I have been building my dream home theater for a long time. I have gone from JVC receivers (back when they made them), to Denon, then to Onkyo, to be followed by Marantz and lastly the ANTHEM MRX 300.
I have owned parasound amplifiers that i successfully used to power my home theater about 3 years ago. Later, i used a rotel RMB 1095 which i sold a few months back. Unfortunately, hard times came about and i was forced to sell off my equipment (i am sure many of you have been there) and started to slowly buy everything little by little once again.
I went from infinity speakers to definitive technology, polk audio lsi's, and currently monitor audio rx silver series. I always found myself trying to find that blend of speakers and amplification that didnt make me cringe when i cranked it up. I have been on a quest to locate that perfect blend of a preamp or receiver along with the right amplifier and speakers that make my music and home theater sound huge with an open soundstage and where i didnt have ear fatigue.
Fast forward to the present. I had the marantz sr 7007 receiver connected as a preamp to a rotel rmb 1095 pushing monitor audio rx6's. I felt the sound was thin, perhaps a bit on the bright side (could be the audessey xt) so i started to just use the marantz by itlsef and noticed a pretty good sound quality (thought not extremely better) so i felt that i didnt need to keep the rotel amp so i sold it. I had always wanted to try the NAD M25 because i had never heard anything bad about it. Everyone raved about its sound quality and finesse, but i couldnt afford it until the right deal came along and i finally bought it. I drove 6 hours to meet up with the guy who had it and was getting rid of it but didnt have the shipping boxes and i didnt want him to ship it without the original boxes.
At that point, i had already posted my marantz receiver for sale because i STILL felt it wasnt giving me the sound so many people raved about. I found it boomy EVEN after running audessey multiple times. I connected the NAD M25 and it sounded louder of course, but i just didnt hear a wow although perhaps most of you would have been impressed with the sound.
The marantz finally sells a few days later so i am left without a preamp/processor and so the search begins. I considered emotiva umc 200, anthem receivers, etc.
I found a great deal on the anthem mrx300 that i coudlnt pass up. I knew it didnt have the power i desired but i didnt care because i was looking just for a processor anyhow so the power was irrelavant since i had the m25 to power things.
The mrx 300 finally arrives last week and i decided to just give it a listen without using the m25. What i heard was astonishing to say the least.... I had gone on a looooong journey looking and looking for the right blend of power, neutrality, non fatiguing sound and if there is anyone here looking for that type of sound, please consider anything anthem. I have spent 5 days just watching movies, listening to music, cranking this little mrx 300 receiver and i simply cant get enough of it. I connected the m25 last night and i must say, even though it hurts to admit it, i WISH i had not bought the NAD M25... The anthem sound quality is THAT GOOD. I really thought the m25 would take things to a whole new level when connected to the anthem, but no guys. It simply amplified things and i felt it took away some of the detail the anthem receiver had on its own and i havent even ran the room correction because it sounds THAT GOOD
Simply put, the anthem sound is STILL ahead of anything else i have ever heard. I own NAD's best amplifier ever built by them and it STILL does not give me the clarity and soundstage that the tiny anthem mrx300 has. It simply amplifies but it doesn't keep the clarity and spaciousness that anthem has. I thought i was crazy,but the truth is that i was in self denial and thought i must have been doing something wrong. I can tell you, if you are looking for a receiver or preamp for your set up, dont waste your money buying receivers in the $1000-$2000 range. Do yourself a favor, find a good deal on a used anthem receiver and call it a day. I have living proof that you wont have to go big and powerful in order to be better than small and detailed.
Forget about audessey, or all those 35 different surround modes most receivers give you. If you are all about sound quality, have a room that isnt accoustically perfect or feel there is room for more improvement in your system, go the anthem route.
It is as of this week, after years of listening to different brands, my standard in terms of sound quality.
Hope my humble opinion can help a few of you that are in need of direction as far as purchasing audio equipment.