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Anthem STR Preamplifier and STR Power Amplifier Preview



  • Product Name: STR Preamplifier and STR Power Amplifier
  • Manufacturer: Anthem Electronics
  • Review Date: September 26, 2017 01:00
  • MSRP: $4,000 STR Preamplifier; $6,000 STR Power Amplifier
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool

STR Preamplifier

  • High-resolution preamplifier
  • Anthem Room Correction (ARC) to optimize in-room response
  • Bass management for two subwoofers, in mono or stereo
  • Up-sampling of lower-resolution sources to 32-bit / 192 kHz
  • Asynchronous USB Audio Input supports 32-bit / 384 kHz PCM, and DSD 2.8 / 5.6 MHz sources
  • S/PDIF coaxial and optical, and balanced AES/EBU inputs
  • MM and MC phono, balanced XLR, and single-ended analog inputs
  • Analog Direct mode
  • Graphic front panel display for easy setup navigation
  • Controllable via Ethernet, RS-232, or supplied IR remote
  • 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

STR Power Amplifier

  • 400W/600W/800W continuous into 8/4/2 Ohms, both channels driven
  • Cascoded Complementary Feedback Input Stage
  • Sixteen Bipolar Output Devices Per Channel
  • Multi-Mono Design
  • Massive Toroidal Transformers
  • Soft Turn-On
  • Four Power On/Off Options
  • No Rail Fuses
  • Advanced Load Monitoring Technology
  • Graphic front panel display for the power meter, status, and easy setup navigation

Last year at CEDIA Anthem released a brand new integrated amplifier dubbed the STR. We previewed the STR Integrated Amplifier, we learned it was built on an entirely new platform and amplifier technology than previous models. The STR integratd amplifier featured a fresh industrial design and premium audio circuit components. This year at CEDIA in San Diego, California, Anthem is releasing their STR Preamplifier and STR Power Amplifier. Like the STR integrated amplifier, the new separates will both feature a fresh industrial design and premium audio circuit components. The entire series is proudly designed, engineered, and Crafted in Canada.

STR Preamplifier

The STR Preamplifier is based on an entirely new platform. The new system offers audiophiles more control and refinements and more connection options, all in a single, easy-to-use component. The STR Preamplifier allows for the addition of power amplification from an individual unit, for audio enthusiasts who prefer separates. 

We’ve really liked the proprietary room correction software that Anthem has used in its past units so we were happy to see that The STR preamplifier combines the benefits of an advanced pre-amp with the power of ARC room correction. The customizable bass manager for mono or stereo sub outs, MM and MC phono inputs, the STR Preamplifier should offer far more than most other preamplifiers on the market.

The unit also provides output for two subwoofers, and the Home Theater Bypass function allows it to be combined with a home theater system.


Backview of Anthem STR Preamp and Power Amp

STR Power Amplifier

The STR Power Amplifier contains two powerful independent class AB “monoblock” amplifiers. Each channel is self-contained on its own glass-epoxy circuit board and pair of heat sinks, and features its own transformer. All these modification should allow the amplifiers to deliver stable, continuous power at high outputs without affecting one another, even when driving at low impedances. It's interesting that Anthem chose good old fashion linear AB design instead of the more efficient Class D designs that some of their competitors have moved to. Many Class D designs have problems driving low impedance loads at full power bandwidth so it's no surprise why Anthem took the more conservative route by using proven amplifier technology.

The STR Power Amplifier doles out 400 Watts/channel into 8 Ohms with both channels driven (450W single channel), a massive 600 Watts/channel into 4 Ohms (both channels driven) and 800W in 2 Ohms for true no-holds-barred performance. The fact that Anthem rates this amplifier into 2 ohms tells you something about it's robustness in design.

Eight low-noise bipolar input devices are configured in a complementary active-load cascaded feedback arrangement that should reduce distortion, create an exceptional linear response, and wide bandwidth. Designers incorporated sixteen bipolar output devices per channel. The use of multiple bipolar output devices should also help reduce distortion and greatly increase its ability to provide high current into low impedance loads.  

The STR Preamplifier will retail for $3,999, and the STR Power Amplifier will retail for $5,999 and will begin shipping Fall 2017.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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Tony is our resident expert for lifestyle and wireless products including soundbars. He does most of the reviews for wireless and streaming loudspeakers and often compares soundbars in round ups and helps us cover the trade shows.

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