Anthem AVM 20 A/V Preamplifier

AVM 20

The THXR Ultra certified AVM 20 now includes both Home THX¨ Cinemaª and the breathtaking sound of THX¨ Surround EXª, with additional rear left and right outputs in both Balanced XLR and single-ended RCA connections, for up to 7.1 channels of sound.

Also of extreme importance to audiophiles fully versed in the newest audio formats, is the AVM 20's capability to perform full bass-management on all DVD Audio and multi-channel SACD recordings. Previous to this, many home theater processors that offer analog direct bypass connections for these new audio formats, did not enable the user to control the low and high pass crossover frequencies, speaker setup sizes, or subwoofer settings.

All of the newest, high resolution video formats are also supported as the AVM 20 is able to support all resolutions up to and including 1080p, Progressive scan, High Definition Video switching with no video degradation as a result of its ultra-wide bandwidth to 100MHz.

User Reviews (37)

Showing 1-10 of 37  
Tinger   AudioPhile [Sep 26, 2009]

I have the V2.21 software which added some new features from the original.

Simply amazing product with great clarity and processing. Wonderful, effortless listening with tremendous soundstage, especially on chamber music or orchestral material. Great bass management and a terrific music processing (Anthem proprietary) which adds bass management for 2 channel sources. HT modes work extremely well, and the video switching works perfectly.

While it's 2009, and this is "just" a DD 5.1/DTS processor, it's hard to imagine ever needing to upgrade.

Previous processor was Rotel RSP-976 and this just blows the Rotel out of the water.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
lip   AudioPhile [Feb 02, 2005]
Strength:

Audio Quality Versatility Ease of Use

Weakness:

None

I've had the AVM 20 for several months now and it has performed wonderfully. The versatility, ease of use and setup, and most of all, the sound quality make this an unbelievable bargain. I've gone through many of my old recordings and it's like listening to them new all over again. I now hear low level details that I hadn't heard before. I can make out lyrics that I couldn't before. But beware, it is incredibily revealing. If your audio source was poorly mastered or recorded, you will hear it.

Similar Products Used: Meridian 541 analog preamp NAD preamps
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
acelovesjack   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 27, 2004]
Strength:

inputs up the whazoo, more than anyone will know what to do with. Great with sacd, dvd audio, dvd's in general, HDTV, and regular TV.

Weakness:

Alittle laid back with analog sources such as turntables. Manual is a little sketchy, and asks you to jump around a lot just to set one thing up.

Great overall product. The detail on dvd soundtracks is absolutely amazing. Musically it's great on sacd and dvd audio, but not as good on analog. I have a Project 1.2 turntable hooked up to the aux input through a Parasound phono-preamp, and while the sound is better than it was with my old Yamaha receiver, it still isn't as good as with my sacd's. The AVM seems to hold back just a little. TV broadcasts, especially in two channel mode really kick. Everything is audible, even background dialoge. I had an upgrade done just a little over a year ago,and to me this is one of the unit's biggest strengths, that it is not outdated whenever a new audio format hits. Plus it can run two other zones. I have the black unit and I think it looks beautiful. A previous reviewer complained that the rears only worked with 5.1 sound or higher. Not true. Simply switch to all channel stereo and all the speakers except the center channel work. It's nice to hear voices coming from behind you especially at night when other people are sleeping and you have to keep the volume at a lower level. Listening with headphones is also top notch. This unit offers a lot of bang for the buck.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
zenfishbike   AudioPhile [Apr 23, 2004]
Strength:

Theater processing

Weakness:

Music processing and such poor contrast on the display that you can't read it from any normal viewing position.

Against many audiophiles' warnings I couldn't resist the rave reviews on the AVM20 and jumped on one thinking it was the first up-to-date pre/pro that didn't compromise music. WRONG. Darn. I hate when that happens. Suckered by hype again! No question this unit is sweet in theater mode as others have elaborate so well. I only wish to say that my simple Linn Classik CD/preamp and Marantz DV8400 when run through the AVM20 sound like their heads got chopped off. Channeling them directly to the amps returns the magic. I'm going to limp along with the AVM20 until Linn comes out with their next generation pre/pro at a reported $5-$6k and then another Anthem will hit eBay.

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
2
ahoisman   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 08, 2004]
Strength:

1.Easy to set up. 2.Excellent FM sound. 3.Excellent DVD/film sound: accurate and detailed.

Weakness:

Lack of "pass-through"or Direct analog bass management. is a big weakness for music lovers.

A wonderful Pre/Pro with many strengths and few weakness. My use of a Pre/pro is principally for two or multi channel music and then to enjoy DVDs. I would love to say that it is wonderful for both uses, but it has a serious shortcoming which I didn’t anticipate before purchasing it. There is no bass management for analogue channels without going through the Anthem’s A-D and then DAC. For those of you with full range speakers, it is probably not an issue. But I have Theil 1.6 speakers, which, although excellent , need a subwoofer to cover the lowest octaves. The inability to bypass the Anthem converter costs me some of the wonderful, open, expansive sound stage associated with the better current crop of CD, SACD, DVD-A or universal players now on the market. When the Anthem’s converters are used the sound is as good as I’ve heard from any under $5000 Pre/Pros, but not the equal of that available with direct analogue although, strangely, their user manual says it is. The Anthem 20 replaced an Outlaw 950- which , at $895, did have the bass management. The difference was significant and didn’t favor the Anthem. I solved the problem by adding the excellent Outlaw ICBM system between the Anthem and the Amplifier, but it bothers me that what I get for $3300 is less than I had with the $895 950.The Anthem’s audio qualities on FM radio and TV as well as for DVD is excellent: clear, broad sound stage, with nicely detailed, and accurate sound

Similar Products Used: Outlaw 950 Denon reciever
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Azores_Audio   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 09, 2004]
Strength:

Configuration, flexability, dynamic home theatre presentation.

Weakness:

Audio performance, both as an analog preamp and using its internal DAC's. It just does not sound good.

I really wanted to like this product. In fact I drooled over it for a year before my purchase--what a disapointment! As a home theatre processor its adequate; more cohesive and dynamic than my Integra 7.1 Rcvr. It handles all the latest formats, has excellent bass mgmnt and generally works as advertised. The only problem I had was getting it to detect the coax digital from my HD Rcvr (the Integra has no problem with this) Anthem support worked with me but ultimately gave up solving the issue. Now the bad part: As an analog preamp its TERRIBLE. I tried dozens of cables (Single ended and balanced) feeding my Parasound Halo amps (A21 and A52) The sound was consistently etched, harsh, bright and grainy. The Integra 7.1 and 9.1 rcvrs both were more musical. I was convinced my source must be the problem so I bypassed the preamp and connected the source straight to the A21--AHHHHHH@ Music again. I know this is a home theatre product vice a dedicated analog preamp. But, for the $$ I expect more, at least do no harm... The Integra rcvrs smoked it as an analog preamp. Don't buy into the hype, I did and wasted my $$. Get yourself a good rcvr with preamp outs and add amplification as needed. The Anthem AVM20 V2.1 went the way of ebay and I'm back where I started; minus a few hundred bucks and a lot of wasted time. My System: Halo amps, PS Audio P500 regenerator, Sony 999ES, Integra 7.1, Jolida 502B Tube amp; PS Audio, Voodoo and Outlaw cables; Sonus Faber GP Home Solo and Walls.

Similar Products Used: Sunfire TGIII, Integra 7.1, 9.1, Adcom GFP 830, 760
OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
1
Denaud   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 15, 2003]
Strength:

Reliable, great performance, upgradable, attractive, will last a long time.

Weakness:

Weight, setting volumes and presets, remote takes awhile to learn (at least for me), and had problems programming in other units, and had to reboot it several times with the help of tech support.

Fantastic. Great sound with appropriate speakers and amp. Highly regarded when purchased, and always suspect of things overly hyped, but performance and reliability, ungradability... all makes for a great unit. The three zones are great for a home with many wired rooms.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
mike j   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 03, 2003]
Strength:

excellent sound,unsurpassed flexibility,support for future upgrades

Weakness:

only two component inputs

Alot has already been said about this wonderfull pre/pro and I just want to add that this product is software and hardware upgradeable.Anthem recently release a free software update(2.10),which I tried out for the first time last night.More new features that increase the flexibility and setup but most importantly and to my great surpise,a significant sonic improvement.Smoother high end,more transparent open soundstage,richer sound overall.All this from a software update?!Amazing.This is a very impressive product,you cant go wrong.

Similar Products Used: Yamaha 3090
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
ERM   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 02, 2003]
Strength:

High-end pre-amp with surround and multi-zone capabilities.

Weakness:

None anymore.

I won't go into a detailed review of the unit as lot's has already been written. What this is about is a modificantion, that will tranform an already excellent unit. I have used the AVM-20 (ver 2.0) for over one year in a combined audio/video set up. I have been totally happy with it's processor, usability and general sound reproduction and incredible flexibility (replaced EAD Ovation). While in contact with Chris Johnson of Partsconnexion (www.partsconnexion.com), about upgrading my Sony DVP-S9000Es, I asked about upgrading the analogue portion of the AVM-20. Primarily, I was looking for better resolution out of the CD input for CD& SACD. In short, the upgrade involved soundcoat dampening material, replacing op amps, capacitors, resistors etc. that affected the main pair of balanced outputs and the 1 pair of RCA analogue input marked 'CD'. This upgrade has totally elavated the performance of the AVM-20 as a pre-amp. Improvements affect cd, sacd and dvd performance. The soundstage is slightly larger with more depth and better focus. The timber of the various instruments are much more apparent (plucking of strings, richer tone, deeper bass, smoother violins, more relaxed sound, decay of piano etc.). More air around the various instruments and better pace. The most notable improvement is in the cd playback quality. Without changing anything else, the steely, gritty sound has all but disappeared (yes SACD is still superior). The same audible improvements are positively heard from music dvds and movies in general, especially those with well recorded soundtracks. Watching the Haunting again, there was so much more detail resulting in an even greater totally involving experience. I will be experimenting with different power cords (currently using XLO 10g), to squeeze some additional improvements. This is getting a little too long, but I wanted to share the dramatic improvement a cost effective upgrade can bring to what you already own. I now have a high-end pre-amp that also does home theatre with multi-zone capabilities. Who says you can't have it all. Thanks. Ed ps The rest of the system is a Blue Circle BC32 (6 channel amp, also supperb), Mirage OM7, OM-R2 & OM200. Cabling is Harmonic Tech. Pro-Silway II interconnects and Pro 9 speaker cable.

Similar Products Used: EAD Ovation, AVM-20 stock. Blue Circle BC 21.1
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Whitesahara   Audio Enthusiast [May 14, 2003]
Strength:

Configurability, and endless options. Upgradable software capability is a plus as well.

Weakness:

Cost? Universal remote confuses my wife :)

A friend of mine, an audiophile was moving, and as a result selling a ton of home audio/video equipment. I was not currently in the market for a new system, but when I heard the AVM20 coupled with the Paridigm Active Referance system and Servo-15 I jumped at the oportunity to purchase a system that would normally be way out of my budget. Ironically, I do professional audio engineering/tech work, but have always had a pathetic home sytem; until now. The features of the AVM20 seem endless. It weighs a ton, and it's only a preamp, obviously from the toridal transformers. The input and output combinations and on screen (tv) configuration seem endless. 9 inputs + built in tunner, full digital coax in, 3 optical in, full anolog in, XLR digital in, and two XLR balanced in. The optical and digital XLR are assignable. All a/v inputs can have there inputs normalized. Three "paths" or zones + record can all have there own input routed to them, either all the same, or combinations of inputs/zones. i.e. you could be listening to a cd upstairs, the radio downstairs, and dolby digital dts thx all simultaniously!!! As far as outputs go, you have analog outs for all 8 channels and two parrelel outs for an additonal sub and center channel. There are digital outs, and full XLR outs (awesome to see low inmpedence connectors in home av/equipment. The universal remote is quite impressive too.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 37  

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