Torn Between Two AVRs
I have a dedicated 400-square-foot theater room with a 7.1 surround system used entirely for movie viewing. I currently have a Pioneer VSX-1019 A/V receiver and plan on replacing it with either an Anthem MRX 700 or Arcam AVR400. I am torn between these two models. The Anthem has great room correction and video processing, while the Arcam has more power and lower distortion. I'm looking for the most enveloping sound experience.
Mark Fleischmann, HT's primary audio reviewer, has this to say in response to your question:
"If your room has any gross acoustic flaws that can't be fixed with an equalized sub alone, then Anthem is the better choice. Arcam's room correction is rudimentary, and even the instruction manual recommends that you get along without it if possible. On the other hand, for sheer sound quality, Arcam is unbeatable. If possible, step up to the AVR600 (also among HT's Top Picks reviewed here) to get the benefit of rail-switching amplification, which switches between different output transistors depending on the demands of the signal, allowing the amp to provide more power into lower impedances with greater efficiency and less heat."
Keep in mind that the price jump from the AVR400 to the AVR600 is a big onefrom $2500 to nearly $5000. Whether or not you can swing that, I'd go with Mark's advice in any case.
If you have an A/V question, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.