Receivers

Anthem MRX 500 7.1 A/V Receiver

ARTICLE INDEX

Conclusions about the Anthem MRX 500 7.1 A/V Receiver

I can't remember being more impressed with a mid priced surround receiver than I was with the Anthem MRX 500. It has a top tier room correction system that is one of the most accomplished and flexible correction schemes on the market. It also comes complete with a calibrated mic and a quality mic stand.

As far as the power output capabilities are concerned, this receiver drove a wide variety of speaker systems to satisfying levels without any obvious signs of strain. The MRX 500 doesn't have every conceivable bell and whistle in the universe, but Anthem's engineers smartly committed their resources into enhancing the quality of the essentials while throwing in a generous helping of useful creature comforts. For my part, I'll take the Anthem's smooth and confident sound, substantial build quality and clean, well-integrated bass any day of the week. Do yourself a favor and audition an Anthem MRX 500 before making a decision on any receiver. You may find that the Anthem MRX 500 has everything you need and everything you want.

FEATURED COMMENTS

HMDI switcher
Written by Paul , October 14, 2011

How cumbersome was your issue with the switcher? The lack of two HDMI outputs on this receiver is among the biggest obstacles for me in considering this line of receiver. The other is a lack of MCH analogue input (though I may break down and replace my venerable DVD-A/SACD player with one that is HDMI equipped in any case).

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MRX 300 reviews
Written by Shadez , October 15, 2011

I find it puzzling that there seems to be no MRX 300 reviews anywhere. Since it's basically exactly the same processor as the one highly regarded in the 500 and 700, minus the network capability and a little less output, this should be regarded as even better performance/price wise. 500 and 700 are good compared to the competition, but the 300 compared to others at the same price point, really is a no-brainer - but for some reason there isn't that much focus on that model. Just seems odd to me...

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I love my new Anthem
Written by Doc Greene Sr. , October 15, 2011

I totally concur with this review, but I splurged and bought the Anthem MRX 700. I just like to play it a little louder than most folks and I am using every input on the 700 for something.

The sound is what moved me the most. It is hard to believe how much better this sounds than the Denons, Yahmahas, Onkyos and Pioneers. I do recommend that you have a pro do your set up though. So buy it from an Anthem Dealer that is CEDIA or ISF certified. Preferably both.

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    Splitter and MRX 300
    Written by Jim C. , October 17, 2011

    Paul:

    The issue with my HDMI splitter started out as a pain until I learned how to switch the HDMI processing from Through to Auto using the display. I just switched the MRX 500 to Auto so I could access the on-screen menus and then I switched it back to Through when I was done. I don't access the menus very often, so it was no major inconvenience.

    I wouldn't have needed to do this if I simply set the MRX 500 to Auto or to a fixed resolution, I just perceived a slightly better image with Through versus Auto. Like I said in the review, Anthem has told me that the new firmware update will correct this issue.

    Shadez - I believe Cory Potts from Secrets is working on an MRX 300 review right now that should get published in the coming weeks. Please keep an eye out for it!

    Thanks,

    Jim

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    No Anthem for me =(
    Written by Ricky D , October 21, 2011

    Took the bigger brother MRX700 home for a 2 week trial recently, connected it up to the amazing Monitor Audio Apex 5.1 speaker system. Sadly I had to bring it back to the store out of pure disappointment, none of which were functional. Having read reviews on this site and countless others I was expecting it to top my 3-year old Denon AVR-3808A by a landslide. But no matter how carefully I set things up with (or without) ARC the sound never fell into place. And it certainly didn't overdo the end-result I experience with my Denon.

    Doing a direct comparison to the Denon the Anthem MRX came off as rather subdued, almost to the point of sounding anemic. Gone was the forecefullness, envelopment and the lively punch of the Denon with it's Audyssey calibration system. Its clear that the Dynamic EQ feature seems to fit my speakers, room and personal taste way better than what ARC could achieve. There is much talk about ARC bettering your bass and LFE channel, but in my case it was way TOO clean, and lacked any kind of presence and vitality. Quite the opposite of what I expected. No amount of re-calibration would cure the problem either.

    In this case the difference was truly night and day (a phrase I seldom use for electronics) and not in Anthems favour. I doubt I'll ever try an Anthem again, but I'm glad alot of people enjoy them. It just didnt bring on any improvements.

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    Anthem for Processors & Amps not Receivers
    Written by Geddy , October 21, 2011

    I also tried the MRX700 in my own theater and found it very lacking. The unit was very buggy and the amps just didn't hold a candle to my B&K AVR. The admins of this site are certainly Amthen /Paradigm fans,but in the end, its their opinion and mileage varies...

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    After a certain point, all change is incremental, for better or worse
    Written by McD , October 21, 2011

    For years I carefully avoided listening to very high-end gear for fear I would be hugely dissatisfied with my own.

    I broke that rule once and listened to one of my reference discs (Leonard Cohen "Tower of Song" on a $20k Macintosh system. I was pleased that it was only a little better sounding than what I had.

    So, it's probably good to not expect a life-changing revelation with any upgrade.

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    I have the MRX300
    Written by Richard , October 23, 2011

    I bought an MRX300 that replaced a Denon 2807. It is also paired with a Parasound 2250 2Ch amp. I had the amp previously with the Denon, and if I didn't I would have bought the mrx700.

    Overall, I am very happy with the sound the MRX produces vs the Denon, and with a bit of work, got ARC figured out too. I didn't need the features of the 500/700 so with the 2Ch amp I have, thee 300 is perfect.

    Have updated firmware with no problems, and as I said before, I really like the sound. I guess it's all personal opinion, but I thought the sound came more alive and had greater depth and clarity vs my Denon. I don't need all the features either that come with the latest receivers, so to me for in that price range...I'd rather pay for ARC.

    My plans eventually are to add a 5ch amp, and move up to one of their pre-pros...but the 300 will last me for a few years to come I'm sure.

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    Turn off Dolby Volume
    Written by SVinTO , December 26, 2011

    Trolling other forums reveals that most users of Anthem receivers left Dolby Volume ON, (which it is by default.) Turning it off produced a remarkable difference.

    I wonder if those who returned their units on this forum tried it with Dolby Volume off and were still unsatisfied?

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    Dolby Volume 
    Written by Jim C. , December 27, 2011

    SVinTO:

    I'd like to explain my comments in the "Design" Section of this review.

    Dolby Volume performs two basic functions simultaneously:

    1) It performs volume levelling to adjust the gain for consistency between sources and content material as well as to promote a better listening experience at low volume settings.

    2) It performs complex equalization to compensate for human hearing characteristics in response to the actual volume level in the room.

    In practice, I do not like to use volume levelling as mentioned in (1) above because it tends to compress the dynamic range inherent in the material. There are some cable channels that have loud commercials and if I'm interested in watching one of their programs, I like to save the program on my DVR so I can skip through the commercials.

    Equalization as in (2) above is a very good idea, but with Dolby Volume you can't turn on the Dynamic Equalization without implementing the Dynamic Compression algorithm.

    That is the main reason I prefer the Audyssey implementation. You can turn on Audyssey Dynamic EQ without using Audyssey Dynamic Volume. (But you must use them both if you turn on Dynamic Volume.) Furthermore, Audyssey Dynamic EQ is integrated with the auto setup routine so the system is aware of the absolute sound pressure levels in the room which is a key aspect of the sytem knowing the proper correction to implement at any given moment in time.

    Your comment did bring out an error in my original review that I would like to correct here. The sentence in the "Design" Section that reads -

    "Since the MRX 500 is not THX certified nor does it have Audyssey room correction there is no Dolby Loudness control/Dynamic EQ which I often use. And my family loves Dolby Loudness even though they don’t know that it is typically engaged on our system or that it even exists for that matter"

    Should have read -

    "Since the MRX 500 is not THX certified nor does it have Audyssey room correction there is no THX Loudness Plus or Audyssey Dynamic EQ which I often use. And my family loves Audyssey Dynamic EQ even though they don’t know that it is typically engaged on our system or that it even exists for that matter"

    Thank you for your comments!

    Jim C.

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    MRX500 with outboard amps
    Written by John S. , December 30, 2011

    I have had the MRX500 for about 9 months. After switching from a B&K AVR, I thought is was a little light on amplification. I picked up a EMOTIVA 3 Channel amp as a test (bought used from a local), and found the combination to be almost perfect for my B&W 704 speakers and center channel. I added a EMOTIVA UPA2 for the rear channels and use the 500 for only the 2 surround channels. The MRX500 is very clean when combined with outboard amps. My rear speakers are POLK LSi15's, and at 4 Ohm needed a bit more as well.

    The combined systems seems to be a bit more than its parts. Keeping the MRX500 and the Emotiva amps!! The OPPO 93 was added during the year, and the SACD performance as well as the FLAC performance through the system is a joy.

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    My MRX-500
    Written by Ian K , January 02,2012

    Hi there

    I went from a Yamaha RX-V2700N to the MRX-500 and i must say that when i first hooked it up, I hated it. I thought that i made a huge mistake. I have it hooked up to Paradigm Studio Refernce speakers. The fronts are Studio 100's, Centre is a CC-590, surrounds are ADP-490's. I have 2 PS-1000's for subs, and a CC-370 for a rear centre. So I am only running 6.2. I did some reading and found out that this Dolby Volume Control (which turns on by default) is actually more like a "Night Cinema" mode. You pick the level then it suppresses the sound so NOT to awaken your kids if sleeping or scare your neighbors (if applicable) It is very easy to turn it off permanently in the settings. Once I did this, re-ran ARC, It was the most beautiful sound i could imagine. This Dolby Volume Control is NOT recommended by me at all. Try this unit with it turned off. I went after and bought the Anthem MCA-50C now running bi-amp, MCA-50 runs the bottoms and the MRX-500 runs the mids and tweets.

    Anyways thats my 2 cents. no matter WHAT you listen to at home? May it be the most incredible sound to all of you!!

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    ANTHEM VS DENON AV PROCESSORS
    Written by joeb , January 15,2012

    I am trying to decide between the Anthem MDR 700 and the Denon 4311 AVR for my home entertainment system. I've always connected Denon with Walmart electronics. Are the "higher end" Denon AV processors such as the 4311 better quality than the Denon stuff you find in Best Buy and Fry's? Is it on par with the Anthem MDR 700? I believe the Denon probably has more bells and whistles, but the Anthem is much better build quality and more reliable. Need help on this. Comments appreciated.

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    dolby volume
    Written by xrx , January 16,2012

    SVinTO:

    I'd like to explain my comments in the "Design" Section of this review.

    Dolby Volume performs two basic functions simultaneously:

    1) It performs volume leveling to adjust the gain for consistency between sources and content material as well as to promote a better listening experience at low volume settings.

    2) It performs complex equalization to compensate for human hearing characteristics in response to the actual volume level in the room.

    In practice, I do not like to use volume leveling as mentioned in (1) above because it tends to compress the dynamic range inherent in the material. There are some cable channels that have loud commercials and if I'm interested in watching one of their programs, I like to save the program on my DVR so I can skip through the commercials.

    "Equalization as in (2) above is a very good idea, but with Dolby Volume you can't turn on the Dynamic Equalization without implementing the Dynamic Compression algorithm."

    Are you sure about this last part Jim? I have an Onkyo TX-NR3008 and you can turn Dolby volume on, and within the Dolby volume menu you have the option of turning the leveler off, setting it to low, medium or high.

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    Dolby Volume
    Written by Jim C. , January 19,2012

    xrx:

    Thank you for pointing that out. Since I read your post, I decided to talk with the engineer at Dolby Laboratories who developed the Dolby Volume system. I'm glad I made contact with him. Up until now, most of what I knew about Dolby Volume came from their website, some press releases and various owners' manuals. Most of those sources are very short on technical details. As it turns out, Dolby Volume has a lot to offer and has much more functionality and sophistication than I knew about.

    Let's talk about the Anthem implementation. Some of my misunderstanding in this situation has to do with the Dolby Volume controls being split between two different menu trees as well as a three-way toggle button on the main remote.

    As it turns out, the Dolby Volume Leveler can be set from Low to High with nine steps in between. It can also be turned off. This control is in the Level Calibration Menu Tree.

    Dolby Volume can be set to default off or on in the advanced source setup menu tree.

    With the MRX receivers, Dolby Volume is integrated with the ARC system so the Modeler knows the absolute SPL in the room when applying EQ, etc. to the signal.

    This means that you can use the modeler with the leveler off which is what I prefer. So I'm going to use Dolby Volume more in the future because its modeler is indeed very sophisticated. I just don't want any signal compression. I hope this all makes sense.

    Thanks!

    Jim Clements