Arcam AV40 AV Processor Review & Comments

symphara

Member
Beyond the subjective fluff about "stunning clarity", this product was comprehensively roasted on ASR with actual measurements:


Noise, jitter, poor SINAD, poor dynamic range, junk of all sorts, with a digital subsystem that cannot clear 16 bits (forget about "audiophile" and "high-res" blurb), comes within a hair of being designated as essentially broken.

Given Arcam's notorious bugs and QA issues, coupled with the price, I'd have to be crazy to buy this.
 

CaroleBaskin

Active Member
Recently released 1.46 has cleared many of the bugs and Amir’s (AudioScienceReview) measurements are often wrong. Listen to one yourself and see what you think.

I‘d far sooner take the opinion of a seasoned reviewer with familiarity of their room and speakers, coupled with thousands of hours of other processors/amps, than the whacky measurements of a guy posting panthers. How it sounds is what truly matters here, the fact it gives the MP40 a run for its money should tell you all you need to know. Give it a listen.

Thanks for the review!
 

vkvedam

Active Member
Recently released 1.46 has cleared many of the bugs and Amir’s (AudioScienceReview) measurements are often wrong. Listen to one yourself and see what you think.

I‘d far sooner take the opinion of a seasoned reviewer with familiarity of their room and speakers, coupled with thousands of hours of other processors/amps, than the whacky measurements of a guy posting panthers. How it sounds is what truly matters here, the fact it gives the MP40 a run for its money should tell you all you need to know. Give it a listen.

Thanks for the review!
How can the measurements be wrong? I am a seasoned audiophile but I am an engineer first. And it doesn't mean that I have ears like Audio Precision instruments. To be able to charge big bucks I need the data to support it before making lofty marketing claims. Amir's doing a service to the industry where manufacturers have been hiding their dodgy engineering efforts until now.

On a different note, Sound United accepted that it measured the same at their end for both Denon and Marantz products with the latter measuring quite poorly.
 

Krobar

Well-known Member
Beyond the subjective fluff about "stunning clarity", this product was comprehensively roasted on ASR with actual measurements:


Noise, jitter, poor SINAD, poor dynamic range, junk of all sorts, with a digital subsystem that cannot clear 16 bits (forget about "audiophile" and "high-res" blurb), comes within a hair of being designated as essentially broken.

Given Arcam's notorious bugs and QA issues, coupled with the price, I'd have to be crazy to buy this.

Those measurements are quite wrong. Amir himself admits the linearity is completely wrong and it suffers from the same downmix mistake that was corrected for the Denon review. If you look at the later review of the SDP-55 sister product you will see the actual performance level which although not ground breaking is not bad among AV products. The AV40 review was done at a time ASR was still demanding stereo products levels of performance which they later softened when they released no AV products from any manufacturer seem to offer that level of performance.

My own unweighted measurements using RCA at 2V came out as follows:
97dB THD+n
107dB Dynamic Range
 

steve sph

Well-known Member
Good comprehensive review as usual - cheers for that Phil.
To be honest I'd want to road test any piece of AV equipment at this price in my own home before committing to purchasing - reviews are always a helpful guide but that's all they are - the listening environment and the accompanying equipment used by any reviewer make for too many variables to buy blind.
 

Krobar

Well-known Member
How can the measurements be wrong? I am a seasoned audiophile but I am an engineer first. And it doesn't mean that I have ears like Audio Precision instruments. To be able to charge big bucks I need the data to support it before making lofty marketing claims. Amir's doing a service to the industry where manufacturers have been hiding their dodgy engineering efforts until now.

On a different note, Sound United accepted that it measured the same at their end for both Denon and Marantz products with the latter measuring quite poorly.

See above.

Arcam Response is here:
 

symphara

Member
Recently released 1.46 has cleared many of the bugs and Amir’s (AudioScienceReview) measurements are often wrong. Listen to one yourself and see what you think.

I‘d far sooner take the opinion of a seasoned reviewer with familiarity of their room and speakers, coupled with thousands of hours of other processors/amps, than the whacky measurements of a guy posting panthers. How it sounds is what truly matters here, the fact it gives the MP40 a run for its money should tell you all you need to know. Give it a listen.

Thanks for the review!
I lost you at "Amir's measurements are often wrong". Do you have anything to back that up?
 

Phil Hinton

Editor
Staff member
Good comprehensive review as usual - cheers for that Phil.
To be honest I'd want to road test any piece of AV equipment at this price in my own home before committing to purchasing - reviews are always a helpful guide but that's all they are - the listening environment and the accompanying equipment used by any reviewer make for too many variables to buy blind.
Yes, Steve, you really should demo products such as this and use the reviews as a guide to help you narrow down a shortlist of products.
 

CaroleBaskin

Active Member
Those measurements are quite wrong. Amir himself admits the linearity is completely wrong and it suffers from the same downmix mistake that was corrected for the Denon review. If you look at the later review of the SDP-55 sister product you will see the actual performance level which although not ground breaking is not bad among AV products. The AV40 review was done at a time ASR was still demanding stereo products levels of performance which they later softened when they released no AV products from any manufacturer seem to offer that level of performance.

My own unweighted measurements using RCA at 2V came out as follows:
97dB THD+n
107dB Dynamic Range

I lost you at "Amir's measurements are often wrong". Do you have anything to back that up?
 

markymiles

Distinguished Member
How can the measurements be wrong? I am a seasoned audiophile but I am an engineer first. And it doesn't mean that I have ears like Audio Precision instruments. To be able to charge big bucks I need the data to support it before making lofty marketing claims. Amir's doing a service to the industry where manufacturers have been hiding their dodgy engineering efforts until now.

On a different note, Sound United accepted that it measured the same at their end for both Denon and Marantz products with the latter measuring quite poorly.

Or maybe he's just a one man band with an axe to grind and in fact causes more confusion than achieves anything with his flawed methodology and mistakes. Some seem to like to worship at his altar though :rolleyes:.
 

barnitto

Active Member
More often than not I’m beginning to think that comments should be turned off for reviews.

anything that mentions a particular other website/forum/individual should be turned off.
 

symphara

Member
They blamed the poor measurements on a ground loop that just wasn't there.

See the reply: Arcam AV40 AV Processor Review

Every time I look at some forum page about Arcam, NAD or Anthem I see bugs, problems, broken stuff. And every time someone actually takes an analyzer to these products, they fall flat.

These companies need to sort out their game, especially for what they're charging.

anything that mentions a particular other website/forum/individual should be turned off.
Absolutely. This shouldn't be a discussion forum after all - what a radical idea, to hear other opinions or, the horror, actual measurements! - but just a circle where we clap like trained seals.
 

markymiles

Distinguished Member
They blamed the poor measurements on a ground loop that just wasn't there.

See the reply: Arcam AV40 AV Processor Review

Every time I look at some forum page about Arcam, NAD or Anthem I see bugs, problems, broken stuff. And every time someone actually takes an analyzer to these products, they fall flat.

These companies need to sort out their game, especially for what they're charging.


Absolutely. This shouldn't be a discussion forum after all - what a radical idea, to hear other opinions or, the horror, actual measurements! - but just a circle where we clap like trained seals.

That's a bit rude calling Amir a trained seal :D
 

vkvedam

Active Member
The AV40 review was done at a time ASR was still demanding stereo products levels of performance which they later softened when they released no AV products from any manufacturer seem to offer that level of performance.
Then don't advertise the products saying the best for stereo and AV. To be honest I care a little less for AV as most of sound mix into the surround channels is SFX etc which isn't music. So the Left/Right has to be decent and hit the -100dB mark in my book to be qualified as a decent engineering effort.
 

Mister_Tad

Member
Imagine a world in which it's okay to assess both measurements and opinions from a variety of sources and make your own informed decision about a product. Bliss!

I for one just think it's a poor show that Arcam just put out a "rebuttal" rather than engaging productively on ASRs measurements (allegedly). That along with Arcam's reputation for reliability and bugs puts me off more than some dodgy graphs.

I like to see good measurements as much as the next guy (on an AV product particularly), but then I also think the tube/SS hybrid integrated on my 2ch setup sounds sublime and would assume that it measures terribly - so go figure.
 

sjackson

Well-known Member
I for one just think it's a poor show that Arcam just put out a "rebuttal" rather than engaging productively on ASRs measurements (allegedly).

You mean the way ASR productively engaged with Arcam before slaughtering them?
 

symphara

Member
That's a bit rude calling Amir a trained seal :D
I wasn’t. People can disagree on ASR without calling for outright bans. At the end of the day it’s about the pursuit of truth and you can’t get there by silencing others.

Now if you come with fluff like “smooth, clean, insightful sound” (took me 5s to find this on whathifi, page loading time included) expect to be mocked by basically everybody.

I respect personal opinions, but in this particular context I think they‘re worthless for forming an accurate impression of the product or basing any purchasing decision on it.
 

barnitto

Active Member
Absolutely. This shouldn't be a discussion forum after all - what a radical idea, to hear other opinions or, the horror, actual measurements! - but just a circle where we clap like trained seals.

what I said was part in jest, but the problem when mentioning said other website/forum/individual is exactly what has happened here. A seasoned AVF reviewer has performed a subjective review and the debate has become about what someone else said or measured.

I’m here for the debate and views, but referencing a third party doesn’t add to that debate or provide a view as the debate become about the validity of said third party views rather than the product in question.

personally I wouldn’t of considered the Arcam due to bugs, but it sounds a bit more stable and the review suggests that it is worth a listen.
 

Mister_Tad

Member
You mean the way ASR productively engaged with Arcam before slaughtering them?

I would have liked to see that as well, particularly as he called it out as effectively broken.

But I do think the onus should be on manufacturers to engage with the community rather than the other way around. One has a PR department, the other is some guy testing kit in his front room.

Another manufacturer (Denon IIRC?) did the same after a poor set of measurements was published, worked through them and identified a firmware fix, for instance - not just put out a PDF saying "No you're wrong, look at our totally unbiased measurements" and then (again, allegedly) stonewalling the reviewer.

I'm not siding with anyone here - I respect ASRs reviews as much as I do the ones here, and if I were to consider an AV40 I'd respect my own in-home demo more than any of them.

And I would consider an AV40 if only for the reason that it would be trivial to take one home for a demo to see for myself - but the approach here by Arcam reminds me a lot of a broken NAD AVR I sent back eventually - i.e. "must be something about YOUR setup that's broken, because our AVR certainly couldn't be".
 

symphara

Member
what I said was part in jest, but the problem when mentioning said other website/forum/individual is exactly what has happened here. A seasoned AVF reviewer has performed a subjective review and the debate has become about what someone else said or measured.

I’m here for the debate and views, but referencing a third party doesn’t add to that debate or provide a view as the debate become about the validity of said third party views rather than the product in question.

personally I wouldn’t of considered the Arcam due to bugs, but it sounds a bit more stable and the review suggests that it is worth a listen.
Respectfully, I think you’re wrong. In the context of a glowing review (which in my opinion is a subjective evaluation, nothing wrong with that, enjoyable to read) I think it’s a public service announcement to point out that the product doesn’t actually measure well and doesn’t appear to be well engineered, at least nowhere as well as claimed by the manufacturer.

It doesn’t need to become a discussion of pro- or con-measurements, unless people feel personally aggrieved by the conclusions because they hold some partisanship and thus feel the need to defend the home team.

I don’t have a team here. I’m looking at everything and trying to learn as much as I can. I also held Arcam in high regard some years ago, even considered buying one, such is the pull of a boutique brand for me!

Unfortunately years of looking at forum reports of their bugs and broken devices, followed by ASR’s scathing and well-documented investigation convinced me to be very wary of this company’s products.
 

CaroleBaskin

Active Member
personally I wouldn’t of considered the Arcam due to bugs, but it sounds a bit more stable and the review suggests that it is worth a listen.
Firmware 1.46 (released a week or so ago) has addressed many of the bugs Phil experienced. The change log is on Arcams site for the firmware download. These units really have come a long way in the past few months.
 

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