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Arcam FMJ AVR600 vs Arcam FMJ AV9/P7

Discussion in 'Arcam Forum' started by x86root, Nov 23, 2008.

  1. x86root

    x86root Member

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    Greetings!

    I'm currently having trouble deciding on which solution to choose for my current and future AV needs.

    The new FMJ receiver or the older FMJ processor/power amplifier combination. From what I have speculated so far with my very limited AV knowledge is that in order to get the best from HD audio I will need a high spec bluray player with decent DAC's to decode and output 5.1 (in my case biamped) over multi channel analogue outputs. I have read that performance could suffer in order to fix any potential bass management and speak size configuration.

    I have test driven the AV9/P7 with my kit and overall was very impressed. I felt my BR5's where possessed by the devil himself. I couldn’t believe the scale and clarity. I was blown away.. But on that token the AV9/P7 exposed some of the lower quality sources. Blurays via multi channel analogue and the Xbox360 via optical sounded insane. All tested without a sub. I’m told if I upgrade to the MA GS range I could increase performance by 40%.

    Do we know for sure that an AV10 is in the works, surly the P7 would be future proof?

    As for the AVR600 all I can do is speculate until I actually get to listen with my own ears. (Hopefully on Wednesday in Coventry) From my perspective the idea of owning the latest Arcam supporting next gen audio formats is great. HDMI switching between my projector and Screen would be such a convenience. Upscalling maybe not such a requirement. But HD audio over HDMI could also be great. The question is how will the AVR600 fair with the older audio formats and Stereo.

    Some months ago it was mentioned to retail around £2300 but it’s looking more like £2700 which is surprising.

    Would be great to read some comments\suggestions from fellow Arcam'ers!!
  2. Buckster

    Buckster Moderator

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    I'd say the AV9/P7 would probably sound better most sources (except for Hi-def soundtracks)

    but probably not a huge amount in it

    P7 will always be a good investment (whether there is better for the money is another matter)

    AV9 - watch for resale values - even at he current price of 1199 - depends on how long you deem you'll keep it for
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  3. Mark.Yudkin

    Mark.Yudkin Active Member

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    Although the AVR600 has HD and has been given the FMJ brand, it is quite clearly not positioned as an alternative to the AV9 / P7 combination, but as a replacement of the AVR350. Not only is the AVR600 not a THX Ultra 2 processor (it has no THX processing), but a quick comparison of the products' specifications also shows significant performance differences (as a power amp, both the P7 and the P1000 have rather better specs).

    If you purchase a processor (or receiver) with support for audio over HDMI, you will not need DACs in the bluray player. Onboard decoding is sensible (audio mixing).

    It is reasonable to assume that an AV9 replacement is in the pipeline even though no dates have been given. I'd suggest your sticking with your AVR280 for a few months, after which things will become clear. If you do have the uncontrollable urge to spend money now, I'd suggest adding the P7 to your AVR280 on the assumption that the AV9 will be replaced by a processor with comparable performance and enhanced feature set.
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  4. x86root

    x86root Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions/comments -

    Buckster“I'd say the AV9/P7 would probably sound better most sources (except for Hi-def soundtracks)"

    Most seem to agree that this could be the case. The problem is I plan on using my PS3/bluray for the foreseeable future which we all know does not support multi-channel analogue output.

    Buckster“AV9 - watch for resale values - even at the current price of 1199 - depends on how long you deem you'll keep it for”

    If I purchase the AV9/P7 I would hope an AV9 replacement is the works. The only concern I have is cost. I’m guessing around the 4k mark. Could I be raising the bar too high? Upgrade in speakers and source's would be a must!!

    Mark.Yudkin“Although the AVR600 has HD and has been given the FMJ brand, it is quite clearly not positioned as an alternative to the AV9 / P7 combination, but as a replacement of the AVR350. Not only is the AVR600 not a THX Ultra 2 processor (it has no THX processing), but a quick comparison of the products' specifications also shows significant performance differences (as a power amp, both the P7 and the P1000 have rather better specs).”

    Agreed, I have been hoping the FMJ AVR600 is a FMJ receiver and not a replacement to the AVR350. If this is the case I believe the AVR600 to be over priced substantially.

    Mark.Yudkin“If you purchase a processor (or receiver) with support for audio over HDMI, you will not need DACs in the bluray player. Onboard decoding is sensible (audio mixing).”

    Precisely my point. I plan to use the PS3 for bluray.

    Mark.Yudkin“It is reasonable to assume that an AV9 replacement is in the pipeline even though no dates have been given. I'd suggest your sticking with your AVR280 for a few months, after which things will become clear. If you do have the uncontrollable urge to spend money now, I'd suggest adding the P7 to your AVR280 on the assumption that the AV9 will be replaced by a processor with comparable performance and enhanced feature set.”

    Great suggestion but I stupidly put AVR280 when I actually own an AVR250 (Re-registered late last night apologies)

    Now with the current offer on the table for the AV9/P7 I suspect the stock will sell out very fast. Could I loose a good deal for ever. The good news is I plan on attending Frank Harvey Hi-Fi on Wednesday in the hope to get a listen of the AVR600 which should help in the decision process. Sounds like a great evening is planned.

    Overall the predicament I have looking at my current kit list would be, is it suitable/viable that I go for the AVR600 or plan on heavily investing in building the AV9/P7 experience. The truth is I wont be upgrading my MA BR5's or DVD/bluray source any time soon.
  5. Canti1982

    Canti1982 Member

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    Im in the same position, Im going to demo the AVR600 as soon as my dealer gets it in. Not sure if they have an AV9 P7 to demo it against though, gonna have to ask about that.

    If the AVR600 is not far off in terms of sound quality I will probably go for that. The AV9 P7 combo would be great but I dont know if I will be able to push to the AV10 next year as it is likely to be £3k+

    I spoke to my dealer at the weekend and they still expect to have it around christmas time.
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  6. coldmachine

    coldmachine Member

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    It very clearly is an FMJ receiver. The notion that it is an AVR350 replacement is simply wrong, as is the attachment of any importance to THX Ultra 2 certification. This certification is available on budget units costing well under 1/3 of the 600 price. Its simply no indicator of quality or performance.

    I am a long time AV9 user, and agree that the 600 is clearly not intended to replace that unit directly. Some people want to use separates, I certainly do in my main HT, but have 2 smaller 10ft screens that require a receiver. By the same token I have spoken to a number of people who have spent time with the unit. All have said that, in terms of sound quality, it is as good as, or better, than the AV9. I find nothing unusual or surprising in that, technology moves on. Ive also heard the same opinion direct from the horses mouth.
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  7. x86root

    x86root Member

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    Canti1982 -

    Sounds like we really are in the same boat. I also feel the same in regards to the cost of upgrading the AV9. I think the price expectancy would be more in the region of 4-6k! If you are in the UK this post may be of interest to you.

    http://www.avforums.com/forums/show...ll-open-evening-frank-harvey.html#post8198149

    coldmachine -

    Just to clarify I was not suggesting that I hope the AVR600 to be the FMJ receiver. Obviously it's a receiver as you clearly stated. My point is, I hope the AVR600 is not just a newer version of the Divia AVR350 re-badged under the FMJ range obviously preferring it to be a FMJ status receiver solution. Can you help me understand why this notion is incorrect?

    The sources that confirmed to you that the AVR600 sounds better than the AV9/P7 combo surly they were refereeing to hd-audio and not legacy formats?

    Thanks for the great comments, looking forward to other comments which should help the overall decision process for me and others in the same boat.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2008
  8. coldmachine

    coldmachine Member

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    Overall sonic fidelity. Someone from the company has said that its the best sounding piece they have ever made and that it is simply the first unit using a core technology suite will form the basis of future units.

    This unit has been under development, starting from a blank sheet, for over 2 years now. No need for fears of simply an updated 350.
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    Last edited: Nov 24, 2008
  9. markusp

    markusp Member

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    I have also been told directly by Arcam that the AVR600 is the best sounding unit they have EVER produced, be it re: legacy formats or the new HD formats. It is NOT a replacement for the AVR-350 as it is a new platform that has been in the works for a number of years, just after the original release of the AV9. As a new platform, the processor will form the basis of the eventual AV10 (whatever its designation will be) and the technology from the AVR600 will trickle down to other products to be released in the future.
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  10. x86root

    x86root Member

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    coldmachine -

    Firstly I slightly edited my previous post to help communicate my thoughts more effectively at the same time you replied. Hope it made sense. Secondly your last post is extremely interesting and also very exciting.

    From a price perspective long term the AVR600 will be cheaper for me and I may get better bang for buck with my current/future configuration. Not to mention I would prefer to spend the dosh on the latest technology within Arcam. I truly want the new Arcam FMJ AVR600 to be the choice for me. And the decision is hard especially as I feel I may miss out on the AV9/P7 deals if I don't act fast.

    I can’t wait to talk with the Arcam reps and hear the AVR600 first hand on Wednesday.

    markusp -

    Another excellent and strong statement, this seems like good solid background information that will help me articulate my needs and expectations of both the FMJ AV9/P7 and FMJ AVR600. My fears of the AVR600 being a replacement for the AVR350 are smaller than a nucleus.
  11. Canti1982

    Canti1982 Member

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    Arcam has said that this is a flagship product, as such it should perform extremely well at the price. Making an overpriced 350 would be suicide :suicide:

    Sadly I wont be able to make it to that event but I would be very interested in your findings. My dealer said that they will call me as soon as it comes in and if they hear that one of their other stores get it first they will steal it so that I can demo it :D
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  12. x86root

    x86root Member

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    Canti1982 -

    Shame you can't make it. That's great, hope they get hold of one for you soon. I will be travelling over 140 miles to the event and will most defiantly post my opinions of the experience.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2008
  13. Mark.Yudkin

    Mark.Yudkin Active Member

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    As far as processors go, THX Ultra 2 is a set of mandatory technologies (re-equalization, timbre matching, adaptive decorrelation, boundary gain compensation, advanced speaker array); it is not merely a certification. An AV9 successor will presumably conform to THX Ultra 2 Plus (adds THX Loudness Plus to the preceding list).

    The AVR600 does not implement any of the THX technologies. Whether a purchaser personally feels a need for these technologies is a different question that each person may decide for himself. But as far as product positioning is concerned, the AVR600 is not playing the same game as the AV9 and cannot therefore be considered a successor. Product positioning is "like for like": the AVR600 is a rather better AVR350, with the all-important addition of HD and some ubiquitous check-box functions (such as video transcoding and scaling). It doesn't implement the AV9's audio feature set and anybody expecting AV9 audio functionality will be disappointed. What AV9 owners need is an AV9 replacement (or better still and upgrade) - a product with an AV9 function set - and the AVR600 isn't that product, nor apaprently was it supposed to be.

    As for sound; the spec's state that the AVR600 is 120W into 8 Ohms, all channels driven with <0.2% THD. The P1000 is spec'ed for 135W at <0.08% THD, the P7 at 150W at <0.05% THD. The AVR350's spec is unfortunately a little veiled: 7 channels are "100W (1kHz @ 0.2% THD)". The AVR600's product positioning (power amp section) is quite clear from these specs: it's a better FMJ-based AVR350, not an AV9 + P7 (or even a P1000) alternative. OTOH, it isn't "an overpriced AVR350" either.

    Incidentally, FMJ is a definition of the chassis design, nothing more. From the Arcam web site:
    Obviously, comparing specs isn't a replacement for auditioning, but until we can actually hear the AVR600, it's all we can do as far as performance is concerned. Apparently that will be quite soon in UK; CH will take longer.
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    Last edited: Nov 24, 2008
  14. Clsmooth391

    Clsmooth391 Member

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    Purchased the AV9/P7 and took delivery late last week. Haven't even had the chance to set it up. After reading the above, I've just called Arcam support and was told that over legacy formats, the AV9/P7 is definitely better. Also, they are expecting to release their blu-ray player around spring. It will have analogue outs and will cost around 2k.
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  15. coldmachine

    coldmachine Member

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    I think it would be hard to think of a more incorrect, and grossly misleading, statement regarding Arcam products.

    I think most people know the meaning of the letters FMJ. To portray it simply as a chassis design, and nothing more, is wrong to a colossal degree and on a number of levels, everyone knows that too.

    The heavy case design just happens to be a single part of a whole design philosophy that applies to the higher performance line, everyone knows that too.

    To attempt to state otherwise smacks of an agenda.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2008
  16. blue max

    blue max Active Member

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    Well I risk being a confirmed Arcam knocker here, but here me through.

    I was looking to buy an Arcam power amp and contacted Arcam to hear what it woud cost to upgrade a P85 to a three channel amp. To P90 spec and indeed FMJ P25 spec. Guess what, it cost EXACTLY the same to upgrade each component and was exactly the same part number. Now you can draw your own conclusions.

    I am not sure it is any secret either.

    Graham
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    Last edited: Nov 24, 2008
  17. IWC Dopplel

    IWC Dopplel Active Member

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    Interesting opinions must be divided at Arcam :D. Whilst looking for secondhand or reduced AV8/9 and P7's I rang Arcam and posed the very same question and I got a different answer !

    I asked if I should wait for the AVR600 and would it sound better on DVD than the AV9/P7 the answer was a resounding no. The chap I spoke to actually believed the AV9/P7 produced better results with analogue in from a BR payer too.

    I have no doubt the processing will/should be better but that leaves the preamp and power amp. Technology does not move on like AV here, not at all. We are talking a set up circa 1/3 of the original price of the AV9/P7

    The question is can the advances in processing make up for the quality reduction in pre/power spec. The engineer I chatted to didn't think so
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  18. blue max

    blue max Active Member

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    I am sure the Arcam employees have their own thoughts just like members of this forum. To some, the RRP is indicative of the quality and to some the actual experience of hearing the products is all telling.

    Perhaps they just tell you what they think you want to hear. I guess if you phrase the question in such as way as to suggest a possible answer, they will happily oblige.

    It's easy to think that all employees are dedicated enthusiasts or passionate technical engineers. They sadly could equally be just sales people.

    Graham

    nb I am playing a bit of a devils advocate here and have no axe to grind particularly. It's only an alternative perspective. As it is an Arcam forum, it does seem to have an understandably one-sided view.
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    Last edited: Nov 24, 2008
  19. IWC Dopplel

    IWC Dopplel Active Member

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    In a perfect world I would of listened to both. I did also hear that Arcam will be releasing a BR player with analogue out. But a lot of hearsay around ...

    All I know is that the AV8 / P7 sounds very good pushing Sonus Faber's for film. Hell even Dolby Digital sounds great :smashin:

    I suspect the chance to listen to both before the deals run out might be slim. Listening to both in different set ups with different materials will be a waste of time.
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  20. MI55ION

    MI55ION Active Member

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    A little off topic but a simple yes or no question, can the av9 pass 1080p/24hz signal and can it do this without having to 'force' the signal?
  21. x86root

    x86root Member

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    IWC Dopplel -

    I have to agree with you there. Hence I plan to test with the same configuration I demoed the AV9/P7 with.

    On a completely side note. Is it just me or is cinema sound improving drastically. Went to see Max Payne last night and couldn't keep the big fat grin of my face during the action scenes. The gun fire and action was astounding!!

    MI55ION -

    That's a good question, correct me if I'm wrong but is the AV9 is over 3 years old?
    -

    Until we all get to hear the AVR600 its obviously impossible to decide what to go for. There are so many factors/dependancies that help the individual decide what's best for them. I believe one of the important things on the agenda will be what kit is purchased after the upgrade over the coming years, having the best sounding and most powerful amp could be waste unless the source/speakers are of that same high quality.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2008
  22. Mark.Yudkin

    Mark.Yudkin Active Member

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    Seems funny that you should react so strongly to simple statement of fact, given the significant number of factual errors - and your persistence in repeating these counterfactual statements - in your recent posts. If you search a little, you'll see the definition of "FMJ" is clear, even if you don't like the implications, just like a quick review of the THX web site will help you understand the meaning of a THX Ultra 2 processor. Some quotes re FMJ:
    As they say, it's a name for a chassis. Which doesn't mean that getting the chassis right doesn't have audio benefits, and it's nice to see that now all of Arcam's range will have this quality chassis. No statement is made about the relative quality of the rest of the construction; but it's reasonable to assume that the DiVA range wasn't sloppily built either.

    I have no "hidden agenda" on the AVR600 - I am merely addressing the erroneous belief that the AVR600 is positioned as a "replacement" for the AV9, when it obviously isn't. It is a replacement for the AVR350. There's little point discussing the extent of the improvements over the AVR350 until we can get our hands (and ears) on one. Nevertheless a simple review of the feature set and performance specifications are sufficient to show that the product is not considered a follow-on to the AV9+P7.

    The fact that the AVR600 is a new design and not an incremental upgrade of the AVR350 doesn't alter its positioning.
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    Last edited: Nov 25, 2008
  23. x86root

    x86root Member

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  24. Mark.Yudkin

    Mark.Yudkin Active Member

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    (Coldmachine of course)
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  25. IWC Dopplel

    IWC Dopplel Active Member

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    I suspect Arcam were in a bit of a dilema, how to compete with the £1000-1500 overseas amps. I do thinks that quality to the masses is a desire but the world has moved on since their A&R A60 (I owned one :D years ago)

    I think they want a share of the guys who want quality over excess functionality and don't want yet another Denon or Yamaha that looks the same as all the rest. At £2,600 its a very interesting price point, not huge competition and it looks great.

    I also don't think they want to kill more of their high end share, suspect this is a little more resilient in current times if it's performance is sufficient. I can see a BR decoding solution for pitched to work with the AV9 and an AV10 to replace the 9. It is interesting to me how their brand has progressed I still think of them as a cheap alternative to the bottom end Naim and Meridian because that's what they were when I had my A60 !

    I do suspect the 600 will be a hit, just hope it has enough attraction to allow the income to fund the AV10 development with all the bells and whistles and sound quality required :D
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  26. tig

    tig Member

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    Yes.
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  27. Gixxerblade

    Gixxerblade Member

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    There is no secret that the P85 and the P90 are the same - it was merely renamed when the A90 replaced the A85 - which are different. I'm not sure about differences with the P25 but it obviously has a different chassis.
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  28. ianmacd

    ianmacd Member

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    As I understood it, the P35 (and I guess the p25 too) had larger PSU's and better components although they may have used the same PCB. The stated power output on the P35 and the P90 were different too.

    Ian.
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  29. coldmachine

    coldmachine Member

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    Mark, I fully understand exactly what a THX Ultra 2 processor is, and its limited significance.

    I am also fully aware of exactly what the letters FMJ stand for. Neither are in dispute.

    I dont hold the belief that the AV600 is a replacement for the AV9, but that certainly does not prevent it from being a better sounding unit. Time will tell. It is also clearly not a 350 replacement either.I have no bias here at all, I use AV9s myself. The 600s I buy will NOT be replacing them, but certainly will be directly tested against them and a report posted. The fact that the AV9 is being sold at panic pricing, prior to the 600 release, speaks volumes on the prevailing wisdom.

    I have only passed on information I have been given by people who have directly compared them.

    I don't feel I reacted in any way strongly at all, apologies if it appeared that way.
    I hope that clarifies my position sufficiently, and you can now move on.
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    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 29, 2008
  30. x86root

    x86root Member

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