Anthem MRX 500 7.1 A/V Receiver


Setup of the Anthem MRX 500 7.1 A/V Receiver

The time has come to setup the MRX 500. Although it doesn't have all the connectivity options some people would like, this does make for a refreshingly uncluttered back panel. It is particularly easy to read the labels on the various inputs and outputs. And, likewise, the spacing of the jacks is similarly wide enough to allow the use of premium connectors. Thank you, Anthem.

Now then, the pièce de résistance of the Anthem receiver line is the inclusion of a complete Anthem Room Correction (ARC) system. As with all Anthem ARC systems, the one included with the MRX receivers comes complete with a set up disc and a high quality USB electret condenser microphone with a serialized microphone compensation file on the disc. It also includes a decent quality boom-style microphone stand.

All you need to provide is a computer to run the set up system. The mic connects to an available USB jack while the computer communicates with the MRX 500 via an RS 232 serial connection. I used a tower with my display as the monitor. So the serial connection to the receiver worked flawlessly. If you want to use a laptop, you can get a serial to USB adapter at your local PC supply house.

This ARC system isn't quite the same as the one Anthem builds into their Statement D2 or AVM 50v Preamp Processors. The ARC systems in the MRX receivers have less processing power than the systems included with Anthem's separate Pre-Pros. Likewise, the correction range is from 5 kHz and down while the more expensive systems operate out to a limit of 20 kHz. Despite all that, I found the performance of the ARC system bundled with the Anthem MRX 500 to be much better than the common room correction systems that are included with a number of mass market receivers I have tried.

Running the ARC system is a little more intensive of an operation than running Audyssey or the proprietary systems from Pioneer, NAD, H/K, Yamaha, etc. but it provides so much more flexibility for custom controls and visualizing the results of your work. Unlike lesser systems, the ARC system nailed the crossover and level for every speaker system I tried. It doesn't automatically set the distance due to the uncertainty over actual latency of the PC in use. You need to use a tape measure to manually set the distance of each speaker.

On the EQ side of things, I was impressed how closely ARC's measurements of the speaker response corresponded with measurements I made using my reference speaker testing set up. It also provided very effective frequency smoothing in relation to the target curve. You can define your own custom target curves and you can tailor the bass management to movie or music listening. The preferred bass management is selectable by source in the set up menu.