Many, many thanks to all of you for your responses. I could only manage to save two sets of comments, but read all of them and I'm very appreciative. At the top, several remaining questions:
(1) Other pre-pro processors to consider? Is there any other manufacturer I should look at for a surround sound processor pre-pro? $10,000 is the upper limit of my budget, and would prefer to spend less than that.
I suspect many of the high end are considerably more than that. Krell is coming out with a $6500 processor at the end of February, but the manual is not yet available and the info on the web site are limited. Many of the high end units have abandoned analog inputs and outs, which is a mistake as we are still in a transitional period. I have an analog DVD Recorder that I use frequently, and there are no HDMI or digital equivalent in the US due to copyright restrictions. Bryston is a great example of such a a mornoic design. They provide ins and outs for audio but none for video! The have a section on the back marked for tape rec and video rec -- but no video analog connectors! The fact that Anthem provides everything -- even S-Video, is a real advantage, until we have blu-ray recorders in the US market -- and who knows when that will happen. If ever.
(On the Anthem, can you send a signal to a DVD Recorder from a Tivo, for example, while watching and listening to a different video source? The manual implies you can do so, and in fact from two recorders while watching a different source, but it is not crystal clear.)
I'm already looking at the top units from Marantz, Onkyo and Denon. Do you think that any of those are the equal of Anthem? They rely on Audyssey, see my next question. I'm assuming they are not of the same video or audio quality of the 50v, let alone the D2v, and do not have the same level of set-up versatility.
(2) Audyssey versus ARC -- which is better? Peter from Denmark commented on ARC vs Audyssey, and he appears to be saying that Audyssey is more heavy-handed, and is a one shot, take it or leave it correction? And that ARC is more user adjustable? I considered Audyssey since it accommodates two subs, which I have, but I think my Velodyne SMS units address that anyway. So how does ARC compare to the latest and greatest from Audyssey?
Originally Posted by AVfile
Have you outgrown the HDMI inputs on the Lexicon? Are there some features you are currently lacking? If not, why retire it? The Anthems also have an ancient user interface, with much more annoyances if you ask me. I used to have an RV-8 (like an MC-8 + amp) and miss Logic7 sometimes, but that was without HD audio so the 50v was a real upgrade.
The MC12 is a very old unit by today's standards. I'm having increasing numbers of problems, and they invariably happen when I have a large group of guests over to watch a movie. I assume these are handshake problems related to the fact that the MC12 uses, I believe, HDMI 1.1. With Oppo blu ray and either my Panasonic display or a JVC projector, it will fail to play audio when there is video present, or vice versa. Or it is a black screen. Or it defaults to L7 Music instead of Film, so no center speaker. The MC12 can't pass a 3D video signal. On top of that, the company appears to be dead, with Harman turning their emphasis to other products. Lexicon has not provided new firmware for almost 4 years. Many owners are beginning to have mechanical issues, but so far that hasn't happened to me. But it may be inevitable given its age.
As for the "ancient" Anthem user interface, the MC12 is pretty crude as well, but it does have a remarkable level of flexibility. Few new units can match it, especially since it is now about 8 years old since the last major upgrade. Has anyone directly compared the Anthem 50v and D2v to the MC12HD in that regard, specifically in terms of the number of parameters that can be adjusted for each input, and the number of parameters that can be adjusted for the surround formats?
I will miss the L7 surround, which does a great job. I'm told that PLII is as good, but have never critically compared, just defaulting to L7. Before I make the switch, I will do that comparison just to be sure I won't miss L7!
The Anthem music surround makes a point of saying that they do not use the center speaker. That is a mistake. L7 music allows you to adjust how much goes to the center, or none at all. L7 Music does a great job of pulling vocals out of music and putting it in the center, for example, with a two track LP of Sinatra. Anthem should follow the lead of Lexicon in that regard, but again, maybe PLII is as good.
Originally Posted by Bob Pariseau
Yes, you can handle your two subs as planned: SMS-1 setup first and then your ARC Measurement run with both subs powered.
The thing you need to know about the D2v is that MOST of the audio differences are in the design and layout of the analog audio board and the selection of components. These differences do not really show up as feature differences.
The D2v is just a more "exotic" analog audio circuit design.
We've had a fair number of people who've posted here comparing the original AVM 50 vs. the original D2, and the newer AVM 50v vs. the newer D2v. Some decided to go with the AVM unit purely to save the money -- perhaps to apply to other portions of their system. The AVM models are no slouch for audio, and so this is not surprising.
But as best I can recall, every such case -- even the ones who ended up choosing the AVM -- agreed the D2 and D2v audio was superior. Enough so that they could actually hear the improvement in their own equipment setup and listening room.
Keep in mind this is not a comparison that's trivial to do. You have to have each unit long enough to set up ARC for both for example. But there are some folks posting here who've done that and the consensus really is that the D2v sounds better.
I agree that the only way to compare the two units is through intensive listening, and preferably having both units at home. Such a comparison is thus impractical, and listening for an hour at a store just doesn't do it. That is why I posted here and asked for your judgement. Since I listen to analog LPs, the better analog section of the D2v would be a real advantage. And maybe for SACDs, since my Sony turns out an analog signal. (No, I just realized that Anthem doesn't provide analog inputs for SACD, so I will use my Oppo to turn out PCM.)
Do you think the 24/192 up sampling and premium ADCs and DACs make any difference for digital conversion, whether for CDs, SACDs, or blu-ray films? Did anyone report hearing a difference on digital, since the main difference between the two units, as you said, is in the analog section?
I prefer the silver face plate, and thing it is dumb and illogical to offer that option on the less expensive unit, and not on the flagship model!