arcam av9/P7 v's ???

K

karlm

Guest
i am considering the arcam av 9 + P7 combo and would just like to consider any others in the same price range before i take the plunge. i am ideally looking for hdmi switching and 7.1. i listen to both music and movies equally.

so far i have been pointed towards the anthem av50 (which doesnt seem to be available in this country) and the integra research rdc 7.1.

has anyone ever seen either of these or can you please suggest anything else?

:confused: :confused: :confused:
 

dts_boy

Well-known Member
tbh there is not much else out there with hdmi on board at the moment. if you can live wothout that then look at things like parasound halo, lexicon, sunfire, sherbourn have just brought out some new stuff as well i have been told
 

Thunder

Novice Member
I would hold off buying an expensive processor for a little while as the last thing you want to do is drop 3k on one only to find out in six months time that theres no chance of it decoding DD+, DDHD and DTSHD (after all it took Arcam nearly two years to provide the PL2x upgrade) which are all just around the corner as soon as HDDVD hits the streets. Just my opinion;)
 
K

karlm

Guest
is this is correct then i will need to wait over two years to get an arcam system which will decode the new formats. in two years time i could not upgrade the av9? i have been told by several dealers that arcams upgrade policy is very good

sorry if im contradicting you, my knowledge of av is limited and i am still learning.
 

ahin4114

Novice Member
I sent an email to arcam a couple of days ago and could not get a straight answer about decoding the new HD audio formats, as I was considering an AV9. Firstly they tried to talk around the subject by telling me that there wasn't any source material or players available. Then I replied saying I'd already seen the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray players that were available, and the supply of material, including the new audio codecs.
They said they simply planned to make the best of existing DVD at the moment but that their software upgrades occurred annually and were very good.

Not really an answer, or at least not an answer to my question. It's almost as if they were denying there wouldn't be any need to upgrade the AV9, which we all know isn't the case.
 
K

karlm

Guest
ive now had a similar response from arcam (if not the same one!!) stating that hdmi is full of faults and v1.3 hdmi will not be mainstream for a coule of years. also stating that upgrades are regulary available.

if 1.3 has so much more bandwidth than version1 will the processor in the av9 be abdle to handle it with merely a software upgrade anyway??
 

Crustyloafer

Distinguished Member
karlm said:
if 1.3 has so much more bandwidth than version1 will the processor in the av9 be abdle to handle it with merely a software upgrade anyway??
No, to change to HDMI version 1.3 wil require a hardware change. HDMI is not software upgradeable to higher versions.
 

Thunder

Novice Member
Being a Tag owner (he waits to get flammed) I just got used to getting software updates nearly every few months. As soon as a codec was available it was made an upgrade option:) Guess we were just a bit spoilt:rolleyes: Arcam took ages to release worthwhile software upgrades for the AV8 (which as far as Im aware is exactly the same as the AV9 less the HDMI switching) I would wait a little and perhaps look at Meridian as they tend to keep much more up to date and have far more sophisticed software such as room EQ which in my opinion is essential these days when installing high end kit with large powerfull speaker systems. Meridian is where I will be going next when my Tag AV32RDP finally goes out of date. (I just couldnt live without room EQ now having had it):)
 

Greggles

Active Member
I switched from Meridian (596 DVD, 568 processor, active speakers etc) to Arcam some years ago for a number of reasons and have never regretted it for a moment. Yes, Arcam lacks the sophistication (complication) and “sexy” design of the Meridian gear, but in performance terms, the AV9 has been hailed as one of the best AV processors on the planet irrespective of price.

The AV9 supports DD+ audio in exactly the same way as it does standard DD – via the digital input. As far as the “TruHD” formats are concerned, no amp/ processor can currently decode these. The first generation of HD players will all do the conversion on-board and output via the 6 analogue connections.

Now assuming one or both of the HD formats succeeds in gaining significant market penetration (by no means a certainty) rather than becoming a niche product (DVD-A/ SACD) then I have no doubt that HDMI v1.3 will be fitted to amps/ processors. Of course Arcam cannot confirm whether a hardware upgrade will be available for the AV9 at this stage. I had my AV8 upgraded to AV9 spec (which is significantly more than the addition of the HDMI sockets) as soon as it became available. 6 months prior to this Arcam were saying that no firm plans for such an upgrade. No doubt they are currenntly working on the AV10 in the background.

As far as software/ firmware updates are concerned, yes Arcam took a long, long time to make DPLII available for the AV8 – but that was the exception rather than the rule. Also, unlike some companies (eg TAG) Arcam have never charged for these updates.
 

rags

Well-known Member
karlm said:
is this is correct then i will need to wait over two years to get an arcam system which will decode the new formats. in two years time i could not upgrade the av9? i have been told by several dealers that arcams upgrade policy is very good

sorry if im contradicting you, my knowledge of av is limited and i am still learning.
See Andy Dutton's post in the link below. He is an engineer (I think) at Arcam.
http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?p=2970971#post2970971

To quote -
"The AV9 will continue to work for HD disks in backwards compatible mode. i.e using Dolby Digital and the current version of DTS. It will also be compatible as an analogue preamp for the multichannel outputs on the HD DVD/Blue ray player.The AV8/9 will probably not be upgradeable to decode Dolby plus or DTS HD.


I expect the analogue solution to be the most popular for HD players/ Blue Ray for some time as HDMI V 1.3 is not available yet so there is no way to pass Dolby Plus or DTS HD to the surround sound decoder. Also as the HD DVD/ Blue Ray players have to include a mixer to allow comentry over the film sound track etc. This needs the analogue outputs connected or possibly communication via HDMI 1.1 as Linear PCM.

The reason for this is that the commentry is mixed on top of the audio after it has been decoded to linear PCM and there is no HD Audio encoder in the players. So the only way the directors commentry can be sent out is either in analogue or as linear PCM (looking like a DVD-A. )"
 

Thunder

Novice Member
Greggles said:
Yes, Arcam lacks the sophistication (complication) and “sexy” design of the Meridian gear, but in performance terms, the AV9 has been hailed as one of the best AV processors on the planet irrespective of price.

Room EQ is not an over complication or part of a "sexy design", it is an almost essential feature in order to properly integrate speaker systems that produce true sub bass in my opiniion.

The AV9 supports DD+ audio in exactly the same way as it does standard DD – via the digital input. As far as the “TruHD” formats are concerned, no amp/ processor can currently decode these. The first generation of HD players will all do the conversion on-board and output via the 6 analogue connections.

As do all current AV processors which decode standard DD because DD+ is backwards compatible and is read as a 640kb DD stream. Personally I'd rather avoid the messy six analogue interconnect situation and keep the decoding done where its done best.

As far as software/ firmware updates are concerned, yes Arcam took a long, long time to make DPLII available for the AV8 – but that was the exception rather than the rule. Also, unlike some companies (eg TAG) Arcam have never charged for these updates.

Tag only ever charged where licence fees were concerned:)
I would still wait for more certain future compatibilty when spending this kind of money. But if money isnt an issue then hey jump in;)
 

ahin4114

Novice Member
All of this (mainly the reply from Arcam to be honest) has got me thinking about the Lexicon gear more seriously. Has anybody compared the AV9/P7 combo to say an MC8/LX7.

I like to listen to Music, but it's 90% movies. I've had a good demo of an RV8 and an awful demo of an MC12.

Is Lexicon likely to offer anything in terms of True HD support to their range?
 

Thunder

Novice Member
Not at this point as I think I remember reading somewhere that even the new MC12HD wont be upgraded to the required spec to support all the new codecs around the corner. Sorry to keep supplying negative answers but at this point in time nobody has a solution to the impending HD video/audio changes. I would be inclined just to hang on a bit longer and see what turns up as we are definately in a state of limbo at this point in time. I will be hanging on to my Tag AV32RDP for a little while longer:thumbsup:
 

ahin4114

Novice Member
No worries Thunder. To be honest I'd rather have a negative 'straight' answer than a positive load of flannel :)

As has already been said, this is a fair chunk of cash to part with for something that you know isn't going to fulfil your requirements in 12 months time.

Maybe I'll just get the power stage for now and use my 3803 as a pre until the processor market has moved on a little. I just know Mrs H won't like another mismatched box to join the collection, ho-hum.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Hello all

Its going to be a while before Dolby TrueHD and dts-HD are fully implemented on any source device so its way too early to see these included in the feature set of any AV Processor.

If your in the market now for a system but don't want to take a bit hit come Trade In time when you do have the opportunity to transition to a 'Next Generation' AV Processor why not consider combing the Arcam DiVA AVP700 Processor with the FMJ P7 power amp - that way you don't have as big a hit to take when you 'upgrade'; plus stylistically and operationally you may sneak in the 'Next Generation' unit without anyone noticing!

The whole 'upgrade' thing has (to me) been a Red Herring for way too long - yes there is some scope for upgrades but the TAG fiasco proved once and for all its a pipe dream that is financial suicide and doesn't mean you can buy a 'one time' chassis and hope that it can constantly be upgraded to the 'next generation' without laying out a considerable amount of extra cash.

Best regards

Joe
 

Ian_S

Distinguished Member
I don't know about anyone else, but I'd like to start seeing some more serious appraisal of PCM audio over HDMI. So far Meridian and Arcam state that it has serious jitter issues with regard to audiophile quality so I'd like to understand more on that. If these issues can be overcome, this seems to be the best way forward for everyone.

Why? Simply because regardless of what our future amps may or may not be capable of, the players will HAVE to have the decoders for these things built in if any of the interactive stuff is expected to work. Sending bitstreams to amps for decoding the main movie soundtrack will not work for any of the more advanced stuff. So, on a decent quality HD player I'd prefer to get the fancy processing done in the player and let the processors deal with things like room EQ if that's important to you and providing decent sound.

If PCM sound via HDMI can be done to a decent quality then you only need to buy the decoding technology once, and more importantly you'd hope such a thing would be easier to provide an upgrade for as no fancy CPU based codec processing would be required. No extra licenses and no built in redundancy. As long as HD players transmit PCM you're home free for years regardless of what they want to do at the Dolby and DTS level. Even better you won't need HDMI 1.3, good old HDMI 1.1 would do fine.

At least 2 x 7.1 analogue inputs wouldn't go amiss at the expense of what really must be all the redundant composite and s-video sockets at the back of most amps.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Hello Ian S

Our friends at Zektor are one step ahead of you with a three input 7x1 Analogue audio switch on the way later this year!

Joe
 

Ian_S

Distinguished Member
Joe Fernand said:
Hello Ian S

Our friends at Zektor are one step ahead of you with a three input 7x1 Analogue audio switch on the way later this year!

Joe
Cool. Have they invented the tardis equipment rack that makes new kit disappear to SWMBO?? :D I really think it will be very hard to disguise one new HD player let alone two... :rolleyes:
 

Streetrod

Novice Member
My dealer was able to demo the Arcam combo against the Nad master Series combo and to my ears the Nad came out on top, but that is only my opinion. and the cherry on the cake is that it is a hell of a lot cheaper. I ended up buying the Nad Master M55 DVD player over the Arcam DV137. I hope to buy into the Nad Processor and Amp at some time in the future, but you are right it suffers from the same problems as the Arcam ie the inability to decode the new HD sound sets and only has one set of 7.1 inputs, lets hope for an upgrade in the near future
 
T

The WB

Guest
I was told by a few people that hd sound can run through hdmi1.1 as long as you have a dvd player that can decode it. So it doesn't matter whether you have Hdmi 1.1 or 1.3.
 

ahin4114

Novice Member
HDMI 1.1 can carry audio in PCM form. Basically the player does the decoding, and then sends the audio in a standard form to the processor. It's quite a neat way of doing it as you still get the benefits of single cable connection, but you lose some control in the processor of the sound. The new Blu-ray and HD-DVD solutions have a rather convoluted way of overlaying audio (for commentaries etc) which may limit us to PCM audio for a while anyhow.
 

Steve.EX

Novice Member
Absolutely agree with Ian here. Forget HDMI as an audio transport for now (and quite some time to come most likely)

Even when the silicon is out there as a transport medium it is useless (to me) if has not been engineered properly.
A next gen interface with jitter levels equivalent to cheap Chinese personal cd player, just for the sake of having it? No thanks.

I think this audio over HDMI fad may actually overtake the farce that is/was the 'whats the best <£100 scaling dvd player" of recent years.
 
T

The WB

Guest
Yor right steve, talked to a high end audio place and even they agree that hdmi is a farce. At this moment even hdmi 1.3 is confusing for most. We know the difference but changing dvd formats how will the rest of the world take it, ( The rest that does not care about audio and visual) will they all replace there dvd movies for hd all blue ray? who knows!
 

j0hn

Banned
The WB said:
We know the difference but changing dvd formats how will the rest of the world take it, ( The rest that does not care about audio and visual) will they all replace there dvd movies for hd all blue ray? who knows!
Gonna be hard pushed to pry those tescos all in one cheap dvd sets out of peoples hands and like you say encourgae them to buy new dvd discs.

I for one cant wait to see how this is acomplished because for most the pic and sound is more than accepatable.

The good ole home PC is going to play a major part in all this dont you think?

plus so many are happy with copying or buying form joe blogs car boot sale man that he has a big slice of the market and as long as he keeps selling those bootlegs with as good as new quality the next format is gonna have a hard time establishing itself.

Porn pushed vhs through, I dare say bootlegging will keep standard DVD afloat for quite a while
 

ahin4114

Novice Member
Well with some of the new HD-DVD titles, hybrid discs are being produced. I would image that as this becomes more commonplace, people will start to build a library of HD-DVD discs without actually having a player. Then the inevitable progression when the DVd player dies is to get a player which plays the existing library. Now for many people this will mean another (even cheaper, or possibly better) DVD player. Some will want to see the difference these discs they've been buying actually have.

It's also fair to assume that with HD TV set to become more commonplace over the next 12 months (sky, telewest, terrestrial HD trials), and the fact that people can now see demo's of HD material in the big name stores that curiosity alone will drive a few players off the shelf.

In the grand scheme of things, I think this generation will face a very slow takeup.
 

j0hn

Banned
ahin4114 said:
In the grand scheme of things, I think this generation will face a very slow takeup.

Agree with that as I cant see many rushing out to buy a new HD plasma/lcd when they may have just missed the introduction of them and possibly saved loads to own a standard one.
 
T

The WB

Guest
you right I agree. At the moment I'm going to sit back enjoy my dvd's and cds. i posted in another thread who have already updated to the hd format and asked them for a comparison. Some already can say they tell the difference in audio quality. My only query is the av amps and pre/pro still play a major role in the way they produce the sound. The thing is you can have high end pre/pro or av amps and you might not notice the difference in the new formats due to these high end audio equipment are producing unbelievable quality and clean sound .For instance I've heard some amps and pre/pros and they sound spetacular. It will be a damn shame if you spend $$ and find out there really wasn't much of a difference. I guess we have to just wait and see.
 

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