anthem str preamp review
The STR preamplifier is probably one of the more useful and compelling pieces of 2-channel audio equipment to come out in some time. The overall ambiance from the song was big and enveloping, the simple finger snaps that marked the beat just sounded crisp and were full of dimension, and the notes from the acoustic double-bass were deep and very tight sounding. In my case, I didnât need an HDMI input on the STR Preamplifier because I could make use of the inputs on the Oppo UDP-205. Tons of clean and seemingly unending power. 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... KONKA Announces Three New Android TV Series for 2021 Lineup. I ran Anthem Room Correction (ARC) once using the STR Preamplifier for my front left and right and subwoofer channels. At 20 kHz into the XLR input, THD+N was 0.001785%. Rich and Robert Kozel for their invaluable assistance in this review. It was at about that time as well that Carlo began purchasing âAudio Magazineâ on a regular basis and came to appreciate, in particular, the writing and reviewing of the late Leonard Feldman. Anthem supplies the standard ARC âkitâ that ships with their MRX receivers and AVM60 pre/pro. Very smooth sounding but the details in each instrument were fully discernible and didnât sound smeared in any way. Right from the start of âThe Girl from Ipanemaâ the preampâs DAC latched on to the 2.8 MHz DSD bitstream without issue and played back the music splendidly over my 2.2 channel rig. That's what I heard with the Anthem STR in my rig and that is exciting at the $3,995 price range. As a self-contained solution on a preamp, this is outstanding performance. This preamp can allow a user to configure up to a 2.2 channel audio system with either stereo or mono subwoofers. For 2-channel playback, I think the preamp has been carefully tuned and refined to be an incredibly effective front-end solution. Miss Gardotâs voice was rendered with a sweet, almost liquid quality that just drew me into the music, while the band with the background strings unfolded into this broad and deep musical image. It had no obvious sonic faults that I could pick up on and it maintained the revealing nature of the speakers without allowing them to sound ruthless. Anthem STR Preamp Frequency Response, A-D DSP On. Itâs got low noise, plenty of transparency, scads of power reserve capability, impressive build and, by Odinâs beard, those huge meters are awesome! Anthem STR Duo with Paradigm Persona 7F Speakers, Anthem STR Duo with BESL Monitors and Dual Subs. Moving now to examine pure analog performance via the XLR inputs, a 24-bit/96 kHz, 1 kHz sine wave produces a THD+N of 0.000737% at 4 Volts measured at the XLR outputs with all digital processing disabled. Carlo currently lives in Granville, Ohio with his wife, two young sons and a pair of hyperactive dachshunds. This may sound like a lot of work, but it offers an amazing amount of flexibility in terms of configuration. Anthem STR Preamp, CS3308-CQZ Volume Control Chip. Anthem STR Preamp Back Panel The Anthem STR Preamp has a wide array of I/O connectivity for a two-channel preamp. The STR power amplifier is a clean sounding, and more robust version of the amp section that is in Anthemâs STR integrated amp. 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. In place of rail fuses, Anthem uses advanced DSP to monitor the amplifierâs output conditions and help guard against high operating temperatures and other fault conditions. So, whatâs the catch? Far too often, AV manufacturers choose to ignore an internal phono stage from their stereo preamps, be it for greed's sake (so they can sell you another black box) or perhaps for performance's sake. Testing the RIAA tracking ability of the phono stage and overall frequency response of the preamp was done in a similar manner, but the test tones and sweeps were provided by the built-in signal generator within the SpectraPLUS software. Speaking of the back panel of the STR preamp, it has two pairs of balanced XLR inputs and outputs, with a pair of each being dedicated for subwoofers. 1 kHz 16/44 Sine Wave at 0 dBFS SPDIF-In RCA-Out, 2 VRMS. The port also communicates with home automation systems as well. 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. And by adding volume to the STR, I could hear an obvious increase in scale, dynamics, and size of soundstage. Oddly, ARC still does not automatically set the speaker distances; you must do that manually post measurement. The thing is, once you get used to the convenience of such displays, itâs hard to go back to gear with little dot-matrix readouts or nothing at all. The attacking bass performance on the track âMarsâ was palpable and precise thanks to the Triton Reference and Anthem Room Correction on the STR Preamp. For the 2-channel audio enthusiast, the level of product innovation hasnât changed very much over the last few years. You now have a complete, turnkey audio solution that should be as transparent and linear as one could hope to assemble. Literally, I am holding it to a higher standard than nearly every other audiophile stereo preamp in the market. The rich layers and sounds of the keyboard punctuating âHey Nineteenâ from the Steely Dan âGauchoâ album sounded wonderfully alive. ARC automatically defaults to a flat EQ profile with an upper limit of correction set at 5 kHz and ARC detected a modest level of room gain dialed in below 300 Hz. Same as with Anthem’s home theater preamp/processors, volume on the STR integrated can be adjusted in 0.5-dB increments. In this configuration, the STR Preamplifier was in standby mode and the front channels and subwoofer inputs were seamlessly connected via relays in the STR Preamplifier to the AVM 60. 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) Digital In, 96 kHz: 10 Hz – 45 kHz (+0, -0.5 dB) At no point did his voice sound unnatural or lacking at all. The NAD is somewhat of a modular design, so you can customize your component a little bit more to your specific needs. The connections to the STR Preamplifier can be made using either RCA or XLR inputs or a combination of the two which is what I used in my listening room. Iâve already made mention of the top-shelf build quality and unique design of these STR components. Using the MM input and precise test tones generated by SpectraPLUS, Iâve plotted the left and right channel RIAA tracking response for the STR preampâs phono section and overlaid them on the target plot. I do not currently have the resources to bench test power amplifiers so the analysis on the STR power amplifier is strictly subjective. The STR amp uses a cascoded complementary feedback input stage which, Anthem claims, creates a sound quality similar to Class A amplifier designs but with much greater operating efficiency. My reference home theater processor is the Anthem AVM 60. Anthem installed its most advanced 32-bit version of ARC (Anthem Room Correction) to date before the preamp shipped. When Carlo told me how much he had been enjoying the Anthem STR Preamplifier and STR Power Amplifier combination in his listening room, I became really curious to hear how the pair would sound in my existing home theater. Anthem STR RIAA Phono Playback EQ Results. While Diana Krall has become one of the most often heard female vocalists when it comes to demo material at audio shows (for better or worse), I find Melody Gardot to be just as good, if not better, a musical gauge in this regard. The STR amp is about as good a 2-channel amplifier as you are likely to find for all practical purposes. The large TFT displays on both components make for outstanding readability and usability from across the room. Not much in the way of noise spurs but a few harmonics show up through the spectrum. NAD's M12 DAC-Preamp is likely the closest competitor to the Anthem STR preamp. 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. The defining feature of the STR preamplifier is the incorporation of a custom version of Anthemâs renowned ARC room correction system combined with complete digital bass management resources. I didnât 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. Both components have a minimalist, gently sculpted aluminum faceplate that is dominated by a large TFT display. 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. These are all fine chip choices and are almost identical to what is used in Anthemâs AVM60 pre/pro and the MRX1120 receiver. My reference stereo preamp is a Parasound JC2BP with an Anthem AVM 60 in use on the home theater side of things. Beautifully built and engineered components. There are other players on the market, such as the super high-end Trinnov Amethyst at over $10,000--a DAC-pre with apex-predator-level room correction. The preamp has a clean pure-analog mode and a high-quality MM/MC phono section. I hooked up my Surface 3 PRO tablet, via USB, to the STR preamp and downloaded/installed the requisite ASIO driver from Anthemâs website in order to try out playing some DSD files direct to the DAC. Tamer than I wanted to see manner that made everything sound better ( or )... Listening area, Joey recommended I make measurements at a $ 4,000 preamp to have an assignment overseas I! His eyes processors and receivers not currently have the resources to bench power... The occasional distraction choices and are available now main party trick is to digitally simulate two huge VU... 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