Anthem AVM90 vs AVM70 Processors: Review and Comparison

Anthem AVM90 vs AVM70 Processors: Review and Comparison

Anthem is one of the most beloved and esteemed audio equipment brands today, leading the herd in top-of-the-line audio processing and amplification at accessible prices. Their AVM processor series is considered one of the best in the industry in terms of balancing performance and affordability, offering the latest technology and powerful processing capabilities without completely emptying your wallet.


If you don't know already, opting for home theatre separates (a processor and amplifier as 2 separate components) gives you more control over your sound system and helps maximize audio quality compared to an AV receiver with built-in amplification. Keeping the low level signals separate from amplified high level signals reduces noise and preserves the audio quality. Additionally, having separates also allows you to upgrade and replace processing hardware, which typically advances faster than amplifiers, without having to get a new amp. So, if we're talking about processors, we're talking about high fidelity, and advanced features that maximize the quality of the signal that gets sent to your speakers.


The two latest AVM processors are the AVM70 and the long-anticipated AVM90, which was finally released in March after delays related to a fire at an AVM component supplier. Both of these models offer some exciting changes and upgrades from previous versions, taking the AVM series to the next level. With the AVM90 almost doubling the AVM70 in price, let's take a look at the major differences between these models and the features of the AVM90 that make it worth the wait (and the money).


What's New in the AVM90




One major difference with the AVM90 is the quality of the DACs. While they have the same specifications as the AVM70, 32bit at 768kHz sampling, the DACs in the new model offer superior sound quality, sounding as good as many higher end stereo preamplifiers. This was one of the benefits made possible by the production delays; engineers had more time to find a better set of DACs to build into the AVM90 model. This provides a smoother sound profile with increased bass extension, which will be a noticeable improvement for serious audiophiles.


Four Subwoofer Channels


The other (and arguably more exciting) difference is the number of channels. The AVM90 now has 19 total channels, with 4 independent subwoofer outputs that can be calibrated individually. The AVM70 offers the same 15 channels with just 2 subwoofer channels. Seeing this feature included in a <$10,000 piece of equipment is truly inspiring; we always love to see the world of hifi becoming more accessible, and having more than 2 subwoofer channels was previously a feature exclusive to gear ranging upwards of $20K.

Beyond these two major upgrades and more advanced audio circuitry, the AVM90 is largely similar to the AVM70. Are these upgrades worth the price increase? That depends on your budget and your home theatre needs. If you're looking for the best processor your money can buy, the improved DAC and additional subwoofer channels may make the difference. For dedicated audio lovers, the difference in DAC quality is certainly noticeable. And if you're considering using more than 2 subwoofers, having the extra channels is probably worth it.


What Makes the AVM Series Worthwhile


Moving past their differences, both of these AVM models have a number of features and capabilities that make them flagship equipment for their price range. These are some of the iconic characteristics of AVM processors that you really won't want to miss:


Codec Compatibility


An important feature of the AVM series is compatibility with front line image and audio codecs, including Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, DTS:X, and IMAX Enhanced. This allows you to listen to your favorite audio formats with support for up to 15 channels plus subwoofers.




Wireless capabilities are convenient and essential with the importance of music streaming platforms today. Now you can connect to the AVM via Airplay2, Chromecast, Bluetooth, and Spotify Connect, with an update for Roon compatibility coming soon. The variety of streaming options make these processors easy to connect to in any way you prefer.


8K Video and e-ARC


The AVM90 has HDMI 2.1 full 8K video capabilities straight out of the box, and the AVM70 hardware is upgradeable from HDMI 2.0b. This is an important feature if you have 8K sources and a compatible TV. The addition of HDMI Enhanced Audio Return Channel (e-ARC) allows you to enjoy 8K quality from your TV apps as well.


Beautiful Web UI


Accessing all of the settings and features that are available with your new gear is extremely important. Anthem offers a user-friendly web interface accessible from your laptop or mobile device to help you customize your audio with ease. Be able to make changes and adjustments from anywhere is a cool convenience feature, and the Anthem Web User Interface offers a seamless experience.


ARC Genesis


Anthem Room Correction (ARC) is a major flagship feature that makes Anthem processors unique. Their room correction technology takes measurements of the room and adjusts outputs to correct for unwanted resonance and coloration. This room calibration smooths out the frequency response while preserving the positive acoustic qualities of the space. The AVM90 release was coupled with an even more advanced version called ARC Genesis, which includes automatic subwoofer phase and polarity adjustments. You can also have up to 4 ARC presets for maximized customization in different environments, such as more listeners.