I recently had my Anthem 225 up for sale after owning it for two years – largely because I had moved into an apartment from a house and was looking to save space (can't listen as loud anymore, either). After taking trials on several more space-friendly amplifiers, I pulled my ad down and kept the Anthem. It really is a remarkable piece of kit for the money.
Driving my Ohm 2000 speakers (which thrive on current), the 225 exerts incredible control over the bottom end without sacrificing air on top. Separation among instruments is clear and holographic, and soundstage is wide, deep, and well defined. Instrument timbres sound right, as do voices.
I'm a musician, not an "audiophile," so take that for what it is. But the bottom line for me is that I can't imagine what more you could want from an amplifier at this price point...it drives any load with ease (it sounded amazing with a friend's 1.7s, btw), sounds refined at all volumes, and is build to survive a bomb blast.
I don't know what happened with the units folks had who posted negative reviews on this thread, but I couldn't have had a more opposite experience...
I'm fairly new to the "Stereo setup" coming from the Home Theater world. I used to have a Marantz PM5004 paired with Paradigm Mini Monitors (budget system but sounded suprisingly good). Then I came accross a really good deal and bought a pair of Martin Logan Electromotion ESL. At first, I played them through the Marantz (35W/channel). The speakers sounded ok, but I could'nt crank the volume real high: The high frequencys would just flatten and lose a lot of sounstage.
I started looking for a more powerfull amp. Power was an issue, but I wanted an Integrated with a good phono stage also. Over a period of two months, I have read plenty of reviews about amps and good pairing with electrostats. After I isolated ± 5 amps model, I went and did a lot of auditioning. After four months I finally decided to go with the Anthem 225....and I'm really happy with my choice!!!
It's been 5 months now and all I can say is this amps does it all. Everything you throw at it from Metal to Classical sounds really good. It's transparent and it gives you that feeling that you listen to the music the way it was meant to. The bass is tight and it bring the ESL's to the next level.
Meanwhile, I've also bought another pair of speakers, Totem Arro's, because the ESL, even if they sound incridible...they do only when you're in the sweet spot....Not so great when you want to listen to music with friends. So I decided to buy the Arro's because I wanted something that would have the best soundstage and imaging whereever you're seated. The arro's, even if they are very small, demand lots of power. Again, the Anthem 225 delivers the power needed.
The imaging is fantastic (for both pairs). The second you close your eyes, the speakers just disappear.
I wouldn't say that I'm an audiophyle.....actually I'm not....I listen to ± 3-4 hours of music per day (mostly with B&W P5 headphone), but every day, I can't wait to come back home to put a record on and relax after a hard day at work.
I would recommend you to go out and listen to it! If it's not on your shortlist, you're making a big mistake. Of course there are amps that do sound better....but you'll have to pay at least twice the amount.
I was perusing the Anthem's reviews and while I'm sure the negative posters truly believed what they said, I'm gonna say, IMHO, those attributes flat don't exist, at least in my setup.
One review stated there was no phantom center sound. Yesterday, before I even read that review, I had a friend over, purposely sat him on a stool, eat ear level with the tweeters on my PSB Synchrony IIs, and asked him what speaker the vocalist's voice was coming from. In addition to those stereo speakers, I also have wall mounted Front Left and Right, and center channel speaker for my Home Theater system. The center channel speaker was right in front of him, about 6 feet away.
He swore up and down the male vocals were coming from the center speaker and literally didn't believe me when I said the PSBs were the only speakers on. Friends, the imaging is that freekin good. Another poster described the Anthem as "bass heavy". All I can say is wuhhhh???? Bass depends so MUCH on speakers, speaker placement, source material, etc.. I can only say it's full and reproduced correctly.
This integrated is a winner I recommend with zero reservations on audio boreds when the subject comes up.
I was not given the option for the 2014 model year, for some reason it stops at 2010. I am always dubious of people posing as self described "audiophiles" on this site. In truth, there are none who exhibit the correct methodology in reviewing a piece of gear. Anthem IS Sonic Frontiers...albeit in a different incarnation. I have to laugh at the poster...or poser who gave this amp a negative review after only having it a month. Break in is a reality, especially in speakers. A high power audio amp, or an amp-preamp driven by tubes also needs quite a bit of break in, well more then a months listening would offer. The 225 requires top flite equipment to really shine, sorry, but paradigm studio 100s just don't cut it. While this integrated simply couldn't match my Rogue Pharaoh integrated in blackness and sublime detail it did indeed come very close. The Rogue is $2000.00 more expensive. Both the Rogue and 225 had it where it was at in the power category, tight controlled bass, detail, and great headroom, which is the main reason you buy power; unless you are running highly inefficient speakers like Maggies. This is an absolutely fine integrated, in fact, even at it's 2014 price of $1795.00 it might be a crime to buy it, it is that much of a steal.
Perhaps it was the previous amp source that was flawed in the systems spoken of in the previous reviews. After all, as you settle in to your amps signature or sound, along with a potentially flawed source ( all are flawed in some way), it is what you become accustomed to, flaws become normal to your ears, and listening for less than a month is a non-starter. The 225 does not add to music reproduction, it simply passes on to the loudspeakers what the source is feeding it. This is an excellent integrated that Anthem doesn't feel needs to be be tweaked and reintroduced every few years to increase their profit line. My system includes the Rogue Pharaoh, United Home Audio reel to reel, Sony HAPZ-1ES, Odyssey Audio Kismet reference loudspeakers, Darwin Audio cabling with Audience power sourcing coming from a Porter Ports outlet.
I just bought this gear with warranty so I can return it if I like. Very strong and clear to me. Negative reviews must be due to a system mismatch. I've been around audio for a few years and it's a fine sounding integrated to me. I bought it to simplify my setup . It's replacing a Sonic Frontiers Line 1 preamp and Monarchy monoblocks. I use Musical a Fidelity CD player and Technics sl1200 mk2 Turntable. Speakers are Monitor Audio, Usher, and Sonus Faber.
Don't let the bad reviews scare you, buy it and give it a whirl. If you don't like it- pack it up and take it back.