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Arcam AVR-400 Owners Thread

Discussion in 'Arcam Forum' started by ianmacd, Feb 11, 2011.

  1. dglozic

    dglozic Member

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    One thing to note when it comes to rDAC is what is used to serve digital music. If it is an HTPC, a game console or any other media server with an optical or coaxial digital output, it is hard to beat the expense of just one digital cable running into A400's digital inputs (in case of boxes that also produce video and have HDMI, you can get away with using the same HDMI cable for both video and digital audio). According to Arcam, a lot of care went into reducing jitter over HDMI so hopefully music will not suffer that way.

    If, on the other hand, you want to connect a laptop, your best bet for digital music nirvana is an USB->SPDIF converter such as the new Musical Fidelity V-LINK. It can handle anything up to 24/96 and uses asynchronous USB connection (virtually no jitter, much better sounding). At that point, you can compare whether you would like to also do your D/A conversion in this box (and therefore go with rDAC) or use V-LINK and rely on Arcam to do the D/A via optical or coaxial digital input. I think V-LINK route is cheaper (rDAC also uses asynchronous USB).

    Regardless of your choice, you should bear in mind that only HDMI can handle hi-res multi-channel audio (SPDIF can handle up to 24/96 two channel LPCM). Do not be confused with Dolby Digital or DTS - this is compressed (lossy) multi channel that runs at 16 bits /48kHz. Dirt cheap adaptive USB->Toslink converters can be had if you want to limit yourself to 16/48 (but we are looking at Arcam because we don't, right? :).
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2011
  2. sapper

    sapper Member

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    I would consider this but unfortunately it only has One DMI output :(

    I guess I could continue to use my HDMI switcher but then i want to reduce my box total


    Adrian
  3. HD Elvis

    HD Elvis Member

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    I'm finding it difficult to get an understanding of where the 400 sits in relation to its competitors. Its price seems to suggest it would be up there with the lx83 the 4310 and the Z7 for example. However in reality is it closer to the 600 as some suggest? I have the Z7 and started a 400 vs Z7 thread just to try and get a feel for what the differences are and whether it would be worth contemplating a demo. Not bothered about 1.4 so it would just be the A.Q I'm interested in. In essence is there likley to be much difference in audio quality when bitstreaming an HD codec to the 400 over the Z7 via HDMI?
  4. RumNYC

    RumNYC Member

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    1) so the background is black on the OSD when changing volume? the whole screen turns black or just a small bar with the volume level while the video keeps playing?

    2) how is the OSD when changing inputs? is there a lot of clicking sound?

    Can you post some pictures? I know I am being greedy but very curious :)
  5. KevinO

    KevinO Member

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    I'd be very interested in members opinions on Audio comparison between the AVR 400 and the AVR350. I've currently got the latter, and have an Octava HDMI switch (4 x 2) doing the routing for video. Whilst it would be nice to have all the switching done via the AVR I would only consider an upgrade if the 400 has better quality audio. Perhaps John from Arcam could give an expert assessment or members who have gone down this upgrade path could chip in once they have had a chance to get their 400's and run them.

    Thanks all:thumbsup:
  6. deconstruct

    deconstruct Member

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    couple of images here:
    MobileMe Gallery

    There is no clicking between inputs.
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  7. sigd64

    sigd64 Member

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    Does look a bit old fashioned but I'm not that bothered as long as is sounds good it can look as retro as it wants.

    Thanks for the pics
  8. dex85

    dex85 Member

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    ^ i was going to say, OSD looks 10 years old. no big deal, but they could have come up with something fresher.
  9. Buckster

    Buckster Moderator

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    is that same OSD as 500/600 ?
  10. Rock Danger

    Rock Danger Active Member

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    Yep.
  11. ianmacd

    ianmacd Member

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    My iPhone had a bath yesterday morning and got it replaced last night. When I got it working again, I had a voice message from my pusher to say my AVR400 was sitting there for collection :) . Unfortunatly it was then 19:30 so too late to pick it up :( . Can't get there today so will have to go tomorrow morning.
  12. sigd64

    sigd64 Member

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    Happy for you mate. I'm still waitin :0(
  13. ianport

    ianport Member

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    Just got my 400 replacing a Denon 1909. Very pleased with quality and performance
    Ian
  14. ianmacd

    ianmacd Member

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  15. ianmacd

    ianmacd Member

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    Its here. Spent a bit setting all the inputs up and wont have a chance to play with it too much yet. Had to add it to my Harmony as an AVR500. Still trying to get the zone2 on & off commands working on the harmony though.

    Will post more once I have had a proper play.
  16. eimer3107

    eimer3107 Member

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    Collecting mine today, but not sure that I will have time to set up :(

    Interested in how easily you get it working with the Harmony while set up as a 500 - surely only a matter of time before they have the correct codes etc
  17. ianport

    ianport Member

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    No pops no bangs
    Ian
    Philips 9705, PS3 and PS3mediaserver, Arcam Muso speakers
  18. morsimon

    morsimon Member

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    Took delivery of mine this weekend as replacement for my AVR350.

    First impressions are excellent - simple to install / set up.

    This is my first experience of audio over HDMI via bluray (via a very cheap Pioneer unit) - it adds a whole new perspective to movie sound. On the 'real' audio front still find that I prefer analogue MCH to any of the digital formats that I have tried so far on both DVDA and SACD. Slightly disappointed that this should be the case but will continue the experimentation. I would say that there is a noticeable improvement sonically over the 350 but may just be the purchase price effect - I am now well into my 50ies and I suspect my ability to differentiate is not what it once was..... .

    MCH discs are being played through my DV139 but will be replacing this shortly with Oppo 93 (or at least trying one out) which will also relieve me of the cheapo Pioneer BDP - which has actually performed OK.

    No popping yet and generally no gremlins - so far.

    Based on my experience so far with the 400 I can only guess what the 600 must sound like........

    Morsimon
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2011
  19. Wag

    Wag Member

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    Hi,

    The 600 is very good, but as you have found with the 400, the best results are still achieved via analogue in. My CD37 sounds noticeably better via analogue stereo direct compared to digital coax.

    Glad you are impressed so far. Let's hope the 500 experience is not repeated. Enjoy. ;)
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2011
  20. Jaunty

    Jaunty Member

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    That will depend on your analogue source of course - not everyone may have a CD37!
  21. schford

    schford Member

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    I would suggest it depends on the DAC in the unit doing the conversion the CD37 has better DACs than the 600 doesnt it (Wolf's which are the same as 888 or rdac) so would expect it to be better - my Rdac is defo better sounding that the 600 dac.

    I bet if you plumbed it into an 888 though it woudl sound the same :)
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  22. Wag

    Wag Member

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    Yes, granted. That's why I said the "best" results are via analogue. Good results are still obtainable via digital if your source has DACs that are inferior to the 600.
  23. eimer3107

    eimer3107 Member

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    Picked mine up yesterday, but haven't had much time to do more than basic setup and a run through of all the options.

    The sound, from any source is immediately noticeable as much better than my AVR 280 (well, you'd hope so !) and I'm loving it !

    The auto setup for the speakers was easy to use, and although I expect I'll want to tweak it, at least it got me up and running very quickly when I didn't have much time but really wanted to try it out. The OSD may look old-fashioned, but it works, is easy to use and has some useful info on screen that may save you reaching for the manual. It's also available via the HDMI link, which is new for me.

    I've got my iPOD linked up via an iRDOCK, which is very handy for just listening to background music etc, and for the first time can control this via the amp. However, the improved sound has reminded me that I've got some older, low bitrate tunes which definitely need to be replaced or re-ripped.

    Sound quality on the DAB tuner (music stations) is (surprisingly ?) better than equivalent FM on the 280 - haven't had time to try the FM on the 400 yet. In both cases, this was via basic antenna leads. I was listening to Radio 3, which I guess you'd expect to give a more comparable performance to FM than some of the others anyway, given it uses a higher bitrate. I don't listen to the radio very often in this room, so could just be they've upgraded the local DAB signal, and I just hadn't noticed.

    Picture is great too - once I'd got over the shock of some ex-factory level brightness on my TV ! (somehow during the setting up process, I managed to get it to reset to its default settings - eek !)

    Haven't got a BD source yet.

    Has anyone got ARC working yet to their TV ? It's a minor point, partly 'cos I haven't had time to fiddle with it and partly because I mostly watch TV via Sky anyway, but so far the ARC option on set up is greyed out, so I can't set it. Also can't set the audio source for Display to HDMI. Tried using a different 1.4 lead, so unlikely to be that. Could be the TV....must read the manual !

    Also, has anyone tried the ethernet connection via powerline ? - I assume this should work ? Again, it's not really a priority for me because my broadband connection is so slow, I'm not sure that it will be of much use anyway !

    I haven't updated my Harmony yet, but most of the basic stuff seems to be working anyway, based on the setup for the 280.

    Anyway, off to play with my new toy ! :thumbsup:
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2011
  24. ianport

    ianport Member

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    This works fine with 400 although I am not sure what I will use it for!
    Ian
  25. ianmacd

    ianmacd Member

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    DVB tuner in your TV maybe?
  26. CallMeSteve

    CallMeSteve New Member

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    Any new owners upgraded/downgraded from an AV9? I'd appreciate any feedback. :thumbsup:
  27. ianmacd

    ianmacd Member

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    I had an AV9 and the 400 for legacy codec's I do not think is as good but then again you are comparing a £3750 pre/pro with a £1700 receiver so thats not surprising. Problem also is its difficult to say for sure as the AV9 ran 805's via P1's and the 400 is running XT2's but with the same centre. I have thought about bi-amping the centre with a P35 but will give it some time to see first.
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  28. ianmacd

    ianmacd Member

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    I have logged into my harmony app and noticed support seem to have added a arcam zone 2 and arcam zone 3 devices in there. I have added them to some of my activities but will have to wait until I get home tonight to test them (obviosly the zone3 is no use to the 400 or the 500).
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  29. ianmacd

    ianmacd Member

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    Well the ones they added were just copies of zone1 and were useless. They had issues getting the doc so ended up pasting the commands into the email and they sorted it very quickly. Controlling zone 2 without issue. If anyone wants it set up on theres then drop me a PM and I will give you the email its registered with so they can clone it to your account.
  30. dts_boy

    dts_boy Member

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    i have recently gone from an Onkyo 886 pro to AVR400 and my initial impressions are very good! Its a lot more musical than the Onkyo and whilst its not got as many bells and whistles, what it does it seems to do very well.
    Auto setup doesn't appear to have done an accurate job (speaker distances are way out) but levels seem about right, i will have to get my spl meter out at some point.
    Tried Avatar on Bluray which looked/sounded positively awesome and with day to day tv viewing it definitely sounds better - although i think the Onkyo made a better job of video processing.
    Not had time to have a proper play with all the settings etc... and hook my power amp to it (using it as a receiver for the time being) but i have to say so far its exceeded expectations.
    No clicks/pops or HDMI issues which was worrying me prior to purchase so overall i'm very happy and thought i would share my thoughts:thumbsup:

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