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

chung_sotheby

Supporting Actor
Joined
Apr 8, 2002
Messages
857
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
 

Ricky T

Supporting Actor
Joined
Oct 28, 1999
Messages
921
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.
 

Andrew Pratt

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 8, 1998
Messages
3,806
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.
 

chung_sotheby

Supporting Actor
Joined
Apr 8, 2002
Messages
857
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
 

RichardMA

Second Unit
Joined
Apr 16, 2002
Messages
446
Between the two, Bryson is the superior unit, but it costs more, however it is still within your range.
 

Michael Mohrmann

Screenwriter
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Dec 30, 2001
Messages
1,394
"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
 

Camp

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 3, 1999
Messages
2,301
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

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

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.
 

ling_w

Second Unit
Joined
Sep 3, 2001
Messages
426
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.
 

Ricky T

Supporting Actor
Joined
Oct 28, 1999
Messages
921
Ling,
I thought we were limited to $5k street, that's why the 861 was not mentioned
Not sure why Chung imparted that pricing range all the way to $10k.
 

Larry B

Screenwriter
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Nov 8, 2001
Messages
1,067
Chung:

I know, we dont want to say it, but looks are important, even in audio. Or am I alone in this one?
You're not alone. On the other hand, I just bought a superb-sounding preamp (Lamm L1) that won't win any beauty contests.

Larry
 

Larry B

Screenwriter
Joined
Nov 8, 2001
Messages
1,067
Michael:

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

Larry
 
Joined
May 22, 2002
Messages
18
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...
 

chung_sotheby

Supporting Actor
Joined
Apr 8, 2002
Messages
857
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.
 

ling_w

Second Unit
Joined
Sep 3, 2001
Messages
426
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
 

chung_sotheby

Supporting Actor
Joined
Apr 8, 2002
Messages
857
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.
 

Rob Curtis

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
May 13, 2001
Messages
102
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.
 

Michael Mohrmann

Screenwriter
Joined
Dec 30, 2001
Messages
1,394
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
 

John Kotches

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2000
Messages
2,635
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,
 

Camp

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 3, 1999
Messages
2,301
Plus, those baby sized Meridians would look silly in your A/V rack unless you had all Meridian components.
 

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