Anthem MRX 310 – Operation
The MRX 310 benefits from an unusually attractive onscreen menu system (for an AV receiver anyway), which makes it a breeze to configure every aspect of its performance.
The main menu is a list of options with chunky white text, small icons and a responsive coloured bar that moves up and down. It takes up the whole screen, making it easy to read.
The submenus go into great detail, covering HDMI and speaker setup, Bass Management, Input setup, Display and network settings and much more.
One nice feature is the ability to configure up to twenty inputs, assigning different parameters to each one to suit the connected source. Never mind apps and streaming – this is the sort of flexibility that home cinema fans will really appreciate.
The second smaller remote for zone 2 that came with the MRX 300 has been ditched but the main remote has been improved. It’s been simplified, sporting a helpful, uncluttered button layout and clear lettering. The direction keys in the middle allow for quick, intuitive menu navigation, and we like the way frequently-used keys are arranged around it for quick access.
Zone 2 can be controlled using dedicated buttons at the bottom. It’s also backlit to make operation easier with the lights off. Build quality is excellent too, making this a terrific zapper overall. Anthem also has remote apps for iOS and Android devices in the pipeline.
Anthem MRX 310 – Performance
The MRX 310 delivers up an exhilarating home cinema experience, far beyond what you might normally expect from an AV receiver at this price. It even gives more expensive sonic superstars like the Pioneer SC-LX87 a run for their money, which is no mean feat.
There are several reasons why the MRX 310 blows us away, but key to its success is ARC 1M. It does a wonderful job of stripping away all the distortion that so often impinges on performance, leaving you with a clear, direct and focused listening experience.
Another vital benefit is the Anthem’s remarkable muscularity. 60W per channel might not sound like a lot of grunt, but we could feel every last watt being pumped into the room. As they say – it’s not the wattage, it’s what you do with it that counts. Or something like that.
As a result, the MRX 310 blasts boisterous action scenes into the room with the sort of slam and drive that makes a mockery of its price tag.
Rigged up to Roth’s superb OLi RA speakers – as well as Tannoy’s new Mercury Xi setup for a short spell – the climax of The Desolation of Smaug on Blu-ray sounds huge. The dragon’s fiery roar and stomping footsteps are deep and visceral, while the mids and highs are relayed with tremendous attack.
There’s a sense of scale on offer here that budget amps just cannot deliver. It easily conveys not only the vastness of the cavernous hall but also the size and heft of the agile dragon.
And thanks to the magic of ARC 1M, the sub’s bass notes are tightly fused to the speakers, so much so that you forget there’s even a sub at all.
But power is only one part of the equation – the Anthem demonstrates a remarkable level of finesse too. With no acoustic nastiness to impede it, every scrap of detail is allowed to shine through, resulting in a crisp, open and layered sound. Dialogue is also clear, with the MRX 310 lending subtle nuance and rich bass depth to the characters’ voices.
The MRX 310 immerses you convincingly in the movie thanks to its truly cohesive and seamlessly integrated soundstage. It steers effects with confidence and accuracy. We were completely absorbed into the action.
Much the same can be said about its musical performance, which benefits from the same superb detail subtlety, bass integration and focus as movies.
With Roxy Music’s Avalon on SACD, the MRX 310 reproduces the spacey grooves, seductive vocals and glittering percussion of the 5.1 mix with aplomb.
Should I buy the Anthem MRX 310?
Many people will look at the MRX 310’s price and limited feature list and wonder what gives.
But what you have to bear in mind is that its value should not be measured in terms of the number of badges on the front or how many online services it can stream from. What matters here is that you’re getting a level of performance well above its price tag.
The MRX 310 delivers powerful, focused and finessed sound quality, the likes of which you’d expect from a receiver costing twice as much.
But what seals the deal is ARC 1M, which we consider to be the best room correction system on the market. The way it polishes performance to suit your room acoustics is nothing short of a revelation, and because it’s controlled via Ethernet, it’s now easier to use than ever.
Combine this with user-friendly operation, top-drawer build quality, plentiful HDMI inputs and an attractive design and you’ve got an AV receiver that enthusiasts really can’t afford to miss.
The marvellous MRX 310 improves on its predecessor with a revamped room correction system, easier operation and more sockets, and thankfully its sound quality is just as mind-blowing.
Score in detail
Sound Quality 10