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Denon AVP-A1HDCI vs. Anthem D2 V2 D2V2. Is the Anthem better?

post #1 of 177
Thread Starter 
I am about to upgrade my system. My choices are narrowed to the Denon AVP-A1HDCI or Anthem D2 V2 D2V2.

There are some features that the Denon has that I prefer, ... e.g. ability to use the Denon link with my current Denon 3930 ci player (to avoid the DA and then AD conversion), an optical audio output to connect to a second room, more inputs, etc.

I would be interested in anyone's thoughts between the two products. Does anyone feel that one is better? In particular, is there any reason to prefer the Anthem D2V2 over the Denon? I am more interested in audio than video capabilities, as I listen primarily to SACD and DVD-Audio, with only occasional movies.

Thanks!
post #2 of 177
I would give the video processing to the anthem, room correction is tied, and features to the denon.
post #3 of 177
Both units have very good threads with lots of info. I owned the D1(not the same of course) before I bought the AVP A1 HD. The Anthem was excellent. I just wanted something different and I have been very pleased with the Denon.
post #4 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hi-Res View Post

I prefer, ... e.g. ability to use the Denon link with my current Denon 3930 ci player....

I am more interested in audio than video capabilities, as I listen primarily to SACD and DVD-Audio, with only occasional movies.
Thanks!

Those two might be the decision maker for you. Denon Link is excellent for music from redbook CD's and equally so for SACD & DVD-A, better than using HDMI or converting to PCM & using coax/toslink IMO. Advantage AVP in this case.

I'm using the 3930ci with Denon Link to the AVP & love the combo.
post #5 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by nethomas View Post

Both units have very good threads with lots of info. I owned the D1(not the same of course) before I bought the AVP A1 HD. The Anthem was excellent. I just wanted something different and I have been very pleased with the Denon.

How did the two compare sonically?
post #6 of 177
I think the Denon has better dynamics, but remember that the D1 had no room correction or Dynamic volume.
post #7 of 177
I thought Denon AVP-A1HD with POA-A1HD is exellent duo and I also want Anthem after heard a good things about this pre.
post #8 of 177
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rnrgagne View Post

Those two might be the decision maker for you. Denon Link is excellent for music from redbook CD's and equally so for SACD & DVD-A, better than using HDMI or converting to PCM & using coax/toslink IMO. Advantage AVP in this case.

I'm using the 3930ci with Denon Link to the AVP & love the combo.

Thank you for the responses and opinions. I certainly am leaning toward the Denon. I would still be interested if any other forum members have any opinions as to why the Anthem might have an advantage over the Denon, apart from the video section.

rnrgange: regarding the Denon Link, ... what advantage does the Denon Link have over HDMI? I thought that they both use the original, unconverted signal from SACD and DVD-A. Is that correct?
post #9 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hi-Res View Post


rnrgange: regarding the Denon Link, ... what advantage does the Denon Link have over HDMI? I thought that they both use the original, unconverted signal from SACD and DVD-A. Is that correct?

I'm not a techie and just understand this stuff in very general terms, but I believe the difference is in where and how the "clocking" occurs. From what I understand the Denon Link (and i-Link before that) operates virtually jitterless and lossless with the older formats (CD, SACD, DVD-A). HDMI is weaker in that regard except with the new high-rez codecs which are also lossless and jitter free. My ears definitely agree with that concept and the most pronounced difference is with redbook cds IMO.
post #10 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by rnrgagne View Post

I'm not a techie and just understand this stuff in very general terms, but I believe the difference is in where and how the "clocking" occurs. From what I understand the Denon Link (and i-Link before that) operates virtually jitterless and lossless with the older formats (CD, SACD, DVD-A). HDMI is weaker in that regard except with the new high-rez codecs which are also lossless and jitter free.

The Anthem is also reclocking the signal over HDMI, so there will be no differences.

Dynamic volume will also soon be implemented in the Anthems in a firmware upgrade.
post #11 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by LEVESQUE View Post

The Anthem is also reclocking the signal over HDMI, so there will be no differences.

Like I said I'm no techie, but I don't think that re-clocking over HDMI is the same.... I'll defer to the experts on that one.
post #12 of 177
The other lossless audio that the Denon can handle is streaming audio, I burned all my CD's in FLAC to a NAS drive and can access all my music through the AVP. It's a really cool feature that I'm using far more than I expected. The sound quality is excellent, although the application is a bit clunky. Internet radio is another feature that surprised me, there's some very high quality stations out there and I'm using that more than I thought I would as well.
It's a bit ironic but those two features are ones I didn't consider as a factor in my purchase but are now ones I wouldn't be without.
post #13 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by nethomas View Post

I think the Denon has better dynamics, but remember that the D1 had no room correction or Dynamic volume.

The D1 & D2 both have room correction (ARC) as an optional (but invaluable) extra. It comes standard with the D2V2 now.

Assuming that there is little to choose between them sonically, the biggest upside on the Anthem products to me is customer service, call them and they will work through your problems with you. I have a 3800BDCI and Denon's customer service for that product is awful. Also the support on this site is fantastic. Anthem still supports and does upgrades (and software updates) for the D1. For how many years after the Denon is no longer sold will there be any possiblility for an upgrade or will they put out software updates?

There will shortly be a review of the D2V2 in one of the magazines (can't remember which one).
post #14 of 177
Considering the Denon is upgradeable through it's own internet connection and upgrade site, (which I've done four times already) I see no reason to believe support in that capacity will dwindle beyond its' capability to accept them.
As for customer service, it's a valid point but I think you need to take that with a grain of salt. How can a company the size of Denon with their massive product lines and equally massive distribution compete with the personalized service a boutique company like Anthem who has a very limited product line? I realize Anthem is not exactly a boutique brand in the true sense of the word but they are when compared to a Denon.
post #15 of 177
Quote:


I would still be interested if any other forum members have any opinions as to why the Anthem might have an advantage over the Denon, apart from the video section.

Customer support but that also depends on where you buy the denon from.

Quote:


Like I said I'm no techie, but I don't think that re-clocking over HDMI is the same.... I'll defer to the experts on that one.

Depends if you have a video signal, I would not worry about jitter since http://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/ast/26/1/50/_pdf people can not hear a difference when jitter is as high as 250 ms, which is 250,000 ps.
post #16 of 177
I am in the same boat, trying to decide between the Denon AVP-A1HDCI and the Anthem D2V2. I actually had decided on the Denon when I contacted a high-end HT dealer I've bought from before, to propose a price for the Denon, and he actually agreed to the price I asked, but then said I'd be making a "huge mistake". (His words, not mine.) His main point was about how good Anthem has been about hardware upgrades (as opposed to software updates, for which Denon is probably at least as good, and their new internet-based firmware updating might actually give them a lead on). Owners of an Anthem D1 had the option to upgrade to the D2, and then an option to upgrade to the D2v2, and while Anthem's upgrade policy made them essentially future-proof, a Denon AVP would be a "boat anchor" in a couple of years. He also stated that Anthem, being a separates company, built intrinsically better units than a "receiver company" like Denon. And US companies always produced the better truly high-end separates, rather than Japanese companies. He argued surprisingly vehemently and forcefully for Anthem over Denon, and even went so far as to say he "couldn't possibly recommend more one way and less the other".

Now personally, just the fact that he presented such a one-sided case makes me take his arguments less seriously. I'm quite certain the Denon is a fine unit. I suspect I'd be perfectly happy with either the Denon or the Anthem, at first. But maybe, just maybe the Anthem really is a smidgeon better on the sound front, and maybe, just maybe it is more future-proof due to the company's hardware upgrade policies. Not clear. So, some questions:

* What was the cost of the upgrade from D1 to D2?
* What was the cost of the upgrade from D2 to D2v?
* Is "D2v" the same thing as "D2V2"? (Anthem's site only refers to "D2v".)
* Does modern HDMI always include audio as well as video? (I noticed there were only 3 Toslink inputs, which I would overflow way too quickly if even one of my HDMI-capable components requires Toslink in addition to HDMI. And I set up my HD system 10 years ago, when everything was component, so I'm not intimately familiar with the behavior of HDMI yet.)
* What is the difference between a D2v and an AVM 50v? Anthem's comparison chart shows only 3 differences, total: 1) "Yes (differential circuit)" vs. "Yes" for "6 channel analog input", 2) "special order" vs. "optional handles" for "Rackmountable", and 3) "Yes" vs. "No" for "Premium faceplate finish". What value is that "differential circuit"? And are there any other internal differences? (I can live without a "premium faceplate".) What is the price difference between these two units?
* It has been said that Denon might be preferred for its features. What features? Yes, 6 component inputs vs. the Anthem's 4, but only 6 HDMI inputs vs. the Anthem's 8, and I suspect going forward that the Anthem's will be the better mix. The Denon has 4 TosLink inputs vs. the Anthem's 3, but if most audio is provided via HDMI, that's acceptable. The Denon has 12 channels, supporting 3 subwoofers, vs. the Anthem's 10 channels, but I have no intention of using more than one subwoofer. Aside from the one extra Toslink input, I haven't found any flexibility that makes me prefer the Denon over the Anthem.
* Does the Anthem output video and audio simultaneously on all outputs of equal or higher bandwidth? (I believe the Denon does.) Does it do any downconversion (so a 1080i or 1080p input signal is output over composite, say)? (The Denon does not, though it will output a 480i or 576i input signal over composite out.)

One interesting tidbit I noticed is that Denon says it does not provide its onscreen GUI over 1080p, only 1080i and lower, while Anthem clearly states that its onscreen graphics work for all resolutions (presumably including 1080p).

Any and all input gratefully welcomed. This is a big, important, pricey decision for me, and I am not going to be able to audition the two units, so every bit of information I can find out in advance is very welcome.

For context, this is going into the following system:
Being replaced: Krell HTS pre/pro (Home Theater Standard)
Krell 250a 2-channel left & right
Krell 250a/3 3-channel center & surrounds
Martin Logan reQuest left & right
Martin Logan Scenario rear surround channels
Martin Logan Logos center channel
Sunfire Signature sub-woofer
Sony VPL-VW70 (having recently replaced a lightning-damaged Sony G90)

Thanks! - larryy
post #17 of 177
I would go with the denon, very comparable pieces of equipment though. But, you can get the Denon repaired in the US if needed. If you live in Canada, pick'em
post #18 of 177
Quote:


And US companies always produced the better truly high-end separates, rather than Japanese companies.

Which US based company is he referring to? It ain't Anthem - they're Canadian based.

Are you concerned mainly about SQ rather than video processing. If so, I would audition the Arcam AVR 600. The soon to be released Arcam FMJ 888 prepro should be near the top for SQ both in 2 channel and HT if it is similar design as the 600.
post #19 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by LEVESQUE View Post

The Anthem is also reclocking the signal over HDMI, so there will be no differences.

I don't beleive that is correct.

Denon went all out to conquer PCM jitter on HDMI and upgraded DenonLink to v4 specifically to address that.

To correctly do this, both the processor AND the players need to exchange clocks, which is what DL4 on the AVP and the upcoming BDP-A1UD and BDP-4010UD do.

To the OP since you already have Denon universal, an AVP would make much more sense, as you already have a DL3 enabled player.
post #20 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hi-Res View Post

I am about to upgrade my system. My choices are narrowed to the Denon AVP-A1HDCI or Anthem D2 V2 D2V2.

There are some features that the Denon has that I prefer, ... e.g. ability to use the Denon link with my current Denon 3930 ci player (to avoid the DA and then AD conversion), an optical audio output to connect to a second room, more inputs, etc.

I would be interested in anyone's thoughts between the two products. Does anyone feel that one is better? In particular, is there any reason to prefer the Anthem D2V2 over the Denon? I am more interested in audio than video capabilities, as I listen primarily to SACD and DVD-Audio, with only occasional movies.

Thanks!

If you are into high-res audio, then I can heartily recommend the AVP!

It was one of the goals in my system to achieve superlative multichannel audio, and while I had made great progress towards that goal over the past 9 years in my dedicated listening room, the addition of the AVP and Audyssey Pro brought it to true climax.

The soundfield cohesion brought on by absolutely time-coherent speaker and room-correction is astounding.

Listening to really good DVD-A's like Porcupine Tree's 'Fear of a blank planet' is a near religious experience

Member Larryy asked some of these questions over on the AVP thread, so I'll cross post some of my answers here:

Room Correction

Larryy, these are all great points everyone is making, and I'll expound on one I feel the most familiar with, which is room correction.

As Danielo notes, the Audyssey solution is part of an overall system that is tightly intertwined and dependent on deep knowledge of not only room measurements, but real-time data like volume, source mode options, etc.

A feature like Dynamic volume totally depends on those to provide the most natural compression processing I've heard (and I have extremely sophisticated audio processors downstream to play with for comparisons).
Features like Dynamic EQ (not available on the Anthem) are really transformational, as they allow for balanced frequency response at lower listening levels. Your ears (and family) will thank you for that

All the above build on the unique design and implementation of Audyssey room correction, which (to my knowledge) is the only mainstream Room corrector to use Finite Impulse response based convolution (FIR) to provide correction in both frequency and temporal domains. It is the ability to do the later that is absolutely key to why Audyssey (when well setup) yields the best results of any room corrector to date.

Most other RC's are IIR parametric EQ based, and while the improvements they can make in a room are notable, they still can't do true time-domain dynamic correction. They at best do static delay alignment.

I could go on for pages on why this is critical, but will summarize with this: Getting

time-domain corrections is as (or more) critical to correct soundstage re-creation as is good Frequency Response.

Since you have MartinLogans (as I do), then trust me, you will need the temporal corrections Audyssey delivers. By their dipole nature, ML's energize the room with plenty of reflected (and delayed) sound, some of which could be tamed to produce a more coherent soundstage and a better FR.
See some of my postings on this topic over at the MLC.

Bottom line, an AVP, when setup using Audyssey Pro (which I use) yields the absolute best, most coherent soundfield you'll ever hear from your system in your room. The seamless integration between the various Audyssey features means program material is always enjoyable, whether a private listening session at high-volume, doing background listening or watching a movie late at night, they will all sound great and will maintain familial harmony DenonLink

Larryy, in your compare and contrast with the Anthem, there is yet another major attribute of the AVP you should consider:

If you play CD/DVD/DVD-A/SACD physical media, then you should care about getting the cleanest, most pristine, low-jitter information exchange between the player and the preamp.

No other vendor in the market offers a totally jitter-free, fully digital transfer between player and processor for ALL the formats I listed above. None.
And if you're willing to pony up for the upcoming BDP-A1UDci ($4,500/July) or BDP-4010UD (est. $2,000/Oct.), then you can add BluRay PCM to that list as well.

What the Denon product family offers is the option to link up via DenonLink and achieve this long-sought-after goal of the perfect' digital transmission between transport and processor.

Therefore, if these kinds of ultimate perfection goals are something that matters to you, then it would lead you to seriously consider the Denon AVP and an associated DenonLink enabled player.

With DenonLink players starting out at under $500 street price (DVD-2930), not sure why one would choose to not get this advantage.

post #21 of 177
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonFo View Post


And if you're willing to pony up for the upcoming BDP-A1UDci ($4,500/July) or BDP-4010UD (est. $2,000/Oct.), then you can add BluRay PCM to that list as well.

Thank you everyone for the information.

I have a few questions:
In the quote above, it sounds like the new Denon BluRay players can be used with the AVP-A1HDCI through Denon Link. However, the BluRay players use 4th generation Denon link. Will the AVP which has a 3rd generation link be able to read the 4th generation Denon Link signal?

Am I correct in understanding that the Denon has 4 TosLink outputs, but no coaxial digital outputs; and that the Anthem has no TosLink outputs, but does have 2 coaxial digital outputs?

Can the two "BNC" connections on the Denon be used with a connector piece as coaxial digital inputs?
post #22 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hi-Res View Post

Thank you everyone for the information.

I have a few questions:
In the quote above, it sounds like the new Denon BluRay players can be used with the AVP-A1HDCI through Denon Link. However, the BluRay players use 4th generation Denon link. Will the AVP which has a 3rd generation link be able to read the 4th generation Denon Link signal?

Am I correct in understanding that the Denon has 4 TosLink outputs, but no coaxial digital outputs; and that the Anthem has no TosLink outputs, but does have 2 coaxial digital outputs?

Can the two "BNC" connections on the Denon be used with a connector piece as coaxial digital inputs?

One of the benefits the AVP offers is frequent, and free, software updates.

Just this past week, a firmware update for the AVP added DenonLink 4 compatibility to the AVP.

So it's ready for the new players even before they ship (which is as it should be).


DenonLink uses a RJ45 jack and CAT6 cabling to interconnect the player and the processor. And no, no 'magic' cable is required. I use a 25 foot long, $20 CAT6 shielded cable to linkup my player to my processor.

And while your question about coax vs. BNC has no relation to DL, I can state that a BNC to RCA adapter could be used to feed a 'coaxial' digital signal to the AVP on the BNC connectors.

But DenonLink is strictly a proprietary signaling system utilizing standard connectors and cabling adopted from the high-speed networking world.
post #23 of 177
Thread Starter 
From what I see on various postings in other forums, the Audyssey Pro Kit for the Denon seems to make a big difference in the eventual sound quality, but also is a bit intricate to use.

Regarding the Pro Kit, I have a few questions:
What are the advantages of using the kit myself, vs. hiring a professional Audyssey installer? 2) How much of a time commitment does it take to learn and implement the kit? For example, does this require one or two hours, or does it require several days? 3) If I do decide to use a professional installer, would there be a significant advantage to purchase the kit myself anyway to allow for future tweaks?
post #24 of 177
Hi-Res, if you can get Audyssey to sell you the pro-Kit, it is a no brainer to use. PM me if you want more info!
post #25 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hi-Res View Post

From what I see on various postings in other forums, the Audyssey Pro Kit for the Denon seems to make a big difference in the eventual sound quality, but also is a bit intricate to use.

Regarding the Pro Kit, I have a few questions:
What are the advantages of using the kit myself, vs. hiring a professional Audyssey installer? 2) How much of a time commitment does it take to learn and implement the kit? For example, does this require one or two hours, or does it require several days? 3) If I do decide to use a professional installer, would there be a significant advantage to purchase the kit myself anyway to allow for future tweaks?


1) Getting the kit allows you to re-do it as many times as you like without extra cost. If you change your gear a lot or move your furniture around etc. it's a big deal. (I'm on my third Audyssey Pro enabled product.)

2) Not much, just patience and common sense, you can usually figure out how to do a complete calibration in a couple of hours. A Pro installer will have a lot of experience behind him and a better understanding of external things in play like speaker placement, reflection points, practical crossovers etc. and can be helpful beyond just the calibration itself.

3) See #1 & 2, one of the nice things about the Pro implementation is that that you can now set target response curves and store them in memory.

I think the value of a Pro calibration is a bit room dependent since it has to work with the AVP's built-in filters and resolution. I would always recommend taking the supplied Audyssey for a ride and see what you think first.
post #26 of 177
Denon has a few features that are nice over the D2V like the media player capability and DL4.

But DL4 locks you into Denon players, and I have had a bad experience with my 3930ci, so I'm not thrilled about the idea of another Denon player. I am also rather skeptical about whether or not HDMI jitter is actually audible.

I like media players, but already own a multiroom Squeezebox setup that I think is superior to anything built in to a processor.

After looking at these processors I decided to go with the Anthem. The reasons were:

1. No Audyssey pro kit or license issues. Anthem ARC open to its customers and comes with full kit in the box. Personally the Audyssey pro kit shenanigans leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Especially so at the price point we are talking here.

2. Anthem's customer support.

3. Superior video capabilities.

4. Not just software updates. Anthem has a history of hardware upgrades offer potential for a longer life cycle. It may or may not happen but HDMI should be recognized to be an evolving standard.
post #27 of 177
Definitely a win for ARC in that respect. Audyssey is not a Denon proprietary product so they don't have the same autonomy as Anthem.

The experience you had with your player is a rarity; I had a channel blow on an Anthem amp and I wouldn't dismiss their products because of that, providing it wasn't a common occurrence. I'm on my sixth Denon disc player and have had no issues with any one of them.

The media player capabilities of the Denon is flawless from an audio quality perspective so no advantage to Squeezebox, except for interface which is pretty "clunky" with the Denon.

It's really cool that Anthem has a history of hardware updates, that's a good selling point, it would be even better if they were more timely and not so expensive.
post #28 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by rnrgagne View Post


The experience you had with your player is a rarity; I had a channel blow on an Anthem amp and I wouldn't dismiss their products because of that, providing it wasn't a common occurrence. I'm on my sixth Denon disc player and have had no issues with any one of them.

The media player capabilities of the Denon is flawless from an audio quality perspective so no advantage to Squeezebox, except for interface which is pretty "clunky" with the Denon.

It's really cool that Anthem has a history of hardware updates, that's a good selling point, it would be even better if they were more timely and not so expensive.

Take a look at the Denon 2930/3930 thread.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...66053&page=141

You will quickly see that there is a serious problem with drive used in these players that has been experienced by many people who own this player. Not a rarity at all. It has gotten to the point where people are sharing part numbers and their experiences doing home brew repairs on these units.

In my opinion Denon should have done a recall given the nature of this problem. It is way beyond a normal random defect that occurs infrequently.

The Squeezebox has a lot more than just UI advantages over the Denon media player. The server software that drives the Squeezebox is open source and supports a plugin architecture that allows interested people to add features.

There is a community:

http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.ph...Center_Plugins

that has put together quite a few of these.
post #29 of 177
Thanks I wasn't aware of the drive issue, like I said I've never experienced any problems so I'll keep my fingers crossed. I suppose one could find a "problem thread" on any piece of gear, it's the squeeky wheel thing. But 10 guys with a 100 posts each doesn't make 1000 defective units.

Server software is user interface isn't it?

You'll get no argument from me that squeezebox or sonos have the AVP licked there, but my point was about sound quality; flac streamed to the AVP is excellent.
post #30 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonFo View Post

I don't beleive that is correct.

It is. Just send an e-mail to Nick at Anthem customer support and he will explain all this in great details. It's really a non-issue.

Denon Link is not sonically ''superior'' to what the Anthem is doing internally when performing upsampling and re-clocking over HDMI.

Jitter is already really controversial... so minuscule differences like that wouldn't be audible to anyone.
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