Squeezed neatly on the fashionably cool Great Portland Street between food emporium Villandry and Regents Park’s Frieze Art Festival is “Ideaworks”, the venue for the preview of Anthems new AVR range, built on their two and a half year old MRX range and 30 years of research. Ideaworks is a stunning showpiece of conceptual sound and vision design, showing off 4K Black Diamond Screens and an interactive fish tank projection in the entrance alone. Under the street are several demo rooms where Anthem has chosen to show off their wares. There are several ‘givens’ here; the room is large and acoustically very appealing. The four electric reclining chairs we’re lazing in are just about the most comfortable chairs I’ve ever sat in and the speakers, used to demo the new kit, are upwards of 6k a pair, from Anthems own Paradigm Signature range, the S6s.
We’re gathered under Great Portland Street to hear of the Anthem MRX510 & MRX710 (£1,699 & £2,199) available from mid November, a more affordable (!) MRX 310 (£1,199) comes out in January. Of course, on display is the top of the range MRX710, boasting 7.1 support, 7 HDMI ports and software updates by USB. There is no HDMI2 support in this range.
There are two key themes here. Anthem are concentrating the “bangs for your buck ” sound quality. The receivers have no streaming capabilities, AirPlay, Spotify or the like, just simple power delivery. You are getting the best sound they can get in the box; Anthem is keen to maintain a reputation that “Anthem watts are more powerful than other peoples’ watts”. The other key message from the demonstration is Anthem’s understanding of room correction, an increasingly important area of AV presentation.
The room correction was appearing to be a limiting factor, given all the software loading (windows only), multi frequency measuring (moving a calibrated around), diagnostic checking and the like, however it was made clear that after 5 minutes you can correct your seven channel surround sound system to an optimum sound curve (Anthems prescribed curve in this case) which if you’re spending this kind of money actually seems like a perfectly sensible thing to do, in fact. Better still, your dealer can do all this for you as part of the sales’ process. The end product of all of this expertise is an active room set-up that does away with poorer results from microphones plugged into lesser AVRs. The sound quality really was stunning with mid ranges emphasised, clearer dialogue and the bass at a perfectly balanced point in the room, in the demonstration of Tom Cruise’s ‘Oblivion’ this point was in the base of your spine and the balls of your feet.
In all an excellent demonstration at an excellent venue in a cool part of London. In the competitive AVR market this range is certainly worth serious consideration.
Also on display was a new the new SIM 2 crystal projector, encased in clear, black or white crystal glass, at £4,500 each. Featuring full HD 1080p in 2D or 3D.