|Anthem Statement P5 Multi-channel Power Amplifier|
|Home Theater Power Amplifiers Multi-Channel Amplifiers|
|Written by Christopher Zell, Ph.D.|
|Saturday, 01 January 2005|
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Following in the footsteps of the Anthem D1 Preamplifier Processor Tuner that I recently reviewed, Anthem also augmented the Statement line of electronic components with two series of amplifiers, the lower-powered A2 and A5, and the top-of-the-line P2 and P5. Once again, the design goal for each of these units is to offer the ultimate in performance, with Anthem inviting comparisons to any and all comers, regardless of price. This past summer, I received a huge carton on my doorstep containing the five-channel Anthem Statement P5 multi-channel power amplifier ($4,999), which I immediately inserted into my reference home theater system.
Physically, the Anthem P5 is a behemoth, weighing 130 pounds and measuring nine-and-three-eighths inches high by 19.25 inches wide by 22.5 inches deep. The overall appearance is less imposing than one might expect because of the elegant black fine-grain aluminum cover, gentle curves on the front panel, and extruded aluminum side handles. There are no fuses in the amplifier, with protection provided by line breakers which can be reset via push buttons located on the top panel in front of the ample ventilation slots. The rear panel accepts XLR balanced inputs, as well as unbalanced RCA plugs. Each channel has an independent input type selector switch, which I left in the unbalanced position throughout the review. The custom-designed, oversize gold-plated output binding posts were beefy and versatile, as I would expect on an amplifier of this quality. With a power consumption rating of 3600 watts (340 watts idle), the P5 necessitates dual IEC power cord sockets located on the right side of the rear panel to achieve full power output. To avoid overloading your home’s AC power, Anthem directs the user to connect each power cord to a different branch circuit. Fortunately, this was not a problem for me, since there are two separate circuits available on opposing walls of the reference home theater room. Unfortunately, this may not be the case in many rooms, as there are seldom two independent circuits readily available.
The P5 (as well as the P2) is a modular design, each channel a replaceable, powerful, independent monoblock amplifier rated at 325 watts into an eight ohm load, with intra-channel frequency response matching. Technically, Anthem purposely over-designed the P5, making it an extremely robust amplifier with a number of innovative proprietary features. Each channel has two separate power supplies, fed from separate transformer windings, and 14 bipolar output transistors to minimize the power dissipation on each device. Large, computer-optimized heat sinks on each amplifier channel eliminate the need for cooling fans. This may not seem important at first glance, but it allows the P5 to operate noise-free, not adversely contributing to ambient noise at your listening seat regardless of its location.
Once I unboxed the Anthem P5 onto the carpeted floor of my listening room, I was unable to move it around myself until I walked it onto a wood base, which I was then able to slide into position without inducing a hernia. Needless to say, when trying various loudspeakers with the P5, I brought them to the listening room containing the amplifier, and not vice versa. For the majority of the review, the P5 drove the front three channels and the surrounds, although for a time I bi-amped the main left and right loudspeakers, leaving the fifth amplifier section to power the center channel. Bi-amping produced spectacular results, but this would rarely be necessary or even sonically noticeable with most of the loudspeakers I am familiar with, given the Anthem’s huge power reserves.