Arcam 350 or Azur 840A/640R?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by rabidrat50, Apr 18, 2007.

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  1. rabidrat50

    rabidrat50
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    Hi My 5 year old AV amp has been killed by my 2 year old granddaughter by spilling squash onto it while it was on. (luckily she is fine but the amp went pop, then was followed by a curious hissing sound, - unplugged it but it may be unrescuable) The house insurance said they will repair or replace it, so I was thinking of getting either a Arcam 350 or the Ca 840a Amp for my front stereo and the 640R to handle my centre rear & sub. I love both film and music and have currently put my dear old Aura VA80 amp back in place so I can have music and watch dvd's. I was reading hi-fi choice which said for a good hi-fi stereo you need a dedicated stereo amp as you have to pay a lot to get a good av amp with stereo performance. My equipment consists of a Arcam FMJ139 (aura VA80 at the moment) Accoustic energy AE109 floorstanders & pioneer 42 inch th42px60 tv. I wouldnt like to compromise on sound quality so would the dedicated 840a amp sound better than the arcam 350? & if so would it be a good match for my FMJ139 & AE109's
     
  2. Mark F

    Mark F
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    My guess is that it will be a close run thing and your best bet is to demo - the Arcam is highly regarded for stereo and it should be comparable to the £750 Cambridge. I suspect your choice will depend on whether you prefer the Arcam house sound to the Cambridge house sound.

    Two further throughts, the Cambridge route will give you greater flexibility for future changes and upgrades - you wont have to get rid of the whole lot of you want to upgrade, say, just the stereo side of things. However, the Arcam route should be better for surround sound.
     
  3. phillfyspoon

    phillfyspoon
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    I think the cambridge being a dedicated and very highly received stereo amp will beat out eh arcam receiver with ease.
     
  4. trailer

    trailer
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    The Arcam can be used to bi-amp the front speakers for stereo and surround playback (If they are able to receive this and you aren't running a 7.1 set up). It also has a Direct through setting for CD playback, and 70 watts per channel.

    Why take two into the shower when you can take one?

    Setting up the two separate amps would be difficult I expect. You would have to output the 640R from the DVD to feed the front L&R line pre-outs to the 840s front L&R line inputs anyway. If you wanted to separate the 840 for stereo playback only you would then have to run the connections from the DVD into the 840 direct to bypass the 640R. I am just thinking about adjusting volume levels all the time. As to the CA set up beating the Arcam with ease i would be surprised if that was the case.

    I'd be demoing the two options before spending that amount anyway.
     
  5. phillfyspoon

    phillfyspoon
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    Considering the cambridge 840 is said to be better then the arcam stereo amps im sure an av reciever wouldnt be in the same league, taking into account the extra 5 channels and the video proccessing and switching you cant expect a reciever to sound as good as a dedicated stereo amp, especially one as highly regarded as the cambridge which has won many a shootout on a few sites and forums.
     
  6. rabidrat50

    rabidrat50
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    Thanks for all the comments, it really is a bit of a minefield. I will have to demo both the arcam and the cambridge before I can make that decision, I know the general concensus is that a dedicated decent amp should be more sonically accurate in stereo than a fairly expensive( to me anyway) av amp which does have a lot of extra processing to contend with. Though would a cd direct mode in the arcams av amp totally isolate it from the video side. My Fmj139 has a cd direct which is supposed to do the same thing and there is a difference in sound quality with it in direct mode. I am just so torn at the moment. I wish I could demo them side by side at hope with my speakers and dvd but as the arcam is at sevenoakes and the cambridge is at richer sounds it would be improbable at best. If anybody has any other suggestion I would be really grateful to hear them.
     
  7. schnuffi

    schnuffi
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    I think the key question is which is more important to you, stereo or home theatre? Former then get a dedicated stereo amp with a lesser AV receiver, latter then the Arcam.
    At least if you get the chance to demo then you will get a feel for the equipment even if not directly comparable.
    You could of course save your pennies and get both but I know what my missus would say about that..................:suicide:
     
  8. rabidrat50

    rabidrat50
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    well I think stereo slightly over home cinema, although with the 840A/640r combination wont I be getting the best of both (value for money wise anyway?) I am going to richer sounds hopefully on saturday to dem the 840a perhaps they might let me take it home and try it. then talk nicely to sevenoakes to dem the 350. and then let my ears decide
     
  9. schnuffi

    schnuffi
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    Well, I think my 540r is great, the 640 must be even better so I'd be well chuffed with your Cambridge choice. But the Arcam 350 gets great write ups......
    That's the trouble in this game you can always spend that bit more and in the end you always have to compromise somewhere down the line.
    Good luck.
     
  10. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
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    Actually both products were designed with a view to working together. The 840A (and 740A for that matter) have a fixed input system where any of the inputs can be selected to operate at a fixed level with control acheieved over the line in. In other words, on one of the inputs, the integrated becomes a power aamp. All the other inputs will continue to function as normal.
    In turn, the 640R can be set so that front left/right internal amps are powered of with the amp only powering 3,4 or 5 channels for centre/surround and the front left, right being sent to the external amp. This lowers THD and gives you a bit more welly than you'd otherwise have.
     
  11. rabidrat50

    rabidrat50
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    Thanks for that bit of information Ed It seems like a 2 box solution is sounding better (on paper at least) but will I be able to listen to my sacd's with the proper sound/balance with the 840/640 combo as I would with an integrated av? Many thanks again for everyones input on this.
     
  12. schnuffi

    schnuffi
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    Ed, just to hijack this thread briefly, you say that with the 640 you can power off the front speakers. With my 540R V2 I've got the front L + R powered by my integrated amp which is connected to the receiver's pre-outs. Does that give my other 3 speakers more power or is there something I should change on the set up of the receiver?
     
  13. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
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    SACD's would be inputted to the direct in on the 640R (if you want multichannel) and thence via the pre-outs, the left and right signal would go into the 840A. The Test tone of the 640R will output via the pre-out so the fixed level of the 840A can be adjusted to match the 640R via human ear mk1 or an SPL meter.

    The 540Rv2 is older and the internal amps are all or nothing- either all on or all off. They are turned off in processor mode in the OSD.
     
  14. schnuffi

    schnuffi
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    Thanks, thought that was the case but wanted to be sure.
     

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