If I had to sum up the D2v's performance, be it audio or video, I'd have to say it's comparable to the smart kid, who seems to master everything effortlessly that he appears to not be doing work at all, yet behind the scenes, you know that child is just busting his ass to make it look easy. I have to imagine that's how other manufacturers and processors view the D2v, for they can't seem to compete with everything the D2v does well, yet they talk about their virtues far more, while the D2v just does its thing as it always has. It's just brilliant.
Competition and Comparison
You can compare Anthem's D2v preamp against its competition by reading our reviews for the Classe' SSP800 preamp and the McIntosh MX-120 preamp. There is also more information available in our AV Preamp Section and on our Anthem brand page.
I honestly cannot fault the Anthem D2v sonically or visually. It pushes all the right buttons for me and, while some processors sound a bit livelier or are capable of a bit more oomph here and there, none possesses the overall balance and rightness the D2v does. In terms of video performance, the D2v is untouchable.
This said, there are some drawbacks to the D2v. For starters, it's way too complicated for most end users. While I appreciate the sheer level of control and customization the D2v offers, the way it goes about it is messy. The menus are lousy, the wording is a bit obtuse at times and the remote and hard controls will make you batty. If you are thinking of purchasing a D2v, be sure your dealer installs it for you and perhaps consider getting a good touch-screen universal remote to operate it with once installed. Chances are, you dealer has sold at least a dozen of them already, so the quirks of the preamp are already demystified.
Next up, while I think the ARC system is a revelation, coming closer than any auto EQ I've encountered to removing one's room from the sound equation, it too is far too complicated. I'm glad the ARC system comes standard with the D2v, but I can't imagine the majority of customers will tweak much past the Anthem-recommended settings, so I question the need for a computer altogether. I wish Anthem would just hardwire the software into the D2v, so that when the user simply plugs the included microphone into the front of the unit, it would launch the necessary EQ program, allowing the consumer to navigate the info via an onscreen display. If this is not possible in future iterations of the D2, then please do away with the damn serial cable, make it USB and put the input on the front of the unit. Oh, and make the software both Mac and PC-compatible.