• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Anthem MRX1120 Home Theater AVR Review

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
25,143
Likes
52,427
Location
Seattle Area
#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Anthem MRX1120 "flagship" Home Theater Surround 4K/UHD 11.2 Audio/Video Receiver (AVR). Got all that? It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $3,499.

You have seen one Athem AVR, you have seen them all:

Anthem MRX1120 Home Theater Surround Dolby AVR HDMI Review.jpg

The top of the case looks a bit industrial but otherwise, this is a decent looking box. I like the back panel with large, clear fonts for the speaker connections which I could red upside down:

Anthem MRX1120 4K UHD Home Theater Surround Dolby AVR HDMI Back Panel Connectors Review.jpg

No balanced output which is a bit of a shame but this is typical in this class.

Disappointed to see that tiny fan on the back which I think is mostly to keep the logic cool than any hope of providing circulation for the amplifiers.

I did not use the room correction but in prior testing, Anthem ARC works well.

The menus are manageable from front panel but not that easily. A 1080p (?) menu comes on screen though which is much easier to work through. I did not play with the remote but it is backlit which is nice. And you can use it to change different ARC settings which can be handy for different kinds of music/movie.

Rotary controller for volume felt nice.

DAC Performance Measurements
As usual with AVRs we first check to see how well they convert digital samples to analog. Here is our usual dashboard using HDMI:

Anthem MRX1120 Home Theater Surround Dolby AVR HDMI Audio Measurements.png


I have manually set the volume to output 2 volts. At full output, you get 3 volts. I also tested the unit using S/PDIF input and performance was the same. Our ranking is nothing to write home about among stereo DACs:
Best Audio AVR DAC Tested.png


But among AV products, this is above average:

Best Home Theater AVR 2020 Review.png


Jitter performance was worse for HDMI input than S/PDIF:

Anthem MRX1120 Home Theater Surround Dolby AVR HDMI Jitter Audio Measurements.png

Anthem MRX1120 Home Theater Surround Dolby AVR Jitter Audio Measurements.png


For the rest of the test I stayed with S/PDIF. Multitone is next:

Anthem MRX1120 Home Theater Surround Dolby AVR Multitone Audio Measurements.png


Not bad. Same is true of linearity:
Anthem MRX1120 Home Theater Surround Dolby AVR Linearity Audio Measurements.png


IMD test peformance was disappointing though:
Anthem MRX1120 Home Theater Surround Dolby AVR IMD Audio Measurements.png


One of our newer tests is to see how distortion+noise varies relative to output voltage so that you can tell what amplifiers you can drive at what performance:

Anthem MRX1120 Home Theater Surround Dolby AVR THD+N vs Output Voltage Audio Measurements.png


There is nice, usable range of output to well above 2 volts which many AVRs can't handle as their amps clip (even with no load) and drag down the DAC performance. This is a major failing of most AVRs and it is nice to see Anthem avoiding that.

The DAC filter is typical with slower roll off than optimal but not cringe-worthy:

Anthem MRX1120 Home Theater Surround Dolby AVR Filter Response Audio Measurements.png


The worse performance was in THD+N versus frequency:

Anthem MRX1120 Home Theater Surround Dolby AVR THD+N vs Frequency Audio Measurements.png


When I see such results, I then look at the spectrum at 1 kHz and see what is going on:

Anthem MRX1120 Home Theater Surround Dolby 1 kHz FFT AVR Audio Measurements.png


We have our explanation. The DAC that is used is using noise-shaping to push noise from audible band to ultrasonic. Since our THD+N test has wide bandwidth, it uses this much higher noise floor and produces poor results. Since this noise is not audible, actual performance is better than the previous graph showed.

AVR Amplifier Measurements
Let's start with our 5 watt dashboard first using analog input:
Anthem MRX1120 Home Theater Surround Dolby AVR Analog In Power into 4 Ohms Audio Measurements.png


Using digital input improves performance fair bit:

Anthem MRX1120 Home Theater Surround Dolby AVR Digital Power into 4 Ohms Audio Measurements.png


This is above average for all amplifiers tested:
Best AVR Amplifier Performance Review.png


Power output is within specifications:

Anthem MRX1120 Home Theater Surround Dolby AVR Analog In Power into 4 Ohm Audio Measurements.png


Anthem MRX1120 Home Theater Surround Dolby AVR Analog In Power into 8 Ohms Audio Measurements.png


Disappointing to see such high level of noise and distortion at lower power levels though.

Conclusions
The Anthem MRX1120 avoids some of the major failings of Audio/Video Receivers. Its DAC output does not go to hell for example when you output nominal 2 volts allowing you to use external amplification with more power and fidelity. In that sense it makes a good AV Processor. With respect to performance to 2-channel products, it clearly is not there but no AV product is either.

Overall, I am happy to find an AVR that is not broken and can recommend the Anthem MRX1120.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

I can't recall if I have asked you all for money recently so to be sure, please donate what you can using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

North_Sky

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2019
Messages
430
Likes
174
Location
Kha Nada
#3
Last edited:

Blumlein 88

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 23, 2016
Messages
8,167
Likes
10,133
#4
I sort of feel like this gets a recommended verdict as much by the dismal performance of others as for its own positive attributes. It looks like a better pre/pro than most such devices. Would be a nice product if they stripped out the amps and let you purchase it for half the money. The end result could be superior.

Still glad to see some proof that not all AV products have to be compromised just to do all the processing they do. Thanks for the review.
 

North_Sky

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2019
Messages
430
Likes
174
Location
Kha Nada
#6
I sort of feel like this gets a recommended verdict as much by the dismal performance of others as for its own positive attributes. It looks like a better pre/pro than most such devices. Would be a nice product if they stripped out the amps and let you purchase it for half the money. The end result could be superior.

Still glad to see some proof that not all AV products have to be compromised just to do all the processing they do. Thanks for the review.
https://www.anthemav.com/products-current/model=avm-60/page=overview
 
Joined
Jan 10, 2020
Messages
30
Likes
56
Location
Switzerland
#8
Could anyone with an EE background assess the likelyhood of this device measuring significantly worse than the MRX1120 tested here? After all it seems to be the same layout and components with the power amp stages replaced by XLR boards... what could possibly go wrong?

I also wonder about Anthems update cadence: These devices were released in 2017, I'm looking to build a HT next year. There should be a decent chance of a successor being released in the meantime, shouldnt there?
 
Joined
Jan 10, 2020
Messages
30
Likes
56
Location
Switzerland
#9
So the amps only cost $500? I think they didn't discount it enough.
I'm not at all naive enough to claim that final pricing reflects only BOM, however, your logic is flawed:

Price of everything
+ amplifier stages
= 3.5k

Prince of everything
- amplifier stages
+ XLR output boards
= 3k

So assuming a non-zero cost for the XLR output boards, the amplifiers cost more than 500$. :)
 

Blumlein 88

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 23, 2016
Messages
8,167
Likes
10,133
#10
Could anyone with an EE background assess the likelyhood of this device measuring significantly worse than the MRX1120 tested here? After all it seems to be the same layout and components with the power amp stages replaced by XLR boards... what could possibly go wrong?

I also wonder about Anthems update cadence: These devices were released in 2017, I'm looking to build a HT next year. There should be a decent chance of a successor being released in the meantime, shouldnt there?
Not a question for an EE. If you simply strip out power amp channels, and don't compromise power supplies to the rest of the unit it would be the same performance or even better. But the questions have to be presented to marketing and such at Anthem. Is the AVM 60 a MRX120 without power amps or something altogether different? Something from an earlier version yet to be updated, something of a later version, or what? Only way to know is to test the AVM60.
 

Blumlein 88

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 23, 2016
Messages
8,167
Likes
10,133
#12
I'm not at all naive enough to claim that final pricing reflects only BOM, however, your logic is flawed:

Price of everything
+ amplifier stages
= 3.5k

Prince of everything
- amplifier stages
+ XLR output boards
= 3k

So assuming a non-zero cost for the XLR output boards, the amplifiers cost more than 500$. :)
You must also assume a zero cost or lesser cost for speaker output lugs which aren't needed. And you don't think you save on a much smaller power supply to a pre/pro vs power amps?

I don't know if the 60 is a 120 without amps or some completely different design. In this case, maybe a 60 without power amps and keep it single ended would be a good bargain.
 

maty

Major Contributor
Joined
Dec 12, 2017
Messages
2,749
Likes
1,524
Location
Tarragona (Spain)
#14




http://www.sengpielaudio.com/calculator-thd.htm

At 1 watt (8 Ohms) -67 dB -> 0.044 %

At 1 watt (4 Ohms) -65 dB -> 0.055 %


To compare with old AVR (mine, at second system)

https://www.soundandvision.com/content/marantz-sr4500-av-receiver-ht-labs-measures

AV-Marantz-SR4500-THD-graph.png


This graph shows that the SR4500's left channel, from CD input to speaker output with two channels driving 8-ohm loads, reaches 0.1% distortion at 100.4 watts and 1% distortion at 114.6 watts. Into 4 ohms, the amplifier reaches 0.1% distortion at 128.2 watts and 1% distortion at 158.8 watts.
 
Last edited:

North_Sky

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2019
Messages
430
Likes
174
Location
Kha Nada
#15
So the amps only cost $500? I think they didn't discount it enough.
Amps today are cheap ... "The 5 main channels of the MRX 1120 are Class AB amplifiers (rated at 140 watts per channel), the rear surround and height channels are more efficient, and smaller sized, Class D amplifiers (rated at 60 watts per channel)."

And amps inside a preamp introduce noise, like a virus.

But yeah, the preamp should cost less. Or the receiver should cost more.
Or both should cost less. :) ...And offer more for less. But, ARC Room Correction...Ah.
 

Costas EAR

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 15, 2020
Messages
128
Likes
216
Location
Greece
#17
The room correction is what makes up at least half the price on these things.
The other half is the software for loudspeaker management, subwoofer management, dolby decoding, upmixing, streaming, tidal and Spotify apps, roon ready certification, thx certification, mobile phone apps, and so on, these are processors and you pay for the included software and the support with upgrades.
Amps and dacs are too cheap to mention...

The price range of each new processor, mainly depends on the existing competition, that is the existing processors of the other brands on the market.

The total cost of hardware, is very low, perhaps 10% of the total price.

IMHO...
 
Last edited:

pozz

Machine
Forum Donor
Editor
Joined
May 21, 2019
Messages
1,478
Likes
2,113
#18

carlob

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 4, 2019
Messages
182
Likes
311
Location
Roma, Italy
#19

Similar threads

Top Bottom