STR is Anthem's new flagship two-channel line comprised of three models so far: the STR Integrated Amplifier, the STR Preamplifier (reviewed here), and the subject of this review- … While this wouldn’t be an overly demanding song for the Anthem’s STR duo, its playback with these components sounded especially well put together and was presented seamlessly across two speakers and two subs. Due to the physical limitations of the vinyl LP, during the mastering stage, bass frequencies are attenuated by up to 20 dB at the lowest end and treble frequencies boosted by up to 20 dB at the highest end, essentially the inverse of this plot. The noise at 45 kHz rises by a hair and we see a few more small sidebands show up around the 20 kHz fundamental. I first cued up Nirvana's Nevermind (DGC Records) on CD. 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. With the introduction of the STR models, Anthem aims to change that perception. The port also communicates with home automation systems as well. You can easily match levels on inputs, which is a reviewer favorite in terms of features. 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. Mate it all to amplifiers of your choice (or 3 STR amps if you like), set it up in your room and run ARC. I had heard some tracks from this album in a very high-end equipped room at this past Munich Audio show. Room EQ is available these days in even the lowliest AV receivers, but it is surprisingly scarce in good quality 2-channel audio equipment. In later weeks I would make additional ARC runs with up to 8 total measurements with the results varying minimally from the initial establishing run. Despite recent changes to their product lineup, Benchmark offers some cool DAC-preamp units. Digital In, 192 kHz: 10 Hz – 50 kHz (+0, -0.5 dB) Ultimately, this is a hobby and it should be fun. The benefits of the advanced room correction were too great to not have, even when listening to moldy old vinyl. 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. 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. Together, they comprise as seamless and powerful a playback chain as you are likely to find. I was converted. With ARC in play, the room resonance is sharply reduced and the bass sound became more focused and melodic while retaining the desired impact. For my listening area, Joey recommended I make measurements at a 3-foot distance from the main seat. It automatically turns itself off once a signal is absent for a period of time. Robert Kozel did a detailed walk through of how to use the ARC Mobile App in his review of Anthem’s AVM-60 processor. In this mode, you are presented with three additional setting options: Bass Shelf, Bass Turnover and 10K De-Emphasis. But outside of aesthetic differences and varying degrees of engineering application, the stuff doesn’t break much new ground. (at 1 kHz, IEC-A, 2 Vrms output), 3.3Vrms (<0.1% THD) (20 Hz – 20 kHz BW, 2 Vrms output), Analog Direct Mode: 120 dB Too often you hear audiophile components trying to reproduce ensemble jazz as if it were a distinct set of instruments. Tons of clean and seemingly unending power. The unit has other goodies, too, including bass management for two subwoofers, which is a nifty feature normally reserved for AV preamps and receivers. The noise and harmonics profile also appears identical to the 24/96 test. 1 kHz 16/44 Sine Wave at 0 dBFS USB-In XLR-Out, 4 VRMS. It seems to be a part of a whole collection of 2 channel products from Anthem. Anthem ARC 5 kHz Results, BESL Monitors and Subwoofers, Anthem ARC 400 Hz Results, BESL Monitors and Subwoofers. 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. The category of preamps has changed a lot in the past decade or so. I connected the subwoofer outputs from the STR Preamplifier to the built-in subwoofers in the Triton Reference speakers. The NAD is somewhat of a modular design, so you can customize your component a little bit more to your specific needs. The power amp’s 7-inch TFT display’s main party trick is to digitally simulate two huge ballistic VU meters. Right from the start of “The Girl from Ipanema” the preamp’s DAC latched on to the 2.8 MHz DSD bitstream without issue and played back the music splendidly over my 2.2 channel rig. And the close mic-ing of Gilberto’s vocals came across in a beautifully detailed presentation. The large TFT displays on both components make for outstanding readability and usability from across the room. Anthem STR Preamp Frequency Response, A-D DSP On. Beautifully built and engineered components. Feature wise, it pushes the limits of what you can expect to find in the stereo preamp category. In analog direct, the response is flat until we see a very gradual 6 dB roll-off as we approach 90 kHz. The MM/MC phono input stage deserves some special mention. 20 kHz 24/192 at 0 dBFS XLR-In XLR-Out, Analog Direct, 4 VRMS. The STR preamp’s A-D conversion stage looks to be doing its job very well. Having used ARC in my home theater system for the past couple of years I have become familiar with how it works. I don't see that the NAD M12 has any kind of room correction, however. Individually, they are some of the very best sounding examples of their respective categories. These are all fine chip choices and are almost identical to what is used in Anthem’s AVM60 pre/pro and the MRX1120 receiver. There are no adjustments for cartridge loadings, so you are fixed to the standard input settings of 100-Ohms for moving coil and 47K-Ohms / 270 pF for moving magnet cartridges. Electric bass was suitably deep and punchy without any artificial bloat. 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. Anthem STR Preamplifier for sale. CES Trends: MiniLED and is it Better than OLED? 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. . Setting this option to “Yes” allows the amp to automatically turn on whenever a signal is detected. That's what I heard with the Anthem STR in my rig and that is exciting at the $3,995 price range. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. When running the ARC calibration for each speaker system, Anthem recommends a minimum of 5 measuring points, the first being at the main listening seat and the others made at least 2 feet away from the first measurement position. The following are a few notable musical selections that I felt showed off the Anthem STR duo during our time together: Melody Gardot, My One and Only Thrill, Verve CD. and others. I ran Anthem Room Correction (ARC) once using the STR Preamplifier for my front left and right and subwoofer channels. 600 watts @ 4 Ohms (Continuous, 20 Hz – 20 kHz, <1% THD) And it doesn’t sound thick, noisy or overwrought, it sounds tight, tangible and right where I want it to be. In terms of value, there may not be a better option that you can invest in for your audiophile rig. but you don't need a Ph.D. in electrical engineering to make it work, either, which was good for this reviewer. The thing is, once you get used to the convenience of such displays, it’s hard to go back to gear with little dot-matrix readouts or nothing at all. While I was always content with the sound using my McIntosh MC8207 seven-channel amplifier, introducing the Anthem STR Power Amplifier into the system to power the Triton Reference speakers was transformative. As revealing as the Persona 7Fs are, I was curious to see if they would pick up any residual noise in the preamp. In place of rail fuses, Anthem uses advanced DSP to monitor the amplifier’s output conditions and help guard against high operating temperatures and other fault conditions. There was a sense of richness and depth to her almost nasally overtones that I didn't hear before the STR arrived and the Anthem Room Correction was in effect. NAD's M12 DAC-Preamp is likely the closest competitor to the Anthem STR preamp. You can liken it to an early analog form of ZIP compression. Once all the measurements are done, the system normalizes everything to the 75 dB range. For the 2-channel audio enthusiast, the level of product innovation hasn’t changed very much over the last few years. Getz/ Gilberto is a classic and a consistent favorite of mine due to the artistry and the impeccable sound quality. Anthem’s small but solid remote control is also made from machined aluminum and has a clean, simple layout. 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. It almost gave me shivers. Things sounded good overall, but the bass was noticeably tamer than I wanted. Having two properly calibrated subs playing this stuff is just outstanding! Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto, Getz/Gilberto, Verve Records, DSD Files. The STR amp is about as good a 2-channel amplifier as you are likely to find for all practical purposes. While the amp supports 12-Volt trigger operation, there is unfortunately only one 12-Volt trigger on the AVM 60 and that was used to power on one of my theater amps. 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. I was close enough to the equipment where I could plug the included extra-long USB cable from my Windows PC to the back of the preamp. 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. And by adding volume to the STR, I could hear an obvious increase in scale, dynamics, and size of soundstage. On "Come As You Are," Kurt Cobain's voice sounded extremely open and airy with the Anthem in my stereo rig, be it with the Salk or Paradigm speakers connected. I was impressed with how the STR Preamplifier and STR Power Amplifier handled female voices. Again, a clean response with two minor harmonics at 2 and 3 kHz registering at 94 and 95 dB below 4 VRMS respectively. 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. 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 The STR amplifier had no trouble keeping up with the dynamics and volume swings regardless of the level I was listening to. The simple answer was to configure the STR Power Amplifier to use Audio Detect Mode. An organ weaves in an out with the bassline providing a very grooving foundation. Looking at the internals, it is a Class AB, dual mono design rated at 400, 600 and 800 (3 second burst) watts into 8, 4 and 2 ohms respectively, with both channels driven. Krell is going through a whole reorganization and I am sure they will have new preamps that are more like the STR at some point, but for now their offering is sonically comparable but close to double the price and lacking in features. 1 kHz 24/96 at 0 dBFS XLR-In XLR-Out Analog Direct, 4 VRMS. 24-bit/192 kHz 1 kHz THD+N looks almost identical to the preceding test with a result of 0.000639% at 4 VRMS. Using the Configure HT Bypass menu in the STR Preamplifier, I set the Fronts to use “XLR1” and the Subs to “RCA4”. The preamp has a clean pure-analog mode and a high-quality MM/MC phono section. And yes, these are completely run in the analog domain, so they still work when you push analog direct mode. 1 kHz 24/192 Sine Wave at 0 dBFS SPDIF-In XLR-Out, 4 VRMS. The Anthem STR preamplifier and power amplifier are singular and highly capable components that can form the nucleus of an exceptional stereo music system. Room EQ choices for stereo listeners have, until recently, been limited to affordable, DIY-based solutions from MiniDSP (incorporating DIRAC Live) or more expensive custom solutions from companies like DEQX or Bohmer Audio. The preamp is essentially a two-channel processor with onboard DAC, room correction, and digital bass management. The noise and harmonics profile also appears identical to the 24/96 test. 1 kHz 24/96 Sine Wave at 0 dBFS SPDIF-In XLR-Out, 4 VRMS. Analog Direct In: 10 Hz – 80 kHz (+0.00, -0.10 dB) Elvis’ voice is parked dead center and he gets to flex his range a little bit on this one. For example, in listening to Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra performance of “Holst: The Planets”, the separation of sounds between the horns and percussion was richly detailed. His backup singers, The Jordanaires, were imaged to the right and behind him, filling in the soundstage nicely but not overpowering the main man. There is a visible B-A peak at 1 kHz at over 100 dB below each test tone at 4 VRMS which is insignificant. 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 sheer detail and level of dynamics delivered by the STR preamp and amp were simply outstanding. The next step was to connect my front speakers, which are GoldenEar Technology Triton Reference, to the STR Power Amplifier. Your support is greatly appreciated! As you can see the AKM AK4456VN DAC of the STR preamp starts to exhibit trace levels of linearity error before it hits its noise floor at -140 dBFS. At 10 kHz into the XLR input, THD+N was 0.001135%. The built-in phono stage in the Anthem STR includes step up amplification for both moving magnet and moving coil inputs. Either way, ARC requires a computer to do the measurement, analysis, and uploading of the profiles to the preamp. I’m talking about you Marantz with your silly little porthole scheme! The ARC microphone was also plugged into my PC when measurements were to be taken. I should also note that the Home Theater Bypass functionality can be used with any brand of home theater receiver or processor. 10 kHz 24/96 Sine Wave at 0 dBFS USB-In XLR-Out, 4 VRMS. The STR Power Amplifier made the Triton Reference speakers, which already were amazing in my room, sound breathtaking. That being said, this is also about enjoying your music and your personal preferences play a part in that. Yes, it is beautifully engineered, has a dynamite phono input and, realistically, I’m sure I probably wouldn’t hear a difference with better digital chips (you can tell in the measurements that Anthem has spent some time getting the best out of the silicon they are using), but I really wish this thing had an HDMI input so that I could directly pass a DSD bitstream over from my OPPO (or any other) HDMI equipped player. The internal DAC on the Anthem STR Preamplifier is a power house, but having it married to your preamp does take some of your upgrade flexibility away down the road. But, back in the real world and with all my grousing aside, the STR preamp is an incredibly transparent piece of equipment and the ARC room correction is the linchpin. Specifically when it comes to audio reviewing; honesty and a good balance of objective and subjective observation is key. It goes without saying that these Anthem STR separates are some of the most stylish looking pieces of 2-channel gear that I have laid eyes on. 19 & 20 kHz 24/96 Sine Wave at -5 dBFS SPDIF-In XLR-Out, 4 VRMS. Playing her French language classic "Sur Le Meme Bateau" from her S'il suffisait d'aimer album (Columbia/Epic) was just marvelous with the STR in the loop. Analog In, DSP Mode: 10 Hz – 40 kHz (+0.00, -0.20 dB) “Soldier Boy” which is structured like a classic doo-wop tune comes out sounding very full, with significant depth to the presentation. 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 little dip past 20 kHz is an artifact of my measuring setup. Carlo currently lives in Granville, Ohio with his wife, two young sons and a pair of hyperactive dachshunds. Once all the connections were made, I made sure to use the Level Calibration menu on both the STR Preamplifier and on the AVM 60 to make sure that I had properly connected each channel. The harmonics at 2 and 3 kHz registering again at 94 and 97 dB below 4 VRMS respectively. 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. The preamp, on the other hand, has an MSRP that is $1000.00 more than the AVM60, for a 2-channel preamplifier that essentially has the same A-D and DAC section and no HDMI inputs. For 2-channel playback, I think the preamp has been carefully tuned and refined to be an incredibly effective front-end solution. Dion's many extended vibrato notes showcased the tight control and timing with the STR separates combo, but was also gripping in terms of bass performance with the Parasound JC5 or especially with the Krell Theater Seven being used as an amp. Less so for the amplifier because comparable products from companies like ATI, Bryston and such are in that ballpark. They were replicating not just the impact of the drum hits, which was significant, but the tightness and tonality of the drum skins were coming through clearly as well. On a side note to the fine folks at Anthem/Paradigm, I can easily see the STR preamp, with not too much modification, become the control center for a range of fully active speaker systems. He can never keep that straight…. June 4, 2019 Deon Schoeman Amplifiers , Latest , Reviews 0 The Anthem STR line-up consists of a pre-amp, a power amp – and now, also an integrated amp. And harmonic profile to the built-in subwoofers in the past decade or so little dip past 20 is!, and for good music, and cymbals ultimately, this component competes in the sex appeal with. On covi19 don’t be afraid to experiment, just on a preamp, this competes... Hair and we see an identical response up to 30 different settings for.! 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Audio deals directly in your inbox and AVM60 pre/pro and the STR preamp frequency response sweep but now subwoofers...

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