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Anthem AVM 50v 3D Processor Review

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#1 of 5 OFFLINE   Dave Upton

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Posted April 11 2013 - 06:54 AM

Anthem AVM 50v 3D Processor Review

186.jpg

 
 
Anthem AV – a sister company of Paradigm is well known for their high-end AV receivers, amplifiers and processors. Having not reviewed a high-end dedicated AV processor solution in the recent past, I was eager to see what the $6,499 MSRP AVM 50v 3D could do. Despite not being a major player in the mainstream A/V receiver market Anthem has a reputation for quality and innovation. Their ARC (Anthem Room Correction) technology gets rave reviews from many enthusiasts who own their products and is often touted as a viable alternative to Audyssey.
 
The AVM 50v 3D is actually a refresh of Anthem’s AVM 50v – their first iteration of the model with HDMI 1.3 and ARC. The 3D version adds HDMI 1.4 and 3D support, in addition to several firmware enhancements. Existing owners of the AVM 50v can have their unit upgraded at the dealer, where the HDMI mezzanine board can be replaced.
 
Features & Ergonomics
 
In a processor costing this much, you expect a lot in the way of connectivity; in the case of the AVM 50v 3D, Anthem delivers. It’s hard to imagine a rear panel any more densely packed than this one. With 8 HDMI inputs, 2 HDMI outputs, XLR and RCA pre-outs, in addition to all the S-Video, Composite and Component video inputs you could ever need – the AVM 50v 3D is a well-equipped unit.
 

AVM 50v - Back.jpg

 
Packaging, Fit & Finish
 
The AVM 50v 3D arrived in a very dense double box and was totally encased in closed cell foam. The box included the processor itself, a manual, a power cord, the remote and a kit containing software, a boom stand and microphone for ARC.
 

187.jpg

 
The AVM 50v 3D itself is good looking unit. Offered in standard black and silver, the unit features a brushed aluminum faceplate full of inset silver buttons with a rotary volume knob to the right of the LCD display. The overall appearance of this product is more aggressive than most processors, though somewhat less avant-garde than products from competitors like Classė.
 
Specifications

 

VIDEO SWITCHING
Bandwidth from input jack to output jack Composite and S-Video 70 MHz
  Component: Y 110 MHz
  Component: Pr 90 MHz
  Component: Pb 80 MHz
All analog video inputs and outputs are 75 O, 1.5 Vp-p.
ANALOG AUDIO
Input Impedance 20 kO
Output Impedance Main–RCA 300 O
  XLR 600 O
  Zones 2/3 and Record 51 O
Rated Input 2.0 Vrms
Maximum Input 5.3 Vrms; 3.0 Vrms for 6-Ch input
Minimum Load 5 kO
Rated Output (100 kO load) 2.0 Vrms
Maximum Output RCA 6.3 Vrms
  XLR 12.6 Vrms
Headphone Output 100 mW into 32 O at 0.2% THD+N
Volume Control Range Main -95.5 dB to +31.5 dB (in 0.5 dB increments)
  Zones 2/3 and Headphone -62.5 dB to +10.0 dB (in 1.25 dB increments)
Crosstalk (at 1 kHz) 82 dB between channels; 86 dB between inputs
XLR Pin Configuration Pin 1: Ground, Pin 2: Positive, Pin 3: Negative
DIGITAL AUDIO
Crossover High-Pass Slope (small speaker setting) 12 dB/octave (2nd order)
  Low-Pass Slope (subwoofer) 24 dB/octave (4th order)
  Frequency (adjustable) 25 Hz to 160 Hz (in 5 Hz increments)
Tone Control Filter Type Shelf
  Range ±12 dB
  Bass Turnover Frequency 200 Hz
  Treble Turnover Frequency 2 kHz
Analog-to-Digital Conversion S/N Ratio(at digital Rec output) (IEC-A Filter) 100 dB
All digital inputs and outputs comply with HDMI , S/PDIF or AES/EBU standards.
MAIN PATH (RCA and XLR Outputs)
Frequency Response and Bandwidth Analog Direct Inputs 10 Hz to 20 kHz (+0 -0.2 dB), 1 Hz to 120 kHz (+0 -3 dB)
  Analog-DSP Inputs at 24/96 10 Hz to 20 kHz (+0 -0.3 dB), 2 Hz to 37 kHz (+0 -3 dB)
  Digital Inputs at 24/96 10 Hz to 20 kHz (+0 -0.2 dB), 1 Hz to 39 kHz (+0 -3 dB)
THD+N (at Rated Input and Output) Analog Direct Inputs 0.006% (80 kHz BW)
  Analog-DSP Inputs at 24/48 0.006% (AES17 Filter)
  Digital Inputs at 24/48

0.004% (AES17 Filter)

IMD (CCIF at 15 kHz and 16 kHz) Analog Direct Inputs 0.001%
  Analog-DSP Inputs at 24/48 0.003%
  Digital Inputs at 24/48 0.001%
S/N Ratio (ref. 2.0 Vrms, IEC-A filter) Analog Direct Inputs 106 dB
  Analog-DSP Inputs at 24/48 100 dB
  Digital Inputs at 24/96 104 dB
ZONE 2 and ZONE 3 PATHS
Frequency Response and Bandwidth 20 Hz to 20 kHz (+0 -0.1 dB), 3 Hz to 140 kHz (+0, -3 dB)
THD+N (at Rated Input and Output) 0.06% (80 kHz BW)
IMD (CCIF at 15 kHz and 16 kHz) 0.06%
S/N Ratio (ref. 2.0 Vrms, IEC-A Filter) 97 dB
FM TUNER
Sensitivity 50 dB S/N 13 dBµ typical, 25 dBµ max
  IHF 10 dBµ typical, 20 dBµ max
S/N Ratio Mono 75 dB typical, 65 dB min
  Stereo 69 dB typical, 60 dB min
Distortion Mono 0.2% typical, 1.0% max
  Stereo 0.3% typical, 1.5% max
Stereo Separation 40 dB typical, 25 dB min
Alternate Channel Selectivity (±400 kHz) 70 dB typical, 60 dB min
Frequency Response 25 Hz to 15 kHz (+0 -2 dB)
AM TUNER
Sensitivity (20 dB S/N) 49 dBµ typical, 56 dBµ max
S/N Ratio 50 dB typical, 43 dB min
Distortion 0.7% typical, 2.0% max
One-Signal Selectivity (±10 kHz) 24 dB typical, 18 dB min
CONTROL
Infra Red Carrier Frequency 38 kHz
  Maximum 12 V Supply Current 150 mA
  Maximum Emitter Current 60 mA per output
RS-232 Interface Connection DB-9F, straight-wired
  Pinout (processor side) Pin 2: Tx, Pin 3: Rx, Pin 5: Ground
  Baud Rate 1200, 2400, 4800, 9600, 19200, 38400, 57600, 115200
  Configuration 8 data bits, 1 stop bit, no parity bits, flow control (RTS/CTS, none)
Trigger Outputs Polarity tip positive, sleeve ground
  Maximum Current at 12 VDC 300 mA between all three triggers
  Sequential Delay 250 ms
POWER REQUIREMENT
Power Consumption Maximum 150 W
DIMENSIONS (height includes feet)
Height 5-7/8 inches (14.9 cm) including feet; rack-mounting: 3 rack units without feet
Width 17-1/4 inches (43.8 cm)
Depth 14-1/2 inches (36.2 cm)
Weight (unpacked, not including 8 lb (3.5 kg) ARC microphone kit) 30.7 lb (14 kg)

 

The basic initial setup of the Anthem was a breeze, simply swapping all connections 1:1 was a relative snap and didn’t take more than 5 minutes. Following that step and powering the unit on, I was greeted with a somewhat more challenging task. The menu system on the Anthem is extremely granular and looks deceptively “old school” – you’ll see a bright blue background and white blocky text reminiscent of a 1985 VCR. Next to the modern AVR’s and pre-pro’s from the big manufacturers, the menu system on the Anthem is downright sad - but that doesn’t mean it lacks functionality.

The Anthem allows up to four sources to be run by a single input – also allowing a single source to be up to four different components. It also has the ability to assign different settings for each. An example could be “CD” using HDMI 1 from your Oppo player with all audio processing on the Anthem. You could also assign HDMI 1 to DVD and use analog audio outputs instead of HDMI audio. The options here are almost endless – and I think something custom installers and picky consumers alike will enjoy thoroughly.
 
After reading the sizeable manual (a step not to be skipped lightly!) and spending a few minutes assigning inputs and settings as desired – it was time to run ARC.

 

 


arc3.jpeg  

Anthem Room Correction is run from a PC. If you’ve ever used Paradigm’s PBK (Perfect Bass Kit) the software will look very familiar, with a fairly simple CD based install and once opened - a wizard of sorts to guide you through the measurement process. A full set of measurements will run about 40 minutes for the average user, though the process is a lot more technical than Audyssey. Having some degree of experience with room correction I was able to complete my calibration with ARC in short order. Comparing sound before and after it was obvious that ARC had cleaned up some room related ringing in the upper frequencies and tamed a nasty mid-bass peak I always struggle with. Upon evaluation with a few test tracks, my overall takeaway of the sound signature left by ARC was that it was extremely balanced. It seemed that every piece of my system worked together in harmony without any one component (I’m looking at you subwoofer) standing out or dominating the sonic presentation.
 
Listening Impressions – Music and Movies
 
I started my listening session with a favorite track of mine – Sophie Millman’s Prelude to a Kiss. This is a rich, warm song with Millman’s husky voice front and center capturing the listener’s attention. As the opening bars played back, I was struck almost immediately by the perfection with which Sophie’s voice filled the room without distinctly coming from a single location. Likewise, the string bass – an instrument I often struggle to reproduce perfectly in my room, was dead on. There is a certain natural decay and fullness to a string bass that poor subwoofer integration almost always damages. In my system – ARC was able to get a near perfect presentation with clean integration between the mains and the sub
 
Following my quality time with Sophie, I moved on to some other genres. I started things off with Bonobo’s Black Sands, where I enjoyed the track Kiara, which is a great test of forward or aggressive highs, as it will quickly fatigue me. With the Anthem in place, the top end sounded just a little less emphasized than I am used to on my Onkyo, resulting in a very enjoyable and ultimately less fatiguing listening experience while giving up none of the bass “oomph” I so enjoy on this album.
 
I spent the remainder of my critical music listening session in a whirlwind tour through some eclectic playlists I keep on hand for reviewing. I started out with Klaatu’s Little Neutrino, progressed through Bela Fleck and the Flecktones’ 2011 album Rocket Science, before moving on to Yo-Yo Ma’s Appasionato and finishing with Super Colossal by Joe Satriani.
 
Through a real mixture of genres, artists and recording styles – I was thoroughly impressed with the audio quality of the Anthem AVM 50v 3D. If it can have its sonic signature described, it is natural, uncolored and true to the source. ARC does a tremendous job of enabling the disparate elements of an audio system to work synergistically with one another, and in many ways bettered Audyssey when it came to subwoofer integration.
 
Viewing Impressions – Blu-ray & HDTV
 
Anthem is well known for their superior attention to detail when it comes to video, and I was not disappointed when I swapped my Onkyo for the AVM 50v 3D. Utilizing the latest Sigma VXP processor, the AVM 50V 3D does a tremendous job upscaling SD content as well as allowing the ultimate level of control. Sources can have their video settings adjusted independently while utilizing a slew of features such as adjustable cropping, chroma bug filtering, frame locking, gamma correction, digital noise reduction or detail enhancement.

While I didn’t need to use any of the “gravy” video processing features in my case, I was thoroughly impressed by the sharpness of the image and consistent upscaling quality on interlaced and SD content.  Color reproduction was flawless – and perhaps superior to my usual setup. When I removed the Anthem from my system at the conclusion of the review period, both my wife and I thought something was wrong with the video signal – a testament to the clean signal that this device is able to propagate to your display.
 
Caveats
 
Caveat – it’s a dirty word to most manufacturers, something they certainly don’t want to see on a review of their product. Fortunately – my experience with Paradigm/Anthem has been that they very honestly appreciate feedback, and unlike some in this industry, take no offense when a legitimate complaint or problem is found.
 
In the case of the AVM 50v 3D – there was only a single technical caveat as it were, but it was a fairly substantial one in terms of annoyance. Occasionally, and without warning when switching inputs, I would find the Anthem making a pulsating digital hum. After a great deal of testing and frustration, I determined that the problem wasn’t the usual transient issue that rebooting the source in question or removing and reinserting HDMI cables clears up. The only way to solve this problem somewhat consistently was to reboot the Anthem itself. This wasn’t always successful, but it did resolve the problem 90% of the time.
 
While it’s typical to alert the manufacturer to an issue like this immediately, I chose to complete the review without bringing this to Anthem’s attention. In part – because I believe a buyer could go through the same experience. When a processor of this caliber is purchased, the buyer has the full backing of the dealer and manufacturer if a problem is encountered, and I do believe that this would have been resolved in the course of normal troubleshooting and support.

In the grand scheme of things, this is a minor complaint about an otherwise stellar piece of equipment, yet I still feel it deserves mentioning in the review due to the tier at which this product competes. Any processor that retails for over $6000 should not have HDMI handshake issues at this point in HDMI’s lifecycle, irrespective of firmware updates or other devices in the chain. Over the past two years I have had many processors in my system with identical peripherals and the Anthem was my first taste of persistent and annoying handshake issues. Is this something Anthem could have fixed? Absolutely. Should a product that costs $6499 even make it out the door without this being discovered? I don’t believe it should when you’re paying this much.
 
Conclusion
 
The Anthem AVM 50v 3D is a sonic and visual wonder. There is no question that it sounds clearer and cleaner than anything I’ve had in my system, and that the video performance is second to none. Anthem Room Correction is a truly remarkable room correction technology that enhances the performance of an audio system drastically. This is the first competitor to Audyssey MultiEQ XT/XT32 I have encountered that matches and perhaps outdoes it. The sheer flexibility of this device in terms of options, signal routing and “tweakability” is staggering and likewise deserves notice. On the downside, the OSD menus look dated, ergonomically the Anthem remote and interface is clearly inferior to its mainstream competition, and perhaps most importantly - this is an incredibly expensive piece of equipment.
 
Value is a hard thing to quantify in the high end market, as a product like this clearly faces the same issue of diminishing returns other flagship products do. As incredibly well as this unit performs, I have a verydifficult time calling it a good value. With the AVM 50v 3D priced more competitively at $4000, I would not hesitate to praise its value proposition. At its current MSRP of $6499, the AVM 50v 3D is in this reviewer's opinion - overpriced.
 
Is the Anthem AVM 50V 3D perfect? No, and I doubt that any product truly is. If your demand in a processor is for benchmark audio and video performance, a level of control and configuration that you cannot get in consumer class gear, and bulletproof build quality, I think this product is about as close as you’ll get. For a price.


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#2 of 5 OFFLINE   Dave Upton

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Posted May 31 2013 - 11:17 AM

Here are the specs in a slightly more readable format.

Attached Files



#3 of 5 OFFLINE   WelshWizard

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Posted September 15 2013 - 02:56 PM

Hi Dave,

 

Thank you for your extremely informative, polished and comprehensive review of the Anthem AVM 50v 3D Processor.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, partly due to having recently purchased, and had installed, the same Anthem Statement AVM 50v 3D Processor.

 

The Anthem AVM 50v 3D processor was part of the following Anthem, Paradigm and associated equipment AV system that I recently had installed in my Brisbane, Australia home:-

 

1 - Anthem Statement AVM 50v 3D processor

5 - Anthem Statement M1 single channel power amplifiers

2 - Paradigm Signature Series S8 front speakers (Cherry finish)

2 - Paradigm Signature Series S6 rear speakers (Cherry finish)

1 - Paradigm Signature Series C5 centre speaker (Cherry finish)

1 - Paradigm Signature Series SUB2 subwoofer (Cherry finish)

1 - OPPO BDP-105 blu-ray player

1 - Dune HD Base 3D streamer

1 - Samsung 75" ES9000 3D LED smart television

 

All interconnects were either balanced XLR's or various Van Den Hul and KORDZ AV leads.  Speaker cables were Van Den Hul "TEATRACK Hybrid".

 

I took the advice contained in the Paradigm SUB2 operating manual and had installed 2 dedicated 20amp power circuits, which via THOR PS20 and PS10 Smart Power Stations, cater for the respective power requirements of the SUB2 subwoofer and the associated equipment.

 

Although the above system was only fully run in and calibrated (including the Samsung tv) about 3 months ago I am absolutely delighted with the performance of this system.  However, I concur with your sentiment regarding the value for money of the Anthem and Paradigm equipment particularly as these items are more expensive to purchase here in Australia when compared to the retail pricing of this equipment in both Canada and the US.

 

As I have just visited my son and daughter-in-law who live and work in Mississauga (Toronto), Canada I took the opportunity to visit the Anthem/Paradigm/Martin Logan manufacturing facility at Mississauga.  My wife and I were given an excellent tour of the whole manufacturing facility, the highlight of which was approximately 15 minutes spent alone in Paradigm's absolutely silent anechoic chamber.  What an experience!!!  If you are interested, I can email you some of the 100+ photographs that I took at the Paradigm/Anthem/Martin Logan facility, including inside their anechoic chamber

 

BTW, as a parting shot, I used to work in Houston during the late 70's, living just off of Interstate I-45 at The Woodlands, before deciding to come and live in Australia in 1981.

 

Once again, thanks for your great review, I thoroghly enjoyed reading it!!!

 

Regards,

 

Alan Westwood


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#4 of 5 OFFLINE   Type A

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Posted September 16 2013 - 10:00 AM

Welcome to the forum Alan :)

There are many fans, myself included, who will likely never get that kind of opportunity and pics of your adventure to their facility would be of great interest.  Also sounds like you have a top-flight home theater, pics of it would be cool as well.   Heres the link, looking forward to seeing them:

 

http://www.hometheat...theater-photos/


JVC DLA-RS60U3D & DaLite High Power 106"
Paradigm Studio V.5 20 (5) & ADP590 (2)  
Hsu VTF-2 MK3 (2) & MBM-12 MK2 (2)

Yamaha RX-A3010 & Emotiva XPA5
Oppo BDP93 & Darbee DVP 5000

*My Home Theater Photo Journal*

#5 of 5 OFFLINE   samalex

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Posted November 28 2013 - 09:21 PM

Hi Dave,

 

Thank you for your extremely informative, polished and comprehensive review of the Anthem AVM 50v 3D Processor.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, partly due to having recently purchased, and had installed, the same Anthem Statement AVM 50v 3D Processor.

 

The Anthem AVM 50v 3D processor was part of the following Anthem, Paradigm and associated equipment AV system that I recently had installed in my Brisbane, Australia home:-

 

1 - Anthem Statement AVM 50v 3D processor

5 - Anthem Statement M1 single channel power amplifiers

2 - Paradigm Signature Series S8 front speakers (Cherry finish)

2 - Paradigm Signature Series S6 rear speakers (Cherry finish)

1 - Paradigm Signature Series C5 centre speaker (Cherry finish)

1 - Paradigm Signature Series SUB2 subwoofer (Cherry finish)

1 - OPPO BDP-105 blu-ray player

1 - Dune HD Base 3D streamer

1 - Samsung 75" ES9000 3D LED smart television

 

All interconnects were either balanced XLR's or various Van Den Hul and KORDZ AV leads.  Speaker cables were Van Den Hul "TEATRACK Hybrid".

 

I took the advice contained in the Paradigm SUB2 operating manual and had installed 2 dedicated 20amp power circuits, which via THOR PS20 and PS10 Smart Power Stations, cater for the respective power requirements of the SUB2 subwoofer and the associated equipment.

 

Although the above system was only fully run in and calibrated (including the Samsung tv) about 3 months ago I am absolutely delighted with the performance of this system.  However, I concur with your sentiment regarding the value for money of the Anthem and Paradigm equipment particularly as these items are more expensive to purchase here in Australia when compared to the retail pricing of this equipment in both Canada and the US.

 

As I have just visited my son and daughter-in-law who live and work in Mississauga (Toronto), Canada I took the opportunity to visit the Anthem/Paradigm/Martin Logan manufacturing facility at Mississauga.  My wife and I were given an excellent tour of the whole manufacturing facility, the highlight of which was approximately 15 minutes spent alone in Paradigm's absolutely silent anechoic chamber.  What an experience!!!  If you are interested, I can email you some of the 100+ photographs that I took at the Paradigm/Anthem/Martin Logan facility, including inside their anechoic chamber

 

BTW, as a parting shot, I used to work in Houston during the late 70's, living just off of Interstate I-45 at The Woodlands, before deciding to come and live in Australia in 1981.

 

Once again, thanks for your great review, I thoroghly enjoyed reading it!!!

 

Regards,

 

Alan Westwood

awesome sound effects







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