Anthem Setup Guide with ARC Genesis
If you are reading this it is likely you are either a lucky new owner of an Anthem receiver or processor, or perhaps you are considering one and wondering how the setup will go. For those of you who are new owners, congratulations! At Audio Advice, we love the sound of Anthem products.
As with most things that can offer far more performance than the competition, if you want to extract every ounce of great sound, you’ll want to go through a few steps. Will it sound great right out of the box? Sure, but with some care in the setup and calibration, you’ll get even better sound every time you listen to your new Anthem!
For a really deep dive into your Anthem, you can download a very detailed owners manual on the Anthem site. This guide is meant to give you the important points to get the best sound.
For the purposes of this guide, we are going to assume you already have everything connected up to your new Anthem. Your Anthem will also need to be set up on your home network. We prefer you to set it up hard wired if you can, but it does have wireless built in, you’ll need to attach the two antennas on the rear of the unit.
Gather up these tools:
- A tape measure (digital or old school is fine)
- Pen and paper for taking notes
- A reliable Sound Pressure Meter or download one of the many free apps, we like Decibel X
- The tool kit that come with your Anthem that includes a microphone, stand, USB cable
- A laptop (PC or Mac is fine)
There is also an app for smartphones that will bypass the need for the Anthem tool kit and laptop. If you have an iPhone, we think this will get you about 80-90% of what using the computer will do as the microphone on the iPhone is pretty good.
Make Sure You Have the Latest Firmware
Go to the Anthem website > Support > Software & Firmware Updates and find your model. Make a note of the version number of the latest firmware. This is also a good time to download Anthem Room Correction if you are going to use a laptop for setup.
Now press the setup button on your Anthem, navigate down to the System Information section, press enter, and you will be able to see if your firmware is up to date. If not, the Anthem site will tell you how to update and it's pretty simple - you download a FW file, extract it, put it on a USB stick, and then insert the stick into the USB port on the front of the unit. Next, simply press and hold the setup button on the unit for 3 seconds and it will load and restart. More detailed information is on the Anthem site.
Setting Up the Inputs
The Anthem gear is super flexible from an input setup standpoint. You can assign different video and audio paths for an input should you desire to get creative (imagine watching the game and listening to music while it's on). You can also personalize them with their own names.
To us, the most important part though is to make sure you’ll get proper surround sound when you the source is only stereo. Of course, this would not apply for music, but many TV shows and series are in stereo instead of surround sound. If we set things up right, the Anthem will upconvert the stereo feed to surround sound for a better experience.
To get started, press the setup button, scroll down to Input Setup, select it. From there you will see all of your inputs. You will need to do this for every video input. Choose an input, scroll down to Mode Preset for Stereo Sources, select it and choose: AnthemLogic-Cinema. This will do a great job of converting stereo sources into surround sound.
This is also the place you can give a custom name to each input.
Setting Up Your Speakers
The speaker setup menu of the Anthem has a few sections. One of the most important parts of this is properly assigning the channels for Dolby Atmos and your surround speakers. This is found in section 3.1 of the Anthem manual and your setup will vary depending on the types and number of speakers in your system. For example, if you are using 4 in-ceiling speakers for Dolby Atmos, you need to assign Height 1 to Front In-Ceiling and Height 2 to Back In-Ceiling.
Just make sure the speaker setup you have matches up to the speaker layout of your system.
A Final Check and Rough Level Set
Before we start calibration, we want to confirm all of the speakers are playing and playing at the right location. It is possible (we’ve sure done it more than once) to make a mistake and connect the left to the right for example. Go back to the Main Menu and choose Level Calibration. Turn on the test tones and scroll through each speaker
If the sound is coming from the correct speaker on every one, you are good to go. If you literally have your wires crossed, go back and fix your wiring, then retest to confirm.
After you have confirmed all is well, you should do a rough level set so the Anthem Room Correction software will operate properly. The idea is to get each speaker to roughly 75dB on your SPL meter or app. Just go through each one and adjust the volume up/down until you get them all around 75 dB. If you have two subwoofers, turn one off and set it to 71 dB, then turn the other on and set it to the same. For four subwoofers, set each one to 67 dB. You may have to use the volume control on the back of your subwoofer to reach the correct setting.
We can now move to using the ARC software!
Before you begin, make sure your room will be quiet for about 15-20 minutes. It’s a good idea to turn the volume down on your phone and put the dog outside.
If you are going to use your iPhone, download the app and it will walk you through all the steps. Be sure and remove any protective phone cover first. The app works really well without much explanation as it walks you through each step even telling you where and when to point your phone.
For the best results, we do suggest that you use the microphone kit that came with your Anthem. Make sure your laptop is on the same network as your Anthem, connect the USB microphone to your laptop and open up the ARC Genesis app you downloaded from Anthem.
Open up ARC Genesis and you’ll see a launch screen on the left. Click Launch ARC. The next screen should show your Anthem product on the left. If it does not show you, you either have a network problem or you do not have the latest Firmware. ARC will connect to your Anthem, the click continue
The next screen should match your speaker layout you set up in speaker settings. Scroll down to Measurement A. We should probably explain why there is an A, B, C, and D. For those of you who have different listening use cases, these various settings can be pretty neat. While most people just use A, some people may want to use the others.
For example, you might want one measurement that focuses on just a single listener position and another that covers all the seats in your home theater. If you wish to have more than one ARC set up, you can turn these measurements on as they come defaulted to off. Also, the default number of measurements is 5. We think this is good if you are leaning more towards focusing the best sound on a single seat, but if you want to spread it out more, we suggest using 8.
Once you are happy here, click continue.
Taking the Measurements
ARC should see a microphone connected to your laptop. You will need to enter in the 6 digit code you’ll find on the microphone and ARC will download the calibration file for that exact microphone. To us, that is pretty cool! Then click continue.
Now you will want to assemble the microphone stand and insert the microphone into it. It is very important for the microphone to point straight up for every measurement. The first measurement should take place in the center of the center seat. Use the adjustable stand to get the microphone to ear level, which for most chairs is about 41” off the floor. The height is not supercritical, but pointing the microphone straight up is important.
Click measure and will hear test tones through every speaker. This will take a few minutes. The system will then pause and show you the next position for the microphone. Move it there, confirm its pointing up, and keep going.
Once everything is finished, the software will take a bit to calculate the new settings, then just click upload now. Once this is done, you can save the file if you are curious to go back and look at how your room measured. And don’t be shocked, most rooms measure with a plot that looks like the Swiss Alps!
Important Last Steps
This part is critical to getting the most out of your Anthem. ARC has now fixed a lot of the acoustic issues in your room, but there are still some settings we need to do.
Distances- Go to the main menu, and select listener position. Select Config 1. Then get out your tape measure and make sure the distances match how far each speaker is from your primary seat.
Bass Management- Go back to the main menu and choose Bass Management. We find ARC will sometimes set speaker crossovers too high. The first one, Subwoofer LPF for LFE should normally be at 120 Hz. For most speakers, all of the rest should be at 80 Hz. Very small speakers could be set to 100 Hz and very large ones to 60 Hz, but for most applications, 80 Hz is preferred.
Final Level Settings- When ARC made adjustments it could have reduced the level of some frequencies. You will want to repeat the level measurements you did earlier. If you have trouble understanding dialog, you may want to make the center channel levels 77 or 78 dB to bring out the dialog more. Also if you are into effects, there is nothing wrong with making the surround, Atmos, and subwoofer settings higher. Everything at 75 dB is where the producer wanted it, but it is your home theater!
Save Your Work- We certainly do not want to forget this one! Go back to the main menu, choose Save/Load settings and save your work.
Fine Tuning Even Further
We’ve created some helpful tips to fine tune your home theater even more.
This one can make a huge difference in understanding the dialog.
How To Optimize Your Home Theater Center Channel Speaker
We hope this quick guide will help you achieve great results quickly. As always, the team at Audio Advice is here to support you. If you have any questions at all, you can always reach out to us via chat, phone or email.