Sonically, the D2 is an absolute delight, both for music and movies. The controller’s overall sound is exceedingly transparent and revealing, edging out the already excellent Sunfire TGP-5 in both respects. Listening to the D2 is much like listening to a fine (and I mean very fine) high-end audio component, meaning that tiny, ethereal, almost subliminal details become easy to hear. One small precautionary comment, however, is that the D2 can and does expose shortcomings, if any, in ancillary system components. Through the D2, imaging and soundstaging are pinpoint specific and blueprint precise, so that you can tell in an instant where performers are positioned onstage, and know with certainty what the acoustics of recording venues are like. I put on the Fiedler/Boston Pops recording of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue [RCA Living Stereo, multichannel SACD], and marveled at the way the Anthem captured the sheer size and scale of the orchestra and showed how the sounds of the various orchestra sections reverberated within the hall.
The D2’s DSP-driven Dolby PL II, DTS Neo:6, and proprietary AnthemLogic surround modes sounded nearly as transparent as the controller’s Analog Direct modes, which is unusual given that most DSP-driven surround modes introduce a certain amount of sonic “hash.” The AnthemLogic modes in particular should find favor with audiophiles, because their sound is much like that of a high-end stereo system, but with the wraparound imaging that only a great surround system can provide.
On movie soundtracks, the D2 proved a revelation, bringing layer upon layer of hidden sonic detail to light. Just for fun, I put on King Kong and was astonished to discover new elements of the soundtrack I had never heard before. In “The T-Rex Battle” scene, for example, I noticed that key jungle sound effects are clearly positioned in the surround channels, and that sounds of Ann racing though dense vegetation—leaves ripping, rocks clattering, branches and vines breaking, and her labored breathing—heighten our sense of terror as she flees the giant flesh-eating dinosaurs.
The point is that the D2 provides a rich palette of sonic details and in the process pulls viewers into the movie experience as few controllers can.
The bottom line is that Anthem’s Statement D2 is an extraordinary A/V controller. Though a handful of über-controllers bearing five-figure price tags might offer slightly higher performance in certain areas, the expensive-but-worth-every-penny Statement D2 is, for all practical purposes, as good as it gets. TPV