MadVR Labs, the company behind the well-respected Envy video processor line, has just announced a significant update in the Envy MK2.

madVR Envy MK2 front slider
The new madVR Envy Extreme MK2 offers a significant bump in processing power as well as upgraded cosmetics and an improved user experience thanks to a revised, backlit remote.

In particular, madVR's top-line Envy Extreme has garnered accolades among high-end projection enthusiasts for its broad and well-executed feature set. This includes proprietary HDR dynamic tone-mapping; instant aspect-ratio detection that triggers proprietary, non-linear stretching to eliminate black bars with essentially undetectable image distortion; subtitle management for 'Scope-style widescreens; state-of-the-art scaling and detail enhancement up to 8K resolution; and high-precision 3D and 1D LUT color calibration.

The Envy Extreme MK2, after a year and a half of development, ups the game with an extensive makeover that includes an updated power supply and key components to facilitate higher processing speed, plus new cosmetics and new features, including the company's just announced MotionAI frame interpolation demo'd at ISE 2023 in Barcelona in February.

Critically, the Extreme MK2 is utilizing the Nvidia 4080 GPU chip, which virtually doubles processing power over the Nvidia 3080 GPU used in the original Extreme (now designated MK1), while also improving cooling and efficiency. Consequently, the new chassis has the headroom to facilitate the concurrent running of more, and more advanced, algorithm-driven features now and in the future.

There's a new five-fan cooling system for the chassis and GPU providing 50% more airflow than the prior unit, along with larger heatsinks. This not only keeps the GPU running smoothly, but also helps facilitate an expansion of system memory in the guise of doubled SSD and RAM capacity, as well as the use of ECC RAM. ECC (Error Correction Code) RAM requires additional hardware to perform bit-level error-correction in real time, and is typically only found in high-end workstation environments where accuracy and reliability are critical. Fortunately, madVR says that careful design and placement of components has resulted in exceptionally quiet performance, to where fan noise is said to be essentially inaudible at a couple of feet away, especially when the unit is in Silent mode. The Extreme MK2 offers three preset modes and one customizable mode to balance cooling and fan noise.

madVR Envy MK2 Rear

Cosmetically, the Extreme remains a basic black box, but has been upgraded with a luxury high-end aluminum cabinet with a redesigned power switch and a defeatable light ring offering just the right brightness for dark-room environments. Notable for integrators is that the case has gone from a 5U to a 4U rack height, making it more space-efficient and amenable to poorly ventilated spaces. Yet another improvement is an upgraded remote with an aluminum faceplate that adds motion-activated, backlit buttons—a much asked-for feature. Like its predecessor, it operates by both IR and RF communication. MadVR says the MK2 will initially be shipped with the old remote and that purchasers will receive the updated remote free of cost when it becomes available.

The madVR Envy Extreme MK2 is priced at $15,995 U.S. and is scheduled to start shipping in limited quantity in late April. It's sibling, the updated Envy Pro MK2, is priced at $9,495 U.S. and expected to ship this summer. MadVR has extended the warranty vs. these models' two predecessors to a full five years, up from three and two years respectively. The company will also offer a step-up program to allow loyal madVR users to purchase an Envy Extreme MK2 for just $4,795 US plus trade-in of their existing Envy Extreme MK1 in good condition. Traded-in Extreme MK1 units will be for sale at discount through authorized dealers, with full dealer technical support and a fresh two-year warranty, on an as-available basis through madVR's Preowned Program.

MadVR also announced concurrently that they have partnered with Invision UK, a leading distributor in the United Kingdom, to bring the Envy Extreme MK2 and Envy Pro MK2 to custom integrators in that market.

You can learn more about the Envy processors at the company's website.

Comments (5) Post a Comment
Tod Posted Apr 13, 2023 5:12 PM PST
I can't wait to see what this baby can due when watching "People's Court". Really? 16K$ for a video enhancer?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Apr 13, 2023 7:25 PM PST
For those committed to having the best possible home theater viewing experience and who are unencumbered by budget constraints, this is the ticket. Absolutely state of the art image processing, and in this case, some very unique proprietary capabilities.
Patrick Posted Apr 14, 2023 8:32 AM PST
Any idea how much the trade in units will be once reconditioned? Probably would be interested if not too much...
Steve Posted Apr 15, 2023 5:48 AM PST
I don't see the benefit of non-linear stretching for a videophile or anyone else who respects the content. Without an anamorphic lens, black bars are an inevitable outcome of a static screen aspect ratio with variable content aspect ratios, and even with an anamorphic lens black bars can still exist. For madVR to suggest that NLS is a selling point is lost on me. It's other capabilities sound great but NLS, not so much. Or did I misunderstand the concept.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Apr 17, 2023 8:41 AM PST
The point is well taken, Steve, and at some level using a feature like this is very much a personal decision. It can definitely be argued that any electronic alteration of the aspect presentation is failing to honor the creator. However...I will say that when you see this feature in action, you may think otherwise. The issue is not so much using stretch to display widescreen content on a 16:9 screen without letterbox bars -- in fact, I would guess the vast majority of high end processors like this are on 2.4:1 screens to begin with. The value comes in managing content that changes aspect ratio midstream -- I'm looking at you, Christopher Nolan. Again, you can argue that if that's what the director did to somehow shake you out of complacency or catch your attention, who are we to dismiss it. But while I'd never condone using frame interpolation to introduce video effect on a film intentionally shot in 24 fps, I'm personally not a fan of shifting aspect ratios and find it more distracting than helpful to the story. I think directors should pick an aspect ratio that suits their story and stick with it. If that's you, this is an extremely effective tool that is shockingly imperceptible in its execution.

Post a comment

Enter the numbers as they appear to the left