We tested the Anthem MRX 1120 11.2 channel high-end home cinema amplifier!

We recently visited a house in the 11th district of Budapest in Kelenvölgy for acoustic measuring, and to run home theatre amplifier tests. The acoustics of one of the rooms in the inherited family house built about 20 years ago was to be made ideal for the installation of a home theatre system. The old property is currently under renovation. Traditional building materials, in this very case bricks, do not have good acoustic properties at all, so it was absolutely necessary to improve the surround sound in this room with sound-absorbing and acoustic diffusor panels and bass traps were to be placed in the corners. Consequently the walls, ceiling, floor and window surfaces had to undergo an acoustic treatment based on the results of our measurements, and Tamás, the owner of the property, ordered the appropriate quantity, size and type of acoustic elements, curtains and mats.

Anthem MRX 1120

Anthem top cinema

Anthem MRX amplifier

The Canadian company’s MRX 1120 model is an ivy-league, high-end home theatre amplifier. The external design of the amplifier is clean, unobtrusive, featuring a housing that is rigid, stable and resonant. The black aluminium front panel focuses on the large LCD display. To the right are volume controls and other power buttons. There are several buttons below the display. On the left you can see 4 buttons to select directions, and below them is the surprisingly weak cover, behind which are hidden HDMI input, headphone and USB connectors. On the back are the Wifi antennas and the various connectors. We list some of these without claiming to be exhaustive:

Anthem MRX back panel

-8 HDMI inputs, 2 HDMI outputs

-5 analog stereo inputs, dual stereo output (Line Audio, 2 zones)

-3 Toslink inputs, 1 output

-2 coaxial digital inputs

– IR input, trigger output

-RSC-232, FM radio antenna

-Ethernet network connector

-USB connector

Anthem home cinema

Thanks to the 11.2 amplified output of the 18 kg amplifier and the supported Dolby Atmos and DTS: X, the amplifier is also perfect for multi-channel operation in larger rooms. With a 4-core digital signal processor and 32-bit / 768 kHz differential output D / A converters, the Anthem MRX 1120 is capable of converting 4K videos.

On the negative side, the connectors of each pair are too far apart between the 11 speaker outputs, so we can’t use double banana plugs. At the same time, long distances make manual cabling easier. The remote control is easy to use, visually clear, and the backlight comes in handy when used in a dark movie room.There is a toroidal transformer inside of the device and a large heat sink next to the power supply.

The awesome ARC system and the backstage

ARC system

In addition to the high dynamic range (HDR) and excellent stereo sound, one of the biggest advantages of the amplifier is the Anthem Room Correction (ARC), a room calibration system that can be adjusted via Ethernet. Thanks to this awesome system, we can fine tune the acoustics of a given room, optimise the frequency response and sound delay values. In the case of our testing site, this feature was of particular importance, as the acoustics of the room were not yet adequate, so the ARC corrected the errors with the help of the measuring microphone. So we can tell ourselves, if there is an ARC, we shall be able to avoid failure! But all that glitters is not gold… Honestly, we were a little disappointed when we discovered that the ARC system couldn’t handle each subwoofers individually. While designing an audio device of this quality and price range, moreover, equipped with a room calibration system, the engineers should have taken into consideration this small, but not negligible, detail.

Anthem MRX review

What capabilities does the MRX 1120 have?

HDMI Out 1 supports ARC and HDMI In 7 supports MHL, which allows you to connect to mobile devices. The 106 dB / signal-to-noise A / D converters also transmit signals from analog sources in top quality. Thanks to DTS Play-Fi, recordings from digital streaming providers (Spotify, Amazon Music…, etc.) have also become available, with the iOs Android, PC-based control mode. It is equipped with a class B built-in amplifier. Its power is 7 x 120 Watts and 4 x 50 Watts per channel. The recommended speaker impedance is 4-16 Ohms, the frequency transmission is 10-30000 Hz, the power consumption during operation is 900 Watts. The MRX 1120 is capable of a number of modes, such as Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby True HD… and more. You can listen to FM radio, but the amplifier is not equipped with an AM radio antenna.

The only shortcoming of the ARC system is that it cannot control the subwoofers independently as we mentioned above.

We tested it
Black Panther movie poster

We tested the device with a DVD and screened the Marvel movie entitled Black Panther. The sound effects and dialogues of the exciting story sounded extremely realistic, spacious and clear. We were surrounded by beautiful sounds, and the high and deep frequency ranges were in place. The Commuter thriller movie of the 2018, featuring Liam Neeson, was our next test subject. Anthem has once again proven to be an excellent amplifier perfectly restoring the thrills thanks to the flawless sound. Due to the spacious sound and clear dialogues, the even and uniform distribution of tones, we felt almost being in a multiplex cinema.

Listening to music is usually part of the test, so we first listened to the soundtrack of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie, interpreted by the Auckland Symphony Orchestra. It was a wonderful experience, we heard all instruments well distinguished, the harmonious rhythms filled the whole space.

Our judgment

We were very pleased with the Anthem MRX 1120 home theatre amplifier. We witnessed a fantastic, clear and detailed sound. The ARC system has very serious advantages, the only objection being perhaps the fact that it cannot handle subwoofers individually. It is no exaggeration to say that it approaches the level of sound experienced in a real movie theatre!


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