anthem str preamp review

The analog direct mode, for example, allows you to defeat all digital processing, leaving only analog filters and gain amplification. I was converted. This helped make my BESL monitors sound as controlled and musical as I’ve ever heard them. This was definitely a tip-of-the-hat to the STR amp’s power reserves. Beautifully built and engineered components. A wide variety of music is often heard coming from Carlo’s studio while working on his latest project. You can liken it to an early analog form of ZIP compression. Connected source equipment included an OPPO BDP-105D universal player, a Technics SL1200 mk6 turntable (that has been modified by KAB Electroacoustics) equipped with an Audio-Technica OC9/MLII moving coil cartridge, and a Surface 3 Pro tablet (via USB) using J River Media Center 24 playback software. This left the second XLR input on the STR Preamplifier available for connection to my Oppo UDP-205 4K UHD Blu-ray player which was also connected via HDMI to the AVM 60. Virtual inputs allow users to setup and save up to 30 different settings for sources. The subwoofers, when used, acted essentially as bass stands under my BESL monitors so they were both 10.6 feet from the listening position. Particularly noteworthy is that you can configure up to 30 separate inputs each with their own ARC profile, whether ARC is active or not, digital conversion of signal or pure analog throughput, speaker configuration/bass management, input and speaker levels, etc. I also elected to bump up the Room Gain setting from 1.5 to 4 (5 sounded fun for some tracks but was too much for a broad range of music) and went for a steeper roll-off (6th order) at 25 Hz. For my listening area, Joey recommended I make measurements at a 3-foot distance from the main seat. Oh yes, you can spend more money, but you'd have to spend a lot more to get that next level of sound. Career-wise, Carlo eventually graduated from Sheridan College with a degree in Classical Animation and was subsequently employed by Walt Disney Consumer Products for 10 years as a Character Artist and Art Director. Repeating the test with the digital conversion on, THD+N becomes 0.001476%. The sound quality was excellent whether listening from the AVM 60 or from the STR Preamplifier. Designed, engineered, and Crafted in Canada, the STR Preamplifier combines the benefits of an advanced preamp with the power of a processor, as well as functions like leading-edge DAC, onboard Anthem Room Correction Various custom digital test tones were sent through the Anthem using an OPPO BDP-105D or a Microsoft Surface PRO 3 as the source and measured with SpectraPLUS audio measurement software via a LYNX TWO B professional sound card. The Fender bass setting the pace through the track sounded impressively low and tight coming from a piece of vinyl birthed in the same year as I was. Mate it all to amplifiers of your choice (or 3 STR amps if you like), set it up in your room and run ARC. The Personas sounded good in this room already but now, any hint of boominess to the bass had been filtered out and yet there was still a tight and visceral impact to the bottom end. But after weeks of listening, that preconceived notion was put squarely out of its misery and I found myself preferring to listen to my vinyl with ARC engaged. The extra tweak of Room Gain brought back that additional impact that made everything sound better. Dandy Hydraulic LP Cleaning Apparatus MKII, PreSonus Eris E3.5 Powered Speakers Review, Still Blown Away After All These Years: JBL Launches 75th Anniversary Edition of L100 Loudspeaker. Only through the phono inputs was I able to get the slightest wisp of a noise floor at full volume, but I had to be practically kissing the speaker to hear it. A number of DSP phono EQ filters are included to get the best out of your LPs, even if purists cringe. On the digital side of things, there are a pair of coax digital inputs, a pair of Toslink digital inputs, a single AES/EBU digital input and an Asynchronous USB input as well. The separation of instruments and amazing sense of detail in Howard Shore’s score “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – The Complete Recordings” has never sounded better in my room. Feature wise, it pushes the limits of what you can expect to find in the stereo preamp category. Anthem’s small but solid remote control is also made from machined aluminum and has a clean, simple layout. 1 kHz 24/96 Sine Wave at 0 dBFS SPDIF-In XLR-Out, 4 VRMS. There were times during my preliminary set up that I easily thought that the bass was where I wanted it to be, but a couple of days later it felt like it was too much, and I dialed it back. A number of the tracks from the films prominently feature tympanis or bass drums being played with abandon. Everything else that fell above the ARC EQ cutoff sounded, subjectively, as close to identical between being in pure analog mode and converted to digital for processing. Having used ARC in my home theater system for the past couple of years I have become familiar with how it works. Well, either in full analog mode or with ARC and A/D signal conversion engaged, cranking the volume wide open, with no input signal, gave me nothing but silence. Priced at $3,999, the Anthem STR stereo preamp isn't cheap by any measure, but considering that it includes Anthem Room Correction, a high-end internal 32 … Anthem doesn't ignore those still spinning vinyl, either. Moving on to “Tasting the Jug”, the sound of the acoustic bass and congas are especially noteworthy. My practice in the past has been having these subs operate as a stereo pair since their individual responses closely match, so I elected to continue that here. The quality construction continues on the inside of the STR preamp with well laid out board designs and neatly mounted components. Listening to the opening track “Baby I’m a Fool” through the STR duo and the Persona 7F speakers made for a heavenly combination. ARC might not be Trinnov in terms of total room correction power. It reeks of quality, both in build and of sound, plus those huge digital VU meters are the slickest looking thing I’ve seen on an audio product. The design also incorporates the AK4137EQ sample rate converter and an 8-channel analog volume control chip from Cirrus Logic, the CS3308-CQZ. These speakers present a consistent 4-ohm load and the STR amplifier just kept them well fed and cruising right along. It became quite clear after repeated listening that the A/D conversion and processing that Anthem was employing in the STR was as transparent as I have yet come across in a digital component. Yes, technical specifications of the equipment we use have undoubtedly improved, but these advancements really are incremental at best. It’s a stylistic concept that European manufacturers regularly use, and I saw a lot of it while at the Munich High End show. The little dip past 20 kHz is an artifact of my measuring setup. The fine-sounding STR preamplifier features Anthem’s new Genesis DSP room-correction software that gives a user the almost limitless ability to address the quirks of real-life listening spaces, employing two dozen IIR filters per channel and operating at 192kHz. It's also worth noting that with the STR Pro mated with the STR amplifier, I ran through my standard battery of high resolution audio tracks and IMD test samples and found no audible problems, which is a very good sign. The ARC microphone was also plugged into my PC when measurements were to be taken. Where I once felt just a sense of bass coming from cellos and the lower octave stringed instruments, I now have this churning wave of bass floor that that adds so much more depth and dimension to the performance. It’s got a fantastic room correction system, effective and flexible bass management, very low noise, an overachieving phono section, a very good A/D and DAC section, tons of inputs, great looks and build quality and I can go on. Overall response is clean with two very minor harmonics at 2 and 3 kHz registering at 100 dB below 2 VRMS. My nitpicking may sound a bit on the irrational side, but these are billed as audiophile components and, for the money spent, an audiophile looks for state-of-the-art, even if sometimes it’s only for bragging rights. Starting with the basics using the SPDIF digital input, a 16-bit/44 kHz, 1 kHz sine wave produces a THD+N of 0.001106% at 2 Volts measured at the RCA outputs. And the close mic-ing of Gilberto’s vocals came across in a beautifully detailed presentation. I started off by using the Paradigm Persona 7F loudspeakers hooked up and playing full range with the STR duo. I was able to independently adjust the gain of each input until they were all matched and then it was a simple matter to cycle through each of the three inputs, via remote, with an album playing and compare the sound between them. There also appear to be a pair of tiny sidebands around the fundamental. ANTHEM STR PREAMPLIFIER AND POWER AMPLIFIER SPECIFICATIONS. Carlo started his own company and has been freelancing artwork, from his home studio, for primarily the toy and publishing industries since 2001. I hope Anthem comes up with multi-channel versions of the STR Power Amplifier sometime soon. Tons of clean and seemingly unending power. For the 2-channel audio enthusiast, the level of product innovation hasn’t changed very much over the last few years. The TFT display on the front of both the amp and preamp are total eye candy. To Carlo’s point about the lack of HDMI inputs on the STR Preamplifier, I think it comes down to how you choose to connect sources to the STR Preamplifier. Beyond the advent of streaming music and new systems for efficiently digitally archiving and distributing our music collections across a network, the bulk of what comprises stereo audio effectively remains the same. At 2Vrms out via the balanced outputs, the STR exhibited a squeaky clean FFT output with the 2nd … The second harmonic at 40 kHz is about 86 dB below 4 VRMS. I didn’t think I would like the sound of vinyl converted to digital and I was sure there would be some inevitable loss of warmth or body in the process. Marantz 8802a, B&W CM6, CM Centre 2 S2, DS3 surrounds in The rear panel has both balanced and unbalanced inputs, a pair of robust 5-way binding posts per channel, a USB input for firmware updates, and a pair of trigger jacks with toggle switches to set their operation. And it doesn’t sound thick, noisy or overwrought, it sounds tight, tangible and right where I want it to be. XLR: 6.6Vrms (<0.1% THD), 61 dB (MC), 41 dB (MM) (1 kHz – volume set to 0 dB), DSP Mode: 84 dB (MC), 102 dB (MM) The congas sounded more like they should, with added weight returning to their sound. Less so for the amplifier because comparable products from companies like ATI, Bryston and such are in that ballpark. I ran Anthem Room Correction (ARC) once using the STR Preamplifier for my front left and right and subwoofer channels. The resulting sound was absolutely spectacular. Once again, these are inaudible differences. 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