Arcam AVR10 AVR20 AVR30 - the missing manual

This forum has been very helpful - so I thought I'd give back some help.


I've been trying out an AVR10 - and thought I'd pass on some set up hints for anyone who gets one - and this would probably apply to the other AVR's in the range. There doesn't seem to be the steps to set up from scratch in the manual - so here goes...

First off - before you buy - the AVR10 has a more simple power supply - and on mine there is an audible humming noise. I bought an Audiolab DC blocker - but this made no difference. Not good for something relatively expensive.

So I'm swapping the AVR10 for an AVR20 which has a toroidal power supply. Hopefully this one will be silent - and apparently the DC blocker should be more effective for a toroidal based unit. Will post an update after the swap. The hum isn't terrible - and probably in many setups would be barely noticeable - but it's not something I'll be happy with longer term.

So, connect two stereo speakers, connect WiFi antennas, connect AVR HDMI out to eARC/ARC socket on the TV. Press power button - then press 'Menu' to change from Stand-by to On.

OK - at this point the sticker on the front is saying to update the firmware - and I think it is important to update the firmware. So we should connect to WiFi?

Wrong! You can not connect to WiFi using the front panel - or the remote - or the Arcam app (as far as I could tell) - or the TV. I then followed the link in the manual - went to Arcam's website - downloaded firmware etc - copied files on to USB drive. All worked OK. As a side note it says to use a USB smaller than about 8GB. I couldn't find one that size but was able using Ubuntu to wipe a 32GB USB drive, set it up with a 4GB partition formatted to FAT and that worked OK.

But still no way to connect to WiFi.

So - power down - and connect the AVR to a internet router using an ethernet cable. If DHCP is available then the AVR is given an IP address - which you can then read using the front panel (press Menu - go to network settings - press OK). Now - put that IP address into a browser on a laptop connected to the same LAN and you'll see the AVR control panel. It may well have been possible to update the firmware from this control panel and not have to bother with a USB drive - I wish I'd tried that first.

Update:

Yes it is. Plugged into router via ethernet, pressed power, pressed menu to start, pressed menu, pressed network and noted the IP address. Then entered the IP address into a laptop on the same network, went through setup. The setup offered to update the firmware:

From: Firmware version: 0.100.764.0xa8dc310
To: New version found: 0.100.1542.0xff21fd0

Then the browser sticks with 'Device is installing, wait for device boot up'. Go to the AVR and the front screen will say something like 'Update is available, press OK to continue...'. I then pressed OK. The AVR panel then says 'PSD (or something) updating' and the precentage counts up - slowly. This seemed to cycle through several updates - and it took hours - I left it running overnight. Then in the morning the front panel had the option to 'reset' or not 'reset'. I went for 'reset'.

So now - go to your browser - enter the AVR's IP address - and now in the control panel you can set up the WiFi connection! So - ethernet connection first - get IP address from front panel - then using browser based control set up the WiFi.

Phew!

Next - using the browser control panel (much easier than the AVR's front panel) set up the speakers - v important - by default the front L/R speakers are set to small so there will be no bass unless they are set to large.


Playing sound from the TV. This seemed to be relatively OK - but not perfect - but then I have a 2015 Sony Bravia with ARC not eARC. Generally when I switched on the TV the unit switched to 'Display' mode which played the TV sound - lipsync was OK. Note there doesn't seem to be a button on the remote for Display mode (which seems to be the mode to get sound from the Display connected via HDMI) - I just switched the TV off/on etc. I think from the browser control or the control app you should be able to switch to Display mode.

Playing some music. The Tidal android app was able to play music via Tidal Connect - which I wasn't expecting to work. Then there is the Arcam/Harman MusicLife app. This app is a bit buggy - but I was able to connect it to my Tidal and Amazon Music accounts (currently testing out both).

In my opinion both the Tidal app and the MusicLife apps sound good - but when playing Rock the MusicLife app sounded cleaner and clearer - louder volumes were less harsh. Shame is that the MusicLife app sometimes gets stuck just saying 'Empty'. The only way I found to fix it was to force close the app (hold down on the icon, app info, force close) and start it again. This is fairly bad - and the only app I've ever had to do that with. The app interface is not too bad - but could probably be better. I would suggest Arcam/Harman put some investment into the app - get another team on it - because the app is not nearly as good as Bluos - and I very nearly swung to getting a NAD because I like how the Bluos app works.

But - (hopefully final) problem.

Playback of tracks using MusicLife app using Amazon Music as the source. There is a very occasional every three tracks or so) glitch in the playback - it's like the track skips half a second forward. And weirdly - it does it at the same point in the tracks. I tested Amazon Music directly and the tracks are OK - playing the same track using Tidal as the source does not glitch (AFAIR). Really annoying - not sure if to send the unit back. I'll post separately about this glitch to see what feedback I get.
 

Krobar

Well-known Member
The initial firmware update on these is indeed painful and thanks for sharing your experience. You can just install Google Home on you phone or tablet and wifi setup takes about 2mins, no need for a wired connection or any other prep but appreciate not everyone has that option and it may not have worked because the inital firmware on that unit was so ancient (Net firmware 764 is from 2019).

The manual for the HDMI 2.1 versions is quite a bit better and 100% applicable to the HDMI 2.0 models:

Generally I don't like the Musiclife app and way prefer Tidal Connect too. There is a huge number of options on how to stream to these devices and people preferences vary but most find Musiclife the worst option.

You can switch to the TV/Arc input from the web browser; Setup-> Input-> Change to Display in the first drop down menu. I think there is a hold down the amp button and another key combo to get the display input using the remote but I cannot remember right now.
 

bailey86

Novice Member
The initial firmware update on these is indeed painful and thanks for sharing your experience. You can just install Google Home on you phone or tablet and wifi setup takes about 2mins, no need for a wired connection or any other prep but appreciate not everyone has that option and it may not have worked because the inital firmware on that unit was so ancient (Net firmware 764 is from 2019).

The manual for the HDMI 2.1 versions is quite a bit better and 100% applicable to the HDMI 2.0 models:

Generally I don't like the Musiclife app and way prefer Tidal Connect too. There is a huge number of options on how to stream to these devices and people preferences vary but most find Musiclife the worst option.

You can switch to the TV/Arc input from the web browser; Setup-> Input-> Change to Display in the first drop down menu. I think there is a hold down the amp button and another key combo to get the display input using the remote but I cannot remember right now.
Thanks for the help - much appreciated!

As mentioned, to me rock tracks were slightly clearer when using Tidal via the MusicLife app then using Tidal via Tidal Connect. Such a shame that the MusicLife app is relatively poor!
 

bailey86

Novice Member
OK - so I'm that bit closer to removing the protective film from the screen...

The web client at http://<ip address>/webclient has been useful - especially if you're working on a laptop anyway. In general, changing the settings via the browser has been the best way to adjust things.

The MusicLife app and Tidal connect app seem to lose connection sometimes - and I have to power cycle the AVR to get them to work. This might be related to the quality of the WiFi connection. I've had to put the AVR into a TV unit which means the WiFi aerials are horizontal - I'm sorting it out so they can be vertical - will see if that improves things - if not I'll need to sort out a wired connection.

I can confirm that the Google Home app was able to set up the WiFi credentials on the AVR - but this was after I'd already updated the firmware - YMMV.

I've not been able to find a remote control key combination which switches the AVR to Display mode - but using the web client I went to HDMI settings - and set CEC control to 'Output 1' and the AVR seems to respond to the TV pretty well now.

Thanks again for the link to the updated manual.

One weird glitch - annoying is a highish end unit - sometimes the volume drops to zero - mostly when adjusting the volume - really hope they sort that out in a future update.

Overall sound is good - I use Foo Fighters track The Pretender as a test track. Might later try to use a Bluesound Node 2i as a source to compare quality etc.

I might also try the mconnect app to see if that keeps the connection better.
 

oldchalky

Novice Member
OK - I've connected a subwoofer - and maybe because of that I now think that it is definitely clearer using the Tidal app (on phone or tablet) and connecting using Tidal Connect.

So Tidal Connect is a saving grace for this unit. It's nice that when playing music via Tidal Connect the remote controls pausing/skipping etc.

Weird glitch is that very occasionally when adjusting the volume the volume drops significantly - sometimes to zero! I've seen this mentioned in elsewhere so hopefully it will get fixed.

Further note - playing back from the TV when the TV sound is stereo - if I change the mode to Stereo Multi Channel the sound comes out of the front (upfiring) height speakers and definitely makes the sound clearer.

Another note - getting the WiFi aerials to point upright/vertical seems to have improved the connectivity quality.
 

deadmonkey

Active Member
May I ask a couple of very basic questions about using Tidal Connect on one of these AVRs?

1. Am I right to think it supports MQA?

2. Does it display anything to the TV screen when playing music or (as I believe is the case with most Tidal Connect devices) the track information is only displayed on the LCD?
 

oldchalky

Novice Member
Pretty sure it supports mqa as this gets shown on the avr front screen when playing.

What gets shown on the TV is basic, nothing generally, volume level when adjusting the volume and the mode when selecting the mode. I prefer it that way personally, nice and simple!
 

deadmonkey

Active Member
Pretty sure it supports mqa as this gets shown on the avr front screen when playing.

What gets shown on the TV is basic, nothing generally, volume level when adjusting the volume and the mode when selecting the mode. I prefer it that way personally, nice and simple!
Thanks very much @oldchalky

Great to know about the MQA.

For the display I think I've read that since of the few machines that send much to the TV are the NAD ones - but I've read several posts praising the Arcam units when comparing for sound quality, features and issues, which are of course all more important 😊
 

Krobar

Well-known Member
May I ask a couple of very basic questions about using Tidal Connect on one of these AVRs?

1. Am I right to think it supports MQA?

2. Does it display anything to the TV screen when playing music or (as I believe is the case with most Tidal Connect devices) the track information is only displayed on the LCD?

1. It supports MQA within Tidal/Tidal Connect or using the UPNP server on the NET input only. In reality this is complete MQA support but it wont detect MQA CDs played back over digital or HDMI connections (You would need to rip them and then use the UPNP support).

2) No. The Album art appears on the front panel display in most cases but appreciate that is not the best solution for everyone.
 

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