Owned by Paradigm, Canada’s largest speaker manufacturer, the Anthem electronics brand is renowned for its high value AV offerings. While its ‘bread and butter’ receivers are made in China, its premium Statement components are built entirely in-house, this massive P2 power amp sharing the same case as the company’s five-channel P5 [see HFN June ’09] that draws so much current it needs two power cords.
Just as in the P5, each channel of the P2 is built as a monoblock on its own PCB with substantial heatsinks fitted with thermal sensors to monitor operating temperature. And each channel has its own toroidal transformer and regulated power supply. Eight bipolar devices are employed in the input stage, with no fewer than 14 bipolar output devices used per channel.
Power up the beast and you hear the clicking of relays for a few seconds as the P2’s soft turn-on minimises in-rush current during start up to prevent accidental tripping of its on-board circuit breakers. A three-position rear switch selects between manual on/off via the power switch, remote power switching via the 12V trigger input, or ‘auto’ whereby the amplifier turns on when it senses an input signal and powers down if no signal is detected for 20 minutes. (The P2 guzzles 140W at idle!)
With oodles of power on tap the P2 took the dynamic swings of the LAPO in its stride, the grand swell of the brass and timpani reproduced in an effortless manner during Wagner’s ‘Ride Of The Valkyries’. However the hypnotic, swirling strings appeared more ‘glassy’ than with the smoother sounding Parasound A21, the amplifier possessing a similar matter-of-factness to the Bryston 2B SST2 in some respects.
I gained a similar impression hearing the Mozart concerto: the cavernous sound image was supremely stable but the violin appeared a tad steely and over-etched. But with the electronic production of Maxwell’s slinky and luscious R&B rhythms this was of little consequence, the muscular bass delivery simply thrilling in its stature and rock-solid control. Certainly it appeared unflappable. Even when Robert Plant’s ‘Silver Rider’ rock track grew in intensity the P2 was cruising effortlessly.
Originally published in the November 2011 issue
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