DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core Audio Processor

29.07.2014..

Speaking of a Hi-Fi system, which are its basic elements?

 

The recordings and the environment. This is my answer, maybe provocative, to all the people that persist in buying inadequate loudspeakers for their listening rooms and in positioning them approximatively. Of course, we must cohabit with the restrictions of our homes, with our kids and our wives. Many of us dream of owning a room dedicated to our hobby but it is not always possible. And, even if it would be, not always this room could satisfy our criterions and our habits.

 

In the last years, the room correction has been a topic and lot of solutions have come out, mostly software suites for pc. I still remember when I bought the Behringer Deq 2496 and, after few days, I sold it because too difficult to use.

 

To easily solve or trying to stem the problems of environmental acoustic you can use the object of our review, the DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core, which is imported by AV Solutions at a retail price of 899.00 euro.

 

Inside the package, we find a separate power supply unit, the Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core, the owner's manual, a microphone and an USB cable.

 

The metallic small cabinet is of good manufacture but, unfortunately, the display is too small, therefore, difficult to read if you are not very close to it.

 

On the rear panel are all the connectors except for the digital coaxial input. Therefore, it's very hard to connect RCA cables with a generous section like the Musical Cable type that I'm testing these days.

Inside, everything is trim, like inside a PC.

 

This device is not the top of the room correction, but it is very simple and suitable for all the people that don't have a smattering of computers or are not sound technicians.

Speaking of the processor, the Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core has several uses. It can be utilized as room corrector, its main function, as remote controlled digital preamplifier, as equalizer, as DAC: therefore a versatile and useful machine.

 

To connect it to a system made by preamp and power amp, we can put it between the two or, if an integrated amp, directly to the tape out.

 

Get the ball rolling

A bit scared by the previous experiences with similar objects and fearing the same complications, I connect the Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core and place the microphone in the listening spot. I push one button and adjust the output volume. After few minutes, the processor elaborates the correction, like a magic!

 

A piece of advice: during the elaboration phase close the door and avoid that the external noises could affect the data processing. Don't keep the microphone with your fingers and don't put it near reflecting or absorbing surfaces. Finally, remember to place it at ear level in your listening point.

 

That is very important. Otherwise, you will be disappointed as happened to me after the first measurement.

I've done another measurement using the tripod of my reflex as support for the microphone and the change has been evident.

 

Two objections on the microphone: it would have been very useful providing a tripod or something to bear it. Another handy thing could be an extension for the cable.

 

After about ten minutes of analysis, we get our room correction.

The Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core has been studied to intervene mainly in the low range and it is capable of deciding the proper correction, on the base of the data that emerge from the analysis, up to 500 Hz.

 

We have two modalities of correction:

 

Automatic - The listening room is analysed and corrected automatically. The optimal frequency limit of the correction is automatically detected based on the room response.

 

Advanced - By using this calibration we can determine the higher frequency of equalization, always within 500 Hz, and we can compensate the hollows up to two dB and also here the filters are chosen automatically.

 

Furthermore, there is also the Multi-point (Wide Area) calibration.

 

Maybe you are asking: why the correction is limited to 500 Hz? Simple because this is the most critical frequency range and with most interactions with the room.

 

How does it perform?

OK, the Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core has made the room correction. Now we can make some listening tests and a direct comparison with and without the room correction, using the bypass button.

 

The first sensation is a lighter low range, less dynamic impact and…I am a little disappointed.

 

For this reason some fine tuning is necessary and, at the same time, we need to know if what we have listened to so far has been correct or hasn’t.

 

I mean, once we get our room correction, we have to spend some time making adjustments without twisting the results.

 

I have personally decided to reinforce the low range through the user-adjustable filters although without touching the parametric equalizer.

 

The parametric equalizer has been very useful to set a "night" mode, I mean by eliminating most of the low range so to increase the volume without bothering the neighbours.

 

As suggested by the importer I've tried to throw into crisis the Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core. I have placed the loudspeakers in an improbable set, I have put one speaker in counterphase, and I have make it correcting the omnidirectional drivers. Well, the Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core has been able to propose interesting corrections.

 

Looking at the graph, I've noticed a gap in the low frequencies where the Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core doesn't intervene. I asked the importer Massimo Duclair and he said that it doesn’t intervene in order to avoid any stress to the amplifier and to the drivers.

 

Test after test, I start to realize how the sound details are highlighted, how the low range is more articulated and how both male and female vocals are clear and tonally correct.

 

Here is where we have more benefits!

 

I mean: the sound is less drowsy, the resonances in the low range have disappeared and, especially at high volume, there’s no more listening fatigue and the intelligibility has clearly improved.

Even at high volume levels, the details remain together with a great focus.

 

After the correction, I have changed the position of the loudspeakers so to improve the sound image.

 

I want to add that with analogue sources the outcome is less evident.

 

As for the performances of DAC and preamplifier, I have to suggest changing the inadequate standard power supply with a battery, ad example.

 

The fact that the DAC goes only up to 24Bit/96kHz, that the USB input up to 24Bit/48kHz and that the DAC cannot read the DSD, are not so important aspects to me. What I think fundamental is instead the improvement of the power supply.

 

Are you all happy with the performances of the Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core?

 

Of course you are not. Someone reports a too evident decrease of the low frequencies. Others adverse the linearization made by the device.

 

I am happy though. I like the user interface that is simple and intuitive. We can find better solutions but not so simple and quick to install as here. Moreover, the quality of preamp and converter in a mid-low system, could be considered a good alternative with no added costs.

 

In brief, it’s about an interesting device, useful to whom doesn’t want or cannot use a computer and are not aware of acoustic.

 

The Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core is the ideal solution if you own a pair of Infinity IRS, if you don’t like the PC very much but you want to fix up those annoying resonances that make your windows vibrate.

 

On the contrary, it’s not suitable for the owner of a pair of Rogers LS 3/5. There is nothing to be corrected here considered the limited low frequencies of the loudspeaker.

 

What follows is the opinion of my friend Mauro:

 

“The first thing to overwhelm is the routine. Most of us are accustomed to the sound of the system in their domestic environment. A ‘strong’ change like the one introduced by the DSPeaker-Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core, can initially result unpleasant since we have shaped our taste also on faults. So, after the first moment, it is good starting to speculate and analyze the outcome of the Room Response detached by the device. The equalization works within 0 and 500 Hz and, in the tests I made (two systems and two different placements of the speakers), the most striking thing has been a distinct drying of the low range. That makes possible a better instrumental detail and the possibility of increasing the volume. Sometimes the scene appears wider. I say again that the device is easy to use. I hope for an evolution of the DSPeaker in an all-in-one setup capable of handling autonomously musical file with mass memory and maybe with a bigger display… you know I’m aging. The performances of the internal DAC are good. It’s linear in the response and pleasant. A pity only the USB limitation at 48/24. A remark: the standard power supply is below the overall quality of the apparatus. A sensible improvement, mostly in the mid-low range, has been obtained by changing the small wall switching with a 12V lead battery.

 

Official technical specifications:

Inputs: 2xRCA, 2xXLR, 1xToslink S/PDIF, USB, datalink, 12 VDC power connector
Outputs: 2xRCA, 2xXLR, 1xToslink S/PDIF, microphone jack.
DSP Cores: 1 VS1000, 2 VS8053 IceDragon
Processing: 40-bit, 2 channels
DSP Filters: Anti-Mode 2.0 Multi-Rate, House Curve filter, Linear-Phase Tilt, Parametric EQs, Adjustable Infrasonic, Adjustable cross-over
Dynamic Range: > 108dB
Volume Control Steps: 0.5 dB
Input Sensitivity: XLR 3.9/7.9 Vrms, RCA 2.5/5.0 Vrms
Output Voltage: RCA 7.2 Vrms max, XLR 14.4 Vrms max
Dimensions: 236x55x146mm (WxHxD)

 

Official Italian dealer: to AV Solutions website

Official current price in Italy: 899.00 EUR

Associated equipment: to Francesco Taddei’s system

 

 

RIGHT OF REPLY | MANUFACTURERS FEEDBACK

Thanks for the review.
Only thing I would like to point out is that the single most important setting that sometimes needs to be adjusted after calibration is a setting called "Compensation". It is found in the Audio settings menu.
It adjusts the whole corrected range compared to the uncorrected range. If anyone feels the bass is lacking after calibration, it is this setting that they should increase to get the bass level they are accustomed to. I would really appreciate if this could be mentioned as there is no need to even explore the PEQs or House curve, as it's this "Compensation" setting which affects the total level of the perceived bass.
Best regards,
Toni Liitola

 
by Francesco Taddei
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