Is the Anthem AVM-20 the best A/V Pre/Pro under $5k

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by chung_sotheby, May 28, 2002.

  1. chung_sotheby

    chung_sotheby Supporting Actor

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    Here is my list of worthy competitors:
    Anthem AVM20
    Outlaw 950
    Lexicon MC1
    Rotel 1066
    Sunfire Theater Grand II or III
    Proceed AVP or AVP2
    EAD Ovation
    EAD Signiture
    Integra Research RDC7
    B&K Ref 30
    Krell HTS 2
    Theta Casablanca
    Aragon Soundstage
    Classe SSP30

    Let the debating begin
     
  2. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    In a 7 speaker setup, for movies and music, I would take a Lexicon ($1-2k used) and a tube or solid state preamp with HT bypass unity gain ($1-1.3k NIB) over ANY ONE BOX under $5k that decodes dd/dts.

    5 speaker setup, I don't know.
     
  3. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    What are we to judge them on? Is cost a factor, are looks, music vs HT etc? Ricky's suggestion is a solid one for the best of both worlds if you're willing to accept multiple box's.
     
  4. chung_sotheby

    chung_sotheby Supporting Actor

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    Maybe my original post is too open ended. Here is a grading scheme, and all of you can put some input into it:

    On all of these criteria, grade on a scale of 1-10, 1 being the worst, and 10 the best. If a criterium is weighted 25%, then you multiply the grade(1-10) by 2.5, not .25, so you get a number between 2.5 and 25.

    1. Digital Processing Capabilities/ 5 and 6 channel performance: 25% (Grade x 2.5)
    This means how well the unit performs when playing DVD's, Laserdiscs, or any other multi-channel sound source.

    2. Feature Set/ Flexibility/ Upgradeability: 25% (Grade x 2.5)
    Does the unit have all the latest sound formats, including DD, DTS, DDEX, DTS-ES, PLII, THX, ETC. Does it have straight analog? Also, does the unit have flexibilty for inputs, is it easily customizeable, can you fiddle around with it alot to perfectly match your system. And is the unit upgradeable in any way, so that your investment lasts longer than a year.

    3. Ease of use/Reliability: 15% (Grade x 1.5)
    Is the unit easy to set up? Does the remote work well, does the OSD make sense? How easy is it to control.

    4. 2 channel performance: 15% (Grade x 1.5)
    How musical is this as a straight preamp. Is the two channel performance lacking?

    5. Cost: 15% (Grade x 1.5)
    For this, use an inverse scale. In other words:
    10- $1k or less
    9- $1001-2k
    8- $2001-3k
    7- $3001-4k
    6- %4001-5k
    5- $5001-6k
    4- $6001-7k
    3- $7001-8k
    2- $8001-9k
    1. $9001 and above
    Use street prices, not MSRP's. For example, the Lexicon MC1 would be an 8 with this scale, even though the MSRP of this unit is $6000, which would rank it as a 5

    6. Looks: 5% (Grade x .5)
    I know, we dont want to say it, but looks are important, even in audio. Or am I alone in this one?

    Therefore, a perfect score is going to be 100, and so the grading goes down from there. So Let the judging begin, and if you want to setup your own grading criteria, please let me know. Thanks
     
  5. RichardMA

    RichardMA Second Unit

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    Between the two, Bryson is the superior unit, but it costs more, however it is still within your range.
     
  6. Michael Mohrmann

    Michael Mohrmann Screenwriter

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    "Between the two, Bryson is the superior unit, but it costs more..."

    The closest I came to making this comparison was the audition of the Anthem AVM-20 and the Bryston BP-25, which the Bryston prepro's analog section is based on. In a straight 2 channel comparison (analog bypass on the AVM-20), the AVM-20 won hands down in our system in nearly every apsect of music listening (using the Audio Refinement CD Complete as the source). I don't expect the SP1.7 to be much different than the BP-25.

    As to the original question, the AVM-20 was the best prepro for our system that I was willing to spend money on (and without regrets!). However, a case could be made for the RDC-7 or the Tag or the EAD or the MC-1, etc., depending on an individual's needs and wants. At this price range, not one prepro does it all, although a few get mighty close in my book.

    Michael
     
  7. Camp

    Camp Cinematographer

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    I'd say the Anthem is the most well-rounded in your group.
    Anthem AVM20
    Impending upgrade. No real Logic 7 deterant.
    Outlaw 950
    Lacks flexibility of the others. Supposedly slow lock-on.
    Lexicon MC1
    No video switching
    Rotel 1066
    Lacks flexibility of costlier pre/pros. Silver version sure looks nice [​IMG]
    Sunfire Theater Grand II or III
    No real Logic 7 challenge. Pretty good match to the Anthem (fewer inputs, clunky LCD remote)
    Proceed AVP or AVP2
    I have no knowledge of these.
    EAD Ovation
    EAD Signiture
    I know little about these too...they don't do video switching, do they? Pretty silver though [​IMG]
    Integra Research RDC7
    80hz crossover sucks.
    B&K Ref 30
    Impending upgrade. Pretty close competition to the Anthem. Better equilization features.
    Krell HTS 2
    Costs more.
    Theta Casablanca
    Costs more. Doesn't do video switching (I think?)
    Aragon Soundstage
    Costs more. Very good looking.
    Classe SSP30
    Costs more.
    Hmmm... I know less than I thought I did. [​IMG]
     
  8. ling_w

    ling_w Second Unit

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    What happened to Meridian? The processor that will kick all of these other unit's butt in HT and music performance.

    The 861
    1. 10 Does all the format, including its better version of DD-EX (EZ) Decodes Ambisonic (the best surround format there is) UHJ and B-format.

    2. 10 Does everything, including proprietary Trifield format. No analog direct, but with the 800 DVD-A player, you get DVD-A digital to the processor. Has possibility of running digital signal to Meridian DSP speakers. I think everything else could top out at 7 at the most.

    3. 8 Way too many configuration and setup possibilities for a regular person to fully comprehend.

    4 N/A What does one use 2ch analog for? FM? Radio? I think the digital signal transmission/crossover/DAC in the speaker is a bigger advantage over analog cabling the whole way.

    5. 1. $15k-$25k.

    63/80


    6. It is up to the user.
     
  9. Camp

    Camp Cinematographer

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  10. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    Ling,
    I thought we were limited to $5k street, that's why the 861 was not mentioned [​IMG] Not sure why Chung imparted that pricing range all the way to $10k.
     
  11. Larry B

    Larry B Screenwriter

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    Chung:

     
  12. Larry B

    Larry B Screenwriter

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    Michael:

     
  13. Tung Enkhych

    Tung Enkhych Extra

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    There oughta be a "all other things being equal" line when rating gear...this is where I take into account Looks, Remote, video switching capabilities, Price.....Not that they don't affect my dicision, just that they only come into play when picking between 2 equally good units...
     
  14. chung_sotheby

    chung_sotheby Supporting Actor

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    I agree with the "all other things being equal" way of grading, but the way that I weighted the grading takes this into effect. As you can see, looks only count for 1/20th of the final grade, and other more important factors are weighed more heavily. I tried to make a quantitative matrix out of what is normally a qualitative process.
     
  15. ling_w

    ling_w Second Unit

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    Ricky,

    Since that option of >$10k processor was there, I just used it. If that is the case, then I could move down to the Meridian 568. Most of the sound capability of the 861 w/o the card-cage flexibility for 1/2-1/3 the price. Or if you insist on
     
  16. chung_sotheby

    chung_sotheby Supporting Actor

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    No, actually I initially wanted to limit the processors to a street price of less than $5k, but as I derived the grading criteria, I thought that it would be a good idea to include all processors, regardless of price. I know that the Meridian is perhaps the finest processor on the planet, but at the same time it costs 3-4x as much as some of the processors I listed, and at first I only wanted to consider processors under $5k. For the price of a Meridian, one could an MC12, a Sony XBR40, a top of the line DVD ProgScan, a Sony XA777es, Three Mcintosh MC2205's, and a pair of Dynaudio's.
     
  17. Rob Curtis

    Rob Curtis Stunt Coordinator

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    The Cinepro DTC-10 should be out in a week or two.

    $3990 Full retail.

    I think it will be a worthy competitor to any mentioned.
     
  18. Michael Mohrmann

    Michael Mohrmann Screenwriter

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    Larry,

    "Does the source have it's own volume control? If not, how was volume regulated? "

    Nope. Just a standard CDP, no volume control, connected via analog outputs. Volume control is regulated by the prepro (AVM-20) and the preamp (BP-25) in question. If someone wants precise comparisons, measuring the preamp outputs physically via electrical meter, not sound meter, is more accurate.

    Michael
     
  19. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Well there is the Meridian 568, which lists for US$6450 that would come close to the target price of US$5K.

    The one downside to the Meridians is that they are a digital processor, no real analog capabilities. Analog inputs are digitized. After that, it's "just another digital source".

    Given Meridian's skill with digital technology I don't doubt that it is a very high quality A/D, after which all the tools in their arsenal are available.

    Regards,
     
  20. Camp

    Camp Cinematographer

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    Plus, those baby sized Meridians would look silly in your A/V rack unless you had all Meridian components.
     

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