Anthem Statement D2 Pre/Pro Page 2
ARC’s correction process also calibrates channel levels, corrects phase to avoid cancellations at low frequencies, and sets the crossovers. Its test signals are wider in range than those you’ll find on most test discs or built into AVRs and pre/pros. When I used Anthem’s supplied microphone, the results were strikingly accurate. The D2 allows sophisticated crossover choices for each channel. I own and use a RadioShack SPL meter and have never trusted a component to make these choices. The ARC made me look like an ass. Its assessment of channel levels was on the money. And I’m willing to give it credit for the times when its choices differed from mine in the crossover settings. As you’ll read, the system sounded better.
Think About the Future
In addition to frequent firmware updates, Anthem remains aggressive in protecting its customers with an officially sanctioned upgrade path. Statement D1 owners can upgrade to ARC and/or send their units in to upgrade to the D2 for the price difference between the units. Similarly, when it releases a new flagship, Anthem says D2 owners can upgrade for the price difference. Anthem’s simple-to-install firmware updates (RS-232 via PC, with clear, concise instructions) and its upgrade path separate its pre/pros from the emerging crowd of less expensive models. You don’t have to trawl the online forums long to find that some of these less expensive models require difficult-to-install updates to solve critical issues. And when a new model comes out, they’re essentially disposable.
The D2 reveals fine inner detail, but it’s also extremely refined and relaxed. To some people, this might sound less splashy and sensational, and also less digital in character (that’s a compliment, too). Its strength is in dynamics that never seem to give. And its character remains consistently suave and naturally detailed, no matter how aggressive the material gets.
But this was before the ARC landed. I must admit this was essentially my first foray into auto setup and room EQ. I’ve been a separates guy for years, and this technology has mostly been employed in AVRs until recently. ARC overcame my preconceptions here. It was relatively subtle in overall impact and sounded more natural than many EQ systems I’ve heard in audio-only systems. It can’t hurt that movie soundtracks themselves are so “manufactured” for the most part.
The biggest difference was in the bass. It sounded tighter and punchier to me and seemed to dig deeper in extension. With the ARC cleaning up the bass—and some other nips and tucks in EQ—I clearly heard a little more sparkle and detail. And the sound felt less confined to the listening room itself, let alone the speaker positions.
The best piece of demo software I’ve come across in years is Cloverfield on Blu-ray. I thought my room was literally coming down with the rest of New York. The bass impact and dynamics felt crushing. I A/B’d some of its critical scenes with ARC on and off. This revealed that, with the ARC off, the bass was looser and not as well defined. The Large Scale Aggressor lost some of its oomph with ARC defeated.
Jumper might not be A-list cinema, but the soundtrack rocks. A jolt of bass accompanies each “jump,” and it sounded much more present and visceral with ARC engaged. The Blu-ray edition of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World also emphatically drives home the improved spatiality. Master’s battle sequences put you right on that ship, and man, it’s downright scary. Belowdecks, you can hear your shipmates walking around topside. And when you’re up in the ocean air, the wind and sails and creaks and groans from the ship are everywhere.
Lossless audio on Blu-ray is ushering in a golden age in surround sound quality. The D2 reveals these nuances with extraordinary clarity and heightens the sense of involvement dramatically.
Anthem’s Statement D2 is unequivocally the most versatile pre/pro I’ve ever used—in the most important ways. I recommend this pre/pro as the standout in its category today. And I do so with the utmost confidence that it will remain so over time, based on Anthem’s commitment to updates and upgrades. I can’t say that about many products. This one is special.
Outstanding performance with audio and video
Anthem Room Correction is the real deal
Extraordinary flexibility and versatility
Anthem’s commitment to updates and upgrades makes for a solid investment