ANTHEM STR PRE-AMP - 2 CHANNEL STEREO PRE-AMPLIFIER
Push the Power of Audio Control
The revolutionary STR Preamplifier is a new type of audio component that gives you more control and more refinements, including more connection options and more advanced technology, in a single, easy-to-use component.
Designed, engineered, and Crafted in Canada, the STR Preamplifier combines the benefits of an advanced preamp with the power of a processor, as well as functions like leading-edge DAC, onboard Anthem Room Correction (ARC™), customizable bass manager for mono or stereo sub outs, MM and MC phono inputs—far more than the average preamplifier.
And it includes new generations of many of Anthem’s award-winning, audiophile-loving, review-praised digital signal processing innovations, delivering a noticeably higher level of audio performance realism.
The new STR Preamplifier drives all of your entertainment options today, and tomorrow.
STR Preamplifier pictured with STR Power Amplifier (sold separately). Both models available in black or silver finishes.
STR Features & Functions
High-resolution preamplifier section
Anthem Room Correction (ARC™) optimizes in-room response for perfect sound
Bass management for two subwoofers, in mono or stereo
Up-sampling of lower-resolution sources to 32-bit/192kHz
Asynchronous USB Audio Input supports 32-bit/384kHz PCM, and DSD 2.8 / 5.6 MHz sources
Coaxial, optical, and AES/EBU inputs up to 192kHz
MM and MC phono, balanced XLR, and single-ended analog inputs
Six pre-RIAA curves plus adjustable settings for playing older records accurately
Analog Direct mode
Adjustable analog input levels to match sources, minimize noise and prevent distortion
Graphic front panel display for easy setup and navigation
Balanced output for all channels including the two subs
Home Theater Bypass Mode works without having to turn power on and includes RCA/XLR input for two subs
Create up to 30 virtual inputs for setup flexibility
Controllable via Ethernet, RS-232, or supplied IR remote
Available in Silver and Black Finishes
Crafted in Canada
Conversion from Digital to Analog
STR Preamplifier includes a high-resolution preamplifier and a digital section, with support for asynchronous USB up to 32-bit/384 kHz PCM and DSD 2.8/5.6 MHz sources. This high-quality USB audio input transforms digitally stored audio from your Windows or Mac computer into warm, natural analog sound.
str stack black
STR Preamplifier pictured with STR Power Amplifier (sold separately). Both models available in black or silver finishes.
Anthem Exclusive Innovations
The STR Preamplifier includes the newest and most powerful generation of Anthem Room Correction (ARC), with 50% more processing power than any other version of ARC. This proprietary calibration tool, with its easy-to-use interface, automatically shapes the acoustic signature of your speakers for the best possible sound quality in your unique listening space.
This is especially important for the lower frequencies.
Other innovations include a high- resolution preamplifier and digital section, which supports asynchronous USB up to 32-bit/384 kHz PCM and DSD 2.8/5.6 MHz sources, and uses signal processing that employs 64-bit accumulation and feedback to preserve the finest detail in the music and to avoid degradation. The digital to analog conversion section was designed to faithfully duplicate all the sounds in the original source.
To help achieve that effect for all input resolutions, a dedicated asynchronous 32-bit / 192 kHz sample rate conversion is used. This way, the DAC stage’s anti- imaging filter is optimized for this sampling rate alone, resulting in an audio frequency range that’s unmatched in purity, regardless of input format. In the process, the data gets reclocked, providing immunity from performance-marring source jitter.
Through the rest of the DAC circuitry, thin film high precision resistors and super low noise op-amps are used for lowest distortion, lowest noise, and most transparent sound. Other DAC units may boast about the performance of the DAC chip all by itself, but we view DAC stage design as a whole — there are no crippling bottlenecks anywhere in the DAC stage of the STR Preamplifier.
Aside from its cutting-edge technology, one look tells you that the STR Preamplifier is a different animal altogether. The display on the front panel gives you surprisingly easy control through an easy to navigate setup menu, and the luxurious and elegant new contemporary design is available in two beautiful finishes, Black or Silver.
More Subwoofer Options
The STR Preamplifier gives you more options for subwoofer configuration. Use one subwoofer or two for both channels, or two independent right-and-left channel-specific subwoofers. The bass management in conjunction with ARC is uniquely engineered for seamless subwoofer blending, achieving incredibly accurate and lifelike performance.
Moving Coil and Moving Magnet Phono
Anthem has also taken into consideration the resurgent popularity of vinyl records, and has included separate inputs for moving magnet and moving coil cartridges, with the phono section completely shielded to maintain a clean signal. The transparency and refinement of the STR Preamplifier reveals the hidden magic of classic media.
In addition, the phono curve is continuously adjustable for proper playback of any record that predates the RIAA equalization standard.
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STR Preamplifier - Rear View
Home Theater Bypass
The concept of combining a stereo preamplifier with a home theater system is taken to a whole new level. The STR Preamplifier supports two subwoofer channels in addition to the two fronts. XLR as well as RCA connection is provided for all channels, and HT Bypass mode engages while the preamp is on standby. This way, you don’t have to turn it on when watching movies. To allow the purest signal path, relays are employed to hard-wire the input jacks to the outputs — the STR Preamplifier essentially becomes a straight wire.
Clarity is maintained using carefully selected components, many of them engineered exclusively in-house at Anthem. We believe that two-channel listening demands attention to detail, with flawless signal integrity being the benchmark of stereo performance. To that ultimate end, the Anthem STR Preamplifier is designed with the shortest possible signal paths, and differential analog to digital circuitry to cancel artifacts and keep noise to a minimum.
The Crafted in Canada Difference
The STR Preamplifier is designed, engineered and manufactured in Canada and is part of premium STR Series by Anthem, the leader in audio power and control.
crafted in canada
Anthem Room Correction (ARC™)
A True Scientific Solution to the Problems of Your Room
What is ARC?
Anthem Room Correction (ARC™) is a proprietary digital signal processing system that allows you to quickly and accurately optimize the performance of your audio equipment to better suit the unique parameters of your room. By listening to your room’s acoustic signature, ARC can tune your equipment to correct for the performance-robbing effects (reflections, resonances, standing waves, etc.) of the various surfaces and other obstacles in your room. You’ll actually hear the difference ARC makes.
How does ARC work?
ARC digitally compares a room’s acoustic signature to that of the lab standard. It measures the response of each speaker relative to the listening area. Then it uses advanced algorithms to eliminate the negative effects of the obstacles in the room, adjusting response and correcting phase effects. When ARC removes the obstacles, what’s left is the lab standard performance.
ARC is easy to use, and just a few simple steps can optimize your speakers for your unique listening space. ARC is sophisticated, one of the most accurate and detailed digital room correction technologies available today. ARC will work tomorrow, too; with constant advances and updates available for download on the Anthem website.
How do you use ARC?
Now there are THREE ways to calibrate your system using ARC or ARC Mobile—each takes only a few minutes to complete.
Requirements: iOS device + ARC Mobile App
Download Anthem’s ARC Mobile app to your iOS device. This method uses your iOS device’s built-in microphone for measurements.
Requirements: iOS device + ARC Mobile App + ARC Universal Microphone
Download Anthem’s ARC Mobile app to an iOS device. Run the ARC app and select “ARC Universal Microphone,” connect the supplied 3.5 mm cord from your iOS device to the ARC Universal Microphone for measurements.
Requirements: Windows PC + ARC PC Software + ARC PC or Universal Microphone
Download and install Anthem’s ARC software to your Windows PC. Connect either the calibrated ARC PC Microphone or ARC Universal Microphone to your Windows PC, and connect your ARC-capable speaker or electronics with either the second USB cord or through a network connection. After running your measurements, you can customize the results, set up multiple configurations, and print correction curve graphs.
SOUNDS LIKE …
I started off a succession of listening sessions with the KEF R500s partnering the STR pre/power combination.
Comparing the pure analogue sound of the STR pre-amp with the ARC-managed digital inputs proved interesting: in the AVSA listening room, ARC certainly had the ability to tame and tauten any excessive mid-bass response, allowing a cleaner, more impactful representation.
As a result of the significant improvements in low-frequency definition and control, the overall sound picture was more incisively presented.
The effect of ARC further up the frequency scale was less pronounced in our particular room and with the two speaker pairs employed, but actual results will always depend on speaker set-up and positioning, and actual room acoustics.
The Anthem STR duo delivered a sound that was bold and attention-grabbing, with plenty of pace and an abundance of headroom. They took command of the music, regardless of genre, and always managed to extract the essence and intent of the performance.
Soundstaging was expansive, affording the sound plenty of spatial scope. That sense of wide-open space was further qualified and refined by an ability to believably recreate ambience and dimension, further contributing to a vivid, engrossing sound picture.
There was never any sense of exaggeration or artifice, however: large-scale works were presented with measured majesty and muscle, while more intimate performances retained the delicacy and nuance of the real thing.
The STRs presented their sonic wares with a burnished assurance that believably captured the timbre and texture of the music. Rather than clinically accurate, the sound was a smooth and endearing one.
That doesn’t mean that the trebles were rolled off, nor that the sound was warm in a valve-like, glowing way. There wasn’t any dulling of detail, either.
The tonal range was broad, extending from a deep, sonorous low-frequency foundation to upper trebles lucid enough to capture and project fine strands of detail.
The STR power amp is a muscular beast and never got even close to running out of steam, even at higher listening levels. It always sounded effortless and in control, and never robbed the music of pace or effervescence, while also affording it loads of dynamic scope.
As a result, there was a real sense of flow and momentum to the way the music was delivered, further adding to the appeal of the listening experience.
While the results with our KEF R500s were very favourable indeed, hooking up the STR combo to the unashamedly high-end Paradigm 5Fs allowed the class and capabilities of the pre/power duo to shine through even more vividly.
Of course, it also helps that Anthem and Paradigm are closely aligned, and that the Personas were used during the final development of the STR line-up.
As the larger Personas are able to reach down substantially lower down the tonal ladder than the KEFs, they also benefited more from the ARC’s attentions, and there was never any doubt that the overall delivery with ARC in play was consistently better.
Listening to the Tsuyoshi Yamamoto Trio’s rendition of ‘The Nearness Of You (from Midnight Sugar) was a revelation: the performance was vividly and persuasively portrayed, allowing each instrument to be closely examined while retaining the taut interplay between the musicians.
The Anthem system had no trouble reflecting the dynamics of the production, allowing the percussive impact and the delicate intricacies of Yamamoto’s piano to be portrayed with equal verve.
The rich timbre and eloquent attack of Isoo Fukui’s upright bass were perfectly preserved, while the carefully measured drumming of Tetsujiro Ohara was delivered with impeccable timing and presence.
With ARC, the delivery was tonally linear but never constrained or bland, allowing the low frequencies to be produced with measured power and authority, even at higher listening levels.
The stereo image was completely seamless and generously dimensioned, affording the three performers an almost physical presence on the soundstage. The delivery was so lucid and vivid that the illusion of hearing the actual performance, rather than a mere recording, was consistently and believably maintained.
Dire Straits’ classic, eponymous debut remains one of my favourites, and ‘Lions’ is as good a track as any of the more widely acknowledged hits accumulated by the outfit over the course of their career.
The bass lines on this track can be overbearing on less balanced systems, but here, the perfectly modulated control of the STR power amp and the clarity and detail of the pre-amp made for engaging, foot-tapping listening.
With the bass providing an almost physical foundation, the lead and rhythm guitars maintained a close and entertaining dialogue on either side.
The percussion provided an effervescent backdrop of pace, while Knopfler’s casually delivered vocals were set far back in the sound image. Despite the very apparent placement of the instruments, there was a thrilling cohesion to the mix that really brought the music to life.
Hans Zimmer’s sweeping sonic vistas and evocative, cinematic melodies have never been portrayed more vividly than on his Live In Prague set. It’s compelling listening, but also a stern test for a system because of its extended tonal range, complex arrangements and expansive, densely populated soundstage.
The STRs were able to portray the ‘Gladiator Medley’ on the set with both bold vigour and compassion, allowing not only the broad strokes and the arresting tempo of the music, but also the fine details and subtle tonal hues to be appreciated.
Again, it was the energy and the attack of the STRs that impressed, allowing the full impact and tempo of the music to be expressed with an almost visceral, emotive intensity.
But this is also music typified by extreme dynamic shifts, and the STRs were able to closely and confidently track those shifts, while also delving deep into the heart and soul of the music. The result engaging and spellbinding.
While the sheer density of the music often threatens to mask individual instruments, the clarity and purpose of the STR duo’s approach allowed exceptional insight, unravelling a sound that can all too easily sound oversaturated. Add a vast and enveloping sound image, and the listening could only be described as immersive.
Finally, if you want to hear acoustic bass that you as much feel and experience as hear, then Brian Bromberg’s aptly titled Wood is not to be missed.
On ‘Freedom Jazz Dance’, the bass is the solo star, without any distracting accompaniment, and the result is a virtuoso demonstration of both Bromberg’s musicianship, and the sheer breadth of sound and power that can be extracted from a acoustic double bass.
The solo instrument filled the room with a richness of tone and a hue that would threaten to become overwhelming in a less poised set-up.
However, the Anthem STRs were not in the least intimidated, easily following the intricacies of Bromberg’s playing and reflecting the full spectrum of the insturment’s tonal range and percussive traits. Bass will never be the same again …