Anthem AVM 90 15.4-channel Dolby Atmos AV Processor Review Page 2

Wireless connectivity is also the same, with stable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth thanks to a pair of large antenna. You also get support for Apple AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast, and Spotify Connect. Roon Ready status is due soon.

Anthem's standard backlit remote is great for day-to-day control, but the excellent web user interface is my preferred choice for initial setup because it lays everything out in a comprehensive and intuitive fashion. Custom installers will also be glad to learn there's support for all the third-party control solutions.

Easy Installation
Considering its inherent sophistication, the AVM 90 is surprisingly easy to install, with the main setup decisions relating to the speaker layout and the number of overall channels. This brings us to one of the AVM 90's main selling points – four independent subs.

Contrary to popular opinion, the use of more than one subwoofer doesn't mean overwhelming bass. Instead you get a more balanced infrasonic response, because the multiple subs help smooth out peaks and dips caused by standing waves in the room. As a general rule of thumb, the best results will be achieved by putting a sub in each room corner, and while this approach will make a big difference, the AVM 90 also has the ability to use ARC Genesis to correct all four subwoofers individually for their frequency response, time alignment, and phase alignment. The result ought to be a supremely coherent bass delivery around the entire soundstage.


Controls and headphone socket lurk on the matte side of the AVM 90's fascia

Anthem Room Correction (ARC) remains a fantastic in-room acoustic measurement and optimisation tool that allows you to engineer the sonic environment to create a tonally balanced system that can steer sounds seamlessly from channel to channel. ARC runs on Windows or Mac, and Anthem includes a calibrated microphone and stand, making room correction a doddle.

For the purposes of this review I ran a 9.2.6-channel system driven by a Storm Audio PA16 MK2 16-channel power amplifier, but sadly I'm limited to two independent subs at the front because architects have an annoying habit of putting doors in the corners of rooms. Class performer

While I wasn't able to enjoy the full benefits of a four-subwoofer config, the AVM 90's sonic prowess was immediately obvious. This is a class performer right out of the gate, and running through my usual object-based palette cleansers revealed a wonderfully tight and controlled soundfield.

Midway (4K BD) sounded especially good, particularly during the climactic battle. This is a dense and complex Atmos soundtrack, but the Anthem picked out the individual audio objects with unerring accuracy. Whether it was flak exploding overhead, tracer fire ripping across the room, or planes flying right through you, each sound effect was precisely, thrillingly defined. The overall mix never once collapsed into an acoustic mush.

Joining this sense of clean detail is the threedimensionality of the AVM 90's delivery. It completely immerses you within the soundstage, objects moving with incredible fluidity and the various channels perfectly defined. Dialogue and score have exceptional clarity. While I only had my notes and memory to rely on, the AVM 90's orchestration of Midway's dynamic soundtrack felt superior to that of its already impressive sibling, the AVM 70. Everything snapped a little more into focus.

Anthem's full-width chassis is side- and top-vented for heat management

Monster Hunter (4K BD) uses deep bass to devastating effect, and this processor not only served up subterranean infrasonic moments in a controlled, balanced and precise manner, but integrated them flawlessly with the other speakers in the array. The result was that low-end effects felt reinforced, regardless of where they were positioned around the room. Whenever a monster appears, which is fairly regularly, the lows kick in and often drop well below 20Hz. This sounded stunning – bass you can literally feel in your chest, without bloom or blur. Turn to a more inventive soundmix, such as the DTS:X soundtrack of Crimson Peak (Blu-ray) and the AVM 90 doesn't falter, bringing the environment of Allerdale Hall vividly to life. The house is full of subtle sonic cues, and the sound team uses audio objects to move these around a hemisphere of sound. The Anthem's steering was so precise, and the channels so distinct, that I could follow noises moving within this sonic bubble, such as the water flowing constantly through the heating pipes.

Raising The Bar
Anthem's AVM 90 is an undoubted audio triumph. In fact, the performance is so good it comes close to matching ultra-high-end processors costing twice as much. The addition of HDMI 2.1 is welcome, and Auro-3D decoding appears to be about the only thing missing from this otherwise feature-rich processor. This doesn't just elevate the sound quality of any system it's included in, it also raises the bar of what's possible at this price.

HCC Verdict

Anthem AVM 90

Price: £6,749

We say: Anthem's high-end processor has a fulsome feature list – including HDMI 2.1 and ARC Genesis calibration – and delivers a state-of-the-art performance. Simply brilliant.

Overall: 5/5


DOLBY ATMOS: Yes DTS:X: Yes IMAX ENHANCED: Yes MULTICHANNEL INPUT: No MULTICHANNEL PRE-OUT: Yes. 15.4 XLR and phono 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; Spotify Connect; 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; ESS Sabre 32-bit/768kHz DAC; HDMI 2.1 with support for eARC, HDCP 2.3, 8K/60, 4K/120, VRR, ALLM, QFT, QMS, HDR10, HLG, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision