On one side you have most companies offering room corrections and even making their own version of it and on the other side you have high end companies like Arcam and audiophile companies like NAD and Cambridge who both share Arcams feelings on RC as to avoid it and recommend speaker placement or if you have to correct the room with panels and such, then you have another company like Anthem who is high end and it's key selling point is it's RC, so whats the deal here? the Anthem MRX-500 and Arcam FMJ 360 are priced similar and two I'm torn by with the Cambridge 551R, both high end, great reputations and known for making great sounding products but a BIG key difference between them is that Arcam says don't use RC and Anthem is a huge supporter and player in RC and might just have the best one on the market, does one miss out by going with Arcam over the Anthem and missing out on their great room correction software? or is it the other way around? to make things even more complicated hometheatermag had this to say about the MRX-700 vs the FMJ 400
"If your room has any gross acoustic flaws that can't be fixed with an equalized sub alone, then Anthem is the better choice. Arcam's room correction is rudimentary, and even the instruction manual recommends that you get along without it if possible. On the other hand, for sheer sound quality, Arcam is unbeatable. If possible, step up to the AVR600 (also among HT's Top Picks reviewed here) to get the benefit of rail-switching amplification, which switches between different output transistors depending on the demands of the signal, allowing the amp to provide more power into lower impedances with greater efficiency and less heat."
They say that Arcam is unbeatable for sound quality, yet it lacks RC, the Anthem has possibly the best RC on the market but they seem to lean towards the AVR without RC? how does one know if their room has gross acoustic flaws? would this mean lots of windows and hardwood floors and poor speaker placement?
So the question is how important is room correction? if one places the speaker right does this make the difference of RC to no RC nil? unfortunately the nearest Anthem dealer is an hour and a half away which isn't too bad but they say if you buy it and open it you can't return it, no in home trail, and the nearest Arcam dealer is about 15 hours away so in home trails between the two is something I can't do nor do I have the money available to buy both and return the loser, so that brings me here with this thread and your experience and opinions on this, cause my mind is about to blow and I keep going back and forth between these 3 AVRs.
The combination of speaker selection, speaker placement, room acoustics and seating positions make up about 90% of the SQ you will experience.
The second best way is to have a good room EQ system - as an afterthought - to compensate for the deficiencies of the room, the speaker placement, the listening position and speaker deficiencies.
Thus it is advisable to have the best EQ available to get rid at least of some of the existing problems. There probably never will be a perfect situation in a typical home listening environment.
The amp is the least influential component in that chain in contrary what most manufacturers want you to believe.
Denon, Marantz, Onkyo, Pioneer etc. all have well known and efficient room EQ systems with different features.
The debatable differences in amps are greatly exaggerated as a way of the manufacturers to differentiate themselves from the rest / the competition.
But this is highly controversial debated here and driven more by believes than facts as you can experience reading yourself the different threads.
How important is RC depends on your room's own response and until you measure it you just don't know how good or bad it is.
The Arcam does not lack RC, just that it's a rudimentary one, and quite acceptable in my room. Look up Stereophile's review of the AV888 where Kal did a graphic plot.
Arcam AVR600 manual never says 'don't use EQ' or 'get along without it if possible', but deal with the room first. EQ is the next best option, listen for yourself with and without, to put it in the right context.
Don't read too much into what magazine says, esp. when using hyperbole like 'unbeatable', except what Kal says of course.
I dunno if the RC in lower models are the same or even more primitive.
Or do what I do, attach a SSP/AVR with Audyssey MultEQ XT32 to the Arcam to get the best of both worlds and the flexibility to use one or both. I have found Audyseey MultEQ and MultEQ XT32 to be better but not night and day over each other (as many swear) and over the Arcam EQ and it could well be down to the room or better pre-amp. It's not such a heresy when you consider that there used to be a standalone Audyssey EQ unit to attach to the analogue output of SSPs.
Of course there are SSPs and AVRs without EQ at all, amongst them the $10k Bryston SP3, which apparently Kal also likes, so there you are.
Audiosceptics accept audio trials using 25 people. A recent Oxford study with over 353,000 patient records from 639 separate clinical trials shows for every 1,000 people taking diclofenac or ibuprofen there would be 3 additional heart attacks, 4 more cases of heart failure and 1 death every year.
The development of an individual RQ system is based upon a predefined model of a common room plus speaker setup and its prevailing problems.
The closer your individual situation is to that implemented model situation the better the EQ results will be, probably.
Thus different RQ systems may lead to different results within your specific situation.
Whatever you like best then is quite often a very personal and subjective decision depending on your acoustic "taste", because the difference between "reference" and "preference" may lead to subjectively different assessments.