|Anthem Statement D1 AV Preamplifier|
|Home Theater Preamplifiers AV Preamps|
|Written by Christopher Zell, Ph.D.|
|Monday, 01 November 2004|
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I have very little to complain about concerning the Anthem D1, but there are a few minor things that come to mind. Although clearly open to personal preference, I did not care for the exponential sensitivity of the remote volume control. Beyond changing a dB or so, the level jumped past where I ultimately wanted it, somewhat offsetting the very welcome granularity of 0.5 dB steps in level.
A lack of DVI and or HDMI inputs is also a shortcoming for those who have (or see the potential for) more than one HD source that need to be connected digitally. You can run HD sources through the D1 via component video, so if you had, for example, an HD TiVo and a D-VHS deck, you could run the HD TiVo to your monitor digitally via HDMI and then run your D-VHS to your D1. In the future, you might expect to be able to seamlessly switch HDMI and or DVI in your preamp and there are even rumors that such a card may be coming as an add-on for the D1, yet nothing official has been announced.
The lack of translation between video input formats can be inconvenient, although this is not a very serious concern. In comparison to the Mark Levinson No. 40 AV preamp priced at $30,000, this is a downside. At $4,995, consumers should understand why there is no video transcoding in the D1.
Finally, while I do feel that the D1 is a top-flight performer, you could argue that the law of diminishing returns is approaching even within Anthem’s own line, specifically with the AVM30. I did not have an AVM30 for direct comparison, but based my past experience with its predecessor, the AVM20, it is a capable performer and flexible unit that may well suffice in systems with anything less than reference quality surrounding electronics and loudspeakers.
I am sure it is obvious if you have read through to this point that I am quite enamored with the Anthem Statement D1 Preamplifier • Processor • Tuner. Although I have spent considerable time with many high-end contenders such as the Lexicon MC-12 and Meridian preamp/processors, I did not have any of them handy for comparisons. Since I strongly believe that sonic “memory” over previous events and components is at best misleading, and at worst totally incorrect, I will refrain from direct comparisons between the Anthem and any of its esteemed competition. Additionally, while I do think that short term, direct A-B comparisons are valid, I also maintain that long-term impressions of a product are just as important, if not more so. In this situation, I am applying my judgment based on my impressions of my home theater system during the time that the Anthem D1 was at the controls. Am I playing more music, reviving old music I have not thought about for ages and are movies drawing me in? With the Anthem D1, the answer to these questions is a simple yes – I have played the daylights out of my system these last few months, alternating between listening to little details and harmonies, or just sitting back with my eyes closed and smiling as I re-embrace old favorites. I can give no higher recommendation than to say that my system has never sounded better than with the Anthem Statement D1 at the reins.