Product Review

Emotiva DMC-1 SSP and MPS-1 Seven-Channel Power Amplifier


Part I

March, 2006

Yongki Go








● Codecs: DD, DD-EX, DPL-IIx, DTS, DTS-ES,
    DTS Neo:6

● DACs: 24/192

● Motorola DSP

● Firewire Port for Expansion

● MFR: 20 Hz - 20 kHz

● Bass Management: 40 Hz - 160 Hz

● Component Video Bandwidth: 100 MHz

● Dimensions: 5.75" H x 17" W x 15.5" D

● Weight: 27 Pounds

● MSRP: $2,495 USA


● Power Output: 200 Watts RMS into 8 Ohms,
    300 Watts RMS into 4 Ohms, Stable into 2
● MFR:  (+/-0.1dB): 20 Hz - 20 kHz Ī 0.1 dB,
    10 Hz  - 100 kHz
Ī 3 dB
● S/N: 100 dB Unweighted
● THD: <0.015%
● Input impedance: 20 kOhms
● Dimensions: 7.75" H x 17"W x 19"D
● Weight: 12 Pounds (Each Module), 33 Pounds
● MSRP: $1,999 USA

MSRP of combo DMC-1+MPS-1 (7 channels): $4,299 USA



Introduction is a company that most of us know well. I have reviewed several of their products in the past, mostly speakers, and came away impressed. In fact, some of these speakers are now permanent occupants of my music and home theater systems and Iíve used them as a reference to judge other speakersí performance and value. Thatís how good they are and how highly I regard them!

The Emotiva line marks the companyís venture into the home-theater electronics world. Knowing Mark Schifter, the president of who seems to always have an abundance of great ideas and, most importantly, has the energy to realize them, I was not surprised with this product line expansion. I was happy to get the chance to become acquainted with these early models.

The DMC-1 surround sound processor (SSP) and the MPS-1 multi-channel amplifier reviewed here are the first products in the Emotiva line. They are very aggressively priced at $2,495 for the DMC-1 and $1,999 for the MPS-1 in seven-channel configuration. If you buy both as a package, the price is even better, at $4,299, which saves about $200.


The DMC-1 and MPS-1 came well packed, as with other AV123 products. Everything was double-boxed and well padded. The MPS-1 was shipped unassembled, meaning the amplifier case (chassis) and the inside amplifier modules were shipped in separate boxes. Hence some assembly is required for the MPS-1.

This was done to avoid the risk of shipping a too-heavy item and also to provide the flexibility to the customers to configure the amplifier to their liking. For example, the MPS-1 can be configured for two, three, four, five, six, or seven channels, depending on the particular customerís need. This is all possible because the MPS-1 employs a monoblock amplifier design.

AV123 has also informed me that a new amplifier module (called the EPM-2150) consisting of two channels of amplification per module is now available. This means that you can have up to 14 channels in an MPS-1 chassis.

The Layout

The DMC-1 is heavier and slightly bigger than an average surround processor. When it is in operation, it features blue backlighting on all its buttons and also blue lettering on the main LCD panel, which looks cool. Although populated with small buttons, its front panel looks neat and doesnít look busy. The combination of black and silver front panels with glossy black wood side-panels is elegant.

The DMC-1 carries enough features that would satisfy most people in most applications. First of all, it is capable of delivering signal to 9.1 channels: the usual 7.1 channels plus stereo side outputs (called side-axis) to complement the front speakers. These side-axis channels are matrixed and derived from the left and right front channels, so they are available in stereo as well as surround modes. I didnít try this feature in my evaluation, because another amplifier pair is needed, but if you have extra speakers and space, you might as well try it to see if you can gain better performance with them.

The processing engines inside the DMC-1 are quite powerful. It is equipped with 24-bit 192-kHz Analog Devices D/A converters, 24-bit Crystal Semiconductor A/D converters, a 32-bit 20 MHz control microprocessor, and 24-bit 150 MIPS Motorola Symphony DSP processors. But besides this powerful digital processing, the DMC-1 also provides direct two-channel analog bypass to cater to the stereo music purist. The DMC-1 offers balanced as well as unbalanced outputs on all the 7.1 channels. The side-axis channels, however, are only available in unbalanced (RCA) outputs.

If you have a lot of audio-video equipment to connect to the DMC-1, you donít need to worry. It has six A/V inputs and three A/V outputs (each with S-Video/composite video), three audio-only inputs including a phono input (LP player owners should be happy with this inclusion), six coaxial and four optical digital inputs with a pair of coaxial and optical outputs, eight-channel analog inputs, three component video inputs with two outputs, and two tape record outputs.

This processor can convert composite and S-Video signals to component video. Also the DMC-1 offers four subwoofer outputs. So, in case you want to populate your listening room with subwoofers, you are sufficiently accommodated by the DMC-1. Other features offered include Zone 2 outputs, DC triggers, an RS-232 port, and AM/FM tuner with 40 presets.

There are no DVI or HDMI inputs/outputs, so if you need DVI/HDMI switching, you would have to get an outboard switcher, such as the Gefen unit we reviewed in January of this year. Iíve been told that a two-port HDMI switcher that can connect to the RS-232 port is currently under development at The RS-232 integration would ensure that HDMI switching would be automated with the audio switching in the SSP.


Click Here to Go to Part II. 

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