Anthem AVM 50 Preamp/Processor and MCA 50 Amplifier Page 3

The Short Form / 905-362-0958
This stack's great performance and versatile features - including high-end video processing - make it tough to beat.
•Crisp, clean 1080p video upconversion •Generous selection of stereo and surround processing modes •Analog multichannel audio input with full bass management
•No direct remote-control access to video features
Key Features
AVM 50 •7.1-channel A/V preamp/processor •4/1 HDMI switching •Scales lesser sources to 1080p format •THX Ultra2-certified •Dolby Digital EX, DTS-ES Matrix and Discrete, Pro-Logic IIx, AnthemLogic, and THX processing modes •17.3 x 5.9 x 14.3 in; 27 lb MCA 50 •5 x 180 watts (into 8 ohms) •RCA and balanced audio inputs •Manual, auto, or 12v trigger turn-on •17.3 x 7 x 17.5 in; 61 lb
Test Bench
Anthem's combo proved most impressive on the bench. The AVM 50 pre/pro rendered near-benchmark audio performance in almost every test, while the MCA 50 amp delivered quite massive watts on even the multichannel tests, without exhausting my 30-amp AC circuit - quite efficient for a conventional non-digital amplifier. - Daniel Kumin Full Lab Results
SOUND QUALITY The AVM 50 and MCA 50 proved a potent pair for movies, thanks in part to HDMI switching that let me pull the high-bit-rate Dolby Digital Plus soundtracks off HD DVDs like The Chronicles of Riddick. In a scene where the Necromongers wage an attack, the surround-effects pans that accompany the ship flyovers had a powerful presence, and exploding projectiles hitting the ground sounded startlingly full. The MCA 50 generally delivered a gutsier performance than my regular amp, sailing through dynamic peaks in soundtracks without audible strain.

Music also sounded fantastic on the Anthem combo. On the traditional ballad "Black Is the Color," by the Philadelphia-based folk group Espers, vocals came across clear and lifelike, while the background acoustic guitar and percussion had a warm, pleasing tone. The AVM 50's AnthemLogic-Music mode helped enhance the presentation of this and every other music track I listened to by subtly widening the stereo image while retaining solid center focus. After living with AnthemLogic-Music for a while, I now strongly prefer it to straight stereo.

PICTURE QUALITY Watching the Training Day HD DVD on the 1080p front projector with the Anthem deinterlacing the player's 1080i video output, complex moving images such as an aerial pan of a freeway looked nothing less than completely solid and film-like. And in a tracking shot of Alonzo (Denzel Washington) and Jake (Ethan Hawke) cruising past a chain-link fence, the picture showed no sign of breakup.

Moving on to the stop-animated feature Chicken Run on HBO HD, I was amazed at the level of sharpness and clarity on the 40-inch LCD. The Anthem's crisp, seamless picture is mainly a result of the Gennum chip's pixel-based motion-adaptive deinterlacing, which selectively culls information from adjacent fields of video in 1080i high-def and 480i standard-def signals to construct the progressive-scan image. Unlike processors that discard one field from a video frame and line-double the other to create a progressive frame, the Gennum approach keeps the picture sharp even on fast motion.

It's no secret that regular 480i pictures from DVD and cable/satellite need help to look good on any bigscreen HDTV. The Anthem's noise reduction let me eliminate grain in standard-def pictures, while judicious application of its detail enhancement helped pump up edge transitions without adding an unnatural "ringing" effect. With both the front projector and the LCD, standard-def signals processed by the AVM 50 looked noticeably better than those run straight in to the TV.

BOTTOM LINE While the AVM 50's $4,699 price might seem hefty for anything but a huge flat-screen, it's actually two state-of-the-art products in one. That officially qualifies it as a sweet deal. Do I have any complaints? Well, its remote control could be updated with additional buttons to let users quickly switch aspect ratios and access picture controls - things that you now have to dig a couple of onscreen menus deep to get to. Outside of that, I've got nothing but deep, unabashed love for this Anthem combination.

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