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Rotel, Para, Anthem

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21 replies to this topic

#1 of 22 Dave Shepard

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Posted February 25 2005 - 02:28 PM

I'm looking at getting a pre-pro and have narrowed the search to the Rotel, Para and Anthem. I'm looking for input to those who have been able to compare these to each other and what the pros and cons are as the nearest dealer for any of these is 70mi all in different directions and hopefully this will narrow the search further. I am currently using a Denon 3803 as a pre-pro and a Sherbourn 7/2100a with Polk speakers.



#2 of 22 GaryQ



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Posted February 26 2005 - 12:23 AM

I have it narrowed down to the Parasound C2 and the AVM30. I would also like to hear anyones comments who may have compared the two of them.

#3 of 22 vince simonetti

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Posted February 26 2005 - 07:12 AM

I am looking ant the AVM 30 also. I would like to review the manual, but the download at the Anthem website won't complete. Does anybody have an electronic copy to email or a working link?


#4 of 22 GaryQ



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Posted February 26 2005 - 09:47 AM


I couldn't copy it either. I had to copy one chapter at a time. That may also be the way that you have to do it.

#5 of 22 Tom D

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Posted February 26 2005 - 10:04 AM

Hello, I compared an avm30 to myh denon 4802. The anthem has a cleaner, more detailed treble, some might say brighter. The mid bass seemed at first to be less pronounced then the denon. The sub however played or seemed to be deeper and louder. After going back to the denon the anthem was more detailed, channel separation smoother and pans were cleaner and left less gaps in sound. Unfortunately music that sounded thin before was even thinner, I guess the anthem is less forgiving.

I too would like to hear from others who have tried the Rotel rsp1068.

Arcam is supposed to be releasing a new pre/pro, the avp700 in the diva series. I wouldnt mind listening to that either.

#6 of 22 mackie


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Posted February 27 2005 - 02:07 AM

Read this review. The AVM30 came out on tops and cost less than the others.


#7 of 22 AlbertD


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Posted February 27 2005 - 10:06 AM

Not what you asked for but I matched a B&K Ref 50 to that Sherbourn 7/2100 amp and they were made for each other. Let me know if you want me to post my thoughts about how it sounded. It looks like your mind is already made up and B&K is not in the picture.

#8 of 22 Dave Shepard

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Posted February 27 2005 - 12:33 PM

I hadn't concidered the B&K because I heard they were on the warmer side and I'm looking to get something that will be alittle more on the revieling side and show all the fine details. If you feel the B&K might fit the bill for what I'm looking for I'm all ears and would be willing to find a dealer to do some auditioning along with the other two. This purchase will be one that I will be putting some time and thought into so that I can get as much info and learn as much about them to make an "I know what I want" not an "I think I want" purchase. So post your thoughts. I took Parasound off because of the $$$ being so much higher then the Anthem and Rotel and the return not justifying the extra cost IMO.


#9 of 22 Brian Corr

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Posted February 28 2005 - 04:40 AM

I've read comments from a dealer who has both Parasound and Anthem and he says the Parasound sounds better than the Anthem every time.
He's about the only one I've read comments from that has compared them directly.
I'd guess that the differences are pretty minor and really only noticeable on 2 channel material.
Myself, I went from a B&K Ref 50 to a Halo C1 and the C1 is much, much better than the B&K.

#10 of 22 AlbertD


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Posted February 28 2005 - 05:41 AM


Regarding Brian's comments that the Parasound is "much much better than the B&K" That obviously is just an opinion. I think that you should give it a listen. I started off my HT "hobby" about 9 years ago. I went with a Yamaha RX-V2095 receiver as it seemed the right thing to do at the time. Yamaha receiver's seem to have a reputation for being bright and so do Infinity speakers and that's what I had. So I should have had a very bright system. But one man's bright is another man's detailed and I liked the sound. Over the years I experimented with different receivers. I purchased an NAD and found it nice for music but lacking for HT. I listen to as many systems as I could and I am a electronics junkie visiting just about every store I can and listening to most everything I can. I also play guitar and keyboards since 1969 and own and have owned many classic tube amps as well as solid state amps. I am not an expert but I have had an opportunity to listen to quite a few amps, preamps, and receivers over the last 5 decades and trust my "ears" as they say.

Two years ago I decided to finally bypass the receiver route and go separates. I had a chance to listen, in detail, to most of the more popular lines including Parasound, Anthem, Rotel, and many others. I also had a budget of less than $5K that I wanted to stick to for both prepro and amp. I hate warm. I hate coloration. I hate bright. In fact for music and HT I only have and have had one consideration, transparency. It is king to me. I don't want my music or movies to sound any way other than what the musician or Director wanted it to sound like in the first place. Which is why my speaker selection ended up with Dunlavy. I have listened to hundreds of speaker brands over the years and found Dunlavy to be the most transparent speaker I have ever heard. Anyhow, the Sherbourn 7/2100 amp was clearly the best amp I heard in the price range I was looking in. In fact it just seemed to drive the sound without any hint of "warmth" or added sound coloration. My sound stage opened up and was incredible. As I stated I paired it with a B&K Ref 50. I did not find any added coloration of any type. What I found was crystal clarity and a level of detail that I found simply stunning. Now was it the B&K? The Sherbourn? The Dunlavy speakers? All combined? Good question.

Last year my wife and I purchased a 53' ocean crossing trawler. We keep her berthed in MD and our plan was, and is, to eventually move out of our home and on to the boat full time prior to our retirement. We will then cruise the islands, the east coast and eventually do an Atlantic crossing. Why do I share this? Well in preparation for this impending challenge, I sold off most of my HT gear. There was simply no extra room on a boat for this type of HT equipment. This year we found out that our plans would be pushed back a bit and have decided to keep the house a few years more before selling, so I have begun to rebuild my HT system. This time I want to keep it simple so I just bought a used B&K AVR 307 receiver, and upgraded it to a 507. What did I find out? Even with the internal B&K amp the sound was "almost" as transparent as my Ref 50 and Sherbourn combination. This really surprised me. I wondered if the slight imperfection in the sound had to do with the speakers. I had to use some old Infinity Overture 2 speakers as the mains but I had kept one of the Dunlavy speakers and used it for my center channel. Two weeks ago, when I couldn't find any Dunlavy's to match to the center channel,(I am one of those firm believers that all front soundstage speakers should be matched) I replaced the entire front sound stage with Triangle speakers. (another speaker with a reputation of being detailed) I must say that my system easily sounds as good, as the one it replaced. My only conclusion is that the one piece of equipment that was the same was the B&K processor portion.

So with all that said, I find the B&K sound wonderfully detailed, and very transparent. And not to knock the Parasound Halo C1, but I found and still find the B&K far superior in sound. Very neutral. I am sure that the Parasound is a fantastic piece of equipment but I didn't care for it at all.

But I will also say that all of this is only my opinion.

#11 of 22 ChrisDixon


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Posted February 28 2005 - 06:14 AM

"Better" is always going to be subjective. I think I agree with Tom D in general. I compared my Anthem AVM30/PVA7 setup with my Marantz SR8200 as a pre-pro with the PVA 7 (and years of listening to the Marantz as a receiver). The Marantz is a bit warmer, and the Anthem had more detail and a wider sound-stage. The bass is better with the Anthem too, but that is partly due to its notch filter which really evened out my spl curve. Most music material sounded more lively and had better instrumet separation on the Anthem. Tom's point about "thin" recordings was a good one. There are some recordings that are "tamed" by a laid back pre/pro or speakers, but if they are trebbly and bright, the Anthem is not as forgiving. When people compare the sound of any two pre/pros, it is more helpful to use specific adjectives that describe differences rather than saying "better" or "worse". For me, the Anthem was a big enough improvement to justify the price. All of the extra features and configuration options were a big plus too.


#12 of 22 ChrisHeflen


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Posted February 28 2005 - 07:44 AM

Parasound just released it's new "Classic" line.
They have a new proccessor for about $3000.00.
Pop on over to the avs forum and there is a link about it.
While 70 miles does seem to be a lot of travel, this is a lot of money and alot of enjoyment/frustration. You really should try to demo these in your own house.
Personally, I would never buy a B&K. They might sound good and have a good feature set, but they are horrible on cust. service, slow as hell on upgrades and they pop and click.
The Halo stuff is over priced, but I'm sure it sounds wonderful.
My friend has the Rotel 1068. A great little piece that they continue to support.
I have the Anthem.
Does that help you? No it doesn't. Get what you like and sounds best to you. It'll be worth effort!

#13 of 22 AlbertD


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Posted February 28 2005 - 08:55 AM


I know it might sound like it, but I am really not a B&K bigot! I actually love Anthem. It is a high quality, top notch, very neutral sounding pre/pro. I don't believe that anybody ever went wrong in purchasing Anthem. But I feel compelled to say that I have found B&K customer service to be fantastic. The few times I have had to call, there was always a person who aswered. They answered all my questions even the ones where I should have read the manual more closely! When I needed an upgrade, they were fast and efficient, and those "clicks and pops" are gone with the new version 2.

At the end of the day, its all about sound, at least with me, and B&K simply sounded more transparant.

But I couldn't agree with you more in your statements that these should be listened to in person, preferrably in your own home with your own speakers. Hard to do though Posted Image

#14 of 22 ChrisHeflen


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Posted February 28 2005 - 09:56 AM


After reading post after post about the noise issues with the ref50 and the mixed and contradictory repsonses from B&K, plus the mention of them going into bankuptcy (over a year ago), made me look else where. My buddy bought the piece and hooked it up and it popped so loud that he feared for his speakers. I will say though he said it sounded fantastic. In fact the underlying thing in all the threads on the subject was that the stuff did sound fantastic.
Please know that I am not trying bash you or B&K.
I am glad you have been please. At this price point we all need to be.
Please please take me out on that boat.
You also have pm

Sorry for the de-railing of this thread.

#15 of 22 Dave Shepard

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Posted February 28 2005 - 11:27 AM

Albert thanks for taking the time in righting the detailed post and also a thanks goes to the others for their replies. I will be rereading them and will be looking at the B&K also to replace the Para that I have set aside. I don't have a dealer who is willing to let me do an in house demo even if I deside to get anotherone they sell (I have asked 2 dealers) they said that once I buy it I can't exchange due to the fact they would have to order them, so an in store demo is the only possibility for me. I will be making the purchase in the next few months so I can gather as much info and do as much demoing I can before I put my money down. I like the sound of the Rotel but have heard some concerns reguarding dreak downs and slow turn around time those may have be directed towards their recievers I'm not sure.

Thanks Guys

#16 of 22 Trevor L

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Posted March 01 2005 - 04:36 AM

Another option not discussed is the Cary Audio Cinema 6. It does not have the bells and whistles that the Anthem does, but it is considered to be much more musical. Cary is a music first manufacturer and I am very happy with mine. I also auditioned many makes including Rotel, Arcam, Parasound, Sunfire, etc... I spoke to the designer and it has the same componentry as Cary's more expensive Cinema 8, without the fine tuning options.

By far I felt the Cary was most transpartent. It also has the ability to up sample digital sources to 192 at the press of a button (both tv and cd).

On the other side, it does not even have as many options and macros as my NAD 763 reciever did.

Just another opinion.

#17 of 22 Richard_B


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Posted March 02 2005 - 01:32 AM

Posted Image Wow so many fine choices listed and great suggestions from the members here. Out of the first 3 you listed I really like them all but would probably go with the Anthem. I myself recently replaced my receiver with a pre/pro and I ended up going with the Emotiva DMC-1 and I absolutly love it. Goodluck with your decision and please let us know what you go with.

#18 of 22 Lawrence X

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Posted March 28 2005 - 05:08 PM

Trevor, I also have the Cinema 6 (with the Cinema 5) and really love mine. I've also auditioned quite a few pieces in the price range, and found the Cary bested the competition when considering sound quality for both HT and 2 channel music.

You're right, its a sound quality first kind of philosophy. Then again, as far as I'm concerned if anyone is NOT sound quality first in their thinking, I guess I don't understand why they're spending extra for seperates in the first place.

#19 of 22 Levesque


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Posted March 29 2005 - 02:40 AM

Don't forget the huge hardware upgrade that Anthem are planning for June this summer for the AVM30/AVM20 and D1.

Anthem hardware and firmware upgrades policy is one of the best in the industry. The proof? Some AVM20 users are still using it after more then 3 years, and it will be updated AGAIN this summer, and probably good to go for another 2 or 3 years... Posted Image

Rotel and Parasound are not doing that. You have to sell your unit and buy the next iteration.

With DTS-HD and DD+ just around the corner, some people will be left out in the cold, so it's good to know a company like Anthem will provide hardware upgrades to be able to use those when need be. Posted Image

#20 of 22 Marc_E


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Posted March 29 2005 - 05:13 AM

Hi all,
thought I would add to the anthem love. I have owned my avm20 for 3 years now and have no wantor desire to replace it. It is simply incredible. I would take what lev has said about upgrades very seriously. Most other companies replace before they upgrade their models. Rotel and parasound will not support you the way anthem has supported me. I started out with a dd5.1/dts awesome sounding processor and after several FREE software upgrades have what all the current processors have. Room eq, all current sound formates, complete control of everything. It is simply amazing where anthem has taken this product.