CES 2016: Anthem Shows Off New Preamp, Power Amps, Receiver

Anthem AV debuts affordable redesigned preamp/processor with DTS Play-Fi, three new power amplifiers and a new receiver at CES 2016.


Paradigm Electronics has been on a roll lately with its new generation of in-wall/in-ceiling speakers, Concept 4F loudspeakers and Prestige Series freestanding speakers getting a lot of attention. Now it’s sister company Anthem AV’s turn.

At CES 2016, Anthem debuted its next generation of its high-end preamplifier-processor — the AVM 60 — and three new complementary power amplifiers — the MCA 525, 325, and 225 — and a new receiver — the MRX. 

AVM Preamp

The AVM 60 is the first preamp/processor to feature DTS Play-Fi technology to stream lossless music over a Wi-Fi network to speakers connected via the app on Android, Kindle Fire, iOS or PC. The technology streams music through an interoperable system, allowing listeners to mix and match DTS Play-Fi-enabled audio products from a selection of top audio brands. Users can choose file formats up to 24-bit/192 kHz as well as online music streaming services like Tidal, Spotify, Rdio, Songza, Pandora, SiriusXM, Rhapsody and more. The AVM 60 also has the capability for a future upgrade for DTS:X immersive audio decoding.

Other features include Dolby Atmos, support for UHD Blu-ray and 4K60 through HDMI 2.0a with HDR, HDCP 2.2 and 18.2Gbps switching. In addition: any source downmix to Zone 2 and the fixed-level line outputs, as well as expanded menu options for convenience and ease of setup. AVM 60 includes two subwoofer jacks and a front USB port for software updates. The front HDMI input supports MHL, as does one of the seven HDMI inputs on the back.

The unit also has a toroidal power supply, differential-output D/A converters with 32-bit conversion, sampling rate-optimized filters, A/D converters with a 106dB signal-to-noise ratio. Additional features include wireless network correction which can also be used while running the Anthem Room Correction system with improved correction algorithms, memory for four speaker configurations for greater flexibility and an easier to use Targets panel for custom settings. U.S. MSRP for the AVM 60 will be $2,999.

MCA Power Amps

To complement the AVM 60, Anthem showed at CES the redesigned 225-watt MCA 525, MCA 325, and MCA 225 power amplifiers in 5-, 3-, and 2-channel configurations. Features include using eight bipolar output devices for less stress on each device, no relays in signal path to reduce the number of moving parts which can fail, much reduced in-rush current on power-up with less line disturbance and reduced stress on internal components, and higher-quality connectors.

Erin Phillips, marketing and communications manager, notes that the affordable line was completely redone from top to bottom.

As well, power distribution to each channel has controlled impedance with minimum inductance and reduced cabling for lower noise and higher reliability. For audio quality improvements, damping factor is higher to eliminate the effect of speaker impedance variations on frequency response, and distortion due to higher current output which is suitable for demanding low-impedance speakers. The Advanced Load Monitoring system is also improved with a lower chance of a fuse blowing during an over-current condition, with unaffected channels continuing to play and all-channel operation resuming automatically once conditions are back to normal. The three auto-on and trigger-on options are maintained and consume less than 2 watts of standby power. The AVM 60 and MCA Series will begin shipping late January 2016. U.S. MSRP will be: MCA 525: $3,499; MCA 325: $2,499; MCA 225: $1,999.

MRX Receiver

Meanwhile, the high-end MRX A/V receivers are now shipping. The new generation shares many new features and improvements over previous generations, such as Dolby Atmos immersive audio decoding, DTS Play-Fi and readiness for DTS:X immersive audio decoding. Additional channels of processing and amplification are also supplementary as you move up the line.

Just as the model names suggest, MRX 520 includes five channels of amplification, MRX 720 includes seven channels of amplification and MRX 1120 includes eleven channels of amplification.

“This is the first time we have ever had a receiver with 11 channels,” notes Phillips.

Other MRX series improvements and additions include support for the latest UHD video formats, HDMI 2.0a with HDR and HDCP 2.2, 18.2Gbps switching, 4:4:4 at 4K60, 10 bits, BT.2020 and more. For hi-res audio enthusiasts there are premium-quality differential-output D/A converters with 32-bit conversion and sampling rate optimized filters. For convenience and ease of setup there are expanded menu options, a front USB port for software updates, and any source can be downmixed to Zone 2 and fixed-level line outputs. The units include Anthem Room Correction with improved correction algorithms, memory for four speaker configurations, and an easier to use Targets panel for custom settings.

MSRPs are: MRX 1120 = $3,499; MRX 720 = $2,499; MRX 520 = $1,399.

About the Author

Jason Knott
Jason Knott:

Jason Knott is Chief Content Officer for Emerald's Connected Brands. Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990, serving as editor and publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He joined CE Pro in 2000 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of that brand. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He has been a member of the CEDIA Business Working Group since 2010. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California.




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