Published On: December 28, 2009

Anthem PVA-8 Multi-Channel Amplifier Reviewed

Published On: December 28, 2009

Anthem PVA-8 Multi-Channel Amplifier Reviewed

With 125 watts for each of its eight channels, the big PVA-8 from Anthem should satisfy the power needs for even the largest home theater systems. At only $2,299, its even priced so that most people can afford it.

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When considering the choice of purchasing a high quality multi-channel amplifier, it's always good to go with a brand name that personifies superior audio manufacturing quality. And one of the most prestigious audio companies in this highly esteemed category has to be Anthem. Not only does Anthem's design team pay attention to every detail when building an audio component's inner circuitry, this company also creates multi-channel amplifiers that deliver pure unadulterated power to every audio system they are hooked up with. The $2,299 PVA-8 eight-channel amplifier has applications for new-school home theater systems and home automation systems alike. With 9.2 surround sound becoming "the next thing," who has enough channels of solid power these days?

The Anthem PVA-8 has a total weight of over forty-seven pounds, stands almost six inches in height and has a width of over seventeen inches. This amplifier pushes out 125 watts of power throughout all eight of its channels and contains eight pairs of binding posts with one relay trigger, insuring that the PVA-8 will be able to handle most moderate speaker systems with real-world power that you simply cannot get even from today's high-end AV receivers.
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During my time with the Anthem PVA-8, I was surprised at this power amp's ability to propel clean and concise audio throughout the audio spectrum without even a hiccup, across a variety of pretty demanding speakers ranging from in-walls to bookshelf models to modest floor standing speakers from Anthem's big brother, Paradigm. Songs that featured acoustic guitar sounded crisp and clean, while electronic keyboard progressions really came alive with a good degree of vibrancy that other multi-channel amplifiers I've auditioned haven't come close to achieving. In-walls brimmed with dynamics in ways other multi-zone amps normally don't provide.

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High Points
• You gotta love Anthem's easy-to-use binding posts for easy installation. Anyone who has jammed quality speaker cables (9 channels of them these days) into the back of an over-crowed receiver will appreciate how easy it is to install the PVA-8.
• Audiophiles could easily live with the sound of this 125 watt per channel amp across two channels even if it is piped into other rooms of the house.
• No receiver I have ever heard has the balls, weight or manhood that the Anthem PVA-8 has. This includes the $4,000 feature-queen receivers out there on the market today. If you have more than one zone in your home - consider a more significant amp for the application.
• Compared to other multi-channel amps, the PVA-8 is not so physically heavy that it will rupture a disc in your back or crack a rack shelf.

Low Points
• 125 watts per channel of real power is a good amount of juice for most systems but for larger rooms or for people with the need to (as Spinal Tap once sang) "make some eardrums bleed" you might need more power. Be careful to look into the stated efficiency of your speakers. If you are north of 90dB and your room isn't gigantic - you should be more than fine. If you in the 88dB or lower range or you have a theater room with lots of space or open walls, you might need more power.
• The look of the Anthem PVA-8 isn't as sexy as some of the other products in the Anthem line in terms of industrial design, but when all are lined up in a nice rack - they can look pretty happening.

Conclusion
Anthem has a winner on its hands with the $2,299 PVA-8 multi-channel amp. It can kick the snot out of an AV receiver on all fronts when it comes to powering multiple speakers. It can also woo an audiophile with engaging musical playback and it can draw even a jaded home theater enthusiast into the dialog of a movie with ease. For those of us with music piped into nearly every room of the house - it's reasonable to consider ordering more than one Anthem PVA-8 as it will bring audiophile sound to multiple speakers in various locations throughout your home with grace and ease.
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