Anthem AVM 2 A/V Preamplifier

4.61/5 (23 Reviews) MSRP : $2599.00

Product Description

  • Latest generation Motorola DSP-56362 chip
  • Crestron TM compatible; Phast Link TM upgradeable, Firewire TM provision
  • 3 independent paths/zones
  • Auto detect DSP modes: Dolby Digital; DTS; Dolby Pro-Logic; MPEG2. Audio Modes: Stereo (5 modes); Mono (3 modes)
  • AM (6 presets) and FM (18 presets) tuner section has selectable Stereo, Mono or Hi-Blend settings
  • Fully Universal and Learning, programmable backlit remote
  • Headphone Output (connected in parallel with MAIN path)
  • High Definition video switching
  • Center channel equalization

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    Reviews 1 - 5 (23 Reviews Total) | Next 15

    User Reviews

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Doug Archer a Casual Listener

    Date Reviewed: January 10, 2015

    Bottom Line:   
    I have now owned AVM 2 and MCA Series 2 amp for 15 years with Paradigm Reference Studio 100 speakers and sub with 15 inch driver, 2 Paradigm rears and Paradigm center. I just spent my first $75 to clean the volume control on the AVM 2 otherwise these two units and speakers have now run for 15 years with no serious problems. My remote is looking a bit used, the door to the battery is broken and the light no longer works. Otherwise the remote works fine. How could I not highly recommend this equipment. Now to find another remote would be nice. If you are looking for long lasting equipment that kicks ass then you will like Anthem.

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    Used product for:   More than 1 year

    Duration Product Used:   Casual Listener

    Product model year:   2000

    Overall Rating:2
    Value Rating:3
    Submitted by TransHuman a AudioPhile

    Date Reviewed: June 25, 2003

    Bottom Line:   
    About a year ago I wrote a review outlining the problems I had had with the AVM-2. Sad to report those problems have continued and the unit is back at Anthem for a second time. My center channel in Pro-Logic and DD5.1 is completely dead. Only cycling the power several times causes the channel to activate and then for a short period of time.

    I hope that my reviews will balance all of the shining reviews that new owners have given the unit. While I still think it's an outstanding unit at face value, please be aware of the faulty electronics contained within. Converstations with others in the field have reinforced the lack of quality electronics in these units. One source says he refuses to sell the unit anymore.

    I also have to be critical of Anthem's support or lack thereof. While the 5 year warranty has saved my wallet from an expensive situation, I still find it unacceptable that they took over 1 month to fix my unit last time only to have it break again. So far it's been in the shop one week this second time. Time will tell if Anthem has improved their support/turn around.

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    Used product for:   More than 1 year

    Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

    Product model year:   2000

    Price Paid:    $2100.00

    Purchased At:   Soundworks, Maryland

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Bob a AudioPhile

    Date Reviewed: March 12, 2003

    Bottom Line:   
    I have had my AVM 2 for about 6 months now and I love it. The two-channel stereo is very good, and the 5 channel-stereo and 5.1 are even better.

    I will spare you naming a list of all the unit’s capabilities and inputs; let’s just say the AVM’s flexibility is excellent overall. And in opposition to some posters, I find the remote’s functionality, ease of use and effective range from all angles to be excellent.

    The AVM’s sound in 2-channel is as good, or better, than that of many dedicated 2-channel pre-amps. The sound is open with excellent sound staging/imaging – within the limits of the source material and recording quality that is of course. This brings up an excellent point; the AVM’s transparency really brings out the recording quality of your listening material. In fact, I’ve become more conscious of the recording quality of CDs that I listen to than with any other stereo that I have owned. For instance, on several jazz CDs that own I can now clearly hear the air around the reed on a sax where before this level of detail was not readily apparent.

    The other thing that I have noticed was a considerable increase in quality by using the AVM’s digital inputs over its analog inputs with my Denon DVD/CD unit. The AVM’s Brown Burrell DACs are much better than those found in many DVD/CD units and should be taken advantage of. (By using the AVM’s DACs, you are effectively reducing the functioning of your DVD/CD player to a transport mechanism only. Given the excellence of the Brown Burrell devices, the advantages of this option should be inherently apparent to owners of most mid-level players.)

    To be honest when I first got the unit home, I was in too much of a hurry to get it up and running. It wasn’t until some time later that I took the time to read the owner’s manual with an emphasis on understanding the setup options. The unit’s built in speaker placement adjustment (virtual speaker placement options) and speaker level adjustment (white noise generator) deserve special attention. For owners of sets that include mix and match speakers or where speaker placement is less than optimal, these functions will really bring your set to life. I also eventually switched over to running the video input from my DVD through the AVM; again I found this to be superior to my original setup which by passed the AVM. The other benefit realized here is the ability to see the full menu of all setup options clearly without having to endlessly scroll.

    My only complaint with the AVM has more to do with the inherent nature of the DSP processed sound than with the AVM itself. After a couple of hours of listening, thoughtful listeners will find all the DSP settings to be a gimmicky waste – and not just those found in the AVM but all units on the market. Instead of the DSPs the AVM folks should have included a chip that was programmed to provide a graphic equalizer capable of modifying the response of each speaker individually.

    Now that I have my system setup fully worked out, I find that most of my listening is no longer in 2-channel. The AVM’s 5-channel stereo option is wonderful (for extended 5-channel listening, the rear speakers should be set to play at very low levels with a 3 to 4 millisecond delay, just enough to add a three dimensional effect but not enough to be obvious). Movies and concerts in 5.1 are simply wonderful. And as to 5.1 versus 7.1, just check the number of concert DVDs and movies available in 7.1. Lastly, room size limitations with regard to the placement of an extra set of speakers combined with budget constraints make 7.1 less desirable anyways.

    AVM 2
    Nakamichi PA 7 (drives front mains)
    Denon POA 8303 (drives center and rears)
    B&W Matrix 801s (front mains)
    B&W CDM CNT(center)
    B&W CDM 1NT(rears)
    Denon 1000

    Expand full review >>

    Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

    Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

    Product model year:   2001

    Price Paid:    $1800.00

    Purchased At:   local store

    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by DMolisher a Audio Enthusiast

    Date Reviewed: January 20, 2003

    Bottom Line:   
    I recently upgraded from my NAD T760 A/V receiver to separates. This was harder than I thought. Many preamps I auditioned (incl. Rotel RSP-1066, Audio Refinement Pre2DSP, Acurus, Adcom) had glaring flaws and/or inferior (or, at best, similar) sound quality to my receiver! I even considered just getting NAD's new T752 receiver, but even this unit proved to be worse than their older T760 in some ways! Since I could not see spending over $2000 on a pre-pro (or receiver), I effectively ruled out everything except a half-price demo of Anthem's AVM-2. It was the only unit that just WORKED as it should, while sounding at least a little better than my old receiver. In particular, hums, pops, clicks, and noise in general were nearly nonexistent with the Anthem. (There is a very slight hum each time the remote is used, which I found unusual, but this disappears after a few seconds.)

    Sound quality (from analog or digital CD input using my NAD C541 CD player) is noticeably superior to the other aforementioned preamps, with the exception of Audio Refinement's Pre2DSP in *analog bypass* mode (ONLY; the digital circuitry in this AR unit appears to be very noisey, unfortunately, among other issues). If I have any complaint, it's that the AVM-2's sound might be a little too smooth (and less open, airy, and dynamic than the best); unfortunately, there is no analog bypass, except for the sole 5.1 analog input, but luckily the DAC's and ADC's are quite respectable (noticeably better than those in my old NAD T760 receiver, e.g.). Unlike with my old NAD T760, connecting the C541 CD player --or even my inexpensive Toshiba SD-4800 DVD player-- digitally resulted in CD playback on par with the C541's analog output, using its own pretty nice DAC.

    And I really like the fact that the AVM-2 allows separate level controls for the LFE channel and the summed subwoofer information! This turned out to be a must for use with my REL Strata III subwoofer, connected both to the high-level front speaker terminals (the preferred connection for music) and the low-level RCA subwoofer (needed for the LFE channel in movies): if the "subwoofer" level wasn't reduced, relative to the LFE, then I got very boomy bass (probably due to mid-bass information being doubled from both connections) unless the REL's main volume was set so low that the LFE information was somewhat wimpy during movies. I can finally get strong LFE effects without the bloated mid-bass resulting from enabling bass management with my dually connected REL!

    I also really like the fact that the front display can be effectively used in place of the OSD (On-Screen Display). This is particularly helpful since the component connections do not carry OSD info. (which is probably best, for optimal picture, anyway; indeed, I don't even route my component cables through the pre-pro, not that I've noticed any problems with this approach).

    By the way, this unit is very solidly constructed, weighing as much as many receivers! Indeed, it's power supply is better than that in many power amps!

    At the price I paid, the value rating should definitely be a 5; but at the MSRP, not better than a 4. I was disappointed to find that no one seems to make a really good pre-pro for under $2500 :( Since I didn't compare the AVM-2 to other units in its MSRP range of $2500-$3500, and since the new AVM-20 v.2 is surely better in every way for only a little more (MSRP), I give the AVM-2 a 4 overall as well.

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    Used product for:   1 to 3 months

    Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

    Price Paid:    $1359.00

    Purchased At:   Rowe Photographic &

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by afiore a Audio Enthusiast

    Date Reviewed: December 26, 2002

    Bottom Line:   
    High quality unit with tremendous flexibility and great sound. I have enjoyed every minute listening to this unit and using it in my home theater.

    Expand full review >>

    Used product for:   More than 1 year

    Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

    Product model year:   2001

    Price Paid:    $1550.00

    Purchased At:   Upscale Audio

    Reviews 1 - 5 (23 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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