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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
OP
amirm

amirm

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Maybe it is time to convince the new performance leaders in China that they are ready to build AV pre-processors.
I can't in good conscious. AV business is tough and complicated. And much smaller market than stereo/desktop products.
 

muslhead

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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.
you couldnt be more wrong.
there is plenty broken if you worry about what Amir found. Go over to the emotiva forums and read up. Its good to post facts rather than opinions
 

AndreaT

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Thanks Amir! No, Emotiva did not impress me for musical quality of its UMC-200. I tried a 5.1 setting once and I disliked it, in spite of a lot of time and effort for speaker placement and calibration. I am not surprised their newest iterations perform poorly. I still play my old great Sony HD CRT with an old mini-X A100 that performs flawlessly from an audio output of the LG Blu-ray. It was on sale 8-9 yrs ago for $ 129, before the Topping and SMSL offerings.
 

devopsprodude

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Would love to see Amir test Sonos gear as that could be a better way to do multichannel if their stuff tests well. It certainly sounds pretty good at my brother's house.
 

Sal1950

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You and me both!
Me 3, but probably never happen. The market is too
small to make enough money from the software.
And it needs to be easy enough that you don't need a EE degree to implement it.
This is 2022 and todays DRC should be capable of doing an excellent job of correction the average guy can complete without doing a months homework first.
I'm saying you couldn't tell the difference between them in a matched double blind test.Try it
Between 84 and 95? I think you may be sticking your neck out there. A SINAD of 84 is a fairly poor bit of performance and IMO puts you on fairly shaky ground.

It is if you are paying $3,200 because you think you are getting better sound out of the electronics. Countless people opt for processors because they think they are inherently better designed. Measurements are powerful in the way they detect if this is the case or not.
Yes sir.
I mentioned before that I take no joy in slamming Emo but when I was in the market for a new unit this month,. the 95db SINAD performance, combined with my experience on D-M AV products being very bug free and reliable, together with a stack of features, codec's, etc I desire, and very competitive pricing made it's choice a near no-brainer.
 

Sal1950

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Would love to see Amir test Sonos gear as that could be a better way to do multichannel if their stuff tests well. It certainly sounds pretty good at my brother's house.
Yuck, What's your definition of "pretty good" ?
 

Urib

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They should provide all their licensing fees and paperwork (e.g., Dolby, HDMI, etc.) to @JohnYang1997 (Topping) so he doesn't have to deal with that and give him free range on the DAC design. Or shoot, spend some money and pay him a consulting fee to tell you where your products suck (or mediocre performance) and how to fix them. Money well spent!

Finally, for heavens sakes, stop hiding behind A-weighted measurements!
If JohnYoung is listening, so please, please produce pure stereo/bridged simple and excellent power amp to match with your top notch pre amp. It will sell like hot fresh cookies. I am waiting 3 years for this....
 

Urib

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They should provide all their licensing fees and paperwork (e.g., Dolby, HDMI, etc.) to @JohnYang1997 (Topping) so he doesn't have to deal with that and give him free range on the DAC design. Or shoot, spend some money and pay him a consulting fee to tell you where your products suck (or mediocre performance) and how to fix them. Money well spent!

Finally, for heavens sakes, stop hiding behind A-weighted measurements!
Topping pre90 connected to 2 power amps pure and simple monoblocks based on the pa5 should be a dream. Why Topping aren't doing this?
 

Alice of Old Vincennes

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I switched from Emo to Anthem. Can utilize its AVR as preamp. Enough voltage to power ANY power amp including pro. Audioholics bench test results confirm. Room Correction doesn't require advice from 50 page threads.
 

Sancus

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I can't believe there isn't a way to protect the content provider (it's only the soundtrack, after all), and provide the Codec licensers their fees.
Dolby doesn't want people to be able to reverse engineer their decoder, and allowing it into the open would make that much easier. So far this seems to have worked, since all previous Dolby decoders have been reverse engineered in open source. But not Atmos, and it's been years.

Not even any of the professional Atmos mastering software contains a Dolby decoder for the rendered consumer formats. It only exists inside hardware black boxes. Apple wrote their own decoder for their spatial audio content so they can put it where they want.
 

Tangband

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On pure DAC performance, no. None live up to their price points.
That means that If a company comes up with much better performance they gonna take a big part of the market .
Cudos for your measurements :). Who will be first with a SINAD better than 110 dB on all channels in a home theatre preamp ?

- I really think the AVR market has been without relevant measurements for many years, and thats why we see so many expensive products with inferior performance, just like the 2 channel highend industry.
Maybe the ”good enough” mantra for the companys has been better than 80 dB SINAD (?) , meaning they can use cheaper dacs, worse layout and make more profit with their AVR:s?
 
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D

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you couldnt be more wrong.
there is plenty broken if you worry about what Amir found. Go over to the emotiva forums and read up. Its good to post facts

you couldnt be more wrong.
there is plenty broken if you worry about what Amir found. Go over to the emotiva forums and read up. Its good to post facts rather than opinions
Fact is I've done double blind matched tests and could not reliably tell the difference between mid 80s sinad and 100+.Have you? Those are my facts.As for the other issues you mention,as far as I am aware none of that was even addressed/tested in the review.
 

voodooless

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I can't in good conscious. AV business is tough and complicated. And much smaller market than stereo/desktop products.
But they already did. Most of the budget al AV processors are based on the Tonewinner AT-300, including I think two of the cheapest Emotiva products. Their performance is not top notch, but I think better than this Emotiva model.

Sadly the platform is from about 2014, so would need a good upgrade and some performance improvements. Would be great to see this happening. Also in the room EQ department there is room for improvement.

Hopefully Tonewinner can bring something new and better! It’s getting boring only to have Denon as a serious contender for a budget friendly AVP (… and the Denon isn’t even an AVP).
 

TonyJZX

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i would echo peoples' thoughts about Emotiva... if the product is a power amp or something very simple and you accept that you arent going to be state of the art or even close to state of the art BUT you do get good power and ok relabilty at a good price, then I dont see a problem.

They make a stereo preamp and integrated amp that is ok value for the money. I dont have an issue with that.

I do have an issue when they try to make or rebadge an expensive surround processor... a company like Parasound has ditched this end of the market because its saturated and its hard to get right.... so what hope do you have for companies with less resources than Parasound?

be that as it may, I would imagine a processor with 84dB sinad is 'ok' for its intended purpose playing back Blurays in a theater environment but this unit lacks "design hygiene' as Amir would say.
 

Fidji

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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.

I would disagree with you - for its intended use - multichannel/home theatre on hobby/enthusiast level - it surely can be audible, as with high speaker count all the noise/distortion is just more eminent. On the other hand - I would say this bad performance is not really unexpected - at the end of the day, this is cheapest 16CH XLR AVP. This is not meant as an excuse of any sort.

@amirm or others - if we compare XMC 2 with Denon 8500 - DAC is not match, obviously. But how would XMC 2 with SOTA [Purifi middle gain] amplification, compare to Denon 8500 and its internal amps, that have SINAD around 84dB too. Just curious.
 

Blumlein 88

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I've been rather critical at times of using SINAD. You need THD and noise separate. I've said myself SINAD of 80 is probably fully transparent for any reasonable use or certainly for all other than extreme and uncommon conditions. If you delve into noise and THD. The problem with the Emotiva here is the low frequency noise. It very well could be audible. The THD is fine. It would have been interesting if Amir had listened to it to see if the below 1 khz noise us audible under some high gain conditions. It likely could be with some efficient speakers or self powered speakers.

So in this case I'd say SINAD of 84 is at best marginal. Plus remember you may have some fair amount of boost or frequency contouring for room correcting the low end. It makes it quite possible you could end up with sometimes audible noise. Entirely unsuitable for such an expensive processor.

So is 80 db SINAD audibly transparent? It can be or it may not be. This one is very marginal. It it had -84 db of THD along with noise levels of -100 db or more it would be okay though still pretty poor showing for an expensive processor.
 

Tangband

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I've been rather critical at times of using SINAD. You need THD and noise separate. I've said myself SINAD of 80 is probably fully transparent for any reasonable use or certainly for all other than extreme and uncommon conditions. If you delve into noise and THD. The problem with the Emotiva here is the low frequency noise. It very well could be audible. The THD is fine. It would have been interesting if Amir had listened to it to see if the below 1 khz noise us audible under some high gain conditions. It likely could be with some efficient speakers or self powered speakers.

So in this case I'd say SINAD of 84 is at best marginal. Plus remember you may have some fair amount of boost or frequency contouring for room correcting the low end. It makes it quite possible you could end up with sometimes audible noise. Entirely unsuitable for such an expensive processor.

So is 80 db SINAD audibly transparent? It can be or it may not be. This one is very marginal. It it had -84 db of THD along with noise levels of -100 db or more it would be okay though still pretty poor showing for an expensive processor.
For me its not a question about If 80 dB SINAD is good enough for good quality or not. I have vinyl records with a SINAD of 40 dB that sounds terrific. Because of stunning recordings and good concert halls.

The question for me in year 2022 is why anyone should be happy with 80 dB SINAD If one can have a SINAD of 110 dB for the same price ? - the extra cost of getting a sinad of 110 dB is marginal or zero. Why settle for 80 dB ? A SINAD of 80 dB belongs in very cheap products below 50 dollars.

It was very different at year 2000-2010 but the technology is much better today.
 
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TonyJZX

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If you told me a Yamaha RXV4A or something of that price range has 84dB then I would say... fair enough.

but for $3,000+ I would expect a bit more.

Also everything goes thru this... I'm reluctant to feed all my sources thru something this... 'unclean'?
 
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