Test Bench: Anthem AVM 50 Preamp/Processor and MCA 50 Amplifier

Note: Components tested together, with all measurements taken from the MCA 50 amplifier's speaker outputs.


All data were obtained with various test DVDs using 16-bit dithered test signals, which set limits on measured distorting and noise performance. Reference input level is -20 dBFS, and reference output is 1 watt into 8 ohms. Volume setting for reference level was 0.0 dB. All level trims were at zero, except in subwoofer-related tests, and all speakers were set to "large," subwoofer on. All are worst-case figures where applicable.

Output at clipping (1 kHz into 8/4 ohms) 1 channel driven: 266/414 watts (24.3/26.2 dBW) 5 channels driven (8 ohms): 182 watts (22.6 dBW) Distortion at 1 watt (THD+N, 1 kHz) 8/4 ohms: 0.02/0.03% Noise level (A-wtd): -75.3 dB Excess noise (with sine tone) 16-bit (EN16): 0.4 dB Frequency response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz +0.2, -0 dB


Reference input and output level is 200 mV; volume setting for reference output level was -15. Distortion (THD+N, 1 kHz, 8 ohms): 0.01% Noise level (A-wtd, Anlg.-Dir/Anlg.-DSP): -85.3/-84.7 dB Frequency response: <10 Hz to 70 kHz +0, -3 dB (Anlg.-Dir.); <10 Hz to 34 kHz +0, -3 dB (Anlg.-DSP, bass-management engaged)


Reference level is -20 dBFS; all level trims at zero. Volume setting for reference level was 0.0 dB. Output at clipping (1 kHz, 8/4 ohms, both channels driven): 244*/366 W (23.9/25.6 dBW) Distortion at reference level: 0.02% Linearity error (at -90 dBFS): 0.1 dB Noise level (A-wtd): -74.8 dB with 96-kHz/24-bit signals: -83.2 dB Excess noise (with/without sine tone) 16-bit (EN16): 0.7/0.6 dB quasi-20-bit (EN20): 12.3/12.2 dB Noise modulation: 0.15 dB Frequency response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz +0.2, -0 dB with 96-kHz/24-bit signals: 20 Hz to 35 kHz +0.2, -1.5 dB


Measured results obtained with Dolby Digital test signals. Subwoofer-output frequency response (crossover set to 80 Hz): 24 dB/octave above -6-dB rolloff point of 80 Hz High-pass-filter frequency response (crossover set to 80 Hz): 12 dB/octave below -3-dB rolloff point of 80 Hz Maximum unclipped subwoofer output (trim at 0): 7.1 volts Subwoofer distortion (from 6-channel, 30-Hz, 0-dBFS signal; subwoofer trim set to 0): 0.03% Crossover consistency: bass crossover frequency and slope were consistent for all sources and formats Signal-format consistency: consistent for all applicable formats; DSP bass management and filtering applicable to all digital and analog signals Speaker size selection: all channels can be set to "smal." Speaker-distance compensation: available for all main channels

Anthem's high-end pre/pro and power amp combo proved most impressive on the test bench. The AVM50 rendered near-benchmark audio performance in almost every test, falling barely short in PCM signal-to-noise ratio and slightly truncating 96 kHz/24-bit PCM frequency response, which extends to 43 kHz on most pre/pros and receivers I've tested. Both shortfalls are inconsequential in real listening.

The MCA50 power amplifier also delivered the goods in the form of quite massive wattage in all tests, including the multichannel ones - and it did so without completely exhausting my 30-amp AC circuit, which is quite efficient for an amplifier with a conventional power supply.

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