A Review by Guy Singleton
After many a long year of renovating my house, I was finally at the stage where I could enjoy installing two home cinema systems. How exciting! With many big decisions to make, there was one that for me was a fait accompli. I decided to use two highly acclaimed Anthem AVM90 in my cinema rooms.
Guy Singleton MIET LCGI MInstLM (our principal engineer) is a fully qualified and registered electrical and electronics engineer. He teaches and lectures internationally and is a subject matter expert for CEDIA’s education council, specialising in lighting, HVAC, home theatre design, fundamental electrical theories, electrical maths and control systems and programming. Guy has been at the helm of Imagine This for over 20 years.
The Outstanding Anthem AVM90 Cinema Processor
I, like many industry professionals, have experienced all sorts of systems and components; both at trade shows and dealer demos. Over the years, I have been inundated with information and product comparisons. I know lots of high-end processors that are AMAZING, and they have a price tag to support those claims. Needing two processors, I thus had to look at slightly more affordable options. I spoke to my friends at Pulse Cinemas and asked to try the new Anthem AVM90. In this post, I won’t go into the specifications too much, as I am sure you know the numbers. If you don’t, you should look them up. Here, I just want to talk about the results.
To some, the processor may not be high on their priority list; taking second place to big subwoofers or a big screen, but I know that this was where the magic happens. Processors are without doubt the single most important part of the system. They handle video switching and processing, audio format decoding, bass management and system control; it’s the centre of the system and an absolutely essential component.
The First Room – Dolby Atmos 5.1(3).4 – Anthem AVM90
In the first room (a Dolby Atmos 5.1(3).4), when I installed the Anthem AVM90, the system was utterly transformed. In this room, I took the liberty of adding 2 x 525 Gen 2 amplifiers to help with the muscle. Wow! What this processor did for my system was totally transformative.
The bass management from the ARC controlled four independent sub outputs, creating a cohesive seat-to-seat bass response that my previous system just couldn’t replicate. In fact, it changed the system to such a degree that I found myself watching ‘Morbius’ on disc again and skipping to the bat sonar part (I wholeheartedly recommend you do the same). The height channels and the object-based steering were at a completely different level, with immersion and envelopment like never before.
The Second Room – Dolby Atmos 5.1(3).4 – Anthem AVM90
My second room was again a Dolby Atmos 5.1(3).4 system, with a different speaker brand. This room employs 2 x JBL 7200 to handle the amplification, so there are some subtle differences, but the results were equally impressive. This room additionally contains two next-gen game consoles, a PS5 and an Xbox Series X, so the HFR video board in the Anthem AVM90 came into its own. 120Hz frame rates made gaming images sublime. Add that to the fantastic audio decoding and superb bass management; this room now creates an immersive experience like never before.
I, like most industry professionals, am fortunate to have had the experience (and use) of some great home cinema electronics; but this to me was a “Kaleidescape or Sky EPG guide moment”. You know, one of those game-changing WOW moments that makes you relish the many advancements, and appreciate how exciting our industry really is.
Certainly, there are other, equally as good processors out there, and we know who they are. The likes of Trinnov and Storm are obviously the gold standard when building a high-end space. What I will add is that these Anthem AVM90 processors are probably one-third the cost, and give an equally amazing performance.
Anthem AVM90 with ARC Room Correction
I haven’t always been a lover of certain room calibration solutions and I admit that ARC used to be one of them. However, the new ARC Genesis is both easy to use and incredibly powerful. I was able to achieve some really stunning results, in my two acoustically very different rooms, with this feature.
All in all, it’s a massive thumbs-up from me. In fact, I liked them so much I bought two Anthem AVM90, that’s got to tell you all you need to know about my feelings towards this fabulous piece of equipment!
New silicon and new video boards make for state-of-the-art performance, in both the audio and video camps. If you haven’t tried one yet, you really should.
“Choose your love. Love your choice.”
Thomas S. Monson
For more about home cinema rooms, please see our article How Much Does a Home Cinema Cost, or perhaps Acoustic Treatments for Home Cinemas. Here is the demo room we created for PMC Speakers. For something different, how about an article from the archives: Our Jerry Maguire Moment?