Anthem STR Preamp

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Mike-48

Sorry, no.
« Reply #40 on: 10 Jun 2020, 08:09 am »
Anybody have an experience with the phono section of this preamp? Seems like everything I read is about it's digital playback abilities.
Kevin T

Kevin, I for one have no experience with the phono section, other than to notice that it has a lot of interesting options (loading choices and user-specifiable RIAA or other EQ curves). I've been tempted to get a turntable, but I have more music in digital formats that I'll listen to in my lifetime.

cameraman

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Re: Anthem STR Preamp
« Reply #41 on: 30 Jul 2020, 07:41 pm »
I've ordered the Anthem STR Preamp and I have searched but not found if the STR Preamp supports iPod playback or not. One feature I take advantage of with my Oppo HA-1 Headphone amp/Preamp is iPod/iPhone support via USB.

Made for iPod®, iPhone® and iPad®
The HA-1 passes Apple's "MFi" certification and is compatible with the latest iPod, iPhone and iPad to be used as the digital audio output accessory of these devices. By tapping directly into the digital audio signal of these devices and converting the audio to analog using the high performance SABRE 32 Reference DAC, music from your favorite portable device will sound its best.


https://www.oppodigital.com/headphone-amplifier-ha-1/

I have all my CD's saved as Apple Lossless in iTunes and just plugging my apple device allows me to use the HA-1 DAC and bypass the iPhone or iPod DAC. Does the STR Preamp support this? I understand I would need an iPhone lightning to USB-B male or A to B adapter. The Oppo HA-1 works direct, if the Anthem doesn't would it work with an Apple CCK Lightning to USB Camera Adapter?

If not, or even if it does, how about using a USB stick with FLAC? Would this allow playlists, albums, etc? I am a bit surprised there isn't a Type A USP connection on the front.

Mike-48

Re: Anthem STR Preamp
« Reply #42 on: 30 Jul 2020, 09:34 pm »
I've ordered the Anthem STR Preamp and I have searched but not found if the STR Preamp supports iPod playback or not. One feature I take advantage of with my Oppo HA-1 Headphone amp/Preamp is iPod/iPhone support via USB.

[...]

I have all my CD's saved as Apple Lossless in iTunes and just plugging my apple device allows me to use the HA-1 DAC and bypass the iPhone or iPod DAC. Does the STR Preamp support this? I understand I would need an iPhone lightning to USB-B male or A to B adapter. The Oppo HA-1 works direct, if the Anthem doesn't would it work with an Apple CCK Lightning to USB Camera Adapter?

If not, or even if it does, how about using a USB stick with FLAC? Would this allow playlists, albums, etc? I am a bit surprised there isn't a Type A USP connection on the front.

I'm not an Apple user, so I can't answer Apple-specific questions with any authority. But I'll make an educated guess.

The STR's USB input is compatible with USB sources like computers, so if your iPod can actively send a signal to its USB output, like a Mac Mini can, it should work.

I'm pretty sure the STR will not play files from a plain storage device such as a USB disk or thumb drive. An ordinary DAC-preamp, even one with USB input, does not have a way of browsing and selecting music -- it expects that you will feed it the track you want to play. Oppo added an mpd program to its devices to browse passive sources, which I'd say makes the HA-1 a player/headphone amp, rather than a pure headphone amp. The Anthem does not have that ability.

Since Apple is so popular, perhaps Anthem Tech Support will be knowledgeable about what can't and can't be done.

Good luck with it!


cameraman

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Re: Anthem STR Preamp
« Reply #43 on: 30 Jul 2020, 11:39 pm »
Thanks @Mike-48

I will have an Oppo BDP-103 connected to the STR Preamp via RCA connections and I believe the 103 does support USB FLAC playback so if the iPhone/iPod/iPad digital USB connection doesn't work I have an alternative. Not sure what DAC I would be using but the 103 has a pretty good one regardless.I am hoping the i device direct connection works but getting a clear answer has been spotty. I have asked my dealer and they "think" it will work. I asked Anthem support and they punted, told me to ask my dealer. Not for this question but for a previous one dealing with how to activate a trigger when in standby mode and using HT Bypass.

For that I learned how to make a Y-cable with diodes and connect the trigger cable to both my AVR and STR Preamp.

Thanks again.

mijostyn

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Re: Anthem STR Preamp
« Reply #44 on: 31 Jul 2020, 01:03 am »
The Anthem STR is an excellent buy in a full function digital preamp. Only the Trinnov Amethyst and the TACT 2.2X are better. TACT is out of business and the Trinnov is three times the price. I have been using the TACT for 20 years. I have had a chance to play with the STR. Although it is not as versatile as the TACT and Trinnov it does the job wonderfully in most situations.

These units are essential for the best Hi FI performance. Why? Digital subwoofer integration is worlds beyond anything you can do in the analog domain. You can easily correct phase and time aberrations which can not be done analog never mind correct frequency response. The result is the subwoofers disappear leaving only bass.
Next is imaging. Two identical loudspeakers will not have exactly the same frequency response. Then they occupy different positions in the room causing additional response aberrations. Relative volume between the speakers is crucial for locating sounds. If one speaker is louder at say 1000 Hz the image skews to that side. If the other speaker is louder at 500 Hz the image skews to that side and what you get is a vague image. Room control assures that the frequency response of both speakers is exactly the same leaving a perfectly focused image. No analog system can do this.
The improvement is such that I will never be without this capability. I digitize my phono amp with a Benchmark ADC so that I can run it through my TACT and get the benefit.
 
qGO FOR IT!! There is a learning curve but the STR is easier to set up than My TACT. Once you are use to it and hear what it can do for your system you will never live without it. I promise! Then if you want to have fun you can mess around with the frequency response of your system and learn what changes at various frequencies will do to the over all sound of the system. Lots of fun. It is a super equalizer.





 

WGH

Re: Anthem STR Preamp
« Reply #45 on: 31 Jul 2020, 01:56 am »

I will have an Oppo BDP-103 connected to the STR Preamp via RCA connections and I believe the 103 does support USB FLAC playback so if the iPhone/iPod/iPad digital USB connection doesn't work I have an alternative. Not sure what DAC I would be using but the 103 has a pretty good one regardless

I have both the Oppo BDP-103 and an Anthem AVM 60, which would be similar in many ways to the STR preamp. The Oppo's DAC is it's only weak spot, compared to a stand alone DAC the sound is muddled. I would use either a 75 ohm coaxial or optical cable from the Oppo to the Anthem for two reasons:

1.) Hi-res audio into the Anthem stays Hi-res, the Oppo's RCA output is always 16/44.1.

2.) Keeping the signal digital ensures the best results when using ARC Genesis, inputs can have multiple profiles so you can listen with ARC Off or On by using the remote.

jd3

Re: Anthem STR Preamp
« Reply #46 on: 31 Jul 2020, 03:52 pm »
I ended up getting a replacement preamp from Crutchfield and it's worked great.  I actually had unplugged the first pre I had for a couple days, then plugged it back in and the HT bypass worked(!?)  I'd already gone through the return process with the first one so I waited til I received the replacement.  I have to say the STR's dac (to me) sounds as good as the Benchmark I had.  I'm running my SalkStream into the dac input using Roon and it does sound very good with the ARC engaged.  I recently bought one of Dusty's CIA DMC 1's and I've got that connected via RCA's.  It's dac is very close to the STR's, though I do seem to get a touch more space and air around the music.  Since it's analog in though I lose ARC. 

cameraman

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Re: Anthem STR Preamp
« Reply #47 on: 31 Jul 2020, 09:44 pm »
I have both the Oppo BDP-103 and an Anthem AVM 60, which would be similar in many ways to the STR preamp. The Oppo's DAC is it's only weak spot, compared to a stand alone DAC the sound is muddled. I would use either a 75 ohm coaxial or optical cable from the Oppo to the Anthem for two reasons:

1.) Hi-res audio into the Anthem stays Hi-res, the Oppo's RCA output is always 16/44.1.

2.) Keeping the signal digital ensures the best results when using ARC Genesis, inputs can have multiple profiles so you can listen with ARC Off or On by using the remote.

Interesting, I had thought the opposite based on the manual. I'll need to read it again more closely. I don't think I can play my SACD's via coax/optical. This will all make more sense when I get the unit.

Thanks.
 
Due to bandwidth limitations, high resolution audio formats such as Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby
TrueHD, DTS-HD High Resolution and DTS-HD Master Audio cannot be sent through the
coaxial or optical digital audio output. A reduced resolution version of the same audio track
will be output instead. To listen to high resolution audio formats in their best quality, please
use the HDMI connection if you have a receiver that handles HDMI audio (see page 11) or
use the multi-channel analog outputs if you do not (see page 16).


Then it says:

Coaxial/Optical Audio: up to 2ch/192kHz PCM, Dolby Digital, DTS.

I'm getting there, thanks.

WGH

Re: Anthem STR Preamp
« Reply #48 on: 1 Aug 2020, 01:42 am »
I missed the SACD part, I was thinking of hi-res flac files. The SACD output is limited to the RCA outputs which is too bad, it may be CD quality or some lossy core format.

Oppo manual page 66: SACD Output: (any – SACD is not available through optical/coaxial outputs)

The Oppo BDP-103 DAC really is horrible, I tried it with CD's when my music server SSD failed, a friend was over and we both agreed the sound was a non-starter. I ended up using an optical cable into my AVA DAC and the sound was acceptable but still not as good as the music server. Too bad Anthem didn't include a HDMI input (but then it would be an AVM 60).

A de-embedder such as the Atlona AT-HD570 or the Kramer FC-46 may work but this tech is above my pay grade. I don't know if it will work with your Oppo or SACD's, sounds like a grand experiment.
Here is a post with an explanation, scroll to the bottom:

"My DAC (Lucid DA 9624) is limited to 24/96 resolutions, so I get 88.2 lock on the front panel display indicator. If you have a 192K capable DAC, you should get that bitstream [optical out] from the de-embedder."
https://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/2-channel-sacd-through-optical.209511/

There is a Kramer HDMI Audio De-Embedder FC-46 on eBay for $40.

cameraman

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Re: Anthem STR Preamp
« Reply #49 on: 1 Aug 2020, 02:20 am »
It will be a couple weeks before I get my system set up. I'm also getting back in to vinyl. I have around 150 old LP's but they are old and were played hard during beer infused college and single days parties. I've invested enough that I'm afraid the rabbit hole is getting me.

FLAC should work, I think the USB with the Apple Camera connector will allow a direct digital connection to my iPhone/iPad to play lossless. I can use my Macbook Pro, I hope I can find an optimal way to play CD's even if I need to add a dedicated transport.

Thanks.

Mike-48

Re: Anthem STR Preamp
« Reply #50 on: 1 Aug 2020, 02:37 am »
A dedicated transport is the way to do it, unless you want to use an optical drive in or connected to the laptop.

I used a Simaudio 260D with good results, but because I used it so rarely, I sold it.

I've read good reports from owners of the Cambridge CXC v.2 and the Audiolab 6000CDT. Of course, there are many more, starting with any inexpensive DVD or Blu-Ray player with an SPDIF output.

Have fun setting up the system!

richidoo

Re: Anthem STR Preamp
« Reply #51 on: 1 Aug 2020, 02:57 am »
Back in the napster days, the SACD standard was created as much for improved copyright protection as it was for improved signal quality. Unlocked SPDIF output was never available on any consumer device.

I'm enjoying my STR preamp immensely. l like the single ended RCA preamp outputs better than the balanced XLR preamp outputs, even though my amp is fully balanced circuit, I use RCA adapters.

I'm still just using Sonos' SPDIF coax for my digital content. Sonos is a notoriously high jitter source, which was audible on most of my previous DACs. But Sonos sounds fine on STR so I've not felt the need to setup a USB source even though I have a sms200. I hope it will sound even better.

I deleted all but the 3 inputs that we actually use and labelled them with personal names (Radio, Sonos, TV) so my wife loves using the preamp for music and TV. She also immediately noticed (as did I) the big improvement in SQ over my old DAC.

I tried ARC using the default automatic settings but wasn't too impressed. It "flattened" the sound. But I hadn't read the ARC instructions yet so I didn't do it correctly. I am still looking forward to playing with ARC and seeing what it can do when given the attention it deserves.

cameraman

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 31
Re: Anthem STR Preamp
« Reply #52 on: 1 Aug 2020, 03:06 pm »
Back in the napster days, the SACD standard was created as much for improved copyright protection as it was for improved signal quality. Unlocked SPDIF output was never available on any consumer device.

I'm enjoying my STR preamp immensely. l like the single ended RCA preamp outputs better than the balanced XLR preamp outputs, even though my amp is fully balanced circuit, I use RCA adapters.

I'm still just using Sonos' SPDIF coax for my digital content. Sonos is a notoriously high jitter source, which was audible on most of my previous DACs. But Sonos sounds fine on STR so I've not felt the need to setup a USB source even though I have a sms200. I hope it will sound even better.

I deleted all but the 3 inputs that we actually use and labelled them with personal names (Radio, Sonos, TV) so my wife loves using the preamp for music and TV. She also immediately noticed (as did I) the big improvement in SQ over my old DAC.

I tried ARC using the default automatic settings but wasn't too impressed. It "flattened" the sound. But I hadn't read the ARC instructions yet so I didn't do it correctly. I am still looking forward to playing with ARC and seeing what it can do when given the attention it deserves.

Interesting preference on using RCA Preamp outputs and not balanced XLR. What RCA adapters, just a cable adapter or a device that does level and impedance conversion?

With a Pro amp to drive my subwoofers and a Bryston 6BSST to drive my mains I was planning on using XLR. My AVR does not have XLR and if I read correctly, for HT Bypass to work the HT Bypass input type has to match the Preamp output type since the STR can't convert input/output types while in standby.

I have a Henry Engineering Twinmatch HD I am considering using. It will convert my AVR F/L/, F/R, Sub 1 and Sub 2 RCA preouts to XLR inputs to the STR. I''m not sure what that might do to sound quality but even if there is a slight degradation, it won't impact 2-channel which is the priority. My preamp to amp cable runs will also be around 20 feet since the amps are in a different room.

https://henryeng.com/twinmatch-hd/

I will need to figure out what to set the gains at in the Twinmatch HD and the STR.

Thanks.

Mike-48

Re: Anthem STR Preamp
« Reply #53 on: 1 Aug 2020, 05:05 pm »
For what it's worth, I use balanced connections from the STR to my Bryston amp and to my subs, and it sounds great.

ADDED LATER: I think your plan to use the Henry Engineering Twinmatch HD is a good one. It's often said that the best conversion is via a studio-grade transformer, but conversion devices using those are costly ($500 and up). I am not a fan of simple adapters that short or leave open one of the active legs of the balanced side, as they sometimes cause hum problems, among other things. The Henry seems like a nice solution, of intermediate cost and complexity.

« Last Edit: 1 Aug 2020, 08:33 pm by Mike-48 »

richidoo

Re: Anthem STR Preamp
« Reply #54 on: 1 Aug 2020, 05:51 pm »
Plain cable adapter.
I find all three of the outputs sound a little different.