Pros: Wider, clearer soundstage as compared to my past receivers. No video processing, just passthrough! On the fly menus. Low $$$
Cons: Only 4 HDMI ins. EMO-Q is a miss for me.
As for audio, there is a set of 7.1 unbalanced (RCA) outs to go to your amp(s) and a set of 7.1 unbalanced ins, most would use with SACD. There is also a balanced (XLR) subwoofer out which can be used in conjuction with the unbalanced (RCA) sub out so this becomes a 7.2 processor! There are also 2 optical, 2 digital coax, and 4 sets of analog (RCA) stereo ins for audio only components if you have that need. Last but not least there are also stereo outs for zones 2 and 3.
I've always had a receiver (Onkyo, Denon, Yamaha) which filled a need nicely for many years in my home theater, until recently that is. I received the UMC-200 only a few weeks ago and am very impressed by the sound quality for both music and movies.
The biggest difference for me so far is the widened soundstage this processor puts out as compared to the receivers I've owned. When my 13 year old son says he notices sounds are now easier to tell which speaker they are coming from (I agree with him), that tells me that even non critical listeners can notice an increase in quality. The UMC-200 makes my old receivers sound compressed, as if they were covered with a veil, and now sounds are cleaner, punchier, and more discrete. A quick example is in The Matrix (HD-DVD - Dolby True HD track) when Neo meets Trinity for the first time and the Rob Zombie song Dragula is blasting away. The UMC-200 had the song seemingly floating around me (loudly) from the surrounds but the dialogue from the front was still clear and intelligible. I've never experienced that level of separation from the dialogue and music in this scene the countless times I've seen it in the past, very cool!
Something I love about this unit that I had not even thought about when I purchased it is that it uses on the fly menus. Now I don't have to stop what I'm watching to go into the main menu to make a change or check a setting. I have no idea why more receivers don't have this feature but it's totally underrated. I also really enjoy the fact that it has individual speaker trim controls so I can raise/lower the level of the center, sub, surrounds, and back surrounds with the press of a button, no need to go into the menu to make adjustments. Now it's super quick and easy to raise the sub level while playing Xbox or watching Dish as compared to watching a movie where I would have the sub lower, nice touch Emotiva!
I also like that this unit does not do any processing of the video signal, clean in - clean out. My source components do all the video processing I need and does it better than most receivers would anyway. I'm glad that I don't have to find a way to turn off the video processing from the receiver like I've had to in the past. One less thing to muck up the video signal so in my opinion this is a good thing.
One thing I'd like to point out is that I haven't made use of the manual EQ and for many this is the number one feature this unit offers (11 P-EQ filters per speaker, 3 filters for the sub). I plan to do this in the future for my mains/surrounds (already eq'd my sub) using Room EQ Wizard but in the meantime I have been using the "Flat" setting and have been very impressed. I did run EMO-Q which is Emotiva's room correction software and was not too pleased with the results as it took all the bass out of the sound. The unit does allow you to make changes to the crossovers / speaker size / distances that EMO-Q produced which is nice but I still couldn't get much bass back into the sound after tweaking the settings. I called Emotiva and they said that EMO-Q is just a guide and is in no way supposed to be looked at as the end all be all for sound quality in your room. I may try it again in the future but for now will continue using "Flat."
To sum up, I'm extremely happy that I have taken my first step into the world of separates and with the low cost of the UMC-200, I couldn't be more pleased!