to many of the processors rated above the XMC-2 in the SINAD chart. I did not think the chart was based on sound quality, but I was not sure. I appreciate your help.
 

FBCZAR

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I wondered about that as well. I thought circuit boards were different but am not sure. The RMC-1 supposedly uses better DAC technology but that may be just other than the main LR(C?) channels. My concern would be some FW update since the RMC-1 was measured "broke" the performance so a current RMC-1 exhibits similar (degraded) performance. I have lost track since deciding to not upgrade my XMC-1; they cancelled the upgrade program before DLBC was released, and folk on the Emotiva Lounge are still awaiting bug fixes and the next long-promised FW update.
You are correct about the DAC implementation on the RMC-1 and XMC-2. The L,C,R channels are identical on both units.
 

DonH56

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Thanks for the explanation. I own an XMC-2 and have listened to many of the processors rated above the XMC-2 in the SINAD chart. I did not think the chart was based on sound quality, but I was not sure. I appreciate your help.

The chart itself is based upon SINAD, which is related to sound quality, but is only one metric. If SINAD is low, chances are the sound will not be great, but you may have to look deeper to see exactly what is degraded and decide how much it matters to you and in your system. My speakers are fairly low in sensitivity and also have low distortion, so I may choose an amp having higher SNR and lower THD. A person with highly-sensitive horn speakers may do the opposite. Ideally, we'd both choose an amp with zero noise and zero distortion, but they haven't made one of those yet. :) There are other considerations like the required power from an amplifier, and for a processor features and ease of use may outweigh raw performance. Many variables, and each of us may weight them differently.

You are correct about the DAC implementation on the RMC-1 and XMC-2. The L,C,R channels are identical on both units.
Thanks, I was too lazy to look it up again.
 

DonH56

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The upcoming Denon AVR-X3800H makes this and all other current AVPs obsolete.
It certainly looks impressive, but I'll stick with my JBL Synthesis SDP-75 (Trinnov Altitude 32) for now... I would get the Denon over the Emotiva if I was in the market.
 

Jbrunwa

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@amirm I don’t have a XMC-2 any more but I suspect factory reset does not set Reference Stereo mode, but has bass management engaged.
 

Sal1950

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The upcoming Denon AVR-X3800H makes this and all other current AVPs obsolete
That's a bit extreme. The option to get Dirac DRC is nice, but final cost is going to be a big deal here, specially on the lower end 3800. For sure it won't be free. LOL. Quite a few question marks still out there on these forthcoming AVR's.
I just got a new X4700H last month and wouldn't have held out waiting had I known.
 

prerich

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Too bad that there aren’t any good measuring Pre/Pros.
I think the only way to go is getting an interface like the MOTU ultralite mk5 or a topping DM7 and do everything with a home theatre PC
The problem with doing that...no Atmos. Atmos is tied to HDMI. If it where possible, I'd do it in a heart beat. That would basically allow your PC to become your prepro - as you can perform several types of room correction...all depends on your desired flavor.
 

Sancus

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That’s what I thought of doing.
MacOS makes it really easy to use an interface with atmos content.
You can simply select the channels in the midi control program and play atmos music or movies with your preferred setup
You can do that, but the main limitation is all content must come from Apple. People have tested it, and it only works on Apple TV/Music, not local files or other streaming services. So not a great solution for most people. And I doubt Apple will relax this limitation. Apparently, they are using their own spatial audio decoder for this(not the Dolby one). So it's possible they are legally restricted from using standard 3rd party Atmos sources.
 

prerich

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That’s what I thought of doing.
MacOS makes it really easy to use an interface with atmos content.
You can simply select the channels in the midi control program and play atmos music or movies with your preferred setup
Windows actually has a "Home Theater for Atmos" DTS-X for free (I have both), and "Atmos for Headphones" (which cost ‍... I don't know why). I can play Atmos content but it must be through HDMI. Mac (or Windows) has no on-board Atmos decoder...it relies on bitstreaming. Are you sure the output from your midi controller is true Atmos? Are you going directly to your power amps from your midi device? If you are this is more than likely not Atmos (as Atmos isn't a true channel system...the Atmos channels are object based and comes from meta data). Besides some very tedious MakeMKV ripping work combined with an Atmos software decoder program $400, there is no other way to recieve Atmos moive content without hdmi.
 
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prerich

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You can do that, but the main limitation is all content must come from Apple. People have tested it, and it only works on Apple TV/Music, not local files or other streaming services. So not a great solution for most people. And I doubt Apple will relax this limitation. Apparently, they are using their own spatial audio decoder for this(not the Dolby one). So it's possible they are legally restricted from using standard 3rd party Atmos sources.
Excellent post
 

prerich

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This is why I want all AV processing on a PC or MAC and a fully decoded, EQ'd, Bass Managed, DSP'd LPCM signal transferred via USB to a multichannel DAC.
You and me both!
 
D

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As always, enjoy your reviews. In general, I'm a fan of Emotiva, but for the cost of this unit, very poor performance. I'd certainly steer clear ...
You aren't going to be able to hear the difference between 84 and 97 sinad from say a Denon.It is not audible.If it fits your needs it's plenty transparent enough.Really it is.I appreciate the measurements but nothing seems broken.
 
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