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Anthem MCA-5: How good is it?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by John Morris, Sep 18, 2001.

  1. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

    I am thinking of replacing my ATI 2505 with an Anthem MCA-5 amp. Unfortunately, I can't get onto the Sonic Frontiers site to check out the specs, but I heard one and it sounded very nice... it seemed a little more revealing than my ATI and had balanced inputs.
    Does anyone have one of these amps and if so, please describe what they sound like and what other equipment you use them with...
    Thanks!
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    Take Care,
    merc
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    God Bless America!!!
     
  2. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Supporting Actor

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    I have an MCA-3(same chassis but only 3 channels). I have compared the sound of the Anthem to a Proceed Amp 2 and a Parasound HCA 1500A driving my power hungry and low impedence PSB Stratus Gold i's and honestly could not tell the difference between the amps as far as sound. The Anthem is rated at 200 w/ch into 8 ohms but with all channels driven it puts out about 170-180 w/ch(I remember this from HomeTheater mag test). I am not sure about the ATI 2505 but I believe that it puts out 250w/ch and is a monster(very heavy, requires 20 Amp circuit) correct me if I am wrong.
     
  3. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

     
  4. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Supporting Actor

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    Using the RCA inputs, I honestly could not tell the difference. Even now the Anthem powers my subs and the center channel and the Parasound the mains, and I do not hear any difference. I don't think that the Anthem is a fully balanced design(whatever that means--I heard that about the Anthem). I like the amplifer and it works real well but I think that if you got it to replace the ATI, it would be a power downgrade(mind you, not a sonic downgrade because I haven't heard the ATI). Is there any aspect to the ATI that you don't like?
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    What in the wide wide world of sports is going on here
     
  5. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

    No, there is nothing honestly about the ATI that I do not like... except, that I am looking to upgrade back to a seperate music and seperate HT system and I need a multichannel amp that accepts a balanced input to do that inexpensively. I also want at least 10 channels of amplification for less than $2K and the Anthems fit that bill. Finally, although I have never heard the Anthem amp, it has received numerous very positive reviews from folks I respect like JJ.
    My only concern is that I just bought a brand new one of these for only $950, delivered... and it comes with both the silver and black faceplates and knobs.
    Hmmmm, I sure hope I like this amp!???
    ------------------
    Take Care,
    merc
    ----------------
    [​IMG]
    God Bless America!!!
     
  6. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Supporting Actor

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    You will like them, don't worry. There are no knobs on the amplifiers, only a power on button(on the MCA-3 anyway). How are you going to arrange your music and HT system? Is the anthem going to be used for a 5.1 dedicated music system and the ATI for HT?
     
  7. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

    Oops, sorry I was referring to the Anthem preamp that I was thinking about buying when I spoke of the black and silver knobs...
    Actually, I am thinking of going with a 2 channel balanced music only system and a 6.1 HT system using RCA inputs. The final two channels would probably be used for my outdoor speakers, driven from my 2 channel preamps RCA outputs.
    I know it sounds convoluted, and in the meantime, if I can land an inexpensive balanced, fantastic sounding HT Pre/pro, my plans could change.
    Thanks for your help!
    ------------------
    Take Care,
    merc
    ----------------
    [​IMG]
    God Bless America!!!
     
  8. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Supporting Actor

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    The Anthem AVM-20 and the Onkyo Integra pre-amp have balanced outputs.
     
  9. chris c

    chris c Stunt Coordinator

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    John, for HT I doubt you would be able to tell much difference between the two, as long as your speakers are relatively efficient (if not, keep the ATI for home theater). For music, the Anthem and ATI sound a little different, but are on the same performance level. It is basically a matter of preference (listen in your own system if possible before making a decision). It is quite surprising that Bhagi couldn't tell the difference between an Anthem and a Proceed, however. I sure can! (Proceed is much more refined)
     
  10. Han

    Han Second Unit

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    My Anthem MCA 5 series II sounds great, but there seems to be a bit of hissing when everything is quiet. I've actually tried isolating it to just the amp plugged into the speakers and disconnected and turned off every component (including the cable TV). It still is hissy when I put my ear to any of the speakers. Can't hear it if I'm sitting 3 feet away or something.
    Anybody else get this, or is it normal? None of my receivers do this, but there is quite a bit of difference in power draw and output between my receivers and the Anthem amp. I figured I'd ask if this is normal first before trying to unhook everything and lugging it to my parents' house to see if it's a clean / lack of power (electricity) issue.
     
  11. Randy G

    Randy G Second Unit

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    To go from an ATI 2505 to an MCA-5 II is DEFINITELY a downgrade in quality, power and solidity of construction. If you're looking for particular features, that's another story. Personally, I wouldn't do it.
     
  12. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Supporting Actor

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    No problems at all with my MCA-3. Unfortunately, I bought it used and don't know if it is series I or II.
     
  13. Randy G

    Randy G Second Unit

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    I may be mistaken, but I believe there is a small sticker on the back of the amp which says series II. Not sure though.
     
  14. Rutledge

    Rutledge Stunt Coordinator

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    Han,
    The hiss is a function of the signal to noise ratio. It is not high enough. Probably in the mid 80's if you can hear hiss.
    Is the hiss audible with the volume turned all the way down?
    Have you turned the volume to the 12 o'clock position without a source being on?
    If i audition a compnent that has noise it is taken off my list immediately.
     
  15. Han

    Han Second Unit

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    The hiss is audible whether the volume is turned down, muted, or the input is switched to a non-existent component (like vcr2 or something that I don't have anything plugged into).
    Sonic Frontiers told me to try unplugging everything (including the RCA cables from the pre-outs into it), so it'd basically just be the amp plugged into speakers with no signals and all devices unplugged from the walls. As I mentioned in my previous post. Still hissing. Same hissing whether plugged straight into the wall or into my Monster Power HTS 2000.
     
  16. KeithR

    KeithR Second Unit

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    Since the Anthem is not a truly balanced design, why do you care? You could just get XLR/RCA converters and be happy with anything. Why do you want balanced anyway? Do you have long runs of cable?
    Check out BAT if you want a truly balanced amp....of course a little more dinero!
    As a sidenote, I have heard the MCA-5 runs out of steam in some systems...kind of like a Rotel 985 i had once upon a time.
     
  17. AjayM

    AjayM Screenwriter

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  18. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Supporting Actor

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    Well, I bit the bullet and bought a Cinepro 3K6II from their website for 24 big ones. I will sell my anthem and my parasound and hopefully be able to get about 1200-1300 for them.
     
  19. Rutledge

    Rutledge Stunt Coordinator

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    Ajaym,
    Thats a serious S/N ratio. Perfect for SACD.
    Usually once an amp gets into the 90+db range it becomes very quiet.
    I had a Sony AV-650 ES integrated amp that i bought in 1991.
    I had to put my ear up to the tweeter to hear hiss, even with the gain up. When i put it in Pro-Logic mode the hiss was audible throughout the entire room, even with the volume all the way down.
    Sounds like Han's amp is defective.
    Thanks for the info.
     
  20. Rutledge

    Rutledge Stunt Coordinator

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    Han,
    I was talking to a friend of mine about your hiss problem and he was aware of someone who had the same problem. He said that the guy had used the menu to change the gain on the amplifier. it was turned all the way up.
    This might be your amp's problem.
     

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