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A90 vs AVR350


Established Member
Just ordered an Arcam A90 this am for only £410 delivered brand new was looking to improve the musical side of my system already have a cd73t running through a marantz sr5200, was wondering if i would get a good improvement using it in processor mode with music but also worried the other chanels will sound rubbish as the marantz will be no match for the Arcam! would i be better going for an Arcam AVR350 & can anyone tell how it would compare to the A90 on pure music? thanks


Established Member
Come on you Arcam boys surely someone can give me some info?:lease:


Prominent Member
You probably wont like me for saying this but you could have just bought an AVR350 and not got the A90 as it is pretty decent for stereo (I rated mine up with the A80 at least). This way you could have sold your Marantz and since the AVR350 is only £599 delivered these days you would have spent no more.

I used to use mine with channel 6/7 to biamp the fronts and this made a big difference to my former PMC's.

The AVR350 is also a stunningly good AV amp and I almost regret selling mine :( :)

Thinking about it there is an AVR350 in the classifieds for c.£500ish so if you want to you could cancel the A90 and try the AVR350 on its own.

To answer your original question - yes there will be a tonal imbalance but only you can decide if it is noticeable and the flipside is that your AV amp wont be dealing with Front L/R duties so will be less stressed dealing with just the centre - its a swings and roundabouts thing ;)


Established Member
I can only comment on the AVR350.

To my ears it's wonderful both in processed and direct stereo modes. Direct stereo is better for anything recorded "live" or with good placement of instruments/vocals across the soundstage.

Processed in "music mode" it is more relaxed to listen to and better if you are moving around the room such as on a Sunday morning or if you have a few people around (even with my KEF speakers which have quite a large sweet-spot). Processed "Party mode" is full-on if the room is lively and not for the faint hearted :eek:

Overall I'm glad I went with the AVR350 rather than have seperate hifi and av setups :).


Prominent Member
At one time I had both an A90 and an AVR350 - they were used in seperate systems but I decided to try the AVR350 in the stereo setup instead of the A90 (the rest of the system was a P90, CD73 and Monitor Audio RS8 Silver Speakers).

Having tried both amps side by side for a few hours I came to the conclusion that the stereo seperation on the A90 beat the 350 but that the sound from the 350 seemed to fill the room more than the 90. Apart from that, there was very, very, little difference and, had I not already had the A90 would have been more than happy with the 350.

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martin purnell

Established Member
Hi Mark,
It's good to see you have a reply from Johndon as you should find everything you need to read from a thread he started!
You'll find my thoughts on this matter as well. To summarise my thoughts...I was in the market to upgrade from my Arcam Delta system. Basically, did I need to keep my Yamaha DSP E 800 processor and buy an A90 plus P90 or just go for a 350?
I chose the A80/P90 set-up and am still really pleased all these months on. Purely to my ears, the A80 was better as a pre-amp to the A90 (there are other thoughts on this within the Arcam section). However, when using the A90/P90 against the AV350, the combo won when listening to any 2 channel feed (ie CDs).
I have started a couple of other threads inc asking Arcam fans here if they use a Yamaha DSP E800 and what there thoughts are on it. The E800 is still a fantastic processor that needs a 2 channel separate amp to work fully.
If you have a really good processor (that can power all channels needed ie 5.1), then an A90 plus getting a P90 should be better than an AV350 (check other threads). However, you will have 3 boxes instead of the all in one AV350. Plus, if listening to 2 channel music is not the priority, the Av350 is worth a major shout.
Just to confuse/help even more, the sound when using an A80 or A90 together with a P90 really does improve bass and stereo imasgery etc.... Could be worth finding a P90 going cheaply as it will improve your A90 no end. I wrote a thread on this subject based on all my demoing. May I suggest (you most probably already are thinking of doing this) taking your A90 to an arcam dealer and compare it hooked up to a P90? Then compare the sound to an AV350 in 2 channel mode. You'll be impressed!

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