Review: Emotiva UMC-200 preamp/processor and UPA-700 7-channel amp Page 3

Measurements and Extended Test Bench

NOTE: Measured as a unit, from SPDIF/multichannel analog input (UMC-200) to speaker output (UPA-700)

DOLBY DIGITAL PERFORMANCE
All data were obtained from various test DVDs using 16-bit dithered test signals, which set limits on measured distortion and noise performance. Reference input level is –20 dBFS, and reference output is 1 watt into 8 ohms. Volume setting for reference level was 59.5. All level trims at zero; except for subwoofer-related tests, all speakers were set to “large,” subwoofer on. All are worst-case figures where applicable.

Output at clipping (1 kHz into 8/4 ohms)
1 channel driven: 122/191 W (20.9/22.8 dBW)
5 channels driven (8 ohms): 88W (19.4 dBW)
7 channels driven (8 ohms): 75W (18.8 dBW)

Distortion at 1 watt (THD+N, 1 kHz)
8/4 ohms: 0.03/0.04%
Noise level (A-wtd): –74.9 dB
Excess noise (with sine tone)
16-bit (EN16): 1.5 dB
Frequency response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz +0, –0.5 dB

MULTICHANNEL PERFORMANCE, ANALOG INPUT
Reference input and output level is 200 mV; volume setting for reference output level was 56.5.

Distortion (THD+N, 1 kHz, 8 ohms): 0.04%
Noise level (A-wtd): –85.8 dB
Frequency response: <10 Hz to 62 kHz +0, –3 dB

STEREO PERFORMANCE, DIGITAL INPUT
Reference level is –20 dBFS; all level trims at zero. Volume setting for reference level was 60.0.

Output at clipping (1 kHz, 8/4 ohms, both channels driven): 113/156 W (20.5 /21.9 dBW)
Distortion at reference level: 0.03%
Linearity error (at –90 dBFS): 0.2 dB
Noise level (A-wtd): –74.7 dB
with 96-kHz/24-bit signals: –79.6 dB
Excess noise (with/without sine tone)
16-bit (EN16): 1.4/1.25 dB
quasi-20-bit (EN20): 13.4/15 dB
Noise modulation: 0.3 dB
Frequency response: <10 Hz to 20 kHz +0, –0.4 dB
with 96-kHz/24-bit signals: <10 Hz to 42 kHz +0, -3 dB

BASS-MANAGEMENT PERFORMANCE
Measured results obtained with Dolby Digital test signals.
Subwoofer-output frequency response (crossover set to 80 Hz): 12 dB/octave above –6-dB rolloff point of 112 Hz (see notes)
High-pass-filter frequency response (crossover set to 80 Hz): 12 dB/octave below –3-dB rolloff point of 80 Hz
Maximum unclipped subwoofer output (trim at 0): 7.2v
Subwoofer distortion (from 6-channel, 30-Hz, 0-dBFS signal; subwoofer trim set to 0): 0.04%
Crossover consistency: bass crossover frequency and slope were consistent for all sources and formats (see notes)
Speaker size selection: all channels can be set to “small”
Speaker-distance compensation: available for all main channels

As is my usual practice with separate components, I measured the Emotiva UMC-200 and UPA-700 together, precisely as I would a one-piece A/V receiver. The results were generally very good: Frequency response, linearity, and distortion were uniformly excellent, and nearly everything else was unremarkable in the best sense of the word.

The Emotivas composite S/N performance on CD-standard PCM was 1 dB short of the theoretical limit (with our real-world dithered “silence” test signal), which is quite good; this improved by nearly 5 dB, to -79.6 dB below 1 watt, on the equivalent 96-kHz/24-bit signal, which is a very useful improvement but well short of the best I’ve seen. (Despite 24-bit’s theoretical 24-dB advantage over 16-bit PCM, in real-world terms an improvement of perhaps a 10-dB dynamic range is about the best we can expect.)

Power output from the UPA-700 was quite impressive, bettering its conservative 80-watt spec even with 5 channels driven simultaneously, and still managing 72 watts with all 7 churning away. (The amp’s big toroidal power transformer must get much of the credit; as the motorheads say, there’s no substitute for cubic inches.)

The only true anomaly I encountered was the low-pass filter characteristic of the UMC-200 pre/pro’s crossover. This remained a 12-dB-per-octave slope whether I selected “12 dB” or “24 dB” on the speaker-setup OSD page, and this was true for both PCM and Dolby Digital signals, and for all three inputs I tried. I imagine this is simply a coding error in the firmware that commands the unit’s twin Cirrus DSP chips, which (presumably) do the heavy lifting here. (Emotiva’s documents do not mention if the pre/pro is firmware-upgradeable.) It’s not a big deal, and few users if any are likely to notice it by ear alone (to my shame I did not) if they ultimately fine-tune subwoofer level and crossover settings to taste.

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