Arcam AVR-300 vs Denon 3805

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by freeranger, Oct 13, 2004.

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  1. freeranger

    freeranger
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    Hi,

    These two amps are the main contenders to replace my ageing Yam DSP-A3090.

    I had a demo of them last week, fully expecting the Arcam to come out on top, especially on the stereo music side of things.
    various aquiantances expected the same result.

    I was shocked, as were others, to find that the Denon sounded better with music and about the same (though slightly less clear maybe) than the Arcam.

    Indeed, so many people have been surprised at this, that I am going to another dealer this weekend for another listen.

    The demo I already had involved some mission sub/sat combo - I confess, I did not pay much attention to them because I have a sub/sat setup and wanted something similar to listen to.

    The main problem I found was that there seemed be little or no mid range with the Arcam, that the Denon either filled, or "faked" with a rather more coloured sound.
    Whether the amp was not set up properly, or the speakers were just too cheap and nasty, or faulty, or the Arcam does not like sub.sat combos, or indeed the Denon really did perform better, I do not know.

    This time, I will be using the same speaker setup as at home - a Bose AM15 setup (no, don't laugh, they fit with my/swmbo's 0 floor space requirement even if they don't suit "hi-hi" requirements) - as really, it only matters that it sounds good with MY speakers and not that with some f.o. big £8k+ speaker system.

    So I'm looking for some tips on what I should ensure they have set up on the Arcam when I go in - I WANT to prefer the Arcam, but if it doesn't cut it sonically to my cloth ears, then the Denon it's gonna have to be.

    Some test material suggestions would be appreciated also.

    Help me want this amp!

    cheers.
     
  2. Crustyloafer

    Crustyloafer
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    The best test material is stuff you are really familiar with yourself. Bring your own cds and DVDs in and make your mind up from there. To be honest though you are not ging to hear either amp at its best unless you use some half decent speakers with them. Now I'm not saying that the Bose are not decent, they are just not capable of showing what the Arcam or the Denon are really capable of. The AVR300 is undoubtedly better in straight stereo but for home cinema purposes I think you'd be hard pushed to say one was significantly better than the other. Again, to hear the differences between them in straight stereo I would listen to them both hooked up to a full range speaker pair, something along the lines of the Monitor Audio gold series or other similar sized speakers. Doing a stereo dmo is also a good way of making sure the shop hasn't screwed up the speaker settings on one amp and not the other. If you run both amps in straight stereo or 'Pure Direct' as Denon like to call it then it gives them both an equal chance.
     
  3. freeranger

    freeranger
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    Yeah, true. I was a bit scuppered on the DVD side at the previous test when they didn't have a multiregion dvd player - doh!

    Oh I fully appreciate that, but by the time I will be in a position to use half decent speakers (a few years off yet), then I will undoubtedly be buying the latest greatest amp of the day. The only requirement that makes sense today is that it sounds as good as it possibly can with the Bose kit.

    The straight stereo was the surprise at my last demo that it DIDN'T sound better but for movies, yes, it was much closer.

    This is why I wonder if the demo was flawed....

    I know what you are saying, but I need an amp to sound great with the bose AM15's, not with great sounding amp with full range speakers :)
    If there was 1/2 a chance of upgrading the speakers then this would make sense, but I physically don't have the room for them unfortunately....

    Would it make any difference coming off the digital out of the DVD player?
    ie, for pure stereo, would I be better off using the analogue outs?

    thanks.
     
  4. JetJockey

    JetJockey
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    Hi

    Funny you should say that. I also found the Denon very good for music. Combine that with the Extra power from the Denon 3805, and the complete automatic setup, and one has a convincing argument for buying the Denon system. Unfortunately, the 3910 suppoesedly suffers from macroblocking. :rolleyes:

    When I trialled the AVR300 I did not think it had enough "punch" or dynamics for me. I am now thinking of an AVR300, with two NAD C272's to drive the fronts (Extra £900)!! :oops:

    It's no wonder I've been dithering between the denon and Arcam systems. :confused:

    Gerald.

    P.S. Maybe the Arcam DV79 and the Denon 3805 as a pair............. Dohh!!
     
  5. freeranger

    freeranger
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    I know of only one other person who shares our view - which is why I am thinking it *can't* be right.....though of course, it's all down to individual tastes at the end of the day....

    Auto setup (I am very lazy), the pronto-alike remote (even though I have a pronto, but the screen is too dark green to be really usable - need an iPaq screen on there ;) ), the lower price (of course), more inputs, and a few other bits and pieces make the Denon tough to discount.

    OTOH, the arcam has upgradable firmware, funky things like the configurable component outs and also a few other nice things that make IT tough to discount...
    The arcam remote sucks @ss though - too sluggish.

    Yes, i found it a bit lifeless/unexciting....though the Denon did seem to colour the sound a bit more....

    Join the club :/

    Of course, what would be *really* nice is a pioneer AX10i, but that's a tad over budget (I'm only squeezing the amp in coz I'm getting a v.good deal on a pio 435 plasma, and there's no point feeding it svideo like I do to my 32" TV ATM....)
     
  6. mrkeeling

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    I have just one question:
    Why are you wasting your money on either? Whatever you connect your Bose to, you’ll get the same “Bose” sound. So go with something cheap ;)
    :clown:
     
  7. Barend

    Barend
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    As always, I liked the Denon when I received it in June, but over the weeks doubts crept in- isn't the treble a bit accented? -aren't the mids a bit overblown?

    Then the Arcam arrived in July, I listened and compared both in Stereo Direct, and I was sold to the Arcam.
    No room for listening to treble, mid or bass- I found myself listening to music!
    The sound was rich and never tiring, with a gorgeous soundfield- wide and deep.

    As for demonstrations:
    Don't do them in a shop, take the thing home if they let you and try it in yoir own home. The only way really! I feel any half decent dealer that charges 1300 quid for a receiver should allow you a home session.

    Barend
     
  8. bobbypunk

    bobbypunk
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    "Combine that with the Extra power from the Denon 3805"
    Unfortunately although the denon is capable of producing 120 watts per channel it can't manage this if you expect more than one amplifier to be working whereas the 100watts stated by arcam is for all 7 channel running together!!
    Here is an example:

    Conditions ARCAM Other Comments
    AVR300 receiver

    Published Power Spec 100 wpc 110 wpc The other receiver has a slight edge (on paper)
    Actual into 2 Channels 129 wpc 124 wpc Arcam has a slight advantage.
    Actual into 5 Channels 108 wpc 50 wpc Arcam delivers double the power.
    Actual into 7 Channels 100 wpc 25 wpc Arcam delivers 4 times the power.
     
  9. JetJockey

    JetJockey
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    Hi Bobby.

    Yup, youre right re the power outputs.

    I must also confess, when you get to my old age (read super cynical) there is a lot to be said for dealing with a British company, just down the road. It is very nice to be able to pick up the phone and ask for a "chat" with somebody technical without phoning international. From past experience they have been very helpfull. The remote controls are a joke of course, but ultimately a Xantech will put that right. ;)

    I still think though, that there is not enough "oomph" in the AVR300 for me, but this would be true of any receiver in this bracket, hence the thoughts of using a couple of NAD C272's for the fronts. I used to use a TAg 100x5R (effectively five monoblocks) and that really belted it out. I don't mean sheer volume here, far from it, I am talking dynamics!! :devil:

    I am hoping that the C272's, with their own built in Toroidal transformers, will relieve the AVR300 of some of the strain. This should hopefully improve dynamics and steering. I certainly hope so or it could be an expensive mistake! :blush:

    I have considered going down the AV8 + P7 route but despite being able to afford it, cannot seem to justify the expense (£5500). Mind you, I am afraid to go and audition it just in case..................... :zonked:

    OH dear, what to do. :confused:

    Gerald.

    P.S. anybody here auditioned the AV8/P7 combo? No!!! Don't answer that! :suicide:
     
  10. Crustyloafer

    Crustyloafer
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    We have the AV8/P7 in the shop and it is stunning. You could alsways start off with an AVR300 and a P7. This would allow you to biamp all 7 channels with the AVR300 driving the tweeters and the P7 the bass. Would come in at about £2000 cheaper than the AV8/P7 combo.
     
  11. Barend

    Barend
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    Well, that may be so, but although the sound is gorgeous the AVR300 still strikes me as slightly underpowered, which is why (IMO), things got better when I biamped the front bass sections of my power hungry KEF's, which certainly took a load off the amp...
    Barend
     
  12. cameronl

    cameronl
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    why don't you save your money and get a yamaha 750 and then buy some real speakers :)

    ....cause a bose and the denon\arcam is a total waste of your money imho.

    CaM
     
  13. fordster

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    Take a look at the Rotel amps (RSX1056 or RSX1067). To me at least, they sound better than the 3805 for both music and moveis (admittedly it's not a mssive difference but IMHO it's enough to justify the price difference). Rotel kit is also pretty fast and fairly neutral (although some reviews descrive it as being a very slightly on the lean side of neutral). There's bags of power too as Rotel really do understate their specs.
    I have to agree that you need to test with speakers similar to your own. I have the same problem in that I have Missions FS2-AV sub/sats. These are about the only thing I can fit in my living room so even if I change my amp I won't be changing my speakers so although I won't get the "best" out of a new amp it will still be much better than what I currently have (Denon 1602).
     
  14. freeranger

    freeranger
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    It's not a matter of saving my money - it's a matter of space.
    I simply don't have the space for them.
    I guess I *could* have huge speakers off the ceiling, as I am doing with the BOSE speakers, but, much as I love my A/V, I do not want it to dominate the living space - hence, for example, the plasma will be going on a swing out arm in the corner, rather than on the chimney breast where it "should" go.

    In striking the right balance between my AV and my living requirements, something has to give - I GET a plasma, I don't get bigger speakers ;)
     
  15. bobbypunk

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    For both jetjockey and barend, the reason i mentioned it was because it would drive speakers better than the 3805 and previous posts has stated the 3805 as "more powerful", in the context of driving bose speakers I think the sound from the arcam would be better, but neither amp would struggle to power a set of bose surrounds.
     
  16. bluesfan

    bluesfan
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    I demoed both.

    1.The Arcam has greater soundstage and imaging.
    2.The Denon is more dynamic but this causes a weak midband.
    3.The Arcam is slightly underpowered.
    4.The Arcam is far too expensive for what it is and a crap remote.

    Overall the Arcam is a warmer, cosier sound to live with but if you want accented dynamics the Denon is better. I think the Arcam is easier to match with speakers, too bright a speaker and the Denon will have even worse midband.

    It's personal choice!
     

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