Receivers

Anthem MRX 700 7.1 A/V Receiver

ARTICLE INDEX

Design

The Anthem MRX 700 A/V receiver comes in black and is surprisingly compact for an A/V receiver. It is only 15-1/4" deep, but it weighs over 35 pounds. The front panel is made from brushed aluminum and the small buttons on the front panel are reminiscent of the buttons on the Anthem A/V processors. The bright blue LED display is very readable and is another similarity that makes the MRX 700 feel like an Anthem product. To the right of the display is a large volume knob in addition to buttons for controlling Dolby Volume, channel level and basic audio settings. To the left of the display is a standard set of cursor buttons that allow for easy navigation of the MRX 700 setup menus as well as its multi-media interface. Directly under the display is a complete set of input buttons which allows for simple control of the receiver. In the bottom-right corner of the MRX 700 are power buttons for the main and secondary zones, as well as a button for zone input selection. Hidden on the bottom-left, behind a small sliding panel, is the front A/V input, a USB input jack and a headphone jack. The exterior case of the MRX 700 has a textured black finish.

The rear panel of the MRX 700 is well organized and offers support for a wide array of components. The rear panel is color coded to help distinguish inputs from outputs. Inputs have a black background while outputs have a white background. This same technique is used on the Anthem A/V processors and I was glad to see that Anthem included this on the MRX receivers.

The MRX 700 receiver supports four HDMI 1.3 inputs and one HDMI 1.3 output. This is enough to handle a satellite or cable receiver / DVR, a Blu-ray player and a gaming system with one input to spare. The receiver supports a full complement of analog audio and video inputs with three component video inputs, four composite video inputs, and 7 sets of stereo analog RCA inputs. The MRX 700 supports 5 digital audio inputs (2 coaxial and 3 optical). The MRX 700 includes a second USB input on the rear panel in addition to a connector for an Anthem MDX 1 iPod/iPhone dock. A very nice touch is the inclusion of a complete set of 7.1 channel pre-outs should you want to use the MRX 700 with an external amplifier. You will also find an Ethernet connector on the rear panel. This allows the MRX 700 to access the vTuner Internet Radio application.

The speaker jacks on the MRX 700 support a full complement of 7 speakers. The MRX 700 refers to the last set of speakers as an auxiliary output which can be used to power surround-back speakers or front vertical-height speakers for use with Dolby PLIIz processing. If you don't use the surround-back or vertical-height speakers, then you can use the auxiliary channels to power a set of speakers in a secondary zone. The MRX 700 does not support the option to bi-amp your front speakers should you decide to not use the auxiliary output channels.

The remaining connections on the MRX 700 back panel allow for antenna connections for the HD Radio and AM/FM tuner. The MRX 700 includes an IR input and two IR output jacks as well as an RS-232 jack which can be used to control the MRX 700 with an external control system. The RS-232 jack is also used when configuring ARC or when upgrading the MRX 700 software. A 12 Volt DC Trigger is also included which allows you to turn on another device, such as an external amplifier for zone two.

While the MRX 700 offers a lot of connectivity options, you may have noticed that the MRX 700 does not offer any support for multi-channel analog inputs or S -Video inputs. The lack of multi-channel analog inputs is becoming less of a concern as the simplest connection for today's Blu-ray players is a single HDMI cable. At this price point, I can understand Anthem leaving out that feature and the inclusion of ARC more than makes up for it in my opinion. As for the missing S-Video inputs, this too will become the norm as analog video gradually disappears from our home theater electronics.

The MRX 700 comes with two remotes. The primary remote is well organized and fits nicely in your hand. It is also backlit which is a really nice plus.

The smaller remote is used for zone two operations.