Anthem might not be a name that’s immediately familiar, but for years this Canadian-based company has been manufacturing some of the best AV receivers money can buy. The MRX 1140 is Anthem’s new flagship AVR, and it not only sports a very impressive set of features, but also manages to squeeze eleven channels of amplification inside its elegantly minimalist exterior.
The MRX 1140 includes decoding for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and IMAX Enhanced immersive audio, along with features such as AirPlay 2, Chromecast, Spotify Connect and Roon for music streaming. It also comes with Anthem’s awesome ARC Genesis room correction software, allowing you to get the very best from your multichannel system with the minimum of fuss.
The Anthem MRX 1140 is a stellar performer that creates an accomplished 11.2-channel immersive audio system from a single box. The amplification is composed of five channels at 140W per channel, and an additional six channels at 60W per channel, plus you can also run a pair of independent subwoofers to create a smoother and deeper foundation of bass.
The MRX 1140 offers a number of speaker configurations up to 7.2.4, but there is sufficient processing for 15.2 channels, allowing you to run a full 9.2.6-channel system if you can find room for all those speakers. To achieve this expansion you’ll need to add an extra four channels of amplification, but the resulting soundstage will deliver a spectacular level of immersion.
However, the chances are most will be perfectly happy rocking an 11.2-channel system, and you’ll be rewarded with an experience that’s dynamic, precise and thoroughly engaging. Whatever the soundtrack, the processing is flawless, placing audio effects around the room with remarkable precision, and moving sounds seamlessly from speaker to speaker.
There’s enough power to drive all eleven channels simultaneously, and this receiver can deliver the kind of volume that will have your neighbour banging on the walls. The soundstage is also fantastically balanced, with the tone of each speaker being matched to create a cohesive and three dimensional system that steers audio objects smoothly around the room.
This wonderful sense of immersion applies whether it’s a Dolby Atmos or DTS:X soundtrack, and the result is a visceral experience that puts you right in the middle of the film. The class-leading room correction also ensures the subwoofers are perfectly integrated with the rest of system, producing a smooth and balanced low-end that hits with the seismic force of a sonic tsunami.
The Anthem MRX 1140 sports an elegant if rather minimalist design based around a black gloss and matte two-tone finish. There’s a large but fairly simple display on the left, plus a volume dial and a few basic buttons on the right. But that’s your lot, aside from a headphone socket.
There’s a bit more going on around the back, where you’ll find a decent set of connections laid out in an easy to follow fashion. There’s a host of legacy inputs, along with extensive wireless connectivity that includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay 2 and Chromecast.
There are seven HDMI inputs and three HDMI outputs, one of which supports eARC, and all of which are compliant with 4K/60Hz and HDR (including Dolby Vision). They can’t handle 8K or 4K/120Hz high frame-rate gaming, but Anthem is planning an HDMI 2.1 upgrade in the near future.
If you’re fan of streaming music there’s Spotify Connect and support for Room, allowing you to connect, stream and manage your music collection. There’s also IMAX Enhanced, which is the only way to experience IMAX’s signature picture, sound and scale in the home.
The MRX 1140 is simple to setup thanks to a handy web-based interface laying out all the menus in an intuitive fashion, plus you can re-assign unused channels to bi-amplify the front speakers or power a second zone. A useful remote with a backlight also allows for effective control.
However, Anthem’s big selling point is its ARC Genesis room correction software, which you run on a PC or Mac to optimise the performance, cohesion and bass response of the system. There’s a high quality microphone included, and you even get a mic stand, which is a nice touch.
The Dark Knight
This comic book adaptation boasts a barnstorming 5.1 mix with some memorable sonic highlights, from the opening heist to the flipping truck to a brutal climactic fight as Batman takes out the Joker’s henchmen. The MRX 1140 ensures all these scenes sound suitably epic.
This gripping story of the drug wars along the US-Mexico border features an Atmos soundtrack that’s full of subtle audio cues that generate atmosphere and raise the tension, but it’s a shoot-out in a tunnel system that fully demos the MRX 1140’s ability to produce a realistic soundscape
Jumanji: The Next Level
This enjoyable sequel boasts a DTS:X soundtrack with IMAX enhancements, and includes plenty of scenes that take advantage of the overhead channels. The climax involves a zeppelin and the immersive prowess of the MRX 1140 literally takes the sound effects to the next level sonically.
The Anthem MRX 1140 is a suave and sophisticated AV receiver that’s capable of creating an immense 11-channel soundstage thanks to powerful amplification that’s very responsive and seriously dynamic. When combined with ARC Genesis room correction the result is a cohesive soundscape with seamless channel steering and well-defined but incredibly deep bass. All of this results in a highly engaging and compellingly cinematic sonic experience, and makes the MRX 1140 the best AV receiver you’ve probably never have heard of but really need to check out.