Anthem Electronics STR D/A integrated amplifier ARC Measurements

Sidebar 3: ARC Measurements

While ARC's own computer-screen results show the performance of the system before and after running the room EQ, I also measured the results with an independent system: the Parts Express OmniMic. While this system isn't as sophisticated as the gear John Atkinson uses to measure loudspeakers for Stereophile, it does use a calibrated microphone, and can reveal what ARC is doing to the response.

While the actual equalized responses were performed by ARC using an average of eight or nine microphone positions, the OmniMic plots shown here (all were 1/6-octave averaged) represent a single listening position. In my room, the differences between a single and multiple points were trivial, though multiple positions did smooth out the dip in the equalized response at 43Hz. The use of multiple mike positions also adds uncertainty where the goal is to document multiple before-and-after tests: precise mike positions can be difficult to reproduce, possibly skewing the results.

To save space, fig.1 shows only the right channel, the worse of the two pre-EQ measurements. (The left channel, post-EQ, did eliminate a similar dip at around 43Hz, meaning that that dip was indeed correctible, and not one of the black-hole frequency dips.) Note the significant peaks and dips below 300Hz, which are not rare in room responses. Surprisingly, they don't sound as bad as these response curves might suggest—we do adapt to the quirks of our own rooms. But ARC's smoothing of the response between 80 and 200Hz is clearly visible, as is the improvement in that 43Hz dip. The overall response is still elevated from the bass to the upper bass compared to the midrange and treble, but that's desirable in a room response taken at the seating position.—Thomas J. Norton



Fig.1 Top curve: right channel, before ARC EQ. Bottom curve: right channel, after ARC EQ.


Fig.2 I remeasured the After result on the right channel with the OmniMic, using an average of 10 positions around the primary listening seat. As you can see below, the averaged results are even smoother.
Anthem Electronics
205 Annagem Boulevard
Mississauga, Ontario L5T 2V1
(905) 696-2868

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Considering all the different things it can do, the Anthem integrated is one of the "best bang for the buck" products ............

hifiluver's picture

for the big $$$ it better perform. Still I liked the brand better when it produced simple straightforward and more affordable products like the Integrated 225.

ppgr's picture

The average is not smoother, it's only averaged :)

Manimaldoug's picture

That is one handsome amp. Beautiful

Bogolu Haranath's picture

"Get outta of my dreams, get into my car" :-) ............

volvic's picture

Always wanted a pair of these great speakers. A few years ago someone was selling a pair with every replaceable woofer and tweeter as spares. Should have jumped on the chance. Nice to see Mr. Norton still using his.

stasis05's picture

This was a great review, but I really wish the reviewer had been given more opportunities to explore the features--no opinions on either of the phono inputs, no trying it out with even more high end speakers to see how it compares to integrated amps two or three times its price, etc. Seems like the reviewer was forced to review it based on a stereotype of Anthem as a home AV brand first, audiophile-brand second. I would have loved to see how it stacked up against a Mark Levinson or Pass Labs Integrated to see if it could hold its own.

funambulistic's picture

I would also like to see how these integrated amps, in this relative price range, that have bass management/room correction (Anthem, Parasound, Outlaw, Classe) perform in a 2.1 configuration. I know a lot of stereo only folks that round out their systems with a subwoofer or two (including myself). I believe the only recent review of an integrated (receiver, actually) that incorporated subwoofers was that of the Arcam FMJ SR250, written by Mr. Rubinson

audiodoctornj's picture

Dear Mr. Norton, thank you for your insightful review of the STR. I do believe you summed up the STR nicely. We feel that the Anthem STR is an excellent piece for the money with a very clean detailed presentation even without using ARC.

When you combine the STR's excellent power amplifier stage, a state of the art Room Correction system, a very capable dac stage, and a phono stage for a very reasonable $4,500.00 the STR should be on anyone's list to check out.

Howerver, the real shocker is the more expensive STR series amplifer and preamp/dac at $10k. The STR amplifier and preamp/dac just has an even more liquid overall presenation, while improving upon all aspects of the integrated amplifier.

You have to spend considerably more money than the STR separates to really move into higher quality sound, so the gentleman who asked about other brands, the new Anthem STR series products are really good sounding and are very competitive with any of the major audiophile brands.

Dave Lalin, owner, Audio Doctor NJ

NPRlistner's picture

I am trying to decide between these two to run a pair of 4 ohm speakers at 90db sensitivity. I use a Lumin D2 for streaming. What are your thoughts Dave?