Which receiver - Arcam v Anthem?

Which receiver should CDizz buy?

  • Arcam AVR390

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Who cares? Who the hell is this CDizz guy anyway?

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
  • Poll closed .


Standard Member
Hi all,

First time posting here, I'm brand new. I'm putting together a new system and I'm set on just about everything but am struggling deciding on a receiver. I've narrowed it down to a few models from Arcam and Anthem. Any input would be welcome as I'm having a really hard time splitting these hairs.
Note that i'm in Australia so Arcam gets marked up really badly here, Anthem not so much. I've been reading a lot of UK posts on here about the units and it's interesting to see some of you guys deciding to paying a lot more for the Anthems than the Arcams, here Arcam is the premium product and the situation is reversed. Trying to gauge the superior unit $ for $

Options and prices here are:

Arcam AVR390 - $3000 (1838 GBP) *normally $4000 / 2450 GBP

Anthem MRX720 - $3200 (1960 GBP)

Arcam AVR550 - $4500 (2756 GBP) *normally $6000 / 3675 GBP

Anthem MRX1120 - $4500 (2756 GBP)

They'll be running a pair of B&W CM8 S2s, CM centre or centre 2, and 4 in ceiling B&W surrounds alongside either the CM sub or an SVS SB13 in a 5.1.2 atmos setup. May move to 5.1.4 in the future. The room is small, 3.5m x 4.5m, and is in an apartment complex so can't really push to reference level.

AVR390 thoughts

My friendly local AV store which stocks both is pushing me towards the 390. My concern with the 390 is the low power output and technical glitch issues. A lot of complaints online of the unit going into shut down mode because it can't handle much output, and a lot of general issue complaints, including on here aswell. could solve power issue with a power amp but I don't really want to add boxes.

MRX720 thoughts

Basically the same money. Well regarded online and a decent power upgrade over the 390. No dirac though. Arc looks good too but I think dirac is where its at.

AVR550 thoughts

an extra 50% cost over the 390. Has more power than the 390. Still has dirac. Still has reliability issues. power output may be inline with the 720 so is the extra money worth it just for dirac?

MRX1120 thoughts

kinda nice to have 11 amps even if 6 of them are low power surround only amps. I like the idea of a one box future proofed solution. downside is it's essentially the same unit as the 720 minus the extra channels. in a 5.1.2 setup I could grab the 720 and use the money saved towards something else like the oppo205 or a second sub.

Sorry, I kinda rambled on there. Basically i'm having trouble finding people that have experience with the 390. Particularly when it comes to using its own internal amps. Any feedback about that units power and reliability, good or bad, will help me decide if I need to increase my spend to the 550 or switch teams and go with an Anthem. With Anthem my main questions are about ARC and how the end result compares to Dirac.

Thanks in advance

Deleted member 39241

Are you planning on using a power amp with your AVR, and have you completely disregaded other brands, such as Marantz (my preference) or Denon, Yamaha, which are all quite popular?

Also, is money no object?


Standard Member
Pretty much completely disregarded other brands. Mostly in an effort to narrow things down. It's enough work deciding between these 3 or 4 without including entire lines from other manufacturers. Was originally looking at the Marantz 7703 with some power amps but have since decided to go for a one box solution and these seem to do that well.

Money is relevant but I can afford them all. The reason I included the costs in the question was more to show the difference in pricing here. I've seen UK people pay 1-2k (GBP) extra for the 720 over the 550. Here, without discounts, the 720 is almost half the price of the 550. I figured that would throw the value per pound ratio through the roof.

Oh and would prefer to not use an additional power amp. Trying to accommodate my wife's vision for the living space and multiple boxes isn't in her plans trying to keep her on side so I can furnish the rest of the project

Deleted member 39241

The reason I ask is that Arcam and Anthem are high tier devices, with good reputations for their room correction software. It is the ARC or the DIRAC inclusion that makes them so expensive, I believe. However, they are relatively low powered, so lots of people use them with additional power amp(s).

They would work as a one box solution, but depending on your listening habits, speakers, and room, you may find that without an additional power amp you lose a little in terms of dynamic headroom.

If you want a one box solution there are other AVR's that offer more power in their flagship models.


Active Member
My 2 cents worth......
550 or 720, i would not think about the 390. If you are having more speakers in a year or so then the 1120 is the wife proof version
I have an old Arcam 600 which is coming to the end of its life and I am in the same predicament as you. Unless you keep changing your room layout most people only use the room correction software once or twice and I think they both have good and bad points.
I am leaning to the 720 myself and save a considerable sum on the Arcam.
I do not think you will be disappointed with either option


Active Member
Just a few thoughts - given that you're in an apartment, want to keep a low box count, and you desire to be as future proof as possible, a single box solution is probably most appropriate. I don't think power is going to be a problem with either brand - there's plenty enough in both to light up your AV world.
I'm biased but I would favour either the 720 or 1120 which would satisfy all your above criteria and you'll be able to configure any Atmos setup up to 7.2.4 (though with the 720 you'd need extra amplification to go full wack).
Dirac is highly configurable and possibly just has the edge over ARC - but it's also a lot more involved, whereas ARC comes a very close second audio wise, and with it's one button press approach is infinitely more quick/easy to use. Also - ARC software resides on your home PC so you do all your processing locally - with Dirac you have to send your files away for processing then download the results to your equipment.
From what I've seen on forums the Anthem gear is a lot less buggy than Arcam, I've certainly had no problems whatsoever with mine. If you were setting up a dedicated home cinema room then I might favour the 850 and it's G-class amps - but with Anthem kit appearing to be cheaper in Aus then, for me, the Anthem choice is academic really - and it does sound very sweet and natural. Hope that helps. :)

Deleted member 598831

People use anthems with power smps to get the best sound possible.

People need to understand and listen to a higher level of system rather than jap crap.

Deleted member 39241

I would have thought the OP is looking for the best sound possible, so might be interested to know that would include using a power amp with an Anthem, as mentioned in the above post.


Standard Member
Yeah, I think a power amp is out. Trying to reduce the clutter and have a stream lined setup (and cabling situation). Reducing my component count from 7 to 2 aswell.

Seems like the 720 is the way to go. It does make the most logical sense too. Well priced, well powered, reliable and has a nice proper mic for the setup too. I'm listening to them all this week and making my choice. Obviously won't be able to recreate my whole setup but will try to get close. Same source, same speakers, same material. Might be enough for me to hear their character and power limitations.

Thanks so much for the detailed responses. There's not a lot of literature out there about the arcams so this really helps

Deleted member 39241

I hear that you are more or less decided on the Arcam or Anthem, but before you make the leap, Marantz have just released more details of a new flagship receiver coming soon, the Marantz 8012. Lots of power, 11 channels onboard and Audyssey room correction, with the option of using an app to interact with and customise the curves.

More info in this thread:

NEWS: Marantz launch new range of AV Receivers with HEOS multiroom built-in

The latest video from AVForums

AVForums Movies Podcast: Which is the best decade for horror movies?
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom