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The Upgraded Anthem AVM-20 2.0 Thread


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1746 replies to this topic

#1 of 1747 Chas_T

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Posted September 04 2002 - 07:03 PM

After reading some suggestions from Camp and others to start another thread on the New Anthem AVM-20 2.0 software upgrade, we may as well begin anew.

Sometimes when those threads get so long, it's difficult to make any sense of them as time goes by.

Just in case anyone is interested in the old thread entitled: Anthem AVM-20 New Chipset Page, here is that link with some other information on the AVM-20.

http://www.hometheat....threadid=89811

Also, here is the link to the AVM-20 web site.

http://www.anthemav....ames/mixfr.html

#2 of 1747 Chas_T

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Posted September 04 2002 - 07:34 PM

Wayne:

Quote:
Where are all the reviews of the new chipset? Are the guys with the upgrade having too much fun viewing their movie collection to post their experiences so far? I look forward to reading as to whether or not they feel the upgrade was worth the wait and what may have been left out of the upgrade package.


I have just really begun to seriously sit down and listen to the new sound fields. I really like the Prologic 2 Cinema and music for dish watching. Posted Image

If you are asking if the upgrade is worth it, I would say yes. The crossover management control for my system is a strong asset as it has improved the sound quality very much on my Paradigm setup.

#3 of 1747 Camp

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Posted September 05 2002 - 01:36 AM

Quote:
Why did Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

LOL! Posted Image

My dealer has yet to receive the new boards so it'll be a while before I can put in my $0.02. For now I look forward to reading what everyone else thinks. The new crossover and surround formats in the 2.0 upgrade ought to help solidify the position of the AVM-20 in the market. You can spend more on a Aragon or Tag but you're only spending more -you're not getting any quality or features we don't already have.

#4 of 1747 MikeAF

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Posted September 05 2002 - 03:08 AM

I have really enjoyed listening to movies again with the new surround modes. I watched We Were Soldiers last night and it was awesome with the rear speakers working. The disk is encoded with DD-EX and I used THX-EX processing and what a surround feeling with the bullets and choppers flying all around the room. For a free upgrade it was definitely worth it. I played around with the advanced sub settings but kept coming back to using the 80 crossover. I have the Diva 6.1/C3/R3 setup. I am defintely spending more time watching and listening than Iam on the computer now. I will continue to post when I feel I have something worthwhile to contribute.

Mike
My name is Mike, and I'm a home theater addict.

#5 of 1747 Marc_E

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Posted September 05 2002 - 03:12 AM

Boy! It sure is hard to stop and actually evaluate things so that I can give my opinion. I just keep watching movies.

I have watched a couple DTS-ES titels most notably Blade 2. Totally rocked! Flawless detection and beautiful sound. The Haunting also auto detected no problem.

I have had problems in autodetection of DD-EX though. I played LOTR and We were soldiers. Neither was detected. I am assuming there is some indication like 'DD-5.1 EX' that should be on the readout. I just see 'DD-5.1'.

I have not tried any DTS-ES Matrix yet.

Anthem Logic is pretty cool. I used it while watching the US open over the weekend and it gave a very courtside feel. I need to evaluate it further because I have been mainly wathing movies.

The crossover control is great. Fantastic addition.

Ultra2 modes I have used on DD-5.1 to 7.1 and have a limited sense of how that is (my wife would not let me turn up the volume high enough for me to really sense it) but I will look at it further.

So far, I am VERY impressed with the upgrade and you can't beat the price. I was fully prepared to pay the $300 and had I needed to I would still think it was a great deal. To get the same on my old onkyo 989 I would have to pay $500 now and I really didn't like the thing anyway.

More to come.
Marc

#6 of 1747 Michael Mohrmann

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Posted September 05 2002 - 07:16 AM

Marc,

"I have had problems in autodetection of DD-EX though. I played LOTR and We were soldiers. Neither was detected. I am assuming there is some indication like 'DD-5.1 EX' that should be on the readout. I just see 'DD-5.1'."

According to the top of page 28 in the AVM-20 operating manual it says that any DD-EX movies released prior to the Fall of 2001 will not autodetect. I believe the two movies you mentioned were released in the Fall of 2001, so they should have autodetected.

You might want to see if you can set DD-EX manually. This is described in Section 5.8.3 on page 28, the same section that describes the autodetect issue and the Fall of 2001.

Michael

Edit: According to this site not many of the so-called DD-EX DVDs are properly flagged. This site states that both LOTR and We Were Soldiers are not flagged for DD-EX. You need to set DD-EX manually for these movies.

#7 of 1747 Michael Langdon

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Posted September 05 2002 - 02:43 PM

Camp,

I would be careful about making statements that Aragon and/or Tag owners are paying more for the same quality and features as the Anthem AVM 20. Unless you have compared (listened to, looked inside, have knowledge of all components) all three units in question, you cannot assume the quality is the same. As far as features are concerned, the Aragon unit has one very important and useful feature to me. With the Aragon Stage One I can have a different speaker configuration and bass management setup (crossover) for surround and stereo listening modes. This may be useful to those who like to listen to music without a sub. Even if you still want to listen to music with a sub, you can have a different speaker configuration (large for music vs. small for surround) and a different crossover than that of the surround modes.

The Anthem is a great piece and has features that other processors do not have. However, the Anthem does not have everything. Also, I paid for my Stage One about what everyone else is paying for a Anthem AVM 20.

#8 of 1747 Michael Mohrmann

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Posted September 05 2002 - 04:43 PM

Just an update: the AVM-20 upgrade hardware has not arrived yet to my dealer. They think it will be next week before it does show up. Grrrr! It is not like I must have this upgrade, but once the decision was made to get it, I want to get it NOW! Okay, enough venting for now.

"I would be careful about making statements that Aragon and/or Tag owners are paying more for the same quality and features as the Anthem AVM 20."

Agreed. I have owned and auditioned enough processors and preamps the last two years to realize that "one size does not fit all". I am constantly surprised just what does and does not work in my system. My criteria is sound quality first, then features. For someone else, it may be reversed. That difference (or preference) will invariably lead to different purchasing decisions.

Michael

#9 of 1747 Camp

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Posted September 05 2002 - 04:43 PM

Quote:
I would be careful about making statements that Aragon and/or Tag owners are paying more for the same quality and features as the Anthem AVM 20....

I see no reason to "be careful".

I certainly don't intend to presume the AVM-20 has every feature those other pre/pros have. The fact is the Anthem compares very well against these slightly more expensive units. You really have to jump to the Casablanca's or MC12's of the world to find what I'd consider a true upgrade.

I get this sense that Anthem doesn't quite hold the same place as Tag or Aragon or many other brands. I don't know why that is but it's not deserved.

Then again, I may be looking too hard at the whole thing. Posted Image

#10 of 1747 Michael Mohrmann

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Posted September 05 2002 - 04:53 PM

Camp,

"I get this sense that Anthem doesn't quite hold the same place as Tag or Aragon or many other brands. I don't know why that is but it's not deserved."

Anthem is a relative infant in the surround processor "game". Respect usually comes to those companies that have performed at a high level for some time. But make no mistake, Anthem has gained a lot of ground in a very short period of time. The AVM-20 started with top-notch sound quality, and now it has an impressive software package to go with it. The AVM-20, v2.0, is worthy of the attention of anyone looking for a processor in the $2500 and up range.

Michael

#11 of 1747 Marc_E

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Posted September 06 2002 - 02:16 AM

Michael,
Thanks for that site. I tried JPIII (correctly flagged) and the Dolby D EX indicator came on. What gives with all these unflagged titles? Do they think no one is listening to them so screw them?

Pearl Harbor, no DTS-Matrix flag. Auston Powers II no EX flag. And others.

Marc

#12 of 1747 Paul Gere

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Posted September 06 2002 - 02:38 AM

Guys,
FYI,
I've tacked a link to this new thread from the old one.
Just trying to keep us AVM-20 folks in one place. Posted Image

#13 of 1747 Chas_T

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Posted September 06 2002 - 07:12 AM

Lots of Michael's on this thread. Posted Image

Quote:
The Anthem is a great piece and has features that other processors do not have. However, the Anthem does not have everything.


You are correct on this comment. I don't know if any pre-pro "Has it all." Everyone has different requirements, budget constraints and considerations to make when selecting any product.

First of all, I own the Anthem AVM-20. I am not blind or ignorant enough to believe it's the best of the best. However, in its price range and sonic abilities it's a great product as you have respectfuly noted.

As far as the Tag and the Aragon Stage One, I am sure they are excellent, wise choices in the pre-pro market. I strongly considered them and had both of these pieces on my short list.

Yet, my experience when attempting to audition and consider these two pre-pro's was as follows:

The Tag was a difficult find and in fact, I could not even find a dealer that was in my general proximity. I phoned the Tag sales people and requested information and some prices. I talked to a person and she in turn told me after a lengthy discussion she would pass on my information/request to another sales rep. Two days went by. No return phone call.

I called again and went through the same process with different people this time. No return phone call, or any type of communication after two inquiries. So, after not having a dealer in a densely populated area and a lack of returning phone calls from a potential customer, they were history. Their loss. Maybe my gain.

The Aragon Stage One experience went like this. Again, checked for local dealers on the Klipsch site and Tweeter was the closest. I have dealt with them before so no problem. Make the trip and ask to audition the piece. I walk in the door and they don't carry the Stage One. Special order only.

OK. So I ask myself this question. In the past, what type of discount structure did Tweeter offer from past experience?

The majority of the time it's been like 10-15%. $4k list minus that number is around $3,600-$3400. At the same time, I cannot listen to the Stage One and I am not sure if their special order products can even be returned during their 30 day grace period.

Also, I am not truly confident that Tweeter would have discounted the Stage One. In the past, I priced some Klipsch speakers and they were trying to sell them to me full retail price. Yeah right. I never want anything that badly.

So, the question is, do I take the chance and order the Stage One?

I have an Modial/Aragon product in my current system and I am very pleased with it's performance. However, when I considered the POTENTIAL pricing structure and went through the Anthem price quote/audition, I decided on the Anthem.

I am not sharing my personal experience to bash either the Tag or the Stage One. From a performance perspective, I am sure they are outstanding.

Also, I am sure that there are Anthem owner's/potential owners who could share experiences of difficulty auditioning/cost/negotiating/buying Anthem's pre-pro.

As you write Michael, the Anthem does not have everything and of course neither does the Tag or the Stage One.

For me, the first part of the buying process starts with the customer/dealer/company interaction and to be frank, both of these companies/dealers failed miserably. My PERSONAL experience, not anyone else's

We all have different critera. If the purchasing process is a smooth one across the board, the product we choose will somehow find its way into our rack.

I am happy that your Stage One gives you all that you require. I just wish I could have had the opportunity to listen/play/tinker with the product. It may have found it's way into my home.

#14 of 1747 Chas_T

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Posted September 06 2002 - 09:33 AM

Quote:
I've tacked a link to this new thread from the old one.


Thank YOU Paul.....

#15 of 1747 Phil M

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Posted September 06 2002 - 10:19 AM

I'd like to hear more about people's impression of "Anthem Logic", especially in direct comparison to DPLII using analog sources.

Phil

#16 of 1747 Michael Langdon

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Posted September 06 2002 - 10:27 AM

Chas_T,

I am sorry that you were not able to audition the Aragon Stage One. I think you would have been equally impressed with it as you are the Anthem AVM 20. I auditioned both the AVM 20 and the Stage One. I too look for sound quality first and then features. Of course the Stage One does not have everything and it does not give me everything that I require. I would have liked the features from the AVM 20 and the Stage One! However, the Stage One does give the features that were most important to me. As you pointed out, everyone has different requirements when selecting a product. I really wish I could have gone with the Anthem AVM 20. I do like the fact that upgrades are offered via the web, something Mondial has yet to demonstrate.

#17 of 1747 Chas_T

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Posted September 06 2002 - 11:17 AM

Quote:
I am sorry that you were not able to audition the Aragon Stage One.


Me too. I used to hang out a lot over at the Klipsch web forum and was interested in perhaps moving over to their product line. The major issue was not being able to demo the unit and also the pricing as I did not think Tweeter would be price competitive. If it was $100-$300 more, it would not have been a problem. I truly was interested in the Merdian product line, but to much money at the moment.

Most of the time I do not balk at buying products over the net. I even had a connection for an Aragon dealer in the midwest. However, with a pre-pro, I was not comfortable buying via the net due to the consistent upgrades. It seems that you open the box, you void your warranty. I know Anthem is like that and Klipsch has the same business policies.

I think Mondial does their upgrades via a CD rom if I recall. I don't know if the dealer has to perform the patch or not. Downloading and plugging in the serial cable is a strong asset, but that is not the final criteria for purchase. Sound quality and features are paramount as you write.

#18 of 1747 Dan Hitchman

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Posted September 06 2002 - 03:54 PM

The Dolby EX flag was not present, then came, and then went. Dolby is having problems with equipment compatibility and their DD EX encoding flags.

Perhaps they will come again.

Pearl Harbor is NOT an official DD EX or DTS-ES matrix title, so there wouldn't be a flag in the first place. When saying a decoder can or can't detect a DD EX or DTS-ES flag you need to be absolutely positive that the movie was originally encoded with DD EX or DTS-ES.

On the flip side, The Bone Collector and 102 Dalmations are DTS-ES matrix titles, but were not flagged properly so you have to set any DTS-ES processor manually.

DTS-ES Discrete 6.1 titles must be ES Discrete flaged or the format won't work on DTS-ES Discrete decoders properly.

Oh, by the way, when will Anthem be selling new, factory fresh AVM pre-amps with THX Ultra2, better DAC's, DTS-ES Discrete, etc. and not dealer refurbs? There are some dealers I wouldn't trust further than I could throw them to do delicate electronics upgrade procedures.

Dan

#19 of 1747 Chas_T

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Posted September 06 2002 - 05:55 PM

Quote:
Oh, by the way, when will Anthem be selling new, factory fresh AVM pre-amps with THX Ultra2, better DAC's, DTS-ES Discrete, etc. and not dealer refurbs?


Anthem is currently selling the new box. S/N #'s 121168 or higher already have the new 56367 DSP Board and only require installation of the v2.0x software.

A few of us on this site were lucky and had the new board already installed from the factory, "alias factory" fresh as you designate it.

When I received my unit, it had software version 1.16 and when the 2.0 upgrade came out, I/we just installed the newer version to take advantage of the new sound fields and adjustments which are listed below.

If you have concerns about inept dealers doing delicate electronics upgrades, here is Anthem's mail address so you can voice your opinion with them.

sfitech@sonicfrontiers.com

*************************

Additional Surround Sound Modes

AnthemLogic-Music Anthem's proprietary music surround mode expands the stereo soundstage up to 6.1 channels of output without any loss of sonic purity. (No center channel.)

AnthemLogic-Cinema Anthem's proprietary movie mode lets you experience 7.1 channels of full-impact HT from any stereo analog source (VCR, TV) or any DD-2.0 source (SAT, DVD).

Dolby Pro Logic II Music Can be used with stereo music to create 5.1 channels of output.

Dolby Pro Logic II Movie Next-generation decoding for improved spatiality and directionality.

Dolby Digital EX Decodes the rear channel information on DD-5.1 EX material.

DTS Neo:6 Music Can be used with stereo music material to create 6.1 channels of output.

DTS Neo:6 Cinema 6.1 matrix decoder that can be used with all matrix-encoded movies.

DTS-ES Matrix The AVM 20 will automatically engage DTS Neo:6 to decode DTS-ES Matrix 6.1.

DTS Neo:6 can also be applied to DTS-5.1 material that is not DTS-ES Matrix encoded.

DTS-ES Discrete The AVM 20 will automatically engage DTS-ES Discrete to decode 6.1 channels.

THX Ultra2/THX Surround EX The AVM 20 now includes four optional THX surround modes: THX Cinema, THX Ultra2 Cinema, THX MusicMode and THX Surround EX.

With the addition of all of the these new surround modes we have deleted all other 'Effects' modes (i.e., Church, Hall, Club, Theater and Stadium) that were in the previous AVM 20.

SPEAKER CONFIGURATION

Advanced Settings: The AVM 20 v2.0 provides greater flexibility in tailoring Crossover Frequency settings. Now you can select a crossover point for each speaker group and subwoofer. You can also optimize subwoofer bass performance by making precise Phase and Polarity adjustments.

THX Audio Setup: Allows you to adjust 'rear' speaker spacing in a 7.1 setup to ensure an optimal surround soundfield when applying THX modes. Includes Boundary Gain Compensation to improve bass balance in rooms where subwoofer placement causes a 'boomy' quality of bass.

#20 of 1747 Marc_E

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Posted September 07 2002 - 01:25 AM

Dan,
Sorry, you are correct about Pearl Harbor. Also, there is no DAC change in the upgrade. It is purely a DSP change. The DACs are the same and very VERY good IMO. Most dealers do not have on hand stock that I know of because the units sell like hot cakes. Most places do have to order and , there fore, get the newest production unit so no refurbs.
Marc


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