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Amp/Preamp Asylum: REVIEW: Anthem MCA 50 Amplifier (SS) by Mr. Gridlock

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REVIEW: Anthem MCA 50 Amplifier (SS)

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Model: MCA 50
Category: Amplifier (SS)
Suggested Retail Price: $1999
Description: 5 x 225 amplifier
Manufacturer URL: Anthem
Model Picture: View

Review by Mr. Gridlock ( A ) on January 27, 2003 at 16:13:13
IP Address: 64.236.243.31
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for the MCA 50


I finally made my amplifier purchase: the Anthem MCA 50. It's 220 x 5, and I feel it's an amazing bargain. I've compared amps in the $1999 range such as: Rotel and Parasound. Amps more expensive (up to $4000, my absolute threshold), such as Classe and Bryston. The Anthem beats them all. It's very well built, and sounds fantastic.

The sound is very clean and detailed. The background is dead quiet. There is no hum, and not a peep can be heard with the amp on and the source off. Clean is the word that keeps coming to my mind. Bass goes low and it's tight. Highs are crisp and clear. Midrange sounds dead accurate to me.

I wish I had the reviewer's vocabulary, or even the ears. I was told the amp needed at least a hundred hours of break-in, but it sounded great right out of the box. If it gets better over time, then that's just gravy.

Mapleshade recordings like Sunny Sumpter and Kendra Shanks are phenomenal to listen to on any system, and now I don't want to listen to anything else. Nothing sounds like the performers are there with you in the room like they do now. Holy hannah. I can rave for an hour about how good music sounds. Everything from Dead Can Dance, to Alice in Chains. Joni Mitchell to Pantera. Bad (or old) recordings still sound weak (like Soundgardens's Badmotorfinger).

Movies now really blow me away. The biggest improvment is from the center channel. Oh yes. Now I don't have to crank it up to hear the dialogue clearly. I watched Last of the Mohican's in DTS a week ago, and it was maddening: explosions would send me diving for the remote because I had just been listening to a quiet scene (with mostly dialogue) and had cranked it. Now, with the Anthem in place, dialogue was clearly understandable. Two classic scenes from other movies are always on people's lists for demonstration purposes: the lobby shootout from the Matrix and the diva singing from the Fifth Element. I listened to those, of course, but I have some faves of my own: the Little Bird Attack sequence from Black Hawk Down and attack on Carentan from episode 2 of Band of Brothers. There are excellent directional effects in both, as well as a gigantic range of sound: things like chips of concrete settling in dust to roaring explosions.

The auto trigger feature of the amp is great, too. It powers on when it detects a signal, and powers off 20 minutes after the last signal is received. I've been listening to the amp continuously left on, but after break-in, I'll be using the auto trigger. The amp is well ventilated, runs slightly warm and is dead quiet.

You can read about the details here:

http://www.anthemav.com/NewSitev2.0/AnthemProduct/MCASeries/Literature/MCALit.html

I love this amp and will be buying the Anthem AVM 20 to mate with it.



Product Weakness: None that I can think of.
Product Strengths: Price, performance, build.


Associated Equipment for this Review:
Amplifier: Anthem MCA 50
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): Denon 3801 receiver
Sources (CDP/Turntable): Sony DVP-S9000ES
Speakers: Revel Performa M20
Cables/Interconnects: Bolder, Coincident
Music Used (Genre/Selections): rock, jazz
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner




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Topic - REVIEW: Anthem MCA 50 Amplifier (SS) - Mr. Gridlock 16:13:13 01/27/03 ( 0)