The Best of the AV Processors

Hi all, I am thinking again about naim AV2 alternatives. I have had the Acurus ACT4 but ultimately moved back the the AV2 and still interested in some of the high end Processors but have not had any others at home, have any naim heavy systems found nirvana with a processor mainly for film, but also doing justice to music and emotion on film tracks ?

I keep thinking about a Trinnov but having heard them in a number of places in a number if systems I am still left feeling its probably not for me. I liked the Storm in its setting the most and wasn’t impressed by the Lyngdorf on music a while back

Darn shame Naim didn’t work with Storm on a well power supplied option (I know Focal sort of did but I dont want a receiver)

Any thoughts ?


I’ve had the pleasure of installing a Storm processor in the form of a Bryston SP4. It is a fine implementation of the platform.

The current state of processors has me reminiscing about the days of external decoders being offered for laser discs and DVDs. I’d love to keep my AV2 in a 5.1.2 configuration.

Yes, I’d almost forgot the SP4, I believe its still based on the Storm ISP 16 MkI. My current config is 7.3.0 as Im in a Grade 1 listed house so ceiling speakers is tricky and Im running with analogue out from a modded Panasonic 9000.

I guess in part the reason I preferred the old naim AV2 vs the Acurus ACT4 was the tonality and body that the voices had and it was simply more organic than the ACT4. The overhead speakers weren’t in the equation to give the Acurus any advantage and as I now use a Mini DSP to manage the three subs with exactly the same settings I dialled in to the Acurus the bass was close too (Acurus slightly but not materially better). The old naim won with dynamics and that sense of projection and live feel

What amps and set up do you use with the Bryston ?

Our client has a full Bryston system with power isolation, amplifiers, streamer and DAC for stereo music playback. Like your Panasonic, there is an Oppo in the mix too.

I’ve used the miniDSP nanoAVR system to convert multichannel LPCM over HDMI to analog for the AV2. The sound quality wasn’t great, though it wasn’t far from some of the other processors I’ve tried from Yamaha, Marantz, Rotel, Anthem etc. Currently, I’m using an Essence Evolve II-4K HDMI DAC → AV2. It’s pretty basic but performs well.

My thinking is that an ideal (non-Naim) processor would offer a transparent conversion for the Naim equipment down the signal path.

My current thinking is a Storm or Bryston Sp4 ultimately but for the moment I might try a 10x10 mini DSP and run parallel connections for analogue out from the AV2 and to DSP and Power amps. LFE going direct to DSP the rest direct to the 7 channels and also to the DSP the output of the DSP has the EQD subs on LFE goes straight through all the others are EQD on the input so the subs only add what’s needed by the three subs as the channels direct will be set to large and attempting to do full range. This has worked well with the mains so I know it works

Another AV2 alternative to consider is the Anthem AVM 90. The announced features and pricing make it attractive vs. the Storm options.

Yes the Anthems have always been good options. I did speak to Mike at naim who was very helpful, seems Storm based may well be the most suitable option. I have decided to take the analogue out as far as can with a 10x10 HD, then I’ll see if I can take home something like an Anthem/Storm/Bryston and see if they perform better than the Acurus ACT4 with music and emotion and for want of a better word tonal density, that weight and tonal richness you get in real life. If they merely provide the ability to add height channels and dont sound better or at least as good as my current set up. I’ll simply stay where I am. Having hears some 20+ Chanel systems, Im not totally convinced channel count is as bigger thing as some would have us believe any way. How many films really benefit from height channels, how many films are actually recorded with this in mind is a good question.


While I love surround sound… I use 2 channel dedicated chord 2qute (Hugo 1) as a Dac with everything sent to it as 2 channel pcm

I’d rather have great 2 channel than average surround

After comparing movies in the cinemas and at home I don’t feel the need to upgrade now

The chord Dac has the advantage on transients so movie effects are actually more impactful in some ways …. Like crashes and anything with fast sounds. The bank robbery scene in Heat sounds particularly great on my setup

What sounds great in a massive cinema may not be required in my living room anyway

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I do agree that choosing a poor multichannel system vs a good 2 channel even for movies is not the right answer. But if you have pretty good components for all channels and want to explore the best processor options then alas 2 channel isn’t the right answer, I’m happy to compromise on 8 channels for the time being.

I wouldn’t call 9 naim 135’s driving Sonus Faber Extremas and Cremonas average surround though :blush:. I did at one point think about running separate DACs and using a Merdian HD621 and feeding PCM, but I have no control over the delays with that set up (other than the sub group)

The 10x10 HD will allow me to use time aligned subs (3 subs EQ’d and aligned) to effectively backfill the missing low frequencies from all channels other than LFE without needing to process them (I run the signal in parallel to effectively just add bass)

Yes now understand you have a mighty setup and must have the room for it

After many experiments I found the weak link to be the processor/Dac and preamp

I’d try a pre loved Linn unit …,

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Which Linn unit are you thinking of ? I wasn’t aware they did an 8 channel unit ?

An older Linn processor which can handle 5 channels

The Linn Kisto… is one of them

Good luck with your search

Potentially interesting as it looks like it has 7.1 out. I’ll have a read of the manual to see if it can take 7.1 in and pass it through. Whether its any better at completing this task than the AV2 couples with a 32.5/Supercap for FL,FR is an open question

I’ve got a new NAIM system arriving tomorrow (NDX2/555PS/282/200). Allied to this (to replace an ageing Arcam), I’ve ordered a new Anthem receiver. It is the MRX 740, so very much a mid-range model. It’s not due to arrive until August but I will give an update when it’s up and running. I mainly wanted it for Atmos capability, and the NAIM stuff will drive the front speakers via pre-outs.


Any thoughts on the NAD M17 V2i ?

I have not tried the NAD M17 V2i or any of these models, I nearly tried a V15 many years ago. It has had some favourable reviews but only has one sub out from memory. I think in theory it should be good sonically but never seemed to make a mark. Possibly because of less functionality around only 7.1 balanced with ATMOS functionality seemingly added to a 7.1 unit.

In my humble opinion EQ above 200 Hz is best left to component choice and room treatment so for me only one sub EQ means I would need to convert back to digital and control using a mini DSP

By the way, I also believe adding channels has a compromise on a limited budget. How many times have you listened to a good stereo and thought I think it needs additional speakers to create a good image ?

I have been very pleased with running a mini DSP in parallel to add missing bass to each channel. interestingly this is the method a lot of professional cinemas use to provide headroom (ie dont cut low frequency output from the mains just add what’s missing with the subs)

Have AV2 in all active ATC system, works fine with SACD and cinema

Hi, any thoughts on how you are going to power the centre channel? I use a NAP 100 to bi-amp the centre channel and a NAP250DR for the front stereo pair. Initially I ran the centre channel from the AV receiver but its definitely improved using the Naim amp

The centre channel is powered by the Anthem, along with surrounds, sub and Atmos speakers. The Titans are powered by the NAP 250DR, via Unity Gain.