We tested the Anthem MRX 1120 11.2 channel high-end home cinema amplifier!

We recently visited the 11th district of Budapest, Kelenvölgy for acoustic measurement and home theater amplifier testing. The acoustics of one of the rooms in an inherited family house built about 20 years ago should be made ideal for the home theater system. The old built property is currently under renovation. Traditional building materials, in this case brick, do not have good acoustic properties at all, so it is absolutely necessary to improve the surround sound in this room with sound-absorbing and diffuse acoustic panels. Bass traps were placed in the corners, and on the walls, ceiling, floor and window surfaces based on the results of our measurements, Tamás, the owner, ordered the appropriate quantity, size and type of acoustic elements and textiles.

Anthem MRX 1120

Anthem top cinema

Anthem MRX amplifier

The Canadian company’s MRX 1120 model adds to the camp of premium, high-end home theater amplifiers. The external appearance of the amplifier is clean, unobtrusive, the housing of the device is rigid, stable and resonant. The black aluminum front panel focuses on the large LCD display. To the right are volume controls and other power buttons. There are several buttons below the display. On the left you can see 4 directional buttons, and below them is the surprisingly weak cover, behind which are hidden HDMI input, headphones and USB connectors. On the back are the Wifi antennas and the various connectors. We list some of these without claiming to be exhaustive:

Anthem MRX back panel

-8 HDMI inputs, 2 HDMI outputs

-5 analog stereo inputs, dual stereo output (Line Audio, 2 zones)

-3 Toslink inputs, 1 output

-2 coaxial digital inputs

– IR input, trigger output

-RSC-232, FM radio antenna

-Ethernet network connector

-USB connector

Anthem home cinema

Thanks to the 11.2 amplified output of the 18 kg amplifier and the supported Dolby Atmos and DTS: X, it is also perfect for multi-channel operation in larger rooms. With a 4-core digital signal processor and 32-bit / 768 kHz differential output D / A converters, the Anthem MRX 1120 is capable of converting 4K videos.

On the negative side, the connectors of each pair are too far apart between the 11 speaker outputs, so we can’t use double banana plugs. At the same time, long distances make manual cabling easier. The remote control is easy to use, transparent, and the backlight comes in handy when used in a darkened movie room. Inside the device is a toroidal transformer and a large heat sink next to the power supply.

The awesome ARC system and the backstage

ARC system

In addition to the high dynamic range (HDR) and excellent stereo sound, one of the biggest advantages of the amplifier is the Anthem Room Correction (ARC), a room calibration system that can be adjusted via Ethernet. Thanks to this great system, we can correct the acoustics of a given room, optimize the frequency response and sound delay values. In the case of our testing site, this feature was of particular importance, as the acoustics of the room are not yet adequate, so the ARC corrects the errors with the help of the measuring microphone. So we can tell if there is ARC- avoid failure! But not all gold that shines… Honestly, we were a little disappointed when we discovered that the ARC system couldn’t handle each subwoofer individually. An audio device of this quality and price range, which, moreover, was equipped with a room calibration system, should have been considered in the design and manufacture of this small, but not negligible, detail.

Anthem MRX review


What capabilities does the MRX 1120 have?

HDMI Out 1 supports ARC and HDMI In 7 supports MHL, which allows you to connect to mobile devices. The 106 dB / signal-to-noise A / D converters also transmit signals from analog sources in top quality. Thanks to DTS Play-Fi, recordings from digital streaming providers (Spotify, Amazon Music…, etc.) have also become available, with the iOs Android, PC-based control mode. It is equipped with a class B built-in amplifier. Its power is 7 x 120 Watts and 4 x 50 Watts per channel. The recommended speaker impedance is 4-16 Ohm, the frequency transmission: 10-30000 Hz, the power consumption during operation is 900 Watts. The MRX 1120 is capable of a number of modes, such as Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby True HD… and more. You can listen to FM radio, but the amplifier is not equipped with an AM radio antenna.

The only shortcoming of the ARC system, which appeared in the already mentioned subwoofer treatment, would be important to treat the subwoofers independently.

We tested it

Black Panther movie poster

The Marvel movie titled Black Panther has been released on the DVD player. The sound effects and dialogues of the exciting story sounded extremely realistic, spacious and clear. We were surrounded by sounds, and the high and deep ranges were in place. Liam Neeson, the thriller of the 2018 action, “The Commuter ” was our next test subject. Anthem has once again proven to be an excellent amp. It perfectly restored the thriller’s thriller feel thanks to the flawless sound. Due to the spatial sound and understandable dialogues, the clear, even sound distribution, we felt almost in a multiplex cinema.

Listening to music is also usually part of the test, so we first listened to the music of the Pirates of the Caribbean film, interpreted by the Auckland Symphony Orchestra. It was a wonderful experience, we heard the instruments well separated, the harmonious rhythms filled the whole space.

Our judgment

We were very pleased with the Anthem MRX 1120 home theater amplifier. We got fantastic sound, clear and detailed sound. The ARC system is a very serious advantage, the only objection being perhaps the fact that it cannot handle subwoofers individually. It is no exaggeration to say that it approaches the level of sound experienced in a real movie theater!