Sonic Frontiers Anthem Integrated 1/2
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kerelybonto

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In another thread carlo mentioned the Anthem Pre 1, which got me looking at some reviews. Definitely looks good, but it's not in the price range I'm considering (even without the power amp). So I scanned the net a bit more for some information on its multi-skilled little brother, the Anthem Integrated 1 and the newer Integrated 2. Again, the initial reviews look good, and the price isn't extraordinary, all things considered.

Anyone have any information or opinions on these integrated amps or Anthem products in general? I'm especially interested in comparisons to NAD integrated amps.

Thanks.

kerelybonto
 
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kerelybonto

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Anyone?

kerelybonto
 
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carlo

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hey kerelybonto,

the int 1 and int 2 are really two very different beasts. i owned both for short periods a couple of years ago, but keep in mind that i haven't listened to either in at least a year and a half.

the int 1 might be a tad better as a soundstager, but gives up a lot of frequency extension (even after rolling the output tubes). its really just decent in all areas, nothing special. you're better served picking up a jolida or a host of other amps if you're looking for a big soundstage on a budget.

the int 2 was really interesting, two 6922s in the input stage and solid state afterwards. at the time it came out (mid-late 90s) it was a bit of a statement product for its price point. don't expect anything too tube like in performance, there's a tad of texture (especially on electric guitars) that hints at high end, only glaring weakness was the feeling that it was holding something back. this isn't an amp that sounds easy and effortless, but one that sounds like its trying really hard to sound really good. i always had the sensation that there was a veil between me and the music. if you go with it i highly recommend rolling the tubes to mullard 7308s for a tightening of the sound with better tone.

anthem was a hell of a cool company (i use the past tense since i never know what's going on at sfi nowadays, last i heard anthem will now be a home theater line). wima and mit multi-caps, holco resistors, overbuilt power supplies (which never ever get hot): the parts quality (as with sfi's stuff) is extraordinary at its price. the two best products they carried were probably the amp 1 and the cd-1, but both started getting outclassed by the competiton. i've modded the hell out of my pre1L to the point where its transparent and has a big and deep soundstage, but it took a change of the caps and a reworking of the power supply to get it there. the special edition models now being offered hopefully address a lot of the weaknesses of the original design, but i wouldn't know since i haven't tried them.

the nad integrateds (owned the c340 for a while, just auditioned the c370 a few months ago) only do one thing really, really well: a hint of tone. i've had the fleeting feeling of hearing microdynamics and the illusion of hearing deep into the recording, but they would each pass. neither are bad amps, especially with their ability to output a lot of watts into a tough load. both have a pretty poor soundstage where each performer lies in a plane about two feet deep, width is decent. i still feel they're mid bass heavy, and that the c340 has a habit of smearing a lot of detail. both amps convey dynamic swings and have a sweet (but rolled off) top end that serves it well for a lot of mid priced speakers. there's still a veil between you and the music, but it does sound like its pretty efoortless in presentation. should you decide to get the nad your very first move should be to change the jumper cables.

if you're looking between nad and anthem integrateds, narrow your search to the c370 and the anthem integrated 2. which you prefer will be dependent on the rest of your components and what your priorities in listening are. both amps are pretty smooth and unobtrusive, the anthem invites you to dig closer to the recording and is a good glimpse into high end. the nad is pleasant and basically a component i'd set, forget about, and think comes close to much more expensive components (but once i placed my reference gear back in the system it was obvious it didn't).

hope this helps a bit,
carlo.
 
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kerelybonto

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Thanks a lot carlo. That's the info I was looking for. By the way, been listening to a bit of Richard Hell and the Voidoids lately, haha.

Oh, I also posted a link to a Pre 1 on eBay in that other thread.

kerelybonto
 
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