New Anthem AVR trio breaks cover

No bells 'n' whistles here... just a focus on high-end audio quality

Canadian home cinema guru Anthem is releasing a trio of new AV receivers. The MRX 710 (pictured), MRX 510 and MRX 310 replace the previous MRX 700, MRX 500 and MRX 300, with improvements made to both specification and audio performance. 

Aesthetically, Anthem has revamped the amps' exteriors. The button-festooned fascias of the previous range have been replaced by something a little cleaner and less daunting. HDMI connectivity has been greatly extended, too. Where the MRX 700 offered only four HDMI inputs and one output, the new modesl features eight HDMI inputs (one on the front) and dual HDMI outs.

4K upscaling and passthrough is also onboard, and control via an iOS or Android device is achievable via a dedicated app. Anthem says it has implemented faster HDMI switching to sit alongsigde the retweaked, friendlier user interface.

Perhaps most importantly, the new receivers feature an improved version of Anthem's well-regarded room equalisation system. Previously dubbed ARC, and now called ARC 1M, it enables in-depth system calibration beyond that typically seen on integrated AVRs.

Says Anthem: 'A room’s physical dimensions, architectural details – even furnishings – play a dramatic role in sound quality, so our engineers saw fit to further refine the company’s award-winning room correction system. The software and microphone kit are again included as part of the MRX offering. ARC 1M connects via Ethernet, enjoys a higher level of digital signal processing and offers users the option to print ‘before and after’ room measurement graphs.'

ARC 1M analyses each speaker’s in-room response, then sets output levels, crossover frequencies and correction parameters for each. Measurements can be taken from multiple positions to get a better sense of peaks and nulls, and with real-time analysis and data-crunching done on your PC, it affords a high level of flexibility and adjustment.
A demo of the ARC 1M system in the basement cinema room of custom install specialist Ideaworks, with Alan Roser, MD of UK distributor Anthem AVS taking control of the setup mic and laptop, immediately showed its benefits. The ARC-massaged output of the resident JBL Synthesis speakers offered a more focused front soundstage in particular.

Power rangers

The MRX 710 is a seven-channel design, rated at 120W per channel in stereo mode and 90W per channel in five-channel mode (8 ohms, 20Hz-20kHz, 0.1% THD). These figures may not sound best-in-class, but Alan Roser's response is 'these are Anthem Watts – real-world power.' The MRX 510 is a seven-channel, 100W model, and the MRX 310 offers five channels of 80W. 

Additional features of the AVRs include analogue-to-digital video conversion (composite/component to HDMI), 3D support, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding, AnthemLogic Cinema and Music DSP modes, Zone 2 audio, IP and RS-232 control drivers and front-channel bi-amping (on the MRX 710 and MRX 510 only).

Audio streaming over a network is not an option, with Alan Roser explaining to HCC that consumers are likely to have other products that perform that function perfectly well. The MRX range is not about bells 'n' whistles, we're told.

Anthem's MRX 710 and MRX 510 are available shortly priced at £2,100 and £1,700. The MRX 310 will hit retailers early 2014 with a price tag of £1,200.

The MRX-710 – more HDMI inputs!