Anthem MCA 5 Amplifiers

MCA 5

Anthem 5-Channel Amplifier, 200w @ 8 ohms, 350w @ 4 ohms

User Reviews (17)

Showing 1-10 of 17  
jamesgeib   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 29, 2002]
Strength:

I enjoy my movies at high volumes, and when I'm off during the week and no one is in the neighborhood, I listen to my movies at theater reference levels. Not once has this amp made the sound congested. Every nuance of the soundtrack is audible. The same goes with two channel music. Very clean, detailed and plenty of punch. Also, this amplifier does not run very hot.

Weakness:

Rather bland faceplate compared to some higher priced amps. Nothing else considering the price point.

This review is for the MCA5 replacement, the MCA50. I purchased this amp as part of a complete home theater set-up, and it has performed wonderfully. It is driving Paradigm Studio 100's up front, Studio ADP's in back, and a Studio Reference CC. For the money you would be hard-pressed to find a better amp. The point of diminishing returns has been lowered with this unit. There are better amps, but on my budget I could not afford a Bryston 9Bsst! This amplifier bridges the gap between the Adcom, Aragon, Parasound, Sunfire and the Krell, Bryston, Theta products. Questions?? Email-JamesRGeib@yahoo.com

Similar Products Used: auditioned extensively: Parasound, Sunfire, Adcom, Bryston, Aragon, Acurus. Listen to now and then: Krell, Boulder, Theta.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Ajay Rao   Audiophile [Jul 17, 2001]
Strength:

Ausum power, detail and quickness

Weakness:

none

This amp just blew me away. I compared it to the B&K ref 7250 for $2500, this amp was as good if not better at half the price. I am using the Marantz AV-560 as a preamp with Sonus Faber Conertino speakers and Stealth pure silver ribbon speaker cables. This amp brings it all together and makes the concertinos sing.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
gifford largey   Audiophile [Jan 05, 2000]
Strength:

Power supply, build quality, auto on
feature, sound quality.

Weakness:

extremely long in physical size, needs
a foot of clearance above it

My system consists of Magnepan MMG
front speakers, alternate audio
preamp, dennon Dolby Digital
processor, Carver CD player, and
Wireworld solstice interconnects and
speaker cables.
I just hooked this up with some new
solstice speaker wire and this amp. I
played it all day and am more amazed
all the time. My system sounds totally
different and I am totally in love
with the sound even though the amp
hasn't had the recommended 70 hours
break-in time yet. I have only had two
different amps hooked up to my
speakers, the hafler dh 500 and an
alternate audio op amp based one. I
have to say this is by a mile the best
sounding even though I know some of
the difference has come from the
better solstice speaker wire. It
seems to have plenty of power for my
grossly ineffecient Magnepans and is
probably the only amp in this price
range with balanced inputs and 200
watts/channel (slightly less if all
channels simultanously.) At any rate
I don't think you can go wrong with
this amp. The power supply actually
has two 550w torroidal transformers
and 100,000 microfarads of
capacitance. 8 output transistors per
channel. I wish I could say that I
have had a half dozen amps at my home
to compare it to but I do believe this
thing is the real deal great sound for
a great price. A few reviews online at
hometheaterhifi.com, soundstage.com,
and etown.com.

Similar Products Used: Hafler DH500
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Ed   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 01, 2002]
Strength:

Power and detail at all but lower listening levels; Turn-on options (many don't even offer 12v trigger)

Weakness:

High noise floor; Transformer hum - Expect to get what you pay for

In my opinion you do get what you pay for. Because I paid less than MSRP, I feel that I got a decent deal. I can personally attest that the MCA 5 (200 watts per channel, with one channel driven) does compare, arguably, with the lower powered B&K 5125 (125 watts per channel, with one-channel driven) in price and performance. It DOES NOT compare with the B&K Reference 7250, like at least one reviewer claims. What you need to decide is whether the MCA 5 compares to the ATI 1505, Adcom 7500, Parasound 1205 and Outlaw 1050. Those amps compare to the MCA 5 in terms of power when true, all- channels driven power is expressed. As always, audition before you buy. I fully expected to drop a level in overall performance when I sold my B&K 7250 and replaced it with a MCA 5, and I did just that. I added a rear center channel to my system, and I had to make some "compromises" in order to power my newly configured home theater. I had 7 channels (5 for home theater and 2 for the rest of the house) powered by a B&K Ref 7250 and 2220. I only have the space for 2 amplifiers, so when I added the rear center channel rather than buying another amplifier, I sold my B&K amps and bought Anthem (MCA 5 and MCA 3) motivated by cost and space considerations, as well as the reviews from this site. The first MCA 5 was defective. Anthem tech support wanted to solder in a $.50 part, but luckily my dealer sided with me and demanded a new amp. The dealer and I agreed that the defective amp shouldn't have made it past QC to begin with. The MCA 3 that I purchased has a noisy transformer (more than normal) and has yet to be replaced, but that's for another review. The MCA 5 has plenty of power to meet my needs, and it is relatively clean and detailed at anything but lower listening levels. So, if that is what you are after, you will be satisfied with the MCA 5. I say "relatively" clean and detailed, because the noise floor of the MCA 5 seems to be significantly higher than the 7250, despite B&K's rating of only -95dB vs. Anthem's lofty claim of -122dB. That one still has me confused. I guess that measuring lab instruments "hear" differently than I do. I can hear hiss from the speakers with the MCA 5 in a quiet room. I couldn't hear background hiss from the 7250 unless I had my ear within an inch of the speaker, and then it was barely audible. I auditioned B&K's 5125 before I bought the 7250, and I don't remember it being as "noisy" as the MCA 5 either. The physical noise of the MCA 5 is greater than the 7250 as well. The 7250's transformer was dead-quiet, wereas I can hear the hum of the MCA 5 from a foot away. You won't be sitting a foot away from the amp while watching an action movie however, and I am satisfied with the MCA 5 in that regard. A professional review that I read on eCoustics.com stated that the MCA 5 would be a worthy alternative if you are considering an A/V reciever, and I agree. I can't compare the MCA 5 to anything but the B&K's because I haven't auditioned comparative pieces. Just make sure that you do. When I read the review comparing the MCA 5 to the B&K Reference 7250, I had to chime-in to add perspective. Don't expect more than what you pay for!

Similar Products Used: B&K 5125, B&K Ref 7250
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
Mel   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 13, 2001]
Strength:

Built like a tank,very solid, good looks, Power.

Weakness:

None

I really love this amp.I am very impressed with its clarity.
Neutral sound. With its price you'll get more than you paid for.A best buy A++++++

Similar Products Used: ATI, Bryston
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Sam   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 05, 2001]
Strength:

Solid build and good looks, great soundstage

Weakness:

none so far!

I picked this amp after considering similar priced models from Outlaw, Parasound and B&K. This amp should give any a run for its money under $2000 IMO.

I have it paired with NHT 2.9 speakers and the sound is really nice. It delivers a fantastically wide soundstage and great dynamics. This amp/speaker combo is gonna give you the sound "like it is" i.e. not warmed over, nor bright and edgy. You will hear exactly what's on the recording, for better or worse.

It has plenty of power reserves for any speaker I can imagine and never gets more than warm to the touch. Also has a nice "auto-detect on/off" feature that senses a signal at its inputs similar to a powered sub. Very nice.

An outstanding value, do yourself a favor and listen-I can't imagine a better price/performance value in amplifiers today.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
jose alonzo   [Aug 08, 2001]
Strength:

balance outputs XLR

Weakness:

To long in size

First i like to start with my system :As a preamp i have the anthem AVM2 : As XLR i have the audioquest pythons for my fronts an rears an center as well, for my speaker wire, i have the audioquest CALDERA which make my front paradigm studio 100s Reference sound very sharp,depending on what you have at home make a big differants ,for me it work great.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Jose Sifontes   an Audiophile [Oct 02, 1999]

First the other components:
I am using a Panasonic DVD-A120 fed to a Lexicon DC-1 with release 3.0 software. The speakers are Magnepan MG-12s in the front, MGCC in center, and NHT Superzeros as rears.

Before esetling on the Anthem, I tried the Parasound HCA-806 and the ATI 1505. the MCA-5 sounds the most 'audiophiliac' like of all. Even at low levels the Anthem was able to extract layers of detail that the ATI steamrolled over nonchalantly (it is a very quiet amp - I wonder how much better the sound would be if I used the XLR connectors rather tha RCA. Alas I cannot do that until I switch to a higher-end preamp!). The ATI was better with bass - both in speed and authority - but the Anthem was no slouch either: plus the MCA-5 was capable of higher volumes (200 vs 150 watts per channel).

The aesthetics of the Anthem are also much better (even compared to the HCA-806, which is a good looking amp). The Anthem is VERY long - so make sure your shelf space is deep enough to accomodate it.

I have been using it for a month and a half and have no complaints. For the price (I paid $1300) it is a steal - the Outlaw would have cost me the same after shippingh and handling, and that is a poor-man's ATI so I imagine it would not have sounded superior to the MCA-5) in my setup. Note that last statement. All my comments are made in the context of the setup I tested the MCA with - i.e., other setups may yield very different outcomes.

Regards,

Jose

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Jens   Audiophile [Apr 24, 2001]
Strength:

power, detail, flexibility. This amp delivers more than I expected.

Weakness:

none in this price range

This Amp replaced two Parasound HCA 1000 A's in my hometheater set up run in dual-half stereo, as Parasound calls it. The amp has great detail without sounding too edgy, and a fairly large soundstage. More top end extension than the Parasound 1000's with less grain. Bottom end is also superior. In this price range I don't believe you can do any better, especially in Canada. All US products will cost considerably more for us up here. You would have to spend more than twice as much for the Parasound 2205, which I believe is the class leader. Anyway, I love the auto-on feature, and the balanced inputs. One added bonus are the two power supplies. I've configured my amp so that my mains run off separate power supplies, really improves the sound when listening to two channel stereo. More impact, better soundstage and focus, more detail with less grain. The whole system goes louder and overloads more gracefully. And that's a freebe!!! I would also disagree with the reviewer of Hometheater Magazine claiming dynamic compression at full tilt 5.1 listening. I did not experience this within my tolerance for SPL and within my system's ability.

Similar Products Used: Parasound HCA 1000 A
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Joe   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 20, 2001]
Strength:

Very detailed, auto-on

Weakness:

Made my Paradigm LCR350s harsh at high volume

Had it for 6 weeks. It was great until I cranked it up; then clean and detailed became harsh. I actually covered up the tweeters while waiting on the Rotel to arrive. The Rotel will play 15 dB louder [according to my receiver's display] without grinding at my ears like the Anthem did.

I think it's a good amp, it just didn't work for me. I think anyone with speakers on the bright side should be careful and be sure to audition this amp before buying it.

This review pertains to CDs and stereo sound. I didn't push it nearly as hard with movies and surround. Have had the Rotel a week, and am loving its sound; a much better match for me.

Similar Products Used: Rotel RMB1095
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-10 of 17  

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