Review: Anthem AV Home Theatre preview 2016

posted on Sunday, 31st January 2016 by Geny Caloisi

Invision UK  Dolby Atmos 

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It's only been six months since Invision UK took over home cinema specialist Anthem AV Solutions, but there is no time to waste. In January, over 70 custom installers and dealers gathered at Dolby Europe's London HQ to find out what new home theatre products are coming from the brand. The day was structure around four presentations from Dolby, Anthem, Artnovion and Trinnov; each followed by Q&A. In between presentations, installers and dealers had a chance to talk directly with the manufacturer.

“During the Q&As, people asked very valid questions,” commented Tom Garrett, Technical Sales Manager of Anthem AV Solutions. “Manufacturers really appreciate the opportunity to interact with the specialists that use their products day in and day, out and get their opinions. All feed back is good feedback.”

The first company to present was by Dolby. Since it was its own theatre, we got the full effect on the ‘object-based’ Dolby Atmos surround sound system. You could almost taste the sound! It was so wholly embracing that it stimulated more than just the sense of hearing. 

Dolby explained that it is moving on from talking about sound channels. Atmos shifts the way that audio is perceived, by focusing on the pinpoint precision of object-based audio. Total immersion is now achieved by using overhead speakers installed in the ceiling.

Dolby Presentation Theatre

An ideal theatrical arrangement for Dolby Atmos will see 24 speakers located on the walls and 10 speakers on the ceiling. The number of subwoofers can vary and they can be placed behind the screen or at the back. At present there are only 350 movie titles and around 100 facilities world wide, where you can get the full Dolby Atmos cinema experience.

Users that have the Dolby Atmos system at home, will need a Blu-ray player and decoding electronic - and they won’t need the 30 plus speakers. Legacy content can be up-mixed, so one might even re-discover some old favourites.

Dolby is looking to tap into content other than movies, such as TV, music and video games. However, for the moment, bandwidth restrictions are still an issue for streaming content to the home - in particular when it contains rich meta data making the file larger.

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Anthem presented its next generation of Anthem AVM60 Dolby Atmos AV Processor and the Anthem MRX AV receivers at the event. The latter comes in three offerings, the MRX 112, MRX 720 and the MRX 520. The MRX are also DTS compatible. 

The MRX series include Anthem Room Correction (ARC). The company has re-designed ARC to quickly connect over ethernet, measure the space and adjust the speaker output to suit the size and configuration of the room. Placing the calibrated microphone around the room, you can choose to set it up manually or have it fully automated. The user interface for ARC has also been revamped, which was appreciated and welcomed by the installers trying it out in the demo room. A new feature is the possibility of printing out the before and after room measurement graphs to show client how effective ARC is.

Artnovion was exhibiting its acoustic enhancers collection of absorbers, bass traps and diffusers (pictured below). The modular units come in beautiful designs, some resembling modern 3D art.

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The last presenter of the day, but still enjoying a full house, was Arnaud Destinay, international sales manager of French manufacturer Trinnov Audio. He talked about the true 3D audio experience that the company’s Alttitude32 amplifier has to offer for the high end luxury market. Alttitude32 caters for all audio formats including Auro3D, DTS:X and Dolby Atmos; and can offer up to 32 simultaneous output channels. Trinnov is using a new approach to digital signal processing. Instead of taking the traditional route of using multiple DSPs in a complex and rigid architecture, the manufacturer has developed a multipurpose processing platform. This is based on a single multi-core Intel processor, with a simple devise user interface and also a web-based user interface.

Invision UK MD Steve Beahan, seemed very pleased with the turn out for the event ,and commented: “Our strategy of keeping Anthem AVS as a separate unit focusing on high-end home cinema products is paying off. We are expanding the line of products at Anthem AVS. Working with us dealers and installers will be able to offer the true home cinema experience end to end.” But he joked that they’ll draw a line on selling popcorn.

For more stories about Invision UK, visit our partner page here.

Geny Caloisi

Geny Caloisi is an accomplished technology journalist who has worked in a variety of AV industry publications. 

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