Anthem MRX 540 8K vs Onkyo TX-NR696

      Highlights

      • 5.2 Channels
      • 7.1 Channel Processing
      • 100 W (8 Ω, 1 kHz, 2 channel driven)
      • HDMI 2.1
      • Dolby Atmos, DTS:X
      • HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision
      • 8K Passthrough
      • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Ethernet
      • Phono Input

      Highlights

      • 7.2 Channels
      • 7.1 Channel Processing
      • 100 W (8 Ω, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 2 channel driven)
      • THX™Select™ Certified
      • Dolby Atmos, DTS:X
      • HDR10, Dolby Vision
      • 4K/60Hz Passthrough, 4K/30Hz Upscaling
      • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Ethernet
      • Phono Input

      Disclosure: We earn money from the affiliate links to products associated with content in this article.

      1. Overview

      Here we are comparing Anthem MRX 540 8K to Onkyo TX-NR696 to reveal their common strengths and weaknesses as well as the differences between them which will help you in making a correct decision before the purchase. The Anthem MRX 540 8K has 5 channel and the Onkyo TX-NR696 has 7 channel amplifiers.


      Anthem MRX 540 8K Onkyo TX-NR696

      Anthem MRX 540 8K was introduced in 2021. It is equipped with 5 channel amplifier with 100 W (8 Ω, 1 kHz, 2 channel driven) power per channel and is capable of 7.1 maximum channel processing. It supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, passes 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz video signal.

      Onkyo TX-NR696 was introduced in 2019. It is equipped with 7 channel amplifier with 100 W (8 Ω, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 2 channel driven) power per channel and is capable of 7.1 maximum channel processing. It supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, passes 4K/60Hz and upscales 1080p to 4K video signal.


      We evaluated Anthem MRX 540 8K and Onkyo TX-NR696 and gave them scores of 87 and 89 out of 100 recpectively. Our ranking system is based on the amplifier specifications, audio and video features, connectivity, multizone capabilities, radio and many other details.

      Anthem MRX 540 8K

      Onkyo TX-NR696

      Amplifier
      84
      Amplifier
      89
      Audio Features
      87
      Audio Features
      88
      Video Features
      100
      Video Features
      95
      Connectivity
      87
      Connectivity
      84
      Zones
      71
      Zones
      81
      Radio
      73
      Radio
      92
      OVERALL
      87
      OVERALL
      89

      For more details about the ranking please go to    Evaluations section.

      2. Pros and Cons

      In this section we present pros and cons of Anthem MRX 540 8K and Onkyo TX-NR696.

      PROS

      Anthem MRX 540 8K

      Onkyo TX-NR696

      •   Dolby Atmos
      •   DTS:X
      •   IMAX Enhanced
      •   Auto Speaker Calibration System with Mic.
      •   HDR10
      •   HDR10+
      •   Dolby Vision
      •   HDMI 2.1
      •   eARC
      •   New HDCP Version
      •   Auto Low Latency Mode Pass-through
      •   VRR
      •   QFT
      •   8K Passthrough
      •   Wi-Fi
      •   Bluetooth
      •   Chromecast Built-In
      •   7 HDMI Inputs
      •   7 8K Inputs
      •   Phono Input
      •   RCA Pre-Outs
      •   Ethernet
      •   Analog Tuner
      •   Spotify
      •   THX™ Certification
      •   Dolby Atmos
      •   Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization
      •   DTS:X
      •   DSD via HDMI
      •   Auto Speaker Calibration System with Mic.
      •   HDR10
      •   Dolby Vision
      •   New HDCP Version
      •   Wi-Fi
      •   Bluetooth
      •   Chromecast Built-In
      •   7 HDMI Inputs
      •   USB Input
      •   Phono Input
      •   Ethernet
      •   Analog Tuner
      •   Pandora
      •   Spotify
      •   Tidal

      CONS

      Anthem MRX 540 8K

      Onkyo TX-NR696

      •   Few Channels - 5.2
      •   No Front Wide Channel Support
      •   No Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization
      •   No Auro 3D with Auro-Matic Upmixer
      •   No DSD via HDMI
      •   Does not Work with Amazon Alexa
      •   No USB Input
      •   No Composite Video Inputs
      •   No Zones
      •   No Digital Radio
      •   No Pandora
      •   No Tidal
      •   No Front Wide Channel Support
      •   No IMAX Enhanced
      •   No Auro 3D with Auro-Matic Upmixer
      •   No HDR10+
      •   No eARC
      •   No 8K Passthrough
      •   Does not Work with Amazon Alexa
      •   0 8K Input
      •   No RCA Pre-Outs
      •   No Composite Video Inputs
      •   No Digital Radio


      And here are some specifications which fall into average criteria and are neither in PROs nor in CONs category:

      AVERAGE

      Anthem MRX 540 8K

      Onkyo TX-NR696

      •   Power Output - 100 W
      •   7.1 Channel Processing
      •   2 HDMI Outputs
      •   RCA Line Inputs
      •   7.2 Channels
      •   Power Output - 100 W
      •   7.1 Channel Processing
      •   3 HDMI Outputs
      •   RCA Line Inputs
      •   2 Zones
      •   Bluetooth 4․2

      3. Advantage of Anthem MRX 540 8K

      This section shows those features and specifications which are the reason to choose Anthem MRX 540 8K over Onkyo TX-NR696.

      Check the Price

      Anthem MRX 540 8K vs Onkyo TX-NR696
      Higher DAC Specs 768 kHz/32 Bit vs 384 kHz/32 Bit
      IMAX Enhanced vs
      HDR10+ vs
      Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) vs
      Auto Low Latency Mode Pass-through vs
      VRR vs
      QFT vs
      Video Signal Passthrough up to 8K 50/60Hz and 4K 100/120Hz 4:4:4 vs up to 4K/60p (RGB/YCbCr4:4:4)
      More 8K Inputs 7 vs
      More Optical Inputs 3 vs 1
      More Optical Outputs 1 vs
      More Coaxial Inputs/Outputs 2 vs 1
      More RCA Line Outputs 1 vs
      More RCA Pre-Outs 7.2 vs 0.2
      Detachable Power Cord vs
      RS-232C Interface vs
      +12V Trigger Output 3 vs 0
      Remote (IR) Input/Output 1 / 0 vs 0 / 0
      Higher S/N Ratio (Line, IHF-A) 110 dB vs 106 dB
      Check out other receivers which are frequently compared to Anthem MRX 540 8K.

      4. Advantage of Onkyo TX-NR696

      This section shows those features and specifications which are the reason to choose Onkyo TX-NR696 over Anthem MRX 540 8K.

      Check the Price

      Anthem MRX 540 8K vs Onkyo TX-NR696
      More Channels 5.2 vs 7.2
      THX™ Certification vs Select™ (previously known as Select2)
      Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization vs
      DSD via HDMI vs 2-ch/Multi-ch Input
      DSD via USB vs 2-ch Input
      Works with SONOS vs
      DTS Play-Fi vs
      More HDMI Outputs 2 vs 2 (1 Main, 1 Sub/Zone2)
      USB Input for factory service vs 1 (Rear)
      More RCA Line Inputs 4 vs 5 (1 Front)
      Front A/V Inputs vs HDMI, Mini-Jack
      More Zones 1 vs 2
      Pandora vs
      Tidal vs
      Deezer vs
      More Speaker Terminals 5 vs 9
      More Large Speaker Terminals 5 vs 9
      Bigger Power Supply 365 W vs 635 W

      5. Common Strengths and Weaknesses

      We already listed pros and cons of each model. However, you may also find useful to look at their common strengths and weaknesses shown side-by-side.

      STRENGTHS Anthem MRX 540 8K Onkyo TX-NR696
        Dolby Atmos
        DTS:X
        Auto Speaker Calibration System with Mic.Anthem Room Correction (ARC Genesis) AccuEQ with subwoofer EQ and AccuReflex™
        HDR10
        Dolby Vision
        New HDCP Version2.32.3
        Wi-Fi
        Bluetooth SBC, AAC
        Chromecast Built-In
        Many HDMI Inputs77 (1 front)
        Phono Input
        Ethernet
        Analog Tuner FM/AM
        Spotify
      WEAKNESSES Anthem MRX 540 8K Onkyo TX-NR696
        No Front Wide Channel Support
        No Auro 3D with Auro-Matic Upmixer
        Does not Work with Amazon Alexa
        No Composite Video Inputs
        No Digital Radio

      6. Amplifier

      Anthem MRX 540 8K Onkyo TX-NR696

      5 channel Class A/B Amplifier: Anthem MRX 540 8K features 5 channel power amplifier with Class A/B design on Channels 1-5 and Class D design on the rest. It is rated at 100 W (8 Ω, 1 kHz, 2 channel driven) and is able to drive 4 ohm speakers.

      7 channel Linear Class A/B Amplifier: Onkyo TX-NR696 features 7 channel power amplifier with Linear Class A/B design. It is rated at 100 W (8 Ω, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 2 channel driven) and is able to drive 4 ohm speakers.

      • Dynamic Audio Amplification: Onkyo TX-NR696 features Dynamic Audio Amplification which is Onkyo’s amplification philosophy that focuses on capturing the energy and dynamism contained in the audio signal and reproducing it without loss. Audio signals are not static like a test tone, but rather a countless collection of constantly moving waves. While static measurements such as S/N ratio and Total Harmonic Distortion are important, Onkyo believes that excellent dynamic and transient response is the key to emotionally involving sound. Dynamism - the “life” in music - is achieved when the amp can respond to changes in the signal instantaneously, so notes start and stop naturally and the nuances in attack, decay, sustain, and release are voiced with conviction. Onkyo home theater receivers represent the culmination of almost 70 years’ experience in amplifier design. The unique elements of their amplification system comprise high-current, low-impedance architecture to accurately control large speaker cones while enabling instantaneous response to dynamic changes, and discrete wide-range amplifier circuit topology to eliminate phase shift for clear and accurate audio imaging.
      • WRAT (Wide Range Amp Technology): Onkyo TX-NR696 features Onkyo’s Wide Range Amp Technology (WRAT) circuit layout that prevents phase shifting by pushing the roll-off point higher than the listening-level frequency. Amplifying sound without phase shift creates an uncommonly well-focused and realistic audio image. If phase shift occurs and signal timing is not accurate, then neither is the resulting audio image.

      THX™ Select™ (previously known as Select2) certification

      Onkyo TX-NR696 is THX™ Select™ (previously known as Select2) certified. This means that it is for medium sized rooms, up to 2,000 cubic feet in size, with a 10-12 foot viewing distance from the screen.

      AMPLIFIER Anthem MRX 540 8K Onkyo TX-NR696
      Channels5.27.2
      Power Output100 W (8 Ω, 1 kHz, 2 channel driven)100 W (8 Ω, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 2 channel driven)
      Front Wide Channel Support
      Amplifier DesignClass A/B on Channels 1-5 and Class D on the restLinear Class A/B
      THX™ Certification Select™ (previously known as Select2)
      Continuous 6 Ω Rated
      Certified 4 Ω Performance
      Bi-amp Capability

      Check the Price

      7. Speaker Configurations

      Anthem MRX 540 8K's and Onkyo TX-NR696's amplifiers can be assigned for different speaker configurations.

      • Dolby Atmos Configurations: The following speaker configurations are supported for Dolby Atmos:
      • Anthem MRX 540 8K: 3.1.2 with internal amplifier.
      • Onkyo TX-NR696: 5.2.2 with internal amplifier.
      • DTS:X Configurations: The following speaker configurations are supported for DTS:X:
      • Anthem MRX 540 8K: The speaker configurations for DTS:X are the same as for Dolby Atmos - 3.1.2 with internal amplifier.
      • Onkyo TX-NR696: The speaker configurations for DTS:X are the same as for Dolby Atmos - 5.2.2 with internal amplifier.
      • Configurations without height channels: There are also other speaker configurations available which do not include height channels:
      • Anthem MRX 540 8K: 5.2 with internal amplifier and 7.2 with addition of external 2 channel amplifier.
      • Onkyo TX-NR696: 5.2, 7.2 with internal amplifier.
      • 2-ch Bi-Amp: Both models are able to bi-amp up to 2 main channels simultaneously. During bi-amplification two amplifiers are used for one speaker. One amplifier powers the midrange and tweeter section of the speaker and another amplifier powers the low frequency woofers. Each amplifier is less loaded and performs better. In order to use this feature speakers must have 2 pairs of connectors.

      8. Immersive Audio Formats

      Dolby Atmos

      Anthem MRX 540 8K and Onkyo TX-NR696 support Dolby Atmos.

      • Dolby Surround Upmixer: Both models support Dolby Surround Upmixer. If the content is not mixed in Dolby Atmos then the Dolby surround upmixer will expand the audio to all channels including ceiling speakers. The upmixer has replaced the Dolby Pro Logic II family with improved upmixing algorithms.
      • Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization: Onkyo TX-NR696 supports Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization which is a digital signal processing solution that leverages Dolby's deep understanding of human audio perception to create the sensation of overhead sound from the listener-level speakers.

      DTS:X

      Anthem MRX 540 8K and Onkyo TX-NR696 support DTS:X.

      • DTS Neural:X: Both models feature DTS Neural:X which is an advanced upmixer that can take non DTS:X content and upmix it to the DTS:X speaker layout. It has replaced the DTS Neo family with improved flexibility.
      • DTS Virtual:X: Both models feature DTS Virtual:X which bridges the gap between DTS:X codec and the reality of so many consumers' homes, allowing you to enjoy multi-dimensional sound regardless of room size, layout, or speaker configuration. If you have a limited speaker setup you will miss a full immersive potential of your entertainment system. DTS Virtual:X adds height and surround audio effect to your system without adding height speakers. It works with multiple configurations and delivers immersive sound experience out of 5.1 or even 2.1 speaker layouts.
      • DTS Dialog Control: Both models have DTS Dialog Control. This function adjusts the dialog levels during playback of the DTS:X stream. It allows you to separately increase the dialog levels in contrast with the background sound and hear dialog easily even under noisy circumstances.

      IMAX Enhanced

      Anthem MRX 540 8K is IMAX Enhanced certified. To qualify for IMAX Enhanced certification, 4K HDR televisions, projectors, sound bars, a/v receivers, loudspeakers, powered subwoofers and other premium home entertainment devices must meet carefully prescribed performance requirements established by IMAX, DTS and Hollywood's leading experts.

      • What makes an IMAX Enhanced A/V receiver different from an A/V receiver with DTS:X technology? DTS:X technology is commonly found in most multi-channel A/V receivers on the market today. All IMAX Enhanced A/V receivers include DTS:X technology and deliver additional features, such as auto-sensing of IMAX Enhanced content, via IMAX Mode. IMAX Mode indicates that your A/V receiver supports fully immersive IMAX signature sound.
      AUDIO DECODING Anthem MRX 540 8K Onkyo TX-NR696
      Dolby Atmos
      Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization
      Dolby Atmos Music
      Dolby TrueHD
      Dolby Digital Plus
      Dolby Surround Upmixer
      Dolby Pro Logic
      DTS:X
      DTS Neural:X
      DTS Virtual:X via future firmware update
      DTS Neo
      DTS-HD Master Audio
      DTS-HD High Resolution Audio
      DTS 96/24
      IMAX Enhanced
      Auro 3D with Auro-Matic Upmixer

      Check the Price

      9. HDMI

      Anthem MRX 540 8K comes with 7 HDMI 2.1 inputs with 8K support. It has 2 outputs which work parallelly and output the same signal.

      Onkyo TX-NR696 comes with 7 HDMI inputs. It has 2 outputs - 1 Main and 1 Sub/Zone2.

      • 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz Passthrough on Anthem MRX 540 8K: All inputs pass up to 8K 50/60Hz and 4K 100/120Hz 4:4:4 video signal.
        4K/60Hz Passthrough on Onkyo TX-NR696: All inputs pass up to 4K/60p (RGB/YCbCr4:4:4) video signal.
      • 4K Upscaling on Onkyo TX-NR696: It can upscale 1080p to 4K from HDMI sources.
      • BT.2020 Color Space: BT.2020 or Rec. 2020 is a color standard which delivers a wider color gamut compared to Rec. 709. It covers approximately 75% of the total visual spectrum while the Rec. 709 covers only 35% (available on both models).
      • HDCP 2.3 Copy Protection: Both receivers are HDCP 2.3 compliant which is a requirement for 4K/HDR copy-protected content transmission.
      • 3D Ready: Both receivers are able to pass 3D video through HDMI.

      HDR (High Dynamic Range)

      Anthem MRX 540 8K supports HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision and Hybrid Log-Gamma.

      Onkyo TX-NR696 supports HDR10, Dolby Vision and Hybrid Log-Gamma. High dynamic range video has greater dynamic range than standard dynamic range (SDR) video with brighter whites and deeper blacks. The result is greater contrast and more details in dark and bright areas, better color and depth.


      Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC)

      Anthem MRX 540 8K supports Audio Return Channel (ARC) which allows the compatible TV to send audio signal to the a/v receiver through the same HDMI cable which is used to send audio and video signals to the TV. So one HDMI cable is used to transfer audio signal in both directions. New Enhanced ARC will support uncompressed audio formats such as Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio whereas the previous ARC could support only Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS, DTS HD, and PCM.


      Gaming Features

      Anthem MRX 540 8K supports Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) and Quick Frame Transport (QFT) for lag-free and smooth gaming.



      VIDEO FEATURES Anthem MRX 540 8K Onkyo TX-NR696
      HDR10
      HDR10+
      Dynamic HDR
      BT.2020 color space
      Dolby Vision
      HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma)
      Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC)
      HDCP Version2.32.3
      ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode)
      VRR (Variable Refresh Rate)
      QFT (Quick Frame transport)
      3-D Ready
      Video Signal Passthroughup to 8K 50/60Hz and 4K 100/120Hz 4:4:4up to 4K/60p (RGB/YCbCr4:4:4)

      Check the Price

      10. Inputs and Outputs

      Audio

      • Phono Input: There is an MM phono input on Anthem MRX 540 8K and Onkyo TX-NR696 with built-in phono stage for connecting the moving magnet cartridge output of the turntable directly to the receiver.
      • Analog Pre-Outs: Anthem MRX 540 8K has 7.2 preamplifier outputs which allows you to connect the receiver to the external power amplifier. You may want to use a high quality external amplifier for certain channels, usually for front L/R and center, and use the receiver to power the rest. Also, Anthem MRX 540 8K has 7 channel processing but has only 5 channel amplifier, so it needs external amplifier connected to the analog pre-outs in order to reach its maximum speaker configuration.
      • Analog Line Inputs and Outputs: There are 4 pair of line inputs on Anthem MRX 540 8K and 5 pair of line inputs on Onkyo TX-NR696 for connecting sources with analog outputs. There is also 1 pair of line outputs on Anthem MRX 540 8K.
      • Digital Inputs and Outputs: 3 optical inputs, 1 optical output and 2 coaxial inputs are available on Anthem MRX 540 8K and 1 optical input and 1 coaxial input are available on Onkyo TX-NR696 for digital audio connections.
      • Headphone Output: There is a 6.3 mm (1/4") headphone output jack on the front panel of each receiver.

      Video

      • HDMI:
      • Anthem MRX 540 8K
        Inputs:
        7   Outputs: 2
        8K Inputs: 7.
      • Onkyo TX-NR696
        Inputs:
        7 (1 front)   Outputs: 2 (1 Main, 1 Sub/Zone2)
        8K Inputs: 0.

      Front A/V Inputs

      • Anthem MRX 540 8K: None
      • Onkyo TX-NR696: HDMI, Mini-Jack

      Anthem MRX 540 8K

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      Onkyo TX-NR696

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      TERMINALS Anthem MRX 540 8K Onkyo TX-NR696
      HDMI Inputs77 (1 front)
      HDMI Outputs22 (1 Main, 1 Sub/Zone2)
      8K Inputs7
      USB Input for factory service1 (Rear)
      USB DC Out Port
      Optical Inputs31
      Optical Outputs1
      Coaxial Inputs21
      RCA Line Inputs45 (1 Front)
      RCA Line Outputs1
      XLR Line Inputs
      Phono Input
      Multi-Channel Input
      RCA Pre-Outs7.20.2
      XLR Pre-outs
      Composite Video Inputs
      Composite Video Outputs
      S-Video Inputs
      S-Video Outputs
      Component Video Inputs
      Component Video Outputs

      Check the Price

      11. Evaluations

      We evaluated Anthem MRX 540 8K and Onkyo TX-NR696 and gave them scores of 87 and 89 out of 100 recpectively. We also gave separate scores for 7 different categories according to the available features and specifications some of which are listed below. These evaluations are relative and may change each time a new receiver is added to the database.


      Anthem MRX 540 8K

      Onkyo TX-NR696

      OVERALL
      87
      OVERALL
      89

      Amplifier

      GOOD
      84
      •   Few Channels - 5.2
      •   Power Output - 100 W
      EXCELLENT
      89
      •   7.2 Channels
      •   Power Output - 100 W
      •   THX™ Certification

      Audio Features

      EXCELLENT
      87
      •   Few Channels - 5.2
      •   No Front Wide Channel Support
      •   7.1 Channel Processing
      •   Dolby Atmos
      •   No Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization
      •   DTS:X
      •   IMAX Enhanced
      •   No Auro 3D with Auro-Matic Upmixer
      •   No DSD via HDMI
      EXCELLENT
      88
      •   7.2 Channels
      •   No Front Wide Channel Support
      •   7.1 Channel Processing
      •   Dolby Atmos
      •   Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization
      •   DTS:X
      •   No IMAX Enhanced
      •   No Auro 3D with Auro-Matic Upmixer
      •   DSD via HDMI

      Video Features

      EXCELLENT
      100
      •   HDR10
      •   HDR10+
      •   Dolby Vision
      •   HDMI 2.1
      •   Auto Low Latency Mode Pass-through
      •   VRR
      •   QFT
      •   8K Passthrough
      EXCELLENT
      95
      •   HDR10
      •   No HDR10+
      •   Dolby Vision
      •   No 8K Passthrough

      Connectivity

      EXCELLENT
      87
      •   eARC
      •   New HDCP Version
      •   Wi-Fi
      •   Bluetooth
      •   Does not Work with Amazon Alexa
      •   Chromecast Built-In
      •   7 HDMI Inputs
      •   2 HDMI Outputs
      •   7 8K Inputs
      •   No USB Input
      •   RCA Line Inputs
      •   Phono Input
      •   RCA Pre-Outs
      •   No Composite Video Inputs
      •   Ethernet
      GOOD
      84
      •   No eARC
      •   New HDCP Version
      •   Wi-Fi
      •   Bluetooth
      •   Does not Work with Amazon Alexa
      •   Chromecast Built-In
      •   7 HDMI Inputs
      •   3 HDMI Outputs
      •   0 8K Input
      •   USB Input
      •   RCA Line Inputs
      •   Phono Input
      •   No RCA Pre-Outs
      •   No Composite Video Inputs
      •   Ethernet
      •   Bluetooth 4․2

      Zones

      GOOD
      71
      •   No Zones
      GOOD
      81
      •   2 Zones

      Radio

      GOOD
      73
      •   Analog Tuner
      •   No Pandora
      •   Spotify
      •   No Tidal
      EXCELLENT
      92
      •   Analog Tuner
      •   Pandora
      •   Spotify
      •   Tidal

      For the complete list of specifications please go to the next page:

      Discussion

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