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Question Arcam AVR - AVR550 or AVR20?

kempez

Well-known Member
I’m looking to buy a new AVR and having heard them on multiple occasions I would like an Arcam. I’m undecided on whether to go for the AVR550 which is at a good price now or fork out for the AVR20, which I think has class G amps. It’s more for future proofing etc and longevity.

will be driving B&W 603/607 and Htm 6 and an undecided active sub.
Views, experts?
 

Mr X

Distinguished Member
I’ve had a good few years away from Arcam but have missed the sound, my last being the AVR600 so started to look into them again after new year.

Anyway similar dilemma to you. Buy an exdemo 850 for a substantial reduction (£2.4k), buy a new 550 for a great price but not class G but otherwise an amazing AVR, OR go for the latest HDA range?

After thinking long and hard I ended up with the 850 and I’m sooooo glad I did. I’d forgotten just how good the Arcam sound is!

My personal reasoning was this, the HDA is a new product and one thing Arcam can’t seem to get right is new product launches. If you look around you’ll see a lot of disgruntled new owners that are beta testers with loads of issues with a product that isn’t fit for release yet according to many. Though dealers continue to sell them.
I got caught out like this when I purchased the 600.
I have no doubt that with time and firmware updates, they will get it right and it will undoubtedly be an awesome product.
I decided that I just want an easy life and amazing sound so went for the 850 being a mature product (4 years I think) knowing that most of its quirks are now well ironed out - a few still remain even now but don’t impact me.
Having purchased at a great price, I plan to keep a close eye on the HDA range and if it’s leaps and bounds above the FMJ, once the majority of bugs are squished, which may take a long time, I’ll flip the 850 and trade up but by then, to a mature product!
If I hadn’t found this clearance product I would have gone for the 550.

So that’s my logic. I guess you have to weigh things up for you. There’s nothing like having the latest and greatest but only if it works remotely like It should. Do you need or crave any of the new bells and whistles of the new HDA? I didn’t.

Personally I’d sit it out unless you like tweaking and updating firmware as some people do enjoy that. Just not me.
 

Damp Squid

Active Member
I have a AVR550 and did have problems with the occasional shutdown when driving my B & W speakers at high volume (see sig), i added a power amp and that solved the issue. Otherwise it's a great AVR, and will be cheap as it is being replaced with the HDA line.

The AVR20 is class AB, however there are still a number of bugs in the firmware to be addressed and Dirac is not available yet. If your go for the AVR20, i would hold off until they are resolved.
 

LovingLife69

Standard Member
Hi,

I have just got in to the world of Arcam 550 AV just under a year ago having had a Onkyo 875 for the last 10 years and the difference is night and day(Wife notice difference) . So pleased with the result. Managed to get a S/H Arcam P777 which drives my system of B&W really well.
I red a lot about Arcam amps before taking the plunge and they do seem to struggle with launches of new products.
 

kempez

Well-known Member
Thanks all for the really useful comments. I can pick up an AVR550 for £1399 on clearance, which seems a ridiculous bargain. I think I may pull the trigger. Anything that should stop me?

I just want the AVR for 4K passthrough, the HD audio and the ability to drive the B&W's, mostly at a relatively moderate volume, but with clarity. I will listen to music and so want something that has the ability to do that well.

EDIT: I guess I should be OK bi-amping the 603's and running the 607's/HTM-6 OK too?
 

Mr X

Distinguished Member
Thanks all for the really useful comments. I can pick up an AVR550 for £1399 on clearance, which seems a ridiculous bargain. I think I may pull the trigger. Anything that should stop me?

I just want the AVR for 4K passthrough, the HD audio and the ability to drive the B&W's, mostly at a relatively moderate volume, but with clarity. I will listen to music and so want something that has the ability to do that well.
For me it's a no-brainer. At that price grab it while you still can!
 

kempez

Well-known Member
For me it's a no-brainer. At that price grab it while you still can!
Thanks! I guess I should be OK bi-amping the 603's and running the 607's/HTM-6 OK too?
 

LovingLife69

Standard Member
Yep I would press that button and get excited ...
I actually don't BI amp my 603's (Maybe I should give that a go )
My setup
Arcam 550 powers my four rears in the 7.1.4
Arcam P777 power three main fronts and 4 overheads.

Dirac learning curve is a little steep but there's some great Youtube videos..
 

kempez

Well-known Member
Yep I would press that button and get excited ...
I actually don't BI amp my 603's (Maybe I should give that a go )
My setup
Arcam 550 powers my four rears in the 7.1.4
Arcam P777 power three main fronts and 4 overheads.

Dirac learning curve is a little steep but there's some great Youtube videos..
I Bi-Amp them on my Yamaha AX-863SE and it makes a difference, so I imagine with the Arcam it would be a good idea.

I want to stick with the inbuilt amplification for the moment, unless I have issues. Unless the whole family is away for a good period of time (not happened yet!), then I won't be driving the 603's at ridiculous volumes for long periods.

Or...y'know....unless the bug bites once again and I can't resist "I wonder what this would sound like" :facepalm::rotfl:

Pulled the trigger......I could not resist. Sevenoaks have a couple left on clearance at that price btw....
 

kempez

Well-known Member
Received delivery. Initially plugged in only the fronts and bi-amped them in my office room. Truly sounds superb already.

I'm waiting some work done in the lounge so I can reconfigure it and install all speakers etc. Am now very excited. Now just to look into choosing my sub.

Thanks for all the help :thumbsup:

On a side note: I find the setup menu on the amp nice and clear and pretty easy to use. I will be using DIRAC when I get all in place so I guess I'll have a learning curve when I do that.
 
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Damp Squid

Active Member
You won't regret buying the AVR550.

If you have queries regarding Dirac set up, i would address them to the dedicated thread as there are lots of owners on there that have been through the Dirac set up and tweaking process.
 

kempez

Well-known Member
You won't regret buying the AVR550.
No, 1st impressions make that very clear!

If you have queries regarding Dirac set up, i would address them to the dedicated thread as there are lots of owners on there that have been through the Dirac set up and tweaking process.

I definitely will do. Just summing up the happy ending to this. Thanks again!
 
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