Originally Posted by gadgtfreek
Hi all, looking for some input.
I've recently started moving into separates witht he purchase of an Outlaw Model 7125 amp. Next step (30-60 days) is an "upgrade" on the preamp/avr front. I'm suffering from info overload, and one of my issues is AVR vs Preamp, and version of room correction.
Ive always used Audyssey, but have heard ARC is one of the best. I'm leaning towards getting an AVR to use a preamp because of cost. With say a Marantz 7701, its $1600 and you do not get Audyssey XT32. I can get a Denon X4000 AVr, but those things are hot and I then wonder about the budget they spent on the analog section. The other plus I see to an AVR as a preamp, is that if the amp goes down, you still can run your gear until its repaired.
Just looking at Anthem, it appears I need the 510, and that is also right in my price range. So a few questions if you do not mind:
Anyone using a 510 or 710 as a preamp, what are your thoughts on sound quality?
As far as preamp function, Im not running anything more than 5.1, is there any reason to look at the 710?
What brand of DAC's does Anthem use?
Also curious if anyone has used both ARC and Audyssey. I've been told by more than on professional that they felt ARC was superior.
TIA. Also if you can think of any other input, it would be greatly appreciated. My system basically consists of two DVRs going into an Oppo 103D, with it sending A/V out to the AVR, then one HDMI to the display and the analog cables out to the amp.
If I go the AVR route, Im basically looking for the best analog SQ and room correction I can get for $1500 or so, and of course reliability is always a good thing. I have zero experience with Anthem.
There are many who use the MRXs as a preamp, both first and current generation with good results. The key ingredient here is the ARC.
The 510 and 710 are pretty powerful. Depending on speakers and volume etc, you may or many not derive more benefits from a power amp. The power amp stage of the new Gen MRX is very good.
As a preamp, you may find the 310 enough. The processing of all 3 MRX models are the same. The only significant difference other than power is that the 310 only outputs 5.1; including using it as a preamp. It may not be a big deal except if you want to biamp your fronts. Then again you can use a splitter cable, The 510 and 710 also have a front HDMI input, which is useful for laptops and other portables like phones. Some posters have reported problems using older HDMI cables.
As for sound quality, I had a listen to my friend's Yamaha RSX 673 and coming from an Arcam AVR360, I can give you my impressions of what I think the differences are.
The Arcams and Anthems are quite "musical". The Yam is fantastic for AV content. The difference is that the Yam's DAC will highlight "effect" sounds. Makes everything sound more compelling. You get blown away straight away. But gets tiring when listening to music. Even in Pure Direct mode, it highlights unnecessarilu.
The Anthem, and especially Arcam, is more neutral and natural sounding. Voices and instruments come up smoother and sweeter. Basically miderange. The whole sound stage is much stronger. Ok, I appreciate the Yam I'm listening too is entry-level, but my impressions seem to concur with many in the AV business.
Again, it may be a matter of taste. I would say the Yam has a nice user interface and does sound quite good. But for raw SQ, still prefer the Anthems and Arcams.
And here comes the conundrum, I think overall, the Anthems are slightly less neutral than the Arcam, Which isn't a bad thing. It makes the material more involving, but not too much. Which makes it great for AV as well, as you do want the effects to jolt you a bit. User interface though is rather drab compared to the Yam. It is lightning fast though, so I don't care.
Then there is ARC. The new ARC1M is extremely close to the ARC implemented in the pro grade D2V. I would venture to add it is better than the Audyssey. It can really tame all kinds of room environments and get the best out of whatever equipment and room you have.. My graphs are a case in point. And that is on autosetup. Basically smoothened everything out. Took me 15 min to set up. All done.
I was also commenting on another thread what a great a great 2 channel stereo amp it makes. And so, hard to find something better at that price point.
You can consider how you want to make best use of your Oppo. The Oppo is well known for its DAC and video upscaling. The Anthem does allow for analog passthrough. But then it also bypasses ARC for bass management. Processing analog is probably a bad idea cos its double conversion. To implement ARC on an analog signal, it first has to convert it to digital, process, then back. That was the criticism of the first Gen MRX. You may want to play around with using the HDMI out and see how the Anthem's DAC performs. I can't fault it so far. Then again, I don't have an Oppo.
If you're not too fussed about a fancy user interface, having Airplay, network radio etc, on pure SQ alone, I think the Anthem is untouchable. Every cent/penny you pay for goes into giving you the best sound.
The only choice is between the different models. I wouldn't worry about the quoted output figures; they're highly misleading.
I do think the 310 is probably too weak for anything except a cosy room with sat/sub combos/small bookshelves. The 510 seems to be the sweet spot. It does have a lot of juice, but doesn't seem like a waste if youi add a power amp later. I think the 710 is really for people who have decided they willl never get a power amp ever.
If you already have a power amp, you should consider the 310 and 510.