Anthem MRX 710 7.1 A/V Receiver


The Anthem MRX 710 A/V Receiver In Use

For my listening tests, I was using a 7.1 speaker configuration from Definitive Technology including a pair of BP-3000TL speakers with powered subwoofers for the front mains, a CLR 2002 speaker for the center channel, and four Definitive Technology UIW 94/A speakers for the surrounds and rear channels. My source devices included an Oppo BDP-105 and two Apple TVs. My normal reference processor is an Anthem Statement D2, and I'm typically listening in my room using Anthem's ARC-1 Room Correction System. I was really looking forward to hearing how ARC-2 performed on the MRX 710.

For movies, I started listening with the new Star Trek: Into Darkness. The opening scenes with the shuttlecraft and Spock in the volcano were immersive. My listening room was filled with the thunderous roar of the bubbling volcano and I was immediately drawn into the unfolding drama. I laughed at the sound of the spears coming toward me as the planet's inhabitants chase Kirk and McCoy through the jungle. The MRX 710 created a large, wonderful soundstage. The sound of the ships flying through the room during the firefight on the Klingon home world of Kronos made me feel like I was in the battle. The MRX 710 was adept at handling everything the movie's Dolby TrueHD 7.1 sound track had to offer. From crisp clear dialog as Kirk enlists Kahn to cross over to the Dreadnought-class USS Vengeance, to the subtle echo of Kirk's footsteps in the garbage chute, to the utter silence of space as the doors quickly close behind them as they enter the debris field, the MRX 710 handled all of it with ease. The final scenes as the Enterprise falls to earth were simply amazing. The spinning of the ship as it fell into my listening room was visceral. This was a testament as to how well ARC 1M managed the bass from my BP-3000TL towers. Needless to say, I was completely engrossed with the movie and I ended up watching all of it once again. I loved watching movies on the MRX 710, and my experience with other reference titles like Sky Fall and Tron: Legacy was just as excellent.

Given the time of year, I had the opportunity to listen to the MRX 710 with some of my favorite holiday albums. On Yo-Yo Ma & Friends Songs of Joy & Peace, track six is the beautiful "The Wassail Song / All Through the Night." The MRX 710 created a deep soundstage blending the beautiful sounds of Yo-Yo Ma's cello with Edgar Meyer's acoustic bass and Chris Thile's mandolin. The sound from the MRX 710 was incredibly detailed and each instrument was beautifully layered to create a gorgeous harmony. The MRX 710 easily transitioned from the commanding sound of the cello and acoustic bass to the delicate sounds of the strings on the mandolin. I just sat back and enjoyed the sumptuous sounds of the entire album.

On the 2012 remastered edition of the Vince Guaraldi Trio's classic A Charlie Brown Christmas, the MRX 710 brought the sounds of this jazz classic to life. On the timeless "Linus and Lucy," the piano was captivating and the accompanying bass and percussion were distinct but never overpowering. The choir on the vocal version of "Christmas Time is Here" blended seamlessly with the piano and I found myself marveling at the detail in the children's voices. On "Skating," the piano and percussion brought back fond memories of the Peanuts Christmas special and I could just imagine snowflakes falling as I listened to the MRX 710 recreate this beautiful piece of jazz in my room.

High-resolution audio on the MRX 710 was equally enjoyable. For something quite a bit different, I listened to the Blubell & Black Tie track "It's Oh So Quiet" from their album Blubell & Black Tie. The emotion and humor in Isabel Garcia's voice as she sang about love was palpable and intoxicating and the group's harmonies and mix of Brazilian style was pure fun.

From a video perspective, the MRX 710 did not display any handshake problems when changing resolutions on my satellite box or when changing inputs to another HDMI source. Video output looked great on movie and television content and Blu-ray content was excellent. The MRX 710 supports video scaling or video pass-through depending on your needs. Anthem has taken the approach to deinterlace and scale video input based on the highest resolution supported by the attached display. This simplifies the overall video configuration since a lower resolution can't be selected.

From an operational perspective, the MRX 710 was very simple to use. As I mentioned earlier, selecting inputs is done from the on-screen menu or from the front panel controls. The MRX series receivers have an extensive control interface. Individual inputs can be easily programmed if you happen to have an external control system or you can let a custom installer handle it. The remote was simple to use and super easy to see in a dark room thanks to its excellent backlighting.

I ran into one minor problem when using the MRX 710. When the receiver starts to process a digital signal, I would occasionally hear a very brief tick sound as the signal started to play. This was most noticeable when playing movies or extras on Blu-ray discs. I made Anthem aware of the issue and they are looking into it.