Improving the Musicality of a Home Theather

My journey in the last year has been somewhat mind blowing. I changed out 20 year old Proceed AVP, Revel F30 gen 1, Adcom GFA5500, and a Higher end Arcam CD Player. New system consists of Anthem AVM70 11.1 processor, Anthem MCA 525 Gen 2 225x5, Revel M126Be bookshelves mains and center channel, B&W surrounds rear and overhead , Bluesound Gen 3 Node Streamer and Pioneer Elite Plasma and Blue Ray Player. The amplifier is still breaking in, but I must say the system sounds incredible on 5.2.1. (Velodyne powered sub). I want to know if upgrading the Blue Ray to an Apple or similar Video streamer would be worth the investment? If not, I can stream native formats thru the Anthem processor. 

I realize this site tends to focus on great 2 channel sound, which I also appreciate. But I was hoping to resonate with the home theater crowd out three? 

any help on cables or alternate sources would be greatly appreciated.




Welcome @hondaron , I have a 9.2.7 immersive audio setup you can check out in my virtual system. Upgrading your Blueray to an Apple streamer for movies is going backward. Discs are the higher level source. Upgrading to an Apple streamer for Apple Spatial Audio (atmos music) is a must. You have already done the heavy lifting and got your equipment.

There is ONE thing you should do now while your amp is still breaking in. Checkout my thread on setting up your room for Atmos, the Dolby specs contain angles to place your speakers. Follow the bed channels to the letter. The height channels we can discuss depending on your room. Next steip is post your system and pics if you can in your profile "Virtual System" page and we will get you to where you wanna be. Enjoy.


As for alternate sources it will depend on the type of files you listen to. if you rip your files to a NAS, if you like gaming, if you like to steam in atmos or dts, or dd, etc.

As for cables you will have long runs, my preference is Mogami (also sold as worlds best cables on amazon)

Thank you for the insightful reply’s. I didn’t do the math myself, the installer, Audio Breakthroughs in Manhassett, NY did a fancy ARC computer room correction with three microphone positions and the music and theater is basically flawless. I don’t really understand it but it makes perfect sense to have the computer do all the bacon corrections / calculations. 

what a difference from about 14 months ago

What is your Blueray player? If it is an older player, it may be limited to 1080P.  If you are sticking with the Elite Plasma, you won't get the benefit of a 4K Blueray player, but if you decide to upgrade to a 75+ inch TV you will. Getting an external streamer is a no-brainer though. Content is king. Online streaming services have so much readily available content if you are so moved. No need to even lock into a single service. You can buy a month a time and flip around between services. 

With the new compression CODECs and the relative high bandwidth for HD streaming, up to 2-3 megabytes per hour, the quality is very good. You don't need to spend much money either.  Google 4K Chromecast, Amazon 4K Firestick, ROKU 4K all support the popular streaming services, Netflix, Amazon, DisneyHD, Paramount, etc.


spot on, blue ray is 11 years old and is 1080P, same as plasma. Will there be a noticeable difference going to a 4k source and say and OLED? Live in a smaller 1904 vintage home, and thinking about the video upgrade path when we move to a bigger home. Will the 4k blacks be as good or better than the elite plasma? Not sure about what cables the 4k require, assume hdmi are out? Is there a source publication where I can learn before thinking about spending the $?  Thanks

Even cheap HDMI cables can support 4K without too much issue. Maybe not some really old ones.

To justify 4K, you really need a big TV, 75"+.  At 65" maybe if you sit really close you will notice an improvement.

The new OLEDs have blacks every bit as good as your plasma, and much brighter, so better effective contrast in all lighting conditions. As you get older, a big TV can be nice on the eyes too.

Modern TVs have better processing chips so if you watch a lot of sports you may notice an improvement there. The newer TVs also support improved color depth on the HDMI, but not sure you will notice it.

Not sure the best resource. This is stuff I have picked up over the last couple years as I have bought stuff and just generally being into the tech.,review-2224.html

the installer, Audio Breakthroughs in Manhassett, NY did a fancy ARC computer room correction

Great, then you know you are setup correctly.

As for sources it depends on the files you use. If you are using discs (CD,SACD, BRD,UHD, etc) I would recommend a Sony X-800M2. The Panasonic player is nice but lacks the SACD features of the Sony.

If you are using files that you have ripped and stored on a NAS I would recommend the Zidoo Z9X media player, fantastic device,

If you want to stream Netflix, Amazon Video, Disney Plus etc. if you are in the Apple ecosystem get the newer ATV 4K. The Firestick has poor SQ and is crammed with ads. Nvidia Shield is swamped with google ads. The X-Box Series S or X are superb for both streaming and gaming. If you get the Series X you also get a blueray player.

The Anthem piece is superb, you will really enjoy it. As for video I use an Epson PJ in the media room and a Sony 4K TV in the man cave.
After your system is well broken in and you have the sources you like the first upgrade I would do (even before adding two more height channels for atmos) is getting a second sub. It isn’t for the volume of bass, its for the smoothness.

PS- If you add 2 more speakers for overheads move the matching B&W’s from the rear to rear height channels and get matching Revels for the rear surrounds.

You made a very astute decision getting a matched Anthem system (processor and amps), nice job and it seems you got a great audio dealer too.

+1 @thespeakerdude Buy the best LG OLED TV you can afford and you’ll be thrilled.  It also does high dynamic range (HDR) and when it’s available in the program material the picture totally pops — assuming you have the picture settings set right.  Also, if 2-channel is important, upgrade your streamer to something like Innuos, Lumin, or the best you can afford.  The Node is ok, but streamers are critical and moving up to the next level will make a big difference in your stereo performance. No idea about video streaming devices, but glad you’re enjoying your great new system.  

We have Apple TV, Chromecast, Firestick, and ROKU. The "SQ" of all of them is pretty much equivalent and is going to a factor more of what you plug them into. For movie/TV streaming, all the audio is compressed so any jitter on the HDMI is not relevant as it will be buffered and decompressed. The Firesticks are one of the few devices that support Amazon music HD. Not ideal. Bluesound does as well.

Like anything, you have to ensure your devices are up to date. Chromecast added Atmos support last spring. Firesticks added it in the summer. I think the AppleTV added it last spring as well. Disney+ was still having ATMOS support issues till fall of last year. The ROKU ultra I know supports it but it is not hooked up to a full system. The "ads" on the Firestick, other than an ad-bar on the bottom are much like what you get on Netflix home screen. You don't really notice them. The Chromecast and AppleTVs get by far the most use due to ease of interface. No one uses the remotes that comes with these, we all just use our phones.  Realistically, these devices are almost free <<$100, and dead simple to use so little reason not to have one.

Android boxes like the Zidoo are popular more with the computer savvy crowd. They tend to require more maintenance, and software can be buggy. We had another brand, but the software updates were infrequent and it eventually collected dust due superior ease of use of other devices. Zidoo has a Z1000 now that is getting better reviews, but more costly.



Wow, do t know where to start thanking you guys. Firstly, I thank Bruce and Mike at Audio Breakthroughs. My Proceed was going and I called 6 dealers in NY area when supply of gear was scarce. He had gotten his hands on two Anthems. I feel blessed if not lucky. A comment on my poor taste when I first entered this blog 14 months ago…..what I should have said was I loved the B&W’s but my acid test is female vocals like Stevie Nicks…and I took the Revels for mains for that reason. B&Ws are very fine speakers also, that’s why I used them in my partial surround…..

I will get Revels for the rears, good idea, and fill all the surround duty with B&W (more refined base than the Revels in my humble opinion).. My dealer also just recommended the Sony player recommendation given above, thanks for that…

the 4k OLED is next years project, we need a bigger home than the 1904 farm house… can’t wait.

Great job, thanks for sharing all your ideas and thoughts….


Great, FWIW I just got this blueray of Stevie Nicks Gold Tour, I think it was pretty good. Your Anthem AVM 70 has a feature to upmix surround sound with either the Dolby Sorround or DTS Neural X upmixer to take full advantge of your setup. Post if you have questions:


There are some settings you need to tweak in the Sony player.

see pg 24 in the manual

Set the BD Secondary audio to OFF (so you can bitstream out to your receiver/processor)

Turn DSEE HX ON (upsamples audio to hirez)