Anthem MRX 700 A/V Receiver
With A/V receivers becoming increasingly complicated devices with various multitasking abilities, its refreshing to see a high-end model that is designed with a high priority on delivering maximum sound quality. This focus sets the Canadian-designed Anthem MRX 700 apart from the crowd, despite specifications that appear to fall short of the competition. The MRX 700 weighs a reassuring 35.4 pounds, which is comparable to other high-end receivers of this size. The amplifier is rated at 120 watts per channel with two channels active (dropping to 90 watts per channel with 5 channels driven; 80 watts with 7 channels), and is capable of putting out extremely clean, natural-sounding audio that needs suitable high-end speakers to do this receiver justice. While the on-paper specifications dont quite measure up to the Pioneer SC-37 and its ICE Power amplifier, the Anthem MRX 700 performs just as well in the real world.
The MRX 700 is a no-nonsense A/V receiver, and thus features none of the sleek styling or eye-catching adornments found on other expensive models. There are buttons for various functions on the front face, and an extra set of inputs are hidden behind a cover. The rear panel appears to boast plenty of connectors at first glance, but some disappointments make themselves known upon closer inspection. There is not a single S-Video port to be found, nor is a phono input available. Anthem has chosen not to include 7.1-channel analog audio inputs, which will undoubtedly annoy enthusiasts. Lastly, the MRX 700 offers merely a single HDMI output, which will necessitate manual swapping of HDMI cables if you need to use different devices.
Initial setup of the Anthem MRX 700 is similar to other receivers which employ automatic calibration suites. However, unlike other manufacturers, Anthem provides all of the equipment needed to get accurate measurements. Included in the box is a high-quality full-size microphone and a tripod, as well as various cables and software loaded onto a CD. Anthems ARC calibration system requires a PC, and is generally capable of better accuracy than both Pioneers MCACC and Audysseys MultEQ systems.
Ultimately, your ears will be the biggest deciding factor when considering whether the Anthem MRX 700 is worth its $2000 price tag. There are other A/V receivers which are priced hundreds of dollars lower and offer more features and connectivity, but only the best of the bunch can come close to matching the sound quality of the Anthem MRX 700.