Another itch scratched - Anthem M1

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callen24
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Another itch scratched - Anthem M1

Postby callen24 » Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:30 pm

Another itch scratched – Anthem M1 monos

Introduction
I had read Richard Lowe's comments on these Amps, and have now lived with them for a week.
I have been fortunate to have at least a week of listening to the same system with x300s, ncores (david H loan), and now

anthem M1.
I think Richard was cautious in his reviews.
I didn’t try and listen to much until i'd listened to them for 6 hours for 3 days.
On the forth day I listened to some CD rips via the streamx2 with my biased, unschooled ears.
I hadn’t listened to Dark side of the Moon for a while, so I listened to it straight through.
Then I put on Neil youngs unplugged, listened to that straight through.
Id never heard either of them sound so good, not just some elements, but the whole balance.
I have previously asserted that hifi will only ever be a facsimile, but having sat next to drummers, and people playing bass, then now comparing them with my current experience I started to question this assertion.
I am not keen on loud, overblown low notes that you find even in some expensive kit, but this was different, the notes were resolved, defined, totally unmuddled.
Kettle drums on a classical piece sounded like kettle drums.
I put on Elton John's
“the king must Die”
Then
Supertramp's
“Crime of the Century”

dave brubeck
"u square dance"

I was just astounded.

Having had both Ncores and x300 driving these speakers it was a bit of a shock because neither had hinted what these VABBG could deliver in terms of sound. The character felt very similar to ncores, but a big step ahead.
But now the down side.
It was tiring, it was exhausting. I exchanged a few messages with Richard Lowe, his experience had been the opposite, when he had them driving VABBG. He had used a DAC XP as the pre.
So there was a mismatch somewhere.

Change No2
Thinking that the DAC might be the culprit I tried the CDi and then vinyl directly to my MFA pre. Both were less tiring, but listening for long periods was not a relaxing experience

Change No3
I tried to recreate Richards experience by taking the MFA out of the loop, using the Oppo HA!SE as the pre/Dac.
Straightaway the harshness, the tiring nature was gone.
It sounded really enjoyable, but keeping most of the positive traits enjoyed in the first interation that I tried. Until they went back to the dealer, that is how I ran the Anthems . I enjoyed every minute of listening, all types of music.

Conclusion
In the end I am still am MFA fanboy.
The system I have already will never exploit the VABBG full capabilities but it gives a soundstage, and placement of different elements in that soundstage, that the Oppo HA1Se as the pre amp could not.
Taking out the MFA gave a really good balance, and a certain undefinable magic at times.
But restoring my normal system gives me more of that undefinable magic, more often. And it is rarely tiring.
If I was a person who just comes home from work and listens to one album a day I might have tried to buy these amps, but Im lucky that I listen to the stereo at least 5 hours everyday.
The same with if I was someone who listens to mainly classical. The Anthems really suited this type of music.
But I can imagine with a DAC xp the listener would just get loads of enjoyment, not thought previously possible.

Notes
1. You don’t need MCbus for these amps. I usually avoid input activated settings on amps, but these are silent, with no light, and made less noise than when the x300s come on, using the manual setting.
2. They are compact and anonymous, not heavy, give off little heat, are completely relaxed and unfussed. You could add a third on top for a centre channel with no fuss at all.
3. I worried about unleashing the power and used the minus 6db setting. I needn’t have worried. Tried the normal setting as well. Went back to minus 6db because it gave me more fine volume control.
4. I use the system for TV, speech with the Anthems was much clearer, sometimes it's muffled with x300s
Last edited by callen24 on Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:27 am, edited 2 times in total.
cyrus stream X2, CDi, Oppo HA-1SE, IMFs, Baby classicMk3, Mono X300,  VA Beethoven Baby Grand
ML binarystar digital, DenchXLR, RFCneptune RCA, VanDamme OFC spk cable. AG 500 ac regenerator and Townsend Seismic sink stand.
rega P3-24, psu, elys2, Clearaudio nano

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Re: Another itch scratched - Anthem M1

Postby argustimewas » Sun Oct 08, 2017 6:23 am

Thank you for the time and effort you put into this interesting and clear review Chris.
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Re: Another itch scratched - Anthem M1

Postby RichardLowe » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:09 am

A real pity you couldn't find a balance that suited you Chris. The Anthem's are brilliant amps, and at less than £2k for the pair should make someone very happy. Your review has also pointed out what I found, the VA BBG speakers are very capable speakers.
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Re: Another itch scratched - Anthem M1

Postby Joe » Sun Oct 08, 2017 1:06 pm

I've had similar experiences where kit that makes you sit up and take notice starts to grate with general day to day listening. I also have the Hi-fi playing at low levels for a few hours most days.
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Re: Another itch scratched - Anthem M1

Postby callen24 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:22 am

Joe wrote:I've had similar experiences where kit that makes you sit up and take notice starts to grate with general day to day listening. I also have the Hi-fi playing at low levels for a few hours most days.


joe, they were never harsh, or tiring when the mfa was removed, and the oppo was the pre
it was a close run thing
infact i'm now regretting that i didn't try them with
a) the dark knight soundtrack
b) some genesis like "keep it dark"
cyrus stream X2, CDi, Oppo HA-1SE, IMFs, Baby classicMk3, Mono X300,  VA Beethoven Baby Grand
ML binarystar digital, DenchXLR, RFCneptune RCA, VanDamme OFC spk cable. AG 500 ac regenerator and Townsend Seismic sink stand.
rega P3-24, psu, elys2, Clearaudio nano