I agree. I set up my Anthem by ear... the software works OK... but I needed to tweak the settings for my liking.
Anthem ARC and Subwoofers - A quick review
For a while now I’ve been saying that a good room correction system was the best choice for most music lovers looking to integrate a subwoofer. Getting a subwoofer to sound glorious is hard work and ARC systems like the Anthem Genesis system promises to fix.
I’ve recently gotten to use an Anthem MRX 540 and evaluated it’s performance. To make a long story short it does a lot of things right, and stops juuuuuust short of doing great.
Like many ARC systems before it, Genesis leaves your system sounding too bright and lean. Not enough bass and too much treble. Here’s the good news: These issues are relatively easy to overcome and what it does right is the hard part:
- Setting the crossover slopes and points
- Minimizing bass nodes
- Integrating multiple measurement points
The overall process to getting great sound with Genesis is the following:
- Measure the room
- Let Genesis do it's math magic and accept all of the settings but then ...
- Change the slope of the subwoofer and main speakers
- Raise the bass about 4 dB
I’ve written about the technical steps in detail here:
Went through a very similar situation with my Anthem AVM60 a while ago. I did not like the dynamic limitation that ARC seemed to give. I ended up adding a MiniDSP 2x4HD and using REW to create my sub correction curves. I set distances, crossovers and levels manually in the Anthem and removed any ARC settings.
I never tried Anthem ARC before but I think you didn't yet have access to Genesis.
I will say that miniDSP and ARC Genesis is a completely different ballgame. What I love about miniDSP is the ability to personally select every single filter, not to mention that the delay measurements were far more precise than with my AVM 50.
With the MRX and Genesis I have achieved a happy balance between not doing it all myself and getting it to do what I want via the tilt and bass boost settings. It's more of a happy partnership approach, where I let it do what it's good at and then color the final sound to taste. I lack however the ability to go in and tweak any given part of the ARC curve but the final results for me have worked out really really well.
PS @bjp9738 One of my goals in this upgrade was also to get rid of excess gear. So yes, I've given up some control but I also gave up a miniDSP, 3 external monoblocks and about 13-15 cables associated with all of it. 🤣
To simplify I had to let go, and while I do feel the loss of control, I'm also reaping the benefits of consolidation here.
I was using ARC2 initially for a couple years, but did upgrade to Genesis when it was released. It was pretty buggy when it first came out. The latest version is much better.
It's probably just a matter of personal taste. I wish Genesis allowed more of a peek under the hood to see what it's actually doing. Even if I limit the max correction frequency to below the crossover point between mids and bass, I still feel like it's doing something that limits the overall dynamic range when ARC is engaged. I do recall reading somewhere that the new Anthem MRX and AVM models allow for more correction filters, so maybe that accounts for the difference in experiences.
Hmmm, that’s not the impression I have so far, but I do feel the initial curves were too bright. I’ll keep an ear out. With a receiver I'm locked in though, there's no way for me to insert miniDSP except if I use it as a pure pre.
@erik_squires Interesting you should mention this. I was very recently thinking about selling my AVM60 and associated Rotel RMB1585 5-channel HT amp and replacing with an Anthem 740. My system is set up for dual duty 2-channel music and multi-channel HT. I don't need the power of the Rotel anymore as I've added in some separates for 2-channel and using the HT passthru feature for movies. I'd only get rid of one box in the end, but that'd free up a good amount of space and weight in my cabinet. I'd love to hear your opinion on how the Anthem's internal amps do with loud, dynamic movie soundtracks.
hi @bjp9738 - So I feed L and R to my Luxman 507. I just played Battlefield Los Angeles and it was pretty awesome. 5.1, all speakers high passed at 80 Hz.
I will say that even before calibration the MRX 540 sounded significantly more open and transparent than the AVM 50 it replaces. Absolutely no complaints.
I have a pair of Martin Logan 11A. I might be in a minority here but I didn't like what the ARC room correction did to the dynamics or overall tonal balance: bass became much too rounded, with an almost nonexistant leading edge or tactility and generally speaking much too subdued (I\m not a basshead, mainly classical and jazz listener). Yes, I tried tweaking the results, did multiple measurements to eliminate any possible measurement related mistake, etc.