Anthem AVM 70 15.2-channel Dolby Atmos AV processor review Page 2

Thanks to the inclusion of proprietary ARC Genesis room correction, this is also relatively easy. There's a calibrated mic (with a handy stand) included, ARC runs on Windows or Mac, and it's so intuitive that you don't need to be a dealer or have a degree in acoustics to use it.

All you need do is measure and input all the speaker distances before you start (you can do it afterwards if you forget), and then follow the instructions. The system takes a minimum of five measurements, creating an average in-room response for each speaker and subwoofer(s), before applying target curves to adjust these responses accordingly.

The idea is to correct peaks and dips in a speaker's frequency response from 15Hz to 20kHz, while preserving the beneficial acoustic attributes of the room. This is particularly important at the lower end, where your environment itself has greater impact. The AVM 70 allows for two subwoofers to be independently calibrated, resulting in balanced and dynamic bass delivery.

For the purposes of this review I tested the processor in a 9.2.6-channel configuration using M&K Sound speakers and subs, with a Storm Audio PA16 MK2 (see HCC #324) on amplifier duty.

Pulling In The Same Direction
In this setup, the Anthem AVM 70 sounded, as hoped, utterly scintillating. It pulled all my speakers together, creating a performance of brilliant balance and fluidity.


Antennas are provided for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

The Blu-ray of Spectre has a 7.1 DTS-HD MA mix that's worthy of everyone's favourite super-spy, and the opening Day of the Dead sequence gives this processor a chance to strut its stuff with a non-immersive soundtrack. The sounds of the partying crowds fill the room, while the driving beat provided by a group of drummers is rendered tight and fast.

This single-take scene allows for some excellent placement of sound effects relative to the screen, with 007 making his way from the street, up to a hotel room and on to the roof. It sounds naturalistic yet totally controlled here. When a wayward shot then detonates a suitcase of explosives, the ensuing wave of low-frequency energy surges through the room, wonderfully visceral but precise .

This precision extends to the fight on a helicopter, where various effects whip around the soundfield. Switching Anthem's ARC system on and off here not only reveals its superior handling of the lower frequencies, but also the tonally balanced nature of the overall system. High frequencies are also perfectly rendered without edginess, as evidenced by Sam Smith's soaring falsetto during the theme song.

With something more demanding, in the shape of the fantastic Atmos soundtrack of Passengers (4K BD), the AVM 70 is even more of a knockout, showing an ability to handle both subtle audio cues and more obvious object-based effects.

Since the film takes place entirely on a spaceship, the soundtrack has to create a sense of loneliness and claustrophobia through the use of spatial cues, including the overhead channels. This nuanced sonic environment is delineated with skill by the Anthem, while dialogue scenes are all about clarity and focus.

Anthem's processor supports Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and IMAX Enhanced

However it's not always subtle, and when Jennifer Lawrence is nearly killed after the ship's artificial gravity fails and she becomes trapped in a zero-g bubble of water, the sound sequence is breathtaking through the AVM 70 – all available channels envelop you in the suffocating fluid. A later scene where Chris Pratt is forced to venture outside the ship and vent plasma from a malfunctioning reactor comes with a side order of low-end rumble as the hot plasma blasts through.

Other discs show off this processor's talent for being both exhilarating and subtly engaging. The DTS:X track on the new 4K Blu-ray of The Thing finds Ennio Morricone's driving score delivered with an unnervingly precise beat, the cohesive nature of the overall soundstage helping build tension and fear, and the infamous defibrillator scene producing some fantastically squishy sound effects. Meanwhile, Jumanji: The Next Level (4K BD) serves up extended bass and frequent full use of the overhead channels for a blockbuster sonic experience.

At The Cutting Edge
Overall the AVM 70 is a triumphant upgrade from Anthem, combining cutting-edge room correction with precision processing and a solid feature list. Arguably best of all, it offers flexibility in terms of setup, allowing you to choose the speaker layout and amplification that best suits your needs, while offering the option to expand your system later. A few features have yet to be added, and if you want HDMI 2.1 you'll need to pay for a future upgrade, but otherwise this is one anthem we can all sing along to.

HCC Verdict

Anthem AVM 70

Price: £3,600

We say: Anthem's 15.2-channel AV processor combines looks and features with an awesome, immersive soundstage. Thanks to ARC Genesis it also delivers sonic revelations.

Overall: 5/5


DOLBY ATMOS: Yes DTS:X: Yes IMAX ENHANCED: Yes MULTICHANNEL INPUT: No MULTICHANNEL PRE-OUT: Yes. 15.2-channel balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA MULTIROOM: Yes. Zone 2 AV INPUTS: 5 x digital audio (3 x optical and 2 x coaxial); 5 x analogue stereo HDMI: 7 x inputs and 3 x outputs VIDEO UPSCALING: No DIMENSIONS: 432(w) x 364(d) x 152(h)mm WEIGHT: 10.1kg

FEATURES: Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth; Chromecast and AirPlay 2; future Spotify Connect and Roon support; web-based user interface; ARC (Anthem Room Correction) Genesis; calibrated microphone and stand; IR input; 12V triggers; Ethernet; USB port (service only); RS232 serial connector; third party integration and IP control; Dolby Vision/HLG/HDR10 passthrough