For the audiophile who wants it all for his surround sound system, without spending any more of the equity of his home, here comes the Anthem PVA7. Priced at $1,495, this rack-mountable amp is rack-friendly (with new rack mounts) and a relatively diminutive size, compared to other amps in the class. The industrial design is gorgeous, looking more like a $3,000 amp than a $1,500 product. The power rating for each of the channels is a conservatively rated 105 watts x seven channels. The signal to noise ratio is incredibly low for a class-AB amp at 122 dB. You find this kind of performance from big boy audiophile amps from the likes of Krell, Halcro and Mark Levinson.
The sound of the Anthem PVA7 is distinctly music first. As soon as you cue up a compact disc or, better yet, a DVD-Audio or SACD, you can hear the control this amp has over any number of good speakers. Anthem would prefer that you use Paradigm speakers (as they are owned by the same company), but you can power nearly anything with an Anthem PVA7, including B&Ws, PSBs, MartinLogans, Revels, Cantons and Orb Audio speakers. The sonic characteristic that grabbed me most was the Anthem’s ability to present a controlled yet open midrange sound that made voices palpable. With the newest surround sound formats, like Dolby TrueHD and/or DTS Master Audio, the Anthem PVA7 also shines. Its ability to resolve the finest details only makes your movie soundtracks sound better when the resolution is beaming at HD levels.