Playback checks out Anthem's top-tier components and finds them full of advanced technologies and high-end performance features.
This is Part 1 of a two-part review. To read Part 2, click here (an outline of Part 2 can be found at the end of Part 1, below).
When I reviewed Anthem’s original Statement D2 A/V controller some years ago in The Perfect Vision, I said its performance was “as good as it gets,” but the fact is that Anthem’s improved, next generation Statement D2v ($8499) takes significant steps forward vis-à-vis its predecessor. Changes include:
• Expanded HDMI options (with the D2v offering eight HDMI inputs instead of the D2’s four, plus two HDMI outputs).
• A new “broadcast grade” Sigma Designs VXP digital image processor.
• Two proprietary dual-core DSP engines that deliver a combined 800 MIPS of processing power and that provide decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.
• Support for up to 7.1 channels of 24-bit/192kHz PCM audio.
• Anthem’s proprietary ARC (Anthem Room Correction) system—a system first offered in later production Statement D2’s and that comes standard on the D2v.
What is difficult to convey in words is just how complete and well balanced the D2v’s design really is. This component can be viewed through many different lenses, and depending upon how you look at it you might see the D2v as a dead serious high-end multichannel analog audio preamp, as a full-featured surround sound processor, as a superb audiophile-grade 24-bit/192kHz DAC with potent oversampling/upsampling features, as a capable (and highly adjustable) room correction system, as an powerful and versatile video processor, or as a flexible multi-zone A/V controller. But as you study the design and construction details behind each of the D2v’s functions it becomes clear that ever aspect of the controller has been thought through and executed with great care. In short, this is component with no apparent weaknesses.
The Statement P5 five-channel amplifier ($7499) is purely and simply a “monster,” and in more ways than one. Weighing in at a mind-blowing 130 pounds (can you say “Ouch, my back!”) and designed to draw power from not one but two separate household power circuits, the P5 puts out a staggering 325 Wpc at 8 Ohms, 500 Wpc at 4 Ohms, and 675 Wpc at 2 Ohms—with all channels driven. This baby has power reserves adequate to drive most any loudspeaker system—including those that present very low impedance loads (which some home theater amps just can’t handle). What is more, the P5 also offers vanishingly low levels of distortion to match its dynamic clout. Total harmonic distortion plus noise (measured at 200 Wpc output levels) is quoted at 0.0007% at 1kHz or 0.008% at 20 kHz, while inter-modulation distortion (IMD) is specified 0.00019% (CCIW at 325 Watts). These would be exemplary numbers for any high-end stereo amp, and they’re doubly impressive in a blockbuster five-channel amp intended for home theater applications. Of course, numbers alone never tell the whole story, but in this case the P5’s real-world sound quality as every bit as good as its specifications might lead you to expect.
As their names imply, Anthem’s Statement D2v A/V controller and P5 power amplifier are top-tier, statement-class A/V components—components designed to deliver benchmark levels of performance with no “ifs”, “ands”, or “buts”. And in practice, they do just that.
Consider this Controller/Amp combo if: you want to experience (and can afford) true top-tier performance. What makes the Anthem pair so appealing is that it addresses all aspects (not just some aspects) of A/V performance at once—sound quality, picture quality, room correction/EQ, massive power output, and overall flexibility and control. While some competing units cover some of these bases well, few offer the supremely well-balanced solutions that the Anthem pair provides.