Arcam AV40 AV Processor Review & Comments

Ed Selley

AVF Reviewer
My opinion is a Yugo will outperform a Bugatti veyron along a five mile straight.

I'm not interested in scientific tests or numbers but clearly the Yugo is superior in speed, that's my opinion which is valid and invalidates any silly times.

If that is your idea of opinions versus tested data?

This highlights both what is good and bad about measurement though. Objectively, we can prove that the Veyron is likely to get down the five mile straight rather quicker than a Zastava. And, because, you've chosen a very low bar, we can probably objectively demonstrate it does most other things better too.

Going back to my first reply to you, where things get more complex is comparing two rather less polar opposites. Keeping this automotive, take my current car and my previous car. The range of measurement variation between the two is much smaller than the Veyron and Zastava but, across that range of measurements, my current car outperforms the last one. Nevertheless, if I had the choice to drive one of them as hard as I dared up the A46 between Enniskillen and the border (one of the best roads I've ever driven anywhere), it would be the 'inferior' older car every time. Beyond the objectivity of the measurement is the subjectivity of the requirements of the user.
 

Krobar

Well-known Member
Amir does release voltage/sinad, for me I would need 1v-1.6v

Thats probably about what most people need with consumer amps. I'm about 1.6V with my 502MPs. For me I'm better off using the RCAs, the noise floor is better and when I measured at 2V from RCA and XLR the results backed that up. I'm pretty sure 107dB dynamic range exceeds CD.
 

steviedr

Distinguished Member
I’m using the Nad, which is glitchy every now and then, I think it was also reviewed poorly on the US site mentioned above, would I return it for my rock solid Yamaha from a few years back...not a chance.
I’m come from an engineering background and believe in scientific results, my ageing ears must disagree. I’m not saying what they say is incorrect/inaccurate, but if something sounds good...well what does it matter what the review says. Use them as a guide before demoing.

Like Arcam, Nad still release firmware and most bugs (not all) are sorted, while I’d prefer a more solid product on release, not sure that is going to happen with many AV products these days. If it really annoys you always purchase year 2!
 

LexLoofah

Standard Member
I’m using the Nad, which is glitchy every now and then, I think it was also reviewed poorly on the US site mentioned above, would I return it for my rock solid Yamaha from a few years back...not a chance.
I’m come from an engineering background and believe in scientific results, my ageing ears must disagree. I’m not saying what they say is incorrect/inaccurate, but if something sounds good...well what does it matter what the review says. Use them as a guide before demoing.

Like Arcam, Nad still release firmware and most bugs (not all) are sorted, while I’d prefer a more solid product on release, not sure that is going to happen with many AV products these days. If it really annoys you always purchase year 2!
Exactly. I had numerous Arcam AVR's (600, 750, 850). They are all buggy, some get ironed out, some do not (AVR600) but all of them sound absolutely fantastic and stand head and shoulders above anything I've heard from Yamaha, Denon etc. I would rather listen to great quality sound than look at nice numbers. (No matter how nice those numbers are!)
 

markymiles

Distinguished Member
Largely irrelevant science/ measurements showing how things that are inaudible compare with each other. Then getting all uppity and damning about it. These inaudible SINAD measurements are worse than other inaudible SINAD measurements. Must be dreadful lets give it some random animal rating. The only thing that is interesting and useful in my opinion is the max power ratings to see if manufacturers figures are remotely accurate as you may actually care about the number of watts you're getting..

I had the even worse measuring NAD 758 for a bit and thoroughly enjoyed it and thought it sounded great. There's so much more to sound than that we can quantify and as other have said, speakers and room. They're your major issues.
 

LexLoofah

Standard Member
Largely irrelevant science/ measurements showing how things that are inaudible compare with each other. Then getting all uppity and damning about it. These inaudible SINAD measurements are worse than other inaudible SINAD measurements. Must be dreadful lets give it some random animal rating. The only thing that is interesting and useful in my opinion is the max power ratings to see if manufacturers figures are remotely accurate as you may actually care about the number of watts you're getting..

I had the even worse measuring NAD 758 for a bit and thoroughly enjoyed it and thought it sounded great. There's so much more to sound than that we can quantify and as other have said, speakers and room. They're your major issues.
Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted. Albert Einstein.
 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
People are making excuses about power amps now saying well you only have a couple of speakers in peak.


Largely irrelevant science/ measurements showing how things that are inaudible compare with each other. Then getting all uppity and damning about it. These inaudible SINAD measurements are worse than other inaudible SINAD measurements. Must be dreadful lets give it some random animal rating. The only thing that is interesting and useful in my opinion is the max power ratings to see if manufacturers figures are remotely accurate as you may actually care about the number of watts you're getting..

I had the even worse measuring NAD 758 for a bit and thoroughly enjoyed it and thought it sounded great. There's so much more to sound than that we can quantify and as other have said, speakers and room. They're your major issues.
 

VGzilla

Member
I’m using the Nad, which is glitchy every now and then, I think it was also reviewed poorly on the US site mentioned above, would I return it for my rock solid Yamaha from a few years back...not a chance.
Same here. I pine for Marantz/Denon/Yamaha predictability but after listening to my Anthem 1140 I just can't go back. Sure, it's possible to achieve both reliability and exquisite sound (the Trinnov and Lyngdorf maybe), but I've accepted that the NADs, Arcams, Monoprices and Anthems come with their own peculiarities.
 

symphara

Active Member
Just to clarify this 24bit/16bit issue. I have not trawled the entire web on it but I believe only ASR is saying this and it's been disputed by Arcam. I would be careful of saying it's cold astonishing reality.

The AV40 has an ESS 9026PRO DAC, the datasheet for this DAC clearly mentions 24-bit and 32-bit modes. I suppose it's possible that Arcam has somehow implemented it incorrectly, but they've been putting DAC's in audio equipment for a while now and I think they know what they're doing.

Is the AV40 bug/issue free? No. I'm not saying I think it's a flawless product, but are you not wording things a little to strongly here?
I was talking in general, not specifically about the AV40. I was stressing why I like measurements - they debunk the marketing blurb specifications pushed by many manufacturers.

Take for example Porsche. For every car you can go on their website and look at the power figures, 0-60 time, top speed. You can bet your trousers that in real life none of those numbers are worse than advertised (typically significantly better, particularly acceleration times). That's because they have self-respect and don't try to pull the wool over the customer's eyes. Their products are tested and measured repeatedly, all over youtube, and it's always so.

I wish that audio gear would be more like this. When they say 24/192, it'd better have the SINAD to back that up, otherwise it's meaningless drivel.

Returning to the AV40, I think it got wholly roasted by Amir. How they have the gumption to sell it for 4k beats me.
 

symphara

Active Member
Give it a listen and stop listening to the panther mad man :facepalm:
Talking to me? ;)

Honestly, I have no time for buggy, unreliable, poorly engineered products. I tried it with an Anthem and the experience is still vivid in my memory - 3 factory resets in just one weekend. The damn thing would just stop making sound. Try explaining to the wife why this expensive, fancy box you bought isn't letting her watch Grey's Anatomy!
 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
lking to me? ;)

Honestly, I have no time for buggy, unreliable, poorly engineered products. I tried it with an Anthem and the experience is still vivid in my memory - 3 factory resets in just one weekend. The damn thing would just stop making sound. Try explaining to the wife why this expensive, fancy box you bought isn't letting her watch Grey's Anatomy!

I would be pretty annoyed the Yamaha 11channel Poweramp is <78w per channel with 11 channels driven. Oh wait it is. Probably 45-50w X 11
 

Dorian

Active Member
I was talking in general, not specifically about the AV40. I was stressing why I like measurements - they debunk the marketing blurb specifications pushed by many manufacturers.
Oh. I thought you were talking about the Arcam because it was on the ASR review of the AV40 that the whole 16/24 bit thing got raised, which is the example you mentioned.

Returning to the AV40, I think it got wholly roasted by Amir. How they have the gumption to sell it for 4k beats me.
The answer is clear to see on this thread. Not everyone takes scientific audio measurements from one web site run by one guy as their only input to a purchasing process. If I was to buy an AV40 I'd be much more interested in the reports of bugs and glitches than a set of measurements on ASR.

All I'm saying is it's unfair of you to be throwing Arcam under a bus based on ASR reviews. If you owned an AV40 that would be different. I don't currently own their products either but have in the past and enjoyed them.

Quite a few of the arcam tests result in "broken product" such as avr large speaker mode...when all products have issues in digital system think paints a good picture of arcam.
I completely agree. I don't want to sound like I'm sticking up for Arcam regardless of their issues. Not acceptable for the price.
 
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symphara

Active Member
Oh. I thought you were talking about the Arcam because it was on the ASR review of the AV40 that the whole 16/24 bit thing got raised, which is the example you mentioned.


The answer is clear to see on this thread. Not everyone takes scientific audio measurements from one web site run by one guy as their only input to a purchasing process. If I was to buy an AV40 I'd be much more interested in the reports of bugs and glitches than a set of measurements on ASR.
I'm not making purchasing decisions based on scientific audio measurements alone, I'm not trying to say that at all.

But I do look at them, as they're indicative of the engineering of the product, and large discrepancies between published and measured specs or claims ("definitely the lowest amount of jitter") tell me a lot about the company culture.

I also look a lot at threads discussing the products of a company, usually long in advance of buying something. This gives me a feel about the general usability and reliability. Arcam doesn't do well here.

Finally, it's very much a value judgement. Look at the features, quality, usability, measurements, price, and draw a conclusion.

At the end of the day, since the AV40 measures badly, has bugs and the company is plagued by reliability problems, what you're buying is the feature set. Particularly Dirac.

On that, my feeling is that the Rotel RSP-1576MKII is a far safer buy, and currently best value for a Dirac-enabled processor. It lacks the streaming features of the AV40 (which is trivially and quite cheap to correct with an external device) and unfortunately it lacks eARC (deal breaker for me personally), but otherwise I'm pretty sure it's a much better product than the AV40. As in, reliable and functional, and I highly doubt it would measure worse.

Let's see the new Onkyo/Pioneer/Integra Dirac receivers, if they ever materialise. Perhaps there's going to be little reason to pay more than 1k for this particular feature set.
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
On that, my feeling is that the Rotel RSP-1576MKII is a far safer buy, and currently best value for a Dirac-enabled processor. It lacks the streaming features of the AV40 (which is trivially and quite cheap to correct with an external device) and unfortunately it lacks eARC (deal breaker for me personally)
That Rotel looks interesting, there is an eARC gizmo, I've not used it personally but see it mentioned on the forums occasionally:

 

symphara

Active Member
That Rotel looks interesting, there is an eARC gizmo, I've not used it personally but see it mentioned on the forums occasionally:

Sure, but I’m watching the new Sony A90J forums in the US and there’s a guy who cannot get this gizmo to work with the new tv. Better to have it integrated.
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
Sure, but I’m watching the new Sony A90J forums in the US and there’s a guy who cannot get this gizmo to work with the new tv. Better to have it integrated.
Interesting. I've heard reports that integrated eARC doesn't always work properly either! The eARC Sharc seems to get great reviews generally, but I suppose there will always be the odd case where things don't go smoothly.
 

Dorian

Active Member
Sure, but I’m watching the new Sony A90J forums in the US and there’s a guy who cannot get this gizmo to work with the new tv. Better to have it integrated.
I think there's something about the a90 that it doesn't renegotiate earc properly so devices can need power cycling after switching input.

Looked into this device myself for an LG CX and possible Arcam avr390 purchase. The problem with the LG is it won't pass DTS through, ruled it out for me.
 

Krobar

Well-known Member
Maybe I can bring it back to some debate. Here are my Rightmark measurements at Volume 79 / 2V from the RCAs on my AV40.

Capture.PNG


They aren't awesome but they are good, much better than the ASR results and well beyond CD dynamic range. To be clear these were done in rack with 3 HDMI devices, 2 sets of multiroom sources and 2 power amps still connected (I just unplugged the Left/Right RCA to test) so more real world than most (Testing on the bench with no other devices connected may improve the result slightly).

For anyone interested in the extra detail/graph the attached file can be opened in Rightmark Audio Analyser which is free.
 

Attachments

  • 2448 Vol79 RCA 24-bit, 48 kHz.zip
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jakimp

Distinguished Member
i am a little confused - is there any processor worth buying short of lyngdorf or trinnov sort of expenditure? reading this thread it doesnt look like any processor sub say £5k is worth a purchase.
 

vkvedam

Active Member
i am a little confused - is there any processor worth buying short of lyngdorf or trinnov sort of expenditure? reading this thread it doesnt look like any processor sub say £5k is worth a purchase.
Wait until Lyngdorf gets measured, I am eagerly waiting on that :)
 

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