- Written by John E. Johnson, Jr.
- Published on 11 May 2012
The Anthem P2 Power Amplifier In Use
OK, so here was the setup for testing: OPPO BDP-95 universal player, Denon AVP-A1HDCI SSP, Classé CA-5200 multi-channel power amplifier (5 x 200 watts), Anthem P2 driving the front main left and right ESL speakers (Threshold ES-500), Paradigm Reference Signature C5 center channel speaker, and Final Sound ESLs for the surrounds. Cables were Emotiva.
First, let me say that the reason the Classé was shutting down when I played the system loud with the movie shown below, is that the CA-5200 is fully balanced, and this reduces the ability to play into unusually low impedance loads. Secondly, ESLs have low sensitivity, so you have to crank up the volume control more to have high volume than you would with high sensitivity speakers. So, the CA-5200 works for 99% of my listening (no problem with my music listening, just the movie sound tracks which have explosive sequences). Third, the CA-5200 is rated at 200 watts into 8 ohms. I also have a pair of Classé CA-M600 monoblocks, which are rated at 600 watts RMS output. Those have no problem with the sound tracks, but they are in use in another lab.
So, on with the movies.
The scene I was having trouble with is chapter 3 from House of Flying Daggers. It's the dance scene where the heroine responds to crystals being thrown against numerous drums that encircle her by flinging sashes from her silk robe against the same drums that the crystals struck. There are very intense, very high frequencies, and the Threshold speakers have very low impedance at high frequencies.
Well, regardless of the volume, there was no shutdown of either the CA-5200 or the P2 (the rear channels are also ESLs, but surround channels have sound levels much lower than the mains). If I had turned the volume up any louder, my ears would have gone into shutdown, but not the amplfiiers. If you don't have this film on Blu-ray, get it, because it is great for demos with your friends. Not the entire movie, just chapter 3.
Here is another movie that is not all that great in storytelling, but chapter 22, the attack scene, is wonderful as a demo of your home theater, and it is also the best air attack war movie scene I have ever encountered. Again, when the machine guns were firing, bullets were ricocheting, and bombs were exploding, the P2 handled those Carver Mark IV's with a steel grip; no problemo, and this is a scene where it would be ridiculous to watch at low volume.
I also listened to some surround sound SACDs, and the P2 fit right in with the beautiful sound of the CA-5200, which, by the way, like the P2, is made in Canada.
With that problem now out of the way, let's take a look at the performance on the bench.