Anthem Statement D1 Preamp-Processor & Statement P5 Power Amplifier Page 2
There are also three useful equalization controls. THX Boundary Gain Compensation corrects the balance for a listening or speaker position too near a wall, which can result in bloated bass. Center EQ compensates for the response deviations that can result from placing a center channel atop a large TV (it's adjustable for set size). And the Room Resonance Filter is a single band of parametric equalization on the subwoofer channel for tuning out the most troublesome low-frequency room peak. I did not use these features for this review, but I found the Center EQ and Room Resonance Filter useful when I used the D1 in my review of the Focal-JMlab Diva Utopia Be speaker system.
Describing the circuit features of the D1 risks technobabble to rival that of Star Trek: dual Motorola DSP engines operating at warp—um—150 MIPS, dual 3Mbit/8ns external cache memory, a four-layer motherboard with dual independent six-layer converter boards for separate analog and digital layers, analog input-level control via Crystal analog attenuators in differential mode, Wima capacitors of metalized polyester and polypropylene, Nichicon coupling capacitors, magnetically shielded toroidal power transformers, and a phase-compensated main deflector dish. OK, maybe not that last one, though I could swear I saw it somewhere in Anthem's extensive literature.
The D1 also provides upconversion of all digital sources, including Dolby Digital and DTS, to 24-bit/192kHz resolution. Together with 128x oversampling, this allows the D/A converters to use gentle third-order filters, which Anthem argues results in flatter high-frequency response and lower harmonic distortion and noise. The upsampling and oversampling circuits cannot be bypassed, so I could not assess their contribution to the sound of the D1 separately from the unit's overall performance.
The Many Modes of the D1
For Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks, the D1 may be configured for 5.1-, 6.1-, or 7.1-channel operation. Full THX processing is provided for any of these setups. THX has now dubbed the 7.1-channel configuration "Advanced Speaker Array" or ASA—concerned, no doubt, that we were all growing bored with the old acronyms and needed new ones. The name overpopulation continues with THX MusicMode, designed to produce 7.1-channel playback from discrete 5.1-channel music sources, such as DVD-Audio and SACD. These high-resolution formats cannot be played back in this mode if the multichannel analog inputs are set up in analog-bypass mode.
The mode explosion continues with the offerings for 2-channel material. Stereo is your home-room here, providing a conventional 2-speaker playback (with or without subwoofer, depending on your chosen setup). For surround simulation from a 2-channel source, Dolby Pro Logic IIx Music/Movie/Game and THX Game modes are included in the latest version of the D1's software (1.1). As originally released (software version 1.0), the unit had Pro Logic II only (Pro Logic II without the "x" suffix is limited to 5.1 channels). The processor also includes both of the DTS competitors to Pro Logic IIx: DTS Neo:6 Music and Cinema can both simulate up to 6.1 channels. Anthem also has its own surround simulation mode for 2-channel sources, AnthemLogic Music (up to 6.1 channels, with no center channel) and AnthemLogic Cinema (up to 7.1 channels, including a center).
There are a few other modes for completists (though thankfully not the usual Stadium, Church, Jazz Club, or the ever-popular Bottom of a Well). These modes include both Mono and Mono Academy settings. The latter, designed in the 1930s to mask soundtrack hiss, is handy mainly for very old films—though many of these will be already have been noise-reduced in the DVD-transfer process.
While the D1 may be controlled from its front panel, many important functions can be accessed only from the multi-device, learning remote. The remote is a generic, rather fussy affair with a lot of buttons whose lettering is often hard to read, even with the backlighting provided. Many owners will graduate to a more user-friendly universal remote or one of those cutting-edge, touchscreen systems that seem to breed mainly in the warm environment of custom home-theater installations.
I never grew to love the D1's remote, but once I got past its multifunction buttons, I was okay. The button used to call up the setup menu, for example, is the same button used to make on-the-fly adjustments to both the subwoofer and the LFE levels. Press it once to adjust the overall subwoofer level; press it again to adjust just the LFE portion of the subwoofer output. Press and hold it for a few seconds to enter the setup mode.
Once past that hurdle, you'll have little trouble configuring the D1 if you have even limited experience setting up a surround pre-pro or receiver. The procedure as described in the owner's manual appears much more complicated than it actually is. The secret is to rely on the onscreen setup menus together with the remote. There are readouts on the front panel's information window as well, but they aren't nearly as useful as the main onscreen menus. But remember that you'll have to use a composite or S-video connection to your video display to see these menus.
There are 12 major steps in the setup menu. If you're a novice at this and find it confusing to wing it by referring to the menus alone, each step is explained reasonably well in the manual. Setting up the Room Resonance Filter is potentially the most complex part of the configuration process, and I recommend that you don't mess with it until you become comfortable with the D1's operation and sound in your system. (Leave the Apply Filter control set to Off.) The instructions provided in the manual for setting up this filter are rather skimpy, and there is no automatic setup function. Anthem might want to consider providing more detail for making use of this feature—particularly for inexperienced users who plan to set up the D1 without the assistance of a knowledgeable custom installer or dealer.
I began my evaluation by listening to the amplifier by itself on 2-channel music. The system was different from the one I would later use for the final listening tests. The DVD player was the Ayre DX-7, the preamp-processor was the TACT TCS MkII (with its Theater Correction functions bypassed—that is, without equalization), and the speakers were the Energy Veritas v2.8s, driven full range with no subwoofer.
The amplifier kept a respectably tight rein on the Veritas' bass and midbass, which can sound too rich and warm with the wrong system and setup. The bottom end was powerful and the midbass was punchy and clean. The midrange and treble sparkled with realistic detail. A refined sense of air and space, solid imaging, and excellent depth fully realized the large, majestic soundstage these speakers are capable of.
In a brief but controlled comparison, a vintage Proceed AMP5 power amp was a little less silky-sounding, a little less sweet, and a bit harder, cooler, and dryer. But the difference was subtle, and at my preferred listening levels (loud but not ear-piercing), the power output advantage of the Anthem P5 was not obvious. (The Proceed is rated at 125Wpc into 8Ω.)
In short, the Anthem P5 demonstrated all the best characteristics of good solid-state design: iron-fisted control of the speakers (particularly in the low frequencies), power for any practical application (and some not-so-practical ones!), detail to die for, and a pleasing but not overblown warmth. Audiophiles searching for a lush tube sound in a solid-state amp won't find it here, but I can't imagine anyone else finding the tank-like P5 lacking in any respect—except perhaps portability!