We tried the Anthem MRX 710 AV receiver!
Our tests of the Canadian company’s MRX 710 AV receiver took place in a well designed home movie theatre room. We’ve tested Anthem amps before (Anthem MRX 1120 and Anthem AVM60), so we weren’t unfamiliar with the brand’s products and performance.
The MRX 710 AV receiver has a clean and plain design with a black aluminium front panel. Since it also comes with a comprehensive remote control, there is no need to place too many buttons on the front panel, as we are able to control everything remotely anyway. It weighs 14 kg. On the left side there are some controls for navigation, as well as an openable cover that hides a headphone jack and an extra HDMI input.
In the middle of the front panel there is a large blue LED display that can be read from distance. Below the display, you can discover a few buttons to adjust the brightness of the display, select the mode, adjust the level, set zone 2, and select the inputs. The amplifier supports 20 virtual inputs, and we can switch between them with the remote control. On the right the designers installed a big volume control knob as well as two power switches. Equipped with 8 HDMI 1.4a inputs, the MRX 710 also has two HDMI 1.4a outputs on the rear panel. HDMI connections support 3D and ARC functions, they can also receive 4K signals.
There are a colour-coded digital sockets on the back. With the Ethernet connection IP control has become possible, the ARC -Anthem Room Correction system can also be run through this, and updates can also be downloaded via the USB connection. The rear panel of the amplifier has a 7.1 channel preamplifier outputs and surround back outputs that can be used as a stereo output in Zone 2 and to drive the front speakers for dual amplification. There are also stereo analog inputs, IR (infrared) input and output, 12 Volt output, RS232 connection, and an FM / AM radio antenna connector.
The remote control is easy to handle featuring an ideal layout of the buttons, and convenient to use in a dark room thanks to the backlight.
Let’s see this receiver!
The menu system is very clear, quick and easy to adjust. Do not look for DTS Neo: X support on this model, as the top, wide and high front speaker outputs are also missing. It has an FM / AM radio receiver, but not an Internet radio function. We cannot connect external USB devices to the amplifier either, but these are not such major shortcomings. The most important requirement for radio amplifiers is to have an easy to access setting, and of course that it sounds great. The circuitry and signal processing system of the device are excellent.
The receiver has a digital signal processing unit – DSP -, which allows the ARC, i.e. the room acoustic optimisation system to apply more filters to render the program setup faster and easier.
Keep in mind, however, that room acoustic optimisation systems can only improve the sound quality in your room, if acoustic conditions are perfect. This is because these sound optimisation programs measure sound pressure and make corrections based on it. However, if there are acoustic issues in the given room, such as echoes for example, they cannot be solved by the software, right on the contrary! Because the software identifies reverberations or reflections as a sound pressure issues, it will further reduce the sound pressure instead of preventing the real errors, thus making sound quality even worse.
Although more advanced DCR programs already calibrate phase and pulse transmissions, which improves the clarity and dynamics of sounds, but they are not enough to solve the real issues. This is why it is highly recommended to treat acoustics of the walls, ceiling, windows and floor surfaces using acoustic panels and fabrics, to obtain the perfect acoustics of the room. And only then can we further improve the sound quality with minor adjustments using the room acoustic optimisation software. Manufacturers also offer a measuring microphone for the ARC system, along with a tripod microphone stand, as well as a CD with an ARC calibration system, a USB cable for connecting the microphone and the amplifier, and a CAT5 cable for network connection to the receiver.
Anthem Advanced Load Monitoring circuit
Anthem’s latest generation radio amplifiers feature a state-of-the-art digital signal processing unit (DSP) that monitors voltage and current values to avoid overload. The amplifier is cooled by a double speed fan to prevent overheating.
The Anthem amplifier test took place in an already treated room for optimal acoustics. Diffuser front panels and sound-absorbing elements were mounted on the walls to ensure right sounding. As a result of our measurements, we recommended the owner to cover the floor with sound-absorbing acoustic mats, which are able to absorb another 20-30 decibels of sound compared to traditional mats.
We watched a freshly released movie to test the sound of the amplifier. The exciting scenes of the 2020 action sci-fi movie Tenet provided plenty of sound effects ideal for our tests. Despite its simplicity, the amplifier was a very pleasant surprise. We paired it with Genelec speakers, and witnessed a realistic, spacious sound, a wide stage picture and a great deal of details. The deep tones were very firm, tight and percussive, the dialogues understandable and clear. Perhaps the medium ranges suffered from shadow sometimes, but the higher tones were beautiful and lively, just as much as they needed to be.
The Anthem receiver knows as much as a receiver needs to know. But if some may find the features incomplete, then we would rather recommend other models to them as there is plenty more features to get with a more sophisticated device than the MRX 710 AV. But if someone doesn’t like overcrowding options, or finds an infinite number of settings and features redundant, just fancy a clean, intense sound, then this amplifier is the most ideal choice, as it is simple yet excellent!