Anthem Statement D2 A/V processor

The Short Form

$7,499 / STATEMENT.ANTHEMAV.COM / 905-362-0958
Snapshot
Room correction makes the best A/V processor available even better
Plus
• Impressive video processing • Reference-level audio quality • Valuable auto room-correction/setup capabilities • Highly flexible multiroom A/V options • Simple but useful remote, times two
Minus
• No HDMI 1.3
Key Features
• 7.1-channel audio; multichannel balanced-audio outputs • THX Ultra2 certified • Gennum VXP-based video processing • Four HDMI v1.1 inputs • Transcodes all video to HDMI, and scales output up to 1080p • Upconverts all audio channels to 24-bit/192-kHz PCM • Includes Anthem Logic surround for 2-channel sources and extensive mono modes for classic cinema/audio recordings • AM/FM tuner with 6 AM, 18 FM presets • (2) IR emitter outputs; (3) 12-volt triggers; built-in powered IR receiver; RS-232 serial port • 19 1?4 x 6 x 15 1?4 in; 27 lb

Anthem's Statement D2 sits atop the Canadian maker's range of A/V processors, a family known to tech-savvy home theater buffs for its build quality, performance, and customizability. As the flagship, the D2 has many upgrades over its somewhat more wallet-friendly AVM 30/40/50 siblings, most notably in audio and video DSP power. Dual 150-MIPS Motorola Freescale DSP engines deliver an array of surround decoding and processing modes, and they work with the unit's 24-bit/192-kHz upsampling to maximize audio resolution at all channels.

A Gennum VXP digital-video processor, one of the current hot-rods of the DSP world, powers the D2's broadcast-quality video. The Gennum VXP handles configurable deinterlacing and upscaling (up to the 1080p/60 format), and offers sophisticated 10-bit image processing for both film- and video-based material. The D2 also allows for extensive video tweaking by input, including picture controls, aspect-ratio options, pixel cropping, and a good deal more, much of it quite technical (but potentially very valuable).

There's a whole magazine's worth of other nifty stuff in the D2, like pro-style balanced-analog outputs for all audio channels and extensive multiroom A/V goodness, most of which will have to content itself with a mere mention in the "Key Features" table.

SETUP

I connected the Anthem to my everyday 5-channel power amp and to my DVD/CD/SACD, Blu-ray Disc, and HD-cable sources, all via HDMI. The D2 has more setup options than a box of Legos, what with universally assignable video and digital-audio inputs, as well as a Source Setup function that lets you customize each input position with surround-mode and video-scaling options, among many others. But the biggest setup news here is Anthem Room Correction, via the ARC-1 kit included with each D2 (a $399 retrofit for earlier Statement processors). It includes Windows software and a USB measurement mike - and even a small mike stand!

To use Anthem Room Correction, you link your PC and the D2 (via an RS-232 serial-port connection), plug the mike into the computer, and run the software. A series of tones sweeps each speaker, followed by pauses for data storage and analysis. Beginning with the mike at the primary listening position, you have to run a minimum of 5 mike positions and can go as high as 11 (like Spinal Tap!). After the first measurement, the precise positions of the others don't matter much, as it's the differential data that fuels the mathematical room analysis.

The ARC system - which Anthem tells us is rooted in the Athena Project acoustical-research initiative (sponsored by the Canadian government among several manufacturers some years back) - appears to work very much like the Audyssey technology licensed in many higher-end A/V receivers. The results with my speakers and room setup were similar as well, negating mild bumps at around 50, 200, and 500 Hz and smoothing a bit of peaky response through the 2- to 8-kHz octaves. The ARC-1 software displays nifty graphs on your PC that overlay measured, target, and corrected responses, and it lets you control many auto-setup options as well as the bandwidth of the correction to be applied.

The sonic results were obvious though subtle; errors in my room's setup are very mild, as they should be in an installation evolved over a decade's worth of close listening. With a less accurate room, I'd expect the Anthem's corrections to be more dramatic.

ARC also performs basic channel-level, delay, and crossover setup, which can then be fine-tuned via conventional onscreen menus - including what must be the most detailed and flexible electronic crossover options available in any surround sound processor.

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