Arcam Av9 Processor vs Onkyo 606

Ganymede

Active Member
I have read some reviews stating that the Arcam Av9/P7 combo do not have the latest audio decoding abilities.

Can anyone tell me what I lose by ditching the Onkyo 606 and picking up the Arcam. It seems per the specs below that it is all the HD formats but I thought the Av9 was introduced to deal with HD formats so this leaves me a little confused. :confused:

Specs detailed below:

Onkyo Specifications

- DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS-HD High Resolution Audio, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus Decoding
- HDMI (v. 1.3a) Audio and Video Processing
- HDTV-Capable HDMI (4 Inputs and 1 Output) and Component Video (50 MHz) Switching (3 Inputs and 1 Output) - NEW!
- HDMI and Component Video Upconversion & Upscaling - NEW!
- Bi-Amping Capability for Enhanced Musicality and Power
- Audyssey 2EQ to Correct Room Acoustic Problems and to Calibrate Speakers
- Onkyo RIHD for System Control
- Compatible with RI (Remote Interactive) Dock for the iPod

Audio Features

- 140 W/Ch Minimum into 6 ohms, 1 kHz, IEC (1 Channel Driven)
- DTS-ES Discrete/Matrix, DTS Neo:6, DTS 96/24, Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Pro Logic IIx
- H.C.P.S. (High Current Power Supply) Massive High Power Transformer
- 192 kHz/24-Bit DACs for All Channels
- WRAT (Wide Range Amplifier Technology)
- Advanced 32-Bit Processing DSP Chip
- 5 Digital Inputs (3 Optical/2 Coaxial)
- Subwoofer Pre Out
- CinemaFILTER
- A-Form Listening Mode Memory
- Optimum Gain Volume Circuitry
- Non-Scaling Configuration
- Tone Control (Bass/Treble) for Front L/R Channels
- Color-Coded 7.1-Multichannel Inputs
- Independent Crossover Adjustment for F/C/S/SB (40/50/60/80/100/120/150/200 Hz)
- Double Bass Function

Video Features

- 5 S-Video Inputs and 2 Outputs
- 5 Composite Video Inputs and 2 Outputs
- Front Panel Auxiliary Input (for Camcorders, Game Consoles, etc.)

Arcam AV9 Specs:

● Codecs: DD, DD-EX, DPL-IIx, DTS DTS-ES, DTS
Neo:6
● THD+N: 0.0012%
● Input Impedance: 10 kOhms
● Will Accept up to 96 kHz Digital Input Sampling
● Second Zone Operation

My equipment is only a Sky HD box, and a PS3. Hardly watch any blu-rays with 60% of broadcasts watched on high def and about 40% on standard def.

Also, in terms of functionality do I lose anything else?

Thanks for looking.
 

DarkDogZA

Active Member
from memory, the AV9 was released when HDMI 1.1 was the spec. The AV9 has since been replaced by the AV888 (or something like that costing about £4.5 :eek: )

Why you want the Onki:
- One box solution
- You want the HD Codecs and have no player that can decode them internally
- Price

Why you want the AV9 Combo:
- Sound quality is supposed to be great
- Music
- Upgradability (can switch processors at a later stage)
 

Buckster

Distinguished Member
if you can let me know where to get an 888 for £4.5 please let me know

Must be doing it as a loss leader as a special promotion - can't pass up on that !! :))
 

Ganymede

Active Member
from memory, the AV9 was released when HDMI 1.1 was the spec. The AV9 has since been replaced by the AV888 (or something like that costing about £4.5 :eek: )

Why you want the Onki:
- One box solution
- You want the HD Codecs and have no player that can decode them internally
- Price

Why you want the AV9 Combo:
- Sound quality is supposed to be great
- Music
- Upgradability (can switch processors at a later stage)

Thanks for the reply mate. Was also considering the AvR600 as it has room EQ but not sure how important this is. However at £1.5k more out of budget range by quite a bit.
 

AngelEyes

Distinguished Member
The Onkyo will decode the HD formats onboard, the AV9 needs a player to decode them and pass LPCM.

Adam
 

dts_boy

Well-known Member
the onkyo also does video upconversion to hdmi which the Arcam doesn't. other than that and above, the Arcam shouldn't be comapred to such a lowly beast otherwise! :thumbsup:
 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
The Onkyo will decode the HD formats onboard, the AV9 needs a player to decode them and pass LPCM.
If only it did (sigh). Or at least if only there were such an upgrade (sigh).

The only way to connect up a Bluray player to the AV9 with HD sources is 7.1 analogue. If Bluray is important, there's no point getting an AV9.
 

Bossk128

Well-known Member
The Onkyo will decode the HD formats onboard, the AV9 needs a player to decode them and pass LPCM.

Adam

I don't think the AV9 can accept any audio over HDMI, only analogue decoded by a suitable Blu Ray player. Players with high enough quality DACs )to do the AV9 justice) are quite expensive (e.g. Sony S5000ES, Pioneer LX91).

AVForums post.
 

crobo

Well-known Member
This is a strange thread because we are not comparing like with like. The AV9 is a high end processor while the 606 is an entry level receiver. Paired with a half-decent power amp, the AV9 will completely transcent the 606 but of course the combination will be more expensive.

With any blu-ray player capable of decoding HD audio and sending via analogue 7.1, the sound will be in a completely and utterly different league. You don't need an expensive BD player either - Panasonic BD50, Pioneer LX-71 etc will do the job nicely.

For blu-ray audio, I can't imagine anything being better value for money right now than the AV9s on offer for ~£1K new. Plus you get excellent SD audio, CD playback etc.
 

inzaman

Moderator
With any blu-ray player capable of decoding HD audio and sending via analogue 7.1, the sound will be in a completely and utterly different league. You don't need an expensive BD player either - Panasonic BD50, Pioneer LX-71 etc will do the job nicely.
.

Will it though, wont it just be passing the BD audio to the power amps, therefore a case of is the audio better decoded in the player or a dedicated receiver/processor.

I could understand this argument if the AV9 was actually doing something other than the volume level but it is not, or is it, or am i missing something (highly likely :)) :confused:
 

crobo

Well-known Member
I've got to be honest here - I don't know enough of the technical aspects to comment in any detail. But if it was just a case of decoding HDMI audio and passing it to a power amp, then any HDMI 1.3 - capable receiver could act as a processor of equal ability. However, there has to be a lot going on inbetween in terms of pre-amp stages (and perhaps the negative influence of having power amps in the same case, from what I have read). When I compared the Onkyo 875 receiver (as a processor) to the SC885 processor there was no comparison. More specifically, having listened to an AV9 playing HD audio via 5.1 analogue inputs (from a Pioneer LX-71) it's pretty obvious that the sound is high-end. It's really impressive.
 

MI55ION

Distinguished Member
If only it did (sigh). Or at least if only there were such an upgrade (sigh).

:rotfl:

The only way to connect up a Bluray player to the AV9 with HD sources is 7.1 analogue. If Bluray is important, there's no point getting an AV9.

Well I don't know about that Mark, as you say yourself there are workarounds for getting HD audio into the AV9. Not to mention lossy HD audio via coax/spdif sounds absolutely sublime through the AV9. And yes, Blu-ray is important. :D
 

inzaman

Moderator
When I compared the Onkyo 875 receiver (as a processor) to the SC885 processor there was no comparison. .

I can understand that as the processor is doing the work as opposed to the source.

The reason i am interested is i have the same conundrum.
I currently use a 705 as a processor only (which was a stop gap 18 months ago :eek:) but i want to upgrade to a dedicated processor and the AV9 did tempt me but it will not process the new formats; that's why i have been reading around with interest as this was a £3.5k processor so now seems a bargain. Had the AV9 processed audio via HDMI then i would be tempted as i dont want to use analogue outs - it's a shame really

Therefore for me the AV9 is out of date and therefore no good for my purposes - i am personally only interested in a processor that can decode the new sound formats.

To the OP if the 606 has preouts you could add a P7 to it and upgrade to a better more up to date processor further down the line. This way you get the processing of the new formats so more future proof and the amplification of the P7. This is what i currently do except i have a Parasound as opposed to the P7 :)
 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
as this was a £3.5k processor so now seems a bargain. Had the AV9 processed audio via HDMI then i would be tempted
If the AV9 had processed LPCM over HDMI, it would have retained a fair portion of its price (and kept me a lot happier). Once Arcam made it clear that no upgrade was going to be made available, it basically lost all value and had to be sold as such until stock was cleared. It's exactly as you say, as far as Bluray (analogue multichannel) audio is concerned it's "just a volume control".

Note that I'm not talking about where the HD audio is decoded (the player is the obvious place for decoding), it's the subsequent processing of the LPCM (bass management, THX, room equalization) and digital - analogue conversion that's the issue, and this belongs in the processor (no BD players do THX or room equalization, many don't even do proper bass management).

The Onkyo PR-SC886 may well be a good "budget" choice. The 606 doesn't have pre-outs, so adding a P7 is not an option.
 
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crobo

Well-known Member
Inzaman, I understand what you're saying but for me the sound is the important thing. At the moment 2 obvious possibilities are the Onkyo SC886, which does a great job for £1500, and the AV9 for £1000 (or less second hand). The SC886 sounds good for the money and has the convenience of decoding HD audio from HDMI but the AV9 sounds every bit as good with analogue 5.1 and, I think, better with SD sources. And it's way better for stereo.

My personal thinking is that one could use the saved cash to go for a Denon 3800 instead of a mid-range player and this must be sublime, from what I have read. High-def heaven on the cheap.
 

Bossk128

Well-known Member
Snip

My personal thinking is that one could use the saved cash to go for a Denon 3800 instead of a mid-range player and this must be sublime, from what I have read. High-def heaven on the cheap.

Is the Denon 3800 £2000? The Arcam Blu Ray player might be less than that. Also, the new Oppo BR player is getting good reviews for analogue audio- just not released yet. That's about £500.
 

crobo

Well-known Member
Is the Denon 3800 £2000? The Arcam Blu Ray player might be less than that. Also, the new Oppo BR player is getting good reviews for analogue audio- just not released yet. That's about £500.

You can get the Denon 3800 for £1099. Add in an AV9 for £999 or less and I would imagine that this must be hard to beat in terms of value for money. I'm not sure whether the Oppo is as good for analogue 5.1 - too many threads to read!
 

inzaman

Moderator
Inzaman, I understand what you're saying but for me the sound is the important thing. At the moment 2 obvious possibilities are the Onkyo SC886, which does a great job for £1500, and the AV9 for £1000 (or less second hand). The SC886 sounds good for the money and has the convenience of decoding HD audio from HDMI but the AV9 sounds every bit as good with analogue 5.1 and, I think, better with SD sources. And it's way better for stereo.

My personal thinking is that one could use the saved cash to go for a Denon 3800 instead of a mid-range player and this must be sublime, from what I have read. High-def heaven on the cheap.

I too have recently been thinking of this route mainly because of the current AV9 price but having read about the lack of HDMI support it kind of killed it. You are probably right if stereo is important and the 'older' movie sound formats then the AV9 is an amazing price at the moment, and partnered with the 3800 could be an excellent HD solution, especially for the price.

I was personally hoping the new Arcam processor (888) would have been round the £2.5k - £3k mark and then i would of gone for it but at £4.5k it is way out in the stratosphere for me.
As you say the Onkyo is interesting at the price point but i also believe that Parasound will have a couple of solutions soon as well which could be worth waiting for :)
 

Mr_Orange

Well-known Member
If you're looking for a processor that handles HD audio, is superb for legacy DVD sound and superb for stereo.......

...... you seem to be forgetting the Audiolab 8000AP. At a £1k, it's cheaper than the competition, and according to the owners, very, very good. Check out the thread in this section.
 

Buckster

Distinguished Member
pity it has ZERO EQ ....

buyer beware - would be better to build a system around it


If you're looking for a processor that handles HD audio, is superb for legacy DVD sound and superb for stereo.......

...... you seem to be forgetting the Audiolab 8000AP. At a £1k, it's cheaper than the competition, and according to the owners, very, very good. Check out the thread in this section.
 

Paul Mela

Active Member
I've noticed the Rotel RSP-1570 barely gets mentioned, is this because not many people have got one or something else??
 

Mr_Orange

Well-known Member
pity it has ZERO EQ ....

buyer beware - would be better to build a system around it

The AV9 has no EQ. What's your point?
 

AngelEyes

Distinguished Member
Why does it need it?

Honestly, if the Audiolab 8000AP had EQ and it worked well, you would be singing a different tune. The fact it doesn't means defensive AP owners are always poo-pooing it.

It doesn't matter how great or neutral the AP is, your room is likely neither and a decent EQ will improve on that quality, simple as that.

I am not implying a cheap receiver will be better because it has EQ but I find it incredulous you think EQ is not necessary with an AP.

Adam

EDIT: Sorry if that sounds a bit of a rant but I have read a few posts with similar dismissive comments about EQ from AP owners and don't really understand it. :)
 
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coldmachine

Active Member
It doesn't matter how great or neutral the AP is, your room is likely neither and a decent EQ will improve on that quality, simple as that.

100% correct.

Any room without treatment and correction is a huge under performer. No genuine high end installs are done now without both being given major consideration. The difference can range from major to staggering. One of the problems is that the message is only starting to get through in the UK, so most people haven't heard the difference a well corrected system makes. I think Neil's demo did valuable work in that area for AVF members.

For so long, self proclaimed "audiophiles" have actually been the very antithesis of that which they claim to be, that's why they are such a laughing stock within the audio profession.
 
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