Arcam AVR280, CA 640R vs the all singing HD Receivers

urbanshepherd

Active Member
I've found various threads around this subject, but thought I'd ask a more direct question.

Is there anything to be lost from going with the AVR280 or 640R vs one of the latest HD HDMI AV Receivers? If upscaling is not needed (can be done by TV or other source), and HD audio is generally decoded by the player (in my case a PS3), what am I losing out with in place of generally regarding higher quality sound?

I'd guess the single solution of HDMI cable would be one (these need optical as well I believe) and maybe the ability to switch a 1.3 HDMI input, but anything else?

Wondered if I was missing something...
 

Andy98765

Distinguished Member
Personally I would NEVER put any video (HDMI) through a AV amp unless I was to gain something.
That something could be.
It's the only way to get DolbyHD.
I have run out of HDMI inputs on TV.
AV amp up-scales better.
WHY!
To watch ANYTHING the AV amp has to be switched on and that is not always suitable for everyone, i.e. I need to keep things very quiet as everyone else is in bed.
I would like all the quality/value of a AV receiver to be placed in the amps not a load of AV switching/up-scaling which I may never use.
Look at the specs of the all singing AV amps, Onkyo for instance quote things like 140watts 1 channel driven in the Cambridge 640 you get quotes like:
2 x 120 watts rms per channel, 8 ohms (two channels driven)
7 x 100 watts rms per channel, 8 ohms (all 7 channels driven)
and a power consumption of 1400watts = tons of reserve power.
Don't get me wrong there are excellent as you call them all-singing AV amps from the likes of Onkyo, Yamaha, Denon.
BUT, the best thing is to go down to the demo rooms and listen at the end of the day, and take some of your own material, DVD's/CD's.
 

davepuma

Distinguished Member
Both manufacturer's make excellent receivers that are held in high regard for their sound quality and in the case of Arcam also their build quality, customer service and so on. I can't speak for CA as I've never owned one but have heard them. Neither have HDMI audio, so if using a PS3, you won't get HD audio over HDMI as the HDMI connections are simply switches for passthrough to the display. I hope that both are working on HD audio as we speak and bring some new AV receivers to market soon as personally I think they're missing out. Obviously with the right bluray player, you can get HD audio over analogue but just not from the PS3 as it has no analogue outputs for LPCM, only HDMI.

You need to demo for yourself against the HD audio equipped Japanese stuff. I personally will only upgrade my AV receiver once all the options are available to me and the technology has settled down i.e. version specs, bluray profiles and so on. I am interested in the new Denon amps rumoured to be out later this year but in all honesty might wait longer to see what Arcam, CA and others that have yet to join the HD party have to offer, as well as the next gen of Japanese stuff.

That said, if you're in the market for a new receiver now, I don't think you could go wrong with either but in the end, demo, preferably at home with your own speakers and favourite CD/movie and use your own ears.
 

urbanshepherd

Active Member
Thanks guys. Very useful pieces of info.

So am I right in thinking that passing HDMI signal through an amp (regardless of upconverting taking place) can have a degrading effect on the final picture or sound?
 

davepuma

Distinguished Member
I haven't heard of anyone having experienced a degraded digital signal when using HDMI passthrough on an AV receiver or good quality switch. Yes, I've heard of a lot of problems with cheap switching units but if you buy cheap tat from ebay, particularly the passive ones, you get what you deserve. I have heard of people not being happy with the performance of upconversion though but that's a different matter.
 

gamicoulas

Novice Member
I'm playing the waiting game for the time being. I'm not in a great hurry to get an amp, but I'm waiting for one of the 'big' boys to include HDMI audio on their amps and I'm off to the stores. Until then I will remain with my lovely CA 340A since the majority of my listening is in stereo. However, since I've got this PS3 a couple of months ago, I would really like a digital amp with multichannel LPCM input. I'm not really bothered about decoding capabilities (I will leave that to the PS3 or whatever other device is connected). What interests me is the overall sound quality and the power as the 340A is struggling a bit. Transcoding will be nice also to minimize the cable clutter, though I'm not heavy on my peripherals at the mo...

I'm expecting that Cambridge Audio will bring something out within the next 12 months with LPCM input. To be honest if the 640R had LPCM capability I would have snatched it. I'm really happy with their products...
 

urbanshepherd

Active Member
I'm playing the waiting game for the time being. I'm not in a great hurry to get an amp, but I'm waiting for one of the 'big' boys to include HDMI audio on their amps and I'm off to the stores. Until then I will remain with my lovely CA 340A since the majority of my listening is in stereo. However, since I've got this PS3 a couple of months ago, I would really like a digital amp with multichannel LPCM input. I'm not really bothered about decoding capabilities (I will leave that to the PS3 or whatever other device is connected). What interests me is the overall sound quality and the power as the 340A is struggling a bit. Transcoding will be nice also to minimize the cable clutter, though I'm not heavy on my peripherals at the mo...

I'm expecting that Cambridge Audio will bring something out within the next 12 months with LPCM input. To be honest if the 640R had LPCM capability I would have snatched it. I'm really happy with their products...
I'm in a similar boat, though more of a rush as my amp is no longer with us.... Really fancy the 640r or the currently reduced avr280, but would like the absence of cable clutter and the ability for HD audio (I think!). I'll carry on my research, that way it'll buy me some time to wait for that perfect receiver....
 
S

Surfsup80

Guest
Selling my Cambridge Audio 640R - less than 1y old, black for £290 on this site if you're still interested... thanks
 

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