Join Date: May 2011
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
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I recently decided to go to a 2 channel setup upstairs and replaced the Sony soundbar I was using. I started listening to a lot more music, and want something that would really make it sound better. This is what I have setup so far:
Speakers: GoldenEar SuperSat 3s, Mirage MM-8 Subwoofter
Processor: Emotiva UMC-1
Amp: Onkyo M-282
Sources: Panasonic Plasma TV (TC-P42G10), PS3 (the big one), Apple TV (3rd Gen)
The UMC-1 has been working very well as a processor. I adjusted the crossovers to 150Hz on the L/R, and 225Hz on the sub. I like the blend of sound very much at that point so far. However, I have been wondering if there is a better way within my budget of $1k-$1.5.
I am very intrigued by the XSP-1.... and a few other options as it appears. I have a few questions/thoughts you knowledgeable folks might be able to help me with:
1) The XSP-1 can handle unbalanced interconnects as well as balanced interconnects and it fully differential. However, since I do not have the space for some XPA-1s (too deep) which are the cheapest true differential amps I have found, is there any sonic benefit to having a differential pre-amp like the XSP-1? Are there smaller differential amps out there I could use? Has anyone been blown away by a fully differential system??
2) Might I be better off purchasing an XDA-2 and USP-1 combo since my system won't be able to fully utilize balanced interconnects? Have people noticed an SQ difference between the USP-1 and the XSP-1 using unbalance interconnects between the amp and sources? I know I will have to purchase a DAC anyway too with the XSP-1. Can the volume in this combo be controlled by the XDA-2? I hear there are some volume issues with the USP-1.
3) Another option I have been very interested in for a while is the Outlaw RR2150 retro receiver. I still listen to the radio, and I really like the vintage look, I can add an optical adapter for the Apple TV, but the selectable bass management worries me since my crossover for my sub right now is higher than what the highest option on the RR2150 is capable of. I do not want to change the speakers. Maybe this isn't a big deal? Anyone have experience with sats on the Outlaw? I guess too I can experiment with the UMC-1 I have in my setup right now to see what the 100Hz crossover sounds like.
4) Of course, yet another option is getting something like a Marantz SR 5007 for an all in one radio, DAC, bass management, amp, and I still really like the look of the receiver, but not as much as the XSP-1 or the RR2150. I like buttons and knobs!
5) Bel Canto makes equipment that would fit great in the side cabinets, but their amps are not fully differential, and there does not appear to be any bass management from the processors. It's also quite a bit $$$ for me. I might be interested in one of their DACs though...
I will attempt to attach a pic of my current setup. It's one of those electric fireplaces, so the storage shelfs on either side of the fireplace are only about 9 inches wide. The UMC-1 sits right above the fireplace. The XSP-1 would just barely fit height-wise.
Can anyone tell I'm in analysis paralysis? I would love to hear what you all think. Suggestions supported by facts or opinions is welcome!
Thanks for reading!