For folks interested in a sneak peak at the AVM 50v manual, I just heard from Nick that there *ISN'T* a separate AVM 50v manual yet.
Apparently all the word-smithing gets done in the D2v draft manual, and the AVM 50v manual is created from the latest D2v manual at the last minute by a set script of edits (unit name, artwork, packing list, specs page, and deleting the references to 192KHz upsampling).
I've also asked Nick for some help describing the differences between the D2v and the AVM 50v that go towards the price difference and how they impact the A/V quality.
Obviously the addition of ARC to the AVM 50 and the A/V upgrades in the AVM 50v have reduced the gap between the two lines. Nick tells me that despite this, the D2 still handily outsells the AVM 50, and they expect that is likely to continue with the new models. Folks paying this much for an A/V pre-pro want the best they can get, and are, apparently, willing to pay for that even if that costs disproportionately more than the improvements achieved.
The problem of course is that most folks will find it difficult to arrange an actual listening comparison, so they have to go by descriptions.
One surprise I got, is Nick is now telling me that *ALL* the units with video processors now share the same power supply.
And of course the AVM 50, and AVM 50v now come bundled with ARC so the DSP processing power, calibrated mic, and ARC software are also no longer cost differentiators.
So what still goes into the higher parts cost?
1) Better ADC -- important to folks with analog inputs
2) Better DAC -- this is a biggie for everyone as it is fundamental to analog output quality
3) Better op amps -- also a biggie for everyone
4) Differential circuit on the 6 channel input
5) More expensive passive components
Take something like "better DAC". The parts cost difference is not simply a function of the DAC chips. You also have more expensive components surrounding that chip -- in particular high-end capacitors.
Upsampling is the process of converting all digital (and processed analog) audio input to 192KHz/24bit before any of the DSP processing happens. The DACs then take that 192KHz/24bit stream and convert that directly to analog for output.
Upsampling flows through the entire signal path: Faster clocks and chips that are designed to work with those clocks for example, component and signal layout choices designed to expect the higher bandwidth signals, etc. It is not too far off base to consider "upsampling" as a surrogate for ALL of the processing differences between the AVM 50v and the D2v.
So what's with this upsampling stuff anyway? Why does it make a difference? To understand that you need to learn some basic facts about how digital processing of real-world, analog, audio-video signals actually happens.
Here's a post I wrote on that in this thread many moons ago:http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...ng#post8079464
And here's a white paper Anthem put up on this subject from back in the Statement D1 era:http://statement.anthemav.com/HTML/P...SamplingD1.pdf
Anthem uses Burr-Brown upsamplers in the D2 and D2v (expensive). Nick tells me the ADCs are 5x the cost of the regular ones. Dacs and op-amps are 3x the cost. And again this doesn't include the cost of the higher quality components that have to surround them.
Measured with lab equipment, the results are obviously superior, but as is the case with most audiophile stuff, the lab tests are not really relevant. What's relevant is what you can actually hear. And again, as with most audiophile equipment, what you can hear is a function of many things including the quality of the content you are playing, the quality of the equipment surrounding the Anthem pre-pro, and yes, even the degree to which you have trained your own critical listening faculties.
The D2 and D2v are in the "near exotic" class of equipment in my estimation -- and Anthem expects you to pay for that. Such equipment exhibits diminishing returns -- you can pay a lot more for only a little improvement.
As comparison, I would say that folks who added ARC to their original AVM 50 (an incredible bargain of an upgrade) probably got more net return in audio quality than if they had gone from the AVM 50 without ARC to a D2 without ARC.
Right now, I would say the AVM 50v (which comes bundled with ARC) is a real bargain. Nick suggests the same -- saying that if the price gap were to close it would likely be a result more of raising the AVM 50v pricing than of lowering the D2v pricing.
All of this stuff is incredibly hard to sort out. What's really needed is to find a way to compare the two units in actual use. But unfortunately that is not possible for most people due to the dealers simply not keeping demo units in stock.
Anyway, I hope this ramble helps people focus their thinking a bit.
ETA: Another note from Nick on this is that one of the most impressive things about the D2 (and now the D2v) is that Anthem's listener tests show that the digital audio signal path in the Statement is "transparent".
That is, in a carefully controlled A/B test with high quality content and surrounding equipment, and with speakers set to Large, ARC not in use, etc., so that the digital side has no work to do other than transporting the audio, listeners essentially can not detect whether analog audio input is being digitized by the ADC, upsampled, and then converted back to analog for output by the DAC, as opposed to "Analog Direct" pass through. This transparency of the ADC -> DAC chain in the D2 is crucial because it means that people can, in fact, allow the D2 (or D2v) to digitize their analog sources -- thus enabling value-added processing such as ARC -- without automatically paying a penalty simply for going in and out of the digital stuff.