Anthem MRX 310 – Features
The MRX 310 isn’t teeming with new-fangled features like its Japanese rivals, which some people might see as a disadvantage, but when it comes to core home cinema duties it has everything you need.
Amplifier power output is quoted at 80W per channel with two channels driven, or 60W per channel with five channels (into 8 ohms). It also decodes Dolby True HD, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS HD Master Audio, plus all the related legacy formats.
The on-board digital signal processing (DSP) circuit offers the AnthemLogic mode in two flavours – Cinema and Music – plus Dolby Pro Logic IIx, DTS Neo:6 and Dolby Volume.
Unlike the MRX 300, there’s no Pro Logic IIz, DTS Neo:X support or any other mode offering height and/or width channels, but we won’t miss them to be honest.
You also get 4K upscaling/passthrough, 3D support and ARC, plus video conversion from component and composite to HDMI.
Anthem’s Advanced Load Monitoring keeps an eye on the voltage and current to keep the output transistors at a safe operating level, while a unique heatsink tunnel and fan design helps keep the unit cool and allows the MRX 310 to work harder for long periods without having to shut down.
There’s no internet radio, as is the trend with most receivers these days, so you’ll have to settle for the FM/AM tuner. Anyone hoping to play digital music files will be disappointed too, as the USB port doesn’t support media playback and there’s no network streaming – don’t even think about looking for online services like Spotify and Deezer.
As we said, this is a receiver whose purpose is to deliver the very best home cinema sound possible, and if that means dispensing with superficial features then so be it. If that’s an issue for you, go and check out an Onkyo or Yamaha.
Step up to the MRX 510 or 710 and you get more power, as well as a front HDMI input and the ability to bi-amp the front speakers.
Anthem MRX 310 – ARC 1M Software
This is the MRX 310’s most important feature, and the reason why many people love Anthem’s AV receivers. Like most auto calibration systems, the idea is to measure the characteristics of your room, identify any acoustic problems like colouration and resonance, then apply correction to eliminate them.
But ARC has a more professional feel than other systems, using exclusive PC software that provides you with visual evidence of the improvements being made.
It’s also been greatly improved this time round. It’s now controlled over a network via Ethernet, as opposed to the RS-232 connection used by the MRX 300, which was a bit hit and miss – this is much quicker and easier. Anthem has also improved the digital signal processing used by ARC, which creates more precise correction curves and allows the software to run faster.
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In the box you get a calibrated microphone, tripod stand and ARC software on a CD ROM. The software can also be downloaded from Anthem’s website, although you still need to extract the microphone’s calibration file from the CD, which is specific to that mic.
Once the software is installed, enter all the distances from the listening position to the speakers, connect the microphone to a USB port on your computer and place it in the first listening position on its tripod. Run the software’s auto mode (there is a manual mode but we prefer to let the software take control) and the onscreen instructions guide you through the process. It starts by searching for the MRX 310 on the network and locating the calibration file on your PC.
You can take measurements from a minimum of five positions and a maximum of nine. Once that’s done the system uploads the room correction data to your computer and to the MRX 310. You can also view or print a report containing before and after graphs to see what difference the correction has made to each speaker.
The software is a lot more user-friendly than the previous incarnation, boasting a clear, easy to follow layout with large buttons running along the top and all the relevant data presented in the space below. More experienced users can use the manual mode, which goes into a ridiculous amount of detail so you can tailor the system more precisely.
This slick, approachable software is absolutely brilliant, producing results that genuinely improve the sound quality, but the most impressive thing is that you get all of it bundled in the box – you’d normally expect to pay hundreds of pounds extra for a calibration system of this quality.