Meet the next Anthem MRX-1120 owner
The MRX-1120 replaces a 2010 Denon 4311ci 9-channel AVR. First impressions are good packaging, well organized back panel, clean display, and simple remote. I wanted to hear the amp as-is so I made the connections, balanced the channels with a SPL meter, and auditioned several well known Atmos scenes and music tracks.
Immediately I noticed the uncalibrated highs, not harsh, but I will definitely be calibrating. The 1120 has much more punch than my old Denon. Uncalibrated music sounds decent, but I hear gaps in Atmos scenes. It's likely the bass management crossovers.
Well, I like what I hear so far, now to explore the functionality. The manual suggests wired Ethernet for the network because the 1120 is in my metal equipment rack. I cross my fingers and plug in the network cable...ip address populates automatically, nice. I then installed the latest firmware and downloaded ARC2.
Setting up the stand and mic is straightforward. I plug in the mic to the laptop and start ARC2 for a quick calibration. Oops, need mic calibration file, hmm. I can't remember how, but I downloaded the mic cal file and started a 5 point calibration. At this point I'm not concerned over a dead nuts calibration as I only want to get a feel for how ARC works.
Surprisingly, the calibration did not take long and the file uploaded to the 1120 as expected. The results were interesting and unexpected. Audyssey would set the FLR to 40, C to 60 and the surrounds at 80, then I would reset all crossovers to 80Hz. ARC set FLR to 80, C to 110, and all surrounds to 100Hz. It may have to do with mic positioning, but for now I will use the results.
Revisiting the same scenes and tracks, I must say I am impressed with the calibration. The plane engines and various gun calibers rang true in Unbroken. Everything sounded authentic, balanced. Dialog is clear and natural. The Insurgent scene where Tris attacks Janine is more detail than I ever heard before. The opening scene in Mad Max Fury Road is realistic from the engines to the dirt.
The unique way ARC does bass management is so different than Audyssey. I expected more bass, but what I got is bigger, natural sound. I am looking forward to really dialing in ARC in the coming days.