Anthem MRX 710 AV Receiver


Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Advanced build quality
Subtle room correction
Crisp, dynamic sound
Minus
No wireless anything
A tad analytical

THE VERDICT
The top model among Anthem’s second-generation receivers omits needless features and splurges on performance.

“From Canada with love,” says weatherman Mr. G of WPIX New York every time a sinister polar vortex is about to sweep down from the frozen north. That cool Canadian breeze can be a trial in winter. In summer, however, it’s a breath of fresh air—and that’s also a good description of AV receivers from Ontario-based Anthem. They’re built like tanks, obsessively performance-oriented, and shorn of (what some might deem) frivolous features.

Papa Bear
The MRX 710 ($1,999) is the top model out of three new Anthem GEN 2 receivers, above the slightly less powerful MRX 510 ($1,599) and the five- (not seven-) channel MRX 310 ($1,199). Rated power is 120 watts x 7 with two channels driven or 90 watts with five channels driven. Note that few manufacturers dare to quote the tougher five-channel spec. See the Test Bench for our independent assessment of two-, five-, and seven-channel performance.

Anthem’s GEN 2 models offer more than a dozen enhancements from the originals, some of which seem like generic receiver features: dual HDMI outputs, 4K upscaling and passthrough, etc. The video processor is an Analog Devices ADV8003 running custom software developed to Anthem’s specifications. The most significant improvement is ARC 1M, an overhaul of the Anthem Room Correction system. Other upgrades include support for as many as 20 input-configuration options, forthcoming iOS and Android remote apps, improved menu and status graphics, and IP and RS-232 control drivers.

The amp is a bruiser. Anthem’s heatsink tunnel uses heavy extruded (as opposed to stamped) metal, with output transistors mounted on it, further cooled by a fan that operates at two speeds (not counting fully off). “Advanced load monitoring” tracks temperature, voltage clipping, current clipping, and DC offset, running the fan as required (or in extreme cases, shutting down the receiver). It’s another beneficiary of GEN 2 improvements in the protection circuitry and software.

Anthem’s front panel is thick metal, not plastic, with column-like accents at the sides. HDMI and quarter-inch headphone are the only front-panel jacks. There’s a volume knob at right, which adjusts the sound level in 1-decibel increments. In lieu of the customary input knob at left, there’s a circular cluster of navigation buttons that step through whatever menu you select from the half-dozen buttons in the center: setup, dim, mode, level, zone, and input.

The remote control is relatively simple, with only 44 buttons—on the low side of average for an AV receiver. However, some of those buttons are usefully dedicated to controls such as on-the-fly channel-level adjustment, Dolby Volume low-volume listening mode, bass, treble, balance, and lip sync. Smart! The GUI look is plain and alphanumeric but has a sporty splash of red.

One of the eight HDMI inputs is designated 4K, and both of the HDMI outputs are designated ARC (with the Audio Return Channel that allows TV-originated audio signals to be processed by the receiver). HDMI switching is faster than on first-gen Anthem receivers. However, the HDMI version is 1.4, not 2.0, the latter of which would have offered support for 4K video at 60 frames per second, among other video and audio niceties. (HDMI 2.0 is making its debut in Pioneer and Onkyo receivers.)

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Anthem isn’t enthusiastic about legacy video interfaces: The two HD-capable component video inputs aren’t accompanied by an output. There is only one composite video in and no outs. There’s no 7.1-channel multichannel analog input, either (though there are 7.1-channel analog preouts). Analog and digital stereo ins and outs are plentiful, and anything plugged into them can be routed to the second zone.

Anthem’s choice of Dolby Volume as low-volume listening mode is a step up from a generic dynamic range control—and on a par with Audyssey Dynamic EQ/Volume and THX Loudness Plus. As Dolby says, it “monitors and adjusts the volume level in real time, intelligently compensates for the ear’s changing sensitivity as the gain changes, and delivers a consistent sound level that’s true to the original recording,” with nine levels of adjustment.

Notable in their absence (though arguably dispensable) are listening modes that repurpose back-surround channels for height or width manipulations. However, the extra channels can be used to biamplify the front left/right channels. To adapt stereo signals to surround for either movies or music, the customary Dolby Pro Logic IIx and DTS Neo:6 are supplemented by AnthemLogic. It adds subtle surround effects to stereo content, but with no artificial echo or reverb, and to ensure the purity of the soundstage, it doesn’t activate the center channel. It works as advertised. (The AnthemLogic-Cinema mode does use the center channel, though I typically tap DPLIIx for center-active music playback in my full timbre-matched system.)

Anthem receivers make no provision for Bluetooth, AirPlay, or Wi-Fi, either built in or as optional accessories. You’ll have to buy the necessary adapters from someone else.

Anthem’s ARC 1M PC-based auto setup and room correction program is proprietary and unusually sophisticated. The latest version has improved digital signal processing for more fine-grained acoustic tweaking. It not only measures your room’s acoustic properties but also lets you print charts, both before and after correction. An added Ethernet connection allows the process to run more quickly than its predecessor.

Each ARC setup microphone includes a tripod, has been measured, and comes with a profile of its individual characteristics supplied on CD along with the room correction software. Install the latest version of ARC on your PC, connect the setup mike to the PC via USB, and run the program, which measures from five listening positions. (While the PC app runs in Windows XP, Anthem recommends Win Vista and up. For Mac, use Windows emulation mode.)

ARC 1M set a subwoofer crossover of 50 hertz (front) and 70 Hz (back) for my speakers, though I changed the setting, per my standard procedure, to 80 Hz all around. The latest Anthem receivers set crossover in 10-Hz increments starting at 40 Hz, as opposed to the formerly limited choices of 60, 80, 100, 120, and 150 Hz.

COMPANY INFO
Anthem
(905) 564-1994
ARTICLE CONTENTS
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COMMENTS
tremain74's picture

I’ve heard the new Anthem MRX line can’t accept a 24/192 signal on the digital coax spdif connections. Can you shed any light on if this I true or not?

Mark Fleischmann's picture
I forwarded your question to Anthem and received this response: "The coax and optical inputs accept samples up to 176.4 kHz. Due to a bandwidth limitation in hardware, 192 kHz is not supported by these connections. The HDMI inputs support 192 kHz."
PGriff1051's picture

The fact that a $2,000 receiver can’t decode 24/192 kHz via its digital SPDIF input is a bit disappointing. Having previously owned much of the Anthem line including MRX-700 and the MRX-300 (used as a pre/pro), I assumed that this was, “standard equipment” when I bought it. Unfortunately, it took a call to Anthem (they couldn’t have been nicer) and some research on the Tech’s end for them to tell me that it was a hardware limitation.

I have a number of 24/192 kHz albums that I bought from HDTracks that I must now either 1) downsample (via JRiver or Audivana +) before sending to my Musical Fidelity USB to SPDIF converter, 2) send via DNLA through my Oppo Blu-ray Player so it can send via HDMI, or 3) spend more money to buy an Essence HDACC.

While this is clearly a “1st World Problem”, I’m disappointed that Anthem would downgrade the SPDIF hardware from the prior generation given their target customers base. People who value audio above all else will go at great lengths to get their digital data from the source to the decoding equipment with as little in between (or processing) as possible. Given the already high (relatively speaking) price of the unit, I would have paid a bit extra to keep the old hardware.

In hindsight, I would have kept the MRX-300 (even with the old ARC) as a pre/pro as this was by far the best value in the Anthem line for people with 7.1 theaters - you got 90% of the AVM-50V for 20% of the cost and could add the amp of your choice.

Any coincidence that the MRX-310 is no longer 7.1 channels?

twm1988's picture

Hey Mark, you gave the mxr710 a 4.5 for audio performance, but the first Gen mrx300 a 5 for audio. Are the 1st generation receivers a lot warmer, more neutral, or just not as detailed as the new ones and therefore not as "bright" or "harsh"?

Mark Fleischmann's picture
I reviewed these products three years apart and never had them together at the same time. So I'd be comparing a distant memory to a recent one (bolstered by the text, of course). Interestingly, I did use the word "crisp" in both reviews, though in the first one, I somewhat backed off it later, referring to the receiver's "shape-shifting abilities." In other words, I was calling it versatile. In the second review I used the word "analytical," which is a close relation to bright, and later recommended pairing with speakers having "a gentle top end." Let me point out that the 710 costs twice as much as the 300, and therefore ought to be held to a higher standard. However, I wouldn't attach too much importance to a half-star performance rating variation in products reviewed three years apart. Our technical editor's measurements are objective, but my own part of the review is subjective. I hope both parts are helpful.
twm1988's picture

Hey Mark, thanks for the reply. That does help clarify things. I use a Harman/Kardon AVR347 right now with Energy Reference Connoiseur bookshelfs and I like the slightly smoother, warmer sound the Harman has because the Energy’s have a little brighter top end. I just want more detail/resolution and more transparency with a new receiver. So the anthem would give more detail but I would loose some of the smoother, warmer sound I like?

Also, I see your reference system is Paradigm Studio’s and a Rotel. Do you still prefer the Rotel to the Anthem, even though Anthem is sister to and sort of made to go with Paradigm? Does the Rotel still give good detail, dynamics, depth and soundstage but is maybe a little warmer/richer than the Anthem?

Thanks for your help Mark!

Mark Fleischmann's picture
If you find the Energies bright (and you wouldn't be the first), the Anthem would probably not counter it with warmth. You might want to consider Arcam, Cambridge, or for something less expensive, one of the better Denons. I can't swear that it would work, but if you can try before you buy, it might be worth the audition.... My reference receiver is now a Pioneer Elite VSX-53, a couple of model years old, which I regard as neutral. The Rotels I used to use were slightly warm. I still pine for the old RSX-1065. I retired it only because it was pre-HDMI.
twm1988's picture

I was at one point looking at the Cambridge Azur 551, but heard it can be too loud and in your face and fatiguing after a while. But I will have to audition it to be sure though.

Your colleagues reviews of some of the Aventage receivers say it’s "audiophile" sound quality, and you said in one review that you almost adopted the Marantz 7007 or 7008 as your reference receiver. How would you compare the Rotel 1550 to the Marantz 7008 or one of the better Yamaha Aventage’s?

Mark Fleischmann's picture
I've never found Cambridge fatiguing. I used the Rotel RSX-1550 for awhile, after spending eight years with the older 1065, but eventually needed to move on, wanting something a bit more powerful. Marantz has been doing a great job for a long time. I love the Aventages I've reviewed, though it's been awhile, and I hope to get another one for review before the end of this year.
twm1988's picture

If you had to give up your Pioneer vsx53, would you go back to the Rotel 1550, get a Marantz (6008, 7008), or go for a Yamaha Aventage? (Without worrying about power so much, but just for detail, resolution, transparency/soundstage and a bit more smoothness/warmth.)

Mark Fleischmann's picture
The short answer is Marantz. In fact, at one point I held onto a Marantz review sample because it was in the running, and it was as good as the Pioneer I eventually chose. Aventage would be tempting, though.
twm1988's picture

Do you think I need to go up to the Marantz 7008 to get great performance, or will the 5008 or 6008 sound just as good for average sensitivity mid size bookshelfs in 5.1 setup? The 5008 is basically half the price of the 7008.

Theres a dealer near me that carries Anthem, Yamaha and Marantz so it will be the perfect place to hear all of them for myself!

Mark Fleischmann's picture
I think you've answered your own question.
twm1988's picture

Haha I guess your right! I may listen to the Cambridge Azur 551 and Arcam 360 if you think they will give great performance like the Anthem but with a bit of warmth.

Thanks Mark, I really respect you opinion and experience, so you have given me a few things to look at. You have me especially intrigued with the Marantz now!

aralath's picture

I have been looking at anthem for a while but I can never just go buy it. Im looking to replace my old onkyo any suggestions? all of my home theater speakers are Klipsch.

abourelle's picture

I own an MRX710 since they first came out. I also owned an MRX500. I am an audio/video consultant and have listen to lots of brands of audio products during my life (I'm 58). This is the best sounding receiver I owned. One thing I can say is that sound is very subjective and not ONE SIZE FITS ALL. The room correction ARC1 will fix most issues that a user is faced with including "harshness" - bass peaks and nulls, etc. In your review you mention that the sound is "analytical" and that the ARC1 only made small change to the sound. I have done over a dozen of installs and set up in very different rooms with different speaker brands and every time the result was amazing, never bright sounding but just more precise, detailed and airy. Whomever is looking for a new receiver give any of the 3 models a listen. You won't regret it.

twm1988's picture

Im glad to hear you don't think the Anthem is bright or harsh, just precise and detailed, im hoping to audition one soon. Although ive heard that ARC on the MRX receivers will only effect frequencies up to 5khz, so brightness or harshness coming from speakers with an exaggerated top end will not be touched because from 5khz - 20khz isn't effected by ARC. That's what ive read anyway.

abourelle's picture

You are right that ARC only affect up to 5khz. Overly bright speakers will stay that way unless you tame the room with carpeting, sound panels or plush furniture. The room is actually responsible for 50% of your final sound result. ARC affect lousy or exaggerated bass response and does a great job on mid range. Movie dialog and voices become more intelligible. Even out of the box this receiver sounds more open and clean than any "Asian" receivers out there. Give yourself the pleasure of a listen.

twm1988's picture

Good to hear out of the box it sounds great. I am not a fan of room correction and may not even use it. Trie Audyssey and EZ Set EQ on a couple of previous receivers I had and each time easily preferred me setting it up manually myself to the auto room correction. I am definitely going to listen to the Anthem's and maybe a Rotel and Arcam. I would agree that these boutique brands should have better sound quality than the Japanese receivers, but the reviewer here, Mark Fleischmann, replaced his reference Rotel with a Pioneer Elite, so that says something about the quality of these Japanese brands too. He also says Marantz and Yamaha were nearly or just as good for a reference receiver.

I am rooting for the Anthem I really would like to own one, but I will need to compare it with the Marantz and Yamaha's to truly satisfy my curiosity.

abourelle's picture

You have to listen to competition to make a choice. Last week i compared the Marantz SR6008 to the MRX310 for a couple of interested prospects. Same room - same samples of music and movies - just basic set up - stereo only - tower speakers. It took 30 minutes and the choice was clear. ANTHEM.

abourelle's picture

Again listen to the change this one makes. You can also have 2 different ones done, one for music and one for movies for instance. What is nice is by doing it thru a laptop you get a full curve of what the mic picked up from 5 different locations in the room (minimum)along with a target curve and the applied DSP curve to the receiver. It can be printed or saved for future reference. Try this with any other room correction that uses the chip inside the receiver...

twm1988's picture

Thanks abourelle for the info. Have you ever spent time with Rotel receivers? I am also interested in the Rote RSX 1550, but it will be more difficult to compare side by side to the Anthem because of which dealers near me carry each one.

abourelle's picture

The RSX 1550 is no longer available, at least in Canada. Replaced by the RSX 1562. More expensive than the other ones (around $3000). It has a nice 'sweet sound". Never aggressive, sometimes too soft depending of what you listen to obviously. A bit more difficult to set up (need to use your SPL meter). Can't say i did not like it though.

grabowskir@yahoo.com's picture

Between Anthem and Marantz sr7008 , which one will be your pick?

Sidech's picture

Hello,

I would like your advice. I have 4 Mordaunt Short mezzo serie speakers and 1 Dali center. I had a Harman Kardon Avr354 that I wanted to upgrade for better sound. I first tried the yamaha rx-v677. I hated it, was much too bright. Then I tried the Onkyo Tx-nr636, same thing, maybe a little better than the yamaha. Then i went for the Nad t-748 and I finally liked it. BUT, the software upgrade had not beed done on the machine , resulting in no room correction possible. nad has really the worse possible customer service, so the upgrade is still not done 1 month later. My store rep has offered me an Anthem mrx-310 to replace the nad. Of course it is more expensive but the reviews are so good I am really tempted. The only thing is I am afraidof findong it too bright. This would be my fourth unit in avout 8 weeks, so I would likeitto be the last... Other option I have is to buy the Nad t758, which has the audissey feature working and does not need the upgrade. I just don't like giving my money to Nad, knowing they don't care about their customers. What would you recommended knowing my particular taste and the Nad context ? Thank you !

twm1988's picture

Hey sidech, I have a H/K receiver very similar to yours and have been looking for an upgrade too. I listened to a Yamaha Aventage, Marantz 6008, and Anthem 310 a couple weeks ago at my dealer. Like you I found the Yamaha a bit too bright for my taste, so I am now looking closer at the Marantz and Anthem which were much closer to what I want. Neither were bright to me.

I am trying to get an in-home demo of these two receivers now. I think we are both looking for the same sound after both coming from H/K’s, so I would suggest that you definitely give the Anthem a listen. Shopping around and listening to many different receivers gets tiring for sure, but once you find the right one it will be all worth it and you won’t be left thinking “oh, I wonder what that one would have sounded like”.
If you get a chance to listen to the Anthem, please post here and let us know if it is the sound you’re looking for and what your impressions of it are. Good luck!

Sidech's picture

I am definitely tempted by the mrx-310. The only thing is, no more listening and returning for me... My store has to do a special order and says I can't send it back, I have to keep it. They don't even carry the brand, so it's a hassle to them to order it. Now, they jt want to get rid of me ! I'll let you know how the sound is if I decide to get it.

twm1988's picture

Hey, no problem. Like I said I think were in the same boat here.

I know there are about 3 dealers within 40-50km of me that carry the Anthems, so maybe if you take a look on Anthems website and go to DEALERS or WHERE TO BUY tab and put in your postal/zip code it should give you all stores near you that carry Anthem products. Hopefully there is somewhere else that also carries it...

Also Like I said the Marantz 5008 and 6008 were in the running with Anthem for me too and they seem to be carried at more big box stores (I can get it at Futureshop here in Canada) sometimes so they could be easier to get your hands on.

One last idea, you could look on local classifieds to see if anyone is selling an Anthem, even the first generation MRX300, and tell them you'd like to demo it with your speakers first. Maybe they can bring it to you and test it in home, or you can take one or two of your speakers from home to the sellers place and hook em up real quick just with a CD player for some idea of what music sounds like on the Anthem. Just a thought!

Sidech's picture

Finally I'll be keeking my nad. I called my usual audio guy and he said I should go with a power amp, which will make a whole lot of difference in my system. He's the guy who helped me build my high end audio (and part of scmmy home cinema) so I trust him a lot. Since I love tube amps, he says Atoll would be a good choice. He's letting me borrow one for the week-end. So we'll see from there.

twm1988's picture

Sounds like you were impressed with the Nad! Maybe I should take a look at one also.

Sidech, how did the Nad 748 compare to the H/K? what was it about the Nad you liked better than the H/K? More detail, airy, transparent, bigger soundstage and better imaging? Would you say its as warm as the H/K?

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