Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Metro Detroit, MI
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I have had a (used) Ref 50 S2 which was originally a Ref 50, but returned to the factory for refurbish/update to S2 status by its original owner. It was paired with an Anthem PVA7 amp (unbalanced input only). It was great for a little while, and was certainly a huge leap from my old Yamaha RX-V465 that used to drive my Swan Diva 6.2 and Diva surround system. I recently auditioned the Integra DHC 80.3 much to my excitement, I had been drooling over it for months! I also had an Anthem D2 (NOT the newer D2v).
The Integra sounded very good without any room correction. I was really surprised. I had always thought that my Swan speakers were very "OK" sounding, but the Integra made them sound so much sweeter. The Integra was very musical to my ears. There was much more separation and clarity between each channel compared to the B&K. There was also much more depth and most importantly for me, transparency. As it turns out my Swan speakers are very mid-range heavy. I got very used to this and after doing the XT32 room correction the Integra seemed to completely suck the life out of the speakers. I assume it must have corrected the overzealous mid-range, but it sounded very strange to me. It also seemed to remove some of the transparency to the sound. I would have otherwise gone back to the B&K, but I then tried the Anthem.
The Anthem blew me away! I thought the Integra opened my Swans up, but the Anthem was in another league. The Anthem creates a "wall of sound" from all speakers. There is no hole in the 5 channel surround at all. The best part is the staging between center and L&R. The discrete channels are certainly there, and there was infinitely more transparency and detail from each channel when compared to the B&K. But the way the Anthem blends all of the speakers together is like nothing I have ever heard before. I then did the ARC on the unit and it printed out some really pretty graphs for me. The mid-range hump in each of my speakers was present just as I had thought. But in the last several weeks of listening I have not been displeased with its sound signature. It is very, very neutral. The dynamics are all there and the clarity and transparency is great. I find it also very good for 2 channel music listening, but it doesn't quite compare to my dedicated 2 channel rig.
All that being said, these are just my personal opinions, of course. I was truly blown away by the Anthem. I find that its surround sound presentation is perfect for what I am after. I honestly never thought my Swan speakers would sound so good. I suspect an Anthem AVR would certainly do even better with your Revel speakers as well.