I went over to PCX Connexion and picked up a used Anthem MCA-5 for $900 taxes in. The unit is 14 years old but has been completely overhauled, re-capped over-spec and re-tuned/calibrated.
For what it is worth, PCX is run by Chris Johnson who use to own Sonic Frontiers who originally designed the Anthem line before Paradigm bought them out in early part of 2000.
So essentially the unit has been restored by the original designer of the unit.
I had a really interesting conversation with Chris. He was telling me that a vast majority of the old North American and European Amps are being bought up by the Asian market. PCX was originally providing testing for people who owned the units, but found that many were sending it in to get certified and then shipping them off to Asia for sale. So now they do that, buying up old Anthem and SFI equipment and re-selling it. (Ever wondered why there is so little on the used market?)
I asked about the Emotiva lines and what he thought about them. His take was they are pretty good, but if you are looking to compare them to the Current Anthems such as the MCA-50, they are about 65-70% of the performance but 1/2 the price. So if you are willing to settle for something less, then they are a pretty good bang for the buck. He then went on to say that the older MCA-5 that I got was about 95% of what the new ones are. The new MCA-50 is rated at 256W@4Ω where the MCA-5 is rated at 250W@4Ω. Things like the Power supply on the Emotiva is rated at 1200VA compaired to 1800VA on the Anthem, and the storage capacitance of 60,000uF vs 100,000uF. It all adds up.
What was interesting, was he offers to MOD the MCA-5 to a higher spec. Upgrade the toroidal transformer, better CAPs, and other parts (terms that went over my head). But it works out to about $200 per channel. As I paid just over $900 for the whole 5 channel unit, it would be like doubling the cost and a bit. So I asked if it would double the performance and/or sound quality. His response, NOPE. It will give you probably and extra 15-20% over what is in there now.
He pointed me over to the Statement P5, and said that will give you double+ what you have. It's also 3x the size and 4x the weight. Costs closer to $6300 all in, but you are in a whole different ball park range with that unit in sound and performance. New they go for 12K+
Rather interesting and very informative conversation. I go back tomorrow to pick the unit up.