I have a new Panasonic TC-P65VT60 and the venerable Onkyo TX-SR875 in a 7.1 home theater. I am starting to think about how I can get 3D and am considering moving from an integrated home theater receiver to a preamp + amp configuration so I can avoid buying new amplification every generation. I am considering a UMC-200 and using the amplification from my 875 as an intermediate configuration for perhaps the next year or two while I consider options things like the forthcoming XPA-7. Here are my questions:
Does the UMC-200 have an all channel stereo mode?
Does it have a good all-around mode (like my 875's "Neural THX 7.1") that will generate 7.1 from 2.0 and 5.1 sources?
Any major disappointements moving from Audyssey to EmoQ? I think the ability to see and adjust the results of the EmoQ sounds pretty great compared to the Audyssey black box.
Any horror stories about using a HT receiver such as my 875 as a 7 channel amplifier?
The 875's semi-questionably powered and smokin' hot 145WPC have actually never let me down as an integrated receiver.
I am hoping that the MULTI-CH RCA inputs on my 875 will bypass volume control and other processing.
Any known issues with redmere cables? I use a 40ft monoprice HDMI between my equipment closet and my display.
How do firmware updates get accomplished? One of my few concerns is that the UMC-200 doesn't have an ethernet port.
If I find one used at some point, is there a legacy hardware version I should look out for? What version is in production now, and is it considered stable by you guys?
When people switch to a preamp + amp, setup, is it reasonable to expect that you can plan on a long lifespan for your amp? I was hoping to move from a 7 year depreciation schedule on an integrated HT receiver to a shorter cycle on preamp and an indefinite (10+ year) lifespan for the amplifier. I don't tend to stress my components much with hard use, poor grounding, or poor power.
Any other gotcha's? Honestly the UMC-200 appears to be almost too good to be true. As far as I can find, there are no refurbs for sale and pretty much no one is selling them used, despite the looming HDMI2.0 update's potential impact on their value. This makes me think people love them. Onkyo's top of the line integrated receiver at $3K looks like it may actually be inferior to my current receiver plus this $500 preamp for the purposes of my theater. That makes me wonder what I am missing.