file My First XMC-1 with DIRAC Full review

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WayneWilmeth Posted 7 years 2 months ago
Dear GoldenEar guys, I hope this makes sense, little sleep last night....
Here is a first report on the XMC-1. It has been a fight, but I feel like I am winning. I finally was able to run my first DIRAC full room correction, finished at 3:30 am.
I have struggled to get it all set up right, some of that was just wire connecting, I was not totally certain HOW I wanted to do it. I initially wired the headphone amp to Zone 2 outlet, thinking this would give me more flexibility/listening options. And it MIGHT, but not really useful ones as I still have to defeat the sound in the home theater when listening with the cans. Easiest way to do that is to keep a small adapter plug near the XMC-1 so I can plug it into the headphone output and mute the rest of the system automatically. Then the line level output will let me control the volume with cans by the volume control on the Vincent amp.
Some missteps, I did not realize that I could use two (2) pure analog inputs, BOTH the balanced and unbalanced inputs. So now I have the Oppo 95 balanced outs directly into the balanced inputs AND the analog outs-RCA- of the Jolida tubed CD player, and these are setup to run in Reference stereo (no processing at all). DIRAC does not process these.
My DX-90 DAP plugs in nicely into the front face of the XMC-1 and plays very well there, I have not tried DIRAC on this yet, soon. I just wish the cable was long enough for me to control the DAP from my seat position, this would be great for headphone use as well. Just need more cables?????
With some help, I got the XMC-1 to be recognized on my network, by my router. Then I started to run DIRAC, I downloaded and installed that program. I paid the $99 extra and got the full DIRAC, this way I can set curtains and only correct the lower frequencies, which is where room correction does the most good, IMHO. But when I was ready to do measurements, it said push the “start” button, there was not one. I rebooted everything, two or three times. Had to call Emotiva last night, the man was not in, but called me back—NICE.
He said it was my screen resolution was not set right, not allowing the start button to show on the page. That turned out to be almost correct, it was really that I had chosen LARGE icons/fonts and that was what was making it not fit on the screen. BUT meantime, the DIRAC program started to crash, all the time. I had already set my firewall to allow it to run, but finally had to turn off my Microsoft security, and change the screen resolution, then it would work.
It was very late by now, but I did all 9 measurements and let it make the filters.
Today, with music I am quite pleased with the results. Two channel music and Blu-ray concerts sound great. The mid/upper bass hump, bloat that I had before has been tamed a LOT, cello and double bass sound much clearer and defined, more realistic. And on movies, the SC-X center channel dialogue is clear as a bell, better than before, noticeably.
BUT on movies, the bass is dialed down a good bit, and in the highest frequencies, the sound effects on the train crash in the movie, Super 8, which always sounded like a high pitched bunch of tin cans being ripped apart, flying around sound even that little bit worse now.
As a temporary measure, the trim can be turned up on the sub when watching a movie, and this did the trick a +2dB bump made the deep bass on the movie “War of the Worlds” come back to what I knew it should be. And I can re-run DIRAC or set curtains to tame that high end.
What I really like about the XMC-1: It has a very low level of background noise, inaudible, the music comes from a black background. It is clean/clear/open/airy sounding, I can't hear that it adds anything to the signal, especially in the Reference stereo mode.
I like that it automatically selects the best decoding for the incoming signal (but you can change it), and since I have 7.1 speakers, even 5.1 movies are decoded with rear channels to make them 7.1.
The remote control is heavy as, and very nicely done. Problem with it is, it is NOT backlit. So I am having to really feel around in the dark to find the right buttons to push. But when I do get one pushed, I REALLY like the display on the front of the unit, and the small OSD on the TV when on.
I like the video (audio too) pass through when the unit is on standby, I don't have to have it on to watch TV IF I am willing to use only the TV's built in speakers-- hardly ever do that.
I like the trigger system, and setup is pretty straightforward when you get the hang of it in a few mins. It is capable of all kinds of configurations.
I REALLY like all the connection options, including the Analog 7.1 audio from my Oppo. WAY more connections than I can ever use, both audio and video.
The build quality of the unit seems GREAT. There are bugs that I hope will be dealt with in FW updates, soon I hope. DSD sounds delicious through the unit, but when it stops for any reason, there is a very audible BUMP.
And sometimes the screen flashs the OSD of the volume control a few times, in crazy places, and sometimes weird colors, but only a little bit, not often.
Will hope to make a follow up on this when I have had more experience and time listening. In a further word, I hope to better express how my 1 FF5 in the middle of the back of my home theater, and the LFE inputs on my T2s in the front and T3s on the sides are all playing nicely together and that the bass is smooth. Getting there, I HOPE!!!!
Thanks for reading.
God Bless, Wayne
God bless the child that's got his own.
The following user(s) said Thank You: rjohn79395, Splash51, T Cobe

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