Here is my brief initial take on the new MRX700.
My Electronics: currently consists of a Denon AVR-4810CI, but I did own an Anthem D2v and Cary Cinema 5, among other separates before opting to simplify things of an electronics nature. I was using an Odyssey HT-3 amp to run the fronts & center until about a month ago. Since that time, I have been using the internal amps in the Denon.
My Speakers: Genesis Technology 6.1Fs, 7.1C, G928 SW, two pairs of Axiom QS8’s. Not too many folks with Genesis speakers. I have never looked back when I replaced a B&W setup over two years ago. The L&R Genesis speakers have a High Level through outputs that connects by speaker cabling to the High Level inputs of the G928 SW. Cabling consists of mostly Nordost Heimdall & Baldur. about a month ago. Please note that my second set of QS8's was being used as Front Heights with the Denon, so the surrounds in the charts below are older full sized Cambridge Soundworks Tower II Speakers.
The Denon 4810 was always intended to be a temporary solution, while awaiting Anthem to release the MRX receivers. But, I was unsure about waiting it out for the 900 or opting for a 700, so I did not preorder a new MRX. My local Anthem dealer, Gary Wurlitzer of Wurlitzer Stereo in Marlborough, MA loaned me his new MRX 700 demo.
Initial Useability Impressions:
Pros: MRX is better looking in person than by picture. The buttons are so Anthem-like (and useable). The MRX t is almost compact in nature and is not oversized like some of the upscale priced Denons and Marantz units. The rear panel is well spaced out and not overcrowded. Speaker connectors are well made. Fonts of display on front of unit are large enough for my old eyes to see. Setup is simple. Last evening I ran manual setup, taking speaker measurements with a tape and using my trusty Ratshack meter and an AIX audio calibration disc to balance the sound. I always wait to run room correction/ARC, until I do some initial listening because I believe that playing with manual setup gives me the ability to betternlearn the ins & outs of new elctronics and to test out the SQ prior to any room correction setup.
Cons: Speaker distance is only measured in foot increments. Other than volume, information only shows up via OSD on monitor when entering setup/making changes.
Initial Sound Impressions: My dealer had told me that he expected that Anthem’s implementation of amps in the MRX receivers would be superior to the Denon. He was correct, and then some. Since selling my last external amplifier, I have found the Denon to be lacking in dynamics and a bit thin in the midrange. The amps in the MRX are dead quiet and extremely dynamic. I ran a number of BD discs and found that the Anthem never lacked for power or distorted, even when turning the volume up much louder than I would normally listen. I would describe the sound as clean and articulate. No, it does not have the depth that I remember from my D2 days, but after taking the Denon out of play, I found that I was no longer wanting for a separate amplifier or my D2. I need to get the how does analog sound questions out of the way. I hooked up one of my Rega TT’s as well as some nice recorded CD’s through my Oppo BDP83. The MRX is OK, but nothing special analogue wise. Digital listening is another story. I have learned thru experience that analogue belongs in a separate system (or with a 2 CH tube integrated with HT bypass), and I now only listen to music digitally in my HT.
ARC: I ran ARC this morning, and am listening/watching a Return To Forever Returns BD disc. Although my fronts are rated 48HZ to 36HZ +/- 3dB, ARC set them to Small 80 Hz. I already knew that I should not be concerned about whether ARC sets my speakers on Small or Large because I know from experience that ARC appears to know more than I do because it sounds really good. Now, I just need to listen to some more flix and some music.
Overall: SQ appears to be extremely good and quiet and at the same time quite dynamic when compared to my Denon/Odyssey implementation. Not as many bells & whistles as the Denon, but I never used most of those. I do miss being able to change Listening Modes on the remote and this is a huge omission by Anthem. Sort of reminds me of the early days with the D2, and I see that thread is running over 10K repsonses. So far I am very pleased with the MRX 700. Right now, the MRX does not leave me wanting for separates. Yes, it could have a bit better user interface with more frills/pizzaz, but it sounds really good, and I will take good sound over the frills any day of the week.