I've had them both. 700 and 400.
700's (yes, multiple) on and off for 6 months and waiting for another due to noise issues.
400 for three weeks.
+ better "basic", sound from the speaker, sound quality (not referring to RC, surround decoding, etc)
+ AMP handles bass better, more integrated into the sound. Doesn't do the Japanese slap you in the face "here's your bass , now" "Oh, it's time for bass" sound. That may explain why some think it's got less "Umphh". But it's just more natural.
+ AMP has more delicate sound, more detail, etc.
+- GUI. It's different, not better, not worse. In many ways, there are more options than the Anthem. If you could "mix" and "pick-n-choose" between them, that would really be something nice. If I had to choose, I'd pick the Arcam GUI for more overall control.
- RC EQ. Awful. Ran it about three times and it never sounded as good on as off.
- got strange "chirp" noise once in a while that would float around the right side, very odd.
++ Superior remote, VERY superior. This is a remote you can actually get to work with everything. I actually dumped my TV remote, I needed the TV remote for NOTHING. Even the TiVo programming worked pretty good, but I prefer my TiVo BT Slide-Remote, for day-to-day.
- CEC doesn't turn ON Receiver when I turn on TV(like Anthem), but...
+ When CEC is on, no noticeable change in OFF power usage --- Anthem 120-140 extra watts, the SAME as when it's full ON.
+++ handles my TiVo better. No codec POPS, no odd noises at end of program or boot-up, etc.
- Lot's of "codec mute". Can be rather long, you get used to it, however. But then, read above +++
- I felt there was more noise/static from the Arcam AMPS, oddly. But I don't know the overall effect, since I liked the sound better from the Arcam anyway.
+- I "think" video was better with the Anthem, BUT I feel the direct link from my TiVo, right now, looks better than either. So it's suggestive, but definitely NOT obviously a noticeable difference. And I am pretty picky.
++++ All that stuff about reliabilty, etc. No problems. I've had MUCH MUCH more trouble with the 700's.
+ superior bass management options/SW. BUT, oddly, I prefer the integration of bass from the Arcam. (there's that "musical" thing.)
+++Better, more full, channel steering. That is, you get more left, right, back and less center channel. More SURROUND sound.
This is the BIGGEST REASON for me as far as why Anthem is better for Surround, etc.
+ "basic" SQ, relatively close to Arcam -- VASTLY superior to any Japanese brand I've heard.
+ ARC. We've all heard enough about it. I'll let you read more in the Anthem threads.
+ quieter AMPS. NO static at all. (except for me, read later, or endlessly in Anthem MRX thread)
- For two channel stereo music and such, I felt the Anthem lacked ANY depth and soundstage of ANY kind, just pushed out noise, so to speak.
+Quality of design. I just "feel" the Anthem was put together better, both HW and SW. But that's just a "feeling" and reality for me has been "quite" different, actually.
- remote. Awful. I can RARELY get key presses to register when the back light is on. Very odd. Not programmable, no learning features, etc. Separate On and OFF buttons, Argh!
+- With my TiVo, codec issues are better than any other non-Japanese brand I've tried. The Arcam has a long codec mute which avoids ALL pops. The Anthem was not quite as good. With 50.23 SW, the Anthem was VERY nearly codec pop free. 50.24 beta made a finicky unit MUCH worse, and 50.25 turned out better than even 50.23, but with an unreliable unit it's hard to say for sure.
Conclusion -- If you are a music person --- Arcam, no doubt, period.
If you don't listen/or care for music much and are VERY TV orientated (me) -- Anthem.
I just returned the Arcam and will have another Anthem MRX700 in a week. Piero (CS) from Anthem claims to have been running it to make sure it doesn't have noise in any channel. I'll take my headphones to the dealer when I pick it up. I could hear it through the HP's, even at the store with nothing connected.
My first 700 had a strange gurgling noise in the LS channel. Exchanged after a week.
My second 700 (on the floor, in the box, right now) has a "sizzling static" or RF??? noise in the LF channel. This noise goes up and down in volume, with no relation to anything I can figure. You can especially, hear it with headphones. NO NOISE in any other channel, none. I also cannot tell the difference anymore, between ARC ON or OFF. NOW, at times, especially after the receiver has been on a while, I get noise in ALL CHANNELS and codec POPs suddenly increase DRAMATICALLY. I also get a upper-end harshness like I'm pushing a cheap AMP too hard, if I turn the volume up a little past basic TV watching. I call this ACTING UP. I'm VERY certain I've had a serious SQ drop as well, since I noticed it after returning the first unit and before the second went bad.
When I get a properly running 700 (I hope), I will then be able to compare it to the Arcam 400 more properly and choose between them. I'll post my results.
My BIGGEST thing is that people should NOT shy away from Arcam. They ARE impressive and well worth the tryout. After getting another Anthem I may STILL go back to the Arcam, I'll have a little better direct comparison at that point. Also, if you are not big into all the FEATURES, Cambridge Audio is supposed to finally release the 651r and 751r in the next month or so. They should be VERY impressive in the sound department, but very disappointing in the FEATURE department. But on thing the Arcam revealed (or reinforced) to me is that you don't need to "fix" the sound, if it is right to begin with. In the end, it's about how it sounds.Edited by dean-l - 9/20/12 at 12:13am