The original madVR Envy video processor reviewed in late November 2020 has had a great run. And will continue to do so since madVR Labs plans to keep supporting them. I was thrilled however when I found out we had an all new version coming out called the MK2. It has a sleek and impressive build with better cooling and they managed to do this with making the case a little shorter. The MK2 will also ship to new customers wrapped in a nice black cloth cover and include a very cool backlit remote (pic below.) So what else does the new MK2 do? Let's get to it...
So getting right to it I jumped into the most exciting new feature in video processor history- MotionAI. This is currently under a private alpha beta testing group but will be released soon to the public with the Envy Extreme MK1 and of course the new MK2. The MK2 features Nvidia’s 4080 GPU which is twice as powerful as the 3080 GPU in the original Extreme. Since the MK2 has premium upgraded parts throughout I wasn’t sure what to expect the moment I turned it on. Before I explain for those wondering what Motion Interpolation means: “Motion interpolation or motion-compensated frame interpolation is a form of video processing in which intermediate animation frames are generated between existing ones by means of interpolation, in an attempt to make animation more fluid, to compensate for display motion blur, and for fake slow motion effects.” Wikipedia. The Extreme models offer their very own version of Motion Interpolation called "Motion AI" or Artificial Intelligence which is an industry first!
The first test was randomly picked by our guests who just happened to be over this past Saturday when the MK2 arrived. We have seen Cocaine Bear four times or so because our movie guests seem to pick it lately. We have always let our guests pick the movie so I knew in the opening scene when the camera is panning down on the unlucky couple who first meets the bear it is a tough test for even my beloved JVC NZ9. Those that know me know that I have always been a huge fan of Sony projectors. They are well liked due to their ability to render terrific motion with their very own "MotionFlow." Anyway, as amazing as the JVC NZ9 is that I currently have it is still is not as good as Sony when it comes to motion especially slow panning. Still all of its other strengths definitely outweigh this by a lot. I was shocked when I saw the Envy MK2's MotionAI handle this scene perfectly. I caught myself looking up at my ceiling to make sure I didn't have my Sony 7000ES hanging up there. It was that excellent! Moving right along the next day I tried the tree panning scene from 1917. It was a huge difference.
As of now I prefer the MotionAI settings on Full with Motion Blur set to 3. Obviously there are plenty of options so experiment to see what works for your eyes. I then went to check out the opening credits to Deadpool and wow was I shocked at the difference. The credits pulsate and exhibit signs of judder (more common with JVC and many other brands) with MotionAI off. When it is engaged the image looks as good or better than the Sony brand. MotionAI brings the best of both worlds...
Now I will include a video demo but do keep in mind in person it is even more obvious but you still can get a sense of the effectiveness of the MotionAI. I will say that this is hands down the best feature I have witnessed in Video Processor history. And I am not over selling it. The next time you're watching a movie and you notice jerkiness in panning scenes do note there is a cure for it called the Envy Extreme. The cost for pure movie enjoyment has no boundaries.
The MK2 marks a new era in Video Processor world. From the impressive new case which has a brushed-black anodized aluminum front panel finished with the madVR logo, "Envy and "Every Pixel Counts" which looks really cool and classy. The power button is now on the left which has a light around but this can be disabled by a small button on the bottom of the unit below it. They have thought of everything! Speaking of everything the MK2 has a Glacier X2 Cooling System. It will do 50 percent more airflow than the original Envy and with strategically controlled airflow the MK2 is cool to the touch even after a movie marathon. Those larger heat sinks inside also help! I also want to point out the MK2 is very quiet. Even sitting in our front row without anything playing I couldn’t hear it. The madVR Labs deserve every compliment they get on the new design. This is by far one of the best and coolest looking units available on the market today….
Other AI-based algorithms the madVR Labs Team has on their Roadmap to release eventually include:
• AI-based Dynamic Tone Mapping (DTM gen3)
• Motion compensated multi-frame noise reduction
• Motion compensated multi-frame super resolution (upscaling)
• Motion compensated multi-frame deinterlacing
• NGU Upscaling 2.0
• Luma guided AI chroma upscaling, and more.
All above are industry firsts. Not to mention an unheard of 5 year warranty which is best-in class. When you invest in your home theater it's reassuring to know this company will stand by their product for the long haul...
If you’re considering the purchase of the madVR Envy Extreme MK2 I will admit the price of admission is steep though your eyes will definitely say it’s worth it. As madVR Labs likes to say- “Every Pixel Counts” and so does every Movie... madVR has not only raised their own bar they set for unparalleled performance but they reinvented it, again!
Notice the excellent packing of the MK2. Yours will come in a black protective cloth cover. The accessories box has various power cords for other countries, the remote and custom Rack Ears with a beautiful finish to match your rack. It is double boxed with engineered foam inserts so it is very safe during its journey to your home. The madVR labs take packing and shipping the Envy Video Processors very seriously. And it shows (no pun intended.)
With 2022 being a tough year for us so here's to hoping 2023 is better and we pray for nothing but the absolute best outcome for Dallas and his ongoing fight against FOP. I am just thrilled he loves watching movies. Nothing better than family time!
Click here to read more about the ENVY MK2.
For more information including Screen Shots and GUI tips go to the original Envy Review which can be found here!
If you're in the Oakbrook area in Illinois and want to see or discuss a madVR Envy call Noah from Luxury AV Pros at (630) 607-0054. He will be more than happy to discuss the various models and how they can fit into your set up. Call him today!
Notice the split screen demo using the acclaimed movie 1917. The trees are a jumpy filled judder mess after they leave the MotionAI algorithm. Then instantly they are calm and smooth when it is turned back on. Like an instant cure. The other demos I viewed exhibit other fixes as well but in person they’re way easier to discern. I checked out the opening scene to Deadpool. There's a ton going on between the credits and the car crash object filled panning. With MotionAI engaged it is fluid like and you can easily make out the hilarious names. Without there is constant stuttering and some of the names are tough to read because they're either not as clear or jumpy. Next was Baby Driver. The early walking down the street scene. Again very fluid like and names are clear and distinct. Without your eyes are in for a bouncing marathon. I then spent a good amount of time with Ready Player One. Especially the racing scene. Now this one is tough on displays but with the MK2 it's a breeze. The scene is very fast paced and has a lot going on the screen at once. The MK2 MAI makes it possible to see things you haven't seen before. I then checked out the LUCY chair scene where Scarlett is rotated from scene to scene. Super fast panning that is a another torture test for displays. Sounding like a broken record the MK2 MAI made it look effortless for the eyes. Finally, I wanted to test Disney's Coco so I can see the animated scene where he finds Dante in the garbage can. It is crystal clear without noticeable judder and overall just looks next level. Many shows like the new MGM+ FROM, or Apple's Ted Lasso just look amazing. I have also checked out various other Movies and my eyes love what they see!
Note how clean and logical the back is laid out. You can tell they did some critical thinking about the venting and cooling aspect. The MK2's power cord goes on the right side. I like the space between the HDMIs. It makes cable management easy. You have an input and output with a pass thru option as well.