|Anthem Statement D2 w Room Correction|
|Home Theater Preamplifiers AV Preamps|
|Written by Ken Taraszka, MD|
|Sunday, 01 June 2008|
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The most frequently overlooked aspect of a great-sounding audiophile or dedicated home theater system is the room itself. No matter how good your components are, you can’t beat the physics of a badly designed and/or optimized room without a little help. While there are many devices to control reflections such as diffusers and bass traps, in the real world, most of us have our systems installed in multi-use rooms of our homes, like the living room, that are subject to significant wife acceptance factor. We can’t treat all the corners with traps and pad the walls. In fact, our wives would think we needed to live in padded rooms just for making the suggestion. Even in multi-use rooms, getting professional acoustical advice is always the best bet, but the cost, aesthetics and effort often leaves us looking for other, more realistic solutions to audio nirvana.
The concept of room correction has been around for a while, but wasn’t affordable or even really that feasible until recently. High-end companies like TacT (Lyngdorf) have had two-channel room correction for years, and while they work very well, they were affordable for only a few. Newer players, like Neptune Audio, that just came out on the market have very cool 7.1-channel room correction systems for less money. Our in-house acoustician, Bob Hodas, tends to use pretty pricey Meyer Sound analog EQs when tuning his clients’ studios or audio rooms. Z Systems has made digital audio EQs for years that were very cool but often hard (or impossible) to integrate into a dedicated theater system. Audyssey has made inroads in the home theater receiver world as an additional feature, while Wisdom Audio is using their room correction technology in a higher-end system coming to market later this year. Sherwood Newcastle has their Trinnov Optimizer. Relative to this preamp, Anthem just released their own very cool room correction software, based on work done for the Athena Research Project by Canada’s National Research Council (NRC). The NRC did extensive research to find the best in-room target response. The point of this research was to optimize frequency response, taking take human hearing into account. Anthem’s new ARC uses this research’s findings to set their goal response.
The ARC is different than many room correction software systems, as it works on both high and low points. While many room correctors cut down the peaks, Anthem’s system also enhances low points, making for a more complete solution to the problems created by the room. The ARC system makes independent calculations for each and every speaker in the system, setting crossover points, output levels and room correction parameters. You can even set separate movie and music configurations and can take measurements in five to 10 different locations for each configuration.
To handle all these corrections, Anthem employs Super-EfficientInfinite Impulse Response filters to minimize potential delays andreduce processing gain noise to inaudible levels. The dual DSPprocessors in the Statement D1 or D2 processors easily handle thedemands of the ARC software, while during measurement taking, anattached PC’s 64-bit floating point processor does all the intensecalculations, minimizing rounding errors. This all comes together andallows Anthem to offer state-of-the-art room correction that is easy touse and very flexible. The ARC only does room correction; it does notcalculate distances, so you will still need to do this yourself.
One other thing that really sets Anthem’s system apart is the attentionto detail. Each microphone is tested and calibrated for each processorand the included software. Most other companies’ microphones areassessed in bunches and the responses are averaged. Anthem chose totake the high road here, individually calibrating each and everymicrophone to give everyone who purchases this system the absolute bestperformance possible.
The ARC comes in all-new Anthem Statement D1 and D2 AV preamps and, asan add-on, the ARC-1 for any existing D1 or D2 for $399. The best partof the update is that you don’t need to send your processor back forit; all you need to do is give Anthem the serial number of the unit andthey send the software, cables and the individually calibratedmicrophone and mic stand to you. The only other thing you need is a PCrunning either Windows XP or Vista and a male-to-female RS-232 cable.