Rogue Metis vs. Emotiva USP-1

Recently I posted my review of the Emotiva amps vs. some more expensive amps. Last night I played with the Emotiva USP-1 preamp that costs under 400 bucks. I mated it with a Odyssey Stratos and Rotel 1090. The pre-amp war was on and I compared it to was the very sweet Rogue Metis.

While Secrets of Home Theater had already posted a impressive review for the inexpensive Emotiva, I still doubted it would be any good.

I'll cut right to the point. The Emotiva is NOT as good as the Rogue, at least with the Stratos or Rotel. The Rogue had the ability to soften some of the SS brightness and made both amps sweeter sounding. Maybe this is an unfair contest and a shootout with another SS pre makes more sense.

But here's the problem: The Emotiva was VERY close, and it seemed to produce a more neutral sound, where the Rogue sometimes gave a bit of midrange bloat to some vocal recordings. Bass seemed tighter and more detailed and the Emotiva also had a lower noise floor. Mated to the Odyssey I really felt that the USP-1 was doing more than a good job. I would have easily believed I was listening to a 1500 dollar pre. On top of that the Emotiva seemed to work better with my MJ Acoustics 150 II subwoofer since it has it's own bass management built in. It's really quite a bit more flexible and I think some would actually prefer it to the Metis depending on their speakers and tastes. At the end I felt that the Rogue Metis was somehow more than the sum of it's qualities and more musical...but I wouldn't be unhappy with the USP-1 either!

Bottom line: For a SS pre-amp this thing has no business costing 399.00! It's just crazy. Frankly it's cost will scare off a lot of audio buffs, but that's their loss. A product like this makes me seriously question the obviously inflated costs of like-featured products with better known names.

Don't be afraid. Listen to a USP-1 before springing for a preamp that costs 3 times more. I probably won't buy one since I like the Rogue (my second one!), but WOW....

Has anyone tried pairing the Rogue Metis with the Emotiva XPA-2?
i have a system with the usp-1 and xpa-2. for under 1000 dollars it is a real value. so good i take it for granted. my only problem is at 70 lbs it isn,t easy to move around. i was also interested in bryston, wyred4sound and parasound halo products but for double or triple the money i went with the emotiva products. my 12 year old can go thru some groceries, wow.
Thanks for the review. I haven't been able to compare my USP-1 with anything more expensive and I've been curious about what other people are experiencing. I've been getting together with some friends lately to do some equipment comparisons, but it's been more source and speaker based, not so much with the pre/power amps.
Since I gave that short review I've had few other items in the house to compared it to, most notably my new Manley Stingray II integrated tube amp.

Will I actually claim that the Emotiva could hang with a piece of gear costing 3 grand?

Nope. Sorry! No-can-Do. The Stingray imaged the pants off the Emotiva and created a lush soundstage with a serious soundstage. The USP sounded analytically less musical and made the Totem The One speakers sound even brighter than usual (a good mini-monitor costing 3200 new). Switching over to the more refined Merlin set was a bit more forgiving. The USP was able to convey the musical information, but just couldn't get as much of the "you are there" feeling going. Nor could the Merlin's pull off their disappearing act as well.

The USP can hang with a LOT of components in 750-1500 range. And that's nothing to cry about. "Entry level" was a term in audio that used to scare off a lot of audiophiles. That's just not the case anymore and I'm always a fan of companies that bring good sound to folks not willing or ready to spend thousands on each component.


Currently evaluating a Emotiva USP 1 preamp and have to say way impressed not only with its sonics, but build quality as well. However this thread comparing it to elevated tube gear is not a fair evaluation. Nor is it fair for me to compare the USP 1 to high end Pass Labs, Levinson, Rowland and other ultra high end preamps. I did compare it to a Rowland Coherence One preamp, no contest the Rowland steam rolled the USP 1 big time, but then again it should.

But to look at the Emotiva in the context of its competition it is a winner hands down. Smokes anything I have heard from Parasound,Adcom,Bryston,NAD and bested a Classe 30 preamp by a wide margin.

After 54 years in this hobby, to me this is a genuine breakthrough in affordable stereo preamplifiers and easily competes with anything up to the $1K level.

I am continually evaluating the Emotiva USP 1, throwing one tough test after another to it and thus far the USP 1 has come through with all the musicality one could ask for in this price/performance category. Just amazing value.
Most negativity about the Emotiva preamp will disappear if you switch from the preamp outs that go to satellite and subwoofer, to the full range outs. I found the hi pass outs glaring; but the full range outs are mellow and fine on my Martin Logan Vistas. btw, the Emotiva Monster does not flinch running them,my McIntosh MC 2002 ran out of steam. Th Monster uses up to 6 of the 14 volume meter lights.
In my testing have only used the full range outputs. I won't be testing the other outputs, as this test is for stereo operation only sans any subwoofer attachment. Have never found a subwoofer I could live with.
can you guys tell me why the usp-1 don't even have a function like integrated amp with the adjust of the bass and treble , i just got the pre-amp yesterday and already disappointed with it , sound so flat and there is no bass at all(my gear is upa-1 and focal 836
Hi Ptepm

Are you sure you have everything hooked up correctly? Have you double checked the IC connections as well as your speaker connections? The reason I ask is that I have a USP-1 and I don't have speakers as nice as yours but I have no issues with bass and treble whatsoever. Also nowadays lots of preamps don't have bass or treble controls anymore. Receivers do and maybe some integrateds but for the most part preamps with bass and treble controls is a thing of the past.

Have you also tried calling Emotiva customer service to help you trouble shoot? They are pretty helpful.

Good luck.
One note: If you are using your subwoofer's internal high- and/or low- pass cross-overs, you are filtering the signal from the Rogue through what may be an inferior cross-over vs. the cross-over built into the Emotiva. My point is, it's not a very fair comparison because of that variable. Just for grins, try comparing the two preamps without your subwoofer, just running full range to your mains.

I am not saying to leave your system that way, but just try it and see if the Metis ranks better. In my own experience, moving from the temporary x-over that came with my Vandersteen subs to a fixed in-line (and much higher quality) x-over made a significant improvement in clarity, imaging and soundstage. So much so, that I am planning on moving up to Vandersteen's best outboard x-over when I can afford it.
I think I've gathered enough positive info in this thread to give this little guy a test drive. Has anyone played with the phono stage yet? I'd love to plug in a turntable

I'm selling off my Theta Casablanca-I and hoping this emotiva pre won't be to drastic of a downgrade for stereo only use.

I was thinking about adding an Oppo-95 for digital front end. comments welcome

I don't know what to expect but I'll be happy to report my findings in a few months. I mainly play in the high end realm but curiosity has got the best of me...again

Worse case is it all goes in a bedroom system down the road.
Hi Glen

I had an Emotiva USP-1 and did use it's phone stage with a Concept 2QD turntable that had an Audio Technica MM cart with an AT11SE stylus. I found the sound to be very enjoyable over the budget phono preamps I had in place before. I was using a NAD PP2 and Cambridge Audio 640P. Maybe others can chime in with the other non-budget phono preamps that they have compared to the USP-1's phono stage.

Lastly check out A'gon member Ferrari's review of the USP-1. He really put the preamp to task.
I own a USP-1, UMC-1, XPA-2, XPA-3 and two XPA-1s. I'm obviously a bit of an Emotiva fan. :-)

That said, I consider myself to be fair when assessing A/V quality. I've had th chance to listen to pre amps from Audio Research, Mc, Marantz and a couple other high-end players. I would agree 100% with this posting. The Emotiva equipment is NOT is the same league as Audio Research or Mc. The products I auditioned from those brands are better, although the Emotiva was definitely better than Marantz IMO.

That said, the question I always ask myself is whether the additional money is worth it. Honestly, if money where no issue I would buy an Audio Research pre. I liked them the best of any I have personally heard. But, for $400 shipped to my home I have to tell you that I LOVE my USP-1. It produces VERY good sound, and is absolutely better than anything I have personally heard from Marantz.

If you are looking for something that produces very good sound an at insanely low price then you must audition Emotiva. They provide a 30-day money back guarantee and free 2-day shipping. I have kept everything I bought from them. Until my bank account allows me to step up to a higher end pre from Audio Research, I'm sticking with them. They provide a product I would rate as "7 out of 10 stars" for the price of something that I would rate 3 out of ten.