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Any thoughts on Anthem MRX 500 vs Cambridge Azur 650R?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I am new to this forum and am looking for some opinions/advice on a receiver I am looking to purchase. I have narrowed down my choices to either the Anthem MRX 500 or the Cambridge Audio Azur 650R. Unfortunately, I cannot find any comparisons between the two out there. I am mainly looking for a receiver that is excellent for audio first and foremost, with home theater being secondary. I have a Bose 5.1 speaker system right now, but I am looking to upgrade to some $2k floor standing loudspeakers very soon (I haven't decided on a pair yet as I need something to drive them first). A Rega P3 Turntable is also in the near future, so you can see that I am more serious about audio being my primary concern. If anyone can give me any advice here, I'd definitely appreciate it. I've read good things about both, but haven't found any side-by-side comparisons. I also can't seem to find any place around here that has both in stock to compare myself. I'm in Hoboken, NJ if anyone also happens to know of a place where I can compare them.

Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 6
Thread Starter 
post #3 of 6
Originally Posted by Archaus View Post

....I am mainly looking for a receiver that is excellent for audio first and foremost, with home theater being secondary...

This is a complicated one: the Anthem has better quality room correction, but the internal amps of the Cambridge will be more vigourous.

The Anthem is a more current current receiver, with features such as top notch room correction (which really makes a difference) and ethernet networking (ie you can have all your music on a computer and stream it to the receiver, plus internet radio etc).

The Cambridge has more honest amplification, with audio tests showing that it does more than 120watt in two-channel and will do 100watts into ALL channels. In contrast the Anthem I think is measured at less than the claimed 75 watts in all channels. For music this likely translates into the Cambridge having better dynamics, plus ability to perform better in a bigger space.

I have the Cambridge 540R v2 and its amplification is pretty good. Obviously that is what Cambridge leans on. But the rest of the package is a bit dated and this specific 650R model has had some quality control problems that are well documented.

If it were me, I think the room correction and networking important enough to prioritize them and then just add external amps. You can easily bough 2-3 external amps of good quality for not that much.

But if your receiver is to be just a preamp/surround processor/networking unit, then you know what you can get a Yamaha A1000 or Pioneer 1120 for less money and then add the amps. This is what I would do - and skip buying BOTH of these models you have listed.
post #4 of 6
Between those two, I'd have to go with the Anthem even though I really liked CA in the past. But I would go with an AVR and EMO amp over both for the money.
post #5 of 6
the funny thing is a lot of high end units dont offer EQ set-up...
post #6 of 6
This is an old thread, but...

I have the Anthem MRX700, in fact this is my SECOND one. I am leaning towards an Arcam AVR400. I have looked into the Cambridge.

If you want features and lots of signal noise, go Anthem. If you just want the "basics" of what you need, power and an AVR based on SQ vs "isn't it NEAT" go Cambridge.

ARC is great, it is. BUT....if you have good speakers and controlled bass it's usefulness can be limited. The more I pulled my fronts from the wall, the less ARC mattered. it didn't do a lot to begin with. PLUS, like anything, there are trade-offs like a slightly "thinner?" sound to me. Why do most audio files always choose the "default/off" settings? there's a reason.

Also, I didn't think the all digital situation with Anthem would matter, But it DOES, BIG TIME.

I put in a CD (I'm mostly a TV guy) and it was TERRIBLE. No sound stage of any kind. And when all the instruments of the music kick in it's a mess, just a mess of sound.

I say better sound quality trumps "lesser"? SQ + room correction.

And you will get that with the Cambridge. In fact, I kinda think the Cambridge IS what the Anthem is SUPPOSED to be.

Simple and thinned out on features for a slightly better sound at a great price. But the Anthem fails BECAUSE of BAD processing designs. "Clicks, pops, and static from the AMPS or from the processing TO the AMPS"
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