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Video Asylum: REVIEW: Anthem AVM 20 Preamplifier (HT) by DenisT

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REVIEW: Anthem AVM 20 Preamplifier (HT)

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Model: AVM 20
Category: Preamplifier (HT)
Suggested Retail Price: $3,199.00
Description: DPL, DD, DTS, THX Ultra, THX-EX, 24-Bit/96KHz A/D, 24-Bit/193KHz D/A, 3-100Mhz component video inputs
Manufacturer URL: Anthem
Model Picture: View

Review by DenisT on January 22, 2008 at 22:44:41
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for the AVM 20

I bought the AVM 20 in 2001. A year later, I upgraded to v2 with the addition of a circuit board and new software. The software is upgradeable via a serial port. The on-screen setup menu can only be accessed via S video out. There seem to be an infinite number of menus, submenus, and listening modes mono movie, stereo DD 5.1, 7.1, EX, ES THX surround EX, ES, DTS, late nite etc. etc. Some important adjustments are:
1. The ability to set the cross over point for each set of speakers.
2. With an SPL meter set the relative sound level for each speaker.
3. Equalize SPL for different sound sources.
4. Time alignment for listener position
5. Time adjustment for movies (lip Sync)
6. You can make temporary adjustments for speaker levels, and other parameters, that will be lost when you turn it off.

I use it only for DVD movies. The digital/analogue conversion is superb and provides excellent sound reproduction for 5.1 music, music videos, and movies. It is a very good music preamp and DAC on its own. I would have to go to the manual to remember everything. I spent a few hours on the initial set it up 5 years ago, and have not touched it since.

The video switching is now out dated, but pulling a HDMI cable from one component to another is no big deal. I can use my TV and projector to switch from component to HDMI or between HDMI inputs.
In the end it is about the sound, and the AVM20 has it.
If I upgrade (meaning when I get upgrade fever), it will be to an AVM50 which has HDMI in/out enabling full resolution of HiDef DVD sound and video up-sampling and de-interlacing. However, I will wait for the dust to settle on formats before laying out 5Gs for a pre/pro.

Product Weakness: out-dated video switching.
Product Strengths: Sound quality, adjustment and tweeking options

Associated Equipment for this Review:

Amplifier: Bryston 5BST, 3BST
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): AVM 20 v2
Sources (CDP/Turntable): Panasonic DVD S77
Speakers: Paradigm Studio 100, CC570, ADP, 60
Cables/Interconnects: DIY XLR and RCA
Music Used (Genre/Selections): Movies only
Room Size (LxWxH): 14 x 14 x 8
Room Comments/Treatments: new HT room in Feb 08.
Time Period/Length of Audition: 6 years
Other (Power Conditioner etc.): Monster
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner

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Topic - REVIEW: Anthem AVM 20 Preamplifier (HT) - DenisT 22:44:41 01/22/08 ( 0)