AVS Forum banner
1 - 20 of 88 Posts

·
Central Scrutinizer
Joined
·
8,487 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had been searching for a new pre/pro that would properly present uncompressed LPCM and the new lossless audio codecs, Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio and I found my choices to be extremely limited at this point in time. After getting an education in this forum as to why I didn't need to wait for HDMI 1.3, I searched for a pre/pro to serve my needs and came up with the Lex MC-12HD and the Anthem AVM-40. Since the AVM-40 was about 1/3 the MSRP of the Lex, I decided to give it a go.


I got the Anthem from my local authorized dealer on Wednesday and spent 6 hours integrating it into my system and then another 6 hours setting it up just to find out that when I fired it up almost none of my sources were working correctly. HDMI was not working at all - no video, no audio...nothing. Component video was not switching properly and even the digital coax audio inputs did not seem to function consistently. The only thing that actually worked as expected were the optical digital inputs. I was pretty tired and frustrated to say the least and my first thought was to pack it up and bring it back to the dealer the next day. Instead I decided to email Nick at Anthem for some help and then attack things the next day after getting some much needed rest.


I received a very fast response from Nick and he pointed out a couple of places in the setup that could be causing me problems, and sure enough he was right. At this point I figured it was best to approach things by setting up the simplest devices first (leaving out all HDMI for the time being) and at least getting the basic pre/pro functionality under control. A few simple menu changes and some undocumented discoveries (like the fact that when you are in the setup menu all audio changes take place on the fly, but video changes require exiting the setup before they take place) later and I had component video working properly as well as all of my digital audio connects and my 6 channel analog input. So far so good, but my Lex MC-12 could already do all of this and the reason I bought the AVM-40 was for its HDMI abilities, so I still needed to get that working.


On day three I decided to attack HDMI, and now that I knew how to get around in the setup menus and how they behaved, I was much better prepared. I also rethought my HDMI chain of events to work as easily and reliably as possible. Since I already owned a top notch video processor, the Crystalio 2, I had to find a chain that would allow me to properly process video and at the same time extract HDMI audio, so I opted to go this way:


source -> AVM-40 (for audio extraction and switching) -> Crystalio 2 -> Ruby (1080p display)


After all of the other problems I had encountered I was expecting a struggle simply because HDMI is so darned finicky due to all of the DRM measures employed, but to my surprise I was able to set up my 2 HDMI sources (HD-XA2 and PS3) and 2 DVI sources (HTPC and MyHD) with minimum problems. In less than an hour I had all video passing properly and all HDMI audio being extracted and processed by the AVM-40! How wonderful!



Now that I have everything working, I really like this unit a LOT! The sonics are second to none - beautiful, crisp, detailed, transparent sound, a full compliment of all of the latest and greatest surround modes, playback of uncompressed audio tracks (Blu-ray) as well as Dolby TrueHD, DD+, and DTS HD MA, and all switching seamlessly with a single button press of the remote. It is almost impossible to compare the audio quality to that of my Lex (as it would involve carefully setting up level field conditions which would be almost impossible in a home environment), but after listening to this unit yesterday and today I don't feel that I am losing any quality whatsoever, and that is saying a lot since the Lex is such an excellent sounding and performing unit.


There are a couple of caveats, though, as this unit is not perfect:


1. 1080p is not passing properly. When I send 1080p from either HD-DVD or Blu-ray I get green horizontal streaks and video dropouts. If I send 1080i everything looks and works fine, and it really is not a big deal because the Crystalio 2 does a superb job of deinterlacing, but at this point 1080p is not working correctly. My cables are all of very high quality and pass 1080p without issue if I leave the AVM-40 out of the path.


2. When HDMI video is passed from the source through the AVM-40 and then to the video processor, is the signal bing altered? It might be just my imagination but it appears as if the image is very slightly softer when it passes through the AVM-40. If it isn't there already, I would like to request that Anthem install a pure video passthrough option for HDMI where the signal going in passes directly through the AVM-40 without being altered in any way whatsoever, much in the same way that 2 channel analog audio can be directly passed.


3. What remote control protocols match the AVM-40? The ones I have available so far are AVM-20, AVM-30, and Statement D1 - Which would be the best match or are the AVM-40 codes all different?


All in all I am very pleased with this unit and plan on keeping it in my system for the foreseeable future. Please note that where HDMI is concerned, all equipment is not made equal, so I can not tell anyone how well this unit would work with other equipment. There are plenty of reports of HDMI compatibility problems with various components from audio processors, video processors, source devices, and displays, so just because MY equipment all worked fine please do not assume that the same will happen for you. But since this is a new model and to the best of my knowledge the first report on it in this forum, I am giving it a big thumbs up, but with caveats as mentioned...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,636 Posts
Coming from champagne and caviar (Anthem D1) i also have great reservations on getting the AVM40 or Denon AVR-4806CI (i know a receiver, but oh what features) for the HDMI audio only.


I feel more at ease after reading your review, as at the time i got the D1 the only other contender was your Lex.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
214 Posts
I agree with your assessment that outside of the Lex, there aren't that many options for a pre/pro for multichannel. Nice review.


It sounds like the first few days of setup were very frustrating, but that's great that you ultimately achieved victory. Did you get those "looks" and questions from the spouse about when the theater might be working again? My SO is very understanding when I do reconfigure things, but I can see the understanding look in her eyes, of "you're screwed". This is then followed by the "it's ok if we just revert back, you know we just want it to watch Heroes."



It is curious about the video processing in the anthem possibly changing the video signal. Hopefully we will get test hd-dvd/blue rays soon so that we can more easily examine the output. I wonder if possibly the next add-on that we all will start purchasing will be hdmi 1-in 2-out boxes so that we can send video one way and audio another. Imagine the hdcp fun then! Ok, I'll stop now with the bad ideas.



Could I ask you a few questions about features of the anthem, and if you don't know the answers, no worries:


a) Can you comment on LFE channel handling, in particular for sacd (and dvd-a if you have a player for that) over hdmi? Also, does the bass management do everything you need?


b) Does the avm do room correction, and if so is it useful to you


c) I don't have perfect sound isolation, so late at night I can't play as loud as I would like to. Can the avm boost and/or compress the dynamic range for dialog?


d) And, for when I can play it loud, can the avm manage more than 1 sub (basically delay per sub channel)?


Thanks for the mini-review.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
166 Posts
Bob,


Thanks for the info...I am now a bit concerned with my purchase. I am running the X-A2 and awaiting the 1080p/24fps and hope that I don't have issues with passthrough with the Anthem. I was torn between the 40 + 50 for the extra $$$ of the 50 was more than I could justify spending. I am just awaiting patiently for my dealer to get mine in so I can play.


Thanks again for the great post!
 

·
Central Scrutinizer
Joined
·
8,487 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Quote:
I feel more at ease after reading your review, as at the time i got the D1 the only other contender was your Lex.

Yes, that was of great concern to me as well. After owning and being extremely happy with my MC-12, I had serious reservations about making any kind of change, but now that I have everything working properly, I would most definitely label the change as an all around upgrade - the sound quality is a lateral move but the features are a move up. The only area that I feel that the AVM-40 is lacking is in the 3 optical digital connects. I would have preferred to see a few more, as I used all three right away - Dish Satellite, MyHD (my coaxial SP/DIF died), and Blu-ray.
Quote:
a) Can you comment on LFE channel handling, in particular for sacd (and dvd-a if you have a player for that) over hdmi? Also, does the bass management do everything you need?

I haven't spent much time with either DVDA or SACD except to check that they worked properly (and they do). I will make it a point to check out subwoofer performance over HDMI. I will report back later.
Quote:
b) Does the avm do room correction, and if so is it useful to you

No, there is currently no room correction, but my understanding is that it will be available as a free upgrade in about 6 months. The front center speaker has a variable EQ feature, but I haven't played with that feature as yet. I think that is a good idea, as the center channel always seems to be the victim of being the single most important speaker in the worst possible location...

Quote:
c) I don't have perfect sound isolation, so late at night I can't play as loud as I would like to. Can the avm boost and/or compress the dynamic range for dialog?

Yes, no problem. It has dialog normalization and also easy access to change the level of any speaker on the fly - very convenient for those times when you need more center dialog.
Quote:
d) And, for when I can play it loud, can the avm manage more than 1 sub (basically delay per sub channel)?

Yes, it has extensive subwoofer management facilities for one or two subs. I only use a single sub, but from the looks of the controls, it handles stereo subs with ease, much in the same way that the Lex handles them.
 

·
Central Scrutinizer
Joined
·
8,487 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
I am running the X-A2 and awaiting the 1080p/24fps and hope that I don't have issues with passthrough with the Anthem.

I just discovered the issue with passing 1080p over this weekend and I have emailed Anthem on this. I expect to hear from them on Monday and I will report back with any information that I get.


If they are able to provide a 100% pure video passthrough mode I don't think this would be an issue as long as we use high quality cables rated for 1080p. The Anthem also has a HDMI repeater function that may help people who will be feeding their display directly from the Anthem's HDMI output and will be running a long cable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,802 Posts
Thank you for the review, Bob. I've been considering the AVM50 or D2, but at this price range, I am still waiting for the review that says, "Just hooked up my (insert expensive preamp here), and it's absolutely amazing - no unwanted surprises at all." I'm just living in a fools paradise, I guess. You are providing very useful information. Thanks, again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
161 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by sb1 /forum/post/0


Thank you for the review, Bob. I've been considering the AVM50 or D2, but at this price range, I am still waiting for the review that says, "Just hooked up my (insert expensive preamp here), and it's absolutely amazing - no unwanted surprises at all." I'm just living in a fools paradise, I guess. You are providing very useful information. Thanks, again.

That is pretty much what I did with my AVM-50, only difference is my TV is native 720p so I don't deal much with the 1080 issues. Although I have tried the 1080i output with no problems. Mine is running the 1.11 version from the factory.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,821 Posts
Bob thanks for the review, I am jealous, I have wanted a 40 for a long while now, I use a DVDO VP50 so I don't need the video side of things, I just wanted a nice HDMI pre-amp and the 40 is just that


do you mind me asking what % off of MSRP you got? I don't even have a Anthem dealer in KY anyway but was wondering, I have no idea how I could get one if I was ready


if you don't want to send video thru the 40, just buy a few HDMI splitters for the outputs of your gear and send one for audio and one for video, like:

http://www.amazon.com/HDMI-Splitter-.../dp/B000FMJLQC


-Gary
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,832 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Sorel /forum/post/0



No, there is currently no room correction, but my understanding is that it will be available as a free upgrade in about 6 months.

Bob,


Are you sure room correction will be available for the AVM series? I was told it would be only available on the D1/2 as it has dual processors unlike the AVM series. It would be nice though
.


Bill
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,945 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Sorel /forum/post/0


I would have preferred to see a few more, as I used all three right away - Dish Satellite, MyHD (my coaxial SP/DIF died), and Blu-ray.

Curious why you needed the blu-ray conected via S/PDIF if you are using HDMI?
Quote:
No, there is currently no room correction, but my understanding is that it will be available as a free upgrade in about 6 months.

Last I heard the room EQ was going to be limited to the D2 as it has the extra processor needed. Has this changed?
Quote:
Yes, it has extensive subwoofer management facilities for one or two subs. I only use a single sub, but from the looks of the controls, it handles stereo subs with ease, much in the same way that the Lex handles them.

AFAIK there is only a single subwoofer channel, although there are multiple outputs. This is one area where the Lex really shines.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,992 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Sorel /forum/post/0


Yes, that was of great concern to me as well. After owning and being extremely happy with my MC-12, I had serious reservations about making any kind of change, but now that I have everything working properly, I would most definitely label the change as an all around upgrade - the sound quality is a lateral move but the features are a move up.

Not bad for 1/3 the price of the MC-12...
I'm saying the same thing since the first day I got my D2. I was able to try the MC-12B and MC12-HD, and for me the Anthems are easily up there with those, and the D2 is a better machine with the Gennum VXP scaling... For 1/2 the price of the MC-12HD.


Alot of people think that high price always mean a better product. But it's not always like that...



Great mini-review Bob.
 

·
Central Scrutinizer
Joined
·
8,487 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·

Quote:
Are you sure room correction will be available for the AVM series? I was told it would be only available on the D1/2 as it has dual processors unlike the AVM series. It would be nice though

I'm sure you are correct and I am wrong. I just repeated what I had read elsewhere on the forum where someone said "the free room correction upgrade for the Anthem will be in about 6 months" (or something to that effect). I just assumed that it was for all of the Anthems, but it makes sense that it will only be for the D1/2.
Quote:
Curious why you needed the blu-ray conected via S/PDIF if you are using HDMI?

Ah, good point. It never dawned on me that once I had HDMI audio working I could now disconnect the optical connect. Same for the coaxial connect with the HD-XA2...

Quote:
AFAIK there is only a single subwoofer channel, although there are multiple outputs.

Hmmm...How do you verify that one way or the other? My Lex has 2 sub outputs - the AVM-40 has 2 sub outputs. Since subwoofers are non directional, what difference would it make whether it was mono or stereo? Or are you planning on connecting one sub for theater and a different sub for music?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,992 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Sorel /forum/post/0


Ah, good point. It never dawned on me that once I had HDMI audio working I could now disconnect the optical connect. Same for the coaxial connect with the HD-XA2...

And with the video overlay even in HD, you only need 1 cable from your BD and HD-DVD players.



I have only 1 HDMI cable from both my Toshiba HD-XA2 and Pioneer BDP-HD1 to my D2. Sound and video over only 1 cable.
 

·
Central Scrutinizer
Joined
·
8,487 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·

Quote:
Not bad for 1/3 the price of the MC-12... I'm saying the same thing since the first day I got my D2. I was able to try the MC-12B and MC12-HD, and for me the Anthems are easily up there with those, and the D2 is a better machine with the Gennum VXP scaling... For 1/2 the price of the MC-12HD.

Yes, I'm very happy with my combination of video and audio processors too. I really think that the Crystalio 2 is the best video processor out there currently (though it may soon be dethroned by the Lumagen Radiance), and the AVM-40 is one of the top audio processors available as well. For a total MSRP of $8200 ($4500 for the C2 and $3700 for the AVM-40), it is still considerably less than the MSRP of the Lex MC-12HD alone.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31,226 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Sorel /forum/post/0


My Lex has 2 sub outputs - the AVM-40 has 2 sub outputs. Since subwoofers are non directional, what difference would it make whether it was mono or stereo?

Your Lex has 3 subwoofer outputs: left sub, right sub, and dedicated LFE output. The bass from all the left channels goes to the left subwoofer; bass from all the right channels goes to the right subwoofer.


The L/R sub outputs aren't for directionality but instead for low frequency envelopment with sources that have stereo bass in the recording (music more than movies). For sources where the bass was combined to mono, you can use the Bass Enhance feature to decorrelate the low frequencies and regain envelopment.


Sanjay
 

·
Central Scrutinizer
Joined
·
8,487 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·

Quote:
any news from Anthem regarding the 1080p issues?

Here is the verbatim reply for all three issues:
Quote:
1. Thanks for the heads up, looking into possible causes.


2. AVM 20 and up use the same codes.


3. Sounds like a software addition is in order to avoid the following procedure: The video output menu has selections for RGB / YCbCr - there should be an ideal selection here. Then there's menu 5 "IF RGB" and "IF YCBCR" selections that could also cause softness if not set up properly. The idea is to keep the number of conversions minimal, or even eliminate them if possible. If you don't know what format the C2 and the display run in, judge by eye or use test material (I know at least that the Gennum chip runs in RGB domain).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,101 Posts
Bob,


Just stumbled over this thread and have a few questions for you if you wouldn't mind...


How does the 40 work with uncompressed PCM? Or to be more specific, does it handle multi channel 96kHz streams without issue, or does it downsample to 48kHz?


Do you know if it will post process 5.1 L-PCM to 7.1? And if it does, does it downsample or keep it at 96kHz?


How's the OSD working for you? I was reading the on line specifics and it says it only displays the OSD at 480i.


How many HDMI outputs does this unit have? I was unable to find this info on the web sight.


I've got a Marantz 8001 in the mail to me, but if it doesn't work out, the AMV 40 may just be what I'm looking for.


.....mike
 

·
Central Scrutinizer
Joined
·
8,487 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·

Quote:
How does the 40 work with uncompressed PCM? Or to be more specific, does it handle multi channel 96kHz streams without issue, or does it downsample to 48kHz?

Hi Mike, I don't know for sure, but it sounds like it is keeping everything at 96khz. How can I tell for sure?
Quote:
Do you know if it will post process 5.1 L-PCM to 7.1? And if it does, does it downsample or keep it at 96kHz?

Yes, it post processes 5.1 to 7.1, but once again, I have no way of telling for sure that it is not downsampling. In my system, EVERYTHING sounds so darned incredible that even 48khz material is outstanding. If you provide me with a surefire method of testing, I will be glad to do it for you.
Quote:
How's the OSD working for you? I was reading the on line specifics and it says it only displays the OSD at 480i.

Works great! Yes, it only displays at 480i, but my VP has no problems dealing with it.
Quote:
How many HDMI outputs does this unit have? I was unable to find this info on the web sight.

One...It is 4 in and 1 out.


Other than the issues I reported earlier, there have been no other problems whatsoever. I am VERY happy with this unit!
 
1 - 20 of 88 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top