Anthem Statement D1 Preamp-Processor & Statement P5 Power Amplifier

In today's hotly contested home theater market, the big consumer-electronics manufacturers are grabbing an increasingly important slice of the pie. Their new, big-boned receivers—with prices to match—approach (or sometimes exceed) the performance of most separates. The competition is fierce, with those mega-corporations using their marketing clout, engineering expertise, and production efficiency to built better products, but smaller companies can still compete. They're fighting back with separate pre-pros and power amps that trade on their traditional strength: sound quality.

Anthem was spun off several years ago from high-end audio company Sonic Frontiers, after the latter was acquired by Canadian speaker manufacturer Paradigm. Since then, the company has earned an enviable reputation for its electronics. Their PVA 7 power amp won Stereophile Guide to Home Theater's 2003 Editor's Choice (Gold) Award, and their AVM 20 pre-pro was praised by Robert Deutsch in his May 2002 SGHT review.

Anthem continues to produce cutting-edge designs. Their flagship pre-pro and multichannel power amp, the Statement D1 and Statement P5, can compete head on with anyone's best.

An Amp and a Half
Like most power amps, the 5-channel Anthem Statement P5 doesn't appear that complex at first glance. Its most obvious characteristics are its sheer size and weight—nearly 2 feet deep and a forklift-ready 130 pounds. Anthem makes a similarly designed 2-channel amp, the P2, that weighs a comparatively svelte 75 pounds and can be added to the P5 if you plan on a 7.1-channel system. There are also two smaller, less- powerful amps in the Statement line: the A2 and A5, the latter producing a paltry 180Wpc (all 5 channels driven into 8Ω). The 2-channel A2 would likely be my first choice among the Statement amps for those extra back channels (though we have not tested it); its rated 200Wpc into 8Ω should be more than sufficient for those extra surrounds.

The front panel of the P5 sports only a power switch and six blue LED indicator lights, one for the amp as a whole and one each for the channels. Around back are 10 input jacks (five single-ended and five balanced, each of the latter with a choice of two gain settings: 0 and -6dB), five pairs of speaker outputs, and trigger in/out jacks. There's also a three-position switch to control the turn-on mode. Manual limits the on/off functions to the front-panel switch, Trigger controls the amp using a 5-24V signal from an external component, and Auto-On powers-up the amp whenever it senses a signal on any channel, switching it off 20 minutes after the signal stops.

There are also two IEC connectors for separate detachable power cords. Because of the P5's huge power capability and corresponding appetite for AC current, Anthem recommends that each of these receptacles be connected to a different electrical circuit to prevent tripping the circuit breakers in your house if the current draw becomes too great. This is most likely to occur when you power the amplifier up (or if you listen to highly insensitive speakers at head-banging levels). But the P5 does have a soft-start feature to minimize this.

I don't have two separate circuits in my listening room, so I used the same circuit for both connections. Apart from a brief and negligible dimming of the room lights at turn-on, this caused no electrical problems or obvious negative sonic consequences. I did try running a very long extension cord to a different circuit in another room for one of the amp's power inputs, but I could find no benefit to this apart from the potential entertainment value of watching guests tripping over the cord during a pre-movie countdown.

If you must use the same circuit for both power inputs, be sure that your circuit breaker will not trip, and also that the breaker is fully functional. (According to one knowledgeable power-conditioner company with whom I spoke recently, old circuit breakers that have previously tripped a number of times can sometimes cease to function and remain locked in the "on" position. This was news to me, and clearly a possible hazard if correct).

At the heart of the P5, and the reason for its enormous weight, are separate power supplies for each channel, each with its own, completely separate toroidal transformer. Furthermore, each amplifier channel features two independent power-supply sections—one for the input/driver stage, another for the output stage—operating from separate windings on that channel's power transformer. The input stages of each amplifier channel use eight bipolar devices. Fourteen bipolar output transistors on each channel provide a huge current capacity.

To minimize output impedance and optimize power output, there are no fuses on the power supply rails. If a problem occurs, such as a short, Anthem's ALM (Advanced Load Monitoring) system, located outside the signal path, shuts down the offending channel by opening a circuit breaker. Separate circuit breakers for each channel are located on the amp's top cover near the front. They are externally accessible; once a problem has been cleared, they may be easily reset without rummaging around inside the amplifier.

And a Pre-Pro to Match
It's obvious from the specifications that the D1 offers all the S-video and composite-video inputs you could possibly need, and then some. Its four component inputs (and two outputs) are also generous. The on-screen menus are currently available only from the composite or S-video outputs.

At present, the D1 does not have DVI or HDMI switching, or any transcoding (conversion of all video inputs to the highest-quality output to allow for a single-cable feed to the display). Both transcoding and HDMI switching have been promised for a future upgrade. For more on this, see the addendum at the end of the review.

In addition to an ample supply of single-ended, 2-channel analog audio inputs, there is one balanced, 2-channel analog audio input. The D1 also has both single-ended and balanced outputs for all 7.1 channels. There are parallel outputs for a second center channel (something I do not recommend) and a second subwoofer. The D1 also supports two remote zones of operation, each with video (composite and S-video) and 2-channel, single-ended audio outputs. If the Center 2 and Sub 2 balanced outputs are not used, they can be reconfigured as a balanced, 2-channel output for zone 2.

You also get one 6-channel analog input (single-ended only). This input set—and the one 2-channel, balanced audio input—may be configured either to bypass all digital stages and signal processing or to include the digital stages for bass management, time alignment, surround mode settings, bass/treble control, audio group delay, and THX post-processing. The A/D conversion is selectable in the user setup menu (separately for 2-channel and 6-channel inputs), up to a maximum of 24-bit/96kHz (DTS Neo:6 is limited to 48kHz).