Anthem MRX 700

Tested at £2100
100100
5

Anthem’s MRX 700 really is a fantastic-sounding product and well worthy of a serious audition – don’t delay

Comments

@ J18cgh, a well known usa ht av site lab measured the "baby" mrx300 @ 71w 5ch driven 0.1 thd & 56w 7ch driven again 0.1 thd both into 8ohms.I doubt that would make any of pioneers sc lx8 models break a sweat never mind anything else. If your going to compare models at least use similarly powered/priced units. How many onkyo amps gave rival avrs bloody noses over the years,but couldnt defend against eye gouges & blisters from powerful precise jabs & detailed slashes? & im certainly not saying anthem avrs arent detailed,but able to "clean up" bass frequencies on monitor audio speakers...well,now that sounds impressive...are these the apex range from rickydeg's post or a WHF reference set? Anthem charge as much for their services for high quality sound as any other decent av co. Please dont turn this into another 1 of those "oppo are the best,nuff said" opinion polls.

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I own an MRX700 and chose it over Denon,Pioneer,Onkyo and the Arcam range including the Pre/Power. I wanted to go for the Anthem Processor with Power amp but cost was prohibitive. I work for an Anthem dealer and use other high end products from Classe and Meridian and the Anthem range beats them all. If you buy an MRX from a dealer it should not leave the store without the dealer offering to set it up as ARC is the  part that makes the difference between very good and stunning. Users of the japanese amps will think there is less bass with the Anthem but there isnt, the sub vanishes in the room and even small low powered subs sound more powerfull than figures suggest. The ARC will also tighten up the bass from main speakers.The What HiFi room is overdamped and with the cleaning up of the Monitor Audios bass will result in the sound being drier but this can be altered to suit personal taste rather than switching ARC off. To be honest I have seen some dealers run ARC on automatic which is lazy but i always set it up manually so i can see what need tweaked and then do so accordingly. The Anthem MRX series is fantastic, one of my client traded in a £5k Pioneer Susano for the MRX700 and even the baby MRX300 gives the Pioneer SCLX85 a bloody nose.

j18cgh wrote:
The What HiFi room is overdamped

Which room is that? At last count we had six – so whichever room you've been in, there are others with a different sound... Wink

the pioneer sc lx85 must be some baby to be the only av amp to really compare to the anthem,where none others do...soundwise it seems. Although in my bright sounding room i'd prefer one with on board EQ.

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For me, as a MRX 500 owner I think What Hifi have nailed it. I am pleased that they looked through the marketing hype that often comes with 'other brands' and feature rich gizmo's that 90% of the time you never use.

Coming from an Arcam AVR600 to my ears the Anthem is a revelation for film soundtracks, multi channel music and just plain stereo. Time and time again I am hearing stuff that simply was masked before, the steering on the surround channels is far more dynamic. Tracks I have listened too many times before  just sounds so fresh as though I'm listening to it for the very first time.

For my room, ARC made an amazing difference to the bass performance and clarity of the sound stage especially the midrange and for once SWMBO said that for the first time this is an upgrade she can actually hear the difference! Believe me that is saying something.

Interesting that ARC was not prefered, but I've read that the listening rooms at What Hifi have been acoustically treated so perhaps it didn't offer much.

Anyway I love mine and so what if it doesn't have AirPlay, Apple TV does!

Lucky you having had such amazing experience with your Anthem! My experience with MRX700 was the opposite of everything you describe above. Very big let-down. Puzzling.

It's a little surprising after reading the first half of the review that the Anthem received 5 stars. Admittedly the amp will sound great but with all the other bells and whistles missing does it really justify its rating?

Their way of grading reviewed products has always been a bit of a questionmark. Personally I find a lack of unnecessary features and bling-bling refreshing in such a product. The focus of Anthem is on sound. Atleast in theory. If I would have had a positive experience myself when testing the MRX 700 at home I would have kept it, partially for the scaled-down reason alone. Sadly I did not.

Excellent review confirming others I've read about the Anthem. A friend of mine could really use this kind of performance for his speakers which are now being used on an AV that is a little to lightweight for his speakers. But I'll have to try to find a retailer for this one to test if first.

 

Funny how What Hifi is the only professional test I've read on MRX 700 where sound reproduction is prefered without the advanced ARC EQ. From countless sources it seems the advantage to owning an Anthem is ARC, well-behaved listeningroom or not. Go figure.

Then again when I had this amp for testing I never got it to sing with my highly capable Monitor Audio Apex, with or without ARC engaged. I felt it was rather lackluster compared to my 4 year old Denon in terms of presence, surround envelopment and overall musicality. Disappointing. Still puzzled by that honestly, given how many users and publications praise this machine. I wish I could too. Oh well. Individual preference?

Prior to my Arcam I ran the Denon AVC1 and for me it did everything well but on my system (kef) it sounded busy and a mass of sound without any pinpoint accuracy the Arcam made a huge difference. But I guess each room, speaker package is different and simply for some things just don't gel together. What Hifi run Monitor Audio in there test rooms don't they? 

I'm useless with computers so the dealer set mine up, spent quite some time tweaking the eq program, also suggested moving the Sub to the side and that made a hell of a difference. Was yours set up by a dealer or did you have a go yourself?

Great question Grimreaper, because I did indeed set it up myself. Fairly experienced without being any kind of 'expert'. Perhaps that was the problem? Perhaps I missed something. Pity if Anthem ARC would be that complex for users though. If so these things shouldn't even be sold without a dealer-installation package. 

Throughout I exercised a great deal of care with the mic and the entire process (full 10-point calibration). Carried it out on 5 different occations but each one gave a similarly lackluster result. Did no EQ editing/tweaking afterwards however. Audyssey in Denon need no such thing... then again ARC is a different beast.

A bit tempted now to ask my dealer for a home-demo with him calibrating ARC for me, just to see (hear) if there is a difference.

@RickyDeg I would definitely get your dealer back if your are still in the market for a new AVR, I back to back tested the Anthem against an Onkyo 3009 and a Denon 4311 and the Anthem was a country mile ahead despite its apparent lack of features, However it wasn’t all plain sailing, I had a couple of particularly bad Suck outs in my frequency response that initially destroyed the sound, however I noticed these in the graph that the Anthem software produces so I borrowed a room analyser from a friend, moved some things around and WOW. Ultimately you can spend thousands of pounds on kit but the room has by far the biggest effect on sound (Far more than any mains lead or interconnect) its just a pity that the mainstream publications don’t promote this more.

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