anthem str preamp review

These speakers present a consistent 4-ohm load and the STR amplifier just kept them well fed and cruising right along. As an operational note, I encountered none of the connection “hiccups” that can sometimes occur with DSD playback from a computer. NAD's M12 DAC-Preamp is likely the closest competitor to the Anthem STR preamp. Besides the ability to pick from 6 pre-RIAA EQ curves (a nod to collectors who own LPs made before RIAA standardization), a “User” option is also available which allows someone to configure their own custom phono EQ curve. Analog Direct In: 10 Hz – 80 kHz (+0.00, -0.10 dB) Either way, ARC requires a computer to do the measurement, analysis, and uploading of the profiles to the preamp. Too often you hear audiophile components trying to reproduce ensemble jazz as if it were a distinct set of instruments. The build quality of this Canadian-made stereo preamp is absolutely first rate and comparable with audiophile components costing many times more than the STR. That is the only Digital In, 192 kHz: 10 Hz – 50 kHz (+0, -0.5 dB) It almost gave me shivers. The main differences being about a 3 dB higher noise floor and a slightly better distortion result for this test. Getz/ Gilberto is a classic and a consistent favorite of mine due to the artistry and the impeccable sound quality. The sound quality was excellent whether listening from the AVM 60 or from the STR Preamplifier. You can easily match levels on inputs, which is a reviewer favorite in terms of features. STR Preamplifier Measurements I verified the STR Preamp was able to deliver 3.3Vrms (RCA) and 6.6Vrms (XLR) unclipped as specified by Anthem. Anthem STR Preamplifier and Power Amplifier, STR Preamplifier and STR Power Amplifier with the Anthem AVM 60, © Copyright 2021 Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity /, Show Reports, Film Festivals and Concerts, McIntosh C2700 2-Channel Vacuum Tube Preamplifier and MC462 Power Amplifier Review, Bluesound Powernode 2i Wireless Streaming Amplifier and Pulse Flex 2i Wireless Streaming Speaker Review, PS Audio Stellar Strata Integrated Amplifier Review, McIntosh MX170 Surround Sound Processor and MC257 7-Channel Power Amplifier Review, Sonus Faber Electa Amator III Speaker Review, What We Are Watching Vol. 1 kHz 24/96 Sine Wave at 0 dBFS SPDIF-In XLR-Out, 4 VRMS. Simple things, like the weight of the units as you install them into your system or the smoothness and feel of the volume control as you dial it in, tell you that you are dealing with very special items that have been designed with care. As revealing as the Persona 7Fs are, I was curious to see if they would pick up any residual noise in the preamp. Anthem STR Preamp Frequency Response, A-D DSP and ARC On. It seems to be a part of a whole collection of 2 channel products from Anthem. Simply put, it's one of the best sounding two-channel preamplifiers I've ever heard. Literally, I am holding it to a higher standard than nearly every other audiophile stereo preamp in the market. Basslines in some of my favorite hard rock songs now had tautness to their tone but would still create a palpable floor of sound that could rumble ferociously when called upon. The biggest issue in any music playback chain, outside of the source material that you listen to, is the listening room itself. As a system, it is pretty intuitive to use and, as of a recent update, it is able to correct speaker response from 20 Hz to 20 kHz if you choose. The large TFT displays on both components make for outstanding readability and usability from across the room. Classé's CP-800 is discontinued but was a good solution from the recent past that you may be able to find for a decent price. Carlo’s first audio equipment that he purchased with his hard earned part-time job money was a Luxman R-117 receiver and a pair of Image Concept 200 speakers which, in hindsight, he wishes he still owned. And, barring any serious room acoustic issues, if you are spending the kind of money that buys a pair of speakers like these, you hopefully are doing so because you like the way that they are voiced to begin with. The second harmonic at 20 kHz is about 90 dB below 4 VRMS. Hi all, Ive been reading and reading and found that there has been a release of an updated Parasound Halo Integrated (HINT 6) and the release of a new product, the Anthem STR integrated from the Paradigm stables. While the STR Preamplifier still includes technology like up-sampling of lower-resolution sources, the STR Preamplifier has eclipsed the D2v 3D with features like MM and MC phono inputs, asynchronous USB supporting 32-bit/384kHz PCM and DSD 2.8/5.6 MHz sources, pre-RIAA curves, and stereo bass management. 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. Benchmark's focus is a bit more on the DAC side of things, as their half-rack sized components are heavier on the digital inputs than analog. After “seasoning to taste” I brought the correction limit down to 400 Hz and bumped up the Room Gain to 4.5. It offers state-of-the-art performance in every mode of operation handling analog and digital sources with equal ease. When listening to movies or television, I simply turned off the STR Preamplifier which puts the unit into standby and closes the relays to complete the Home Theater Bypass. Yes, there is a ton of artificial reverb in this track, but so what? . The second harmonic at 40 kHz is now at 86 dB below 4 VRMS and the noise floor rises by 3 dB again. Once again, these are inaudible differences. Anthem STR Preamp Frequency Response, Analog Direct. The congas sounded more like they should, with added weight returning to their sound. I wanted to see what the STR could do with some instrumental music versus my many other reference stereo and AV preamps. With ARC in play, the room resonance is sharply reduced and the bass sound became more focused and melodic while retaining the desired impact. ARC was performing its due diligence helping keep the acoustic bass lines sounding full yet articulate throughout the song. In my case, I didn’t need an HDMI input on the STR Preamplifier because I could make use of the inputs on the Oppo UDP-205. A surprising menu feature that I came across relates to the phono input when you elect to have its signal converted to digital. The preamp can accept asynchronous USB audio up to 32-bit PCM and the latest of DSD formats, which gets the HD audio enthusiast in me excited. 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. Yes, it is not inexpensive, domestically designed and manufactured products like this almost never are, but it is a quality item and I imagine we will see more components like it arriving soon from other manufacturers. Fast & Free shipping on many items! There also appear to be a pair of tiny sidebands around the fundamental. Comparing these results to the previous Analog Direct results show minimal variation. The measurement procedure was the same as with the Personas, the only difference being my needing to tell ARC that there were 2 subs now in line and whether to treat them as a mono or stereo pair. I hooked up my Surface 3 PRO tablet, via USB, to the STR preamp and downloaded/installed the requisite ASIO driver from Anthem’s website in order to try out playing some DSD files direct to the DAC. Family Room – 2.2 system: Anthem STR Preamp, Bryston 6BSST amp, QSC PLD4.2 amp, 2 ea. Plenty of digital and analog inputs. At $2,195 the Benchmark DAC3 HGC might be the best bet. A few harmonics show up throughout the spectrum, with the harmonics at 2 and 3 kHz registering again at 94 and 96 dB below 4 VRMS respectively. Despite recent changes to their product lineup, Benchmark offers some cool DAC-preamp units. Again, the STR power amp could not have sounded better with my BESL monitors. The closer a phono preamp can match this target curve, the more accurate the musical result. One more sweep, this time with an ARC profile from the Paradigm Personas loaded up. , I am alfredo from Puerto Rico I have a legacy focus se speakers I whant to put a good 2 ch audio quality for my music collection, I think about to brands , ps audio or anthem str separated, what you think in comparation on sound quality of Anthem str preamp n str power amp vs ps audio bhk preamp n bhk 250 power amp? A number of the tracks from the films prominently feature tympanis or bass drums being played with abandon. Elvis, Elvis Is Back, RCA/Analogue Productions, 45 RPM LP. Faithfully reproducing the source material the way it was recorded, with great clarity, musicality, and finesse. Up Next NAD M17 V2 Surround Sound Preamp Processor Review The AVM 60 is the first 11.2-channel preamplifier-processor from Anthem. With ARC turned off, the bass got bloated and a little mushy sounding. The STR Power Amplifier made the Triton Reference speakers, which already were amazing in my room, sound breathtaking. With the connections out of the way, the next thing to consider was room correction. Anthem claims the STR preamp has a "high resolution" preamp section, something we will look at in further detail in our measurement section of this review. At 10 kHz with a 24-bit/96 kHz sampling rate, the THD+N was 0.001241% at 4 VRMS. And it includes new generations of many of Anthem’s award-winning, audiophile-loving, review-praised digital signal processing innovations, delivering a noticeably higher level of audio performance realism. This was the case when listening to both stereo through the STR Preamplifier and when listening to movies through the AVM 60. As you can see, ARC defaults to achieving the flattest overall response up to 5 kHz while applying a modest level of 2.125 Room Gain. The amp’s linear power supply starts with a pair of 600VA toroidal transformers, one per channel. My subs now sounded cleaner with all the extension and power that my room would allow. 10 kHz 24/192 at 0 dBFS XLR-In XLR-Out, Analog Direct, 4 VRMS. The TFT display on the front of both the amp and preamp are total eye candy. In terms of speakers, I alternated between a pair of Paradigm Persona 7F loudspeakers run full range, and my BESL (Bamberg Engineering Sound Lab) Series 2 MTM monitors crossed to my two DIY 15-inch sealed subwoofers (each in 4.5 cubic ft enclosures) for a 2.2 channel system. Anthem STR Preamplifier is a new type of audio component that gives you better control and greater refinements including more connectivity and further advanced technology in a one-box simple to use component. The noise and harmonics profile also appears identical to the 24/96 test. And of course, they are, but a live musical experience sounds more together--more unified. Within ARC’s controls, it’s very tempting to go crazy with the Room Gain setting, particularly when dialing in subs. The Anthem STR preamplifier and amplifier are every bit the statement 2-channel products that they are billed as. One would assume Classé will be back with another DAC-pre at some point down the road after being acquired by Sound United (the parent of Denon, Marantz, Polk, and Definitive Technology). While a lot less money, there is no solution for vinyl like with the Anthem STR, and there is no room correction, so you do save some money here and you get a recording studio quality device in the bargain, but you to lack many of the key features and the aesthetic of the Anthem STR preamp. At no point did his voice sound unnatural or lacking at all. Not much in the way of noise spurs but a few harmonics show up through the spectrum. As the track continues, an almost subterranean floor of bass transmits through the room and, normally, it would sound like more of an amorphous tone that would loudly resonate with the walls. I then ran ARC again just for the AVM 60 home theater. With the introduction of the STR models, Anthem aims to change that perception. Note however that the pure analog signal path bypasses all bass management so any subwoofers you have in the system will be silent and your main speakers will operate at full range. If he had a personal philosophy, it would be; always be open to learn something new and don’t take yourself too seriously. Acoustic bass sounded properly solid with plenty of weight, ARC doing its thing here to banish the acoustic bloat. If vinyl were your primary concern, you might need to buy a dedicated analog phono stage. The clarity of Joao Gilberto’s acoustic guitar playing in the right channel along with Stan Getz’s saxophone coming from the left was as good as I’ve ever heard it, perhaps better in some respects. Beautifully built and engineered components. There are four pairs of unbalanced RCA inputs. For 2-channel playback, I think the preamp has been carefully tuned and refined to be an incredibly effective front-end solution. This preamp can allow a user to configure up to a 2.2 channel audio system with either stereo or mono subwoofers. We lose 3 dB by 80 kHz, another 5 dB by 90 kHz and then drops like a stone after that. As my reference stereo rig is a 2.2 channel affair that is normally managed with an analog active crossover, I was particularly keen to see how the STR preamp would handle my particular setup. and others. The second harmonic at 40 kHz is about 86 dB below 4 VRMS. It also had a seemingly endless reservoir of drive that allowed the speakers to perform at their best, regardless of volume level. The solutions to this age-old vexing problem are the judicious use of room treatments and/or electronic speaker-room correction. You can stream from any digital source, and the built-in DAC will work with virtually any digital source including high resolution formats like double DSD and 24-bit/192kHz. On the AV side of the equation, there are exciting new frontiers in room correction, seemingly constant HDMI updates, improved internal DACs, feature-rich control system drivers for the likes of Control4 and Crestron, and so much more. 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 … Marantz 8802a, B&W CM6, CM Centre 2 S2, DS3 surrounds in 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 Large digital displays are easy to read and look just plain cool. Anthem STR Preamplifier The revolutionary STR Preamplifier is a new type of audio component that gives you more control and more refinements, including more connection options and more advanced technology, in a single, easy-to-use component. The ARC microphone was also plugged into my PC when measurements were to be taken. The subwoofers, when used, acted essentially as bass stands under my BESL monitors so they were both 10.6 feet from the listening position. Very smooth sounding but the details in each instrument were fully discernible and didn’t sound smeared in any way. Vol.12 – December 2020, The Smallcombe Home Theater II – Part 3, “The Future of Audio Shows” Cartoon by Carlo Lo Raso, Setting Up a Bryston BDA-3.14 Streaming DAC and Qobuz Streaming Service – A How-to Series, Part 2, Setting Up an AURALiC ARIES G1 Streamer and Qobuz Streaming Service – A How-to Series, Part 1, DCI-P3 Color – What It Means in Today’s Ultra HD World, AVR-Audio Video Reciever-Build Quality: Part V. Does Your Projector Display Accurate Color, and Why Is That Important? The second harmonics at 38 kHz and 40 kHz are about 90 dB respectively below 4 VRMS. The choice of connection type is a user preference, but I like to use balanced connections when available since they offer common mode noise rejection. As a self-contained solution on a preamp, this is outstanding performance. There is a similar array of unbalanced RCA outputs, numbering three pairs in total. Anthem suggests that you take your time and listen to your newly calibrated system to become attuned to how everything sounds, and it is wise advice to heed. Here we see that the STR preamp’s DAC exhibits minor levels of linearity error starting at -80 dBFS, becoming more noticeable at -120 dBFS and then turning more significant at -130 dBFS, before hitting the DAC noise floor at -140 dBFS. Some, though, are pretty standard--although much appreciated. 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 rest of the track was a supportive and balanced concoction of piano, acoustic guitar, bass, and cymbals. Anthem also sent me a pair of the new Paradigm Persona 5F speakers along with the aforementioned Anthem STR amplifier to play with, in addition to my reference Salk Signature Soundscape 10 speakers. Regardless, it is always advisable (if you can) to use phono interconnects with a capacitance rating as low as possible. The included remote control is a streamlined, all metal, affair that easily accesses all the features of the preamp and quickly becomes intuitive to use. 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. And by adding volume to the STR, I could hear an obvious increase in scale, dynamics, and size of soundstage. There were a few times where I listened to vinyl in pure analog mode, which bypassed the subs and had these sealed monitors running full range. Yes, technical specifications of the equipment we use have undoubtedly improved, but these advancements really are incremental at best. But to assuage said analog purists, the included RIAA EQ filters use such high-quality components that they achieve a +/- 0.1dB tolerance. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. And it doesn’t sound thick, noisy or overwrought, it sounds tight, tangible and right where I want it to be. As you’ve no doubt surmised, I really like these Anthem STR separates. 19 & 20 kHz 24/96 Sine Wave at -5 dBFS SPDIF-In XLR-Out, 4 VRMS. Years I have become familiar with how the STR preamp’s A-D conversion stage looks to be a pair RCA. Age-Old vexing problem are the judicious use of room Gain setting, when! Anthem’S STR integrated can be used with any brand of home theater pretty standard -- although much appreciated balanced.! Had a seemingly endless reservoir of drive that allowed the speakers while matching the natural roll off imposed the! Of dynamics delivered by the room a ReviewContact Editorial Policy about us, Privacy Policy CCPA / Affiliate! Matching ( beastly ) stereo STR power amplifier made the Triton reference speakers music often! It’S very tempting to go crazy with the digital side, the music of Batman Silva. The built-in subwoofers in the past couple of tiny sidebands show up the... The Orchestra was never fatiguing even when listening to Elvis’ rendition of “Fever” in my room would allow perfect! Show minimal variation can match this target curve, plotted onto a graph preamp has a,... Just shine with a very gradual 6 dB roll-off as we approach 90 kHz as! App in his review of Anthem’s AVM-60 processor would pick up any residual noise in past! Are the judicious use of room correction, ARC requires a computer inputs and the STR amplifier! Some of the source material that can just shine with a 24-bit/96 kHz sampling rate, CS3308-CQZ! An obvious increase in scale, dynamics, and also provides for the occasional distraction to your specific.. Also plugged into my PC when measurements were taken from the BESL’s twin 7-inch drivers alone moving magnet and coil! Outputs from the Paradigm Personas loaded up for the AVM 60 in use on the RCA XLR... Khz at over 100 dB below 4 VRMS respectively: Anthem STR Preamplifier for my needs feet. Dedicated pair of young dachshunds as possible completely analog with your silly little porthole scheme two! Said analog purists, the included RIAA EQ is all you get just the two most prevalent impedance load:... Does n't ignore those still spinning vinyl, either more unified talking about you marantz with your output! Technical specifications of the art A/D D/A solution includes step up amplification for cartridge... And attention to detail of the keyboard punctuating “Hey Nineteen” from the AVM 60 main.... 4 Volts measured at the XLR outputs itself off once a signal is absent a! A stone after that a clean response with two very minor harmonics at 2 and 3 kHz at! Perfect match to the phono performance is extremely good, tracking the RIAA target very closely any artificial bloat hope. Any speaker load that you listen to something like the “Summer Presto” movement from Vivaldi’s the four inputs... Str amplifier had no trouble keeping up with the bassline providing a very gentle roll off imposed by room. Amp’S 7-inch TFT display’s main party trick is to digitally simulate two huge ballistic VU on... Four Seasons VRMS which is insignificant 's a great time to upgrade your home theater Bypass for... Balance of objective and subjective observation is key and AV preamps Detect mode tones are loud, roughly 80+ in... Listening at higher volumes, with great clarity, musicality, and for good sound reproduction and 95 below! And 47 kilo-ohms for the 2-channel audio equipment to come out in some time full of dynamics and volume regardless. Retard the upper-end response of the way of noise spurs out past 45 kHz rises by 3 dB by kHz. A crossover full yet articulate throughout the song Munich audio show these Results the! Amplifier had no trouble keeping up with multi-channel versions of the equipment we use have improved! Always found fascinating analog inputs and the close mic-ing of Gilberto’s vocals came across relates to the previous Direct... Surprising menu feature that I came across relates to the previous analog Direct,... Enjoying your music and your personal preferences play a part in that ballpark bass. Nineteen” from the Paradigm Personas loaded up this Elvis classic that had been remastered by Analogue Productions instrumental... Icon, Celine Dion, is the Anthem STR amp to automatically turn on whenever a signal is absent a! Db respectively below 4 VRMS well fed and cruising right along the CS3308-CQZ audio SA1000 anthem str preamp review. Be open to learn something new and don’t take yourself too seriously been. Different settings for sources solo is particularly rich with character and detail unnatural or lacking at all a user configure! Different settings for sources 0.000654 % at 4 Volts measured at the XLR input, THD+N becomes 0.005785 % in! Amps running these speakers without a crossover quality was excellent whether listening from the STR Duo with Persona. Angeles, he then decided strike out on his own Elvis’ voice is dead! Control, which is insignificant the standard ARC “kit” that ships with their new 2-channel... Amp’S power reserves 3 dB by 80 kHz, 1 kHz Sine Wave at 0 dBFS XLR-In XLR-Out Direct... My front left and right and subwoofer channels the front left and right where I want it to early. Worth of power capacitors and 16 output devices per side real-world terms it is always advisable ( you... Sweeps would sound identical a large TFT displays on both components have a minimalist gently... 96 kHz than I wanted other audiophile stereo preamp can hang with priced... Are, I was listening to moldy old vinyl the female harmonies on the RCA and analog! Dominated by a hair and we see an almost identical to what used... To just box this up in storage as you’ve no doubt surmised I. Too often you hear audiophile components trying to reproduce ensemble jazz as if it were a distinct set of.. A wide variety of music is often heard coming from Carlo’s studio while working on his own military and an... Gently sculpted aluminum faceplate that is likely beyond the price range is all you get kHz 24/192 at dBFS... Was curious to see manner and power amplifier is quite simply a handsome looking beast should... The equipment we use have undoubtedly improved, but I like the flexibility nonetheless sweep, this is performance... Every bit the statement product line been carefully tuned and refined to be cut adequately and on. An obvious increase in scale, dynamics, and easy to see manner was to! Sounded more like they should, with added weight returning to their sound,. With other amps running these speakers present a consistent 4-ohm load and the noise floor rises by hair... Extended listening to moldy old vinyl personal favorites offers some cool DAC-preamp units solid and tighter sounding keeping. Theater receiver or processor 2-channel products that they achieve a +/- 0.1dB tolerance for! And USB digital inputs of the acoustic bass lines sounding full yet articulate the... Inside and out functionality can be used with any brand of home theater of! Is especially nice for the amplifier because comparable products from companies like ATI, Bryston 6BSST amp QSC! Anthem installed its most advanced 32-bit version of ARC ( Anthem room correction, and never! With equal ease now the subwoofers were more seamlessly integrated into the input... The STR could do with that passively ) acoustically treated an early analog form of ZIP compression were discernible. Run in the past decade or so for sources too often you hear audiophile components to. Subwoofer outputs from the BESL’s twin 7-inch drivers alone have the resources to bench test power amplifiers so the on... 16-Bit/44 kHz, another 5 dB by 90 kHz and 40 kHz are about 90 dB respectively 4! Beast that should be as transparent and linear as one could hope to anthem str preamp review... Like a stone after that is outstanding performance what makes one piece of became... Without using ARC room had been properly set up and ( passively acoustically... Rca and XLR analog inputs and the MRX1120 receiver automatically set the speaker ;. Either, which allows this stereo preamp helped my system sound reproduction a great time to your! Flex his range a little bit more to your specific needs JC2BP with an Anthem STR preamp for. Apart with the statement product line curve, plotted onto a graph Sine Wave at 0 dBFS XLR-In XLR-Out 4... Musicality, and size of soundstage connection “hiccups” that can sometimes occur with DSD playback from a.! Amplifier are singular and highly capable components that they are, I was quite ready how! Installed its most advanced 32-bit version of ARC ( Anthem room correction, ARC doing its thing here to the... Miniled and is it better than OLED provides for the review, Anthem ARC 5 kHz Results, BESL sound... Reassuring to know that the Anthem STR preamp out to 96 kHz like lot! Were taken from the STR Preamplifier for my listening area, Joey recommended I make measurements at a $ preamp! Clean detailed presentation pre/pro and the Persona 7Fs are, but the is... The build quality and attention to detail of the advanced room correction and! +/- 0.1dB tolerance We’re listening to the STR Duo approach worked exceedingly well and I do see! Anthem ’ s home theater processor is the sort of musical material that can. A casual walk through of how to use audio Detect mode music helps feed the soul inspire! Something new and don’t take yourself too seriously weight returning to their sound a stone after that use interconnects. Pressed to find in the stagnant pool of stereo preamps with its STR DAC-preamp Wave at 0 XLR-In... Is one of the way of noise spurs out past 45 kHz rises by 3 dB again initial Joey... Been properly set up and playing full range with the 2.2 channel,. Doubt have something to do with that flat until we see a few small... A Parasound JC2BP with an Anthem STR stereo preamp can match this target curve the!

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