Receivers

Flagship Home Theater - Part 2: Anthem Statement D2v Audio/Video Processor and Statement A5 Five-Channel Power Amplifier

ARTICLE INDEX

In Use

The Statement D2v and A5 are in every way audiophile products.  Although I did most of my evaluation with films, I did spend some quality time listening to music.  There are absolutely no compromises between the genres.  Movie soundtracks took on a level of clarity, detail and immersion that I have not experienced before.  Music was the same; I was transported out of my listening room into nightclubs and concert halls; and I didn't even have to close my eyes!

I used two different speaker systems during my review: my reference Axioms (M60 towers, VP150 center, QS8 surrounds) with an SVS PB-12 Plus sub and the Focal Dome satellite/sub system.

The first thing I noticed was the complete lack of a perceivable noise floor.  My room is sealed and therefore extremely quiet.  Having sound come out of such sonic blackness is a real treat to the ears.  The extra cleanliness at all dynamic levels is immediately apparent.  The D2v/A5 combination seemed to have no upper limit.  I suspect I would have to melt the voice coils in my speakers before any distortion became audible.  Movie dialog was especially clear.  This is a real test of any system.  I heard virtually no difference between the pint-sized Focal Dome speaker and my much larger Axiom VP150.  I credit not only the high-end components used in the D2v/A5 but also the superb Anthem Room Correction.

featren

Listening to Renaissance: Live at Carnegie Hall and Little Feat: Waiting For Columbus on Redbook CD really displayed the features of the spaces where the concerts occurred.  It was very obvious that these performances were taking place in a concert hall.  I could really hear the transparency and spaciousness surrounding the music and the crowd's reaction to it.  Instruments were clearly located on a very large soundstage that came well forward of my speakers.  I listened to these two channel recordings in their native mode and with the Anthem Logic Music processing applied.  I much preferred the surround version.  The center channel was not used.  The surrounds and sub however were utilized perfectly.  The sound envelope was very natural and open.  There was no hint of the fakery that sometimes accompanies these matrixed surround modes.  After the initial audition, I left the Anthem Logic mode turned on for all of my two-channel listening.

mahler

For my classical audition I turned to the Grammy-winning SACDs of the Mahler Symphonies by Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony.  These performances are live recordings where excerpts from multiple concerts are assembled into the finished product.  Listening to the Fifth Symphony was like hearing it for the first time.  I immediately noticed details that I had not heard before even through my Etymotic in-ear monitors.  For the first time I could actually perceive the rustling of the audience, the page turns of the musicians and even instrument key noise from some of the woodwind players.  The location of different brass and woodwind sections was crystal clear not only side to side but front to rear as well.  My room is pretty small in size but it grew into Davies Symphony Hall the moment the piece began with its distant trumpet solo.

Movies were an especially wonderful experience.  The most impressive part is I enjoyed the presentation as much with the diminutive Focal Dome speakers as I did with my SVS sub-anchored Axiom system.  I think you could connect just about any well-made loudspeaker to the D2v/A5 separates and enjoy incredible sound reproduction.

Minority Report

The first film I watched was Minority Report on DVD.  I did this as much to test the video as well as the audio capabilities of the D2v.  Heavy grain and monotonal color is used throughout the film resulting in a very gritty and futuristic feel to the story.  Grain is a tough test for a video processor as it can cause artifacts like macroblocking and crawling-type edge enhancement.  This did not happen with the D2v.  Grain was perfectly reproduced and only added to the feel of the movie just as Steven Spielberg intended.  The only negative was on two occasions the input and output clock sync was lost and noticeable judder ensued.  I could fix it by pressing pause and play again.  This was with my Denon 2930CI as the source.  I was using the 480i output so the D2v was converting the signal to 1080p/24.  After I installed the Oppo BDP-83, I watched a few excerpts from A Beautiful Mind.  The same thing happened during a long slow pan inside a library.  It's a minor issue and I did enjoy the more natural motion offered by 24Hz playback.  To the D2v's credit there were no other artifacts present like frame drops or tearing that sometimes plague 1080p/24 playback from DVD.

Blu Ray - Watchmen

Turning to Blu-ray disc, I watched a mix of new as well as catalog titles.  The graphic novel-derived film Watchmen is a three-hour assault on the senses.  Impressive visuals are mixed in with fast-paced action and even the occasional quiet scene centering on the dialog between the characters.  Since the signal from the player was the native 1080p/24, minimal video processing was being applied by the D2v.  The image was top-notch at all times.  Every type of scene was rendered perfectly from the darkest and murkiest environments to the spectacular CGI-created Martian landscapes.  The audio was equally effective.  Most modern movie soundtracks have a huge dynamic range with loads of detail; Watchmen is an excellent example.  The D2v reproduced every nuance to a T.

trekmoon

Turning to catalog titles, I watched Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Moonraker.  We're going back thirty years in the case of Star Trek and the limitations of sound reproduction from that era are apparent.  However, thanks to the uncompressed audio tracks on these Blu-rays, Captain Kirk and James Bond have never sounded better.  Dialog clarity was especially wonderful.  When your center speaker is imaging perfectly and characters' voices are clearly reproduced, it really adds a lot to the immersive qualities of a good soundtrack.  The D2v and A5 never missed a beat as they rendered the softest details and the loudest moments with equal deftness.

Planet Earth - Blu Ray

I finished my viewing with a few episodes from BBC's Planet Earth series.  The cinematography here is breathtaking.  Flyovers are especially wonderful as you feel like you're actually flying or floating through different environments.  The soundtrack is good old Dolby Digital but the D2v made it sound almost like uncompressed.  It's a pretty basic presentation with orchestral music accompanying the narration.  The music is beautifully written though by George Fenton and performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra.  What might be an afterthought with lesser electronics was as enjoyable as the stunning visuals when played through the D2v and A5.