Using a pre-processor like the Emotiva UMC-1 vs a reciever with preouts? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 42 Old 08-09-2012, 12:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Currently I'm using the Pioneer 1120 A/V reciever with the Emotiva XPA-5, using the preouts to connect them. The sound is phenominal, I'm not the least bit unhappy with it. I always have to wonder though, what can make it better? Because I've always been perfectly happy with my set ups, until I try adding something, which usually brings the system to another level of excellent I wasn't previously aware of. So my question simply is, is there any audible advantage to using a pure pre-processor like the very reasonably priced UMC-1 vs my set up?

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post #2 of 42 Old 08-09-2012, 01:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plissken99 View Post

Currently I'm using the Pioneer 1120 A/V reciever with the Emotiva XPA-5, using the preouts to connect them. The sound is phenominal, I'm not the least bit unhappy with it. I always have to wonder though, what can make it better? Because I've always been perfectly happy with my set ups, until I try adding something, which usually brings the system to another level of excellent I wasn't previously aware of. So my question simply is, is there any audible advantage to using a pure pre-processor like the very reasonably priced UMC-1 vs my set up?

You seem happy with the 1120 so I would stay with it. Nothing wrong with using an AVR as a prepro IMO. I went from an Onkyo 886 to a Denon 4311. I find I prefer the SQ of the 4311 to the 886 mostly due to Audyssey XT32. The UMC-1 does not have a room correction system that works very well and is lacking in the basic features that current AVRs have.

Bill

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post #3 of 42 Old 08-09-2012, 08:00 PM
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Although the UMC is lacking in bells and whistles it has the most important quality. Great sound processing.
I just returned a 4311 because to me the UMC is better without RC than the Denon with XT32. I will say that XT32 is a major improvement over other versions.
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post #4 of 42 Old 08-09-2012, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by MUDCAT45 View Post

Although the UMC is lacking in bells and whistles it has the most important quality. Great sound processing.
I just returned a 4311 because to me the UMC is better without RC than the Denon with XT32. I will say that XT32 is a major improvement over other versions.


I switched from a Denon 2113 to the UMC-1 because I think it sounds better as well. I guess it all depends on your room. For what its worth, I love my UMC-1. For the money, you can't beat it.
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post #5 of 42 Old 08-10-2012, 05:04 AM
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I would stay away from the umc, I owned 1 and heard no difference from it compared to the okyo receiver it replaced, also it has major problems with bass management, I would recomend a older parasound , anthem or classe prepro if you are looking for sonic improvements, and if hdmi is not a issue. I hook all my video sources direct to my tv, so hdmi is not a issue, good luck
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post #6 of 42 Old 08-10-2012, 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by panzer View Post

I would stay away from the umc, I owned 1 and heard no difference from it compared to the okyo receiver it replaced, also it has major problems with bass management, I would recomend a older parasound , anthem or classe prepro if you are looking for sonic improvements, and if hdmi is not a issue. I hook all my video sources direct to my tv, so hdmi is not a issue, good luck

I had a similar experience with the UMC-1 when I had it in my system. I felt my Onkyo 886 had better SQ with movies and MCH music due to Audyssey. For 2CH music I felt the UMC-1 had the edge over the 886. Not a huge difference but one that I could notice. I kept the 886 and bought a Parasound 2100 to handle 2CH music. Then I bought the 4311 and found the SQ to be better than the 886 due to XT32. I did a number of direct A-B comparisons between the 4311 and the 2100 listening to 2CH music. Using the Direct mode of the 4311 I found the differences between the two to be minimal if nonexistent.

So I sold the 2100 and haven't looked back. If anyone has a room that is a challenge or wants their sub(s) to be EQ'd properly the 4311 is the clear winner over the UMC-1 IMO.

Bill
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post #7 of 42 Old 08-10-2012, 05:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Mac View Post

I had a similar experience with the UMC-1 when I had it in my system. I felt my Onkyo 886 had better SQ with movies and MCH music due to Audyssey. For 2CH music I felt the UMC-1 had the edge over the 886. Not a huge difference but one that I could notice. I kept the 886 and bought a Parasound 2100 to handle 2CH music. Then I bought the 4311 and found the SQ to be better than the 886 due to XT32. I did a number of direct A-B comparisons between the 4311 and the 2100 listening to 2CH music. Using the Direct mode of the 4311 I found the differences between the two to be minimal if nonexistent.
So I sold the 2100 and haven't looked back. If anyone has a room that is a challenge or wants their sub(s) to be EQ'd properly the 4311 is the clear winner over the UMC-1 IMO.
Bill

The only clear winner is the one that we each prefer. smile.gif

Bill, you and I have certainly owned our share of AVR's, processors, amps, etc. Among pre/pro's I have owned Rotel, Arcam, Anthem, Lexicon, B&K, Marantz and others I am sure. The UMC has better steering to all channels, especially to the rears. Is steering a good term? smile.gif I feel more immersed in the sound than with any of the others. Music has a more natural sound. All IMO of course.

What do you have lined up for the next purchase? smile.gif
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post #8 of 42 Old 08-10-2012, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by plissken99 View Post

Currently I'm using the Pioneer 1120 A/V reciever with the Emotiva XPA-5, using the preouts to connect them. The sound is phenominal, I'm not the least bit unhappy with it. I always have to wonder though, what can make it better? Because I've always been perfectly happy with my set ups, until I try adding something, which usually brings the system to another level of excellent I wasn't previously aware of. So my question simply is, is there any audible advantage to using a pure pre-processor like the very reasonably priced UMC-1 vs my set up?

Stay away from the UMC-1. I owned one and it has some serious flaws (bass management, reference level calibration) and bugs:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AuxeV72wzf-SdEJEUENmaU5rNG9tX0ExZWJuYzBPMHc

The sound quality isn't any better than what you have right now.

What really makes a difference in sound quality is good speakers and setup (multiple subs), room acoustics and a working room EQ (Audyssey XT32 or something similar).

Markus

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post #9 of 42 Old 08-10-2012, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by MUDCAT45 View Post

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The only clear winner is the one that we each prefer. smile.gif

You are 100% correct smile.gif! I should have said that the 4311 is the clear winner in my system.

Quote:
Bill, you and I have certainly owned our share of AVR's, processors, amps, etc. Among pre/pro's I have owned Rotel, Arcam, Anthem, Lexicon, B&K, Marantz and others I am sure. The UMC has better steering to all channels, especially to the rears. Is steering a good term? smile.gif I feel more immersed in the sound than with any of the others. Music has a more natural sound. All IMO of course.

Yes we have but I think you have me beat by quite a bit wink.gif. Some fine brands you have owned as well. I have heard the term steering used before when referring to how the action is moved from speaker to speaker.

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What do you have lined up for the next purchase? smile.gif

I'll be keeping my eye on reviews of the XMC-1 when it is released. I definitely have my eye on the Denon 4520 as well. That could possibly the replacment for the 4311 when it goes on fire sale in a few years biggrin.gif. I had my 886 for close to three years so I have slowed down on changing processors. Buying music is a whole different subject though eek.gif.

Bill

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post #10 of 42 Old 08-10-2012, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by markus767 View Post

Stay away from the UMC-1. I owned one and it has some serious flaws (bass management, reference level calibration) and bugs:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AuxeV72wzf-SdEJEUENmaU5rNG9tX0ExZWJuYzBPMHc
The sound quality isn't any better than what you have right now.
What really makes a difference in sound quality is good speakers and setup (multiple subs), room acoustics and a working room EQ (Audyssey XT32 or something similar).
Some of are fortunate and do not need XT32.
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post #11 of 42 Old 08-10-2012, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by MUDCAT45 View Post

Some of are fortunate and do not need XT32.

Care to elaborate?

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post #12 of 42 Old 08-10-2012, 08:46 AM
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Care to elaborate?

Not a lot to elaborate on. I have used all Audyssey except pro and also have used YPAO. I liked XT32 better than the others, however, it was no better than the bass with my UMC.
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post #13 of 42 Old 08-10-2012, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by MUDCAT45 View Post

Not a lot to elaborate on. I have used all Audyssey except pro and also have used YPAO. I liked XT32 better than the others, however, it was no better than the bass with my UMC.

So all you care about is how something sounds to you? I don't know how to say this more politely but "sounds good to me" is a very naive way of looking at sound reproduction.

Do you have at least some measurements of your room that would give your claim a little bit more credibility?

Markus

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post #14 of 42 Old 08-10-2012, 09:15 AM
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So all you care about is how something sounds to you? I don't know how to say this more politely but "sounds good to me" is a very naive way of looking at sound reproduction.
Do you have at least some measurements of your room that would give your claim a little bit more credibility?

Right Markus. I listen to sound and observe measurements. I buy audio components for sound pleasure and not to boast of its' measurements. Naive to me would be thinking that my measurements are perfect scientifically and not because I have a sound preference.
Perhaps it is naive to think that your system sounds great simply because you have run REQ.
I have not measured my room other than test tones and a SPL meter. I also know this is not absolutely accurate. I can then manually adjust the sub frequencies as to the best of my ability using the EmoQ. A friend once ran REW in my room and it showed about the same results as I get with the DVE disc.
BTW, do you really need to measure your room or can you detect that something is amiss with your ears?
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Originally Posted by MUDCAT45 View Post

The only clear winner is the one that we each prefer. smile.gif
Bill, you and I have certainly owned our share of AVR's, processors, amps, etc. Among pre/pro's I have owned Rotel, Arcam, Anthem, Lexicon, B&K, Marantz and others I am sure. The UMC has better steering to all channels, especially to the rears. Is steering a good term? smile.gif I feel more immersed in the sound than with any of the others. Music has a more natural sound. All IMO of course.
What do you have lined up for the next purchase? smile.gif

While I appreciate you enthusiasm for the UMC, it's pretty hard to remember the specific qualitites of the various models you owned previously and then compare them to what you hear with the UMC. To then flatly state that music has a 'more natural' sound without comparing directly is only making somewhat of a guess. And with the multiple issues the UMC had and still has according to some owners, it's a risky proposition to buy one, especially since the 30 day trial is now suspended for this model.
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post #16 of 42 Old 08-10-2012, 09:34 AM
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Right Markus. I listen to sound and observe measurements. I buy audio components for sound pleasure and not to boast of its' measurements.

Me neither but the UMC-1 is simply not working the way it should. I found out by measuring.
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Naive to me would be thinking that my measurements are perfect scientifically and not because I have a sound preference.
Perhaps it is naive to think that your system sounds great simply because you have run REQ.

There are objective measurements. You're free to ignore them.
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I have not measured my room other than test tones and a SPL meter. I also know this is not absolutely accurate. I can then manually adjust the sub frequencies as to the best of my ability using the EmoQ.

No you can't. EmoQ is simply not the right kind of tool to get the frequency response right, especially at low frequencies.
By the way, which DVE disc?
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A friend once ran REW in my room and it showed about the same results as I get with the DVE disc.

Highly unlikely and a lot of open questions as to what has been measured.
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BTW, do you really need to measure your room or can you detect that something is amiss with your ears?

Trained listeners can detect a lot of problems but measuring is simply less time consuming and more accurate.

Markus

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post #17 of 42 Old 08-10-2012, 09:44 AM
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While I appreciate you enthusiasm for the UMC, it's pretty hard to remember the specific qualitites of the various models you owned previously and then compare them to what you hear with the UMC. To then flatly state that music has a 'more natural' sound without comparing directly is only making somewhat of a guess. And with the multiple issues the UMC had and still has according to some owners, it's a risky proposition to buy one, especially since the 30 day trial is now suspended for this model.

It has been risky to buy an Onkyo for years and somewhat of a risk to buy Denon. Both still sell a lot of units.

If memory is so short I doubt if you know how accurate your system is. After all, how often do you hear gun shots, cannon shots, plane fly overs, etc. How would you know if your system sounds like and artist and their music if you have never seen them in person. Also remember, your system, regardless of how good will never sound realistic. Too much takes place in the mixing and quality of mixing equipment. Not to mention that your speakers sound nothing like all the various ones used in concerts.
Don't you have Paradigms? No way will they ever sound like live music.
Have you done measurement to show that your Emotiva amp was brighter than the Parasound?
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post #18 of 42 Old 08-10-2012, 09:56 AM
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how often do you hear gun shots, cannon shots, plane fly overs, etc. How would you know if your system sounds like and artist and their music if you have never seen them in person. Also remember, your system, regardless of how good will never sound realistic. Too much takes place in the mixing and quality of mixing equipment. Not to mention that your speakers sound nothing like all the various ones used in concerts.

...and that's why it is a misconception that audio equipment needs to make something sound "real" or "good". One doesn't know how a sound was recorded, mixed, monitored, or mastered. All we can aim for is it to use devices that are capable of reproducing the original (whtever it may be) as accurate as possible. The UMC-1 is not such a device.

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post #19 of 42 Old 08-10-2012, 10:03 AM
 
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It has been risky to buy an Onkyo for years and somewhat of a risk to buy Denon. Both still sell a lot of units.
If memory is so short I doubt if you know how accurate your system is. After all, how often do you hear gun shots, cannon shots, plane fly overs, etc. How would you know if your system sounds like and artist and their music if you have never seen them in person. Also remember, your system, regardless of how good will never sound realistic. Too much takes place in the mixing and quality of mixing equipment. Not to mention that your speakers sound nothing like all the various ones used in concerts.
Don't you have Paradigms? No way will they ever sound like live music.
Have you done measurement to show that your Emotiva amp was brighter than the Parasound?

I think the whole point of my comments was that you are not doing direct A - B comparisons. The memory of what your old components sounded like(all several of them) is not a reliable means to compare your new component to. That's all I'm saying, and I don't mean to be dismissive of your observations, but I guess I beg to differ.
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post #20 of 42 Old 08-10-2012, 10:03 AM
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Me neither but the UMC-1 is simply not working the way it should. I found out by measuring.

Your UMC had the last update. Right???


There are objective measurements. You're free to ignore them.

Do your speakers measure accurately? Or do you prefer yous over one that measures better?

No you can't. EmoQ is simply not the right kind of tool to get the frequency response right, especially at low frequencies.
Neither is Audyssey if you want it 100% accurate. I believe they use some sort of house curve. Correct me if I am wrong please.

By the way, which DVE disc?
Digital Video Essentials. A pain in the arse to navigate.
Highly unlikely and a lot of open questions as to what has been measured.
I never said it was 100% accurate. I can, however, tailor to my taste.
Trained listeners can detect a lot of problems but measuring is simply less time consuming and more accurate.

BUT, is more accurate always more pleasurable to listen to?
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post #21 of 42 Old 08-10-2012, 10:08 AM
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I think the whole point of my comments was that you are not doing direct A - B comparisons. The memory of what your old components sounded like(all several of them) is not a reliable means to compare your new component to. That's all I'm saying, and I don't mean to be dismissive of your observations, but I guess I beg to differ.

I did compare the Denon 4311 and Yamaha A3000. They are all current.

I was just yanking your chain. Hell, I can't remember how this conversation started.

No problem if we disagree in a nice manner. What if we all chose the same brand. Prices would shoot through the roof due to supply and demand.

Once you see it my way you will wonder how you survived without my expertise. smile.gif
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post #22 of 42 Old 08-10-2012, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by MUDCAT45 View Post

Your UMC had the last update. Right???

You make it sound like the latest firmware fixed bass management? I'm still waiting for confirmation:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/781208/emotiva-thread-q-a-technical-talk-only/14550#post_22090917
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Do your speakers measure accurately? Or do you prefer yous over one that measures better?

My speakers measure pretty good. There are speakers that measure better and I will eventually get them.
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Neither is Audyssey if you want it 100% accurate. I believe they use some sort of house curve. Correct me if I am wrong please.

Yes, they use a target curve and the reason is to improve translation, make it sound more accurate. See https://audyssey.zendesk.com/forums/84181/entries/94162.html
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Digital Video Essentials.

I know, which edition? What kind of test signal are you using with your SPL meter?
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I never said it was 100% accurate. I can, however, tailor to my taste.

Sure you can but without reference there can't be preference.
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BUT, is more accurate always more pleasurable to listen to?

No, but trying to adjust settings to make one bad recording sound good, would make all other good recordings sound bad.
You don't change your monitor's color calibration when you don't like the color correction of a certain movie, do you?

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post #23 of 42 Old 08-10-2012, 10:35 AM
 
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I did compare the Denon 4311 and Yamaha A3000. They are all current.
I was just yanking your chain. Hell, I can't remember how this conversation started.
No problem if we disagree in a nice manner. What if we all chose the same brand. Prices would shoot through the roof due to supply and demand.
Once you see it my way you will wonder how you survived without my expertise. smile.gif

Good points.

I do have hope that the XMC will be a hit for Emotiva, there is lots of potential there. And I have read many owners comments lately saying the UMC is a solid performer. Time will tell I guess.
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post #24 of 42 Old 08-10-2012, 10:52 AM
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You make it sound like the latest firmware fixed bass management? I'm still waiting for confirmation:
No, I did not. I simply asked if you measured the latest firmware or if you made an assumption that it was not fixed. Now I know you are assuming.

My speakers measure pretty good. There are speakers that measure better and I will eventually get them.
My system sounds great to me and even to a couple of installers. I will stay with what sounds good regardless of measurements. Remember I have used XT32 and although it was good there are other more important factors to me. I did not prefer what Audyssey produced as much as what the UMC gives. What is the purpose of measuring if you run Audyssey. It does correct all problems doesn't it?
Yes, they use a target curve and the reason is to improve translation, make it sound more accurate. See https://audyssey.zendesk.com/forums/84181/entries/94162.html
How can it be accurate if it uses its' own curve. Haven't you said all along that accuracy is more important than what one prefers?

I know, which edition? What kind of test signal are you using with your SPL meter?
I do not understand the question. The DVD produces a signal.
Sure you can but without reference there can't be preference.
I thought you understood that I have reference from using XT32 and YPAO. XT32 is accurate. Well maybe not since it uses its' own choice of curve.
No, but trying to adjust settings to make one bad recording sound good, would make all other good recordings sound bad
I am not adjusting using a setting from a scene. Go back to where I said I used DVE. Audyssey can have the same effect you refer to. Unless you like its' self appointed curve..
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post #25 of 42 Old 08-10-2012, 11:24 AM
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You obviously didn't follow the links I've posted so we're going round in cirlces. "Sounds good to me" is just like "looks good to me" when choosing a TV in a shop. You don't choose the best (most accurate) TV, you can't. Your eyes - just like your ears - are no measuring instruments.
But if "sounds good to me" is all you're after then even something like a UMC-1 might look like a good choice. I just don't agree.

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post #26 of 42 Old 08-10-2012, 11:35 AM
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We're going round in cirlces. "Sounds good to me" is just like "looks good to me" when choosing a TV in a shop. You don't choose the best (most accurate) TV, you can't. Your eyes - just like your ears - are no measuring instruments.
But if "sounds good to me" is all you're after then even something like a UMC-1 might look like a good choice. I just don't agree.

So, how do you buy a TV? How do you judge its' accuracy? You can adjust two of the same model to have the same settings and the picture will look different. One would think that a THX setting on a TV would produce the most accurate settings. I have yet to see on that did.
Maybe I should drink expensive wine or champagne because a connoisseur would not lower his standards to beer.
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post #27 of 42 Old 08-10-2012, 11:38 AM
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So, how do you buy a TV? How do you judge its' accuracy?

*drumroll* By measuring and calibration smile.gif

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post #28 of 42 Old 08-10-2012, 11:46 AM
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*drumroll* By measuring and calibration smile.gif

I actually meant so you take calibration tools with you to measure in store.

May I suggest that you seek help with your OCD?
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post #29 of 42 Old 08-10-2012, 12:05 PM
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I actually meant so you take calibration tools with you to measure in store.
May I suggest that you seek help with your OCD?

You don't need to take calibration tools with you to a store, you just need to know that the TV, projector or AVR can be calibrated. A lot of people actually do that and you're missing a lot if you don't. Just like you're missing a lot when using the UMC-1 instead of a proper AVR in a properly set up system/room.

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post #30 of 42 Old 08-10-2012, 12:26 PM
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You don't need to take calibration tools with you to a store, you just need to know that the TV, projector or AVR can be calibrated. A lot of people actually do that and you're missing a lot if you don't. Just like you're missing a lot when using the UMC-1 instead of a proper AVR in a properly set up system/room.

I am very familiar with choosing good TV's. What I do not know seems to make me happier than what others think I should know. It would be foolish for me to imply that more accurate results can be attained without measurements. It is more foolish to imply that one can only enjoy a system with accurate measurements. Problem is the Audyssey is nothing more than a feature that some take as the only way to get good sound. Reminds me of THX.
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