Disclaimer: We are a distributor of Antimode products. As such this is not an objective review. However, we do use the Antimode X2 actively in our demo / test room, and this is a summary of our impressions of the product.
The Antimode X2 is a preamplifier, DAC and automatic room calibration device, all in a very small box.
Typical use case is a stereo system, either with just speakers, or with one or multiple subwoofers. You have three (2.1) output channels: stereo outputs for speakers, and a mono subwoofer output.
Unlike its big brother the X4, the X2 does not support XLR, only unbalanced RCA connections. It's still a very competent device, and the sound quality leaves nothing to be desired with our SBS.1 active speakers.
Initial listening impressions and sound quality
After spending literally five minutes looking briefly at the manual and then running the automatic room correction, I sat down to listen to a few tracks. My immediate thought was that the sound quality was excellent! The default tonal balance after automatic correction was a bit lean for my taste, but the overall sound quality was great. My current reference is the much more expensive Antimode X4, and I couldn't immediately notice any degradation in sound quality after switching to the X2. Impressive!
Antimode Room Calibration / DSP
Just as big brother X4, the automatic room calibration is extremely easy to set up. The included microphone looks similar to the one included with Antimode 8033 and Dual Core. Based on measurements done pre/post correction, it looks like the device corrects up to around 2khz. The main focus is still on the bass/midbass area up to around 500hz, and rightly so. Due to the way high frequency reflections work in a room, it's almost impossible to properly correct for room issues in the higher frequencies. The entire process is fully automated, and takes around 5 minutes to complete.
In our room we have X2 connected with two Sigberg Audio SBS.1 active speakers and a single Inkognito 10 subwoofer located in the left front corner. Antimode recommends placing your subwoofer in a corner if possible. After the automatic correction was done, it had evened out the response between 20-100hz by eliminating a couple of peaks, and also slightly lifted the area from 100-200hz. The sound result is neutral with an even response, but on the lean side for my taste. That is easily fixed with the manual options: Increase subwoofer volume and/or add a tilt to the bass. For now, the crossover to the subwoofer is fixed to 80hz (2nd order (12db/oct) highpass and lowpass), but this will be user adjustable in a future firmware update.
The Antimode X2 has simple yet powerful options for manual tuning of the sound. In the bass you can add a lift/tilt to increase the level, and you can select at which frequency band it operates. At the most narrow setting the lift starts at around 80hz, and at the widest setting it starts all the way up at 500hz. You can also increase/decrease the midrange, and the center frequency can be adjusted (default 1.5khz). Finally you have a treble tilt that starts at around 4khz. If you have a subwoofer, the level can be adjusted. The combination of all these settings give you pretty good control over the final sound. In our situation we adjusted the subwoofer level + added some bass lift. The result was a full, tight sound with clean mids and highs.
The Antimode X2 is a small, powerful and user friendly unit that can help you take control over the acoustics of your room. The room calibration capabilities will without doubt vastly improve the sound of your system!